Blizzard has announced that World of Warcraft's next expansion, Warlords of Draenor, is up for pre-purchase. The expansion is launching worldwide in a blanket "Fall" launch window and Blizzard isn't getting more concrete than that yet.
The game is available in standard and Digital Deluxe editions. The Digital Deluxe version comes with the expansion, a Dread Raven mount, a Dread Hatchling pet, Grommash Hellscream and Blackhand Battle.net portraits for StarCraft II, and a battle-torn Warsong Pennant for Diablo III. Digital Deluxe buyers get their extra items immediately at pre-purchase.
The beginning of Warlords of Draenor's pre-purchase program also marks the beginning of paid character boosts. For a slim $60, you can boost any one of your characters up to level 90, which is the game's current level cap. The character boost will net you a few other perks, regardless of when you decide to boost the character:
- 150 gold
- 4 Embersilk (22-slot) bags
- A stack of 20 food items
- Full set of spec-appropriate Item Level 483 gear
- If a boosted character was already level 60 or above, their existing Primary Professions and First Aid are bumped up to level 600, as mentioned above
- A faction-specific flying mount-a traditional Wind Rider for Horde or Gryphon for Alliance
- Artisan flying-that's one rank below max flight speed
- Northrend, Kalimdor/Eastern Kingdoms, and Pandaria regional flying skills trained
Is that enough to get you back into the World of Warcraft? I admit, I've been leveling a new character on the Alliance side - I'm generally a Horde faithful - and it's been like pulling teeth. Being able to skip that is a godsend, but having only one gives me pause. Do I level this character or another? At $60 a pop, I certainly won't be purchasing another boost.
Blizzard is also re-tuning the game again, as it does with every expansion. Everything from players, to spells, to creatures, will be undergoing a stat squish. That means some of the big numbers players are used to are getting smaller, while allowing players to retain their relative power.
"In order to bring things down to a more understandable level, we'll be reducing the scale of stats throughout the game and smoothing out those obsolete spikes, so that power scales linearly through questing content from levels 1 to 85," says the company in a Dev Watercooler post. "This applies to creatures, spells, abilities, consumables, gear . . . everything. And while that means your numbers for stats and damage are being reduced by a huge amount, the same goes for creatures' health and damage output. For example, a Fireball that previously hit a creature for 450,000 out of his 3,000,000 health (15% of its health) may now hit that same creature for 30,000 out of its 200,000 health (still 15% of its health)."
Blizzard is also adding further scaling to help high-level players tackle low-level content, so you don't have to worry about your level 90 not being able to steamroll Molten Core. Warlords of Draenor will also feature tweaks and removals to certain abilities, an overhaul of the crowd-control system, improvements to player health, and yet another redo of the healing mechanics in the game.