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Season of Discovery Phase 2 Official Preview

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Blizzard have detailed what's coming with Season of Discovery Phase 2! Arriving on February 8th, we find out about the new Gnomeregan 10-player raid, its loot, bosses, skill books dropping from dungeons, new runes, profession and PvP changes and so much more! There's even talk of limiting/stopping GDKP runs, although the details on how are scarce.

We also got word of a 50% XP buff for players under level 25, as well as Blackfathom Deeps awarding extra experience as well, so the catchup shouldn't be a big issue if you decide to start in Phase 2.

Blizzard LogoPhase 2 (Source)

Sit down with World of Warcraft Classic team designers to explore more of what Season of Discovery Phase 2 has in store for you. We will take you through new raid information, dungeon, Rune ability, PvP, and profession updates, and more.

With this preview we want to take a moment to get ahead of the PTR since, like the previous Classic PTR, the content for Season of Discovery Phase 2 will not actually be available to play. We also want to help assuage any incorrect assumptions from any datamining that may occur as the PTR also holds some data that could be misleading, is experimental, is meant for later phases, or even are items that did not make the cut.

Join the WoW Classic development team members: Game Producer Linny Cooke Saverline, Assistant Lead Designer Tim Jones, Lead Software Engineer Nora Valletta, Lead Software Engineer Ana Resendez, and Senior Game Producer Josh Greenfield to learn more.

A Look at the Gnomeregan Raid Dungeon

Location: Dun Morogh
Level: 40
Raid Size: 10
Bosses: 6

Much like Black Fathom Deeps in Phase 2, Gnomeregan will be a 10-player raid dungeon consisting of six bosses–which includes one additional new boss. Each of the previous five bosses have been redesigned to present new challenges within the raid dungeon. This dungeon will also introduce a new world buff.

There will be a variety of new items and rewards with even more epic rewards from additional sources beyond the last two bosses of the dungeon. There will also be new class sets to acquire and quests and rewards adjusted for level 40 players.

Players will also be able to undertake a new profession quest chain leading to new materials players can use to craft more powerful items.

As a compromise for both leading edge players and more casual players, the raid dungeon will become available with the launch of Season of Discovery Phase 2, but there will be two lockouts on the normal weekly lockout timer at the start of the phase. This means the first of these raid resets will occur on February 13 and the second will occur on February 20 with the regularly scheduled maintenance. This will allow for leading edge players to get to level 40 and start their hunt in the raid dungeon right away, but also minimizes the number of lockouts missed for those who level more slowly.

Boss Updates

You will find some changes to the boss areas within the dungeon affording for new challenges for players to overcome. Here are some examples of what you may find within:

  • Grubbis: New radiation vents may just come into play in this encounter.
  • Crowd Pummeler 9-60: This boss has moved to a new part of the dungeon where your encounter will occur on a raised platform before a crowd.
  • Mekgineer Thermaplugg: Now has new mechanical suits as a part of his arsenal.

New Loot

We have placed a few nods to older items that were previously staples in this dungeon. Items such as the Automatic Crowd Pummeler will allow players to pick up just one of these items to reuse over and over as a quality-of-life improvement.

Please note that all examples are works in progress and may not reflect the final item stats.

Additional Items

We have also tucked in some fun items as well into the raid dungeon.

Item Sets

To help players get access to additional pieces that they are having difficulty collecting, there will also be armor piece token drops allowing any player to use them to pick up additional set pieces they may be missing. For example, if your boots have been eluding you, you can use a boot armor token to purchase them from the vendor.

Dungeon Updates

Season of Discovery Phase 2 will also have new skill books added as a part of 5-player dungeon drops from various creatures. These quality-of-life improvements will not take a rune slot and help to address things such as short Aura durations for Paladin Blessings, totem control for Shaman, or even as a part of manipulating combo points for Rogues and the target these are on— and more. Here are just a few examples:

Rune Ability Updates

We wanted to provide everyone with a sneak peek at just some of the new runes that they will be able to discover as they continue to level up to 40.

Paladin Runes

Sheath of Light will cause damage dealt with your melee weapon to also increase your spell power. It will also cause your critical heals to apply an additional heal over time on the target.

Guarded by the Light will cause your melee weapon hits to restore mana over time, however; the amount healed by Flash of Light, Holy Light, and Holy Shock will be reduced by half.

Hunter Runes

Melee Specialist is a passive ability which will reduce the cooldown on Raptor Strike, cause it to trigger instantly, and each usage of Raptor Strike has a chance not to trigger its cooldown. Melee Specialist will also remove the cooldown of Mongoose Bite.

Trap Launcher allows you to place traps at any location within 40 yards and allows you to place your traps while in combat. Additionally, your fire-based and frost-based traps have separate shared cooldowns.

Warrior Runes

Rallying Cry is a defensive ability which can be activated to increase the health of all party and raid members within 40 yards.

Blood Surge gives some of your abilities a chance to make your next Slam instant and cost no Rage.

Rogue Runes

Use Shuriken Toss to throw a shuriken at your enemy, dealing damage to your target and up to 4 additional nearby.

Master of Subtlety causes attacks made while stealthed—and for a short time after exiting stealth— to cause additional damage.

Priest Runes

Cast Mind Spike to blast your target with Shadowfrost damage and apply a debuff which increases the critical strike chance of your next Mind Blast on that target. This debuff can stack up to 3 times.

As a favorite from later expansions, Pain Suppression can be cast on a friendly target to significantly reduce their damage taken and increase their resistance to Dispel mechanics for a short time.

Warlock Runes

With Invocation, when you refresh some of your damage over time effects while they have less than 6 seconds remaining, instant damage will be dealt to your target equal to one tick of that spell’s periodic damage. So, you no longer have to worry about refreshing your damage over time (DoT) spells at the perfect moment.

Dance of the Wicked will trigger a buff which increases you and your pets’ dodge chance any time either of you deal a critical strike to an enemy. You will also gain 2% of your maximum mana when this occurs.

Mage Runes

Missile Barrage gives your Arcane Blast, Fireball, and Frostbolt spells a chance to reduce the channeled duration of your next Arcane Missiles spell by half, reduce its mana cost to 0, and cause missiles to fire every .5 seconds.

Chronostatic Preservation is a great new spell that allows you to store some of your arcane, fire and frost energy for later use. You can only hold this energy for a short time before it combusts and expires, but you can use this energy to heal a friendly target.

Shaman Runes

Maelstrom Weapon causes damage dealt with melee attacks to have a chance to reduce the cast time of your next Lightning Bolt, Chain Lightning, Lesser Healing Wave, Healing Wave, Chain Heal, or Lava Burst spell by 20%. The cast time reduction can stack up to five times.

Spirit of the Alpha is almost the opposite of Blessing of Salvation and casts a 30-minute buff on a friendly target to increase the threat generated by that target.

While some Shaman choose to battle with one weapon in each hand, others prefer to hand out devastating blows with a 2-handed weapon. If dealing damage with a two-handed weapon is your playstyle, then you will want to pick up Two-Handed Mastery. Each time you strike an enemy with a two-handed weapon, you gain 30% attack speed with this weapon for 10 seconds.

PvP Updates: Beware The Blood Moon

With Phase 2 of Season of Discovery, we are introducing a new PvP event called “The Blood Moon.” This new event brings with it a bit of mayhem to Stranglethorn Vale and the Blood Moon will shine above the zone casting an eerie red fog on the area. Building on what we have learned from the Ashenvale PvP event in Phase 1, we have created this event to occur on a more predictable timetable so that players can plan for when they are able to take part.

Event: The Blood Moon
When: Every 3 Hours
Duration: 30 minutes
Where: Stranglethorn Vale

During this event, killing players will allow you to earn currency which can be traded for various rewards. While you can still group-up with your allies for the event, the Blood Moon is a harsh mistress and will punish those in raid groups.

For those who would rather live in peace and harmony with the land, you can opt out of the event by speaking with the Zandalari Emissary. You will not be able to earn any rewards from the event if you opt out and general realm PvP rules will still apply.

Unlike in the Ashenvale PvP event, there will not be any PvP objectives in Stranglethorn Vale’s event. You will also need to keep a sharp eye out for the Chosen of the Blood Loa who is more than a force to be reckoned with and will kill all in their path.

PvP Rewards

If you are looking to spend your currency on new rewards, you will want to seek out the merchant just outside the Gurubashi Arena. Players will be able to earn new class-specific item rewards.

Two New Mounts

There are also two new faction agnostic mounts that players will be able to acquire by participating in the event. These level 40 mounts also have new appearances.

There are also new quests which will help you earn Arathi Basin reputation. This event will not have an associated world buff.

PvP Updates

Additional adjustments are coming to matchmaking. While we understand that it can be frustrating for solo players to match against premade groups, we want to be careful about impacting queues. To address this, we are implementing two changes. Players in groups of five or fewer, you will have a higher chance to match against groups of five or fewer. Likewise, if you are in a group of six or more, you will have a higher chance to match with groups with six or more. This will help aid in matching more premade groups with premade groups or non-premades with non-premades when possible. To account for the potential to create longer queues with this updated matching system, the system will ignore these rules after a period of time should we start seeing these queues impacted. This will then match you with the first available so you can get in and play without waiting too much longer.

Ashenvale Updates

Ashenvale will be moving to a 3-hour timer as well with Phase 2. The weekly quest world buff will not apply to players after level 39.

Profession Updates

After the positive reception to professions in Season of Discovery Phase 1, we are building and expanding on it significantly for Phase 2. Players will be able to discover approximately twenty new recipes across all non-gather professions. This includes recipes for Alchemy, Enchanting, and Engineering along with Leatherworking, Tailoring, and Blacksmithing. Professions will cap at 225 in Phase 2 and profession specializations will open later in Season of Discovery Phase 3.

Just like in Phase 1, players will be able to undertake an epic quest chain to unlock access. No spoilers though!

Recipes will also include some new materials that players will be able to find throughout the game and trade with others to get the items they need most to craft their wares. Here are just some of the recipes you will find:

Alchemists and Enchanters will find a couple of new recipes which can bring more utility and throughput into their own gameplay rather than simply creating things that they can use and sell to make a little extra gold.

Here are just a couple of examples:

No More GDKP Runs

We are experimenting with a new policy which will no longer allow GDKP runs in Season of Discovery. While we understand that there are some benefits for those who find this a convenient way to gain gear, we also recognize that there are concerns surrounding the erosion of traditional guild and social structures that are a part of the spirit of Season of Discovery. Given the experimental nature of Season of Discovery, we want to try things without this type of transaction taking place in this game mode. With the launch on February 8, we will be restricting this activity. We will have more information to share on our official channels and will be monitoring feedback closely.

It is Not too Late to Join in Season of Discovery

For players looking to catch up with their friends above level 25, we will be implementing a 50% experience buff for players between level 1 and 25. Players will also see an increase in experience gained within the Blackfathom Deeps raid dungeon when it is cleared. The raid dungeon will still continue to run with the current lockout timer, and players will no longer gain the world buff beyond level 39, however.

Waylaid Supplies will also see an adjustment, we will share more later, but there will be a significant increase in experience gained from them on turn-in.

Thank you for reading and watching. We look forward to joining you on the challenges ahead when Phase 2 goes live on February 8 at 1:00 pm PST (21:00 GMT)

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