Everything we know about World of Warcraft’s patch 8.1: Tides of Vengeance
The Tides of Vengeance are coming. Patch 8.1 has been gaining steam since its announcement in September all the way through BlizzCon this last weekend. A new raid, new Warfront, new Island Expeditions, and plenty of quality of life improvements are in the works for the Tuesday, December 11th launch date. Let’s dive in — pun intended.
The Battle for Dazar’alor (formerly Siege of Zuldazar)
This 9-boss raid is unique in that each faction will face the same bosses, but in different ways. Set around Zuldazar, the pyramid capital for the Horde on Zandalar, each faction will face 3 bosses that have the same abilities but are different cosmetically. After that, the next three bosses are unique to the Alliance. The Horde will be able to play through those three encounters by being race changed for the encounter to Alliance races. Finally, the last three bosses are unique to the Horde story line so it will be the Alliance faction’s turn to be race changed to complete those encounters.
Confused? Here’s a breakdown:
Alliance will start at the docks south of Zuldazar and the Horde will start in the jungle north of Zuldazar. They will each encounter three bosses that are mechanically the same, though they are different NPCs:
- The Paladin fight – A: Ra’wani Kanae/H: Frida Ironbellows
- The Grong fight – A: Grong the Revenant/H: King Grong
- The Duo fight – A: Grimfang and Firecaller/H: Flamefist and the Illuminated
Then the Alliance fight three more bosses that advance their story. The Horde will also fight these three, but will be transformed into Alliance races for these encounters and will receive new racial abilities:
- Treasure Guardian
- Conclave of the Chosen
- King Rastakhan
Both sides will then advance to the final three which are part of the Horde story line. That means this time the Alliance raiders will be transformed into Horde races for these encounters and will receive new racial abilities:
- High Tinker Mekkatorque
- Stormwall Blockade
- Jaina Proudmoore
Drops from the raid are looking quite amazing. The G.M.O.D. is an epic-looking mech armor mount that drops from High King Mekkatorque, and on Mythic difficulty Jaina Proudmoore drops the Glacial Tidestorm, a water elemental mount that looks like the Shaman class mount from Legion, but sleeker.
Of course, there’s a new raid set with a Bwonsamdi and Zandalar flair and many new weapon models. Item drops start at 375 ilvl for LFR ramping up to 415 ilvl for Mythic. Certain items have the 5th Azerite Ring the devs have been talking about to give players more customization options.
Note that though this raid is part of patch 8.1, it won’t be released until the new year so players don’t feel compelled to raid during the holidays.
The Battle for Darkshore Warfront
The Alliance is taking the battle to the Horde not only in Zuldazar, but also in Darkshore where the Night Elves are ready to retaliate over the burning of the World Tree Teldrassil. This Warfront is also addressing some of the complaints players had about the Battle for Stormgarde. It will have more to do for each side during its cycle instead of offering all the quests to do at once and then making the player wait a week for control to change over as it currently does in Stormgarde.
There are themed-rewards, just like in the current Warfront. In this case it’s Night Elf themed armor and weapons for the Alliance side and a Forsaken theme for the Horde side. There’s also new mounts like a black bear and Night Elf-themed nightsabers. Also available are many new battle pets as well as toys. Additionally, a new vendor is being added with his own unique set of mounts and pets that can be purchased with currency earned through playing Warfronts.
Azerite Armor improvements
Endgame Azerite armor (the ones that drop Mythic+ and 8.1 raids) will now have a 5th ring. Along with that Blizzard is rolling out all new Azerite ring traits for every class and spec. And to deal with the randomness of the M+ Azerite drops, running a Mythic dungeon will now grant you a new currency you can use to buy the piece you want off a vendor.
Return of Legion Invasions
Legion Invasions are coming back as Incursions. Instead of fel demons though it will be the opposing faction that will be invading the lands. These will take the form of new World Quests and will be available to characters under level 120 as long one character on the account has unlocked Battle for Azeroth World Quests. This is make a great way to level alts, just like in Legion.
New Island Expeditions
Two new Island Expeditions are going to be joining the rotation: Jorundall and Havenswood. Not much is known about them yet, but they sound Vrykul and/or Drustvar-themed. There are also two new features being rolled out: Holdouts you can trigger and Azerite Extractions which can provide a steady flow of Azerite over time.
On top of that, a new Dubloon vendor is being added in the faction cities near the Expeditions table. They will sell themed items in exchange for Seafaring Dubloons such as octopus pets, nautical hats, underwater seahorse mounts, reputation tokens, and more.
Certain reputations will become account wide. Champions of Azeroth, for example, which will make leveling the Azerite necklace easier for alts. Other Battle for Azeroth reputations will gain Paragon rewards. So if you are exalted, additional rep gains will result in a new battle pet or toy depending on the faction.
More importantly, for the achievement hunters, the achievement to be Exalted in 100 reputations will now progress based on all characters on your account. Though reputations that have equivalents on the opposite faction will only count once.
Quality of life improvements
There are many smaller, but important features coming to patch 8.1 as well:
- Continuation of the War Campaign
- Improved emissary rewards
- PvP Talent reworks
- Improved War Mode
But what about the smaller Crucible of Storms raid? The new Kul Tiran and Zandalari allied races? And the Heritage Armor for Blood Elves and Dwarves? Those are all coming in the smaller patch 8.1.5.
Finally, if you are looking for more information about the new underwater raid, the land mass of Nazjatar, and the implementation of flying in Battle for Azeroth, check out our round up of Patch 8.2 features.
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