Hello, I’m the new girl. Let’s get straight to it and discuss in some detail what you can expect to see happen in Patch 6.2 when it finally goes live. This post therefore contains spoilers for the Legendary Ring questline and plot development generally if you’ve not already completed it all in 6.1. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Despite what you and I might have thought was possible when we arrived on Draenor, it appears the corruption of the Iron Horde by Gul’dan was inevitable, and 6.2 will see players heading to Tanaan to try and prevent a catastrophe of planet-wide proportions:
Having lured Grommash Hellscream’s former lieutenants with promises of untold power, Gul’dan has delivered the Iron Horde to the Burning Legion. Now, he floods the jungles of Tanaan with energies from the fallen pit lord Mannoroth, creating an army of fel orcs brimming with demonic strength and insatiable bloodlust. Even the Iron Horde’s mighty war machines have been infused with fel energy, while the Shadow Council recruits fanatical arakkoa to help crush all who oppose the Legion. Whether Horde or Alliance, as commander of your side’s garrison in Draenor you must oversee the construction of warships to assault Tanaan and disrupt the Iron Horde’s frenzied preparations — then stop Gul’dan before his fel masters can gain a foothold on Draenor. If you fail, there will be nothing left to prevent the Burning Legion’s obliteration of Azeroth. (Source)
So all that stuff about destroying the Dark Portal? Merely a setback. At the heart of Draenor’s defence efforts is your Garrison (which Blizzard and I are assuming you’re living in currently) from which your new task in 6.2 will be to constuct a Shipyard. You’ll build a boat so you can sail to Tanaan, after which you’ll gain access to a Timeless Isle style area which will be full of pets, mounts, cool items to collect for your Toybox and hordes of… well, ravenous Iron Horde, hell-bent on hastening your destruction. At the centre of this sits the Hellfire Citadel Instance, and inside that is a reminder that we’re definitely not in Kansas any more. This is distinctly Multiverse territory for long-term players, with some genuine surprises in store, quite apart from the fact players will have to dispatch a Zombie Mannoroth on their journey.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s go back to your Garrison, because everyone does eventually, and discuss what is a significant development in the ‘game-play’ aspect of that structure.
Your Shipyard can only be built if you own a Level Three structure, so that means L100, and it requires a completely new ‘resource’: Oil. This has a 100,000 resource cap so presumably it’ll be more plentiful than your Garrison Resources were in the early days of your levelling adventures. However, it is used in a similar fashion: for buying and equipping a selection of seafaring vessels (including submarines!) and it is the ‘cost’ of sending those vessels out on missions. Rewards for the Naval encounters are an interesting combination of items that will assist players in their tasks: rewards like Champion’s Honor grants the PvP-ers amongst you 1000 Honor and Conquest while the Frozen Arms of a Hero gives a 50 level item boost to all those poor Followers who are stuck back at your HQ, presumably feeling a bit left out they don’t get to say that they’re ‘On a Boat.’ Ships can also be equipped with a selection of ‘augmentations’ that will help you succeed in battle as Traits and Abilities do for your Followers now: it’s pretty familiar territory for those of you reguarly playing the Missions Mini-game.
Then there’s Tanaan itself, which as we stated is pretty much the Timeless Isle Redux: a selection of Toybox additions, rare spawns and legendary Battle Pets which should give something for everyone in the ‘Casual Play’ department. Blizzard themselves have provided an interesting Blog on what to expect: a new series of random quests will take players through the developing story and further into the jungles of the zone. There they will encounter a selection of what Blizzard are calling ‘Objective Hubs’: similar to the choices you’re given in your Garrison, one of two ‘options’ will offer an opportunity for rewards and to help keep the massed Iron Hordes at bay. This will be familiar fare for those still playing the Daily Objectives and collecting their currencies. Blizzard however are aware that incentives for doing this have been lacking of late, and so there’s a real push to encourage players to partake in the entire 6.2 experience across all forms of gameplay.
With this in mind, the Bonus Event ‘concept’ will be introduced to try and provide that all-important added push towards completing events players might not normally take part in. This includes a Pet Battle bonus of experience at triple the usual rate, and rewards for taking part in Pet Battle PvP. Defeating enemies in any level 100 Heroic or Mythic dungeon (more on that below) will also award reputation with a Draenor faction, though note this is dependant on the dungeon you undertake and cannot be specified. One of the biggest generic criticisms of the Expansion thus far from players has been that ‘there’s nothing to do at max level except sit in my Garrison’ and I’d say that this feature is very much aimed at encouraging players to do the exact opposite, by empowering them to use the ‘events’ as a means to complete the things in game that perhaps they have avoided doing thus far. There is a phenomenal amount of content in Draenor, it must be said, the trick is to make that attractive enough so that players want to participate.
Perhaps the most interesting part of this incentive is the introduction of the ‘Timewalking’ concept, allowing players to queue for randomly selected old-school dungeons with a twist. Your power and gear scale down to the dungeon’s level on Heroic difficulty, whilst your character retains all of your skills and talents. There’s a selection of ten ‘Classic’ dungeons from both ‘The Burning Crusade’ and ‘Wrath of the Lich King’ to choose from, with rewards that will be appropriate to your Character. This isn’t just for L100’s either, both players from L71 and L81 onwards will have a chance to take part, which is a significant departure for Blizzard in terms of providing for players that are below the maximum level cap. Again, the company has helpfully provided a Guide for players to learn more, In fact, this Patch has seen Blizzard going full out to provide a wealth of additional information via their own website in an attempt to foster greater understanding of the many changes 6.2 is bringing to the landscape.
Apart from the new Instance (13 bosses, all the difficulties) there’s also a whole new Dungeon ‘Tier’ for players to get their teeth into: Mythic, which is ‘designed to challenge even the most hardened adventurers with a befitting increase in reward.’ On a weekly lockout, ilevel 685 rewards are complemented with an iLevel 700 end boss drop: think Heroics on steroids, and one assumes you’ll still need a Silver Proving Grounds achievement to get into them. There’s an added cherry on top: completing two Mythic dungeons rewards the Iron Fleet Treasure Chest which will contain a Heroic Hellfire Citadel item. I can see a lot of hardcore raiders taking advantage of this when the Weekends come around… oh, and for the record, Blizzard considers Friday to Monday as the weekend, so there’s a whole four days in which to complete your endeavours.
There’s one other item of particular interest to the more casual player this time around, and that is the introduction of the Adventure Journal, which is being rolled unsurprisingly into the existing Dungeon Guide. Again, Blizzard’s got a Blog for that: here is a company who is at least beginning to grasp that to get people involved, there needs to be a sense of direction not simply offered by third-party websites. The Guide basically automates the task of telling a player what dungeons, raids, quests and professions they are eligible for, plus it informs of the relevant Weekly Event and gives an opportunity to join groups at the click of a mouse. It’s a clever bit of programming that cuts out all the thought involved for players, but there are those (myself included) who feel that perhaps what is needed at present isn’t less thought but more from players. But, as I’m still the new girl, I think we’ll leave the comment on such things for another day.
All in all, this is an impressive amount of content, which is probably to be expected from a Tier Patch. There’s already a fair amount of speculation as to whether this is the last official chapter of Draenor’s ‘history’ but some clever data-mining is pointing to the possibility this may not be the case: with the Warcraft Movie’s release date being put back three months many believe there may be one final coda in the story of the Iron Horde. You may yet be seeing upgrades for your Legendary Ring, and the possibility that further dungeon challenges could be on the cards, but that is all speculation at present. There’s no confirmation either of this, or a release date for 6.2 itself.
The closer we get to June, the less likely Blizzard will be to crash the party that will inevitably be the Heroes of the Storm launch window (June 2nd for those not in the know.) That gives us two Tuesdays left that Tanaan could drop into during May… but part of me thinks you’ll now see this happen mid-June after the Heroes hype has calmed down. But I’m very good at being wrong about patch releases, so let’s hope my predictive insight is enough to get Blizzard to stick a Release Candidate Build on the PTR in short order.
Whenever it happens, 6.2 is going to be huge. Not simply because of the wealth of content, but the realisation it takes Warcraft one step closer to a meeting with destiny. Will we see a Warcraft/Movie tie in or even a crossover? Only time will tell…Related: Blizzard Entertainment, Column, MMO, MMORPG, Patch, World of Warcraft, WoW Wednesday