It’s been a long wait for the fans of World of Warcraft. Blizzard has announced an 8.2 patch, called Rise of Azshara a while back, and until yesterday, fans of the game were kept in the dark regarding the release date. The patch has been in the game’s Public Test Realm since April and now it’s finally ready. Rise of Azshara will drop to live game starting June 25th.
8.2 Rise of Azshara will bring a lot of new content to the game including two new zones – Nazjatar and Mechagon, these will feature tons of new quests and lore bits to explore. Blizzard is calling the new patch ‘one of the biggest ones in the entire history of World of Warcraft’. It’s hard to argue with that… In addition to Nazjatar storylines, players will be able to enter the new raid called Azshara’s Eternal Palace while the Mechagon zone quests will culminate in a new 8-boss Mythic difficulty megadungeon, called Operation: Mechagon.
In addition to all the new things, Blizzard is finally making some long-awaited changes to some core systems that came with Battle for Azeroth expansion. One, in particular, is the new essence system. Heart of Azeroth. 8.2 patch tosses the grind for some minor stats out through the window. By playing through the Rise of Azshara content, players will be able to earn unique essences for their Heart of Azeroth which will dramatically alter the gameplay for each of the respected World of Warcraft classes.
The patch release timing Is also worth mentioning. Blizzard scheduled the release of 8.2 just a week prior to its biggest competitor – Final Fantasy XIV also releases its latest game expansion, called Shadowbringers. Knowing Blizzard, it shouldn’t be surprising since it’s not the first time the company did this. In the past, the company has timed its major content drops around the same time as other MMORPG genre games, which allows World of Warcraft to stay ahead of the curve.
However, the new content release date wasn’t the only thing Blizzard wanted to share. In a special video introducing the new content, World of Warcraft’s game director Ion Hazzikostas talked a bit about the philosophy behind the game’s design. Ion explained the development team’s thinking process, touching some hot topics in World of Warcraft’s community, these include reward design philosophies, gear and character progression, PvP, and class design. It’s an interesting talk that shed some light about the current state of the game and Blizzard’s plan for the future. If you’re interested to learn more, check out the video below.