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Blizzard's Next WoW Expansion Looks to the Past

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 44 comments

By now you've heard the news of a new World of Warcraft expansion, announced here at Blizzcon. Judging by comments made at a WoW panel, this expansion is going to be a lot tougher on players than the previous one and its Kung Fu Pandas.

For "World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor," Blizzard took Grommash Hellscream, the Orc leader from the old "Warcraft" games, and asked what would happen if he could go back in time and make one change.

The result will be the Iron Horde, which is trying to open a portal into the current world of Azeroth and go after Horde and Alliance alike. "This is exactly the kind of thought that gets our franchise back home," said Dave Kosak, lead narrative designer for WoW during the panel.

He described Draenor, the world inhabited by the Iron Horde, as "a savage world that gives us a great place to have heroic adventures." In addition to taking on Grommash and his Iron Horde, you will also see old cities now in ruins, like the Alliance home world.

WoW is in need of a shot in the arm. "Mists of Pandaria" stiffed with consumers and the game has plunged from 10 million subscribers a year ago to 7.6 million. The game is approaching its tenth year and people are getting bored. But there was palpable excitement among players and a resoluteness on the part of the Blizzard staff to say ok, we get it, no more Kung Fu Panda, no more easy button. You want a fight? You'll get a fight.

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  • 1 Hide
    Martell1977 , November 10, 2013 1:28 AM
    I still don't understand why Blizzard wont make Ogres a playable race. They were the strongest unit in Warcraft 2 on the Horde side. Instead they make lame races like blood elves and pandas...

    I quit WoW a few months before Cataclysm launched and have never regretted it. It's not a bad game but they catered to casual players too much and sacrificed game-play to add subscriptions. Thanks to WoW, I have completely written off the MMO genre.

    The best part of the game for me was the story and IMO, Blizzard (more than likely under Kotick's supervision) actively ruined that.
  • -9 Hide
    opmopadop , November 10, 2013 2:56 AM
    What I wouldn't give for a WoW hard mode server, no targeting using the 'TAB' key, have to find flight points like the old days, loose experience when you die, text/names above enemies disabled, no auction house. Just one server with toons that WANT to play the game properly, please!
  • 0 Hide
    Gaidax , November 10, 2013 3:30 AM
    Tell them only that the Lich King is dead... and that World of Warcraft has died with him!
  • 2 Hide
    Pherule , November 10, 2013 4:36 AM
    Ogres?

    1st head: So angry!
    2nd head: So hungry!
  • 2 Hide
    Zeh , November 10, 2013 4:36 AM
    WoW became boring after the two main heroes/antagonists from Warcraft 3 died - Illidan and Lich King.
    Bringing back content from WC2 won't save the MMO, neither will what they're trying to do here.
    A Warcraft 4 is long overdue, imo, if only for the sake of story.
  • 1 Hide
    Nilo BP , November 10, 2013 11:42 AM
    So help me, they say the expansion is going to be "tough" but the first thing I hear is that everyone gets a free level 90? I made up my mind long ago, WoW is out of the question until leveling stops being a joke.

    Warcraft needs a break. Fast forward 20 or 30 or even more years in the fictional universe, make some real changes, get out a new strategy game, cultivate some characters of Arthas's caliber instead of these nondescript one-dimensional guys. Right now, the way they're treating the franchise both story- and gameplay-wise feels like unashamed milking.
  • 1 Hide
    electrontau , November 10, 2013 11:43 AM
    Any other MMO would LOVE to have 7.6 million players. Let's hope Elder Scrolls Online will survive long enough.
  • 0 Hide
    crenelle , November 10, 2013 12:31 PM
    The graphics look as simply rendered as they have been for years. Panderia was a marginal improvement, but this new planet looks like they're keeping the rendering at the same level as things were several years ago. And from the trailer, there's no clue that there's an interesting story line, much like the weird, largely lame new leveling island Blizz introduced a few weeks ago of the coast of Panderia.
  • 0 Hide
    MasterMace , November 10, 2013 3:27 PM
    People will not come back for this crap. The game is finished, the question is when will it end. Fanboys always cite the X million subscriptions, instead of the massive loss after loss of subscriptions.
  • 0 Hide
    none12345 , November 10, 2013 3:40 PM
    It wont end anytime soon. There are mmorpgs a decade older then wow that are still alive and well today. So, id say its likely to be around at least 10 more years.

    Ultima Online is still going, Everquest just had its 20th expansion, or we can go older....The Realm is still going and that was from the mid 90s.
  • 0 Hide
    m32 , November 10, 2013 3:41 PM
    WoW is losing subscribers.... People don't wanna play a free-to-play game? OH WAIT!!!!
  • 2 Hide
    garrick , November 10, 2013 10:39 PM
    Just keep milking the cash cow Activision...
    Seriously though I want warcraft 4 and the continuation of the story in a new engine. How hard can that be???
  • 1 Hide
    GoGo98102 , November 10, 2013 10:41 PM
    You can have your hardcore mode that punishes its players. Make you take out your pen and pencile to do your spread sheet again- that's not gonna help. 10 million players, or even 13 at its highest point, were made out of mostly casual players. The really hardcore players are still playing EQ and AO. Sure, 20 years now. How many of them are there? I thought so.

    WoW is the king of casual MMO's. They just need fresh ideas and better graphics to win back the casual players. Turning it into a hardcore mode will lose most of its players it still has and win back... Wait, you the hardcore player already left and haven't been back in years. You yourself said you would never go back. Now how the hell does it make any business sense for Blizzard to go hard mode?
  • 0 Hide
    billgatez , November 10, 2013 10:46 PM
    Sorry Blizz but WoW is dead. I would amuse that you have figured that out when subscription went from 30 mill to 7 mill with in a year. But i guess not.
  • 0 Hide
    SteveCR , November 11, 2013 12:12 AM
    I have no idea why there are so many rants about WoW not being hard enough. My first MMO experience was with Korean MMO's. Where a full week exp grind would only get you 10% into a level. Leveling up one level in near end game content would literally take months, and with death you lose almost a full week if not weeks of exp. That was not fun.

    The changes WoW has gone through is majorly quality of life improvements, such as the hassle of sorting material, walking endlessly for 30mins etc. Nothing to do with the actual challenges of game play, such as boss fights. Unless finding flight paths and leveling up is your idea of a good time. These things are time consuming not challenging.

    I strongly doubt any of you even played any end game content in WoW.
  • 0 Hide
    SteveCR , November 11, 2013 1:47 AM
    I have no idea why there are so many rants about WoW not being hard enough. My first MMO experience was with Korean MMO's. Where a full week exp grind would only get you 10% into a level. Leveling up one level in near end game content would literally take months, and with death you lose almost a full week if not weeks of exp. That was not fun.

    The changes WoW has gone through is majorly quality of life improvements, such as the hassle of sorting material, walking endlessly for 30mins etc. Nothing to do with the actual challenges of game play, such as boss fights. Unless finding flight paths and leveling up is your idea of a good time. These things are time consuming not challenging.

    I strongly doubt any of you even played any end game content in WoW.
  • 5 Hide
    johnwck , November 11, 2013 3:43 AM
    Well you should play it now. I left after cataclysm and went back when they made me an offer of seven days free. I paid for six months and bought the expansion, I think people play it because they have invested so much labour into levelling through the content. The culture of the game, now, is appalling. People can more or less solo individual mobs in instances and you group and nobody has any respect nor shows any care, if you don't go fast enough as a tank they whinge. One player even said "there should be a requirement in look for group for fast tanking". It's like entering a working environment where you're paid by the minute rather than a leisure practice. It's not relaxing at all to participate in the atmosphere. There is a culture of general contempt within the game and abuse is just part of playing. I left five consecutive parties a few days ago because of criticism and abuse and all I was doing was following the old rules of engagement. I like to set up combats to give people time to set themselves up before starting. They've had to design the game mechanics around all this, now tanking is more or less an automated function, you don't really need to generate threat on individual mobs, all tanks have aoe functions that you just spam to round up mobs and it has to be this way because of how players play, dps can't follow mob-order and won't, they want to just mash buttons and have a feeling of power. The whole game is designed to offer you an illusion of competence, I often feel that in the chaos I have no idea what I am doing but it looks as if I do because so long as you continue to spam your aoe-aggro-generators you can control the mobs. One example of the culture is that on rez people will not eat or drink because nobody will spend time. They rely on the healer to heal them all up and the game is played on-the-move now. I assume all the design is play-tested and I fear all future MMOs going this way. I used to play for the cooperation but that is all but gone. I've levelled a few characters to ninety, nine in all, and never grouped in open pve play, that part of the game has gone completely. It's just a culture of exploitation and hierarchy via conspicuous display, exactly what I started to play to escape. Too much like the real world, sad that people import the same dispositions on line! It's hard to see any future mmo being cooperative because of all this. I think they'll all design it this way because they have to get a return on their investment so I fear this culture is set since it appears endemic to on line gaming.
  • 0 Hide
    Chicken76 , November 11, 2013 4:12 AM
    Quote:
    Well you should play it now. I left after cataclysm and went back when they made me an offer of seven days free. I paid for six months and bought the expansion, I think people play it because they have invested so much labour into levelling through the content. The culture of the game, now, is appalling. People can more or less solo individual mobs in instances and you group and nobody has any respect nor shows any care, if you don't go fast enough as a tank they whinge. One player even said "there should be a requirement in look for group for fast tanking". It's like entering a working environment where you're paid by the minute rather than a leisure practice. It's not relaxing at all to participate in the atmosphere. There is a culture of general contempt within the game and abuse is just part of playing. I left five consecutive parties a few days ago because of criticism and abuse and all I was doing was following the old rules of engagement. I like to set up combats to give people time to set themselves up before starting. They've had to design the game mechanics around all this, now tanking is more or less an automated function, you don't really need to generate threat on individual mobs, all tanks have aoe functions that you just spam to round up mobs and it has to be this way because of how players play, dps can't follow mob-order and won't, they want to just mash buttons and have a feeling of power. The whole game is designed to offer you an illusion of competence, I often feel that in the chaos I have no idea what I am doing but it looks as if I do because so long as you continue to spam your aoe-aggro-generators you can control the mobs. One example of the culture is that on rez people will not eat or drink because nobody will spend time. They rely on the healer to heal them all up and the game is played on-the-move now. I assume all the design is play-tested and I fear all future MMOs going this way. I used to play for the cooperation but that is all but gone. I've levelled a few characters to ninety, nine in all, and never grouped in open pve play, that part of the game has gone completely. It's just a culture of exploitation and hierarchy via conspicuous display, exactly what I started to play to escape. Too much like the real world, sad that people import the same dispositions on line! It's hard to see any future mmo being cooperative because of all this. I think they'll all design it this way because they have to get a return on their investment so I fear this culture is set since it appears endemic to on line gaming.

    I agree completely.
  • 1 Hide
    davewolfgang , November 11, 2013 5:24 AM
    I remember the days when in a 5-man you had to CC a couple of the mobs.....ON EVERY PULL!!!! (And you "had" do do all that, AND try to do it in less than 45 minutes for a quest!!!) And you had to do at least 10 quests, to get to level 2, not get to level 3 after the first quest. But I do understand why they want you to level fast(er) - to get the the expansions and new stuff.

    The AoE tanking/dps for 5-mans would be OK if they waited until the first (or 2nd) patch after an x-pac to make it easy - then those of us that like things hard could take on the dungeons the way they used to - and all the casuals could do the dps-fest later.

    But as with previous x-pacs, we'll see how much stays, because I remember then saying this and that won't be on gear anymore early, but by the time it came out - they couldn't go through with the change. This or that won't be a mechanic anymore - but was still left in. And while making the 15 level talents - they really have made each class cookie cutter - instead of having to pick one every level that made each character unique. (And screw that "balance" thing - certain specs should be good for certain things and horrible at other things - not this "every spec" should be good "for" everything.....)
  • 0 Hide
    tristangl , November 11, 2013 8:00 AM
    Zerg Zerg
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