Tanaan Jungle, Hellfire Citadel, Mythic dungeons and more await you in today's patch
Hello and welcome to the 9th edition of Formerly Hardcore, ZAM’s column on Blizzard Entertainment’s World of Warcraft. For this week’s column we’ll be talking about patch 6.2, which is coming to live servers… today! Last Wednesday, Blizzard released the patch cinematic and gave a release date of Tuesday, June 23rd. Coincidentally that was about two hours after I’d already agreed to write the review for the Final Fantasy XIV expansion, Heavensward, which also comes out on the 23rd. It’s amazing how Blizzard just coincidentally keeps releases patches when other games are coming out, despite claiming not to… in all seriousness though, if I were them, I’d do the same thing.
For those of you who aren’t going to be bouncing back and forth between games, you’ll have your hands full with everything in this patch. If your guild has long since finished with Blackrock Foundry or your 5-man group is ready to have a new challenge, your wait is over. Well, unless you forgot to turn on the Background Downloader or to kick off the Battle.net launcher before you went to work.
Raids, Dungeons and Bonus Events
Let’s take a look at the key features patch 6.2 is bringing to the game. We’ll briefly talk about the areas of 6.2 we’ve already covered in previous columns – no need to retread old ground. For the raiders out there, we have Hellfire Citadel and its 13 boss encounters. This is the first raid to include the itemization changes Blizzard mentioned in that Polygon interview: tiered item levels so gear improves as you get to later bosses, changes to secondary stat distribution on items to give players more of a “this is MY item” feel from loot, and updates to the personal loot UI so players using it always feel like the boss dropped loot, even if it wasn’t for them. In addition, Hellfire Citadel brings us the conclusion of the Legendary Ring storyline, giving players the chance to earn that orange piece of loot and play with the group proc theorycrafters have been debating/fighting about.
Raiding is not for everyone though, and even raiders need something to gear up alts or for their off-days, so patch 6.2 is bringing new 5-man content in the form of Timewalker and Mythic Dungeons. Timewalker Dungeons bring you back to WoW’s past, taking you through The Arcatraz, Utgarde Keep, and the rest of the dungeons from Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King. Your level, stats and gear will be scaled down to make it at least somewhat of a challenge, but should you prove successful, your rewards will be gear that’s scaled up to your current level. If you want a true 5-man challenge though, you’ll have to look to Mythic dungeons. These scaled up versions of Warlords of Draenor’s 5-man dungeons are meant to provide difficult content for smaller groups and give them an alternate progression path than simply queuing for LFR with your friends. These Mythic dungeons are on a weekly lockout similar to raids, but with good reason: the bosses drop item level 685 gear (equivalent of Heroic BRF and higher than LFR Hellfire Citadel) with the final boss having a chance to drop iLvl 700 gear (mid-tier Normal Hellfire loot). With a good 5-man crew, you could gear up friends to join your raid, deck out alts and fill in gaps in your own set without joining a pickup Hellfire Citadel raid or having to scramble together 9+ raiders on your own.
Going back to those Timewalker dungeons, let’s talk about the bonus events coming with patch 6.2. There are seven different weekend events, running Friday through Monday, to reward WoW players for trying out different kinds of content. Timewalker dungeons make up two of these weekends (BC and WotLK dungeons respectively), in an effort to keep the content fresh and exciting rather than letting players chain-run them till they get sick of the system. Running three Timewalker dungeons during those weekends will net you a loot roll Seal, but this one doesn’t count towards your weekly max of three. Mythic dungeons are available all of the time, but there’s a weekend for them as well with a Heroic Hellfire Citadel gear cache quest reward awaiting those who run two Mythic dungeons that weekend. The Apexis Crystal weekend gives a boosted drop rate for those farming crystals and the weekend quest reward for doing the area assault objectives from your normal Garrison daily will earn you Oil to fuel missions in your new Shipyard (more on that later).
PvPers and pet battlers aren’t left out of the weekend event fun either. The Battleground weekend lets players earn triple Honor for running random BGs with a quest for 500 Conquest points for winning a few of those randoms. The Arena Skirmish weekend is about the same as the Battleground weekend, just substituting random Skirmishes for the Battlegrounds. Finally there’s the Pet Battle weekend for all of the WoW monster trainers out there: triple pet battle experience and a weekend quest reward of an Ultimate Battle-Training Stone (instant level 25 for one of your pets) for winning five PvP pet battles. If pet collecting, leveling and fighting are your favorite part of WoW, you will definitely want to mark those weekends on your calendar. I know it’s probably the only way I’ll get more pets leveled with how slow of a grind that felt like with my other level 25 pets.
Tanaan Jungle and the Shipyard
That about covers the big 6.2 areas we’ve already talked about, so let’s get into the other major additions. We’ll start with Tanaan Jungle, a zone we’re already familiar with from our introduction to Draenor. When we first assaulted the Dark Portal to prevent the Iron Horde Invasion, we were fighting our way through that jungle as we were introduced to all of the warlords we would be facing off against in the expansion. Now that Blackrock Foundry has fallen, it’s time for the Horde and Alliance to push into the jungle to stop Gul’dan from reopening the Dark Portal and invading Azeroth with the Burning Legion yet again. Tanaan Jungle will bring you multiple new quest hubs and key areas of lore such as the cave where Kilrogg Deadeye sacrificed his eye. You’ll establish an outpost similar to the others from the earlier WoD zones then go on the offensive as you assault different parts of the zone to disrupt Gul’dan’s plans. New hidden treasures to find, rare creatures to slay, three new factions to gain reputation with and more await you once you’ve made landfall in Tanaan Jungle.
Of course you can’t simply walk into Tanaan Jungle – it is the Iron Horde’s main base of operations, especially now that the Foundry has fallen. To make your way into Tanaan you’ll have to make your way through a new questline that includes building a Shipyard in your Garrison. From this Shipyard you’ll be able to make your way to Tanaan and start your adventures there. In addition, the Shipyard brings you the option of launching Naval Missions, similar to the follower missions you’ve done before. You’ll build new ships and outfit them with different equipment and crew members, then send them off to conduct missions, gain experience and bring you back loot. Submarines, Destroyers, Battleships and Carriers will be available to you as you play Admiral. That or Pirate Captain – I won’t judge.
Guess We Get to Fly in Draenor After All
There is one other addition coming with patch 6.2 and it’s one that I’m still somewhat surprised they changed their minds on. Starting soon after 6.2 (a small follow-up patch later), players will be able to fly on all of their 90+ characters in Draenor if they’ve unlocked the Draenor Pathfinder achievement. If you’re desperate to free yourself of the land’s grip, you can earn that achievement once 6.2 goes live and be ready the moment the other patch goes live.
Earning your wings won’t be trivial though: exploring all of Draenor’s zones, collecting 100 hidden treasures, and completing the Draenor Loremaster and Securing Draenor achievements are the simple parts; many players could have even had these taken care of prior to 6.2’s release, especially with the help of Wowhead’s new tracking tool. It’s the last part that’s going to take some effort. Three new Tanaan Jungle reputations are coming with patch 6.2 and if you want to fly, you’ll need to become Revered with all three of them. A fair amount of work, sure, but it does give flight-loving players what they wanted while still satisfying Blizzard’s stated goal of wanting players to actually experience the content rather than flying over it.
There’s more to 6.2 that I haven’t gone into detail about. Upgrades to your profession-crafted gear, new battle pets, various new achievements and more all come with the patch as well. Jewelcrafters will be happy since they’ll finally be getting epic gem recipes. In general there’s something here in the patch for everyone. I know I’m looking forward to running Mythic dungeons with my friends and checking out the Timewalker weekends whenever they occur.
That’s it for this edition of Formerly Hardcore. What part of patch 6.2 have you been looking forward to the most? Will you and your guild be focused more on blitzing your way to Tanaan Jungle and starting Hellfire Citadel? Are you going to grab four of your friends and try your hand at Mythic dungeons instead? Let us know in the comments below.
Michael “Ragar” Branham