Rise of Azshara Preview: Heart of Azeroth Updates

Rise of Azshara Content Preview Live Stream

Patch 8.2 - Water Strider Changes
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
A small clarification to our plans with Mount Equipment–
Hitting level 100 on one character will unlock this system. Once unlocked, the system will be available to all characters, and the equipment pieces themselves will require level 20. If your goal is to have waterwalking while leveling, you can just enable the waterwalking Mount Equipment (there will be one available via Anglers reputation that will be bind-on-account), and it’ll work exactly as before, with the benefit of making all of that character’s mounts walk on water

Taliesin and Evitel Patch 8.2 Information
The popular Youtubers Taliesin and Evitel got to visit Blizzard headquarters to play Rise of Azshara and have a lot of new information not seen in the livestream!

  • Heart of Azeroth
    • The Heart of Azeroth UI shown in the live stream is unfinished and will have a lot more as BfA progresses.
    • In between the major and minor abilities are smaller traits to unlock similar to the Legion artifact.
    • There are unique essences for each type of content, such as one for reputation grinds, raiding, dungeons, etc.
    • You get a new rank for each of these as you progress in the content relevant to it. Example - Rank 1 for honored, Rank 2 for revered, etc for reputation essence.
    • Each essence has a major and minor effect. If you place an essence into the major slot, it will get both benefits. In a minor slot, it will only get the minor benefit.
    • The visual effect for max rank will be impressive.
    • All essences will work in PvP according to Holinka.
    • Some of the essence effects affect a spec/class specific spell.
    • Blizzard expects people to have about 6 different essences unlocked by the end of the first week.
    • Essences work exactly like talents, meaning they can be freely swapped in a rested zone or with a tome.
    • There are new raid and dungeon specific Azerite Traits, dungeon ones being from Mechagon.
    • By the end of 8.3 you will probably have 4 minor essence slots and possibly 2 major.
  • Mechagon
    • Mechagon is bigger than the Timeless Isle, but not as vertical. Nazjatar is HUGE.
    • Mechagon and Nazjatar will be fully open on day 1, while the dungeon and raid will launch either the second or third week.
    • The Mecha-wheel mount special has the wheel spin around while you do a backflip with fire effects.
    • The Mecha-wheel is the reward for completing the meta achievement for Mechagon.
    • Mechagon is a grinding island, with the potential to be an endless grind if you want.
    • The Prince of Mechagon is the leader of the resistance you do quests for on the island.
    • Constructions pop up all over the island that you need to donate resources to build up.
    • Almost all mobs on the island drop relevant resources for the constructions.
    • Mechagon is a big "collect stuff for rewards" island.
    • Mechagon is not timegated, but it is impossible to complete it in one day.
    • Mechagon has the most secrets per square inch than any other place in the game.
    • The gameplay affecting systems like customizing your trinket will not take too long. Collecting all the rewards, however, will take some time.
    • Resources are not just used for building, but for progressing in the island's secrets.
    • War Mode is enabled in Mechagon, but the central hub is neutral and you will be attacked by guards if you initiate combat with the opposite faction. The turrets are not PvP enabled, but it seems like Ion wanted them to be now that Taliesin mentioned it.
    • The trinket has slots like gem slots, and you collect schematics and recipes to build punch cards, or the cards themselves to slot into the trinket.
    • They start by just giving stat boosts, but eventually will also give you effects as you find better ones.
    • There will be the return of "actual" rares that don't pop up often.
    • You can paint and customize your mechano-cat mount by earning resources.
  • Operation: Mechagon Dungeon
    • The Mechagon dungeon starts outside and eventually you move into the heart of the city.
    • There is a stealth portion of the dungeon where you have to stand on vents to keep hidden.
    • The loot in Mechagon will be similar item level compared to Karazhan/Emerald Nightmare, however, there will be unique schematics for punch cards in the dungeon that mythic raiders will want.
    • Some of the punch cards for the trinket interact with the Azerite traits from Mechagon.
  • Nazjatar
    • Nazjatar is the big story focused island.
    • The Nazjatar zone is not really time gated, but the story will progress over weeks.
  • Flying
    • Pathfinder Part II will take as long as it did in Legion, involving rep from both Nazjatar and Mechagon.
  • Mount Equipment
    • The Mount Equipment that prevents being dazed is created by blacksmiths.
    • These equipment slots are like gems. They last until you replace them with another one.
    • If you have the Water Strider mount, you receive the water walking mount equipment for free in the mail on patch day.
    • Furthermore, if you already have the strider you can buy the water walking mount equipment for a substantially reduced price from the vendor who sold you the mount.
    • The Water Strider will no longer be able to walk on water without the equipment slot.
    • The Sky Golem will still be able to harvest herbs, but it will not benefit from mount equipment.
    • Natural abilities like tanks not getting dazed or Death Knights water walking will stack with equipment.
    • More mount equipment items will be added in the future.
    • Lvl 100 is the current requirement to equip mount equipment, but it will likely be changed. (confirmed that you need to have a level 100 character and then the equipment can be used from level 20 on all other toons, with the equipment being BoA.)
  • Azshara's Eternal Palace
    • The underwater boss is the second boss in Azshara's Eternal Palace. There is no mechanic that requires 3D mechanic knowledge. The boss has platforms that you fight on and you basically swim through a gauntlet to get to him on other platforms.
    • Swim speed is actually the same as run speed without a mount.
    • Breath is not an issue in the fight.
    • Druids will have a speed advantage in the fight during platform transitions with aquatic form.
    • We will know who the final boss of Battle for Azeroth is after the events of this raid.
    • Taliesin will reveal who they think the final boss of the expansion is in their weekly video.
    • Lady Priscilla Ashvane is a boss in Azshara's Eternal Palace and her model is a sea giant.
    • At one point in the fight, Ashvane comes out of this form, but her new form is a secret.
  • Miscellaneous
    • They both felt that the developers really do feel like making the best game possible for players and care about player feedback.

4FanSites Patch 8.2 Information
German fansite 4FanSites also has some new information form their time at Blizzard for the 8.2 announcements.

  • Blizzcon will happen this year.
  • Housing is a big topic at Blizzard. The developers are still thinking about how to implement it so that it does not feel so clumsy.
  • Blizzard wants to change warforged and titanforged items, but they don't have a solution in place for it. Without this system, some players would have their maximum gear after only a few weeks and thus have nothing left to aim for gear wise.
  • The team has discussed having only 1 reroll per week, but have it be an 100% chance to get an item.
  • There will be new pets to fight as well as a new Pet Battle Dungeon.

Method Patch 8.2 Information
Method also went to Blizzard and have some information from their visit.

  • The new resource gathering system at various points around the island provides small goals to work towards by yourself or with friends.
  • The new Heart of Azeroth traits are mostly shared between everyone, with a few spec specific traits.
  • The system is similar to glyphs, with one Major and two Minor slots. You start with just the one Major slot, then level up the Heart of Azeroth to unlock the Minor slots.
  • You fill the slots with essences, which can be found from world quests, reputations, PvP, raids, or various other sources.
  • Essences have ranks, with the top rank being a cosmetic effect.
  • Essences have a Major and Minor power. You get both powers when an essence is in a Major slot.
  • Essences are unique, so you can't stack 3 of the same essence.
  • Essences can be respeced at no cost in a rested area.
  • Mount equipment items work similar to gems, they can be swapped but the old one will be consumed in the process.
  • Stormwall Blockade to Jaina had too much of an increase in difficulty, but this was due to the bosses before Jaina being too easy rather than Jaina being too hard.
  • Crucible of Storms starts at middle of Battle of Dazar'alor difficulty, with the last boss being similar to Jaina in difficulty

Forbes Developer Interview
Forbes released another article with a bit of information prior to the live stream today.

  • Crucible of Storms begins to set the stage for what is going on beneath the waves
  • Pathfinder Part 2 allows players to fly in Nazjatar, Mechagon, Kul Tiras, and Zandalar
  • The world is more intimidating when you can't just fly over everything. You also get a better sense of place when exploring from the ground.
  • There may be restrictions on flying if you have recently been in War Mode combat, or some other restrictions that aren't overly punishing.
  • War Mode has been successful. In the past you may have quested next to someone of the opposite faction and not fought, but now both people have opted in to War Mode and fights are more common.
  • Tortollan quests had a few more quests added to the pool so that you have a choice and can avoid a heavily camped quest if you don't want to fight.
  • War Mode participation has increased over the last couple months.
  • The team doesn't have a solution to the raid faction imbalance right now, but there may be something to learn from with the War Mode incentives. Any incentives would need to be balanced to avoid encouraging massive faction migration.
  • It's a question of, how can we build a healthier high-end Mythic Plus scene, or a healthier high-end raid scene on the Alliance side, among the Alliance population. Horde and Alliance populations are actually well balanced across the world, there is just less of a raiding community on the Alliance side.
  • War Mode offers bonus rewards for the outnumbered faction proportional to how outnumbered you are, which is because they face a greater challenge. An Alliance Mythic Plus group and a Horde Mythic Plus group are doing the exact same dungeon with the exact same difficulty once they're in it, so giving one more rewards than the other doesn't make sense.
  • It's very unlikely we'll see a mercenary system for PvE, as the divide is such a core part of the story and game. It also does more to help queue times, as it switches a player from one side of the queue to another. Mercenary mode doesn't let you make social connections, so it wouldn't help the long term health of the PvE community on a faction.
  • The Heart of Azeroth, Islands, and Island Expedition rewards were some of the challenging new systems. The team made the short term changes that they could make with Tides of Vengeance.
  • From just a few weeks in, the team has been planning to shift the Heart of Azeroth to a more Legion artifact style. This gives a longer-term progression system that offers a lot more choice, a lot more customization, goals to work towards, and choose from.
  • The team heard the frustration at the lack of agency and progression with the Heart of Azeroth.
  • The team wants to lessen the negative feeling of bad RNG when it comes to Mythic Plus rewards, but they are sufficiently rewarding already, so they can't make the system more generous.
  • Your helm, shoulders and chest will still be Azerite gear, they will have their rings. But the level requirements will not continue to increase, so you'll have access to all of them.
  • There aren't any plans to set the new NPC AI loose into the world, as people expect mobs to behave a certain way and the team wants to be careful about changing that.
  • We could see the AI in other battlegrounds in the future, such as a Warsong brawl.
This article was originally published in forum thread: Patch 8.2 Rise of Azshara - Information Roundup from Content Creators started by Stoy View original post
Comments 120 Comments
  1. fooliuscaesar13's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by det View Post
    You can still get your negativity from other echo chambers :P Do I need to say influencers (the hint is in the name right there) on youtube channels.
    Righton, and agreed. It's why I don't follow retail WoW youtubers any longer (I still follow a few Classic youtubers). I have my beefs with certain parts of the game, I don't need to listen to some dipshit (or pair of dipshits) make passive aggressive attacks disguised as a joke. All that does is irk me, as they usually grab whatever the community is currently upset at and run with it to generate views.

    Quote Originally Posted by det View Post
    But whatever. Maybe it is just me...I generally stop doing things that I enjoy when I cannot be arsed to try and give feedback to change things. Not that I really expect to change things, especially in systems where millions play and and contribute and my opinion is just a drop in the ocean of rage....or approval really. And if you don't know what I mean, it is things like the Star Wars films. I literally thing all I can do is stay away and not give them my money. As long as everyone hates them (apparently) and they still make a billion dollars...I am giving up....aka just not spend money anymore on this franchise.

    I will do the same when WoW fails me...as I did when I lost interest in Diablo (to bring my examples closer to home)
    That's the best way to handle things - vote with your wallet. Forum noise does work on occasion, but removing your cash from their revenue stream screams much louder than words on the forums.
  1. crewskater's Avatar
    Mechagon is not timegated, but it is impossible to complete it in one day.
    What does that even mean? That sounds like timegating to me...
  1. Tazr's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by crewskater View Post
    What does that even mean? That sounds like timegating to me...
    Probably means that there are items to gather that requires more effort/more quest turn-ins than are available for a 24-hour period. I mean, grinding Ogres in a cave to get from unfriendly to exalted would have taken more than a day back in BC.
  1. dranlord's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by crewskater View Post
    What does that even mean? That sounds like timegating to me...
    it mean that you need to farm mats to progress on it, they explain it on the stream, there is so much stuff to do that you cant complet it all in 1 day.
    (some idiot that play 24hs probabbly will)
  1. Tazr's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by gutnbrg View Post
    so am i reading this right? I have to buy water walking for any mount i want to walk on water now?
    Apparently, each character gets a mount equipment slot. They can put what they want in that slot and it effects every mount for that character. Shaman and DKs are lucky because they don't need water walking equipment.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Am I the only one that's upset that there is forced War Mode for Mechagon? The neutral "hub" is likely only a quest turn-in/vendor/Inn area. They already broke PvE realms with War Mode and sneaky insertion of force flag areas that are impossible to avoid in some cases (and good luck finding non-War Mode groups in group finder for many things). Now, if people want Pathfinder II, they have to PvP? I was about to log in and do the Assaults (working on the currency for that last mount), but I can't justify logging in ever again if this is the case. Not like current content is engaging, it's just currency grinds for mounts, pets and toys.
  1. Daevied's Avatar
    So they nerfed mounts or they buffed them? Am not sure, but i will hate losing water strider perma water walking
  1. Ielenia's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Sykol View Post
    "You said you didn't like flying being gated, so now water walking is too. Thanks for your feedback!"
    I guess you completely missed (ignored?) this part, right? Here:

    • Mount Equipment
      • If you have the Water Strider mount, you receive the water walking mount equipment for free in the mail on patch day.
    So where's the "gating", again?

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by coprax View Post
    LOLWUT? Joke?
    Just take the water-walking equipment you'll get for free in your mail (if you have the water strider mount) and equip it to your water-walking mount. Presto. Everything is how it was before for you.
  1. grexly75's Avatar
    Notice the new uniwheel mount? Now think of that South Park episode where Mr Garrison created that uniwheeled contraption.. Seems someone at Blizzard must like South Park.. lol
  1. joxur's Avatar
    Oh those features look pretty nic.... oh wait. sorry folks, I forgot my guild already disbanded because everyone hated the state of the game. Too little too late. Make a new game.
  1. McNeil's Avatar
    So Ashvane is going to betray Sylvanas for Azshara? How am I not surprised.

    I wonder how a female sea giant is going to look like
  1. Kallisto's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by grexly75 View Post
    Notice the new uniwheel mount? Now think of that South Park episode where Mr Garrison created that uniwheeled contraption.. Seems someone at Blizzard must like South Park.. lol
    Or they have seen numerous other mostly anime shows where there are similar designed vehicles which are actually used to mow down people.
  1. rogueMatthias's Avatar
    lol player housing?

    Great we'll get to just hang out all day in your garrison.. i mean house.

    Screw player houses, they should do guild air ships instead which can fly about and have a hearth back to it. Your guild could fly it around the world super slowly, and leave it parked near to raids for easy guild access. (until pesky horde come and you have to battle them out of the sky).
  1. Logwyn's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by somnif View Post
    "It's totally not time gated, but its actually tied to daily quests, week long missions, and raid resets!"
    True! But meh someone will do it!
  1. Surreality's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by dranlord View Post
    good for you go play Final Dollhouse or Elder Dollhouse or whatever other mmo you like. (every single mmo fallow copy pastes formular and are grind fest)
    I don't really play MMO games anymore. They are all pretty much garbage these days. It's strictly single player games now. The Tomb Raider games. The Uncharted games. Modded Bethesda games. A number of "old" single player games that are still better than most of the games they release now. I guess I do still play STO some, but that community is a completely different entity than what you get in the more "popular" MMO games.
  1. Lockport's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Tazr View Post
    Am I the only one that's upset that there is forced War Mode for Mechagon?
    It's not. Go back and read.
  1. prwraith's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Lockport View Post
    It's not. Go back and read.
    I had to go back and read to, If there had been forced war mode, I'd have quite literally blown my stack. That really my have been what pulled me off this game for good.

    Fuck pvp.
  1. MasterHamster's Avatar
    It's so unfortunate because I can tell Blizzard is really trying to tackle the "lack of progression" problem, and this is a step in the right direction, make no mistake.
    But it doesn't adress the real problem. In a better balanced world, I couldn't wait for a system like this. Finally there's a way to always have a goal in front of you, a carrot on a stick.
    That is what the game sorely lacks in the current patch.

    But when my characters get all these powerful bonuses, and all those minor traits.... what role do they actually serve in a broader sense? Alright, more ways to progress, sweet. But where do I need them? Certainly nowhere but high M+ or heroic raids. I am someone who doesn't raid, I have no urge to schedule my playtime and feel forced to play certain hours or feel like I am letting someone down if I can't play for 2h straight. Neither do I enjoy M+ pugging or really want to find a stable 5 man team for it. It's not what I am after. But BFA feels like it's either too easy or too demanding, and nothing inbetween. Too top- and bottomheavy. Why can't there be queued mythics, if normal/heroic dungeons are supposed to be braindead easy even in "appropriate" gear?

    Why is the only way to fail in a Warfront to run a heroic one (presumably, since regular Warfront is literally designed to make sure you win), or an Island Expedition?
    Everything has this aura over it that people genuinely need to play terribly in order to even risk failure. What kind of game experience does that provide? Players are bored and they can't even tell why, that's the worst thing about it.

    So Blizzard is making a genuine attempt to fix the disgraceful lack of power-progression of characters in BFA... but they doesn't do anything about the fact that only premade content actually requires a bit of power progression to begin with. If you only run LFR, regular dungeons, world quests, do reputations or work on professions... you don't even need azerite at all. You can probably do all of it in green gear. It's tough to give a good analogy to this situation. It's like having an environment where people have lacked proper ways to earn money on the side, and the city provides... but they don't make sure there are expensive things people want to save up for and buy.

    So in 8.2, I am going to get a bunch of powerful traits and active abilities... but I won't need any of them. I won't want them.

    At some point, Blizzard has to realize that the game needs decently challenging content even in less coordinated content like solo/world content and queued stuff like IEs, Warfronts, and regular dungeons. Until then they can add how many progression systems they want, it won't really solve the problem.

    Gear and other means of becoming more powerful only matters as long as there's challenging content you want to do. Non-raiders (or raiders that aren't raiding that evening) have absolutely none. It's nothing but faceroll anyway.
  1. Vynestra's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by crewskater View Post
    What does that even mean? That sounds like timegating to me...
    It has so much content that you can't possibly complete it all in one day.

    How about that?

    Make sense?
  1. Ethas's Avatar
    I thought they learned their lesson with housing aka catering to korean audience. We don't need housing in MMO. Work on bringing social aspect back to the game instead!
  1. Clbull's Avatar
    All essences will work in PvP according to Holinka.
    Holinka. Did he just say Holinka? I thought Holinka quit the WoW dev team halfway through Borelords of Draenor in shame at releasing one of the worst outdoor PvP zones to exist, and being a bad PvP class designer in general.

    If that dude's been working on BFA, no wonder the expansion's been so terrible. Any other development studio would have canned him.

    Mechagon and Nazjatar will be fully open on day 1, while the dungeon and raid will launch either the second or third week.
    Remember the days when dungeons and raids weren't locked until weeks after a content patch's launch? It's lame that Blizzard do this because it just gives their expansions an empty and artificial sense of longevity.

    Lady Priscilla Ashvane is a boss in Azshara's Eternal Palace and her model is a sea giant.
    I wouldn't be surprised if Blizzard were so out of ideas that they just literally copied the Ursula fight from Kingdom Hearts. I mean Priscilla already looks so much like the antagonist of The Little Mermaid that I'm surprised Disney haven't sued Blizzard for copyright infringement.

    Blizzcon will happen this year.
    Kinda wish Blizzard would give it a break with Blizzcon because the convention used to be a treat when it was held every other year, or every three years. Since 2013 it's done nothing but ruined the grand finals of their respective esports tournaments by making it impossible to get spectator tickets; since you have to compete with legions of nerds who have zero interest in competitive gaming just to get tickets for the main event. And don't get me started on the visa issues that many professional players have had. Give us another Battle.net World Championship please, and maybe host it in Europe this time. I mean China got one back in 2012 and since then Europe's had zero grand finals.

    Holding Blizzcon this year is also a bit risky, given the poor aftertaste that Blizzard fans got from the tone-deaf announcement of Diablo Immortal last year, and the heaps of broken promises and outright lies surrounding HGC and HotS.

    Housing is a big topic at Blizzard. The developers are still thinking about how to implement it so that it does not feel so clumsy.
    When Square Enix, Trion Worlds, ArenaNet and Carbine Studios already worked out phenomenal player housing systems many years ago, what is there left to figure out?

    Blizzard wants to change warforged and titanforged items, but they don't have a solution in place for it. Without this system, some players would have their maximum gear after only a few weeks and thus have nothing left to aim for gear wise.
    There are plenty of solutions.

    1) Stop giving out welfare epics like frickin' candy. Make players progress through each raid in linear order, like with Vanilla and Burning Crusade. Burning Crusade had a huge content drought between patches 2.1 and 2.4 (unless you count Zul'aman which hardly quenched the thirst of hardcore raiders and was more of a side raid) yet the subscriber count skyrocketed. Why? Because catch up gear was virtually nonexistent and even then post 2.4 the Badges of Justice required to purchase a Black Temple quality piece of equipment required significant amounts of grinding through tough content to obtain. Players had to progress through Gruul/Kara/Mag, then through SSC/TK/Zul'Aman and finally through BT/Hyjal in linear order.

    2) Make professions relevant again. Jewelcrafting used to mean something because sockets were abundant and colour matching sockets used to give you significant bonuses on your gear. Enchanting used to mean something because you could at one point enchant nearly all of your gear, rather than just your rings. Blacksmithing used to be relevant because you could create consumables that gave you extra prismatic gem sockets. See a pattern here? Professions give raiders a goal to progress and customise their character. Take away these customisation options and you have nothing more than a crappy second-rate Fisher Price My First MMORPG.

    3) Stop rehashing the same raid on 4 different difficulties. The prime reason for player burnout is that they are forced to run the exact same raid on four different difficulty levels which only increase the boss's health and the damage of their abilities, whilst maybe adding new mechanics only once in the transition between Normal and Heroic? If you want to stop players from getting burned out, you should stop shoehorning them into the latest raid. WoW has a shitload of content yet all of it is invalidated by Blizzard's incessant urge to push everyone into the latest raid.

    4) Bring back talent trees, or meaningful progression systems like the Legion Artifact Trait system. Legion's system was actually good because it gave you a meaningful goal to work towards. Hopefully this is what we get in 8.2.

    5) For the love of god stop gating everything behind quest grinds. Quests are boring as hell, and I actually feel like I'm being put at a disadvantage because I don't want to play through content that I legitimately HATE. I shouldn't have to complete the 21 quest lines that encompass three zones just to unlock a goddamn Mythic raid. I shouldn't have to do a rep grind with a faction from the previous expansion on top of that just to unlock an allied race that should have been made available to everybody that purchased Battle for Azeroth from the outset. And don't get me started on how tedious, boring and un-fun it is to unlock the ability to use flying mounts that were released six expansions ago - because screw Pathfinder.

    6) If you're gonna add in rep grinds, don't make World Quests the only way to gain reputation like you did with the Champions of Azeroth faction. Because that rep grind is so slow and so bad that it's actually gimping the item levels on my Heart of Azeroth and putting me at a disadvantage because I don't like to do boring and repetitive tasks in the open world. Wrath's championing system was really good because it gave you multiple options to gain reputation with a faction, and added another purpose to running normal and heroic dungeons.

    7) Stop dumbing down character stat sheets, reintroduce primary/secondary stats and undo the ability pruning that has dumbed this game down and infantilized its community. I recently reinstalled RIFT out of sheer curiosity and when my RIFT Warrior gained a more complex rotation in the first 5 levels of gameplay than my WoW Warrior did in 100 levels, it's a testament to how little Blizzard's game designers respect the intelligence of their own player base.

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