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World of Warcraft update brings new raid, new dungeon mechanic

The Reaping is upon us, and looks to make Mythic Keystone dungeons a total nightmare

Battle for Dazar raid World of Warcraft Blizzard Entertainment
Ryan Gilliam (he/him) has worked at Polygon for nearly seven years. He primarily spends his time writing guides for massively popular games like Diablo 4 & Destiny 2.

World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth had a rough 2018 — one that Blizzard is intent on fixing this year with new content. 2019’s first batch of World of Warcraft content offers a new raid, and some powerful Mythic Keystone changes as well. Both additions that should elongate Battle for Azeroth’s current endgame.

The Battle for Dazar’alor raid has opened in World of Warcraft, and looks to be one of the most unique raids in the game’s long history. Unlike most raid experiences, each faction has their own distinct route through the raid, the Alliance trying to attack the Horde-controlled city, and the Horde trying to defend it.

In order to fully complete the raid, both sides will end up fighting every boss in a “how the other side saw it” kind of flashback. The normal and heroic versions of the raid are available now, with Mythic and the first wing of Looking For Raid becoming available next week.

With all the raid excitement, it’s tempting to look past the Mythic Keystone dungeons. However, in what Blizzard is calling “Season 2,” they’ve added a brand-new affix to the rotation. When a key reaches high levels, it can now come with the Reaping affix. While Reaping is active, all slain enemies will linger in the shadows for a while longer. Occasionally, they’ll all come back to life and swarm players as they try to progress.

Reaping promises to be a real nightmare for players trying to run through dungeons as quickly as they possibly can. However, it’s not as bad as it sounds. The raised enemies only have 50 percent of the health they used to and they spawn at specific times so players can prepare for it — 20, 40, 60, 80, and 100 percent of the progress bar.

The second season of Battle for Azeroth’s player-versus-player offering also arrived today. For the PvP-inclined, there are new rewards — both cosmetic and stat-based — that can be earned through Battlegrounds and War Mode.

Of course none of these activities would be worth a damn without increased rewards. The new raid drops relevant loot, and Mythic Keystone dungeons have had their loot drops increased significantly — with baseline Mythic dropping 370 item level gear. The end-of-week Mythic Keystone chest — rewarded depending on the highest tier of Mythic Keystone you did last week — can now scale all the way up to 410. However, nothing can drop above level 385 until the Mythic raid race starts next week.

All of these changes — including a fifth ring addition to some Azerite armor — comes ahead of the 8.2 patch later this year. What Blizzard detailed at BlizzCon 2018 looked promising, especially after Battle for Azeroth’s initially shaky positioning.