Recently my guild was talking about all the things in World of Warcraft which have been frustrating us in BfA and the comment “it should get better in 8.2” was made. It seems like many of us are looking forward to the next major patch to improve the game substantially. Of course, no one mentioned anything specific about the patch which they think will improve things, but there’s just this sense it’ll get better. Plus with 8.1.5 out and Crucible of Storms on the horizon, it seemed like an excellent point to recap some of the things which will have the biggest impact in the 8.2 Rise of Azshara patch.
One of the centerpieces of 8.2 is the new zone for both the Horde and Alliance to explore. With a new zone comes a whole new chapter in the main story of this expansion. We’ll get our first close-up look at what Queen Azshara has been up to over the years and what life is like for the people who are living under (or adjacent to) her rule. One of the best parts about this storyline is it won’t be gated, so players will be able to experience the whole thing at once or do it in little chunks as time allows them. It’ll be interesting how both the Horde and Alliance make the pivot from fighting each other to once again having a common enemy. It won’t be the first time we’ve done this, but so much has happened since the defeat of the Legion it’s hard to imagine how we’ll work together again.
With a new zone, there will also be new World Quests and undoubtedly new factions to earn rep with. While I am looking forward to changing things up a bit with new WQs, I’m sure they’ll become old hat soon enough. The upside of WQs is not having to do all of them though and only needing to do the ones you want to finish the emissaries. So yes, I still prefer them to the old daily quests we used to have. It’s also worth noting it’s entirely possible Champions of Azeroth WQs may pop-up in the new zone. Maybe Tortollan as well, but I’d say that is less likely.
To help the zone keep feeling new and interesting over a more extended period of time there will also be new public events which spring up in Nazjatar. During BlizzCon, they mentioned these events would be similar to what Legion Assaults were. I’m personally hoping they mean similar in that they will spring up in an area and last for a few hours and not so much similar in the “hey this area is being attacked, kill some things and do a short scenario and then collect rewards” way. Ideally, these events will be varied in both scale and what needs to be done to help keep them interesting. Largescale things which feel like they make a difference to the area around them would be good, but also smaller just for fun things would be neat as well.
Ever since Blizzard started implementing ways to delay players from flying in every new expansion, it’s one of the things I always look forward to unlocking the most. Which is funny when you consider I’m a tank, so I never have to deal with getting stunned/dismounted when running past mobs anyway. However, for me flying offers a much easier way to get from point A to point B. I often find myself forgetting where the unmarked paths through mountain ranges are, and as a result, I spend more time than I like to admit just trying to traverse zones.
We don’t know what the exact requirements for ”Pathfinder, Part Two” will be this time around, but it’s fair to assume it’ll be similar to the requirements in Legion. I can pretty much guarantee completing Part One, gaining at least revered with all of the new factions introduced in 8.2, and discovering all the major sections of Nazjatar will be required. However, I think Blizzard will also likely add back in the requirement to finish the main storyline introduced with Nazjatar. One of the main issues with the Storyline being a requirement in Legion was the Legionfall Campaign was gated, and only so much of it opened up each week. This added an extra and seemingly needless time gate to unlocking flying. Since the storyline in Nazjatar is not going to be gated, it seems reasonable for this requirement to be present for BfA Pathfinder, Part Two.
Azerite Armor & Heart of Azeroth Improvements
The Azerite Armor change is probably the single change I am looking forward to the most. Trying to grind out my Heart levels to be able to unlock the traits on my new gear has just been frustrating. It’s no fun to feel like I'm not as helpful to my raid group as I could be because I don’t have all the traits unlocked. It also isn’t fun to feel like I have to do a lot of content I do not enjoy to be able to maximize my AP gains so I can keep leveling it up. I wish they could have pushed this change out sooner, but I am thankful we are getting it at all.
With the change to Azerite Gear will the Heart levels mean anything anymore? Well, it seems like they might. The necklace is going to get traits on it similar to what we saw on artifact weapons in Legions. The question we’re all wondering though is what these traits will be? If they make them too amazing, we’ll just run into the same issue with having to grind out heart levels all over again. However, if they are weak, it’ll feel like a letdown. I’m also curious at what level they’ll start allowing the heart traits to be unlocked. I’m hopeful they don’t go with something like 50 Heart Level to begin with though because that’ll be a pain for the more casual players. Hopefully, they’ll go with something like level 30 which would give most people at least some things they can unlock right away. Also, hopefully this is how Guardians will get Rage of the Sleeper back (please don’t crush my hopes and dreams!).
Azshara’s Eternal Palace
We’re FINALLY going to take on Azshara herself! FINALLY! From my early leveling days in Blackfathom Deeps, to Serpantshrine Cavern, and all of the times Naga have popped up in all of the expansions since… this is one fight which feels like we have been dancing around since World of Warcraft first started. This raid will be eight bosses, though the only one we know of for sure is Queen Azshara herself. Though they also mentioned something about exploring a hatchery, so I’m sure there will be some “don’t get too close to the eggs” shenanigans as well. Also, crossing my fingers for an unlockable boss skip for the raid as well because that always makes life a bit better for raid groups progression wise.
They also mentioned there might be an underwater boss… which has me both intrigued and a little scared. I don’t remember ever having a real underwater boss fight in a raid before (please someone correct me if I’ve forgotten about something). The closest I can think of though is Al’Akir from the Throne of the Four Winds raid in Cataclysm. Everyone I have ever talked to about this fight either loved it or hated it because in the last phase everyone was lifted in the air and had to fight while flying around him. The raid group I was in at the time often struggled on this part because positioning was necessary, and it turns out telling where you are in a 3D environment with only a boss to orient yourself can be challenging. There’s a lot more which can be done with an underwater fight, but Al’Akir is probably a good baseline for what to expect.
Ok, there’s a lot more coming in 8.2 which I haven’t mentioned yet, Mechagon anyone? But those are the things I am most looking forward to and which I think will have the most significant impact on my enjoyment of WoW in its current state. What are you looking forward to and what things about 8.2 have you concerned?