One of the complaints regarding Warlords of Draenor is that it is going to be orc-centric. By setting the expansion on the orc homeworld (and making the titular characters all orcs), Blizzard has guaranteed we will receive a large amount of orc-based lore. However, Draenor is also home to the Draenai (who named the planet) so we are guaranteed lore relating to them as well. Blizzard has also intimated that we will be learning more about paladins (specifically blood elf paladins) in Auchindoun. For an expansion set in an older version of familiar ground, this promises to feature plenty of new content.
Draenor’s prior (future?) incarnation of Outland was presented in The Burning Crusade, Blizzard’s first expansion for World of Warcraft. Where Mists of Pandaria featured tight plotting, such as zones containing overarching stories that progressed as players explored the continent and also patches that propelled the narrative, The Burning Crusade lacked focus. It tried to expand the Warcraft universe by following up on many of the plot-threads left from Warcraft III. Alliance players needed to follow up on the Expedition forces who had ventured through the Dark Portal and had yet to be heard from, and so they encountered Danath Trollbane and Khadgar. Horde players had to discover the Mag’har orcs, a sect of uncorrupted orcs related to several of the famous characters of lore. There’s even an entire race – the Netherwing Dragons – who exist only because dragons migrated from Azeroth to Outland. Additionally, players can follow up on (and kill) many of the characters from Warcraft III, including Lady Vashj, Kael’thas Sunstrider (twice!), and of course, Illidan Stormrage.
However, Illidan, who appeared to be the primary villain of the expansion early on, was primed for his demise in the first patch of the expansion. Rather than tell a story throughout the course of The Burning Crusade, Blizzard had several disparate plots. The Karazhan raid had little to do with the occurances in Outland (although it did feature a boss of the Burning Legion). Additionally, patch 2.3 focused on Zul’Aman and the Amani trolls. This was lore unresolved since Warcraft II, and thus it deviated from the story of Outland with no relation to the Legion at all.
With each passing expansion, Blizzard has tightened their narrative ability, and it’s reasonable to expect that Warlords of Draenor will be just as focused as Mists, if not moreso. To that degree, having a story that is centered on the Orcs and the Draenai is laudible. Instead of diluting the plot, Blizzard can hone in on several key characters, and with their promise to use advancing quests as demonstrated in patch 5.1, we can expect to see those characters change over the course of the expansion.
Draenor is an iconic locale in the Warcraft setting. In World of Warcraft, we’ve only been able to explore it after it was torn apart and transformed into Outland. Setting the next expansion in Draenor gives Blizzard the opportunity to expand on (and retcon) much of the lore while presenting it for us to experience firsthand. This Draenor may be different due to Garrosh’s influences, but the ability to experience a singular world with minimal external forces is valuable. Too much of The Burning Crusade was spent hunting Illidan, or chasing Kael’thas, or contending with Lady Vashj. These (former) elves all originated on Azeroth. Their story was not the story of Draenor. It will be nice that we can see some of that story now.
Furthermore, Mists of Pandaria demonstrated that Blizzard can take an isolated world and seamlessly integrate it into the existing mythology. While this last expansion taught us much about the Pandaren, it used them to also teach us about Azeroth’s history in greater depth. Furthermore, characters like Taran Zhu and Lorewalker Cho had no connection to Azeroth prior to this expansion, but now they are so revered and accepted that players are asking for them to journey with us through the portal. Blizzard has demonstrated the ability to take a continent like Draenor, and tell a story as we cross it that will not only feel complete but also tie into what we already know about the universe.
Overall, it may seem that Warlords of Draenor may have a heavy orc focus, and that may well be correct. Even so, given Blizzard’s track record for narratives, what we learn about the orcs will reflect back on current events and advance the story of modern day Azeroth. Blizzard will tell a compelling story we have not heard before and provide insight into the world of World of Warcraft. Hopefully we’ll learn more about Warlords of Draenor and what we can expect in the coming weeks.
There’s going to be another PVP season before Warlords of Draenor. Get ready to kill the Warlords by killing each other! https://twitter.com/holinka/statuses/420640430888198144
The Item Squish won’t affect your ability to solo old content!!! http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/11041434939?page=2#38
… but other changes might. Cue Ominous Music!!! https://twitter.com/Celestalon/statuses/420366130876674048
There’s a trojan affecting the Curse clients. Be glad this is one curse you can lift yourself! http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/11041384892?page=10#189
Draenai and Blood Elves will be included in the Warlords character revamps. It’d be so much easier if they just degraded the Pandaren models to match the quality of the others. https://twitter.com/artofcgrobinson/status/419173306038636544
Battle.net parental controls will block in-game purchases from the store. Now I have to give my parents my authenticator to sign in and make sure I can’t buy anything… http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/11160555968