Warlords of Draenor Preview, Part 1

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Orcs, Orcs Everywhere

My very first sojourn through the portal threw me into a great battle of NPCs, enemies, and players. As I attempted to shut down the portal, enemies and allies shouted threats and encouragement at me, and when I left the portal I did so with a ton of NPC allies in tow. This group, including Thrall and Khadgar, became my “party” for the intro quests, and we picked up more followers along the way as we tried to escape from the Iron Horde. I was introduced to each of the Warlords, Borderlands style, with a flashing nameplate and a dramatic speech. No matter where I went, there was some action and story happening alongside me. The intro quests are fast-paced, dynamic, and lively.

I’m a leader and a hero in this expansion, in command of a base and with the respect of other leaders. In Draenor, I feel that I can do the impossible.

Things didn’t slow down when I made it to Frostfire and established my garrison. Durotan plays a major role in the story, and his interactions with Thrall, Draka, and myself made for great storytelling. Unfortunately, by this time I was already sick of orcs. Every enemy, every helpful NPC, and every questgiver with the exception of one troll and one goblin, was an orc. I have not yet seen a single panda, the undead only appeared when I built an alchemy lab in my garrison, my flightmaster was the only tauren…and I think there was a blood elf? Somewhere? Anyway, this expansion is just stuffed to bursting with orcs and I hope as I progress they find ways to incorporate the other races.

My other problem with this expansion so far is how linear it is. I’m nearly done with Frostfire Ridge quests, and they’ve all extended in a straight line from when I first got there. I remember in Pandaria, as soon as I finished the introduction in Jade Forest, I could go pretty much anywhere and find five, six storylines or more waiting for me to pick from. Here, there is only one path so far (helping Durotan and the Frost Wolfs take on…everyone else), even if it is an incredibly interesting one. Perhaps there will be more options as I progress further, otherwise leveling alts will get increasingly dull.

Home Away From Home

Finally, I want to talk a little about garrisons. The garrison system plays heavily into my complaint about the expansion being too linear. If you want to run off on your own into Draenor and not follow the questline prepared for you–forget it. You won’t get your garrison, or any of the goodies associated with it, which are pretty much necessary if you want certain flightpaths, anything to do with professions, particular dungeon quests, or some gear pieces.

Other than that, though, the garrisons are awesome. I’ve only made my home base in Frostfire thus far, but at a level 2 garrison, it comes with tons of options for buildings. Not only can I make a building for each profession to obtain mats or craft items, but I can also create other buildings–some will give buffs, or bring questgivers to my garrison daily. Some offer new followers for the garrison follower system. There’s a limited number of plots, so I had to make choices as to what buildings I wanted in my garrison. I can already tell I’ll enjoy customizing each outpost and discovering which options work best for me.

The follower system is reminiscent of Assassin’s Creed’s, where you can collect followers through quests and then send them on missions to bring back gold or equipment. They gain experience with each mission and level up, and each follower has a certain skillset that make make him or her more useful on certain kinds of missions. The follower system, along with most garrison functions, continues to work while you’re away from the game, so you can log back in after a day and have a bunch of experience, materials, and gold waiting for you. The only thing that would make it better would be a corresponding mobile app.

This, and the overall writing of Warlords of Draenor, put the player in a different position from before: no longer am I some random member of the horde who keeps solving people’s problems. I’m a leader and a hero in this expansion, in command of a base and with the respect of other leaders. In Draenor, I feel that I can do the impossible.


So far, I’m very impressed with Warlords of Draenor. It looks, sounds, and feels both powerful and alive. Though the storyline and questing seems rather limited and linear so far, I have hope that it will open up more as I progress. Whether you’re coming straight from top-tier Mists of Pandaria, wanting to get back into the game after a long hiatus, or are brand new, I think Draenor will have something exciting to offer. And with the level 90 character boost, Draenor is more accessible to new players than ever.

Next week, I’ll be back with the second half of my Warlords of Draenor Preview to talk about the Alliance starting area, questing beyond the starting areas for both factions, more about garrisons and outposts, dungeons, and some class tidbits beyond just the elemental shaman.

Update: The second half of this preview is up, and you can find it here!

If you have any questions or comments about my Warlords of Draenor Preview and what I’ve seen so far, comment below and let me know! You can also follow us on twitter @GameSidedDotCom. For news and stories wherever you go, download the official Fansided App on the App Store or Google Play Market today.