The World Of Warcraft [official site] blog is talking about the upcoming Legion pre-patch. As a non-player the update info tends not to grab me particularly (unless it's about Illidan and looks like a pro wrestling intro) but I do like the talk of the pre-expension patch where the new content starts to seep into the world and set the scene for the expansion.
It's a transition period that I don't really get with the games I play. Those are more about dumping in a bunch of changes via a patch and players needing to unpick them. They're not story-based or world-altering.
Obviously there's also a financial side to all this - whetting players' appetites and priming them for the expansion. There's also the accompanying consternation about the removal or particular quest lines and alterations to particular rewards. But still, I like to read about the pre-expansion process again so maybe you'll enjoy it too.
After the patch has been implemented and players have had time to get to grips with the changes, invaders will start dropping from the sky:
You’ll be able to identify where the invasions are currently happening by looking at your world map. As quickly as you can, head out to the zone that’s under attack and lend your aid to the defense of Azeroth.
Each demon invasion takes place in four stages, and each stage ends with a reward of Nethershards—and sometimes a chest. That means it’s always a good time to rush out and fight the Legion.
A week after the invasions begin, the Legion’s assault will begin to intensify. Then, a week after that, the demonic onslaught will intensify even more, increasing your chances to complete the event-only achievements Stand Against The Legion (for completing one invasion) and Defender of Azeroth: Legion Invasions (for completing invasions in all six locations).
The above is expected mid August (no later than the 17th). According to another blog entry, in addition to these Burning Legion invasions, "Azeroth’s heroes will begin their first foray onto the Broken Shore—the epicenter of the demonic invasion."
One of the things I've always liked in persistent worlds like Azeroth is how history has the capacity to leave physical traces in the game even if the reality is that not much of that happens. WoW makes permanent changes and you see elements of previous versions when you play.
I'm wondering whether it's reached the point where someone could act as a history guide and take me on a walk through the zones, pointing out scenes of previous battles and buildings which were once vital but have now faded in relevance? Or maybe these things just tend to fade as their associated quests vanish from logs and the rewards will no longer occupy future inventories.
The full blog entry is here and the information about what's being removed and the timescale of that is here.