Warlords of Draenor is so close I can almost taste it! Can you feel its life-giving energy flow through you?
It will take time for the Val, I mean, we’re all so extremely excited that I have to wonder as to why. Why are we excited for an expansion in a decade-old game where there isn’t even a new race or new class that is to be introduced? Why are we so hyped up about fancier graphics, a garrison mechanic, and a few upgraded and updated elements in the gameplay? Surely, updates are always a cause of excitement, but why this specifically?
Garrisons? So what? Hell, almost everyone who hasn’t played beta or read about it have no clue why they’re excited about it. Class balance? Uh, I don’t think they needed to make an entire expansion just for that. Progression? Yeah, maybe, but I assure you that grinding isn’t ever the only thing that keeps players engaged in a game.1337 graphics? Hey, they put that in without releasing the rest of Warlords of Draenor yet, so might not be just that. What about Draenor itself? You may be on to something there, friend.
Each World of Warcraft expansion has been greeted by a certain degree of hype that it is hard to ignore, even if you’re one of those people that simply abhor WoW for varied reasons or those of the unknown. There are always news pieces about it, opinions varying from the highest praise to the lowest regard, but somehow, it always gets to all of us. Warlords of Draenor is no different but, again, why?
Arguably, Wrath of the Lich King (WotLK) was the highest anticipated WoW expansion of all time and population numbers can indeed attest to that. True, Cataclysm may have outsold it when its time came, but WotLK had the best staying power than any other. This specific expansion, I’m sure most of us understand. It held one of the greatest, and perhaps most popular, Warcraft villains of all time, the Lich King. Who the hell doesn’t know about the Lich King of Warcraft III fame? The very idea that it was finally time to face off against Arthas, the butcher of Stratholme, the fallen Paladin, the guy who was first banging Jaina Proudmoore, and all around most badass Death Knight to wear the hair metal look, was finally within reach of the players who have known him for so long. That by itself was a powerful allure of WotLK, and no other amount of content could have ever surpassed that. Well, that and a Death Knight class that everyone wanted so badly since Vanilla.
What about the others, then? The Burning Crusade (BC) need no words of justification. Sure, there were a lot of problems with that expansion, but it is hardly any issue to the hype it stirred for players upon its announcement. Not only was it the first ever expansion for the highly successful WoW, but it also reintroduced old and familiar faces, those of which we too have met in the earlier Warcraft games. Point and case: Illidan Stormrage. That guy is so cool. With his stylish voiceclip of “You are not prepared!” the sound of the Burning Crusade’s impending arrival had many a gamer creaming their pants with excitement, as well as the introduction of the Draenai and Blood Elf races causing a great deal of eagerness for the expansion.
Cataclysm (Cata), too, was a powerful hype magnet, reintroducing Deathwing, another of early Warcraft fame, igniting the passions and delight of every older generation gamer back to the roots of Azerothian lore. This expansion introduced two other races, veritably increasing the hype it already had, offering more and more of what WoW already had, albeit more streamlined and much more thought out. But, here, it could already have been seen that the love for the World of Warcraft had started to decline. Though Deathwing was a welcome and nostalgic sight, it turned out to be far more alien in setting as previously thought, though not as much as the next one…
Mists of Pandaria! Oh, here we go. It doesn’t matter how greatly polished this expansion actually is, but the hype around it fell quite short in comparison to its predecessors. People were mixed about this new installment because, seriously, pandas. They are a far cry from what WoW is known to be and what it is known to focus on, thrusting players head-first into a land very strange and unusual to us. Certainly, I can understand that, as it just didn’t have what most of us love from WoW in the first place. Even with the new Monk class, it still did not have the power of WotLK, the epicness of BC, or the grandness of Cata. Surely, it redeems itself on its release as actually being one of the better expansions WoW has ever had, and had even pointed to the direction of the original WoW feel through the Siege of Orgrimmar, and despite being such a streamlined expansion, it really will not hold the awesomeness of its predecessors.
Now, we arrive at Warlords of Draenor. Soon we’ll be exploring everything that Draenor has to offer and partake in the many new things that Blizzard prepared for us. Again, there are no additional races or classes, but enhanced gameplay mechanics and other elements of the like that are the only highlights. What makes this so special then? If you look back at what was talked about, the most common thing about all the successfully hype expansions is that of lore. We may or may not admit it, but WoW’s best selling point has always been its lore. Gameplay and the rest have always just been secondary, but what really gets us into the game isn’t the fact that we all have just been looking for a game to waste our time on for no apparent reason, but it is because we simply love WoW as a world and as a setting.
Why do I think this? Well, it’s because WoD is going back to WoW’s original roots as evident from the entire focus of this game: Orcs. With the expansion having us run into old and familiar names like Grom Hellscream and the un-undead Ner’zhul, we find ourselves back in a world that we have come to know and love so well, something that we may have forgotten through the years of playing WoW. From the story book videos on the Lords of War alone we can see how far back WoW is going, remembering what made it successful in the first place. This becomes even more apparent with the special focus on warring factions that seem to be far more emphasized, the likes of which have not been seen since Vanilla, hearkening back to the actual struggle of Humans versus Orcs. While it bothered everybody that there would be some sort of Back to the Future vibe like retrieving a sports almanac from Garrosh, it had all come to make sense as info has been released about it, bit by bit, making for a very familiar landscape. No amount of new races or new classes can match the back-to-lore basics WoD is attempting.
A Powerful Tool
Nostalgia, the Classics, and Classical Nostalgia are strong indeed. The sheer grit and badassery of the orcs combined with awesomely updated graphics and enhanced gameplay through PvP and PvE are enough to pull people back into WoW or to keep them hooked. Focusing solely on content, this expansion proves that it was the lore all along that had us attracted in the first place, and it proves that the thing we loved about the earlier Warcraft games are just as powerful as they always have been. Even if you haven’t played the RTS games, certainly, WoW’s setting is still something to behold as very few games out in the market right now can match its grandness and history.
WoD then becomes something of an exploration piece, aimed not at imagining new places, but simply exploring that part of the map that still had some fog of war on it. This is a place that has always been there, but just never fleshed out. Combined with all the nifty new toys to play with, Draenor has certainly pulled out all the stops in trying to ensure it to become the most entertaining expansion to date. While all we can do is really just to speculate about the true verdict of this expansion, I would say that WoD’s hype is real and strong, and most possibly rivaling that of WotLK and the Lich King’s fame with the classic Orcs of yesteryear. If this trend of Blizzard continues, we can definitely tell that they are setting up for something even more grand that is true to WoW and its very soul. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going on the forums to complain about why WoD doesn’t have any new classes.Related: Blizzard Entertainment, Column, Expansion, World of Warcraft, WoW Wednesday