Blizzard has launched the alpha test for World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor. They've also sent out the first patch notes for the expansion pack which give us some insights into the major changes coming soon.
Players will acquire new bonuses for their character when leveling to the new cap of 100. They receive nine "Draenor Perks" from level 91 to level 99. These Perks provide passive bonuses to the character based on their spec. For example, an Destruction Warlock will cause 20% more damage with Conflagrate and cast Chaos Bolt a half a second faster. Each level 100 character of the same class/spec will have the same set of Draenor Perks but they'll earn them in a random order while leveling.
Upon reaching level 100, players can choose a new talent for their character. As usual, they'll pick one talent from a group of three. The options may vary based on the character's spec. A Holy Paladin and Protection Paladin, for instance, each have their own distinct set of level 100 talents.
Players will gain their own garrison during their time on Draenor. The quest line for the garrison will begin in Shadowmoon Valley or Frostfire Ridge, the two starting zones for the expansion. The player will find blueprints and materials to construct their base, and then recruit followers. Each follower has their own unique set of abilities. They can be sent on missions to level up and find loot.
Characters will be dramatically different below level 90 as well. Blizzard has decided that it's time to cut down the amount of abilities each class has.
"That means making some abilities restricted to certain specs that really need them instead of being class-wide, and outright removing some other abilities," Blizzard said in the patch notes. "It also includes removing some Spellbook clutter, such as passives that could be merged with others, or with base abilities."
There are literally pages and pages of changes for each class. Blizzard's making some broad changes to fundamental aspects of the game like healing and crowd control. As previously announced, they've rebalanced the racial traits as well. Be sure to check out the patch notes for the full details.
You won't be able to try out this patch for yourself just yet. The alpha test is restricted to employees as well as their friends and family. Most players will have to wait until the beta launches.
"Let us know you’re interested by creating a beta profile," the studio said. "To do so, log in to your Battle.net account, go to Beta Profile Settings to download and run the Battle.net System Check tool, and submit (or update) your computer’s specifications. From the Beta Profile menu, make sure that Warcraft is checked, and update your beta preferences. You’re now eligible to be randomly selected for a Warlords of Draenor beta invite at a later stage of the testing process."
If you want to plan out your Warlords of Draenor character in advance, check out the Wowhead talent calculator.