Yesterday, Blizzard's Jeremy Feasel took to Twitch to finally give us details on what we can expect from World of Warcraft's next big patch, 8.2, Rise of Azshara. Since this is the boss I've been most eagerly awaiting to face, pretty much since I first started playing the game, I watched with eyes glued and fingers flying as I drank up the deets.
Before I dive into what was announced, I'd like to just give my take on what I heard. First, these announcements were all forward-facing. There was no information on "fixes" for problems with current BoA content, no class balance changes, no "we hear you on Azerite armor," etc. This makes sense when you think on it because this patch definitely has a theme -- "we are excited to show you new things." There is a ton of new content in this patch, and just about every new area comes with either a new mechanic or a revival of a previous tried-and-true system. It feels to me that the developers are genuinely excited again, that they are enjoying their jobs again, and want to share that joy with us, in the form of Patch 8.2.
What is next for Battle for Azeroth? Here are my favorite items from the announcement.
Rise of Azhara comes with four new mounts that really spun my gears, so to speak. First, there's the mechanical parrot mount that EVERYONE will get once they finish the Pathfinder Part 2 meta achievement and unlock flying for all BoA zones. Free mount, yay!
Then there's the gyro spinner mount, that Taliesin and Evitel say will be a reward for doing alll the things in Mechagon -- and I do mean all the things. Check this thing out, it's glorious:
You'll see in this picture that there are several other mounts coming in Patch 8.2, including an awesome crab and naga beast mount from Warcraft III that I didn't catch the name of. (Feel free to update me in the comments). They also told us that Mechagon will feature a mechacat mount that will be customizable with nine different paint colors that you can earn through grinding in the zone, and a techie spider mount. So yeah, a lot of mounts coming to make my little collector heart go pitter-patter.
Two sets of heritage armor will be available for both the gnomes and the tauren. Considering the mechagnomes inhabit Mechagon, it makes sense that their non-techie brethren will be getting their ultimate armor. Evidently the tauren are having a challenging time over on the Horde side of things, so I can see that they need to shore up their identity with a new set of gear.
I'm quite impressed with both these sets. So far I have only unlocked the armor for my Blood Elves, so I'm eager to get some new epic transmog gear for some of the other races I play. I guess it's time to get my gnome to max level.
I play a Pandaren Hunter who also happens to be an engineer, so the idea of an entire zone dedicated to tinkering makes me a happy Mandifesto. Like zones in Warlords of Draenor, Mechagon will feature a hub zone in the little town of Rustbolt. This little area will be where you get your quests, but it will also be a base that you can upgrade as you adventure out into the zone at large. There are also a bevvy of perks available to unlock via a robot named Pierre, who you feed gears in exchange for bonuses to questing, movement, speed, etc.
Those that have played on the 8.2 PTR say this is the sort of zone that you can grind in endlessly if you're the sort that enjoys that sort of gameplay. Personally, I love the core fantasy of the zone, and will spend a ton of time here when I can. Plus, a mechacat mount, yo. MECHACAT.
The big 8-boss raid of Patch 8.2 will culminate with taking down Miss Fishy herself, Queen Azshara. Feasel mentioned that one of the bosses in the raid will be entirely underwater, which immediately gave me Vash'jir PTSD flashbacks, but I'm hoping that the mechanics will be smoother this time around.
One of the most welcome changes coming in Rise of Azshara is the Essence system. When the patch hits you'll be sent on a quest that unlocks the true power of your legendary neckpiece, and will enable you to go throughout the world and collect Titanic Essences. Each of these doodads can fit into a major or a minor slot in your Heart of Azeroth, and in doing so provides you with either a powerful on-use ability when in the major slot, or a useful passive when in the minor one. The cool thing is that in addition to giving you great benefits, these items can be changed around to suit the type of content you are planning on doing. If you want to set up your neckpiece for raiding, you just reslot the essences you have without any gold cost (I'm looking at you reforging!).
Here's a look at a couple examples of essences and how they currently look on the PTR.
There are a ton of features coming that I haven't mentioned. These are just the ones that stood out to me. Just in case you're the type who wants it all laid out in a nice neat graphic, I got you covered:
What's your favorite thing coming in Patch 8.2? Let me know in the comments.