In the Warlords of Draenor expansion, we're making a number of changes to key World of Warcraft features and systems with a focus on adding sought-after features and quality-of-life improvements—things like easier inventory management, account-wide storage systems for toys and heirlooms, new higher-quality character models, and more.
That focus on refinement extends to PvE group content as well, and that’s what we’ll be going over here. Each expansion brings improvements to the dungeon and raid experiences, and Warlords of Draenor will be no different. Let's go over some of the dungeon and raid content that we’re planning to release the day the expansion is available, and then go into some of the changes designed to bring dungeons back to their roots and make raiding even more accessible and flexible than ever.
We’ll be introducing six new dungeons and bringing back a classic: Upper Blackrock Spire. This dungeon will play a prominent role in the Warlords of Draenor storyline, and we’re excited for people to experience this beloved old dungeon in an entirely new context.
We’re also looking to get back to the roots of dungeon content this expansion, and ensuring that they’re not only a significant part of the leveling and story experience as they always have been, but that they also play their part in helping you gear up and get ready for raiding. To that end we’re going to bring back max-level “Normal” dungeons, which—along with Scenarios—will help bridge the gap between level-up quest gear and Heroic dungeons. As Heroics won’t be the first thing you jump into at level 100, it also gives us some room to make Heroic dungeon content a bit more difficult.
We’re also planning our content schedule to include additional max-level Heroic dungeons beyond the initial expansion release. One thing we heard from players during Mists of Pandaria was that they missed having new dungeon content later in the expansion, and our plan is to get back to that and adding new dungeon content beyond the initial expansion release.
Last but not least, players looking for the ultimate challenge will be able to test their skill in time-trial Challenge Modes for most of the dungeons.
Mists of Pandaria saw some pretty big changes to raiding, including the introduction of Raid Finder (aka LFR), and very recently the addition of a new scalable difficulty called Flexible Raids (or Flex for short).
Since its introduction just a couple months ago, Flex has become an extremely popular way to raid, offering a true progression raiding experience while also allowing the freedom to pick up and go with a variable number of players. The lower-stress environment accommodates a big segment of raiders who need some wiggle room in their schedule, empowers raid leaders to fill in spots and add more people just for the fun of it, and lets everyone get together with friends and guildmates to take on giant demons and ogres and pilfer awesome loot from their corpses. We’ve learned a lot from Flex already—and we think we can continue to use its power for good.
For quite a few years now, we’ve offered parallel 10- and 25-player raids with the goal of providing the same epic raiding experiences to as many players as possible, regardless of their guild size. While the two different raid sizes intended to provide similar challenge with similar reward, we’ve always encountered inherent issues balancing content between them—and, of course, some guilds and raid teams have struggled with the social tensions that come with wrestling with a rigid raid size. Now with the Flex system, we can capture and expand upon the advantages of the existing raid system, while shedding the inconvenience and complexity of set 10- and 25-player sizes.
With the release of Warlords of Draenor, there will no longer be a distinct mode called “Flexible Raid”—because flexibility will be the underpinning of how most raiding works. Normal mode will scale flexibly to support groups of any size between 10 and 25, as will Heroic. There will no longer be “10-player Normal” or “25-player Heroic”—there’ll just be Normal and Heroic, and they will both scale to fit the number of players present. Even Raid Finder will benefit from the addition of our Flex scaling tech: no more needing to stand around staring at a boss waiting for your group to fill back up if someone has left.
The only place where Flex scaling doesn’t quite suit our gameplay goals is the most extreme difficulty of raid content, where razor’s-edge tuning would be impossible to achieve while supporting incremental raid sizes for each additional player. Thus, we are introducing Mythic difficulty with a single, fixed 20-player size, which will offer the pinnacle of raiding for the best of the best and the highest-quality rewards and prestige.
1, 2, 3, 4, I Declare a Thumb War
One of the major points of feedback we’ve heard about the current Flex implementation is about the lack of traditional looting. While personal loot has obvious advantages in a world of strangers in Raid Finder, most Flex experiences involve a coordinated group of individuals gathered together by a raid leader, and so it makes sense to at least have the option for traditional tradable loot that you pluck directly from a boss’s smoldering corpse—and that’s what we’ll be offering in the new flexible versions of Normal and Heroic raiding coming in Warlords of Draenor. The number of drops will scale with the number of players, and loot can be distributed in whatever time-honored traditions you choose: DKP, Suicide Kings, karma, dice rolls, coin flips, rock-paper-scissors, “guess what number I’m thinking of,” nepotism, thumb wars, etc.
We’ll also be doing away with the wing-based queue system currently used in Flex. While Raid Finder offers a flat difficulty—each boss is approximately as difficult as every other boss in the raid—Normal mode is intended to be a more standard, escalating progression. We saw some frustration in Siege of Orgrimmar as people would jump into the later wings of Flex as they unlocked and not understand why the bosses were so much harder, expecting it to work like Raid Finder. With this new structure, only Raid Finder will have wings to queue for. The new Normal and Heroic scalable difficulties will still require you to go to the raid entrance, zone in, start at the first boss, and progress as far as you can in that week.
We Found Your Keys
Last but not least, Normal and Heroic will allow groups to be built out of Real ID and BattleTag cross-realm friends, and all raiding options will be on separate lockouts—meaning boss kills in Raid Finder, Normal, Heroic, and Mythic will not be shared between them, and you can kill each boss in each difficulty for a separate chance at loot each week.
Bench Stocks Plummet
These changes will provide a more straightforward and approachable set of difficulties and options that lets people focus more on the excitement, fun, and social aspects of raiding, and less on the logistics of how to even begin forming a group.
Sharpen your axes! In World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor, a slew of savage new challenges, rewards, and user-interface improvements wait for PvP combatants. All it takes is a hardy constitution and strong will to face off against ferocious foes—we’ll handle the rest.
New World PvP Zone
For players looking to engage in PvP combat on an epic scale, Warlords of Draenor introduces a new world PvP zone off of the north east coast of Tanaan Jungle. This new experience involves a raging battle that has no distinct beginning or end—instead, it offers constantly evolving objectives for participants to take part in. There will be items to gather, creatures to summon, and tons of action on multiple levels. While you can enter the fray sooner than level 100, you may find yourself biting off more than you can chew—enter at your own risk!
When first joining the battle, you’ll be presented with objectives based on the current status of the battle. The closer you get to your opponent’s base, the more difficult your tasks will become. Objectives will change at a moment’s notice based on events within the zone, and you may quickly find yourself switching from offense to rebuilding your fortress and gathering the materials needed to do so. There will also be faction-based vehicles—and some Iron Horde war machines—at your team’s disposal.
To provide a truly epic world PvP experience, the number of players and the amount of faction members allowed in the zone won’t be capped. Don’t worry, though—with cross-realm technology, the pool of potential allies (and enemies) is wider than ever.
Battleground Score, UI Improvements, and Updated Rewards
The Battleground scoreboard is being updated to provide better insight into your performance in Battlegrounds. A new stat called Battleground Score will take into account objective-based gameplay you engage in, such as returning flags, interrupting objective captures, healing, doing damage, and more.
In addition, flag timers and other objective timers will also be viewable on the map, complete with an additional animation. This will make it easier to identify the time until an objective is captured for players on either side to defend or attack to disrupt the capture.
To the victors go the spoils . . . and we’re upping the ante in Battlegrounds even further. Winning in Battlegrounds could garner players extra random rewards such as a PvP set item, a random bind-on-equip item, consumables, and more.
Trial of the Gladiator
If you’re looking for some great Arena action, then Trial of the Gladiator is for you. Building on the same system used for the Arena Tournament realm, players who take part in Trial of the Gladiator will be able to enter and purchase gear, enchants, and gems from a vendor, and then match skills with other players. Similar to the Arena Tournament realm, an array of equal-quality gear and items will be available to all players, putting everyone on the same footing from the start of competition.
Any player will be able to queue for this new feature once it’s available, but you’ll only be able to earn a rating during specific days and times of the week that rated competition opens up. This will help make the pool of serious combatants more concentrated, allowing the system to match players more accurately based on skill and helping ensure rated battles provide a highly competitive experience.
You’ll be able to practice whenever you like outside of those times, but if you want to earn the prestige awards, you’ll need to hone your skills and climb to the top of the ladder at the appointed times. We also don’t want to penalize people too heavily for missing a scheduled combat or two, and we’re looking into ways to make sure the system strikes the right balance between flexibility and cutting-edge competition.
We’ll provide more information on this system and more as we progress further into development. In the meantime, don’t let those blades get rusty!
Aaaaaaaaaaaand this is why you are my favourite Games news-site
Very nice, looking forward to yet another excellent expansion.
I cannot WAIT to do upper blackrock spire!
Aaaaah...YES! Super Awesome. Normal 10-25 and Heroic 10-25.
Finally x-realm normal mode off the bat, even with the merges this makes me so happy.
Cannot wait for the new expansion - trying to get caught up on the day's events tonight!
Interesting to see Raid Finder will have the ability to be 10-25 with flexibility. Mythic mode is going to be so frustrating! The new Heroic for the win! Also, I hope the dungeons supply a decent amount of experience. I've become so used to the grind on my alts.
Wow... all separate lock outs... that's a lot to do in one week. o.O
Not so sure about this, as someone who hasn't raided much since WoLK I guess I have no insight into this though.
love it !
I'm glad they're changing the looting system back to how it was for flex. I like seeing what has dropped, even if nothing that dropped is for me. :PBesides, with a good group there's no need to worry about ninja looters.I wonder what the impact of mythical raids will have on world first and other high end guilds though.
Speaking of raids, did anyone else notice the "Shattrath Raid" mentioned around minute 5:20 in the Art Panel? Even though those two words there appearing there doesn't meant anything set in stone, the very idea of reliving the Siege of Shattrath is really exciting. Maybe we'll even get to see Nobundo in his non-Broken form.screenie of minute ~5:20http://i.imgur.com/pFTgSWF.jpg
Love most of it - biggest issue I'm hearing in-game is that Heroic will no longer be Heroic - rather it's Normal and Mythic is the new Heroic. That's what it seems like to me anyway and seems like a lot of other people getting that same idea.
We’re also planning our content schedule to include additional max-level Heroic dungeons beyond the initial expansion release. This. Makes. Me. So. Happy!I really, really missed this in MoP, I really did.
I am very excited to get a chance at the new dungeons and raids. I think that UBRS will be amazing as a heroic dungeon and so important to the lore of the new world.
Cant wait for this! Will be fun to do UBRS again
I am interested in returning to Auchindoun as well.
The dungeons and raids have never disappointed me!
This looks like it could be one of the best xpacs we've had in a while
I think making (almost) all raid tiers flexible will be a great improvement! Was really bad to be at a boss or near it and have to wait for more people because someone went away...