World of Warcraft: Legion, the popular massively multiplayer game’s sixth expansion pack, won’t be live until Aug. 30, but that hasn’t stopped Blizzard from announcing what’s next. During a stream at Gamescom, the developer revealed "Return to Karazhan" (a.k.a. Patch 7.1), the first major update for the new expansion.
According to details from the stream gathered by MMO Champion, the patch will focus on the titular Karazhan, which was a popular 10-player raid back during the game’s first expansion, The Burning Crusade. Rather than a raid, the updated version of Karazhan will be a five-man dungeon, though it will be larger than most of the other dungeons in the game. Blizzard said it will contain nine bosses.
You can watch a brief teaser for "Return to Karazhan," as ripped from the stream by MMO Champion, in the video above. Most notably, the trailer hints at the return of Medivh, a major player from Warcraft lore who started the events of the series by opening up a portal between Azeroth and Draenor, home world of the orcs. Medivh was also one of the stars of this summer's Warcraft movie.
Blizzard promised that Patch 7.1 will also feature some outdoor content for non-raiders. And for those who like going into the old level 70 version of Karazhan and farming it for rare drops, no worries: The developer promised you’ll still be able to access the lower-level version of the raid as well.
Perhaps the most surprising bit of this news is just how close "Return to Karazhan" is to completion. Blizzard said the contents of the huge patch will go up on the game’s public test realm right after Legion launches at the end of the month. Generally, patches are on the test realm for a month or two at most before they go live.
In the stream, Blizzard noted this quick timeline as part of the company’s increasing devotion to getting World of Warcraft content out in a timely manner. The developer said it intends for each raid tier in Legion to last for four to five months, and that there will not be a "content drought" between the end of one expansion and the next expansion’s release, as happened with both of the previous two expansion sets, Warlords of Draenor and Mists of Pandaria.
Karazhan is also the focus of the latest adventure add-on for Blizzard's Warcraft-based digital card game, Hearthstone. You can find all the details on that here or check out a video of us playing it below.
For more on World of Warcraft: Legion, check out our recent interview with lead narrative designer Dave Kosak, where he discussed the huge artifact weapon feature being added to the game and whether or not it will stick around for the next expansion.