If you’re waking up in Europe this morning 6.2.3 is already live on servers, which is always a pleasant surprise. That means it’s time to put aside the Legion chat for the week and concentrate on what this Patch brings you, why you ought to be playing, and what these changes will mean for the game in light of what we know about the Broken Isles. As is traditional therefore at such occasions we’ll stick the whole ‘Weekly Column’ thing on hold and give you a detailed breakdown of what to expect and where to find it with some lovely picture accompaniment. There’s actually quite a lot here to get through, so strap yourselves in and let’s begin with a surprise: an old friend has returned, and this time it has no limit.
You’ll see from the screenshot above that there’s the return of what we thought was an obsolete currency to the UI: Valor. It is the retro way to upgrade your gear, and so those lovely Ethereal chaps have some work to do again in various capital cities. If you’re looking for them in Stormshield and Warspear? They should be inside the Mage Tower. Items can be upgraded if looted from Hellfire Citadel, Tanaan Jungle, Draenor Dungeons and in a change from previous, if they have been crafted. Your gear can be upgraded twice, 250 Valor required for each +5 ilvl upgrade. Where you get the Valor is as follows:
- 100 from the first random Heroic dungeon per day, to a MAXIMUM OF 700
- 500 is awarded from most weekly quests (go check now)
- 150 from your first run of any Hellfire Citadel LFR wing, meaning a 750 MAXIMUM
- 75 from your first run of any Highmaul/Blackrock Foundry LFR wing, meaning a 525 MAXIMUM
- 300 from each Mythic Dungeon you do meaning a 2400 MAXIMUM
There was some surprise that a weekly cap on Valor was not imposed, but if you’re prepared to do all of that in a week to earn it all? Good luck to you.
New Timewalking Dungeons
Because it may be some time before we see Legion go live, Blizzard have (quite sensibly) introduced what isn’t what you could call new content per se, but certainly counts as an interim displacement activity. A bunch of Cataclysm Dungeons have joined the Timewalking Event ‘rotation’, which begins today and runs until Monday 23rd. Those dungeons are as follows:
- End Time
- Grim Batol
- Lost City of the Tol’vir
- The Stonecore
- The Vortex Pinnacle
- Throne of the Tides.
The more sharp-eyed amongst you watching the Blizzcon Virtual Ticket will have seen the Stonecore making an appearance in Legion, as it appears to play a part in the sequence of events that Shaman will experience to pick up their Doomhammer (your spec may vary.) It’s not a stretch to suppose that Blizzard is using all of these dungeons (including the ones in the TBC and Wrath rotations) to reacquaint players with places they’ll be asked to visit again when Legion goes live. Needless to say, while you’re waiting for the Expansion to be made, these dungeons are a decent distraction. There’s rewards too, as we have discussed in previous columns. I’m here for the Mounts, in the main, but my alts will be happy to take the pile of Timewarped Badges for gear upgrades when they can. There’s no doubting the popularity of this ‘new’ event with players however, and it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that we’ll see some Pandarian destinations added in 2016. You heard it here first.
The Moose that Divided a Player Base
The Reins of the Grove Warden is now live in game. This was the Moose Mount that was supposed to be a purchase from the in-game Store, but when it became apparent how many people were interested? Blizzard decided to stick it as a reward, for killing Archimonde at Heroic Level or above. Needless to say, this has pretty much divided opinion as to why and how this thing should now be awarded. Guilds are already offering runs in exchange for cash (your Server may vary) and in response to this rampant display of capitalism? The #FriendshipMoose was born. If you’d like to win this mount but don’t have the cash at hand to buy a run you’ll want to check out www.friendshipmoose.com where you’ll find a place to pick up a group to get you to Archimonde. The site is looking for people to help with this as well of those wanting to obtain a mount. Needless to say? It is encouraging to see the Community moving together to make this happen. Whatever your thoughts on the motivation? Snacks need to be awarded for both industry and application. I’m already seeing pictures from the US of this Mount under players, so clearly there’s an enthusiasm to both obtain and ride it.
Mythic Changes and Cross Realm Raiding
For the many people who still haven’t ‘done’ Hellfire Citadel’ properly, 6.2.3 opens cross-realm possibilities to allow teams to recruit from outside their Server clusters. It also sees some significant changes to Mythic Dungeons: boss drops will now range between 685 and 725 in increments of 5 item levels. The higher the ilevel, the less a chance you’ll have to get the drop, so be aware this is very much a case of the RNG guiding your destiny. More importantly, every Mythic has a chance of an Heirloom Trinket drop (five varieties) which will scale to iLevel 800 (and level 110) If you didn’t know already, this is Blizzard encouraging you back into the 5 man mindset. These dungeons are hard, really hard, and they require a level of technical competence I struggled with the last time I tried them. Needless to say, this makes the effort very much worth the potential rewards in my mind, and I’ll be back in them over the coming months. It’s also a demonstration of how the ‘level scaling’ mechanics in dungeons is becoming a key part of how Blizzard varies difficulty. Expect to see this as a significant factor in Legion, meaning you can effectively level wherever you like on the Broken Isles, and the content will scale to you.
Season Three PvP Begins
Needless to say, this would not be a ‘proper’ review of changes if I didn’t stick PvP here somewhere. I am reliably informed that the ‘average’ PvP Season is 20 weeks or so, so expect those Pandaran Timewalking Dungeons sometime in April 2016 😛 But seriously, this is probably your last chance to do biffing Old Skool Stylee before it all changes forever in Legion (and it will.) A reminder that 6.2 introduced Mercenary Mode for players, which will shorten queue times by allowing you to pretend you’re the other faction. Sadly, this only applies to max level characters, but if my 15 year old is any indicator it doesn’t matter, you’ll be having fun in Skirmishes and Arenas regardless of the chaos everywhere else. This may finally be the opportunity that some of you have been looking for, and it could be worth giving Ashran a spin before many of the PvP based achievements become impossible to complete. If you’re looking for something to do on a dark Winter weekend? Grab some friends and get yourselves organised: remember, this still counts as current content in game 😀
So, that’s your lot, more or less. This patch, depending on your outlook, is either to give more things to do while they get Legion ready to Beta or the mother of all incentives to those who haven’t yet raided in Warlords. Mostly, I’m here for the Timewalking Mounts, and to lament the fact that sometimes, carrots on sticks just aren’t enough to make people want to play. Mostly, having Valor back makes me realise that all the data in the world sometimes won’t make people make mistakes with what they choose to take out or leave in an MMO. The Apexis ‘experiment’ is now largely redundant, and I’d expect the game to return to the same model it was using at the end of Pandaria to allow upgrades at only a certain point in the game’s lifespan. But that’s by no means certain: there’s still a lot of gaps in the roadmap to the Broken Isles that need filling. And that’s where Beta comes in: Blizzard made it very clear at Anaheim we could expect to see movement on that front in weeks and not months. With 6.2.3 there is nothing to stop this happening… well, now. The Class Blogs have been run out, and it’s apparent that the direction we’re taking has learnt a lot from the communications issues of the last year. Clearly, there’s a lot of enthusiasm and excitement for what is to come. What we could do with now is more information.
So, now we wait.