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WoW's Battle for Azeroth Pre-Patch Brings Big Changes on July 17

Next week's update will prepare players for the next expansion.

News by Mike Williams, .

World of Warcraft's next expansion, Battle for Azeroth, is just over a month away, with a planned release date of August 14, 2018. Fans have been waiting for the Battle for Azeroth pre-patch, 8.0, which will close the door on some features of the Legion expansion while preparing for the next one. Many fans expected that patch to drop sometime this week, but Blizzard Entertainment announced today that it's coming next Tuesday.

So what's going live and what's going away next week? First up is the new stat squish, which lowers the huge stat numbers for players and non-player characters, while keeping power levels roughly the same.

With the Battle for Azeroth pre-patch, Artifact Weapons themselves will be drained of power, unable to grow any further. If you're just getting into Legion, you'll still gain Artifact Weapons, but their power will scale automatically with your level. One adjoining feature that's going away for good will be the Mage Tower on the Broken Shore. These veteran challenges let players unlock new looks for the Artifact Weapons and with the change in Artifacts themselves, this will be closed off from players forever. You have one week to finish your Mage Tower challenges up!

The crafting and gathering Professions are changing with 8.0 as well. Instead of being a single treadmill from beginning to end, Professions are now seperated by expansion, each with their own progression. First Aid will also be gone completely.

A huge part of Battle for Azeroth's player-vs-player (PVP) content is going live. War Mode is the end of the old PVP server model, with players begin able to toggle into or out of World PVP on any server. War Mode offers an experience bonus for playing with War Mode activated and a brand-new PVP talents system. The post-season for Legion PVP Season 7 will also kick off, offering catch-up gear for all who participate.

Finally, Blizzard Entertainment is setting the new Communities feature live. Communities will let you "create, manage, and join multiple groups of friends and family" across multiple servers. Communities allow you to talk and play with your friends in World of Warcraft, or simply communicate with friends in other Blizzard Battle.net games. There is a caveat to this wonderful system though: you'll need to stick within Horde or Alliance.

A peak at the upcoming Communities feature.

"Communities you create are open to same-faction characters from any realm within your region. You’ll be able to invite characters directly, provide a code, or send an invitation link to those you would like to invite to your newly-created community. You’ll also be able to create calendar events specific to your community and use Quick Join to hop into groups together," says the Communities preview article.

This pre-patch will set the final stage for Battle for Azeroth, giving players a rough idea of what the next expansion will feel like. World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth is scheduled for launch on August 14, 2018, setting the Horde and Alliance back on their long-running conflict.

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