Warlords of Draenor & The future of World of Warcraft

Will the new changes to World of Warcraft breathe new life into the game with the new expansion pack?

Blizzcon has come and gone, and in the wake of the event we are left with a ton of news and even more questions about the epic changes that will be coming in our future. With the new Warlords of Draenor expansion pack announced, it’s likely it will breathe new life and more into the game, this is about the future of World of Warcraft

New Character Models

One of the biggest changes to World of Warcraft with the release of Warlords of Draenor is the character model change. There is nothing more fulfilling than hearing that the almost 10 year old game is finally getting an upgrade, both visually and physically. Every race excluding goblin and worgen will be updated at launch of the new expansion pack, with word that there might be an upgrade for goblins and worgens if needed. Here’s an outline of how the new character models will work and look with the changes coming to the game in Warlords of Draenor:

•    Old Dwarf male had 1,160 polygons and was mirrored on both sides. New expansion Dwarf model is 7,821 polygons with higher texture resolutions. 
•    Old Gnome model had 95 polygons and 130 bones. New expansion Gnome features 5,408 polygons and 196 bones. 
•    All Races excluding Worgen & Goblin being upgraded
•    New animations for every race, gnome pigtails and facial hair now animated

This is a really big step for Blizzard and a much needed one at that. Word is, that Blizzard is investing heavily in their art and design content for this expansion and seem to be very centered on pleasing their long-time fans with a better looking experience. 

The model and race changes were all shown at blizzcon and are a definite improvement over the current gen of graphics we currently have in World of Warcraft. You can check out the current updates on Blizzards character website here.


Itemization & Gear Changes

A really big change coming to the game with the newest expansion is the item squish and the changes to stats on players gear. One blog of a joystiq employee that chose to opt out of the opening ceremony and rather jump into the beta describes it as savage. He had this to say about the item squish.

“Item squish is in effect too! Our tank had around 45k health. I had around 32k health. My Prayer of Healing was landing between 3k to 5k. My Flash Heal was around 2.5k and Greater Heal was about 4k and up. Our item levels still showed up in the 520+ range so my guess is that a hidden debuff of some sort was applied to drastically drop and reconfigure all of our stats down. My red gems showed 8 intellect.”

With Warlords of Draenor we will be seeing a huge item squish take effect and the gear will be affected significantly. No longer will we see stats in the 400’s that just don’t have the feeling of importance anymore. There was nothing ever wrong with having a high amount of health or doing a high amount of damage, but if a player hits for 1 million and feels epic 1% of the time, how will they feel the other 99%? 

The gear and stat “squish” is one of the best things they could have done for players and to bring back the balance of the ever unreachable highest iLvL and biggest e-peen. This doesn’t render iLvL and gearscore irrelevant, rather allows players to make a better judgement call on how their character will perform. Numbers will be lower, but will be the exact same as if they were multiplied to equal the old amounts, this has been something need since it got out of control.

Hit, Expertise, Dodge, Parry, Reforging, all gone!

As for the changes to the actual stats themselves, this is a big push on blizzards part to bring back control in the department of minimizing what players have to manage. A blizzard dev said it best about the “hit rating” needed on weapons:

“Hit didn't feel like a bonus, just a hoop to jump through before having fun. It is hard to justify keeping a system like that in the game.”

This rang true for most of the stats that Blizzard has brought in and out of the game in the past few years, in The Burning Crusade they added Spell Damage and Healing to items but quickly took them out in Wrath of the Lich King. This is an exciting prospect as it means that Blizzard has finally found a spot where they can allow players to be comfortable, as well as balance.

Misc changes

Along with the item squish and new character models comes some other big updates to the game, they are as follows: 

•    No planned Annual Pass for Diablo 3 Reaper of Souls.
•    Racial balances will be finer tuned, goblin and worgen racial abilities nerfed?
•    New UI improvements 
•    New Heroic difficult for raiding “Mythic”. Available only to 20 players at a time, shared lockouts with regular heroic raids. 
•    Patch 5.5 for Mists of Pandaria cancelled, it would delay WoD
•    Level 100 Talent Calculator 
•    New continent of Draenor (7 zones, 1 PvP zone)
•    Level 90 character available to new accounts with all expansions and gametime. Abilities will be unlocked as levels increase, similar to deathknight starting area. 
•    6 New dungeons and 2 raids (at launch)
•    Jason Hayes is back at Blizzard.
•    New character models will come with new character attack sounds, new footstep sounds, and new working sounds.
•    Hunters will be getting updated weapon sounds in WoD.
•    The primary stats on armor will now change based on your spec. Plate drops and it will have whatever stats your class needs, no more Intellect plate! No more PvP Priest Healing set and PvP Priest DPS set, just a Priest set.

Stay informed via Corsual for the next article on the future of World of Warcraft, more Blizzcon information and more Blizzard related news!