PATCH 8.2 RISE OF AZSHARA
Jeremy: Thank you, Mr. Shwayder. Man, it is always great to be up in front of you guys for another BlizzCon. This gives me the energy for another year of making World of Warcraft. We’ve got a lot of awesome content coming your way in Tides of Vengeance in Patch 8.1.5 and 8.2.5; but if you can believe it, there’s something that occurs between 8.1.5 and 8.2.5.
We’ve got another big story to tell in the tale that is Battle for Azeroth. So let me set the stage for you, really quickly. Following the raid on the Zandalari capital: The Dazar’alor, both sides are reeling. We’ve lost troops, we’ve lost champions, we’ve lost a lot of ships and we’re sort of licking our wounds and trying to figure out what the next move is. It is at this moment of weakness that the Naga make their assault.
Across all of the shores of Zandalari and Kul Tiras, they make major attacks, dragging people under the waters. Something evil is going on deep in the seas. And taking a few of their remaining ships and their heroes and champions, both the Alliance and Horde set sail for the great blue beyond.
Now, what we find there is not what we expected, we find a crack in the ocean. A chasm. We’re surrounded by waterfalls. We find a new land. That is in fact a very, very old land. We’re going to Nazjatar. Our trip to Nazjatar is the kickoff piece of our next major content update entitled “Rise of the Azshara.”
So let’s dig right into the continent of Nazjatar. We start here at the South, in the aptly named ship graveyard. Things don’t go so great for our ships. And we’ll work our way up north through the beautiful coral and kelp forests, we’ll get to see the ruins of Zin’Azshari, and some ancient Elven architecture; and ultimately make our way to the Naga city that surrounds Azshara’s Eternal Palace.
RAID: ETERNAL PALACE
This is the home base of the Naga. This is the seat of power of Queen Azshara, and we will finally face her in combat.
So, let’s talk for a second about the finer points of what you’re going to be doing in Nazjatar. First, of course, we’ve got awesome new major story quests. We’re going to head in here and take the fight directly to Azshara herself.
We’ve got new friends to meet along the way. For the Horde, you will be meeting this beleaguered group of former Naga slaves that had been holed up in a cave just barely trying to survive. You will make new friends with a group of gilblin, makrura, and sea giants. They will be on our side and help us fight against the Naga.
Now, for the Alliance, you’re going to make friends with a deep sea tribe called the ### (sounds: Ankohan) that you see here on the right. This group has all but been wiped out by the Naga over the generations, and so few of them remain, that they know they can never raise their tribe in population again. So, those of them that remain have dedicated themselves to spending their life slaying Naga. We’re going to help them get revenge.
And last but not least, we want to focus heavily in this particular content update on replayable outdoor content. If you liked Suramar, Argus, Timeless Isle, Isle of Thunder, the Molten Front, we’re even reaching back to our favorite parts of the Burning Crusade and Auchindoun outdoor towers to grasp all those cool pieces of end-game systems and overlay them over the top. Our goal is that over the course of playing through Nazjatar, you’ve got new things to see every day.
Of course, heading down into the depths that are owned by the Naga and Azshara, we will be meeting tons of brand new foes. Some of them have more old god-y influence than others. Like this guy. I love jellyfish. I love this guy. And we will also be seeing the elite units of the Naga, of Azshara’s units, including this powerful new Naga warrior and spellcaster.
Along the same lines, we’ll be getting brand new rewards. These awesome Naga-themed weapons and armor sets; and of course, new mounts.
Now, for those astute mount collectors in the audience, you might notice something a little strange about this crab. The thing you hold on to is facing sideways. The crab walks sideways. It’s 2018. We did it. And of course, we can’t be going to a new zone without some new battle pets. Yes, he is wielding a tiny fork.
All of this culminates in an assault on Azshara’s Eternal Palace. The entry of which you can see here with this brand new bioluminescence Naga architecture.
Azshara’s palace, our headlining raid of this patch, will include 8 bosses. We will be investigating a Naga hatchery. For all of those of you that have been interested in seeing how Naga reproduced, now is the time. There may even be an underwater boss. Really can’t wait to hear your feedback on that one; and of course, culminating with Queen Azshara herself.
It’s a very exciting and gorgeous place to go. This place hasn’t seen air in thousands of years. For the first time, you’re going to get to see things that feel like they were dredged up from the sea floor.
We’ve got a really quick video to show you. Please keep in mind all of this is a work in progress and will undergo changes before it hits Live. Enjoy.
And that’s Nazjatar. Got a great shot of the Kelp Forest here. This is a piece of our concept art. But Nazjatar is not the only mystery that we’re going to be exploring in Rise of Azshara.
If you were an Alliance player, that went through Tiragarde Sound, you may have encountered this gentleman: a gnome that has been trying to figure out what’s up with this crazy gnomish technology at this rusted vault. And he’s been trying to get this vault door open. When you login to Rise of Azshara, the door is open, and inside, we will find a transponder, a radio signal. They use this technology, the likes of which no one’s ever seen. So, of course, the gnomes and goblins jump at the chance to figure out where it’s pointing at. Yes, this is a gnome and goblin adventure.
And what they find is a second new landmass for us to explore. We’re going to Mechagon, the ancient lost city of the gnomes.
We will begin our adventure out here on the junker wastes where beset by death robots, we will find that this is not a happy place, but we’re going to meet some allies here as well. Both the Alliance and the Horde are going to be friends with a group that is being hunted by these robots and learn a lot of new things about them. Please welcome the Junker Gnomes.
Now, the Mechagnomes span a variety of different types, and we’re going to learn a lot about their culture. The group that we meet out in the junker wastes are those that you see here on the right-hand side. They’re less mechanical. They’re breaking down even a little bit. And what we learn from them is that there is a gorgeous society inside of yet another vault that we’ll have to break our way into; and inside there, higher-caste gnomes live. Those that have given themselves over to their king, King Mechagon, and his vision to turn everybody into robotic components.
In this society, the more robot parts you have, the higher up you go in society, and our group of Junker gnome friends have decided that just wasn’t for them. So, we’re going to help them break back into their city. Here’s a shot of the city right here, and King Mechagon lightning-enshrouded palace up there in the background.
We’re going to be meeting a bunch of new robot enemies that are on the side of King Mechagon, and ultimately taking the fight to Mechagon himself. Now, what all of this outdoor questing experience ultimately culminates in is a brand-new dungeon. Or should I say, a Megadungeon?
What’s a Megadungeon? Well, if you remember back when we did Karazhan, we did a dungeon that was twice as long with 8-bosses that featured King Mechagon himself as the end boss, and it’s Mythic only for now. Along with higher item level rewards; and brand-new and unique pets, and mounts, and items to collect. This is going to be an awesome double-length dungeon, and we think you’re gonna love it.
You’re gonna fight your way all the way out from the junker wastes, kill the killer death robots, bust your way inside, make your way down through the trash compactor– because, of course, that’s how you bust your way into any rated-well armored facility– and take the fight up to King Mechagon inside his lightning-shrouded palace shown here where he, of course, is piloting a giant death robot.
Let’s take a quick look at a video showing us an early shot of Mechagon.
And that is Mechagon. It’s a really fun space. Anytime we do a goblin and gnome adventure, of course, there’s going to be wacky hijinks.
Okay, but what else have we got coming for you in Rise of Azshara? Well, we will be continuing to tell the major stories of some of our top-tier characters. We’re going to be seeing what’s next for Sylvanas. What are her plans?
If you’re a lower hound, you may notice we have a couple of things sprinkled in this talk that you may notice are a little interesting. We’ll be seeing what’s next for Saurfang. You saw earlier today. And on the Alliance side, Jaina and Anduin, continue to be the linchpins of trying to stop Sylvanas’s evil plans.
And we’re going to be checking back in with Magni, to see how the whole healing the world thing is going. Spoilers: it’s not great. We’re going to work with him. It’s going to get better.
PATCH 8.2 HERITAGE ARMOR
If you like the Heritage Armors that we showed off in Tides of Vengeance for the dwarves and the blood elves. Yes? Please. Yes, they’re awesome. We love doing these awesome lore quests for some of our classic races, so we’re going to be doing two more in Rise of Azshara. For the Horde, our ancient allies: the Tauren. You will be going on a spiritual journey with the spiritwalkers to find out why things are restless in Thunder Bluff.
And for the Alliance, we couldn’t be going to Mechagon without taking one last check-in with our diminutive friends: the Gnomes. Of course, as a gnome, you’re going to be blasting the heck out of a whole lot of troggs with a spaceship. And if you’re a gnomish engineer, you’ll notice that for the first time in a while, you get goggles that you can put up on your forehead.
PATCH 8.2: ISLAND EXPEDITIONS
Okay. What else have we got coming in Rise of Azshara? Well…
Oops. Sorry. Can we go to the next one? No? Next one. Technical difficulties. Okay. Go back. Go back. Go back one more. Don’t look. Thank you.
We’ve got more island expeditions coming at you like Ion was talking about. We’ve got a lot of great systemic improvements, including the doubloons vendor with pets and mounts, and tricorne hats coming in Tides of Vengeance. We will be continuing to add new island expeditions in Rise of Azshara.
The first one, which you already saw… If you were a huge lorehound, you were probably wondering where was Crestfall — a Warcraft II map that was part of the Kul Tiran group of islands from way back when. This was the island in Warcraft II where you very first fought dragons and gryphon riders. We’re going to be heading back there, and you will be seeing some of the remnants of what happened during that fight way back in the day.
And on the other side of the spectrum, we’re going to a place called Snowblossom Village. This is a small pandaren town, nestled away in the hills where they’ve been farming for generations and fighting back against their evil enemies: the Vermin are making a return, our awesome rabbit friends from Mists of Pandaria. May even see some Shadow-pan show up too.
Let’s take a quick look at our new islands.
HEROIC WAR FRONTS
Awesome. So, this is a shot of our brand new War Front coming in Tides of Vengeance, and in Rise of Azhhara, we’ll make another advancement toward our War Front system for all those of you that have been wanting to play along with your friends on War Fronts, that have wanted to have a higher difficulty thing to play against, that has large group top content when your raid is down for the week. We will be introducing Heroic War Fronts.
This is 10+ players. Bring whoever’s in your guild and is online at the time. We’ve got new mechanics, new commanders. And with a higher difficulty, and higher item level rewards, you’re really gonna have to make sure you head back and defend, or you might find yourself on the losing end of a War Front.
PvP ARENA & FLYING
For all those that like PvP, we will be introducing a brand-new arena amongst the clanking, whizzing gears of Mechagon is Mechagon Arena.
And of course, flying is coming back along with it. A whole lot of great new mounts, including the Bee, the Gryphon, and these awesome mechanical parrots.
Battle for Azeroth Season 3 will be beginning with a Nazjatar-themed Affix, item level increase across the board, and a new PvP Season along the same side.
These are the new mounts for the PvP season: these vicious basilisks, and we’ve got this purple gladiator’s Proto-drake.
So, we’re running out of time. Let’s just do a quick recap of everything coming your way in Rise of Azshara. We’ve got Nazjatar (the zone); Mechagon (the zone); Azshara’s Eternal Palace; Mechagon Megadungeon; the Gnome and Tauren Heritage Armor sets; brand-new islands; Heroic War Fronts; the junker gnome Arena; Flying; and BFA Season 3.
When is all this coming your way? Well, after 8.1.5. But suffice it to say, we’re happy with the cadence of content that’s coming out, and you’ll see the PTR come up soon after 8.1.5 launches.
Thank you all for coming out to watch our WoW: What’s Next panel, but that isn’t the end of the story of Battle for Azeroth. In fact, we have other things coming your way as well in the future, but that’s a story for another time.
We really appreciate you coming out to watch our panel today. We hope you enjoy playing this content as much as we enjoyed making it. Please come out to our WoW Q&A panel tomorrow at the same time on this stage, and ask all of your questions.
On behalf of everybody on the World of Warcraft team, thank you so much, and we’ll see you in Azeroth.
|WORLD OF WARCRAFT: WHAT'S NEXT PANEL TRANSCRIPT|
|1. Intro||2. Patch 8.1||3. Patch 8.1.5||4. Patch 8.2: Rise of Azshara|