Saturday’s panels at Blizzcon focused on a bunch of areas, but there were a few panels that highlighted more of what we’ll be seeing in WoW‘s next expansion– World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor. Blizzard talked more about the item “squish” and the major itemization changes that will be happening across the board. The team also published more details about what’s coming in the expansion for PvPers and held a lengthy Q&A session that answered a whole bunch of questions attendees had about the expansion.
One of the definite highlights was learning that daily quests will not be a major part of Warlords of Draenor. Hooray for lessons learned! Ready for the rest of the highlights? Make sure to take a look at Part 1 of our Blizzcon World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor writeup if you haven’t already.
The Big “Item Squish”
It’s been something WoW players have talked about on the forums for quite some time and something that the Blizzard team themselves have eluded to more than once. Simply put, the damage, health, and healing numbers are so large (and would get even larger with 10 more levels) that they’re kind of ridiculous. Lower numbers would be easier to display on the screen, view in combat logs, and process overall. To do this, the overall player power and item level will not go down, but the displayed damage/healing/health numbers will.
- Player power will not change at all and players will still ultimately be much more powerful than they are now.
- The relative power of 5.4 gear will not change.
- The time to kill mobs in comparison to now (with the same gear) will not change.
- Likewise, the ability to solo old content and raids will not change whatsoever.
A sample of how stats will be affected is shown in the header image above. Everything that is displayed will be dropped by a certain percentage, but the actual power and item level of items will not.
Other Itemization/Armor Changes
We went over some of the basic itemization and armor changes yesterday, but here are all of the changes that will be made:
- Armor won’t be stat-specific and will just be type-specific. There will be no more Intellect plate, for example. All plate wearers will want the same armor.
- Instead, armor will automatically change to the stats you need when you switch specs.
- Jewelry, cloaks, trinkets, and weapons will be more role-focused in comparison to armor.
- There will be less gear slots that can be enchanted, but those slots will have a greater variety of enchant choices.
- There will be less gear slots with gem sockets, but gems will be more powerful as a result.
- Gem socket bonuses and meta gems are disappearing.
- Gem sockets will provide bonus stats and won’t count toward the overall stat budget.
- Reforging is disappearing. Blizzard felt there was simply too much micro-management needed for every new gear piece.
- Hunter weapons will be getting revised. Bows, crossbows, and rifles will be available. From the sounds of it, hunter character models may get a visible quiver too.
- Hit and expertise are disappearing.
- Dodge and parry are disappearing.
- Some items will have new tertiary stats such as lifesteal, extra AoE avoidance, etc. These bonus stats won’t count toward the item budget at all.
More on Garrisons
- Some starter Garrison buildings include town hall, mine, farm, and fishing shack. The town hall is the main building where NPCs are hired, etc.
- Some medium-sized Garrison buildings include pet stable, trading post, lumber mill, barn, and inn.
- Some large Garrison buildings include barracks, infirmary, armory, stable, academy, and mage tower.
- Garrisons will allow players to cast powerful buffs on themselves. One example is a 4-hour buff that persists through death and increases crit.
- Garrison followers can even be sent off to take on a scenario, dungeon, or raid. This takes a full group of followers, naturally.
- Guild halls are eventually a possibility, but won’t be added just yet.
More on Leveling, Questing, and Raiding
- The main raid included in launch will be Blackrock Foundry and consist of 10 boss encounters. It will be non-linear, much in the style of Ulduar.
- All raid difficulties except Mythic difficulty will be cross-server from the first day they are available.
- Each difficulty of raid has its own separate lockout.
- While leveling to level 100, zones will feature a lot more dynamic content featuring multi-stage events similar to RIFT‘s zone events from the sounds of it. The map UI will reflect dynamic content.
- There will be chances while leveling to 100 to obtain rare and epic items as quest rewards.
- There will be more optional quests while leveling that can be skipped entirely if players wish to just stick to the story quests.
- There will also be more treasures and rares to discover while leveling and on endgame maps, much in the style of Timeless Isle.
- We won’t be seeing too many new active abilities while leveling to 100. Most talents are passive bonuses.
- The amount of daily quests will decrease by a ton. Instead, there will be different types of endgame activities for players to take part in and more variety.
- There will be a new way for players to find groups. This can be used to find groups for world content, old dungeon content, etc. May be similar to Open Raid. LFD is still sticking around as well.
- There will be a new bonus called “Stacking the Deck” that will grant players bonus Valor when they join an LFD queue with friends or re-queue with the same group.
- Blizzard may do more things like Troves of the Thunder King using pieces from the environment.
- The new dungeons being added include Bloodmaul Slag Mines, Blackrock Depot, Auchindoun, Arakkoa Spires, Shadowmoon Burial Grounds, Iron Barracks, and Upper Blackrock Spire. Yep, that’s right– a return to UBRS! UBRS will be play a critical role in the main storyline.
- The new persistent PvP zone called Ashran will feature revolving objectives, creatures to summon, faction-based vehicles, and items to gather.
- Players can enter Ashran before level 100, but it may be perilous to do so.
- Ashran will feature cross-realm technology.
- A new statistic called Battleground Score will appear on battleground scoreboards at the end of matches. This score will take objective goals, returning flags, stopping enemy captures, healing, and damage dealing into consideration.
- Flag and objective timers will show on the map.
- Battleground participants will be able to win random potions and BoE items at the end of matches similar to LFR goodie bags.
- A new competitive PvP feature is being added called Trial of the Gladiator. Trial of the Gladiator will be similar to the arena system, but solo players will be able to queue for it. It will be based on seasons and reward special gear.
- Justice Points will probably be going away.
- WoW is not going F2P anytime soon. In an interview with Eurogamer, Production Director J. Allen Brack said, “We didn’t make the game to be free to play. We would have to rework the game pretty significantly in order to make it free-to-play. It’s not something we’re currently considering.”
- Draenor will be accessible via the Dark Portal. Outlands will be accessible via Caverns of Time.
- There won’t be a patch 5.5. Instead, Blizzard is working full time on the expansion.
- The ability to instantly level a character to 90 will come included and can be used once when Warlords of Draenor is purchased.