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Warlords of Draenor: Rebirth of WoW?

Pio Garcia - The Philippine Star

Pre-patch is done. By now you have probably faced the Iron Horde’s scout party with skirmishes erupting here and there in the Blasted Lands.

The teasers have also done their jobs. It was a bigger build-up compared to the hype Cataclysm received when it was first announced.

But will this be the “rebirth” of World of Warcraft so to speak after four expansions? The outlook sure is hopeful with all the promotional materials being bandied about and all the reported innovations in store for old players and new alike.

As an old player, I’m very much looking forward to the new content that is not based on an April Fools’ joke. I’ve been through The Burning Crusade (barely reaching the Black Temple raid), the Wrath of the Lich King (hey, I was so close to having Shadowmourne on my Death Knight), survived the Cataclysm (was able to go halfway the Dragon Soul raid) and ultimately left Mists of PanDailies-err Pandaria.

What am I looking forward to the most though? Let’s see, this maybe something of a wish list that is probably too late but nonetheless, with the heavy promotion WoD has received, one can hope that something would definitely slot in.

  1. Good old progression

This was semi-lost during Wrath. Granted, not everybody was able to go full ICC, but the access was definitely not limited and carries (meaning people in low gear) are possible. This is the exact opposite of Burning Crusade. In WoW’s first expansion, gearing was hell. But at the same time, it wasn’t the kind of hell you’d give up on. It’s a challenge, and I like challenges in games. Only 6 percent (even less for some realms) of the total population got to step inside the expansion’s penultimate raid: the Sunwell Plateau.

And then, Cataclysm destroyed all of this with the Looking For Raid option. No more progression. As long as your gear level is good to go, then you can queue and enjoy more phat lewts. Maybe Warlords of Draenor can make me feel a sense of slow but active gear progression even if the LFR exists.

  1. Can we stop the Dailies?

I’m good with daily quests. But a huge amount of those? No thanks. It’s one of the primary reasons why I stopped before Mists of Pandaria hit live, apart from the pandas and all that jazz. I don’t want to be particularly doing repeated stuff just to get gear to get into five-man heroic dungeons then do more dailies to get gear to even start raiding and then another set for mid-tier and end-game raiding respectively.

Come on. I want monsters to kill with random loot tables that make it worthwhile to farm them. Not some silly bunch of dailies that yields the same thing but makes you the exact same thing again and again.

  1. Feeling the end boss’s presence

This was something that made Wrath special. You felt Arthas, or the Lich King, whichever you prefer, every step of the way the moment you stepped into Northrend whether it’s at the Borean Tundra (which sucked as a leveling ground) or Howling Fjord.

The Lich King was just...everywhere. Every questing zone ends with his appearance as you destroy his lieutenants one by one. It was bone-chilling and epic at the same time. It was so...sinister.

Whereas when Cataclysm went live, you practically just ran through re-modelled zones broken by Deathwing’s, the end boss of the expansion and a pretty pissed off black dragon with a metal jaw, re-emergence. There was nothing special. Just the scenery. But having his presence bore down on you and scare you off? Nah. He’ll let you feel his half-assed end of the world crap only in his raid.

And since Warlords has Grom Hellscream... I expect a lot of things. A. Lot.

  1. Skills > Gear

Cataclysm’s raids were practically dictated by your gear level. Mists of Pandaria? Just about the same. In my memory, only the mid-tier raid of Cataclysm, which was Firelands, involved some serious thinking and less dumb keyboard smashing. You had to watch out for your behind else you be seeing the sky, dead. Less positioning, less movement, those happened and somewhat killed the fun of raiding for me.

See, I really enjoy tactics especially when it comes to raids. One wrong move in the past (BC and Wrath), means death. There were fights where movement and positioning were essential for success. But with the third and fourth expansion, it just went...dead.

Take for example Cataclysm’s Dragon Soul raid. Four bosses are basically Tank and Spank. You can say five since the fourth boss (in the order of encounters) would have you practically just running around the platform and avoiding ice walls but after that, she gets stunned and you go tank and spank her for a good three minutes.

MoP had some semblance of movement but not the hectic and precise ones you have to execute like in BC’s Black Temple or Sunwell Plateau and Wrath’s Icecrown Citadel and Ulduar encounters.

  1. Epic quest chains and lots of Lore

One thing I liked about Warcraft, and Blizzard in general, is how they tell their stories. The lore behind the characters are just amazing, never mind however they retcon it. And then you get to watch their Lord of Clans mini-series telling more of the story and the action playing right in your screen? Jesus Holy Christ, that’s just lovely.

Then you’ve got quest chains that end up with a nice story (hey Blizzard, I will never forget Crusader Bridenbrad and how I tried in vain to save him, rest in peace brother). It just makes the world in World of Warcraft a bit more...real, should I say?

***

Pio Garcia is a blogger for Philstar Unblogged. His views do not reflect those of Philstar.com.

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