World of Warcraft Warlords of Draenor Expansion: Character, Weapon, Map, Gameplay Updates

March 2, 2014 Last Updated: March 2, 2014

The release date for World of Warcraft Warlords of Draenor still hasn’t been revealed, but game developers have given updates on a number of gameplay aspects.

Let’s check them out:

Stat Squish

In regards to character progression, game developers said that “after multiple expansions and content updates, we’ve reached a point where the numbers for health, damage, and other stats are so big they’re no longer easy for players to grasp.”

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In order to smooth things out, the scale of stats will be reduced throughout the game. Power will thus scale linearly through questing content from levels 1 to 85.

“This applies to creatures, spells, abilities, consumables, gear . . . everything. And while that means your numbers for stats and damage are being reduced by a huge amount, the same goes for creatures’ health and damage output. For example, a Fireball that previously hit a creature for 450,000 out of his 3,000,000 health (15% of its health) may now hit that same creature for 30,000 out of its 200,000 health (still 15% of its health).”

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The developers emphasized that players will be just as powerful but the numbers will be easier to understand. “

This also won’t reduce your ability to solo old content. In fact, to provide some additional peace of mind, we’re implementing further scaling of your power against lower-level targets so that earlier content will be even more accessible than it is now.

“We’re also removing all base damage on player spells and abilities and adjusting attack power or spell power scaling as needed, making it so that all specializations will scale at the same rate.”

Racial Traits

In some cases in the past, some racial traits may have been too powerful–such as the Trolls’ Beserking ability. Some other races notably had few or no performance-affecting perks. In addition, a number of racials that currently grant Hit or Expertise will soon need replacing.

“To keep racials more in line with one another, we’ve decided to bring down the couple high outliers, then establish a fair baseline and bring everyone else up to that,” the developers said.

“We’re accomplishing this by improving old passives, replacing obsolete ones, and adding a few new ones where necessary. Ultimately, our goal is to achieve much better parity among races.”

Blizzard developers Brian Holinka and Chadd Nervig later took to Twitter to answer questions about the new updates.

Here are some answers about the racial abilities, via Joystiq:

-Weapon Specialization racials (like the ones dwarves, humans and orcs had) are gone, due to hit/expertise also having been removed.

-Worgen Darkflight is remaining unchanged.

-Troll Berserking is reduced to 15% haste.

-Humans will gain a redesigned The Human Spirit, which will add to two secondary stats of your choice. Every Man For Himself may or may not be changed, based on itemization changes.

-Orcs were redesigned – Blood Fury was left intact, but Hardiness is now a 10% reduction, down from 15%. Command racial is unchanged.

-Gnome’s Expansive Mind racial, for instance, is now good for all resources, not just mana. Escape Artist drops to a 1 minute CD, and Shortblade Specialization is gone, replaced with Nimble Fingers, a new haste racial.

-Undead are seeing minor changes – Will of the Forsaken up to a 3 minute CD, Touch of the Grave seeing scaling tweaks only.

-Goblins are also seeing minor changes, other than Time is Money is now actual haste.

-Dwarves gain Might of the Mountain, a 2% crit damage/healing racial, and Stoneform now removes curses and magic effects, but still does not break CC and can’t be used while CC’d.

-Night elves see a bonus to Quickness that adds a 2% passive buff to movement speed and a completely new racial, Touch of Elune, which adds 1% haste at night and 1% crit during the day. Shadowmeld is unchanged.

-Draenei Heroic Presence will now add to a primary stat of your choice. Gift of the Naaru now heals over five seconds.

-The Tauren racial Endurance becomes +X Stamina, while a new racial named Brawn increases their critical damage/healing.

-Blood Elves gain the new Arcane Acuity racial (passive 1% crit) and Arcane Torrent now affects all resources, not just mana/rage.

Ability Pruning

Tons of new spells and abilities have been added to the game over the years, way more than the ones that have been removed.

For the Draenor expansion, the developers decided to pare down the number of abilities to remove unnecassary complexity.

“That means restricting some abilities to certain specs that really need them instead of being class-wide, and outright removing some other abilities. It also includes removing some Spellbook clutter, such as passives that can be merged with other passives or base abilities.”

“This doesn’t mean that we want to reduce the depth of gameplay or dumb things down. We still want players to face interesting decisions during combat, and we still want skill to matter . . . but we can achieve that without the needless complexity in the game now, and we can remove some of the game’s more convoluted mechanics while maintaining depth and skill variety.”

One ability that’s been removed is temporary power buffs, known as cooldowns. Where a class or spec has multiple cooldowns that usually end up getting user together, they’ve been merged, or removed entirely.

The point of the changes “is to increase players’ ability to understand the game, not to reduce gameplay depth,” the developers emphasized.

Here are some specific ability, spells, and itemization changes that Holinka and Nervig detailed:

-Tricks of the Trade no longer increases damage. It’s imagined that it will be used to help pick up adds. It’s now free to use.

-Mage’s water elementals will retain their Freeze ability, but a new glyph will teach another ability that shares a cooldown with it.

-Rogues will see their various cooldowns go spec specific, with Killing Spree and Adrenaline Rush for Combat, Vendetta for Assassination and Shadow Dance for Subtlety. Shadow Blades is gone.

-Only Heroism/Bloodlust/Time Warp/Ancient Hysteria remain as raid DPS cooldowns. Abilities like Stormlash Totem and Skull Banner are gone.

-Raid-wide defensive CD’s like Devotion Aura and Demoralizing Banner are staying, in concept, although specific ones may or may not.

-Shattering Throw will be a glyph that teaches you the ability, not one that changes Heroic Throw.

-The SoO trinkets have convinced Blizzard to not implement Amplify and Cleave at this time.

-The current thinking is to have five stats – Crit, Mastery, Haste, Readiness and Multistrike.

Crowd Control

From mists of Pandaria the developers saw that there’s too much crowd control in the game. So there’s been across-the-board disarmament.

Here’s a summary of the player-cast CC changes:

-Removed Silence effects from interrupts. Silence effects still exist, but are never attached to an interrupt.

-Removed all Disarms.

-Reduced the number of Diminishing Returns (DR) categories.

-All Roots now share the same DR category.
Exception: Roots on Charge-type abilities have no DR category, but have a very short duration instead.

-All Stuns now share the same DR category.

-All Incapacitate (sometimes called “mesmerize”) effects now share the same DR category and have been merged with the Horror DR category.

-Removed the ability to make cast-time CC spells instant with a cooldown.

-Removed many CC spells entirely, and increased the cooldowns and restrictions on others.
Pet-cast CC is more limited, and in many cases has been removed.
Cyclone can now be dispelled by immunities and Mass Dispel.
PvP trinkets now grant immunity to reapplication of an effect from the same spell cast when they break abilities with persistent effects, like Solar Beam.
Long fears are now shorter in PvP due to the added benefit of a fear changing the players position.

Character Updates

The female dwarf is among the new and improved characters in the expanion.

“Our character artists strived to recapture the charm of the classic female dwarf model, while taking advantage of the expressiveness of her fluid new animations, and we think the updated model says ‘descended from unyielding stone’ as much as ‘griffon-riding, ale-swilling, loud-living hero,” Blizzard said in a blog post.

Character Viewer Updated: Female Dwarf!

Some screenshots have also been added for the new male dwarf, male gnome, and male orc.

Map Update:

A community manager answered questions about some of the geography in Draenor.

Check out the question and answer below:

Q: Firstly and most important to me is Zangermarsh.
It is being shown on the WoD site that where the Zangermarsh is, the Sea of Zangar resides now.
Zangermarsh in someway would have had to have “existed “.even if it was small.
here is the passage:

“The orcs did not know about the Zangarmarsh. They had not yet sniffed out this hiding place,and if Velen had anything to say about it,they never would.”
page 323 : Apx one year of Warlock magics.

A: While much of what we know from Outland used to be under water, there is a small piece of marshland called Zangarmarsh in Draenor, and is relatively close to Shattrath. It would indeed be the logical place for Velen to try to escape to.

Q: Blade’s Edge
It is shown on the WoD site that Gorgond is where blades edge is. while it looks mountainous in the art. it looks more… Dourtar mountainous that Blade’s Edge style. That is an issue in some ways, while the book does not reference the “Appearence” of the mountains, it does reference the name of them.

“the orges had told them where thier masters lurked and led them to this place-an opening at the foot of the Blade’s Edge mountain chain.” 
page 259 :Apx between six months and one year of warlock magics

The Blackrock Clan are going to see the Ogres in BLADES EDGE, to see if they can get some to join them.

A: The Bladespire Mountains exist in Draenor, and the held theory by historians is that the Blade’s Edge Mountains formed as Gorgron and Frostfire were driven into each other during the breaking of Outland. There may well be nods in Draenor toward the name Blade’s Edge, and the future that is yet to come.

Q: Last thing the once hidden city of Telmor, i DONT recall it in any Outlands quests and assume it will be in WoD in some way shape or form.

A: You will be able to visit Telmor in the expansion, Leafshadow and all, though you may be arriving too late to appreciate its full glory…