Blizzard confirmed at BlizzCon 2013 that they're creating Warlords of Draenor, the fifth expansion pack to their MMORPG World of Warcraft. Draenor will let players advance their characters to level 100 through new adventures in the orcs' homeworld.
Draenor's storyline will be a direct continuation of current expansion Mists of Pandaria. Garrosh Hellscream, former warchief of the Horde, was defeated by players and imprisoned. However, he escapes and manages to go back in time. He brings advanced technology to the orcs on Draenor and units the clans into an Iron Horde. Players must travel through the Dark Portal into this alternate history and stop the Iron Horde from invading Azeroth.
In the standard timeline, Draenor was ripped apart by powerful magic and turned into the wasteland known as Outland. Players visited Outland in World of Warcraft's first expansion The Burning Crusade. Some of the locations in the Draenor of Warlords might seem familiar to TBC vets but they're radically different. For example, the Black Temple will be the main Alliance city instead of the home of Illidan. Blizzard has built Draenor from the ground up. Here's a brief summary of each of the zones:
To ensure that former players can jump right into the new content, Blizzard will give each player that owns Warlords of Draenor a free boost to level 90 for any character. You don't need to use the boost right away, so you can create a fresh level 1 and then boost it to 90. The boosted character will get a set of level-appropriate gear. To ensure that you have some idea of how to play your new character, Blizzard will offer an "introductory experience." The Proving Grounds they recently added to the game should help with the learning curve, too.
Blizzard is also trying to update the visuals of the nine-year-old game. They plan to revamp the character models for many of the older player races in the game.
"We know that many of you already strongly identify with the look of your current character, so we’re dedicating a lot of time and resources to make sure these updates capture each race’s iconic identity and personality. We’re still in the process of determining which races will be available upon the expansion’s release, but our goal is to update all eight of the original World of Warcraft playable races, along with the Draenei and Blood Elves, over the course of the expansion launch and subsequent content updates."
Players can expect Warlords to include plenty of new PvE and PvP content too. A new world PvP zone will allow the Horde and Alliance to battle for control of fortresses. There are two raid zones planned for launch, along with six new dungeons. Blizzard is also going to revamp Blackrock Spire, the massive dungeon from vanilla WoW.
Blizzard didn't mention Warlords of Draenor's launch window. However, as I said earlier in the week, a 2014 release seems likely.