World of Warcraft game director Ion Hazzikostas detailed some upcoming changes to the new Battle for Azeroth expansion during a Blizzard Entertainment livestream today. While we don’t know when Patch 8.1, called Tides of Vengeance, will be available for all players, it should be hitting the public test realm later this week. We also know what players should expect from the content update, thanks to the presentation.
Hazzikostas used the first part of the presentation to talk about upcoming story content. Player’s War Campaigns will be expanded in the upcoming patch, continuing the tale of Alliance versus Horde. Hazzikostas also confirmed that Saurfang, Tyrande and Vol’Jin will have their stories expanded upon in 8.1.
As far as new content, players will gain access to a Warfront in Darkshore that focuses on the conflict between the Night Elves and the Forsaken. With this Warfront will come an updated Darkshore zone, which’ll have end game activities for Warfront players.
The island system is getting an update as well, with two new environments being added. However, islands will also see somewhat of an overhaul, with new events, enemies, spawn rates and interactions being added. Hazzikostas gave the example of setting up an Azerite extractor in a location that will constantly drip-feed Azerite to your team, but can also be taken over by the other team.
Tides of Vengeance will include two new raids. The first will be a nine-boss raid tentatively called the Siege of Zuldazar, although Hazzikostas said the name could change. This raid will be unlike anything Blizzard has created in the past, and will be fairly different for both Horde and Alliance players.
Alliance players will fight their way into the Horde city from the sea, while Horde players start in the jungle. Three bosses will be unique to each faction, but can be taken on by the Horde or Alliance respectively once the sixth boss has been cleared.
The second raid is called Crucible of Storms, and features only two bosses. The raid seems to be centered around the old gods in Stormsong Valley. Hazzikostas said that this raid will resemble the three-boss raid Trials of Valor that appeared in the Legion expansion.
There will also be a few system changes that players will see in Tides of Vengeance, and the team will continue to provide class updates in 8.1. However, it seems that Azerite traits in particular will also be getting more interesting in this patch.
Hazzikostas stated that the team is looking to make the current traits available a floor, meaning that all future traits should be more impactful. He also said that some traits will be replaced with better ones.
Finally, players interested in grinding for reputation will get some quality of life improvements in 8.1. The Champions of Azeroth — as well as other factions — will have their reputations feature across characters and be made account-wide. This should help achievement hunters and alt players have a more friendly experience with World of Warcraft in the future.
Patch 8.1, Tides of Vengeance, is expected to hit live servers later this year, likely at some point in November or early December.