If the release candidate’s live and you’ve downloaded the background data, it can mean only one thing: Warcraft Patch 7.2 is imminent.
There’s yet another Developer Q&A due on Thursday and I’ll bet this small pile of Goblin Gold (/point) that after that hour of Twitch is done, you’ll know the release date. Even if you separate me from that fortune, the inevitable is coming. It is probably high time we prepared ourselves for the plethora of content that this latest major content patch provides.
Grab yourself a beverage of choice, sit back and we’ll tell you what you can expect for the next couple of months of World of Warcraft existence.
No Shore Like the Broken Shore
It should come as no surprise by now that our adventures in 7.2 start with a quest from Khadgar. Very soon you’ll be embroiled into a solo scenario at the Broken Shore which will establish your Class Hall’s base of operations on the island home to the Tomb of Sargeras. For some of us, this will mean the opening of old wounds. Without spoiling anything for the Alliance, you’ll have some unfinished business from the Legion cinematic to deal with before too long, but let’s not get too ahead of ourselves.
We’re all heading for Deliverance Point, which the official blog describes as ‘a sanctuary for members of all Class Orders’ which is useful because it means that we’ll all be working towards the same ends this time around. In no particular order, that means you’ll have the chance to participate in a whole new slew of World Quests for the normal sweep of rewards which include that all important AP for your Artifact weapon (more on that below).
However, this is far more than just a quest hub, and hints at the lessons learned from both the Timeless Isle and Tanaan Jungle when it comes to areas designated for players to build and populate in later expansion life.
A New Breed of Construction
Unsurprisingly, as this place borrows heavily from the previous two expansions, all these new quests reward players with a currency: Legionfall War Supplies. There’s also the by now standard reputation grind with your new best friends, the Armies of Legionfall.
Here’s where things divert a little from the normal setup of previous questing hubs: there’s the opportunity to construct key buildings across Deliverance Point, all of which have their own advantages and disadvantages in construction. All of them grant an effective 3-day buff and the chance to access special quests, plus additional zone benefits, depending on which one is chosen.
It isn’t just up to you, either, this is a decision everybody gets a say in. Every player in your game region has the opportunity to decide what gets built, so think before you commit.
After 72 hours the building is destroyed by pesky Legion forces, and so you have to start the process all over again. Also, you’ll want to be gathering as many Nethershards as you can. They drop from Elites, quests, bosses and will grant you the opportunity to buy catch up gear either for yourself or alts. You’ll also want to be fighting on the Sentinax whenever you get the chance, but as to why? Well, I’ll leave you to discover that adventure for yourself.
Presumably, once we’ve completed the inevitable story based content that will also emerge from this zone, it will be time for 7.2.5 after which we’ll see the Tomb of Sargeras raid content released.
Artifact or Fiction?
Your Artifact is about to get a whole new dimension added to it in 7.2, assuming you’ve purchased all 35 of the ranks currently available, there’ll be a new quest line to unlock access to four new traits.
However, that’s not all: there’s a whole new slew of hidden appearances waiting to be discovered, which are linked to those Deliverance Point construction projects. They appear to be reminiscent of the healing, DPS and tank challenges that formed the basis of the Proving Grounds feature in Mists of Pandaria and will allow you access to a completely new look for your artifact. If I believe what the official blog tells me, this is also a fair bit harder than those events used to be, and it appears you’ll require both some decent gear and a brain to complete them. Presumably the tech is far more sophisticated for starters…
Your Class Order quest line will also continue on the Broken Shore, allowing players to further increase the rate at which you accrue Artifact power via Artifact Knowledge. If you’re already at level 25, you can unlock Knowledge level 26 and beyond after some work, and even if you’re not, you’ll find that a quest is provided to help with the catch-up.
If you enjoy that whole ‘followers and missions’ thing too (which is making me a decent income via the app, it must be said) there’s the chance to pick up an extra follower as the weeks go on and (presumably) more opportunities to increase your ability to utilize them and the other inactive Followers you possess. If you’ve completed the Nighthold and now own all of the Pillars of Creation? We’re about to return those items to their final resting places…
A Whole New 5 Man Adventure
Just when you thought this expansion couldn’t get any more like Wrath of the Lich King, we’ve also got a new 5-man dungeon to play with at the top of the Tomb which is giving some serious Halls of Reflection vibes.
The Cathedral of Eternal Night uses some of the same locations as the Sargeras raid itself and is the spot where you’ll be expected to return the Aegis of Aggramar… except there are a few of the Legion’s forces who have other ideas. It also appears that the final boss Mephistroth is a bit miffed that the heart of his favored General Jagganoth is taking pride of place in the Warlock Order Hall ‘as both a warning and source of power.’ So, you might want to pick your group composition for this one with care…
I’d also be remiss in any preview not to mention that there’s also a whole slew of Class Specific mounts on offer for players to take to the skies with once they’ve completed Part Two of their flying achievements. In fact, they serve as the reward to you doing just that: unsurprisingly, however, you will need to hit revered with those lovely Armies of Legionfall, to have explored the entire Broken Shore and repelled Demon Invasions across the Broken Isles. So really, not that much work at all.
A lot of quality of life changes are going to happen with Warcraft patch 7.2, including numerous improvements to the UI in-line with various player requests. The Transmog UI now lists Tier sets and Dungeon sets, is far more searchable than it ever was, allowing you to identify loot via dungeon name and which boss drops it. You’ll finally be able to open all mail with a single button, opposing faction names on PvE servers are orange instead of red, and you’ll be able to track which spells have not been placed an action bar by a highlight in your spell book.
All of these changes are minor tweaks, but major improvements to a system that continues to do its best to be all things to every player.
It’s also very likely that there’ll be some hidden stuff in this patch that isn’t being discussed, if the previous patch form is any indicator. Mostly, you’ll want to be out in the world once patch 7.2 hits with your wits about you, just in case anything unusual or suspicious pops up.
There’s a ton of new content incoming, and most of that is more than meaty enough to keep the casual playerbase busy for quite some time.
The decision not to release the patch with raid content front-loaded is a shrewd one too, giving the hardcore community time to farm Gul’dan and the Nighthold for some time yet before the new instance becomes a focus of attention. However, for me at least, 7.2 is not nearly as interesting as what will happen once it goes live. We already know what that means too because it has been promised since Blizzcon X. First comes a 7.2.5 mini patch and then… things get really very interesting indeed.
After 7.2.5 comes Argus, the Draenei Homeworld, and presumably an awful lot more new and interesting things to do in terms of plot, artifacts and everything else.
If we are still to believe what we’ve been told and this isn’t going to morph sometime in the summer into an expansion announcement at Gamescom, one wonders what we’ll be doing there, or indeed what the bigger plan decided is going forward. I have my own theories on this that you can read on my Blog, and please feel free to add your ideas of what could be next in the comments.
I’m still fairly confident we’ll have a release date sooner rather than later, even with continued PvP and raid testing taking place on the PTR this week. Many things have changed for the better during this expansion, and by far the most reassuring one is that nothing holds back the pace of genuine development. This patch has seen a complete redefinition of communications channels from Blizzard, with far more front end explanation than at any point in this game’s history. If that alone is the legacy Legion leaves in its wake, I for one will be beyond happy.
Let’s hope patch 7.2 is only a week away.Related: Blizzard Entertainment, Column, Legion, MMORPG, Patch 7.2, Update, World of Warcraft, WoW Wednesday