As players stumble into the home stretch of Legion like a country-wide exodus crossing a desert, World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth looms on the horizon like a cloud promising rain. To them, the pre-patch will be a light soothing drizzle before the deluge. After endless speculation as to the release date of the pre-patch, Blizzard has announced it will release on July 17th.
The pre-patch is a tradition that goes back to the very first expansion, The Burning Crusade, and each time around they've gotten increasingly developed and involved. The 8.0 pre-patch introduces the quests that set the scene for the Alliance vs. Horde theme. For those who are interested in doing these quests, remember to do them before Battle for Azeroth comes out since they won't be available after that.
One of the core features of Legion, the artifact weapons, will be swept away (the flood metaphor is still going strong), with their effects more or less integrated into class talents and abilities instead. That means class changes! Classes will see revamps, some larger than others, but overall they won't be as drastic as we saw for Legion. As Blizzard stated in its developer watercooler on class design in Battle for Azeroth, the goal is more class uniqueness:
"While we believe some specializations will need substantial iteration to achieve these goals, others will not, and our target is greater stability across the board."Other changes coming in 8.0:
- A new open world PvP system - War Mode. Toggle it on for PvP, off for PvE. No need to reroll if you picked the wrong server anymore. Keeping it on will reward you with extra experience and rewards when questing.
- New PvP talents and progression - now account-wide.
- Each profession will now have crafting categories separated by expansion. First Aid will be removed, with bandages moved to Tailoring.
- A huge stat-squish, lowering numbers across the board to make them more legible; sword swings will no longer produce a fireworks show of six-digit numbers across players' screens.
- Several abilities that were previously off the global cooldown are now in it.