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!
I don't know how I feel about a new UBRS. Especially as a 5 man dungeon. UBRS was one of those classic puggable raids that was so much fun, I don't know if I want that memory changed so drastically. LIke ZG becoming a dungeon instead of the 20 man raid that was so much fun for my guild for so long. Yes it is all well and good to revisit the past and for folks who never got the chance to see it, to use it as something fresh and new, but sometimes we want to hold on to something of the past. With that said though, It was such a fun place, with some really historic pieces of gear (Lava Dredger anyone?) it will hopefully be just as much fun in a new and fresh way.
New auchindoun looks awesome and I guess I will spend my whole day looking at that garrison, probably.
Honestly,I dont know how I feel about the whole time travel thing.... I'm glad blizz is including draenor, orc, and draenor lore and all but I feel like they could have got some better story than, "Oh garrosh escapes and travels time." Come on blizz your better than this. either way im sure it will still be a great game that ill love ahaha.
So, having had the opportunity to attend and even get a question in at the Q&A panel I have to say I'm incredibly impressed with the direction they're taking raiding. This new set up is going to allow them to focus on the really tightly tuned material that is going to be competitive while opening up more and more content to groups of players that have irregular/morphic schedules. Their focus on making stats engaging and removing the cascade effect is going to really make gearing up interesting without making it feel like there's necessarily a single BiS list for your character (Maybe lifesteal and cleave each have their place so an item for you that has either would be great).Further, the morphing of stats as well as set bonuses make playing your various specs much more accessible, as a tank I'll be able to dps an LFR if I feel like it without losing lot of performance. Completely looking forward to this xpac, I might even brush up on some lore.
I'm ready to see some more information on Item squish and how it will be handled. The Garrisons look like fun (Your farm on speed) and the new skins I'm truly excited for. BLIZZARD TAKE MY MONEY!
I really hope blizzard can do something about their broken timeline. I'm an active role player and its tough to get into character in northrend knowing Arthas is already dead haha. I know it would take a TON of time and resources but a man can dream. And the recognized it in the Q and A. Admitting is the first step ;)
With all the new changes, this will be an interesting expansion for sure!
I just wonder how awesome the mythic only mounts i'll never be able to get will be.
I am REALLY looking forward to this expansion! I mentioned the Toybox and heirloom changes to my wife (who is a big collector of vanity stuff!) and she flipped out. We asked for bigger bags.... we don't really need bigger now.... How will this effect the tailors, I wonder?
Woot for more complex raid fights by switching to mystic.
Love the idea of expanding flex raiding!
I wonder how they'll implement the new character models. I really hope they give us a free character customization so that we can see all of the new customization options.
I really feel like people need to stop whining about the 20 man mythic. How many times do you have to answer the same question? I come from one of those 10 man raiding guilds myself, and I'm excited to start building up the rooster and kick ass with more guildies. I think the merged realms will go a long way to that goal.
As I read through a lot of these questions, I can't help but to giggle at some of the answers. xD More red shirts! I loved those ones. Can NOT wait for this xpac; so excited for player housing! I hope they evolve more with the pet battling system too. Hint hint, add breeding!
Only having 4 dungs for 9 levels feels very weak. We have nearly the same number opening when we hit 100. I really hope they decide to add one or two more to balance it out.
New expansion is shaping up nicely. Like what I have seen so far as the changes in the flex raiding since WoW has been losing more and more players as of late. Hopefully, this new xpac will get some former players back as every expac usually does, but keeps them this time playing, instead of burning through everything in a month or two then getting bored and leaving. Can't wait for it to come out, looking forward to the new content and Mythic dungeons.
I have a lot of capped toons, and I have heard mixed reviews about the fact we will be able to use the same gear with each spec and it will shift when we swap to primary and secondary specs. I hear on one side that it's catering to the group of people who don't want to spend time fighting for their gear for each available spec, but I've also heard it's for those of us who have a plethora of toons and simply lack the time to grind raids/LFR's/flex/dailies/etc to get enough to kick our pixal selves into the next bracket. Personally, I think it's both, which makes sense for a company and the player. I have two toddlers, but still find a way after work once they are asleep to do my dailes and get some raiding in, putting my capped toons not at the tippy top by far but still averaging around 510 item level. So, I look forward to having more time to run more things as well as getting them all to the upcoming cap, without running out of bag space for two sets of gear and going cross eyed scrounging for that last quest giver for the last daily before the reset happens lol. So far I haven't actually been anti any of the new changes, and I like how it's being formatted to cover every type of wow gamer.
Theyre doing what people want which i hope turns out well.
Really loving all the new features so far apart from the mythic mode. As a 10man heroic group, getting 7-8 more "good" raiders will be a bit tough but at least you can built to it while raiding normal or heroic (lol flex and normal sorry...).
Please, somebody, for the love of god tell me if they are planning to ruin the outlands like they did azeroth? I have yet to figure this out....