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Update: It seems Limit will be returning to Horde once their faction transfer cooldown expires, so we won't be seeing an epic Alliance vs. Horde showdown in the race after all, they just popped in on the blue side for some loot. Since they'll be transferring back before the reset they won't be getting net week's PvP ilvl 400 item, however, it seems there's another ilvl 400 in the mix as the Alliance Darkshore Warfront quest is up as well, so their total will stay at two.
The pre-race preparation war has already started and has been turned up a notch, as Limit have faction transferred to Alliance in order to get the benefit from the Against Overwhelming Odds quest that, as of this reset, will reward an item level 400 piece of gear each week. The 30% buff to Artifact Power gains isn't that relevant, as most top raiders will have already gotten to the level 42 point necessary without it, although it could help some stragglers that took the grind a bit less hardcore.
The Limit GM commented on the matter, stating that they only used gold to buy transfers, and other sources say it was only 51 characters that were transferred.
Limit have said in the past that they'd go extra hard at it in this particular raid race, as they're taking more time off work to compete (aka going at it on the same level as Method and other guilds) and, unlike Method and Exorsus, they will not be streaming their progress, keeping their tactics to themselves. As you'll remember, Limit were extremely close to getting the World First in Uldir, missing out only due to them extending their lockout since they thought they could down G'huun with the gear they already had. If you want to go more in-depth on the discussion surrounding the transfer, head on over to the reddit page where, as you'd expect, MANY opinions were oh-so subtly shared.
So, it would seem that we will have a genuine Horde versus Alliance face-off in the race to world first in Battle of Dazar'alor, as the top two guilds find themselves on opposing factions. What's more, we may even see an Alliance endboss World First, which hasn't happened since Dragon Soul and the Madness of Deathwing encounter (taken down by Korean guild KIN Raiders).
Weird fact: the only other two Alliance endboss WFs are also on dragons, with Halion in Ruby Sanctum (which doesn't really count as the raid was a bit of a joke) and Nefarian back in the original Blackwing Lair!
It seems the incentive Blizzard has introduced for people to play Alliance has paid off, at least in terms of top-guild representation, unless of course Limit transfer back at a later date. In any case, the Battle of Dazar'alor Mythic progression race is already exciting and it hasn't even started yet!
There's a new patch in town so the hotfixes are flowing. Today we see a Jani achievement tweak and some more bug fixes in the new raid, multiple rewards now going by spec instead of class (weapon caches, emissary armor and faction assaults), PvP changes that make certain Gladiator effects dispellable and more.
January 23 (source)
Dungeons and Raids
Battle of Dazar’alor The achievement Can I Get a Hek Hek Hek Yeah? now requires all members of the raid click on the Mysterious Trashpile before the fight starts to receive Jani's Favor, and then complete the existing criteria for the achievement. Fixed a bug that prevented some players from receiving the achievement The Hidden Dragon on Normal difficulty. Fixed an issue that sometimes caused Arcane Torrent to remain available when changing factions. Items
Emissary armor, weapon caches, and rewards from faction assaults now reward the item by loot specialization. These were previously rewarded by class. Player versus Player
Sinister Gladiator’s Safeguard’s shield now has a duration of 6 seconds (was 10 seconds), and can now be dispelled. Dread/Sinister Gladiator’s Emblem now has a duration of 20 seconds (was 15 seconds). Sinister Gladiator Maledict’s heal absorption can now be dispelled. Xalziax’s Veiled Eye’s shield can now be dispelled. Developers’ note: With the start of Battle for Azeroth Season 2, we introduced two new trinkets that are acquired via PvP, Sinister Gladiator’s Maledict and Sinister Gladiator’s Safeguard. In agreement with feedback we’ve been receiving, we’ve made a few changes to these items so that they provide more of an opportunity for counterplay when encountering enemy teams using these trinkets. We’ll continue to keep an eye on the strength of these trinkets as the season progresses. Professions
Season 2 crafted Engineering goggles should now refund Tidalcores or Breath of Bwonsamdi and Expulsom when scrapped. Quests
Fixed an issue where Alliance players who had faction transferred to Horde could not see Nathanos in Dalaran to accept "The Warchief Beckons". Nazgrim is once again available in Grommash Hold in Orgrimmar for Horde players on the questing experience to unlock Pandaria. World Quests
Faction Assault World Quests now properly give credit for the Weekly Quest "The World Awaits". Pets should now summon and path correctly on Airships during Faction Assaults. Previous hotfixes.
There's more new content coming in, both on and off the live servers, as the 8.1.5 PTR just got an update as well. We're getting many new quests from the War Campaign to Magni's (probably woon-related) future and the Hunter Hati quest, in addition to the Brawler's Guild opening up. There's also two new micro-holidays up for test: Wanderer's Festival and Free T-Shirt day, as well as class and racial ability changes.
8.1.5 PTR January 23 (source)
We’re updating the PTR with a new build today, and with it comes several new things to test.
Many new quests are now ready. These include questlines for the Alliance and Horde War Campaigns, Magni’s future, and Hunters’ reunion with Hati.
The new Brawler’s Guild is now open for testing. There’s more to Brawler’s Guild this time around, with a mysterious new questline that’s slightly different for Alliance and Horde, in addition to the challenging fights.
We’re also set to take a look at two new micro-holidays: Wanderer’s Festival and Free T-Shirt Day. Please note that these may not be turned on at all times on the PTR.
Hunters should now see a visual on their target when they slow it with Concussive Shot. Marksmanship Hunters will see an improvement to Explosive Shot: it now explodes at the target’s location after 3 seconds, even if the target dies before the explosion.
Several class teleport spells have been updated to be better at returning you to a spot that is much closer to where you expect them to. The spells updated are Teleport: Moonglade, Zen Pilgrimage, Dreamwalk, and Death Gate.
This week, the PTR also has some updates to the new Allied Races. For Zandalari Trolls, Pterrordax Swoop no longer shares a cooldown with Goblin Glider, and all of the Zandalari embraces have been tuned down significantly. Both new Allied Races now start with riding trained (like other Allied Races), and Shaman should now see their racial totems on their character selection screen.
Thanks again for testing with us.
Update: We have a tweet from the devs clarifying the 50% nerf to Azerite traits in PvP, noting that it supercedes all previous individual nerfs:
Here come the first hotfixes of the new patch (which, for some reason, isn't patch 8.1.5, or 8.1.1 for that matter...) featuring a flat 50% nerf to ALL Azerite traits in PvP, Mythic+ changes in the form or Fortified and Bolster affixes not affecting Reaping ghosts and the Motherlode getting some enemy forces tweaks, as well as some invisibility potion changes.
January 22 (source)
Dungeons and Raids
Fortified and Bolster will no longer increase the health of the Reaping ghosts. The MOTHERLODE!! Fixed an issue causing Venture Co. Earthshapers to count double towards Enemy Forces criteria on Mythic Keystone difficulties. Slightly reduced the total Enemy Forces count. Items
Potions that grant the player Invisibility (such as Demitri's Draught of Deception ) now place a 5-minute cooldown on all other potion types (was 10 minutes). The shared cooldown time for invisibility potions remains 10 minutes. Fixed a bug that prevented Tome of Town Portal from being properly affected by Seafarer’s Hearth. Player versus Player
Every portion of Azerite powers that scale with item level have been reduced by 50% in PvP. Developers’ notes: This addresses how the additional new ring of traits affects power in PvP. The change includes all spec- and class-specific traits, as well as all multi-class traits, regardless of which ring they’re on. This change also overwrites all previous reductions to Azerite Traits in PvP that occurred during Season 1, as they will all now have their reduction set to 50% effectiveness. Non-scaling and non-stacking effects are unaffected by this adjustment. Resolved an issue that caused Sinister Gladiator's Maledict to not strike enemy players who have moved out of line of sight after the initial activation of the trinket. Quests
Players on "The Lord Admiral's Lament " while on the Saurfang questline should now be able to see Isabella. “Quartermaster's Bounty ”, in which you turn in 10 Quartermaster's Coins to get a Battleborn Sigil, is now a weekly repeatable quest.
Wildcard Gaming finished up the Battle of Dazar'alor, downing Jaina Proudmoore World First on Heroic and crossed the finish line on 9/9 bosses down! It's a Horde first kill, which usually isn't that relevant, but since this raid has a particular faction-themed bent it's slightly more so. The speed of the kill was expected, as pretty much all Heroic endbosses die on the first day. The real race starts next week and we'll have plenty of content to enjoy, between Method and Exorsus streams, our own daily race recaps and the live progress coverage over at Method's raid race site as well.
And here's the video of the kill: