World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor: Relics returned

December 3, 2014


Ten years of World of Warcraft. Ten years of expansions, of leveling and of raiding, only to repeat the cycle when a new expansion comes out. But it’s also ten years of friends, and of looking forward to whats next in the way only an MMO can manage. After playing this game for so long, I have really come to notice that it’s how a game balances the social aspect with the content, and not the content itself, that keeps you coming back for more.

Warlords of Draenor returns to an alternate timeline of the original Warcraft, but instead of invading Azeroth as in the first game, the orcs will try to invade the current timeline’s Azeroth. Without going into a long-winded explanation of how time travel is confusing, let’s just say Blizzard wanted to bring back some old lore figures from the dead. Awkward story hooks aside, Draenor‘s zones and quests are the best so far. Secondary objectives have been added to each zone, as well as hundreds of treasures and “rare” enemies that drop guaranteed loot. All of these combine to break up monotonous questing and keep the area interesting as you level. In what seems like an odd choice, you also can’t fly in Draenor at all, even at the new cap of level 100. Blizzard often doesn’t allow flying mounts until the new level cap is reached, but I find it confusing it isn’t permitting it even then this time, especially since players have spent a lot of time and gold on acquiring flying mounts over the last few years.


The biggest addition to the mix here is the player garrison. This is a fortified town that functions as player housing. It is laid out with upgradable building plots, but does not have enough space to build everything; you have to make decisions based on personal preference. You can build a range of different buildings here. Some buildings offer bonuses for PvP or raiding and others let you craft without having chosen a particular profession, though you will gain materials for your chosen profession much faster. Other buildings offer bonuses to followers and follower missions. Followers are NPCs that will join you at your garrison and can be given missions to carry out for various rewards. As someone who tends to play a lot of characters, I find myself wishing they were bigger, but account-wide instead of per character.

Raids were not available at launch, but the five-person instances and their heroic modes guide players towards raiding as they always have. There’s not much difference in how the game works here, though as usual, theres the usual struggles as players go from overpowering content they know very well to learning something new. As with many MMOs, dungeon groups still find themselves with a tank and healer shortage, and the random group finder can still give you some real characters. In a way, it’s a bit of a shame that the dungeons are still mostly just “swarm the boss, get loot,” but when games try and change this up, building for the lowest common denominator means they are at least fun, though someone seeking a challenge may find them wanting.


When designing new content, one of Blizzard’s greatest strengths is that it isn’t afraid of a challenge. It isn’t afraid to make drastic changes to the core mechanics of a class at the start of an expansion in order to make it more fun, often throwing away all of the last two years of balance tweaks to do it. My one complaint here is how many situational abilities got removed; while it is accurate that they weren’t used all that often, or felt a bit extraneous, it always felt great to pull victory from the jaws of defeat with one of them.

After ten years, Warlords of Draenor is something of a return to form for Blizzard. It offers a lot of new ideas but returns to the familiar setting of Warcraft II, bringing back a lot of the characters from that era without having to deal with the fact that most of them were killed off since then. Draenor isn’t perfect, but it remains one of Blizzard’s best efforts since Wrath of the Lich King and definitely aims to bring back players who were turned off by the last two expansion packs.

Pros: Great setting, doesn’t feel too much like the previous expansion
Cons: Removes a lot of abilities, grouping problems remain

Score: 5/5

Questions? Check out our review guide.