Blizzcon, Warlords, & The Horizon: Part 1

It’s been a little over a week since the Blizzcon Opening Ceremony. I geeked out as I watched my virtual ticket over the weekend, and now that I’ve had a week to process everything, I want to join in the crowds voicing their opinion on what we all saw and heard.

World of Warcraft

First, of course, is World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor. I was definitely more interested in Warlords than in Mists of Pandaria when it was first announced, but that’s not a good measure, because I ended up loving MoP. In fact, I’m still enjoying the heck out of Mists!

Warlords: Storyline

The premise of Warlords is great–go back and fight against the Big Bads of a bygone era, a new Horde crafted from an old brotherhood. Big characters: who doesn’t want to meet Durotan & Draka? Who wouldn’t want to face Ner’zhul before the first rise of the Lich King?

Facing down Rend as he was in Draenor is going to be brilliant, not to mention the fact that I love draenei and getting to work alongside original draenei in their homeland sounds like something I’d sign up for yesterday.

The concerns I’ve heard, though; are valid. Primarily:

  • Is the story too contrived?
  • Isn’t the alternate timeline thing a little confusing?
  • Are the female characters getting shuffled under the table for this expansion?

On the first and second points, I think they’re kind of combined. The alternate timeline idea makes the story feel more contrived than it might otherwise. If you aren’t sure how this is going to work, it’s basically like this (at least, this is my understanding of it):

Warlords: Parallel Timelines

The idea is that Garrosh goes not only back in time, but on an alternate timeline completely, goes back to before the orcs drink Mannoroth’s blood, and rallies them into an un-cursed Horde. I believe his plan is to bring them back to our current time and wipe us out because I guess he’s a little ticked about the whole Siege of Orgrimmar thing.

Does this make the story a little contrived? Honestly, yeah, I suppose it does, but I think I can overlook it for the sake of what’s going to be involved. Burning Crusade also felt a bit contrived, but in the end, a lot of people loved that expansion.

As for the last point, it’s valid, and I want to know more. I’ve heard there will be some female characters, particularly a draenei, that will be completely awesome, but I don’t know that it makes up for the fact that this is a pretty testosterone-driven expansion. The “boys’ trip” comment took me aback a bit, too. I’m withholding judgement until we get a better look at exactly what’s going down in Draenor, and I’m hoping they’ll surprise me.

Raiding

Obviously, raiding is a huge deal for me, so I was paying close attention to the raiding changes. The biggest change is, of course, the raid types:

New Raid Structure from Blizzcon

I’m not going to lie, the inner elitist in me (and it IS inner, I can’t stand on elitist ground, I hang out somewhere on the cliff of “managing somehow”) recoiled at first. Everything is flex? But, but, but–that–I–okay. It’s a change. We’re not usually great with change. Is it a bad change? Nah. Is it a dealbreaker? No way. It’s different, and we’ll make it work like we always have.

My guild’s primary focus will be Heroic and Mythic. This means that we’re going to have to sit 5 people when we do Mythic, and that’s going to make an interesting dynamic. I will say that I like the fact that this will require players to push hard–when you really want to raid the highest content and your spot is in jeopardy, you will work for it.

The unfortunate side of this is that there’s a good chance that even people who try really hard won’t make it into Mythic every week. Encounter balance will play a big role in how this works out. I can tell you I’ll be fighting with all I have for my Mythic spot.

Coming in the next post: Item Changes, Stuff I Geeked Out For, Hearthstone, & Heroes of the Storm.

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