Hopefully, by the time you read this 7.1.5 will be available to play on EU servers as well as in the US. As what has now become traditional, I’ll now spend some time filling you in on details, but at the same time there are a couple of larger issues to consider as we head into 2017. This isn’t the most content-packed of updates to the UI, but there’s a phenomenal amount of tuning for both classes and specs. On top of that, many people are already looking forward to Patch 7.2, which should be due on the PTR sooner rather than later.
— World of Warcraft (@Warcraft) January 10, 2017
However, we are getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s start with a small issue that arose on Monday night.
These are Not the Notes You’re Looking For
Even before we got 7.1.5, there was a bit of a kerfuffle over a staple of Blizzard’s entire development process: the patch notes. When the Official Blog for the patch was published after the confirmation that it would be going live on the 6th, a link to those notes was quite obviously missing. Those players paying attention knew that the CM who was normally responsible for collating the notes was no longer employed at Irvine and perhaps this had been overlooked in the final collation process… it appears that was indeed was the case. When the notes were eventually released, they bore very little resemblance to what many people knew had been iterated on the PTR, including sections both missing and transposed into incorrect specs.
Of course, it was all cleared up with the minimum amount of fuss, and the CM responsible has already promised this won’t happen again. I’m sure it won’t and that many lessons have been learned going forward in relation to how the company prepares for transition. There’s a genuine sense this time around that not only is Blizzard doing its best to ensure everything that players need is at their disposal but also that confusion over change is kept a minimum. Now, all EU players have to do is remind the company that we may all share the same social media feed, but Europe still patches a day later. Maybe announcing that 7.1.5 was live yesterday and confusing lots of new European players wasn’t the smartest move. Perhaps going forward, everyone can standardize both the dates and times that come out of California going forward.
Brawling, Timewalking and Catch-Up, Oh My!
This patch, however, does include interesting content. On top of the list of new features is Pandarian Timewalking; you’ll need to be Level 91 or higher to take part, and these are the Dungeons to choose from: Temple of the Jade Serpent, Stormstout Brewery, Shado-Pan Monastery, Mogu’shan Palace, Siege of Niuzao Temple and Gate of the Setting Sun. That’s basically everything in the Expansion with the interesting exception of Scholomance and Scarlet Monastery. The rewards are the usual selection of mounts, toys and pets, and you’ll find the vendor on the Timeless Isle. I’m going to assume this is a move that will perhaps encourage new players to go have a play with the end game content from that era.
Then the Brawlers Guild is back, with Ray D. Tear making an appearance among a selection of new bosses. Most notable among these is ‘a Seagull,’ which is presumably a nod to the real bosses that players encounter in the Eye of Azsuna. You’ll need to search for a brand new Blood-Soaked Invitation to take part; they can be found in emissary chest rewards or after completing Legion dungeons. If all else fails, the Patch Notes reliably inform me that the elite vrykul of Shield’s Rest in Stormheim (who know a thing or two about brawling) might be worth visiting for a chance at an Invitation.
Most importantly, for those of you wishing to expedite your artifact Research and get those long neglected alts leveled? Head to your Class Order Hall for new Bind-on-Account items, which will make that process considerably faster. If you’re a fresh 110, go seek out the repeatable quests to swap your Order Hall Resources for Artifact Knowledge. Add these to your BoA items and alts can easily attain higher Artifact Knowledge levels with the minimum amount of fuss. It has also been made considerably faster to complete Class Hall research from Tiers 3-6, and the Legion Companion Mobile App will, we are reliably informed, be updated to reflect these changes.
Finally, the first of many Micro Holidays will now go live at the end of this month, lots of 3 star recipes will be easier to find, and Enchanting, Engineering, Inscription and Jewelcrafting have new things to both make and discover. After that, it is all Class and Spec changes, and because I’ll never do all those justice in a weekly column I would strongly suggest you go read that section of the Notes for yourself. You can find them all here.
(Almost) Time for the Tomb of Sargeras
Ironically, a lot of chatter on my Social media yesterday had nothing to do with what the US had just been given but what they’d be playing next. After this, we’re looking at the trip to 7.2 and the next part of Broken Isles Pathfinder… which will give you flying across the continent and presumably encourage a lot of people to just skip all the hard stuff and go smash all the difficult location Achievements in a weekend. Then there’s Class Specific Mounts and potentially tons of quests and progression to unlock on the Broken Shore… all of which has not really been discussed at any length by the developers.
We may have a Dev Q&A coming up on Thursday, but that is more likely to be focused on what we’ve been given with scant regard played to the future, which is a shame for those who are already trying to plan their lives around ensuring they’ll be in the skies as soon as is conceivably possible. The ending of the Nighthold h as been the elephant in the room since 7.1; those spoilers are available online and have been for some time, and so with what is known from Helya raiders, many are already well aware there’s an awful lot at stake heading into 7.2. Quite apart from the possibilities we’re having lined up for the time afterwards, one assumes there’s also going to be new and interesting things to do with our Artifacts.
I used to love speculation over what was coming in this game, but now derive far more enjoyment living in the moment. That means once I’ve finished the column I’ll be off to polish off the last of my World Quests and make sure that I’ve done at least five of those in Highmountain, so I can attack the next part of my Snowfeather Hatchling quest chain. Just because I’m not raiding, doesn’t mean that there’s not a plan to be followed or objectives to complete. As a casual player, it might not all revolve around gearing and progression anymore, but I can still have stuff to look forward to. It will be helpful to be able to gain my artifact power quickly on the one alt I have working towards that, but I remain very much not the target audience for 7.1.5 as she’s far more interested at present in Tailoring and Enchanting.
For everybody else, however, this Patch should go towards restoring confidence that Blizzard understands the balance that needs to be struck between achievement and playability. It provides those who require it a far easier means to pick and choose which of their many characters are leveled, and it introduces two new and important forms of additional distraction. I’m already hearing some interesting stories coming from the US: Blingtron 6000’s providing Legendary loot and World Quest rewards updated for an audience who still enjoy that daily grind. As to how it plays, well I can’t tell you that until the EU is patched, and when that happens you can be sure I’ll be diving in to experience it for myself.
The last couple of weeks have seen a lot of irritability from the Community, which hopefully will now be assuaged by a whole new set of Things to Do and Stuff to Learn. It’s probably opportune, therefore, that we only have a week to wait until The Nighthold opens and players can begin a whole new gear grind. After that, we are truly into unknown territory, and you can guarantee the PTR will be dissected daily for news of what lies in store for us once we leave the Broken Isles and head for Argus. I’d like to say I’m excited, but that would be a lie. I’m happy to no longer stare longingly forward at the stuff we don’t have and would far rather concentrate on the things that matter. That means focusing on the here and now. I’ll update my addons, download the client and wait until I’m told we’re live. That shouldn’t be long, if today’s US experience is any indicator, and then it’s on with more of the same.Related: Blizzard Entertainment, Column, Legion, MMORPG, World of Warcraft, WoW Wednesday