World Of Warcraft: Legion Pre-Expansion Patch Now Live

World of Warcraft: Legion [official site] won’t launch until August 30th but the demonic hordes are already making their move upon Azeroth. The traditional WoW pre-expansion patch is now live, implementing a fair chunk of the expansion’s big changes. Lots of classes are reworked, draw distances are increased, the transmogrification system is massively improved so you don’t need to stash loads of old items, equalised stats in PvP means you don’t need flash gear, and plenty more is changed.

This blog post gives an overview of the patch notes but do dive down for more info on things like reworked classes.

Many classes are having a talent tree or two revamped, see, to give them more distinct identities. Let’s take a look at my old class, the Rogue (shut up, okay). Assassination is now the only spec with poisons and bleeds, Subtlety goes even harder on stealth attacks, and Combat is… not there. The Combat tree is rebuilt as the Outlaw, more focused on scrapping with a sword and keeping a cheeky pistol at hand. Each tree is more like itself.

“As with Hunters, the three Rogue specializations have long suffered from a lack of distinct identity,” Blizzard explained. “What truly sets an Assassination Rogue apart from Subtlety? And just what is a ‘Combat’ Rogue anyway? Aren’t all three pretty focused on the art of combat? With that in mind, we’re making some bold changes that take each spec in a much more pronounced direction.”

And so it goes for other classes.

As for transmogrification (making items look like other items while keeping their own stats), they’re now unified by ‘Appearances’ in the Collections tab. The appearances of soulbound weapons and armours your characters collect will be unlocked across your whole account, with no more need to hang onto them. I also like Blizzard adding the option for transmog looks to change automatically as you change class specialisation.

Oh, and demons will starting raining from the skies in mid-August.

Are you planning to return to WoW with Legion, by the way? I say that as if you don’t currently play it but, well, the number of people currently playing is far smaller than those who might return. Numbers, man.

Look, I’ll not get into all this as it’s a big patch. Read the blog post and watch this video for the highlights:

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  1. Beanbee says:

    In America! Heathens!
    The Europe patch will come tonight.

  2. shagen454 says:

    I bet there are some pissed off pvp orcs out there about that change.

  3. Llewyn says:

    …but, well, the number of people currently playing is far smaller than those who might return.

    Have Blizzard gone back to publishing subscriber numbers? I thought they’d backed away from that completely.

    I probably will return for a couple of months to explore the new levelling content, but then I’ll no doubt get bored again. My WoW friends either no longer play or have very different gaming patterns to me now and, let’s face it, the loss of old gaming relationships is probably the biggest real reason for online gaming populations shifting.

    • Premium User Badge

      Jekadu says:

      I think it was a concise way of saying that for all of WoW being past its peak, it’s still sold an obscene number of copies in total. Each expansion there is another mass invasion of people returning to check out the new stuff.

      Including me. I subbed a few weeks ago to get my Legendary ring done. I should make it with a few weeks to spare.

      As a Shadow Priest I am very psyched about tomorrow. This is the first time since TBC that the core concept of the spec has been truly shaken up — despite adjustments to mechanics over the years, Shadow Priests have always been about an asymmetrical priority system gameplay wise. (Clarity of Power was a tad simplistic and is something I consider experimental.)

  4. neofit says:

    I am pretty sure I will return for a month or two for the expansion, maybe not right away but a month or two later to avoid overcrowding in the new public “acquire X ground spawning items” quest areas. Wow’s expansions are fun, but not Bethesda RPG fun where I would drop everything to have it asap.
    If it were F2P I may have been attempted to check out the changes in the pre-patch, but I am not that curious.

    • xeroxlaser says:

      Usually If you open a ticket with Blizzard and say you want to check things out they’ll give you 2 weeks of gametime.

      • shitflap says:

        That doesn’t sound right

        • Llewyn says:

          No, doesn’t to me either, though it seems like this would be a smart thing to do for lapsed accounts (6 months plus?) as it costs them nothing but may gain a resub and expansion sale.

          Past experience is that Blizzard will email you about free weeks’ gametime occasionally and then tell you your account isn’t eligible as you’ve had a previous free week some time in the distant past.

  5. GemFire81 says:

    Wish I was excited :(. All I can hope is for Legion to fail so I can get Vanilla as soon as possible.

    • Tritagonist says:

      I had the same reaction upon seeing this headline; I wish I could be excited for a new instalment of a game I played for almost 10 years since its release back in 2005. But Blizzard has shown not a single indication that they’re serious about moving WoW back to the server-based social and open-world experience it was. If all they have to offer is single-player narratives and anonymous menu-based grouping, then I might as well play single-player action games that aren’t limited by a decade year old MMO framework.

  6. Capt. Bumchum McMerryweather says:

    So, the blandification continues.

    • Premium User Badge

      Jekadu says:

      Huh? They’re going out of their way to make the game less bland. Care to expand?

      • Capt. Bumchum McMerryweather says:

        How about Raids being even easier? Like 30% easier? The normalisation of pvp, giving the ability to just change your class, basically eliminating 66% of the progression of each class, the dynamically levelling zones (further removing players from one another); to be honest the list goes on but it’s late.

        I have been very much not a fan of changes since Pandagate, and WoW continues to go in a direction I don’t like. Of course, in some respects I can’t begrudge Blizzard for this – they are simply making their game more accessible, thus garnering more subscription fees. It’s not a bad idea from a business perspective, it’s just kinda killing the soul of the game.

        • Bremze says:

          Hahaha, you’re a “A slap in the face!” away from getting WoW grognard bingo, but I have commend your use of baseless percentages.

          • Capt. Bumchum McMerryweather says:

            Lol. 30% easier is owing to the raid bosses doing 30% damage. That there is a fact. Also, my 66% figure refers to the fact the spec trees are interchangeable now, so you only have to level a class up once, which dos actually mean about 60% less progression since most classes have three basic builds.

            If you are amused by the fact that I don’t like WoW any more then that’s your prerogative, however don’t get all snarky act like I’m pulling this shit from nowhere, because everything I’m referring to is either in the blog in black and white, or it’s coming to the first legion patch when it comes out in August.

            I wasn’t rude to anyone, I just stated my views in a polite way, even expressed understanding for the status quo alongside my distaste, so I’m a far cry from most WoW players.

          • Capt. Bumchum McMerryweather says:

            Oops. First sentence was supposed to say 30% less damage.

        • naetharu says:

          First, isn’t the 30% reduction in raid-boss DPS just a debuff on the now old content? It’s the same thing they always do, nerf the content a few weeks before the new expansion so that smaller guilds get a decent last shot at it. The way you put it makes it sound like this is a change to current/new content and its just not.

          As to the PVP side of things, normalization stikes me as a great idea. If I am going to PvP then I want it to be fun, and its not fun if I’m massively handicapped by kit. This is the reason I love Overwatch and hate battlefield. The former puts me on a level playing field where skill counts; the latter partly eclipses skill by giving long-term players better weapons.

          PvP should stand up because it is fun to do. Not because a long and painful grind might get you some better kit allowing you to make new players have a hard time. Besides, there are far better ways to reward good play than kit progression. Skins, titles, mounts etc.

          • Capt. Bumchum McMerryweather says:

            I’m not sure as regards the raids. I hope that’s correct, it just struck me as an odd thing to do, given that raids are are easily accessible and easily completable through LFR (though in a sort of gimped form) now anyway.

            Well I disagree on the PvP, but that’s fine, not everyone has the same opinions.

        • Bull0 says:

          They always do a debuff on old raid content to let smaller guilds finish it before the expansion hits.

          You can’t change class. You’ve been able to change spec since Lich King (possibly earlier) and I don’t think giving players choice and eliminating grind is bland.

          PvP changes sound perfect as someone who has played a shitload of WoW PVP.

        • mascarpwn says:

          Raids have become [i]harder[/i], not easier. The 30% [i]damage reduction[/i], is a debuff placed in [i]old[/i], trivial, raids so less harcore guilds can have a chance to clear them anyway.

          You can’t say raiding is “easy” and bring LFR as an example; that’s barely raiding. Raiding has various difficulties, mythic being the hardest. If you complete that without an effort, you can claim raiding is easy. But every single statistic on mythic raiding sais the exact opposite.

  7. Rince says:

    I’m dissapointed that the patch isn’t called, “Legion Prepatch: The Rise of the Melee Hunter”.
    I haven’t tested a lot of the changes, but the new trasmog system is better than the old one.
    And the return of the melee hunter is interesting.

    But, I will miss Exorcism and Hammer of Wrath on my Pally.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      Melee hunter? Really? I don’t think that was ever a thing aside from it being an excuse for hunters who wanted shiny loot (Thunderfury. After all, it has agility!).

      I do like Hunters having a few melee abilities like they used to just as I miss finishing of fleeing enemies with a gun on a warrior (throwing an axe just is’t the same), though.

      • Tritagonist says:

        PvP offered plenty of opportunities for Hunters to engage in melee combat. But of course the various changes to Hunters and their ranged weapon’s min. range have changed all that.

  8. Premium User Badge

    Jekadu says:

    I spent the afternoon checking up on my characters and THERE IS ONLY CONFUSION. Specs have been revamped more than I thought and there has been a ridiculous amount of ability pruning. It feels like most classes are missing their Artifact skill. I’m not sure I like the removal of Glyphs. Mind Blast has a cast time for me again. CONFUSION.

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