Warlords of Draenor Alpha – First Look

Horde ShamanSo, those nice folks at Blizzard sent me an invitation to try out the Warlords of Draenor Alpha, and despite saying I wouldn’t want to ruin my first experience of the new expansion before it was released, I couldn’t help but dip my toe into the cold snows of Frostfire Ridge.

My aim, here, is to give folks a flavour of the new world that is Draenor – bearing in mind that this is still only an alpha release and anything could change before we even reach the beta stage of development. I was also curious to see how Blizzard have implemented the early stages of Garrisons, given my earlier reservations about the concept. So with this in mind, here are my first impressions.

Now if you’re lucky enough to get an invitation to the alpha, bear in mind that the client download is around 23 Gigabytes – unlucky if your Internet service provider throttles you back or if the family are in the middle of their favourite Netflix movie! The other thing to  note is that Frostfire Ridge is the first zone in the alpha, so if you want to create an Alliance template character then it won’t work – hence I’m uncharacteristically playing Horde! FrostFireRidge

The first thing that struck me when I materialised in the new zone is how nice the new character models looked. I chose a Horde Shaman – I know, I never play Horde or have played a Shaman – but I was kind of impressed with the look of the model. Combat would turn out to be a whole new ball-game for me!

Without spoiling too much of the plot your first job is to plant the Horde flag in the new territory which begins a series of short of quests to build your Garrison. To build your Garrison you first need one of these:



Gazlowe, here, acts as the main quest source for building your Garrison.  Supply him with a few materials and WHAM! It’s done.

No, literally. There was supposed to be a short cinematic – this is only the alpha – but I was expecting a little more progression in the building phase. But no, you have the start of your Garrison which in effect turns out to be like any other Horde camp, complete with flight path and mailbox. To progress the build phase, you must supply Gazlowe with a set amount of lumber – which in this phase acts as a form of currency.

So how do I obtain this lumber currency? Well, I must search out material across Frostfire Ridge and complete a number of quests, all of which reward me with lumber. Once I have the required amount of currency I can return to my Garrison for the next phase of the build. Not what I was expecting, but then it’s early day in the Warlords development phase and many things may change.

As I explore more of the alpha I’ll provide you with an update on my travels through Frostfire Ridge and the next phase of my Garrison build.