World of Warcraft has enjoyed a bit of a resurgence lately, topping Twitch and other streaming platforms on the back of WoW: Classic, which is a re-released version of the vanilla experience from 15-years ago. Despite WoW Classic's success, Blizzard is still doubling down on Battle for Azeroth, delivering what has to be one of the biggest content patches in recent memory.
At the end of the previous raid, players defeated Queen Azshara and unwittingly unleased N'Zoth, a Cthulhu-like Old God of astronomical cosmic power. Blizzard just revealed that its next update for Battle for Azeroth (BFA) is dubbed "Visions of N'Zoth," and includes an absolute ton of content.
Old Gods unleashed
In Visions of N'Zoth, world zones and dungeons will be invaded by the Old God's shadowy minions, similar to the War Campaign invasions of previous patches. These timed events will warp various zones across old areas in Azeroth, some of which have had a bit of polish. The Vale of Eternal Blossoms from Mists of Pandaria, for example, has finally recovered from the events of the expansion, only to be attacked by the Old Gods again as part of this patch.
Most of the zones under attack seem to be ones with Titan facilities, as N'Zoth attempts to further weaken the defenses of Azeroth itself against the seeping corruption of the Old God's resurgent minions. These events will come with mini-bosses, new gear to obtain, and new lore to uncover.
New raid: Ny'alotha
Also known as the sleeping city, Ny'alotha has been teased for years as the shadowy capital of the Black Empire; a city of "unnumbered crimes." Players will venture into this 12-boss, 25-player raid dungeon to take down N'zoth itself while uncovering the true scope of the Old God's depravity.
Soloable content: Horrific visions
Inspired by the Mage Tower from Legion, Blizzard is introducing an entirely separate layer of progression mechanics called "Horrific Visions," which allow players to delve into the dark recesses of N'Zoth's vision for the planet.
Players will get to experience alternative versions of Stormwind and Orgrimmar, corrupted by the Old God and its minions. These areas seem to have rogue-like mechanics, where Blizzard expects players will fail initially while retaining their rewards and progression.
The black dragon Wrathion returns to help players improve their defenses against the horrific visions, with legendary capes that will bolster your ability to remain sane while inside the alternate world. Additionally, players will be able to take key items to Magni Bronzebeard to research abilities to help defend against the various maladies inside the visions, helping you dive deeper and deeper, uncovering better loot, and more lore as you go.
In addition, the Heart of Azeroth will receive a new tier of abilities and an extra slot, allowing players to augment their skills further. Blizzard is exploring replacing Titanforged gear with something a little more "Old God" themed, since N'Zoth is corrupting Titan facilities across the globe.
Allied races: Vulpera and Mechagnomes
Shocking nobody, the fox-like Vulpera are finally joining the Horde, after being rumored for the better part of two years. The Vulpera are a hardy desert-dwelling race, similar in stature to goblins, albeit without the, uh, evil.
The steampunk Mechagnomes of Mechagon will be joining the Alliance, bringing Horde players an additional batch of gnomes to kick around (sorry).
Auction house overhauled
Additionally, Blizzard is fully modernizing the Auction House, giving it some very, very much-needed love for a system that has remained virtually unchanged for 15 years.
Players will finally be able to buy portions of a stack, rather than an entire stack and so on. Commodities will be sorted by price, rather than by stack. You will also be able to favorite items and create shopping lists for more rapid purchasing. The new UI generally looks far more polished and modernized, as well.
As if all this wasn't enough, beyond the general class changes that often happen between patches, Blizzard is also adding a few other things.
- There will be a heroic version of the Darkshore Warfront, as promised.
- A new Old Gods Mythic Keystone affix will bring about Old God mini-bosses inside dungeons, that can either be killed to gain access to unique Mythic dungeon shortcuts or ignored for speed. Ignoring them may create a problem, though, since they have a chance to attack you further on in the dungeon.
- Goblins and Worgen will also get their heritage armor quest lines as promised. The Worgen armor looks rather regal, with a top hat, while the goblin armor looks Warcraft 3-inspired, complete with rockets and gizmos.
- Finally, Blizzard noted that WoW Classic will receive the Dire Maul 5-man dungeon early in the "coming weeks," with the rest of phase 2 (PvP honor system) slated for a later date.
Visions of N'Zoth release date
The public test realm for Visions of N'Zoth should be live as early as October 8, 2019. Typically, patches tend to go public anywhere between three to four weeks after the testing phase, depending on the size and complexity of the systems.
Blizzard also invited players to check out Blizzcon 2019 on November 1, which, since we now have details of the final BFA patch, will most likely include details about the next expansion itself, most probably slated for a 2020 launch.
Old Gods cometh
WoW Classic's younger brother
One of the most significant patch overhauls in recent memory makes 8.3 a perfect time to jump back into BFA.
Jez Corden is the Managing Editor for Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!