World of Warcraft expansion pack: Warlords of Draenor

Blizzard has made a few of big announcements regarding its upcoming World of Warcraft expansion pack: Warlords of Draenor. Namely, you can now pre-purchase both the regular game and the digital deluxe edition from the Blizzard store, and it will launch “on or before” December 20 this year. Blizzard stresses that it is currently aiming for a fall release, and the December 20 date is more of a “worst-case-scenario” than an official release date.

The regular version of the game costs $50, while the digital deluxe edition edition will set you back $70. Pre-purchasing either edition gives you a free level 90 character boost that you can use straight away.
The digital deluxe edition will contain “a Dread Raven mount and Dread Hatchling pet to accompany you in World of Warcraft.” Just like the level 90 character boost, the digital deluxe edition rewards will be made available as soon as you pre-purchase the game.

There will also be a physical collector’s edition made available to retailers in small quantities, which will contain all of the digital deluxe goodies, plus a hardcover art book, behind-the-scenes Blu-ray/DVD set, Warlords of Draenor mouse pad, and CD soundtrack featuring epic music from the expansion.

If you’d like an additional level 90 character boost, Blizzard recently announced that they would also be sold stand-alone, albeit with a $60 price tag.

Warlords of Draenor Leveling

Blizzard helping hands rub some players the wrong way. It seems like a very clear-cut case of “pay to win.” I might feel as strongly as these nay-sayers if I was an active WoW player. Still, reaching level 90 is hardly “winning” WoW. Leveling is more of a time sink than a test of your abilities. The real learning curve is after you hit the level cap and you start dipping your toes into heroic dungeons, raids and PvP. I’m sure plenty of players would jump at the chance to bypass dozens of hours of leveling so they can dive right into challenging content.

Players who are against level boosts argue that it’s a slippery slope, though. Buying a level 90 character doesn’t affect the endgame but what if Blizzard decides to go a step further. They could eventually start selling items that boost your gold or Valor Point gains. That definitely would have an effect on the competitive balance of WoW.

The other questions in the survey were less controversial but still important. One asked whether players would be willing to pay $39.99 or $49.99 for Warlords of Draenor. The survey also gauged interest on a new WoW Annual Pass, perhaps including Diablo 3 and its Reaper of Souls expansion.

Warlords of Draenor allows players to visit an alternate timeline in which the orcs united under one banner and their homeworld was never destroyed. Players will travel to Draenor to prevent the Iron Horde’s invasion of Azeroth. Blizzard plans to release the expansion later this year.