Warlords of Draenor sounds like the sort of thing you#8217d find in the B-movie section of your local gas-n-shop, maybe starring Jean Claude von Damme and Dolph Lundgren wearing horned helms and codpieces.

But in this case it#8217s the moniker on the latest expansion to the most popular MMO in history, available now (PC, Mac) for $50. If you#8217re new to the series or thinking about returning and wondering what#8217s changed, here#8217s a look at Draenor#8216s standout features.

Characters can finally hit three digits

Happy 100th level, World of Warcraft characters, you#8217ve more than earned it (in fact you#8217ve probably slogged like few gamers will ever slog just getting to the last expansion#8217s heady nine-zero). Characters in Draenor will be able to leap from 90 to 100 at last, commensurate with new abilities and access to the world of Draenor itself.

One character can leap to level 90 immediately

This sounds a bit like handing a toddler a clutch of dynamite#8211or asking them to figure out how to work the mechanism that sets it off#8211to me. But if you#8217re so inclined, Blizzard will let you boost one character straight to level 90. Seasoned players looking to fast-level an alternate character will be grateful, but if you#8217ve never played the game, I worry it#8217ll be like expecting someone who just learned how to play chopsticks on the piano to dash off a plausible rendition of Bud Powell#8217s #8220Tempus Fugit.#8221

Blizzard The story#8217s actually kind of interesting

I couldn#8217t tell you a thing about the World of Warcraft-verse#8217s fiction, and I played at least one character up to the mid-70s back in the day. But I remember when the Cataclysm expansion hit, and how nice it was to see Blizzard trying to frame all its relentless creature farming and errand-running with better scripted story beats that made leveling up, at least at the lower levels, feel less like cynically pinballing from one punctuation-crowned signpost to another.

Draenor pulls a J.J. Abrams (Star Trek) and taps a dimension-hopping storyline to shunt players over to an alternate history timeline and the days a comparably fractional number of gamers were going gaga over Warcraft II back in 1996. (Allow me to speak directly to Warcraft II nerds for a moment: characters like Grom Hellscream, Ner#8217zhul, Gul#8217dan and Blackhand put in appearances.)


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