World of Warcraft review: Warlords of Draenor - Blizzard's hit still holds up well

Author: Antares
Date: 2014-12-05 15:00:00
The review was based on the PC version.

It is not very common for an online video game to celebrate its 10th birthday, still enjoying great popularity among the audience. What's more, we have only one case of MMORPG, which, based on the paid gameplay model, can get 10 million active subscriptions. Although there has been a trend for free-to-play productions on the market for a long time, there is no doubt that World of Warcraft still reigns supreme in many respects . Despite the fact that every time there was news of a dwindling subscriber base, many predicted his imminent death - WoW was doing well. And while the competition still could barely dream of the results that Blizzard was still achieving, it became clear that the game needed a more and more refreshment to attract new players, but also a return to the old vibes to encourage veterans. And it must be admitted that with the help of Warlords of Draenor it was possible.

Although the Mists of Pandaria expansion, the previous expansion from 2012, introduced a lot of interesting elements to the game, many players complained that the Asian atmosphere of a land inhabited by peaceful Pandaren are very far from the atmosphere of the series. All these people should like the latest expansion, because the creators have prepared for fans the opportunity to participate in a different version of key events for the Warcraft universe. The plot revolves around an intrigue by Kairozdormu - one of the brown dragons that can move in time and between dimensions. He decided to change the fate of the Orcs' homeland - Draenor. In the alternate reality that thus arose, Garrosh Hellscream was never born and the wife of the shaman Ner'zhul did not die, so the demon Kil'jaeden could not use her soul to influence her husband's decisions. The dragon brought Garrosh Hellscream into this world, knowing how the Orcs would end tragically if the sorcerer Gul'dan signed a pact with the demons of the Burning Legion. Garrosh manages to find Grommash Hellscream, then jointly kill the demon Mannoroth and unite numerous clans at that time under the banner of the new Iron Horde, additionally equipped with technological advances from the future. The goal of both Hellscreams is then to conquer the world of Azeroth, and only the heroes known from the world of Warcraft and of course the players themselves can prevent them from doing so .

When writing about what's new in Warlords of Draenor , it is worth starting with the changes that were introduced to the game in Update 6.0, preceding the expansion of the expansion pack . It introduced a lot of improvements to the gameplay mechanics, as well as a significant visual change - new character models for all old races, except for the Blood Elves, which will get their update soon. While successive expansions to Blizzard's production led players to new, better-looking lands, they were constantly traversing them with slightly angular models of heroes from the game, after all, released in 2004. The biggest difference between the old and the new was seen after the introduction of the Pandaren race, and Blizzard must have realized that. Now World of Warcraft looks much better and fresher.

In addition, the number of characters' skills has been drastically reduced, improving the operation of the others, so that the bars on the screen are no longer full of icons. It also influenced PvP - the gameplay has become more dynamic again, because although we have fewer individual abilities, we can use them more often. Several minor amenities have also been added, including an additional tab in the bank for ingredients and the ability to craft items from them anywhere without having to carry them around. Some unhelpful item stats (Hit Rating, Expertise) have also been removed, replacing them with new ones, giving a chance for interesting effects.

Warlords of Draenor is the first expansion to World of Warcraft that does not introduce new races or character classes. Instead, the developers decided to maximize the content that awaits above the 90th level of experience. Interestingly, everyone who purchases the add-on receives from Blizzard the opportunity to instantly advance one of the characters to level 90 for free, which will be appreciated by all those who create new accounts or those who want to try the game with a different character class, and do not want to break through the content of the previous add-ons again. The content that Blizzard has prepared in Draneor is pure pleasure. The vast majority of the tasks are strongly fictionalized and are accompanied by numerous cut-scenes with sound and many events, such as battles or fights with bosses.

The creators drew heavily on the legacy of Warcraft , sending players to meet numerous legendary heroes, such as Durotan, Orgrim Doomhammer and Prophet Velen. It must therefore be admitted that Blizzard has made a lot of progress in terms of making the tasks more attractive. Strong fictionalization, however, brought with it a considerable inconvenience. Due to the epic events mentioned above, players are constantly transferred to specific small instances, so that everyone who wants to play with friends is forced to complete tasks together from beginning to end, as if on a string. In the past, you could just move to a new zone and then share journal quests with latecomers to explore the area together, and in Warlords of Draenor, access to most of the missions is only possible after completing the previous ones. As a result, my paths quickly parted ways with a friend with whom I have been playing WoW for years - it was enough that one of us was two “phases” back, so that it would not pay off for us to wait for each other. So we met only at level 100 to go to the Arenas together.

The garrison is also very closely related to the process of crafting items. Interestingly, for the first time in the history of World of Warcraft, we can create various recipes without having learned a given profession. There is nothing to prevent a blacksmithing Orc warrior from building a laboratory for alchemists in the Garrison in order to prepare some useful potions there. However, it is worth bearing in mind that the list of items available in this way is much smaller than what a real alchemist will have in store. Due to the aforementioned ability to quickly advance your character to level 90 and the fact that many players gain new levels on Battlegrounds or in Dungeons, the creators decided on an interesting procedure - items from Draenor can be made regardless of the number of skill points we have. in a given profession. So nothing prevents you from forging yourself a complete armor for level 100, if our warrior neglected blacksmithing, never held a hammer in his hand and has only 1 point. However, it will take longer than with a properly trained character, because currently each profession requires a special ingredient in the recipes for individual things, which we can produce once every 24 hours, in an amount depending on the character's skill level. In addition, these ingredients can be ordered in individual buildings in the Garrison, thanks to which it is possible to use the benefits of other professions mentioned above. And if we have a building related to our specialization, we simply have twice as many ingredients every day.

When we reach the 100th level of experience of our character, we can traditionally choose between PvP or PvE activities. In both cases, Blizzard has made major changes to the player reward system, significantly reducing the emphasis on "farming" various currencies, and in return trying to give rewards immediately. Thus, when going to Battleground, we can be sure that we will always receive a box containing gold, additional honor points or an item. The quality of the reward depends on how well our team did during the game. For the victory we get the best golden box, the silver box for the loss with a small loss of points against the opponent, and the bronze box for when we are completely unsuccessful. The creators in a very clever way encouraged players to stay on Battlegrounds - in the past, when it looked like a loss, many players weakened their team even more simply by leaving the game. Of course, there were also points of honor (in Arenas) that allow you to buy good items matched with PvP statistics.

It is worth mentioning that Blizzard wanted the content in Warlords of Draenor to be equally accessible to players who prefer both types of fun. Therefore, an interesting item mechanic has been introduced. Each equipment has two levels of statistics, respectively, for PvE and PvP - when we enter Battleground or Arena, they are increased accordingly. This avoided situations where players with relatively more accessible Aren gear could go crazy with damage dealt to monsters in Raids, and PvE fans were massacred on Battlegrounds by people equipped with PvP items. Of course, the latter still have a certain advantage, but due to the fact that the statistics change a bit, the clashes are no longer mainly about who has the better equipment. Mastering the abilities of our character class is much more important.

It looks a bit worse when it comes to acquiring items in Dungeons. Blizzard found that the virtual dice roll system selecting Need and Greed was frustrating for some and encouraged them to troll and click "Need" every time. Therefore, the draw is currently taking place on the game side, which has been baptized as the Personal Loot System. If a given Boss drops an item for our class and is awarded to us, we can pick it up. Otherwise, we don't even see him. Some players did not like it, however, because having no luck in throwing, they were able to complete several instances not only without getting anything, but even without knowing that something was drawn - a bit like Blizzard was giving away items under the table. It is worth noting that in the face of a wave of complaints on the forums, the creators decided to suddenly restore the old system of giving away items. However, the criticism turned out to be even greater, and many players said that the new abuse-free system was better, so the developers decided to make another modification. In just 24 hours, they made a kind of golden mean by returning to the Personal Loot System, but now guaranteeing every player that completing the instance will receive an item from the last Boss for his class. Obviously this is a very attractive change and it has contributed to the increased interest in Dungeons.