Update: As mentioned below, game director Ion Hazzikostas answered viewer questions during a livestream yesterday that you can watch here. During that stream, he expressed regret over the state of 8.0 and confirmed the team was hard at work fixing many of the bugs players were experiencing, including the loss of bonus experience points from dungeons. One thing he did clarify, however, was that the legacy loot mode was always intended to require players to be 11 levels higher than the expansion they wished to farm. That means legacy loot will not work in Legion.
Original story: Any World of Warcraft veteran will tell you that patch days are usually a bit of a disaster. It's an enormous game, so little things are bound to break here and there any time that Blizzard releases a new patch. But Patch 8.0, which lays the foundation for when Battle for Azeroth launches next month, is in a real bad spot right now, and players aren't happy about it.
Almost immediately after the patch was released, Blizzard confirmed that there were problems with players being able to log in and see their characters—a pretty common and understandable occurrence on a major patch day. Once those issues started to resolve and players got into the game, however, they found loads of problems that Blizzard hasn't—even at the time of writing this post—acknowledged.
The best place to get a bird's eye view of everything is this Reddit thread posted by solacespecs that breaks down a staggering number of issues that range from hilarious to infuriating. "I totally understand that these things happen," they write. "But with the size and scope of your organization and the WoW team, I am disappointed with how poorly things were transitioned from your development of the pre-patch to live."
When it released on Tuesday, Patch 8.0 introduced some pretty major changes. Of those changes, the biggest and most immediately noticeable is a "stat squish" that reconfigures the behind-the-scenes math of WoW. In Legion, World of Warcraft's stats and numbers were getting a little unwieldy. Characters would routinely do damage in the millions-if-not-billions and I'm pretty sure at one point my Artifact Weapon had something like 14 quadrillion Artifact Power. It was all a bit silly.
To fix this, Blizzard squished all the stats down to make them more comprehensible. Instead of a ten million hit, my Demon Hunter now hits for a few thousand. This squish was applied to gear, character stats, and even crafting profession levels.
Above: As of 8.0, some bosses are harder, others are just more stylish. Credit: Casper667.
It's a necessary change, but the stat squish has completely thrown World of Warcraft's balance out of whack—especially for lower level players. Right now, the stat squish has made leveling a real grind. Even basic monsters die much more slowly than they used to, and dungeon bosses can easily stomp an unprepared party. This comes at the worst possible time because many players, like me, are using the lull before Battle for Azeroth to level new characters. For new players jumping in, it's even more frustrating, which isn't doing much to help World of Warcraft's already bad first impression. "I am just a bit sad, because I wanted to reach [level] 110 before [Battle for Azeroth] launches, so I can get straight into the action," wrote one disgruntled newbie.
The stat squish also affects item levels on gear, which went from around 900 to 200. But in doing so, players are running into bugs where harder versions of dungeons are rewarding less powerful gear than easier difficulties. Multiple achievements and questlines are also broken because of the squish.
Just as annoying, Patch 8.0 also brought several changes that players aren't happy about. Bonus experience for completing dungeons is now gone, which means there's really no reason to play them while leveling up because even if you endure the way-too-difficult bosses, there's barely any reward. Also, despite added DX12 support and changing some graphics settings, players are noticing worse visuals than before. And the legacy loot mode, which makes it easier to farm 'transmogs' or item appearance skins, has now been changed so that players can't easily farm item appearances from Legion once they reach the new level cap in Battle for Azeroth.
There are some hilarious bugs too. Someone was doing Tempest Keep and discovered that Kael'Thas is now bald for some reason. Goodbye those luscious locks of blond hair...
With a game as big as World of Warcraft, patching it must be a nightmare. Still, it's frustrating to see 8.0 in such rough shape. At least this patch is out a month before Battle for Azeroth properly launches, which hopefully gives Blizzard enough time to fix everything. For what it's worth, Legion, the last expansion, had a buttery-smooth launch. But if you're itching to play some Warcraft right now, it might be best to give it a few days until Blizzard at least acknowledges that things are a little messed up at the moment.
Game director Ion Hazzikostas will be hosting a live Q&A on Twitch later today, and I'm guessing this topic is going to pop up. We'll update this post accordingly.