Adventuring In Draenor: A Warlords of Draenor Review
The Best Expansion?
Blizzard Entertainment released their new expansion for World of Warcraft on November 16th of this year. It was a highly anticipated release and after spending most of the month playing the game I can finally weigh in on the good, the bad and the ugly. I've been an off and on WoW player since Cataclysm (I know, that's somewhat horrible) and pretty much fell in love with the game to the point where I have ran pretty much all classes and specs in the game.
Playing in Cata wasn't really a heavy thing for me, only level capping one toon during that time and not even diving into raiding. Due to money issues and living arrangements I ended up giving up WoW. No real big deal considering I didn't really put much time into the game. Mists of Pandaria is when everything actually took off for me. I played through almost every class with the exception of Druid and Warrior until I finally landed on the Assassination Rogue and fell in love with it. This became my main throughout Pandaria, the one toon I did everything PvE on including raiding.
Toward the end of MoP, like most players, I got bored and let WoW go for a bit until Warlords came out. Granted I returned to the game about a month before Warlords release. Needless to say I was excited for this expansion onto WoW and as soon as it hit I dived in. Ready to take on Draenor. After a month, two level capped toons and about four or so others halfway to level 100 I feel ready to share my opinion.
Questing and the Zones
This expansion released a whole content of fun to World of Warcraft. As WoW adventurers we get to explore eight new and exciting zones on the continent of Draenor. After stepping through a portal in time we are instantly welcomed to Draenor in the midst of a battle two armies fighting each other while you, the commander, are given the task of shutting down the portal so no one else can make it through. Stop the threat of the Iron Horde Invasion and keep it contained in Draenor.
The first zone you'll find yourself questing in is the Tanaan Jungle. A rather green, lush environment that honestly, took my breath away. At first that is, the intro quest line is only so interesting before one starts to find it tiring. Though I did play it back to back about six times so that could be a major reason. However, the quests in this area do not feel tedious, nor does the look of the area make you want to get out of it as soon as possible. It was actually quite interesting running through it and watching all the little cut scenes and cool little happenings as you run along. Now once you leave this zone that's pretty much it, as soon as this quest line is finished you are instantly transported to one of the two first areas in Draenor. The zones you'll build your garrison in. I can't say much about the alliance side considering my highest leveled alliance toon is a 25.
However for the Horde players out there you are taken to Frostfire Ridge. You will find that you will be traveling back here quite a bit during your stay in Draenor due to this being the zone in which your garrison is. Frostfire is a winter wonderland... in terms of World of Warcraft at least. The whole area is a snow covered retreat whether you be climbing the mountains or running on the icy plains but watch out because every now and then you'll come across pools of lava and if you fall in... well let's just say you really don't want to stand in fire anymore. Ticking away at 29k at the highest makes for a quick death.
Gorgrond is where you will find yourself when you are done with your adventure through Frostfire. This is also where you'll be introduced to your second base of command. As you quest through each zone you'll have one main base that gives you the option to build one of two buildings there. In Gorgrond I suggest the lumber mill thing due to getting the shredder ability in this zone. You'll be able to use this ability to quickly dispatch enemies while you are questing or tear through overgrown weeds and thorns to get at some hidden garrison resources. Half of this zone is a beautiful, lush forest area and the other half is more of a desert wasteland. It really gives you the sense of questing in two different places but is a rather enjoyable questing experience.
Talador is the area you'll go to after Gorgrond and the best way I can describe it is... it's probably like a mix of Silverpine Forest and Silvermoon with a dash of Azshara. It gives you a pretty interesting mix of questlines to follow and is probably one of my favorite zones to run around in and level through. I also found it interesting to see the new Shattrath City which is pretty amazing and a constant war zone.
Spires of Arak will be your next stop and to be honest about it... with the zones you go into previously and the quests you follow in those zones, this zone will be a slight disappointment. I've leveled 3 toons to 100 so far and have only quested in Spires once. It's bland and a bit boring in comparison to the rest of the zones. It's swampy in some areas, mountain/deserty in other areas and there's some lush coastline areas in this zone but as far as interesting goes... eh.
Nagrand will be your final spot on your leveling tour. It's a pretty beautiful zone but considering there was much to be expected from this rehashing of one of WoW's best zones it kind of had to be. I honestly think I prefer the Warlords of Draenor Nagrand over TBC Nagrand. This zone is not only aesthetically pleasing but also offers a pretty interesting and entertaining questline.
Overall the zones offered me a sense of refreshment in WoW. I was interested in questing again, I wanted to explore every zone and I was actually excited to quest. So much so that I didn't even care about the lack of flight in this expansion.
The thing most of us were excited about in this expansions was the promise of getting Garrisons. Your own personal command base that you can build anything you could ever want. You can get an large supply of crafting materials, acquire followers to do several things for you and build helpful buildings to give you perks for your adventures in Draenor.
You unlock your garrison as soon as you enter Frostfire or Shadowmoon for the most part. It starts at level one and only really gives you a barracks at first, a building you get for free. Everything after this point, aside from the Garrison itself upgrading, results in an hour wait time for the building to finish. The time based things in the garrison really aren't much of an issue considering there's so much to do in Draenor.
So far, I don't see much of a downside to the garrison, in fact, I quite like the options it adds to the game. Not to mention it allows a player to actually be able to craft something without rerolling their professions, paying an arm and a leg on the Auction House or having to use all of an alts mats to make it. The garrison is actually a great way to bypass a lot of the whole profession grinding thing.
It's also a great way to gain quests for random special items if you decide to build a tavern. Each day you'll find a couple new dungeon quests in this building that will end in you either getting a special item for it, or if it's a repeat quest you'll get a treasure chest with gear in it. Granted the only real use for the tavern is to play out all the quests you can get from it, grab the Millhouse Manastorm epic level 100 follower and then destroy it in place for something more useful once you get the achievement.
Don't go thinking it's useless though, a lot of buildings for your garrison are going to be temporary buildings. The only ones I've found that are worth keeping so far are:
Storehouse - When you build it you have instant access to your bank. At level 2 it gives you access to your guilds bank and at level 3 you get access to an Ethereal Trader for Void Storage and Transmogrification and increases the total number of active work orders for all buildings by 15.
Barracks - Only reason this is useful is at level three it allows you to have 25 followers active instead of only 20. As you play you'll know why those five extra followers can make a difference when it comes to missions.
Warmill - At level one this building isn't all that great but level two is where it starts to get good. As of the level 2 upgrade you can opens up work order for follower weapons and armor for about 20 garrison resources per order. If you still have your trading post or lumber mill at this point this isn't really much of a big cost. Then at level 3 this building grants 1 of your 3 seals of tempered fate at no cost each week. These are used for raid and world boss bonus rolls and are quite expensive to get each week so this free one is nice.
All the buildings you can make in your garrison will be useful in some way to you. Just be sure at the end of the road you have the buildings that will give you the most benefit. You only get three small buildings, two medium buildings and two large buildings with a level 3 garrison so choose wisely at what makes the most sense for you to have for that time.
From what I can tell of the PvP so far is it's pretty decent. It still isn't as great as it once was but they seem to be putting a little more effort into it. My favorite part is the add in of the LFG for 2's and 3's. Allowing people to play the arena without actually having to find and put together a group. Granted it doesn't award conquest points this way but if you're on a dead server or happen to be on a server littered with PvE players this tends to be a nice way to get into arenas, experience them and learn how to play it a little better.
Other then that I haven't really dabbled much in PvP considering I have yet to level cap my Warlock (The toon I use for PvP). I'll update this with more detail once I get her to cap and actually dive into it more.
Dungeons and Raids
WOW is really the only thing I can say about this experience so far. I'm absolutely loving the dungeons in this expansion. It's a breath of fresh air to actually go into a dungeon and do more than just 'Okay guys, tank and spank and done'. There's actually a challenge to these dungeons which, in my opinion, was something Mists of Pandaria greatly needed. With WoD we got seven new dungeons and one dungeon that was revamped for Draenor.
Upper Blackrock Spire - When I heard they were bringing this dungeon back I felt like face palming. Was Blizzard going nuts? Did they realize how many doors they were opening for new Leeroy's? As funny as that classic video was no one actually wants to deal with something like that... However they truly revamped this dungeon. Granted, I'm still not a huge fan of UBRS but it is a good improvement. This dungeon offers up a total of six bosses, one of those bosses being an optional boss. The bosses here are pretty steady and easy to get by as long as a bit of strategy is followed with the end boss being, what I'm going to call, a major pain.
Grimrail Depot - This is truly an interesting Dungeon to run through. The first part of it you are taking on enemies in what feels like an iron horde storehouse before you're thrusted onto a train to fight the rest of the dungeon out. Overall this is probably one of my favorite dungeons as a DPS and least favorite as a Tank.
Iron Docks - Iron Docks is a pretty fun dungeon to run. A bit of a straight to the point one up until the last boss. You really have to watch what you do in that last fight because one wrong move can cause the whole group to wipe.
Shadowmoon Burial Grounds - This dungeon is... my god. This one is a real pain but fun at the same time. Sadly at the end of the day I can only see this place being a one time a week kind of dungeon. You want to run it that first time but after that you'll only continue on for the sheer fact of Tavern Quests.
The Everbloom - If you like plants you'll love this one... unless you don't like thrashing through the forest and killing anything in your way. This is an interesting dungeon to run but you'll never experience all of it due to people already skipping out half of it. It's a shame too because it's a pretty unique and beautiful dungeon.
Auchindoun - I can't say too much about this one... it's pretty much a straight forward one boss after the other kind of place with a little bit of mobs thrown in. This is probably one of my least favorite dungeons due to how boring it seems in comparison to the other new dungeons.
Bloodmaul Slag Mines - Kill this ogre... kill that ogre... here's a fire elemental due... more ogres... okay you're done now, look at the lava. Yeah, it's not too great here.
Skyreach - Is a pretty interesting arakkoa based dungeon. It's basically a giant fancy birdhouse... Not really but it sounded like a good way to put it. There's one part of this place that I find extremely annoying. After the third boss, to get to the final boss you'll find yourself going on a long path with the wind constantly pushing against you. One wrong move on this path and right off the edge you go. Not difficult to get through just a pain to navigate.
As far as the raids go the only one that's open so far is Highmaul and even though my guilds raid group has ventured into it a few times I haven't really formed much of an opinion on it. I mean the raid is pretty fun and the bosses are actually challenging but I feel this is one best left out until I actually complete the raid fully.
Woohoo new battle pets... Sorry, that's the addict in me talking. Naturally WoD brought in even more battle pets for you to catch during your Draenor journey. It also brought in seven new tamer dailies, one of the dailies has to be unlocked within your garrison. These dailies give you about 11 or 15 gold and pet charms. You'll get XP from it if you aren't level capped yet.
Pet charms are basically the Draenor thing. All battle pet dailies offer something to the people that do them whether it be gold or special battle pet bags with supplies and various other things. The Draenor quests only offer gold and these charms though. Remember that thing I said about one daily being in your garrison? Yeah, the person that gives you that daily is also a merchant. You can buy various battle pet supplies from her by using the charms from the daily quests. Not only does she sell flawless battle pet stones, which allow you to upgrade any pet to rare but she also sells Flawless Battle-Training stones which allow you to add a level to any battle pet you have.
Overall, you can acquire 32 pet charms a day and you can actually buy quite a lot with those charms on a daily basis. However, this is all pretty useless to you if you don't pet battle at all. You need a team of level 25 pets just to have a chance at completing these dailies.
- HandyNotes - This is a useful add-on that shows the location of every treasure in Draenor as well as the rare elites. If you've already grabbed a treasure or killed a rare elite the icon will no longer show on your map.
- DBM - If you plan on raiding this has always been one of the more useful add ons to have. It'll warn you of incoming moves and help you navigate your way around a boss fight better.
- Postal - Mostly for the ease of getting multiple mail out of the mailbox. If you are an auction house nut or send a lot of mail to alts this add-on makes your life a little easier by adding an open all button at the bottom of the mail window.
- Recount or Skada - For those of you that like keeping track of DPS, HPS, Damage Done and the other various factors that play into big fights then this is an addon for you.
- PetTracker - If you love your Wowkemon this is an extremely useful tool that tells you what pets you're missing in whatever area you happen to be in, what quality they are and where to capture them at. (I love this addon)
- It's extremely helpful in the beginning to build a Lumber Mill or Trading Post in your Garrison to help with resource production.
- If you're big into battle pets, like I am, if you dedicate one of your small plots in your garrison to the engineer hut you can make 3 battle pets. Once you have these you can replace it with something more useful.
- You will find that you'll end up changing out your garrison building after a while.
- Searching for the treasures in Draenor offer about a quest worth of XP as well as resources, gold or sellables for a decent amount of gold. Some treasures are also useful gear.
- The normal Rare Elites in Draenor respawn insanely quickly, are pretty easy to take down and you only have to kill them once. After killing them once they become normal creatures and you no longer get special loot from them.
- The level 100 zones have special rare elites that you can kill to get useful items as well as decent gear to get yourself rolling into those Heroic Dungeons.
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What's been your favorite part of Warlords so far?
Honestly, I'm in love with WoW all over again. I was getting pretty burnt out by the end of MoP and Draenor has managed to breathe new life into me. I feel myself excited to get back to raiding again. I'm loving the quests so much that even if I level cap I still finish them all off. The zones are amazingly beautiful and the garrisons add a fun edge to it all. I'm loving the experience so much I don't even care that you can't fly in Draenor.
On a scale from 1 to 10 I'd put Warlords of Draenor at about an 8. After the mess of the first week or so of launch and a few other issues that are still going on I can't say it's perfect but I can say it's pretty darn close.
What do you guys think? Loving it? Hating it? Still on edge of whether to get it or not?