World of Warcraft game director Ion Hazzikostas did a live developer stream on Tuesday where he announced the first major content patch for World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth. Patch 8.1 will be known as the Tides of Vengeance and aims to fix a lot of the issues with the initial launch of the expansion along with adding some brand-new content.
Patch 8.1 will feature two brand-new raids: The Siege of Zuldazar (name tentative) and the Crucible of Storms.
The Siege of Zandalar will be a 9 encounter raid that is faction specific. They say that this is the first time they have ever done a raid like this in WoW’s history. The boss encounters in this raid will be the opposing faction and, according to Ion, each faction will have their own unique version of the raid. Also, in order to not alienate players who don’t have a max level character on both sides, all players will have a chance to experience both sides of the raid regardless of what faction you are apart of.
The Crucible of Storms is a small 2 encounter raid that bolsters the presence of Queen Azshara and her cult-like followers, most likely serving as a prelude to the next major content patch, 8.2, where we will probably face her
We are getting two brand-new islands: Jorundall and Havenswood. Jorundall will be a vrykul-themes island whereas Havensfall will be a worgen-themed island.
In addition, Island Expeditions are getting a complete overhaul. Island Expeditions will have new events and enemies, more variety, holdouts that can be triggered, and Azerite Extraction points that you’ll have to defend. Island Expeditions will have major spawning improvements. They won’t be uniformly blanketed by spawns. There will be more clusters and hubs, more gaps, more navigability between hubs. These are the changes eerily similar to the suggestions I made in my initial thoughts post. Even though this stuff was in development for far longer than I talked about it, I’m still going to let my ego believe that I and I alone influenced this.
We are getting one new Warfront: The Battle for Darkshore. This time around, the Alliance gets it first. Despite the fact that Ion said that this Warfront is unlike any they’ve done before (which is an odd thing to say because there is, currently, only one Warfront), he goes on to say that the Warfront’s activation is exactly the same as the current Warfront and that gameplay would be very similar. Bad choice of words, Ion?
Incursions are, basically, the Legion Invasions from Patch 7.2. Horde and Alliance forces will invade an area which will cause the world quests in that area to despawn and get replaced with Incursion-specific world quests. You know… for an expansion which is being highly criticized as being “Legion Patch 7.4”, adding a “new” feature which is just a carbon copy of something that was in Legion isn’t exactly helping you battle that criticism. Just saying.
Dwarves and Blood Elves are getting their own Heritage armor and boy oh boy are the forums going to have fun with this one. In order to unlock heritage armor on those classes, you simply need to be exalted with Ironforge or Silvermoon City, and be max level. You will be given a quest to complete to gain your heritage armor. That’s it. No starting a new character and grinding all the way up to maximum level. Incoming storm of players crying about how unfair and easy it is to get armor for Dwarves and Blood Elves versus the Allied Races.
Champions of Azeroth reputation is becoming account-wide to act as a compliment to the Heart of Azeroth’s catch up system. In addition, all other Battle for Azeroth reputation achievements will be account-wide as well.
Kul Tiran Humans and Zandalari Trolls will be unlockable in Patch 8.1. In order to unlock them, you need to be exalted with the Proudmoore Admiralty or the Zandalari and play through the War Campaign. All of that content has been available since Battle for Azeroth launched so get griding if you want to be a fat human or an upright troll.
Heart of Azeroth
In the wake of the fiasco that was Azerite Armor and traits, Ion stated that new Azerite Traits are on the way but didn’t really say anything about the gear itself. He said that in the past, first tier traits were simpler but will be a little more complex going forward.
New Pet Battle Dungeon
If pretending you’re playing a 3D Pokemon game with early PlayStation 3 graphics is the way you prefer to spend your time in World of Warcraft, Ion stated that they are adding a brand-new Pet Battle Dungeon so you can continue to catch ’em all! The new dungeon will take place in everyone’s (least) favorite classic dungeon: Gnomeregan!
Tides of Vengeance will be coming later this week to the Public Test Realm which means you can expect about six to seven weeks of testing before the patch gets pushed to live servers.