World of Warcraft Battle for Azeroth gets a new update!
Patch 8.1 for the game World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth uses staggered content update schedule
- December 11th - Introduction of Darkshore Warfront: Battle for Darkshore, new Tyrande story questline, Heritage armors for Blood Elves and Dwarves, Dungeon for Pets, Class Changes, Island Expedition updates, stages 1 to 3 of new War Campaign
- January 22nd - Normal and Heroic difficulties for Battle of Dazar’Alor raid, the start of Season 2 PVP, Item level increase, stage 4 of War Campaign
- Mythic difficulty for Battle of Dazar’Alor raid, stage 5 of War Campaign
The Battle for Lordaeron summary
The Battle for Lordaeron is pre-Battle for Azeroth scenario which acts as an introduction to events taking place in the expansion mentioned above. The scenario itself is required to access features of Battle for Azeroth. However, the scenario is mandatory for only the first character that completes it, next ones can simply skip it.
The Battle of Lordaeron occurs after the Horde attack on Teldrassil. It is followed up by Alliance forces storming the Lordaeron in order to take control of it.
The aftermath of the Battle of Lordaeron leaves Undercity uninhabitable because of large quantities of blight surrounding the area.
Here are two videos concluding this scenario for both Allliance and Horde.
Varok Saurfang story questline expanded
“We will continue learning more about the story of Varok Saurfang, which we last saw broken in prison in Stormwind, unwilling to return to Sylvanas Windrunner’s Horde.”
Tyrande Whisperwind and Malfurion Stormrage storylines expanded
“We will have more development on the stories of Tyrande Whisperwind and Malfurion Stormrage, learning more about their emotions after the Burning of Teldrassil and what comes next for their tales.”
Vol’jin storyline expanded
“The next part of Vol'jin's story covers Talanji trying to discover why Vol'jin
appointed Sylvanas as the next Warchief. There are no clear answers at the end of her investigation, but dark implications.
This questline takes place after the Zuldazar raid, as Baine is horrified by Sylvanas' actions.”
Warfront: Battle for Darkshore
First let's take a closer look on newest Warfront titled Battle For Darkshore, and what awaits brave warriors who decide to battle through forests and shores of north-east Kalimdor.
Second, in terms of added Warfronts, Darkshore initially starts in the hands of The Forsaken and The Horde.
Alliance players willing to participate in Warfront will have to meet two requirements, first, they have to be max level (which is 120) and then complete the opening story with Tyrande and night elves. Here’s interesting cinematic where we can see the different side of Night Elves:
After completing these tasks they will be eligible to queue for the Warfront.
The Warfront itself consists of three stages: contribute, siege and patrol.
Contribute phase focuses on players gathering and bringing materials to designated NPCs which are located in Dazar'Alor for Horde and Boralus for Alliance. This phase ends when a threshold for resources is met. Resource gathering takes roughly a week usually.
Next phase is Siege, lasting roughly 30 minutes, where players join a 40-man group and are transported to an instance which looks similar to open world Darkshore region, except now it's populated with special NPCs and objectives required to complete the siege.
Your main objective as Horde player is reclaiming Darkshore after losing it to the Alliance. Alliance players have a similar goal which is taking Darkshore for themselves. For a more in-depth look, this short clips presents the siege from Horde perspective.
Patrol is the last of the stages and is available only if your faction successfully conquered the region. Players from the faction currently controlling Darkshore will be able to access a new faction-specific World Boss, rare creatures, and acquire new gear including new pets and mounts.
There are also brand new World Quests available for those still starving for new content.
Mount list available from Darkshore Warfront:
- Black Paw
- Kaldorei Nightsaber
- Ashenvale Chimaera
- Frightened Kodo
- Captured Umbar Nightsaber
- Sandy Nightsaber
You can receive them by killing various mobs in the Warfront.
Changes to Leveling System
In terms of leveling system, experience required for each level has been substantially reduced.
From level 20 to 110 the reduction is between 2.50% and 40% for a level, with levels 59 - 65 getting the highest reduction of 40%. Levels 111 - 120 get a much less significant reduction of 0.05 %, with level 114 being drop off point where it drops to 0.04% and later 0.03%.
As far as things related to leveling go, you might be interested in these new trinkets added in this year’s last patch:
Enchanted Warscroll - trinket for DPS classes with critical strike,
price: 75 Honorbound Service Medals
Battle Hymnal - trinket for DPS classes with haste
Price: 75 Honorbound Service Medals
Dusk Powder - trinket for DPS classes reducing threat
Price: 75 Honorbound Service Medals
Bolstering War Horn - trinket for Tank classes
Price: 75 Honorbound Service Medals
Cloak of Hardened Steel - a cloak for Tank with 5% bonus experience gain
Price: 50 Honor Bound Service Medals
You can purchase them from Provisioner Mukra located in Dazar’Alor.
New Heritage gear sets
Next on the list are Heritage Armors, Blood Elf and Dwarven ones, players with maximum level who play as either allied races will be able to get transmog set unique to their race.
In order to obtain a new set, the player has to be Exalted with their home-city (Ironforge for Dwarves and Silvermoon for Blood Elves) and finish new quest line associated with armor. Questline can be started by visiting the embassy in Orgrimmar (Horde players) or Stormwind (Alliance players). Below are images of the new set.
Bulwark of the Mountain King (transmog set)
Blood Elf Heritage Armor (based on Spellbreaker armor)
Level 110 players and above will get to experience Faction Assaults in Zandalar and Kul Tiras. However, they have to have unlocked World Quests on their account and start the War Campaign.
Faction Assaults will switch between Kul Tiras and Zandalar, offering players a chance to either help their faction attack or defend by completing various World Quests. If players want to check when the next Faction Assault is taking place, they have to open their world map, there a Horde or Alliance symbol shows the which side is currently invading.
You can also see the timer counting down in the upper middle section of the map. When it reaches 0, Assault ends.
Two new Island Expeditions
Final thing featured in our list is two entirely new Islands Expeditions called Heavenswood and Jorundall.
For players not familiar with what Island Expedition is: they are three player instances where you can either queue alone and be assigned with other players seeking adventures or join as full group, just like when joining a dungeon, from there you can choose if you want to play on Normal, Heroic or Mythic difficulties or face other players in separate PvP category.
On the isles themselves, your goal is to obtain as much Azurite as possible, either by killing monsters, mining special nodes or finding treasure chests that appear on the map.
Below is the picture of Heavenswood, one of the new islands.
There are some changes to the mechanics of obtaining rewards and completing the islands themselves. Now you don’t have to go out of your way to find and kill special enemies, because rewards for particular islands are given for enemies present on the island, not the ones you kill, thus drastically reducing the time needed for completing island for those that wanted to max out their possible rewards.
Also, the requirements for the weekly quest “Azerite For the Allliance” and “Azerite for The Horde” have been reduced down to 36,000 Azurite.
There are many new azerite traits added in Tides of Vengeance. The ones added in Battle For Azeroth initial release were mainly included to test the possibilities for adding new ones and experimenting with them in the future. Traits added in Tides of Vengeance are better and more effective.
Additionally, Blizzard announced some changes to M+ Azerite system.
New AI Teams
Patch 8.1 added two new AI Teams - Dark Iron Dwarves and Mag’har Orcs.
Gnomeregan Pet Dungeon
Along with Tides of Vengeance arrives new pet dungeon named Gnomeregan Pet Dungeon, the rewards for completing it are as follows:
For the Challenge version, Pet Battle Challenge: Gnomeregan (Achievement) and Mini-spider Tank (pet)
For normal version Ultimate Battle-Training Stone (item used to level up your pets) and the ability to teleport to the dungeon itself
Completing Challenge version weekly awards players with Pristine Gizmo which later can be exchanged with Micro Zoox for various items
Patch 8.1 introduces new rewards for Island Expeditions namely mounts and pets.
Here are some of them:
- Saltwater Seahors
- "These giant seahorses are naturally curious, and are often found exploring sunken ship wreckage for shiny things."
- Stillwing Albatross
- "One of the rarest birds seen on the island of the Great Sea, and a prized possession amongs traders, if they can capture it."
- Bloodgorged Hunter
- “If he wasn't so full, you wouldn't have caught him."
- Island Thunderscale
- "One of the larger native dragon species on Azeroth, this subspecies subsists almost entirely on fish. And fishermen."
- Risen Mare
- "Something terrible happened in the last town of Heavenswood."
- Stonehide Elderhorn
- "Stonehide elderhorns, one of the few types of moose to inhabit island climates, have thinner fur than more elderhorns."
Baby Stonehide - "The playful kicks of these baby moose are enough to knock an orc flat on his back."
Leatherwing Screecher - "We don't know much about this species, but we do know this: bats aren't bugs."
Rotting Ghoul - "Get it while it lasts."
Needleback Pup - "The needleback porcupines have survived life in island climates by evolving to be extra lucky."
Albino Duskwatcher - "Albino ravens are incredibly rare and highly prized amongst the traders of the Great Sea."
Shadefeather Hatchling - "Though barely a hatchling, its claws are already sharp enough to pierce the flesh of many smaller critters."
Firesting Buzzer - "Firesting wasps are said to have one of the worst bites of any wasp species, causing a pain like a burning blaze."
Lord Woofington - "Lord Woofington was given his title after the rest of the denizens of Havenswood succumbed to madness."
Tonguelasher - "It has one solution to all of its problems: give em' a lashing."
Scritches - "Key activities include: rolling over, sunning self, whimpering for belly scratches, and enjoying belly scratches."
Thunderscale Whelpling - "These whelps are frequently captured by the denizens of Jorundall when still young and trainable."
Crimson Octopode - "The crimson species of octopode grows larger and hardier than others, and is capable of sustaining crushing pressure in the depths."
Some of the enemies on the islands wear recolors of old raid sets, in case some of them may interest you here is their list along with pictures of each set.
- Faceless (Warlock T13 recolor)
- Swarmfury (Warlock T19 recolor)
- Frostwind (Mage T12 recolor)
- Hydraxian (Priest T12 recolor)
- Spider Acolyte (Warlock T12 recolor)
- Spiritbough (Druid T12 recolor)
- Tranquil Path (Monk T14 recolor)
- Miststalker (new armor)
- Whirling Dervish (Rogue T11 recolor)
- Feralbark (Druid T14 recolor)
- Firekin (Modified Druid T11)
- Wild Marauder (Hunter T14)
- Dragonrider (new armor)
- Saurok (Hunter T15)
- Mrrglurgll (Hunter T11 recolor)
- Headshrinker (Shaman T13 LFR recolor)
- Voodoo Stalker (Amani Mail recolor)
- Geocrag (Warrior T11 recolor)
- Razorfin (Paladin T12 recolor)
- Tomb-Keeper (Warrior T15 LFR)
- Bloodwake (new armor)
- Rattling Bone (Amani Plate recolor)
- Twilight Dragon (Warrior T13 recolor)
Legion LFR Solo Queue
Maybe a bit late, but in this update Blizzard added the option to solo queue for Looking For Raid type of the Legion raids. They are accessed by talking Archmage Timear near the Violet Hold in Dalaran.
Class Changes in Patch 8.1 BFA
Below is the list of changes applied to each class segregated by Class.
Veteran of the Third War - Stamina increased by 10% (changed from 60%), removed armor increase, specializations changed from Blood to Blood/Frost/Unholy
Blood Boil - Deals (30% of attack power) Shadow damage and infects all enemies within 10 yards with Blood Plague. Blood Plague drains 64 hp over 24 seconds (increased from 0 hp over 24 seconds)
Death’s Caress - Reach out with necrotic tendrils, dealing (14,742% of attack power) Shadow damage and applying Blood Plague to your target. Blood Plague drains 64 hp over 24 seconds (increased from 0 hp over 24 seconds)
Bonestorm - A whirl of bone and gore batters nearby enemies, dealing (15.2334% of Attack power) Shadow damage every 1 sec, and healing you for 3% of your maximum health every time it deals damage (up to 15%). Lasts 1 sec per 10 Runic Power spent. (added “up to 15%” condition)
Will of the Necropolis - Damage taken below 30% (reduced from 35%) Health is reduced by 30% (reduced from 35%)
Dark Simulacrum - Places a dark ward on an enemy player that persists for 12 sec, triggering when the enemy next spends mana on a spell and allowing the Death Knight to unleash an exact duplicate of that spell.
(Cost reduced from 20 Runic Power to 0 Runic Power)
(Cooldown reduced from 25-second cooldown to 20-second cooldown)
Heartstop Aura - Decreases the cooldown recovery rate of abilities by 30% (increased from 20%) to all enemies within 8 yards.
Specializations changed from Blood/Frost/Unholy to Blood/Frost
Murderous Intent - You focus the assault on this target,(changed from “Intimidates the target”) increasing their damage taken by 3% for 6 seconds. Each unique player that attacks the target increases the damage taken by an additional 3%, stacking up to 5 times (15%).
Your melee attacks refresh the duration of Focused Assault (changed from “Intimidated”)
(Only cosmetic change of wording in the tooltip to better fit the ability)
Breath of Sindragosa - Continuously deal (52% of attack power (reduced from 58%)) * (((Attack power + Offhand attack power) * 2 / 3) / Attack power) Frost damage every 1 second to enemies in a cone in front of you. Deals reduced damage to secondary targets. You will continue breathing until your Runic Power is exhausted or you cancel the effect.
Remorseless Winter Drain the warmth of life from all nearby enemies within 8 yards,
dealing [9 * (5.5% of Attack power) * ((Attack power + Offhand attack power) * 2 / 3) / Attack power] Frost damage over 8 sec and reducing their movement speed by 20%.
Death Strike's cost is reduced by 10, and its healing is increased by 60%
Dead of Winter - After your Remorseless Winter deals damage 5 times to a target, they are Stunned for 4 seconds (new)
Remorseless Winter's cooldown is increased by 25 seconds and its radius is reduced to 5 yards.
Chill Streak - Deals up to 6% (increased from 3%) of the target's total health in Frost damage and reduces their movement speed by 70% for 4 sec.
Chill Streak bounces up to 9 times between closest targets within 6 yards.
(removed) Deathchill - Your death grip automatically applies Chains of Ice free of cost, and when you Chains of Ice target already afflicted by your Chains of Ice you Freeze them, rooting them in place for 4 seconds.
(added) (new) Deathchill - Your Remorseless Winter and Chains of Ice apply Deathchill, rooting the target in place for 4 seconds.
Remorseless Winter (new) - All targets within 5 yards are afflicted with Deathchill when Remorseless Winter is cast.
Chains of Ice - When you Chains of Ice a target already afflicted by your Chains of Ice, they will be afflicted by Deathchill.
Decomposing Aura - All enemies within 10 yards slowly decay, losing up to 3% of their max health every 2 seconds. Stacks up to 5 times. Lasts 6 seconds.
Specializations changed from Blood/Frost/Unholy to Blood/Unholy.
Delirium - Your Howling Blast and Frost Strike apply Delirium to the target.
Delirium - A disease that debilitates the targets movement, reducing the cooldown recovery rate of movement enhancing abilities by 25%. Stacks up to 2 times. Lasts for 15 seconds (increased from 8 seconds).
(new) Lichborne - Draw upon unholy and frost energies to become Undead for 10 sec. While undead all damage is reduced by 30% and you are nearly unstoppable becoming immune to Stun, Snare, Fear, and Root effects.
However, during Lichborne you cannot move faster than 50% of normal speed.
Bursting Sores - Bursting a Festering Wound deals 25% more damage, and dealls (20% of Attack power) Shadow damage to all nearby targets (changed from “up to 8 nearby targets”).
Death and Decay - Necrotic Strike now also hits all enemies near the target.
All Will Serve - The Risen Skulker's Skulker Shot deals 5.63% (reduced from 6.63%) damage, and now properly scales with player's haste.
(removed) Unholy Mutation - Virulent Plague now erupts for 400% of normal eruption damage when dispelled or it expires. Targets struck by this eruption have their movement speed reduced by 50% for 6 seconds.
(removed) Crypt Fever - Enemies healed while afflicted by your Festering Wounds have a chance to take (16.38% of Attack power) Shadow damage.
Ghoulish Monstrosity - Ghouls summoned by Army of the Dead leap together to form a single ghoulish monstrosity.
Reduces the cooldown of Army of the Dead by for 4 minutes.
(new) Life and Death When targets afflicted by your Festering Wound are healed, you are also healed for 10% of the amount.
In addition, your Virulent Plague now erupts for 400% of normal eruption damage when dispelled.
(new) Necromancer's Bargain - The cooldown of your Apocalypse is reduced by 45 seconds, but your Apocalypse no longer summons ghouls but instead applies Crypt Fever to the target.
Deals up to 8% of the targets maximum health in Shadow damage over 4 sec. Healing spells cast on this target will refresh the duration of Crypt Fever.
Necrotic Strike - A vicious strike that deals (30% of Attack power (increased from 16.4424%)) Plague damage and converts 1 Festering Wound into a Necrotic Wound, absorbing up to 8% of the target's maximum health in healing received (changed from “the next (150 / 100 * Attack power) healing received by the target”).
(removed) Pandemic - When you use Outbreak, all enemies within 25 yards afflicted by your diseases take (16.38% of Attack power) Shadow damage and the duration of your diseases on them are refreshed.
(removed) Wandering Plague Outbreak also infects the target with Wandering Plague, causing 16 Shadow damage over 8 seconds. When Wandering Plague's duration ends or is dispelled, it jumps to a nearby enemy within 30 yards afflicted by one of your diseases.
Lasts for 3 jumps.
You can only have one Wandering Plague active at any one time.
(new) Raise Abomination - Raises an Abomination for 25 seconds which wanders and attacks enemies near where it was summoned, applying Festering Wound when it melees targets, and affecting all those nearby with Virulent Plague.
Immolation Aura - Engulf yourself in flames, instantly causing (24.57% of Attack power) Fire damage to enemies within 8 yards and radiating (9.1728% of Attack power) Fire damage every second. Lasts 10 seconds
Generates 10 + 80 Fury (changed from 10 + (7 * 10) Fury ) over 10 sec.
Demonic Origins - The cooldown of Metamorphosis is reduced by 2 min, but now lasts 15 seconds.
(removed) While not in Metamorphosis, your damage is increased by 5%.
(removed) Mana Break - Deals up to 5% of the target's maximum health in Chaos damage.
Damage is increased the lower the target's current mana, up to 25% of the target's maximum health in damage.
(added) Mana Break - Deals up to 5% of the target's maximum health in Chaos damage, and increases the mana cost of their spells by 30% for 10 seconds.
Mana Rift - You manifest a 6-yard wide mana rift under the feet of the target.
After 2.50 seconds (increased from 2 seconds), it erupts dealing up to 8% of each enemy’s (changed from “enemies”) maximum health in Chaos damage and destroys 8% of the each enemy's (changed from “enemies”) total mana if present.
Range changed to 8 yards (from 20 yards)
Spirit Bomb - Consume up to 5 Soul Fragments within 25 yards and then explode, afflicting nearby enemies with Frailty for 20 sec and damaging them for (22.113% of Attack power) Fire per fragment.
You heal for 10% of all damage you deal to enemies with Frailty.
Range changed from 40 yards range to 0 yards.
Demonic Trample - Transform to demon form, moving at 175% increased speed (changed from “You enter Metamorphosis, moving at 200%”) for 3 (reduced from 5 seconds) seconds, knocking down all enemies in your path and dealing (10.3194% of Attack power) Physical damage.
During Demonic Trample you are unaffected by snares but cannot cast spells or use your normal attacks. (added) Shares charges with Infernal Strike.
Cooldown changed from 45 seconds cooldown to 20 seconds recharge.
Charges changed from 0 to 2 Charges.
Tormentor - You focus the assault on this target (changed from “Intimidates the”), increasing their damage taken by 3% for 6 sec. Each unique player that attacks the target increases the damage taken by an additional 3%, stacking up to 5 times.
Your melee attacks refresh the duration of Focused Assault (changed from “Intimidated”).
Chaos Brand - Your (removed “fire”) damage brands the target, increasing magic damage taken by 5%.
Entire Class Changelist for Patch 8.1 would take too much space so for those wanting to see how it affects class they are playing I recommend visiting official WoW site or Wowhead's comprehensive change log for Patch 8.1 where you can see each class: death knight, demon hunter, druid, hunter, mage, monk, paladin, priest, rogue, shaman, warlock, warrior.
You can also visit their forums to give feedback, ask questions to community or simply join the discussion about said changes!
In the upcoming days, specifically 22nd of January we should expect Season 2 which will add Battle of Dazar’Alor Raid, Mythic+ Keystones and Season 2 PvP Arena and probably a lot more.
Armor sets from Battle of Dazar’Alor Raid will be inspired by Bwonsamdi’s armor, just like Uldir’s was similar to Titan armory.
For Hearthstone players I have prepared a quick update that arrived on December 19.
This latest patch for Hearthstone’s latest expansion Rastakhan’s Rumble contains only some balance changes for Standard and Wild formats. Citations are taken from official Blizzard site.
Wild Growth - mana cost is 3 (increased from 2 mana)
Nourish - mana cost is 6 (increased from 5 mana)
“Wild Growth and Nourish have been present in every mid-range, combo, and control Druid deck since their introduction in the Basic and Classic set.
When cards from the Basic and Classic set are too powerful, they can have negative long-term effects on the game. Continuously playing against these cards can start to feel repetitive, and they can feel so mandatory that they stifle creative deckbuilding decisions.
By increasing the mana cost of both cards by one, we expect them to be considerations in late-game control Druid decks, but more difficult to fit in strategies that don’t directly take advantage of ramping mana.”
Level Up! - Mana cost is 6 (increased from 5 mana)
“Odd Paladin has consistently been one of the most powerful and most played decks since its introduction in The Witchwood. By removing Level Up from Odd Paladin, we still expect it to be a competitive board control deck, just with more consistent damage output that should be easier to play around.”
Saronite Chain Gang - Taunt. Battlecry: Summon another Saronite Chain Gang.
(changed from “Battlecry: Summon a copy of this minion”)
“Shudderwock brings an interesting combo to the table, but playing Shudderwock multiple times in a single game can be frustrating.
Changing Saronite Chain Gang makes playing multiple Shudderwocks in a game much more difficult. Shudderwock should now exist as a powerful one-turn effect rather than constantly copying itself with Saronite Chain Gang’s Battlecry.”
Leeching Poison - Give your weapon Lifesteal this turn. Mana cost is 1.
(changed from “Give your weapon Lifesteal”. Mana cost is 2)
“We love the fantasy of building a powerful weapon over the course of a game with Kingsbane, but granting it a permanent Lifesteal effect with Leeching Poison resulted in an endgame with few weaknesses, as well as conflicting with our philosophy that Rogues should not have persistent self-healing effects.
Making the Lifesteal effect only active for one turn should address some of the power level issues with Kingsbane Rogue’s late game.”
That is all for now, if you want to take a more detailed look into the update or if you want to read patch notes I recommend visiting official World of Warcraft site or checking News segment in Battle.Net launcher.