WoW: Legion's first mini-patch makes old dungeons new again and adds a fight club

First rule of fight club: Tell the whole world about your new fight club.

Legion, World of Warcraft's latest expansion, has almost been out for three months and Blizzard wants to make it pretty obvious there's plenty more to come. Patch 7.1 released only two weeks ago, but Game Director Ion Hazzikostas took to the stage at Blizzcon to detail what players can expect in the upcoming smaller patch 7.1.5 and to talk about Blizzard's overall philosophy with patches for Legion. Hazzikostas didn't set a date for the patch, but it will arrive on the beta servers next week, so players can most likely expect it to go live within a month or so.

Unlike the meatier 7.1 update, which added the new Karazhan raid-dungeon as well as a mini-raid Trials of Valor, this mini-patch won't be nearly as substantial. Instead, 7.1.5 focuses on expanding daily activities for players and offering them more choices for how to spend their time.

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The first big feature of 7.1.5 is new Timewalking dungeons based on those found in the Mists of Pandaria expansion. That means taking old dungeons from Mists and making them relevant again by offering new rewards and item skins for players while scaling their levels to make sure that the bosses and monsters contained within are still a challenge. Timewalking dungeons already incorporate previous expansions, so adding the six from Mists of Pandaria will add a great deal of variety for those who never got to experience those dungeons in their prime.

Secondly, the patch will also bring back The Brawler's Guild from Warlords of Draenor with new updates and some exciting new social potential. If you don't recall, The Brawler's Guild is a wacky Fight Club-esque knockoff that pits players against fun and challenging solo encounters, but only if they manage to secure an incredibly exclusive invite. Instead of being instanced, these fights take place in the open world where other players can watch and cheer from the sidelines. 

This isn't the same old Brawler's Guild, however, as new features include Rumbles, where every player who is queued up to enter the arena is pulled in at once and forced to fight against a powerful boss that will force everyone to work together. Success also comes with new rewards, including a new currency, and an exciting new basilisk mount. 

A big part of the new patch includes adding a greater variety of events, which Hazzikostas called "micro-holidays." These are like normal holidays such as Darkmoon Faire, but are smaller in scope and meant to add a little spice to daily life. As Hazzikostas says, the idea is to create more activities aside from the usual daily grind and will include their own host of rewards and collectibles for participating in the festivities. 

One such micro-holiday, Ahn'Qiraj Remembrance Day, celebrates one of Warcraft's greatest world events by having players return to Silithus to complete objectives and battle each other. Whichever faction manages to complete and turn in the most objectives in each server region (North America, Europe, etc.) will have their faction banner displayed over the walls of Ahn'Qiraj for a whole year.

Finally, patch 7.1.5 will also introduce a host of smaller changes, not the least of which being further class rebalancing. Hazzikostas explained that with the launch of Legion, Blizzard had culled many class abilities to refocus on what made each class specialization unique. Unfortunately, that meant that staples like hunters using traps and Rogues using stealth were confined to one single specialization. "There were times where we elevated [specialization] identity over class identity and there are places we can walk that back in the interests of everyone," he said. Blizzard is looking at bringing some of that utility back in 7.1.5, letting whole classes feel more attached to their identity instead of just their specialization.

At the beginning of the presentation, Hazzikostas talked a great deal about Blizzard's philosophy towards updates for Legion and how their focus is on steady and consistent content—a far cry from how Warlords of Draenor started off strong before drying out after almost a year without major updates. With Patch 7.1 still fresh and exciting, 7.1.5 on the way, and 7.2 just on the horizon, the momentum of Legion's opening act looks to only grow over time.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Steven is PC Gamer's contributing editor and has a nose for sniffing out the interesting and unique stories being told every day in the PC community. He likes RPGs of the MMO persuasion but isn't that popular so regular RPGs are good too.
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