WoW Wednesday: What’s New In Patch 8.1.5?

With Patch 8.1.5 just on the horizon, the story of Battle for Azeroth begins to chug on past the utterly deadly siege on Dazar’alor, the capitol of the Zandalari Empire. With the Alliance and Horde returning to lick their wounds and welcome new allies into their ranks, its time for us to take a keen look at what is on the horizon for our heroes of Azeroth. This week we’ll be dissecting what’s coming up for players in this bridge-patch for World of Warcraft, introducing two new allied races, a new raid, and a plethora of additional and returning content.

The first major portion of the patch is of course the introduction of Azeroth’s two newest Allied Races. The Alliance will finally formally invite the kingdom of Kul Tiras into its ranks, while the Horde will stand by the empire of Zandalar. Both require additional pieces of content for players to complete before they are unlocked, which may take you a significant period of time if you haven’t been working away at them. You must have reached Exalted with either the Proudmoore Admiralty or Zandalari Empire factions respectively, as well as having completed all of their home continent’s major storylines. Players must also have completed both components of their faction’s War Campaign from 8.0 and 8.1. For players wanting to make either a Kul Tiran or a Zandalari Troll, you can only create them if that server has a level 110 character on it, similar to old Hero Class Restrictions. For those who have been skipping on their current patch content there is no need to complete any part of the Battle for Dazar’alor raid in order to unlock either Allied Race.
 Starting April 16th and additional bridge-raid will open for players beneath the Shrine of the Storm, similar to the Trial of Valor and the Ruby Sanctum. The Crucible of Storms has been prepared by N’zoth, Old God of the Deeps and Patron of the Naz’jatar, for players to test their mettle. While only comprised of two bosses, the Crucible will offer loot at a higher item level above Dazar’alor, including artifacts with unique abilities and terrible power. Players will also see the return of Xal’atath, Blade of the Black Empire as she is reawakened. Seeking freedom from her eternal prison, she will reveal the darker history of the Stormsong Valley, and reveal to heroes the terrifying truth of what may truly be driving this war forward.

For those looking to escape the battlefront, the infamous Brawler’s Guild returns to both Stormwind and Orgrimmar. While players can return to prove their grit in the pit players will also find that a grizzly murder has twisted the once (relatively) peaceful brawling clubs. As players progress through the ranks they’ll uncover more about the mystery and its supposed suspects, culminating in some clever detective work. Players solving the mystery will find themselves saddled upon the just as dangerous Bruce, while those who top out at Rank 8 will unlock an exclusive Brawler’s Guild transmog set. Challenge Cards and Shirts will, of course, be returning, as well as mysterious additions throughout the clubs…

For those diligent tradesmen, new quests will open up through your Professions for your Tools of the Trade. These epic relics will be unlocked through a series of involved quest chains, some taking you beyond the realms of time itself, in order to achieve these powerful tools. Each item has a unique effect for players to utilize, from stealing the health of the fallen to creating indestructible armor. These will only be created and found by those with crafting professions, but are no doubt a vital addition to any tradesman’s collection.

For those who like to skip beyond the bounds of time, Timewalking will also be expanding its roster. Scaling players back to expansion-based statistics, Timewalking challenges players with Heroic level dungeons from the time, offering the bold a change of pace and unique rewards to go along with it. New to the line-up will be (in)famous dungeons from Warlords of Draenor, Warcraft’s 5th expansion. First planned to appear in May of this year, six dungeons will be available during this timewalking event including: Everbloom, Bloodmaul Slag Mines, Iron Docks, Auchindoun, Shadowmoon Burial Grounds and Skyreach. New rewards will be available with the event’s currency, Timewarped Badges, including two new mounts that made exclusive appearances alongside Beastlord Darmac’s encounter inside the Blackrock Foundry raid.

For the more PvP oriented, two older battlegrounds will be receiving a heavy facelift. Both Warsong Gulch and Arathi Basin have received large-scale cosmetic facelifts to match the ongoing war across Azeroth. While the old physicality and design of each battleground will remain the same, both have been adjusted and uprezed to a more modern world. Included in this update is also the new Arathi Basin Brawl, “The Arathi Comp Stomp,” where players will fight Island Expedition style AI in the Basin! Alongside them, the Siege of Wintergrasp returns for players, which will be accessible through the Epic Battleground group finder.

New to the wonderful, marvelous Darkmoon Faire is the Darkmoon Roller Coaster! Easily noticeable by any entering the Faire’s main gate, this new attraction is best experienced in first-person view, and will set players on the tracks of a turbulent attraction! Just like the Darkmoon Carousel, players will also gain the WHEE! buff based on how long you ride the treacherous coaster. After all, doesn’t fortune favor the bold?

More controversially added into Patch 8.1.5 is the heavily requested Portal Rooms. Located in the Stormwind Mage Tower for the Alliance, and the front Gates of Orgrimmar for the Horde, these rooms now include portals to each major hub across the expansions of Warcraft, including the Jade Forest and the Court of Farondis. However this change has come with an ill-received, and in my opinion poorly made, decision on Blizzard’s part. Across the rest of Azeroth, any major city that contained a portal will now only contain one back to your faction’s major city, including Legion’s version of Dalaran which included portals to the Caverns of Time and Karazhan, two zones which both Alliance and Horde players respectively need to go extremely out of their way for. There is also no manner to travel to Hellfire Penninsula in Outland for players, not on the introductory quest to The Burning Crusade content. These rooms also do not contain portals to other major faction cities outside of expansion locked ones.

But I think perhaps the best, and most overlooked addition is, of course, the new Heirloom pieces which will raise experience-boosting gear to level 120. A necessary addition to those of us looking to finally create our Zandalari Paladins and Kul Tiran Druids.

So what are you most excited for with the release of Patch 8.1.5? Zandalari Paladins or Kul Tiran Druids?

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