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Warlords of Draenor Systems Panel: What We Learned

by - 10 years ago

The Warlords of Draenor systems panel has just wrapped up, and covered raiding, questing, garrisons and more. Check out some of the key points below.

Raid content

  • Blackstone Foundry capstone raid content will open a few weeks into the expansion
  • 10 boss raid with non-linear layout
  • The raid will have 3 wings
  • Tear down the Iron Horde War Machine
  • Face off against Warlord Blackhand
  • Feels like a place that was designed as a function place, rather than a “raid zone”
  • There will be some scope to start later in the instance eg. once you’ve cleared certain bosses a number of times you might be able to forge a key that allows you to start further in the instance


Raid structure

  • New Normal is equivalent is current Flex
  • Today’s Normal guilds will find new Heroic equivalent
  • Mythic will provide challenge to today’s Heroic guilds
  • Calling something Flex didn’t make sense
  • Normal and Heroic raids will be cross server
  • Mythic won’t be cross server because of realm first etc
  • Each difficulty has its own lockout
  • Loot-based lockouts so you can jump in a raid even if you’ve killed the boss (even Mythic?)
  • Raid Finder is the only queued content
  • Normal and Heroic will still drop loot on the boss (no personal loot) but scale based on the number of eligible players
  • Want to avoid breakpoints and magic numbers for loot and boss fight mechanics eg. 15th person adds an extra person to get targeted by Shadow Word: Bane
  • Where they can, they will try to average these mechanics out, but won’t necessarily work in every situation



  • Key storylines will draw attention to big questlines
  • More optional content so you can follow the storyline quests if you want or explore and pick up extra quests
  • Dynamic events and treasures like Timeless Isle
  • Multi-stage events and wandering raid bosses
  • Events will be mixed in during levelling, but also at max level
  • Treasures to encourage exploring the world eg. find a path that leads up a mountain but you don’t have a quest for it, follow it and you might find something cool
  • Treasures will be quite frequent to encourage players to explore
  • Quest rewards will have a chance to “spike” to rare/epic rather than always green
  • Quest UI updates include progress indicator for the zone
  • Key storylines that you abandoned or haven’t picked up will show up on map
  • More dynamic world, some experiments worked out, others were called Golden Lotus

Max-level World Content

  • More things to do at max level
  • Little if any daily quests (big cheer)
  • Long-term chapter-based quests like Dominance Offensive will be merged with open ended content like Timeless Isle
  • Environmental gameplay



  • Town Hall, Mine, Farm and Fishing Shack will be your starting buildings
  • Town Hall is your main building where you send followers out on missions
  • Once you’ve got those you can build small buildings, which include professions buildings
  • Medium buildings are the next step up from small
  • One building is called the Pet Stable which will offer a lot of pet battle things to do
  • Large buildings have the best bonuses eg. barracks increase amount of followers
  • Buildings have level upgrades and look different as they level up
  • Some upgrades will be purchasable through currency, others will be found via Blueprints which are new recipe items that you can find across the world
  • Garrison UI shows you where recipe item will drop or how else you will acquire it
  • Specializations are available at level 3 buildings that offer customizations
  • Followers can be assigned to buildings
  • Followers can mine and provide ore to you even while offline
  • Garrison has overall levels too, which provides more plots
  • To level up the garrison you need to fill all the plots with buildings
  • Missions have a number of activities they can do – quests, scenarios, dungeons and raids, and harder missions take longer and need more followers
  • Missions will have characteristics that you will want to match up with strengths of your followers



  • Social philosophy of WoW: A game you play with friends
  • Warlords wants to encourage you to play with friends, but also make new friends
  • Random matchmaking as a last resort
  • Raid Finder will feel like tourist mode
  • Group Finder will be able to create a group or browse for a group, and will be cross realm enabled
  • Similar to some current mods and services out there, but they think WoW needs it
  • Bonus valor if you queue with friends
  • Matchmade groups that re-queue count as friends



  • Leveling from 90 to 100 to feel exciting with no real feeling of rewards as you level in new talent paradigm
  • Upgrades to core spells as you level up
  • Some introduce class changes, others will be passive bonuses (like old school spell ranks)
  • Don’t expect a ton of class changes

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  • Getting items should be exciting
  • Too much modding when you get an item – gem, enchant, reforge, valor
  • Hit and expertise don’t feel like a bonus
  • Avoidance is cool for tanks, but not as a stat on items
  • We’re also cleaning up bag space
  • Hit and expertise GONE
  • Dodge and parry GONE
  • Reforging GONE
  • Enchants will affect fewer items, but more choice in enchants for those items
  • Gem sockets will be rare but gems will be more powerful, no socket bonuses or meta gems
  • Sockets will also be a bonus and won’t count as part of item budge
  • No strength plate vs intellect plate on armor
  • All armor items will be usable by all players (eg. plate users can use all plate, mail users can use all mail)
  • Primary stat will change based on spec eg. ret paladin switched to holy and the strength will change to int
  • This change will include set bonuses so one tier set per class
  • Jewelry, cloak, trinkets and weapons will still be role focused
  • Spirit for healers and Armor for tanks
  • Bonus tertiary stats that don’t count against budget that can drop like lifesteal, avoidance (absorb AE damage), sturdiness (no dura loss), speed (movement), cleave (AE damage)
  • Item Squish is back on the agenda
  • Most inflation comes from previous raid tiers
  • Flattening big jumps in things like level 60, 70, 80 and 85 raid tiers
  • Your relative power will not change
  • Relative power of 5.4 gear will not change
  • If it takes you 5s to kill a gulp frog, it will still take you 5s to kill gulp frog
  • Soloing old content will still be possible


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JR Cook

JR has been writing for fan sites since 2000 and has been involved with Blizzard Exclusive fansites since 2003. JR was also a co-host for 6 years on the Hearthstone podcast Well Met! He helped co-found BlizzPro in 2013.

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