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So much has been written about the WORLD of WARCRAFT it is difficult to find any new superlatives to describe it's brilliance.

A couple of years back the oft peaceful world of man, myth and monster erupted as the dark horde broke through the Dark Portal and spread their evil farther and further turning the world into blazing raging burning lands. Then not so many months ago we were marvelling at the new characters and adventures we could enjoy in Pandaria and the brightness that this new, oriental-styled region brought back to the game.

Now, with the Level cap pushed up to 100 and the possibility of creating a Level 90 start-up character, we enter the realms of the WARLORDS of DRAENOR and hundreds of new missions, tasks, weapons, equipment etc etc etc.

WARLORDS of DRAENOR does several things for and to WORLD of WARCRAFT. As previously mentioned the first things of note are the Level 100 cap and the Level 90 start-up character. So let's start with these two. The Level cap to 100 adds 10 levels to the game. In my personal opinion based on playing many MMO games raising the character's level by just 10 really isn't that big a deal, in fact I would almost guarantee that there were Level 100 characters running round the Lands within a few hours of WoD being released. Part of that would be because some players will grind away as fast as they can in an attempt to be the first to hit the new cap, but a lot of these Level 100's will have come about because it is now too easy to level, especially if you play with 2 or 3 friends at the same time. I am what is known as a pedantic player - I like to enjoy the beautiful scenery and will often go out on a limb away from my mission simply to explore areas that many players never see. Playing solo and only a couple of hours a day (or night) I went from Level 90 to Level 100 in about 5 days, that's 10-15 hours at most, probably less. I remember trying to get from Level 70 to Level 90 and that was a long and thoroughly enjoyable journey! I had to fight hard to gain each level and I earned every point of experience. From 90 to 100 the Levels just rolled along so sweetly that I didn't even watch the XP line as it moved that quickly.

Make sure you are ready and have all of your facts and ideas to hand when you make your free Level 90 character. You can create a brand new character or you can bolster a previously played one, either way once you click to make the Level 90 there is no turning back. I clicked the 90 button and was asked if I wanted to create a new character or promote one of my others. There is no going back from here. I wasn't totally prepared and had thought that I could just look at what I had to do and then prepare my character but there was no [back] button and I didn't want to just quit in case that meant I would lose the [90] opportunity. In the end I chose a Pandarian Mage that I had at Level 7 and lo and behold within seconds I had a Level 90 Pandarian Mage completely dressed and equipped in above basic gear - all my old gear and baggage was sent to me via the in-game mail system should I need any of it. So all I am saying, yes repeating, is that make your preparations and be sure you have made the right choice.

         

Once you get into the game with your Level 90 youi will find that so much has changed. You need to go through the Dark Portal again and start afresh with a whole gamut of new quests. Although you are a now Level 90 and have the equipment and spells/weapons etc you do not have the memories your character would have if they had physically reached Level 90 through play. Therefore all the Regions and Realms are mostly unmapped for you. It's almost like playing a brand new game.

Characters can hold 25 missions in their list and although that may sound many it can soon be filled if you fail to follow each mission through to its total conclusion. By this I mean if you get a Quest to, let's say Kill 15 monsters and then when you have completed it the NPC has 2 more quests for you. You take these and they possibly have some link, perhaps you have to kill a number of creatures and collect an amount of teeth from them or other creatures in the same area, thus you can do 2 quests at the same time. If you go back to the Quest-Giver and find he has no more quests then you have finished that line and can look for others - there are so many to be found. BUT! In most cases I have found that one of the quests requires that you chat to someone in a different region. So I fly there and speak to him and while there I can see there are another 2 or 3 quests available. I really should just complete the quest I was given and go back to the original NPC, but it is so easy to collect these other quests while I am there and when I look at them they are all within easy reach and so I take them and begin to complete them. This of course leads to more quests and more quests and before long I have 25 quests in my log and when I get back to the NPC who sent me to this area I cannot take the new quests he has for me because my log is full. I know this was possible in the game prior to DRAENOR but it seems that there are a lot more quests available now.

Overall the game seems a lot easier to solo than it used to be, which is a good thing. Also many of the new instant dungeons can be entered by only one character and although they may be tough they are generally doable as long as your character has top notch equipment and you are on top of your game, mainly because the Boss is often an Elite of either the same Level as you or maybe one or two points lower, which still makes it very strong. Speaking of the equipment, there are many quests that now drop gear specifically for your character class and generally much better than you already have. If you follow the quests like I said (ie go off willy-nilly as you find the quests) then it is almost certain you will gather equipment ahead of time so that when you complete quests you have held for a while the reward is of no use to you. The quests that give equipment have been created to take you from level to level at a sensible growing rate and if followed properly will flow you from one to the other, but how many WoW players ever follow the sensible solution ?

Having been in DRAENOR for the duration of the start-up quests, and as long as you have followed them, you will end up in a location where a settlement is about to begin building; this is your new home. In here you have already got certain NPCs including a Flight Path and as you progress you collect building material and from there you can buy or find plans to expand your buildings and to add new buildings. You also have a Hearthstone, a second one, that is linked to this new home. Some of the quests you take will give you Followers as a reward. You can find these guys and gals in your home and you can send them out on Missions (you dont control them) where they will gain XP for themselves, building materials and gold or even other Followers if they are successful. These Missions begin requiring just one Follower but tas you progress so do they. The Followers you have are specialists and also have secondary skills. These can be used to get a better percentage chance of success on missions. These Followers can also be useful in some of the buildings you are constantly evolving.

Your home will also house a Bank. To begin with it is just your personal Banker. (S)He has two sets of vaults, one of which is for reagents. By clicking on the button for Reagents you can immediately strip all the reagents from your backpacks without having to go through them. Once you are in a Guild and accepted a Guild Banker will appear in your home and you can use the Guild Bank as you would in Stormwind or any of the main Towns - subject to the Guild's rules of course.

The main pain in DRAENOR at the moment is that you cannot use your flying mounts there. Whether this is going to continue or whether special Draenor Flying Mounts will become available I have no idea at present, but I sure hope so. The Regions of Draenor are Level-ised so that you can begin from 90 to 93-94 and then you have a choice of two where you can probably survive and gain experience. There are unseen linear paths you can follow to go from Realm and Region to Region and Realm or you can play the whole thing by ear. Such have the creatures been diminished that a party of Level 93 characters can virtually always take down a Level 100 creature [Elite] or not, so that there isn't always the need to explore.

         

If you don't explore though you miss out on so much. My advice is to take your time, don't rush to 100, you will get there quickly enough, and don't go into areas where the creatures are too powerful. Enjoy your adventure, live the splendour, meet and greet and kill new creatures, ride through enemy strongholds and drag as many of them along with you and then ride away as far and fast as your non-flying mount will take you.

I have barely touched on DRAENOR here and although I have reached Level 100 in the game I have also barely explored DRAENOR there. This is like a fine wine, you need to savour it, taste it in small sips and visit it regularly. There is so much more to the WARLORDS of DRAENOR expansion than just getting to Level 100 and owning a settlement; it is up to you to go out and find the surprises and "easter-eggs" it has waiting there for you to discover and enjoy. WORLD of WARCRAFT is the ONLY MMO you should be playing if your thing is high fantasy fun and adventure.

   

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015