World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor alpha patch notes preview multiple class changes

Omri Petitte at

World of Warcraft Warlords of Draenor

Blizzard's powerful Text Wall spell hit the Warlords of Draenor website late last week, conjuring a tome-sized post previewing planned class, ability, and content updates for the alpha version of World of Warcraft's fifth expansion. I would pull out the "too long, didn't read" excuse, but that got nerfed 10 press releases ago.

As we've learned before, Warlords of Draenor is an expansion-sized attempt from Blizzard to cut down on the nearly decade's worth of stat and button bloat creeping into everyone's pretty yellow numbers and ability bars. Class-defining skills such as the Warrior's Cleave or the Hunter's Aspect of the Hawk are being baked into other passive bonuses or removed from the game entirely, in addition to performance stats such as Hit and Expertise disappearing for less intensive gear juggling.

Draenor's changes are a clear sign of extending the lifespan of one of the longest-running MMOs in existence, but pruning systems carries some loss in terms of personalizing a character. I'm glad to see a solution for combating crazy damage numbers—critting into the millions is just absurd—without reducing actual player power, but there was some aspect of enjoyment from knowing what each and every ability did for your class and when to smartly use them. World of Warcraft is the cornerstone for many MMO fans, so my hope lies with Draenor proving its merit as a worthy addition to WoW's legacy.

Warlords of Draenor has a planned fall release. For some hands-on thoughts, check out Chris' preview.