Today at BlizzCon 2018, Blizzard Entertainment showed off what players can expect after Patch 8.1, entitled Tides of Vengeance. That patch is coming on December 11, 2018, but how can players expect to ring in the new year with World of Warcraft? The panel detailed what's coming in minor patches 8.1.5 and 8.2.5, and Patch 8.2, which is the next major patch.
Patch 8.1.5 - Zandalari Trolls and Kul Tiran Humans
First up is Patch 8.1.5. The main feature of this patch are the new Allied Races, the Zandalari Trolls and Kul Tiran Humans. Both races come with their own unique racial abilities, mounts, and Druid forms, with the Zandalari taking after their local dinosaurs and the Kul Tirans drawing on the magic of the ancient Drust. The Zandalari Trolls are a multifaceted race, able to become Druids, Hunters, Mages, Monks, Priests, Rogue, Shamab, Warlocks, Warriors, and as frequently requested by players... Paladins. The Kul Tiran Human list is smaller, with the sea-faring people able to become Hunters, Warriors, Priests, Rogues, Monks, Druids, and Shaman.
The patch will also host some improvements to in-game holidays. Children's Week will get new quests for the Zandalari and Kul Tirans. Blizzard is also adding new holidays to the mix, like The Wanderer's Festival in Pandaren, or a new diving event in Vashj'ir. As a reward for completing some of these events, players will get their hands on new shirts. Yay?
As World of Warcraft grows, it has become harder for players to get around. Blizzard is going to offer a fix for this with new Portal Rooms for Stormwind and Orgrimmar. These new spaces are designed to expand over time, so the studio won't have to keep adding portals in weirder, smaller nooks around the capital cities.
World of Warcraft introduced Warsong Gulch and Arathi Basin all the way back in 2005 and it's clear that both battlegrounds need a new coat of paint. Blizzard's answer is Warsong Gulch and Arathi Basin Remastered, taking both instances and reimagining them with the studio's current technology and art design.
Rounding up the rest of the patch, Professions will get new questlines that will reward special Tools of the Trade. The Brawler's Guild will also get a quest involving some twin-fisted detective work to solve a murder. Rewards will include a Bruce the Crocolisk mount and a Brawler's Guilde transmog set. Arathi Basin will receive a new brawl that allows one faction to go up against a team of AI players.
Patch 8.2 - Rise of Azshara
This will be the major patch following Tides of Vengeance, where players can expect the most new content. This patch will send both factions to the home of the Naga, Nazjatar, and place them up against Queen Azshara herself. The Horde and Alliance will find themselves with new friends in the region: the Alliance help out a race of nearly-extinct fish people not unlike the Jinyu, while the Horde will align with former Gilbin, Makura, and Skrog slaves.
The zone is built for repeatable content, and Blizzard promises that this content will feel new and different each time. Rewards from Nazjatar include new Naga-themed weapons and armor, new crab and seahorse mounts, and a baby Naga battle pet. Blizzard was particularly happy about the crab mount, which walks sideways as you ride it.
Battle for Azeroth's third raid will appear in Patch 8.2: Azshara's Eternal Palace. The raid will include eight total bosses, with at least one underwater encounter. It'll show the Naga Hatchery and conclude with Queen Azshara herself.
That's not the only landmass coming to Patch 8.2 though! The patch will also explore the lost home of the Gnomes, Mechagon. This content is clearly unfinished, as Blizzard had mostly concept art to show on stage. The region will also sport a new race, the Mechagnomes. Mechagon is based on a caste system where the more mechanized you become, the higher up in class you are. The Mechagnomes players meet are the dissidents who don't want to become fully mechanized like their king.
The region will culminate in what Blizzard is calling a megadungeon, like Karazhan. The dungeon will feature eight bosses ending in King Mechagon himself, but will only be available for Mythic levels.
The best of the rest for Patch 8.2? Blood Elf and Dwarf Heritage Armor is releasing in Patch 8.1, and 8.2 will follow with similar armor for Tauren and Gnomes. Heroic Warfronts will be available for those who are looking for a challenge. Flying will unlock for Battle for Azeroth, with new flying mounts like Bees, Gryphons, and Mechanical Parrots. There will also be new Island Expedition maps: Crestfall and Snowblossom, the latter of which is a Pandaren town. Finally, the quest content will further the stories of Jaina, Anduin, Sylvanas and Saurfang.
This patch is more shrouded in mystery, given that it'll be months before it launches. Blizzard did offer a taste of upcoming content though. The final model improvements that Blizzard started way back in Warlords of Draenor will be coming Patch 8.1.5. Goblins and Worgen will be getting their updated models, and most notably Blizzard has revamped the contentious female Worgen model.
Given that Battle for Azeroth (Patch 8.0) launched in July and Patch 8.1, Tides of Vengeance, is coming on December 11, 2018, it's likely that we won't be seeing Patch 8.2 until March or April of 2019. At the very least, we know what World of Warcraft will look like for the foreseeable future: more raids, more races, more heritage armor, and more zones.