World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth has already begun its twilight months. The last update, Patch 8.2.5, ended the War Campaign storyline and signaled a new, potentially factionless future for WoW. Players wondered if Blizzard would steamroll right into the next expansion, like it did after the poor reception of Warlords of Draenor. Today, the studio explained what's going into the next patch.
The title for the next content update is "Visions of N'Zoth." The storyline in the patch springs from the end of the Eternal Palace raid, with Queen Azshara's death unlocking the prison of the Old God N'Zoth. Players have fought with small facets of the Old Gods before, but N'Zoth will be within his full power. We'll see Ny'alotha, the Sleeping City of the Old Gods, a reflection of our reality.
N'Zoth will be attacking two Titan facilities in Azeroth, causing the zones surrounding them to be flooded with Old God minions and lieutenants. "Building out this content has drawn upon everything we've learned in making Assaults in Tides of Vengeance, as well as major zones like Mechagon and Nazjatar," said World of Warcraft game director Ion Hazzikostas during a Dev Update video today. The locations will be Uldum from Cataclysm and the Veil of Eternal Blossoms from Mists of Pandaria. Both zones will have alternate versions to reflect the incursion from N'Zoth's realm.
By repelling Assaults, players unlock Horrific Visions, one to five players dungeons that reflect potential futures if the heroes of Azeroth don't stop the Old God. The content takes place in corrupted versions of Orgrimmar and Stormwind. As players run this content, they'll be hit with debuffs and their sanity will slowly drain away. The heir of the Black Dragonflight, Wrathion, will help players craft Legendary Cloaks to protect themselves. In a roguelike fashion, what you gain in each run will allow you to improve your cloak and defenses for future runs.
Those who tackle the Horrific Visions will also get fragments of N'Zoth's corruption that can be researched by Magni. This feeds into the new Titanic Research tree, offering additional improvement effects. "Ever since the Mage Tower in Legion, we've been looking for a way to provide a more satisfying solo progression experience and a real challenge you can work towards on your own. That's one of our goals in crafting this Visions of N'Zoth feature," said Hazzikostas. The Horrific Visions will scale to party size and rewards will remain equal.
This all culminates in what will likely be the last raid for Battle for Azeroth: Ny'alotha, The Waking City. This will be a 12-boss raid, ending with players taking on N'Zoth himself.
Players who are constantly making alts will be happy to hear that the content patch will include two new Allied Races. The Vulpera of Vol'dun will be joining the Horde, while the Mechagnomes of Mechagon are joining the Alliance. Being Exalted with the Vol'dunai and Mechagon factions will be the first step to unlocking both races. For mounts, the Vulpera get the Caravan Hyena, while the Mechagnomes get the Mechagon Mechanostrider.
Finally, Visions of N'Zoth will see new Heritage Armor for Goblins and Worgen and a complete overhaul of the Auction House. Hazzikostas said that the team started on the Auction House changes at the beginning of Battle for Azeroth. "We want to tailor the Auction House functionality to the way that most people use it, most frequently," he explained. Items that can be stacked will be separated out into what Hazzikostas called a "commodities market". Buyer will be able to buy part of a stack, as opposed to the whole thing. Players will also be able to create a shopping list of frequent items.
Visions of N'Zoth is available on the Public Test Realms today. Dataminers have already jumped in, dishing all the details of raid bosses, new quests, new gear, and the direction of World of Warcraft's story ahead of the next expansion. We'll have more on the content patch when it actually releases, though Hazzikostas did not offer a firm release window.