Skip to main content

'Warlords of Draenor' Relives 'Warcraft' History

"World of Warcraft" is now 10 years old, and Blizzard wants to celebrate with a look back at series history. "Warlords of Draenor," the game's fifth expansion, incorporates elements from the very first "Warcraft" game while adding a host of new features to breathe new life into the decade-old title.

For the five or six people who have never played it, "World of Warcraft" is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) where large numbers of players congregate on public servers. They undertake individual quests and team up with friends to improve their characters, hunt down dangerous foes and advance the game's sprawling storyline.

MORE: 15 Best PC Games Right Now

Tom's Guide sat down with Blizzard at PAX East 2014 to check out what was new in "Warlords of Draenor." The story is unrelated to that in the previous expansion, "The Mists of Pandaria."

In fact, returning players will have the opportunity to boost their characters right up to Level 90, eschewing the "Pandaria" quests, receiving level-appropriate gear and skills. This will allow them to jump right into the game alongside friends whose accounts have been active in the interim.

Blizzard first showed us the revamped character designs. PC graphics have improved considerably since 2004, and Blizzard thought it was time to bring the detail in "World of Warcraft" characters up to the level of their environments. Every player avatar now has much more distinctive features, including freckles, wrinkles, textured hairstyles and better-defined eyes, noses and mouths.

On a gameplay level, "Warlords of Draenor" hews closer to the real-time strategy roots of the "Warcraft" series. The Iron Horde, the brown orcs from the very first game, are invading modern day Azeroth, and the only thing to do is to follow them back to their own time and set things right.

In addition to more clearly separating storyline quests from simple "kill these monsters" quests, users will also gain access to their very own homestead where they can build and train an army. Constructing buildings, recruiting artisans, training soldiers and improving defenses are all up to the player, and

Blizzard intends to provide more options than spots to fill them. Choosing how to allocate your resources can mean the difference between victory and defeat in some of the game's pivotal quests. It's also a way to make sure that each player's homestead looks and feels completely unique.

Beyond that, "Warlords of Draenor" will add new enemies to fight, new gear to equip and new areas to explore. Players can advance to level 100: a full 10 levels above the cap in "Mists of Pandaria."

"World of Warcraft: Warlords of Darenor" will launch on or before Dec. 20 for $49.99.

Follow Marshall Honorof @marshallhonorofand on Google+. Follow us @tomsguide, on Facebook and on Google+.