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More information is starting to come out regarding the next expansion. Some of it is probably to be expected, such as the first raid available two weeks after launch to allow people time to reach maximum level, and that there will be some differences for those taking advantage of the level 90 boost, depending on whether or not you already have other level 90's, but some is new (to me, anyway), and sounds like a great idea:
From a design perspective, the revamp of Upper Blackrock Spire was a challenge similar to the creation of a new dungeon. The dungeon already exists but Blizzard doesn't just increase the health of the monster there. New mechanics will appear and developers need to give a real challenge to players while maintaining the nostalgy you get when you revisit a dungeon already played in the past. Of course, the fact that the bosses and dungeon itself already exist definitely saves times, even if the models are updated.
It will now be easier to figure out which PvE guild is the best. Right now, it's hard to draw the line between 10-man and 25-man difficulty and it's hard to say if Method or Paragon is the best guild for example. With the 20-man Mythic raids, this will be much simpler.
The Highmaul raid will open after the release of the expansion, most likely on the 2nd week. Just like the Mogu'shan Vaults in Mists of Pandaria, Blizzard wants to give enough time to players to experience the new zones while leveling without having to rush to level 100 to start raiding. Highmaul will be located in Nagrand and have 7 bosses.
The Blackrock Foundry raid will open a couple weeks later, it has 10 bosses.
All the bosses will be available when a raid opens, except in LFR where wings will be unlocked progressively (just like the Siege of Orgrimmar). Blizzard wants players to discover the bosses with their friends and guild before they rush through LFR.
Ion's favorite encounter in Mists of Pandaria is Lei Shen. The mechanics are simple to understand but hard to counter, and a lot of things are happening that make the fight extremely interesting. The team is very proud of this encounter, you can probably expect bosses in the same style in Warlords of Draenor.
Raids should be less linear than in Mists of Pandaria, the goal is to do what was done with Ulduar where guilds could pick their bosses depending on the roster available that night. This is only possible if your raid has multiple wings, and Warlords of Draenor raids shouldn't be too linear.
Encounters will include more classes mechanics, especially for healers. Healing in Mists of Pandaria wasn't very interesting. In Warlords of Draenor, Blizzard wants to deploy interesting mechanics for healers and make sure their role isn't to just spam the same skill again and again. They will have to chose the right skill, at the right time, on the right target.
World bosses will be the biggest and most brutal creatures of Draenor.
One of them is an ancestor of the Gronns we know, but 3 or 4 times bigger. He's made of stone and will attack players with stone shards and other earth-based attacks.
The 2nd world boss will be one of the giant plant that lives in the jungle of Draenor.
World Bosses will be activated progressively, the first one will be launched with the expansion.
Loot will be interesting for the tier during the boss is unlocked. The objective is that when Blizzard unlocks the 3rd boss, its loot will be interesting compared to what you can find in PvE at that time.
Proving Grounds will be updated for Warlords of Draenor and Blizzard wants to expand its functionality. It will be used as a prerequirement for raids. For example, players will need at least a silver medal in the Proving Grounds to queue in a dungeon. If you want to play in an instance with your friends or your guild, no problem, but if you want to join a random group you will have to prove that you know how to handle some mechanics of the game. This should be ready for Warlords of Draenor. Blizzard hopes it will improve the experience of players in LFD and LFR, and each player in the group should have the minimum knowledge required to fight the bosses.*
Level 90 Character Boost
The LVL90 character boost will work differently if you already own a high level character or not. If it's your first character and you boost it to level 90 directly, the game will offer you 3 or 4 skills in the first place to let you familiarize with the game, and will give you more abilities progressively. You unlock your skills progressively, for example, a mage could start with Frostbolt, Frost Nova, and Polymorph.
This will be included in Warlords of Draenor. Blizzard is aware that the boost will be available before this but feels like the huge majority of people who will use the feature before the expansion are already experienced players who already know the game very well. This is one of the limit of the system: Blizzard wants players to be able to use this feature but also understands that there's a danger to see poorly played characters because of a lack of knowledge.
Ashran PvP Zone and Garrosh Hellscream
Ashran is somewhat-based on Alterac Valley, when the battleground could last 30 or 40 hours before a faction wins. You will be able to go in the zone to do things that aren't PvP related such as gathering resources for your faction. Of course, the other side will do the same and it will most likely result in PvP anyway. Resources will have multiple uses, including summoning creatures just like in Alterac Valley.
Garrosh will be in the expansion but it's unlikely players will fight him again. There is many other enemies to fight and kill and it's not really worth going back to Garrosh again after players already defeated him.
*More information follows!
... The above information is taken from an interview and has been translated into English, so therefore some of the wording may not be 100% accurate
Nerve Strike now causes a successful Kidney Shot or Cheap Shot to also reduce the damage dealt by player targets by 25% (down from 50% for player targets). No changes to the talent when used against non-player targets.
Disrupting Shout and Pummel now both share a 15-second cooldown when either ability is used. Disrupting Shout's 40-second cooldown remains unchanged but the ability will be unavailable for 15 seconds after using Pummel.
Celestials now drop Season 15 Prideful Gladiator gear in place of Season 14 Grievous Gladiator gear.
BattleTag™ or Real ID friends are now only able to send 10 chat messages every 10 seconds over Battle.net® chat. User Interface Add-Ons should use the new send function and receive events to send communications information.
Our guild website host, Guildlaunch, are upgrading their servers next week in order to improve their service to their customers. The impact of this on us will probably be minimal and, other than having to change some admin settings, the only result may be that the website is inaccessible for a few hours during the upgrade.
Guildlaunch have stated:
ALL sites will experience some intermittent down time on Tuesday, February 4th and Wednesday February 5th. This will be due to DNS transitions and may last 2-12 hours.
Prior to the transition, we will send additional communication which will include the specific schedule of events as well as our NEW IP address. Follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook for the latest updates.
Thank you in advance for your patience throughout this transition, we look forward to bringing you even better service after the upgrades!
The next patch is currently in the process of being tested and is therefore open for those with the ability to poke around a bit. Apart from testing the purchaseable upgrade to level 90, the following pet and mount have also been found, which are almost certainly going to be rewards for buying the Collectors Edition:
As you may know, the last boss of this expansion, Garrosh, has the chance to drop some very nice Heirloom weapons .. it doesn't happen for LFR, but it does for every other raid type, including Flex.
Obviously, ideally, I'd like to see Garrosh on Normal prior to the end of the expansion, however, at a minimum it would be nice to get him down in Flex.
Currently we are in the process of working through each of the sections on Flex with Samsara, and we are getting close .. as far as I know we are currently on Thok ... and Garrosh is only a few bosses after that.
If you want your heirloom weapon/shield (which will basically see you through until level 100), then you need to ensure your gear and output are up to it, and sign up for raids.
I'm not going to pester people, it is up to you if you want to do it, you will be the one who needs to put the time and effort in. Just bear in mind that, at any time, Samsara may decide they no longer wish to do joint raids ... and if we don't get enough people signing up, regularly, then there is less and less chance of continuing to the end, for anyone.
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