Our latest zone preview takes us into the expansive hills and rocky outcroppings of Nagrand, a verdant land located west of Talador and south of Frostfire Ridge. Here, great beasts cause the ground to quake beneath their feet, and the wolf riders of the Warsong—the legendary orc clan led by Grommash Hellscream himself—are always on the prowl. But they’re not the only ones who make this verdant land their home. We sat down with Senior Game Designer Eric Maloof and Associate Game Designer Kurt Sparkuhl to learn more.
(Check back later for music: Coming soon!)
Q. How is the Nagrand of Draenor different from the Nagrand people know from Outland? What’s the story in this zone?
Eric Maloof: I think players will find that the Nagrand of Draenor isn’t really all that different in spirit from the Nagrand of Outland. There are some obvious physical differences—for example, the floating islands aren’t there anymore—but you’ll easily be able to see where those floating islands came from. We very much wanted to respect what people really enjoyed about their experience in Nagrand in The Burning Crusade and capture that, while still providing a twist to what you’ll experience there.
You’ll be led to Nagrand by a quest you’ll receive in your Garrison that involves sending new supplies to the front. The Alliance and the Horde—not working together, of course—are trying to establish a toehold in the zone in order to take on the Warsong clan. The Warsong clan has had problems with the ogres in the past, but they’re really the top power here.
The Alliance will be working alongside characters such as Vindicator Yrel and Rangari D’kaan, Thaelin, and Hansel as they progress through the storyline. The Horde will be working alongside Thrall, Durotan, Draka, and Drek’thar—even Aggra will show up and surprise Thrall.
Kurt Sparkuhl: Players will also have the opportunity to return to the Throne of Elements. Without spoiling too much, the elemental balance has been disrupted, and the elementals upon the plateau have become unstable. It will be up to players to unravel the mystery behind the disturbance before it’s too late.
One of the things that sets Nagrand apart from any other zone is the amount of character-focused stories you’ll encounter. The zone is just filled to the brim with story. There’s the main story and what’s going on in the Throne of Elements, but we’ve added in a lot of additional Easter eggs and tons of cameos and backstory on old favorites, so keep an eye out as you go through the zone. You’ll also meet a new faction here.
Q. How would you describe the zone’s ambience? What’s it like?
Kurt Sparkuhl: It feels like old Nagrand. Out of all the zones, it’s the one that’s supposed to feel the most familiar. When Draenor became Outland, Nagrand was probably the area affected least by the world breaking apart. Now you’ll see all these big canyons and rocky outcroppings all over the zone, implying that after the big explosion happened and Draenor turned into Outland, those floating islands were kind of what was left of those big ridges. There was a conscious effort to make it feel familiar to some extent, while still creating something new.
Eric Maloof: You’ll encounter a lot of new points of interest in this version of Nagrand. There are some things that are no longer there, too—Halaa and Garadar, for example, don’t exist. These were created after Outland became what it did. Highmaul takes up a large portion of the zone, and it houses a Raid instance as well. It’s massive.
Q. Which locations would you say are some of your favorites, and why?
Eric Maloof: This one’s tough. There are so many good places to choose from. I’m definitely partial to Lok-Rath. It’s located outside the main Warsong base and is the Warsong clan’s main presence in the zone. I like the story of what’s happening there and the dynamic change in the questing once you get there. Plus, it’s a beautiful Warsong location.
I also really like the Spirit Woods. In Outland, you had the Spirit Fields. In Warlords of Draenor, the Spirit Woods are what surround Oshu’gun. You get to learn more about the forces that dwell there and what they’re doing—we explain that a bit as you’re taking care of business.
Kurt Sparkuhl: I think the two I like the most are Hallvalor and the Ring of Trials. Hallvalor—which became the ogre-inhabited Burning Blade Ruins in Outland—is super cool; we get to see more of the backstory of the Burning Blade clan, which we haven’t gotten to show before. We get to see how their clan operates and some of their traditions. There are some familiar faces—at least one in particular— that you’re going to get a lot of backstory on.
The great thing about the Ring of Trials is that players get to see it a bit earlier on in its existence and learn more about why it’s there and what its purpose is. It’s been built up as a sort of neutral hub, and players will be able to interact with all sorts of NPCs from all over Azeroth and Draenor—it’s pretty cool, but I don’t want to spoil too much.
Q. What outposts will players be able to build in Nagrand, and how do they impact the Garrison?
Eric Maloof: The Alliance and the Horde get the choice of two different buildings. You’ll get access to this decision early on, though your blueprints are waylaid by the Warsong at the start, so you’re going to need to recover those first. You’ll be able to build either a Corral or a Tankworks for your Garrison.
For the Corral, you’ll get either a Talbuk on the Alliance or Frostwolf on the Horde, which you can ride all the time while you’re in Nagrand—this is where mounted combat comes into play. If you build the Tankworks, the Alliance gets a Siege Engine and the Horde gets a Demolisher.
Beginning Friday, August 8 at 10:00 a.m. PDT, through Monday, August 11 at 9:00 a.m. PDT, we’ll be applying the Heart of the Valorous buff which will increase the rate of Valor Point gains an additional 100%. Don’t wait to get in on the action!
WoW dying, yadda yadda... 6.8 million, yadda yadda... 1 year of SoO, yadda yadda... resub after WoD, yadda yaddda...Now, let's talk more about this "Tiny Cow".
While I'm sure the huge lag in content release is part of it, Blizzard has made some TERRIBLE decisions lately. Even if you agree with the recently reversed threat of no flying in WOD or the Chopper giveaway for horde, they definitely hurt subs by doing both. I'm invested and already preordered so I'm staying, but as a new player coming in, if I heard one faction was getting a free mount and it wasn't mine, I'd reconsider my decision to play.
I think those that are blaming the subscription loss on "Blizzard making boneheaded decision -X- regarding WoD." or "Removing content/not allowing flying at the start of WoD." are mistakenly under the impression that most subscribers actually read sites like Wowhead or even pay attention to what's happening with the new expansion before release. It's been my experience that we who participate in the beta and spend time on the WoW sites are a small minority of the player base (10%-15% would be my guess), the "average" subscriber knows a new expansion is on the way, probably has heard about some of the selling points (garrisons, lvl 100, etc), might know that it is currently in beta and is suppose to release in late fall, but beyond that they don't have a clue.I think the real reason for the subscription loss is two-fold, first there are simply a lot more MMO and non-MMO options out there than there was in 2004 or 2011 (WoW's subscription peak). Second, and probably the biggest, is the lack of any new content for close to a year. I mean, seriously, if you are an "average" player who is not in a raiding guild, there is only so many months you can run SoO "looking for raid" or kill rare spawns on the Timeless Isle before you are pulling your hair out from sheer boredom. Sure there are other things you can do, level an alt, battlegrounds, pet collecting, tradeskills, achievements. But lets face it, for most those are just time sinks while waiting for the next expansion.
Saying this game is dead based on sub numbers today, before an expansion drops, is like saying there is no reason to make another Friday the 13th back in 1982. The game, like Jason, refuses to die. People continued to pay for the franchise. However, let's see the numbers a quarter after the WoD release. That will be a better indicator of customer sentiment.
As a fan of this game i admit i want to have WoD right now in my hands, but im sure the waiting worth, the people complain about the lack of content but the players sometimes "burn" so fast new content and they always asking for more right away and Blizz employees are humans that need to eat, sleep with social lifes.A lot of things need to be tested before the release of this game because it dont, then you will have angry customers. Blizz knows the risk of take time to developing new content but also the benefits.
Hopefully more people will begin flowing back into the game after the xpac release! Especially with awesome graphics redesign.
What Blizzard really needs to do is just have something such as request box (and no, I do not mean the forums), where players could put in their interests in what THEY think would be good to implement to the game (ie. major/minor character, item, boss, zone, etc.), and not what BLIZZARD THINKS.
Wow.. I TOLD YOU SO! Down from the 10 million+ when I started.. Lemme see... that's like 1/3 of your customer base. OBVIOUSLY people are not liking the changes, nerfs, buffs, imbalance, making main characters unplayable due do over nerfing, AND the cookie cutter, pre-made nature of characters and classes in place now. Remember when warlocks had to quest for minions? Now they don't.... and now you have 1/3 less subscribers... Hmmm does that tell you anything? Just using warlocks as an example. Hunters also lost out on searching for that perfect pet and taming those with unique abilities, paladins... no more real pally quests, like to summon the charger and such, and to much redundancy in the entire blizzard quest line. Nothing is unique to classes, so leveling one character is exactly (after a point) like leveling another. When you have leveled as many characters as I have, all there really is to do is power level to 90, skip 90% of the raid content and run the same 2 raids over and over and over and over until you get the best gear drops and then..... ? Nothing I suppose.. sit in the auction house and try to accumulate gold or troll in trade chat?
It seems pretty common that people unsubscribe after spending much time on the current patch. I have several guild members that I have been playing alongside for the past six years that take a hiatus from WoW until something new is released. The second that we get some new content all will come back to it. As for WoW dying I totally disagree. I play every day and still enjoy the game. Patience is golden :)