Zadina

Legion Previews: Class Halls, Val'sharah, Darkheart Thicket & Black Rook Hold

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Blizzard has released blog previews for the Class Order Halls, the new zone Val'sharah and the two dungeons located in it: Darkheart Thicket and Black Rook Hold.

Let's start with the Order Halls! Blizzard has posted a blog with short previews for each Class Order Hall. If you want to learn a bit more about them, check out our recap of the Artifacts and Class Order Halls Q&A by Craig Amai.

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As you may have noticed, right now both the Alliance and the Horde are dealing with a bit of disarray on the leadership level. In World of Warcraft: Legion, you’ll need to step up and find new ways to band together against the invasion that threatens all of Azeroth. As you venture into the Broken Isles, you’ll join forces with other heroes of your class—no matter what faction they may be from—to make a stand and save everyone from annihilation.

Every class needs a place to call home—a special retreat where support can be found, and a war room in which plans can be made. In Legion, this refuge is known as your Class Hall, a unique-to-your-class place where the champions of Warcraft will work with you to meet the challenges that you face in the Broken Isles.

Death Knight—Acherus 

Acherus, also known as the Ebon Hold, was once a Scourge necropolis. It now provides everything a Death Knight might need, including a forge, a runeforge, and a soul forge.

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Where: Floating above the Broken Shore
How to get there: Death Gate
Notable denizens: Lord Thorval, Dread Commander Thalanor, Siouxsie the Banshee

Take a 360-degree look at Archerus on Facebook.

Demon Hunter—The Fel Hammer 

The Fel Hammer will be immediately recognizable to Demon Hunters—your starting experience in Mardum brought you here.

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Where: Mardum
How to get there: Teleport
Notable Demon Hunters: Allari the Souleater, Altruis the Sufferer, Kayn Sunfury

Take a 360-degree look at The Fel Hammer on Facebook.

Druid—The Dreamgrove

Across from Black Rook Hold, a thick forest provides a refuge known as the Dreamgrove. From here, the Emerald Dreamway is accessible, providing rapid travel to other points of interest to Druids.

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Where: Val’sharah
How to get there: Once unlocked, use Dreamwalk to teleport to the Dreamgrove.
Notable Druids: Keeper Remulos, Lunara, Malfurion Stormrage

Take a 360-degree look at The Dreamgrove on Facebook.

Hunter—Trueshot Lodge

Trueshot Lodge provides a unique set of flight paths that only Hunters will use. Here you’ll join Farstriders, rangers, and dark rangers as you put your survival skills and wilderness expertise to the ultimate test.

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Where: Highmountain
How to get there: Once unlocked, you’ll take a flying eagle from Dalaran.
Notable Hunters: Hemet Nesingwary, Vereesa Windrunner, and Rexxar

Take a 360-degree look at Trueshot Lodge on Facebook.

Mage—Hall of the Guardians 

The Hall of the Guardians is a tower in which mages of all stripes are working together to reform the Tirisgarde in Azeroth’s time of need.

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Where: Dalaran
How to get there: Teleport
Notable denizens: Edirah, High Sorcerer Andromath, Meryl Felstorm, Marud

 

Take a 360-degree look at Hall of the Guardians on Facebook.

Monk—Hall of the Seasons

The Hall of the Seasons, which comprises the Temple of Five Dawns and Mandori Village, gives refuge to Monks from all races.

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Where: Wandering Isle
How to get there: Zen Pilgrimage
Notable denizens: Chen Stormstout, Ji Firepaw, Li Li Stormstout, Aysa Cloudsinger

Take a 360-degree look at Hall of the Seasons on Facebook.

Paladin—The Sanctum of Light 

The Sanctum of Light is where the Knights of the Silver Hand have been restored in their unity, bringing together the Sunwalkers, the Hand of Argus, and Blood Knights, among others.

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Where: Beneath Light’s Hope Chapel in Eastern Plaguelands
How to get there: Fly to Light’s Hope Chapel, or use Dalaran portal.
Notable Paladins: Eadric the Pure, Lord Maxwell Tyrosus, Lord Grayson Shadowbreaker

Take a 360-degree look at The Sanctum of Light on Facebook.

Priest—Netherlight Temple

Netherlight Temple brings together a wide array of priestly practitioners, including high priests, priestesses of Elune, and shadow priests.

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Where: ???
How to get there: Take the portal in Dalaran found in your faction’s area.
Notable Priests: Prophet Velen, High Priestess Ishanah, Calia Menethil

Take a 360-degree look at Netherlight Temple on Facebook.

Rogue—The Hall of Shadows 

The Hall of Shadows brings together Rogues from groups as varied as the Shattered Hand, SI:7, and the Bloodsail Buccaneers.

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Where: Dalaran Underbelly
How to get there: Enter a gate that only Rogues may pass through.
Notable Rogues: Vanessa VanCleef, Garona Halforcen, Valeera Sanguinar

Take a 360-degree look at The Hall of Shadows on Facebook.

Shaman—Heart of Azeroth 

The Heart of Azeroth is a rugged and beautiful spot overlooking the Maelstrom itself. Here you’ll join the Earthen Ring and call upon the elements for aid in battle.

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Where: The Maelstrom
How to get there: Portal from Dalaran.
Notable Shamans: Rehgar Earthfury, Aggra, Stormcaller Mylra, Thrall

Take a 360-degree look at Heart of Azeroth on Facebook.

Warlock—Dreadscar Rift 

Dreadscar Rift is its own place—a strange world that was very recently inhabited by the Burning Legion.

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Where: Dreadscar Rift
How to get there: Portal from Dalaran
Notable denizens: Calydus, Jubeka Shadowbreaker, Ritssyn Flamescowl

Take a 360-degree look at Dreadscar Rift on Facebook.

Warrior—Skyhold 

Skyhold is a section of Halls of Valor where val’kyr bring great heroes who have been nearly lost on the fields of battle.

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Where: Stormheim
How to get there: Leap heroically
Notable denizens: Aurylia, Odyn, Hodir

Take a 360-degree look at Halls of Valor on Facebook.

(source)

The Legion zone preview blogs continue with Val'sharah, probably the most beautiful zone of the new expansion. This magical forest is home to all Druids: it was here that the demigod Cenarius taught the first Druids, like Malfurion Stormrage. The Temple of Elune is also located in this zone. However, the Emerald Nightmare is spreading through Val'sharah, threatening to destroy its lush forests.

The main themes of Val'sharah are: druidism, the Emerald Nightmare, Night Elves and the Green Dragonflight. You also need to prepare yourself: just as we had deaths during the Broken Shore scenario, a major character will die in this zone. Most importantly, though, the zone has something unique and amazing: unicorns!

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In this zone preview, we sat down with Senior Game Designer Steve Burke to talk about Val’sharah and learn more about what you’ll experience there.

Within these densely forested lands, you’ll find the very heart of druidism. This is also the location of the Emerald Nightmare and where the demigod Cenarius first met Malfurion Stormrage and later began his training. You'll also find key places such as the tainted world tree Shaladrassil and the dungeon Black Rook Hold—an elven fortress that dates back to the War of the Ancients.

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Enraptured Woodlands Composed by Edo Guidotti and Jason Hayes

Q. How would you describe the zone’s ambience? What’s it like?

Steve Burke: We were really shooting for what would be the closest to the Emerald Dream realized on Azeroth. Every square inch of this forest has been manicured by the druids for hundreds of years. We’ve got the Grove of Cenarius here, so that’s the fount of all druidism, right? That’s where all these uber Arch Druids have trained, so a lot of big history has happened there. 

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Then juxtaposed with this, we have the Emerald Nightmare. It was exciting, but it was tough for us to pin down how we would execute on that. We had some fits and starts, but I really like where it landed. You’ve got this big transition of “Hey, in the last week or two the World Tree that’s there has become completely corrupted.” It’s spreading throughout the forest, and I think we’ve got that really cool battle line drawn right through one of the Arch Druids’ groves. It’s just being taken over so you really get to see that cause and effect and contrast. Seeing what it does to the druids and the creatures—the centaur and the dryads—is really cool. We also have Xavius, who’s a villain who has a little bit of familiarity, so we didn’t have to do too much to establish him. You get to hate him right away.

To break that up, we really felt we needed Black Rook Hold for something a little different. We have a Gilnean village at the foot of Black Rook Keep, where they’ve carved out their own little area that wasn’t being used by the druids. It’s that classic little village in the shadow of the keep above.

Q. Which locations would you say are some of your favorites, and why?

Steve Burke: Black Rook Hold is definitely one of my favorites. This point of interest (PoI) in particular is my favorite because I had a blank slate. I could say, “OK, as a designer what makes the best PoI?” Not just art, but the gameplay and hitting that fantasy. I sat down with Julian Morris and other leads and talked about previous points of interest where you could stand in them and just digest the whole thing. It’s not accessible, and you can’t necessarily reach it, but you can get that goal of, “Oh man, I can’t wait to get into that place or up over the hill.” It kind of tells its own story just by looking at it. The setting already kind of speaks to you, and then we can focus on the little local stories and just have fun weaving you through. Especially something this epic where you gradually get there in the end. You’ve kind of solved a mystery—or set the stage for a dungeon, in this case. It’s really great.

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Another one is the Grove of Cenarius, and that is one of my favorites just because of all of the history. This is Cenarius. This is where he is. It was hard making this zone just in regard to how much druid lore we have out there. All these big characters—how do we do service to them all? If we threw everything in here, your head would be spinning. You’d get to spend two seconds on this character, and then you wouldn’t be able to really know them.

So we’re talking about the story that we want to tell as you go through the zone that takes up a little bit of player bandwidth just to say, “Ok there’s Xavius again and the Legion has empowered him. They’ve kind of resurrected him and now he’s impacting this force.” So a part of the story. How many characters do we get to fit in here without blowing the player’s mind? It was just clear Cenarius had to be here, but he’s so big and he’s so powerful, how can we have a crisis here if he’s part of the picture? He can just blow anything away, right? I like the way it landed where he’s just so interconnected with the Emerald Dream that when the Emerald Dream is under assault by the Nightmare, it has affected him in a very serious way. So we got to have him in the zone visibly, just not in a state where he can really impact events. 

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We can also still play with big characters—we’ve got Malfurion, and later we have Tyrande in there. That was tricky, since both Horde and Alliance interact with her. With her chasing after Malfurion, who’s been lost, there was enough urgency that it felt OK for her to use you as a Horde player, to set our differences aside for right now. For her, it’s a matter of making some very difficult choices between her husband and her duty to the Temple of Elune.

With the Temple of Elune, it’s under siege, and there’s a lot to lose there. This was something I always wanted to build towards—we’ve never seen anybody of Elune’s stature physically in the game. How do we get that to happen? 

Q. Why do you think a player would want to start in this zone first?

Steve Burke: I would say they shouldn’t—they should save it for last. It’s tricky though. All of the zones are great. I hope this is where druids are going to want to go. They should feel like this is their place, and if they don’t, I’ve done something wrong. That was day one where I was like, “Ok, I get to play with Val’sharah. Obviously, we have got to play these druids up in a way we just haven’t done before in the game.”

There’s been a lot in our lore that talks about how important they are, but here I just wanted to give them a story that would be super intimate to them—playable and appreciable by everybody, but one that would really resonate with them. Their Class Hall is here, but I wanted the zone and the zone story to be something they could connect with in a special way, so hopefully we did that. 

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Q. What is it that will bring them back to this zone?

Steve Burke: Mechanically, we have World Quests—that’s the easy answer. Storywise, there’s an epic story that goes through and touches on Black Rook Hold with Illidan. We’ve got the level-up dungeon, which is the Darkheart Thicket underneath the World Tree, and we’ve got the max-level dungeon with Black Rook Hold, so that will definitely bring you back.

But yeah, the World Quests—hopefully we set the table for you so that it will bring you back and put you into that familiar setting where you can keep helping to push back the Nightmare.

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Q. Is there anything else that players should look forward to here?

Steve Burke: There are a lot of little touches everywhere, but I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone who’s looking forward to that exploration. 

(source)

Darkheart Thicket and Black Rook Hold are both dungeons located in Val'sharah and they tie into two different story lines of this zone. The former is a leveling dungeon. Without spoiling too much, Malfurion is in terrible danger, after being abducted by the shade of Xavius. Is our favourite Druid going to survive? On the other hand, as you will notice while questing in Val'sharah, Lord Ravencrest is back and it is your task to defeat him in the max-level Black Rook Hold.

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Many challenges await the heroes of Azeroth in Legion, and among the most dangerous are the dungeons found in and around the Broken Isles. In this preview, we take a look at two of the expansion’s new dungeons: Black Rook Hold and Darkheart Thicket.

Black Rook Hold

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Minimum Level: 110
Location: Val’sharah
Bosses: 4

Carved from the greatest mountain of Val’sharah by ancient elven masons, Black Rook Hold stood as a bulwark against the Burning Legion during the War of the Ancients. The nigh-impregnable fortress is also the ancestral home of Lord Kur’talos Ravencrest, one-time mentor of Illidan himself. But since the latest Legion attack, a strange dark energy emanates from the Hold, and restless dead plague the surrounding lands.

Developer Insights: The encounter team was excited to tackle Black Rook Hold, which is probably the closest thing to a traditional castle that World of Warcraft has seen since Shadowfang Keep. It’s also a very different take on elven architecture than we’re used to seeing. Not much was known about the structure, other than the fact that it was built as a bulwark against the Legion, was named for its tower’s resemblance to a certain chess piece, and that it was closely associated with Lord Kur’talos Ravencrest, one-time mentor of Illidan. We doubled down on that last angle, beginning in the Ravencrest family crypt beneath the Hold and having the players work their way up through cobweb-filled corridors as the presence and influence of the Legion grow. The source of the troubles that have been plaguing the nearby town of Bradensbrook awaits at the top.

Black Rook Hold is a dark presence looming over the Howling Dale. It stands on an island on the west side of Val’sharah, connected to the mainland by a wide, intimidating bridge over the Emerald Bay. Inside, four bosses are waiting to give you a warm welcome.

The Ravenscrypt

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The Amalgam of Souls: Immense soul energy was released when Gul’dan conducted the ritual to sever Illidan’s soul from his body at Black Rook Hold. This energy brought the souls of the Ravencrest clan back to their ancestral home—and residual soul energy has merged them into a massive monstrosity.

The Grand Hall

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Illysanna Ravencrest: The daughter of Lord Ravencrest, imprisoned for millennia in the Vault of the Wardens shortly after the War of the Ancients, found herself free after Maiev released the demon hunters from their prison. Returning to her ancestral home, she sacrificed everything—including her very soul—to defend what she could not during the War of the Ancients.

The Rooks’ Roost
Smashspite the Hateful:
A brutal, imposing Mo’arg Lieutenant, Smashspite the Hateful led the Legion’s invasion of Black Rook Hold and commanded defense of the keep from the air via his colony of felbats.

The Raven’s Crown

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Lord Kur’talos Ravencrest: Kur’talos Ravencrest, Lord of Black Rook Hold, was the commander of the Kal’dorei Resistance during the War of the Ancients until he was assassinated by Varo’then under the order of Queen Azshara. Millennia later, Gul’dan’s foul soul magic has awoken Ravencrest’s soul, and those of his ancestors, from their eternal repose. The Legion, seeking revenge gleefully forced his soul into his body and mesmerized him, forcing him to eternally relive the horrors of the War of the Ancients.

Darkheart Thicket

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Minimum Level: 98
Location: 
Val’sharah
Bosses: 4

In the shadow of Shaladrassil, the Nightmare permeates every inch of the once-lush forest. Where the eldest and greatest druids once tended to the woods, meditating beneath the great world tree, corruption and madness now reign. Deep within the tangled thicket, the Nightmare Lord Xavius works to break the will of his greatest prize.

Developer Insights: This dungeon represents the pinnacle of the Nightmare’s corruption in Azeroth, showing the most intense effects of its power on a grove that was once a sanctuary for all Azerothian druids. We began work on this dungeon very early in Legion's development, and it actually served to inform the look and feel of the Nightmare corruption in Val’sharah, letting our artists and level designers define maximum corruption and then de-escalate as distance from Shaladrassil increases.

Darkheart Thicket is an outdoor dungeon in what once was an idyllic wood in the shadow of Shaladrassil. Now nightmares roam unfettered.

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Archdruid Glaidalis: Glaidalis was once known as among the most talented shapeshifters in all of Azeroth, and the elders of Moonglade would regularly send their most promising disciples to his care for instruction. But as has sadly too often been the case, those who are closest to nature are often the first to fall into the Nightmare’s clutches.

Oakheart: An ancient who formed from an offshoot of Shaladrassil itself, Oakheart has survived the Sundering, the Cataclysm and the countless blights. The ancient was able to weather these storms by drawing strength from the essence of the Dream itself. But now, that wellspring has become his undoing.

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Dresaron: Once a young green drake, tending to whelps in the shadow of the great world tree, Dresaron is now engulfed in nightmare, lost in a fog of hatred and fear. He lashes out with powerful wings and a withering breath, unleashing his rage on any who stumble into his clutches.

Shade of Xavius: Once a powerful mage and a councilor to Queen Azshara, Xavius forged a pact with Sargeras to enable the Legion’s first invasion of Azeroth. Cursed and tormented in the wake of that defeat, Xavius now projects his true power from the Nightmare into our world, focusing his dark might to break the spirit of his old rival, Malfurion.

(source)

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27 minutes ago, Zadina said:

You also need to prepare yourself: just as we had deaths during the Broken Shore scenario, a major character will die in this zone.

My bet is on Malfurion on this one.

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1 minute ago, Kirr said:

My bet is on Malfurion on this one.

Who knows? :D You try to save him in the Darkheart Thicket dungeon along with Tyrande. It's literally a race against the forces of Xavius. Will you be too late or not?

If you really want to find out, I have addressed this death in one of my Spoilers articles.

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37 minutes ago, Zadina said:

If you really want to find out, I have addressed this death in one of my Spoilers articles.

Can you link this article please?

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      The sheer scale of that war effort is almost unimaginable when we live in a time of extended storage and fast mail. But back then, backpacks and cloth stacks were smaller. Getting precious resources gathered, sorted, and sent took many hours. And it took several weeks to source bandages, food, and equipment—resources that were in high demand and would soon dwindle.
      THE IMPORTANCE OF REMEMBRANCE
      We would do well, in these dark times, to remember the courage and spirit of those who were there at the Gates of Ahn’Qiraj. We must have long memories if we’re to make quick work of the demon forces we now face.
      From January 21–23 we ask that you join us as we remember the fallen and celebrate the victory. All of Azeroth are invited to a special holiday, ‘Call of the Scarab,’ where we will gather to perform acts of remembrance and share our factions’ pride.
      Players who are in a different phase can speak to Rhonormu near the gong to enter the correct event phase.
    • By Stan
      The second part of Tides of Vengeance hits live servers next week. Blizzard just released a survival guide to guide you through all the content that will be available starting January 22.
      Tides of Vengeance Part II
      The next content update arrives on live servers on January 22. What's new?
      New Raid: Battle of Dazar'alor opens on Normal/Heroic difficulty on January 22. Mythic and the First Raid Finder Wing open a week after on January 29. Check out the official preview of the raid, boss guides, and updated Class guides! Azerite Gear Improvements: You'll find a new fifth ring with spec-specific traits on Epic Season 2 Azerite Gear. This does not apply to old gear and your priority should be to upgrade your Azerite Gear asap. Mythic Season 2 Starts Titan Residuum Vendor will offer new wares at an increased cost in Mythic Season 2. The Infested affix will be replaced with Reaping. Blizzard's overall increasing dungeon difficulty and rewards in Season 2. More information can be found here. PvP Season 2 Starts A new PvP Season awaits the boldest of adventurers. Preliminary Season 1 Title Cutoffs have been posted. Game Director Ion Hazzikostas posted a blog post with details about what's (not) changing in Season 2. Artifact Power catchup is disabled right now and will commence on January 22. Blizzard (Source)
      There’s plenty to look forward to when Tides of Vengeance Part 2 goes live on January 22. Watch our Survival Guide to learn more.
      New Raid: Battle of Dazar’alor
      The Alliance will strike at the heart of the Zandalari empire—while the defenders of the Horde will rally to their new allies’ defense—in an epic new raid, Battle of Dazar’alor. This new raid provides both Horde and Alliance players with unique encounters for their faction—along with the opportunity to play through events from the opposite faction’s viewpoint.  Learn more.
      PvP Season 2 Begins
      PvP Season 2 will begin and introduce an updated Conquest reward schedule, mounts, and gear. Players who earn 500 Conquest points in a given week through PvP activities including Arenas, Battlegrounds, and Assaults in War Mode will be still be able to choose a piece of gear from each week’s selection; in addition, they’ll now earn a Quartermaster’s Coin, which can be collected and ultimately used to upgrade pieces from this season’s Sinister Gladiator PvP set. Learn more.
      Mythic Keystone Dungeon Season 2 Begins
      The new Mythic Keystone Dungeon season opens opportunities for new rewards and a new challenge with the new seasonal affix: Reaping. High-level Keystones will now summon Bwonsamdi, the Loa of Death, to wreak some spectral havoc upon players’ dungeon run. As heroes kill enemies, the vanquished spirits will continue to linger in the mortal realm. At certain points throughout the dungeon, Bwonsamdi will resurrect these twisted souls, who will swarm the unfortunate adventurers in a final act of vengeance. (Blog coming soon.)
      Azerite Armor Updates
      With the release of Season 2, we’re introducing new epic Azerite pieces from PvP Season 2, the Battle of Dazar’alor raid, World Quest Emissaries, and from the Mythic Keystone vendor Thaumaturge Vashreen in Zuldazar and Boralus. These new items will have a fifth ring with additional new trait options. Learn more.
      Content Difficulty and Rewards Changes
      With a new season upon us and the Dazar’alor raid dungeon opening, we wanted to share some additional information on the changes coming to a variety of dungeon and outdoor world encounters including increases to both difficulty and rewards.
      New Maximum Item Level: With great challenges come great rewards and the maximum possible item level will go up to 425. Battle for Darkshore Warfront: Battle for Darkshore rewards will also increase to 400 from both the outdoor boss and from Warfront quest that can be completed once per cycle. The difficulty of the Warfront will increase however, and the item level required to queue will increase to 335. These changes will go into effect after the current Warfront cycle has ended. Until that time, players will still receive Season 1 rewards. World Quest Emissary Rewards: World Quest Emissary weapon and armor rewards will also now scale up to 385 based on the player’s own item level. Rewards from the original Battle for Azeroth Launch World bosses will remain at item level 355 to stay on par with Uldir. Dungeon Rewards and Difficulty: The difficulty of Heroic and Mythic dungeons will also be increase as follows:  Normal–340, Heroic–355, and Mythic– 370(baseline) Mythic Keystone Dungeons and PvP: During the first week of Season 2 Mythic Keystone Dungeon rewards will be capped at Mythic 6 quality (item level 385). PvP Season 2 end-of-match rewards will be capped at 385. Seals of Wartorn Fate: Seals of Wartorn Fate are not being reset and this same currency can be used for Battle of Dazar’alor and Season 2 bonus rolls; the cap on how many can be held at once remains at 5. For additional insights on these changes, read the developer forum post.
    • By Stan
      Arena World Championship (AWC) and the Mythic Dungeon Invitational (MDI) will return in 2019 with a few twists. MDI will be split into two regions and for the first time, players will be able to crowdfund both events and increase the prize pools by purchasing in-game toys in spring.
      Blizzard (Source)
      Today we are very excited to share details for the 2019 Arena World Championship (AWC) and rebranded Mythic Dungeon International (still MDI!), including increases to both programs’ prize pools, which will come from a portion of the sales of two new toys. Let’s get right into it.
      Arena Returns for 2019
      We are pleased to bring back the Arena World Championship in similar form as last year—just with a few fun twists. Here’s a visual representation of the system in 2019:

      North America and Europe: The NA and EU regions will have two Arena seasons each, with six cups per season. Each cup will see teams battle for their share of a USD $10,000 prize pool. This represents an increase over last year’s competition, with more cups and more chances for players to win. Like last year, each cup will award points. For each finals event, the top four point-earners per season from both NA and EU will compete for a USD $100,000 prize pool. The first cup begins on Feb. 8; signups start today and will close Monday, Jan. 28, at 10 a.m. PDT/6 p.m. CET.
      Asia-Pacific, China, and Latin America: These regions also will run cups based on the Arena World Championship ruleset. Signups for Korea, Taiwan/Hong Kong/Macau, Australia/New Zealand, China, and Latin America will kick off later in the year. Keep an eye on regional channels for more information.
      Arena World Championship Finals: At the end of the year, we will celebrate the global scope of Arena with the AWC Finals. Invitations will be extended to:
      1st place from NA and EU Season 1 1st and 2nd place from NA and EU Summer Finals Top point-earner from NA and top point-earner from EU Winners of the China, APAC, and Latin America finals. Introducing the Mythic Dungeon International
      An invitational no more, we are pleased to announce the Mythic Dungeon International for 2019—a seasonal competition that will showcase the world’s best dungeon-running teams. We decided to update the name of the program in order to better reflect its increased scope and global reach. The Upgrades
      MDI will be split into two regions: MDI East (China, Korea, Southeast Asia, Taiwan, and Australia/New Zealand) and MDI West (North America, Latin America, and Europe). Here is how the year will flow:

      The Proving Grounds are a qualification period open to any player with a Blizzard Battle.net account in good standing. Think you’ve got what it takes to be Mythic Dungeon International champions? Grab a team of five players and prove it! All you and your team need to do is complete five level 14 Mythic Keystone Dungeons in time between February 26 and March 12. (Note: Keystone level is subject to change, and will be determined sometime after the start of Season 2, on Jan. 22.) If successful, you and your team will be granted access to the Tournament Realm, where you will be able to create max-level characters, equip them with the items you feel are most optimal, and build out talents as you please. You and your team will have access to the Tournament Realm for the duration of the season.
      Each season, those who have gained access to the Tournament Realm via the Proving Grounds will be able to participate in Time Trials—a limited number of attempts at the week’s dungeons during a designated time period, of which your team’s best results will be submitted automatically. Each week will alternate between East and West, beginning with the Time Trial in ending in the week’s Cup, a double-elimination bracket featuring the top eight teams for that week’s region. All teams on the Tournament Realm will be able to run in their region’s Time Trials every alternating week, which means more opportunities to participate in Cups.
      Each Cup for MDI East and MDI West will be broadcast live on Twitch each weekend across six weeks. There is a USD $12,000 prize pool per Cup, as well as MDI points. Points will be awarded each week according to results, which will be used to determine who will be invited to each end-of-season LAN final. The end-of-season LAN events will be cross-regional, meaning the best teams of MDI East and MDI West will meet to race for their share of USD $100,000. The Proving Grounds for MDI Season 1 for both East and West will begin the week of February 26, when keystone affixes roll over. Closer to the event we will share more information about how to participate, qualification specifics, and more. NEW TOYS FOR ME? I PROMISE I WON’T BREAK THEM THIS TIME!
      As both Arena and MDI grow, we want to give fans a chance to further support the programs—and have some fun along the way! Soon we will introduce two new in-game toys to our shop (details to follow). A portion of the sale of these toys will contribute to the prize pools for both WoW esports programs.
      These toys will go on sale in the spring. As the proceeds will contribute to the year’s final LAN event prize pools for AWC and MDI, those prize pools will be announced later this year.
      We can’t wait to get things started. Be sure to follow World of Warcraft on Twitter and Twitch to stay up to date on all the latest WoW esports news, and bookmark WorldOfWarcraft.com/esports so you don’t miss a thing!
    • By Stan
      As PvP Season 2 draws closer, here are cutoffs for BfA Season 1.
      Note: The following cutoffs are not final and they're to be determined after the Season officially comes to a close.
      Americas
      Blizzard (Source)
      With Battle for Azeroth Season 2 fast approaching, we wanted to give those looking to push for titles at the end of Season 1 an idea of what to aim for.
      What follows are the current rating cutoffs as of this post, for the respective titles. These are not the final cutoffs, which will change slightly based on continued play through the end of the season as well as any disqualifications that occur after the season ends, but can be used as a general estimate for what ratings are needed in order to qualify.
      Dread Gladiator – Horde: 2957 Dread Gladiator – Alliance: 2842 Hero of the Horde: 2646 Hero of the Alliance: 2552 Again, these are not the final cutoffs, which we won’t be able to determine until after the season officially ends.
      Europe (Thanks to @Nightswifty for the link)
      Blizzard (Source)
      With Battle for Azeroth Season 2 fast approaching, we wanted to give those looking to push for titles at the end of Season 1 an idea of what to aim for.
      What follows are the current rating cutoffs as of this post, for the respective titles. These are not the final cutoffs, which will change slightly based on continued play through the end of the season as well as any disqualifications that occur after the season ends, but can be used as a general estimate for what ratings are needed in order to qualify.
      Dread Gladiator – Horde: 3022 Dread Gladiator – Alliance: 3069 Hero of the Horde: 2726 Hero of the Alliance: 2749 Again, these are not the final cutoffs, which we won’t be able to determine until after the season officially ends.