It has been an amazing month
for World of Warcraft.
Ever since WoW Classic launched
on August 26th,
we’ve seen millions of players
around the world
jump in to explore Azeroth
as it stood before the Cataclysm.
Whether you’re revisiting old memories or
experiencing it for the very first time,
it’s been humbling for the team to share
in the community’s passion and enthusiasm
around this Classic experience.
We’ve seen players hit max level.
We have seen Onyxia and Ragnaros fall.
Several Sulfurases have been crafted
around the world.
We’ve even heard about a couple of
Epic BoEs Ninja looted – shame on you –
and many, many Devilsaurs have fallen
and donated their leather to fuel
the server’s economy of Devilsaur leather.
We’ve also heard from many of you
that you’re ready for something new
to sink your teeth into.
And so, while we originally had
this Phase 2 plan
that was going to be Dire Maul dungeon,
and the Honor System for PvP,
I’m happy to announce that we’re going
to break Dire Maul out separately
and get it out there as soon as possible.
In fact, just a couple of weeks from now,
the week of October 15th,
the Dire Maul dungeon will go live
worldwide in Classic.
So get ready to craft those Ogre Suits,
practice those tribute runs,
and get your hands on that sweet,
sweet loot from Dire Maul.
Of course, we still have
the Honor System and World Bosses
just around the corner after that,
and I’ll share more detailed information
on exactly when to expect that
as soon as we have it.
But we can’t wait
to see everybody jump in to Dire Maul.
Now, it’s also been an incredible
couple of weeks in Battle for Azeroth.
Just last week,
we saw Patch 8.2.5 go live,
and players around the world
got to experience
the thrilling end to the War Campaign,
as Saurfang’s long journey brought him
to stand side-by-side with Anduin,
in front of the gates of Orgrimmar,
facing down Sylvanas and her forces
to bring this battle
that has consumed all of Azeroth
to an end once and for all.
But in the meantime,
there are other threats that have been
lurking in the shadows.
Lest we forget our adventures in Nazjatar,
and at the end of Eternal Palace,
when we face down Queen Azshara herself,
we did so against the backdrop
of an ancient prison
built to contain one of the mightiest
of all evils that Azeroth has ever known,
the Old God, N’Zoth.
And as Queen Azshara fell,
with her last gasp,
the lock, the final seal
that contained N’Zoth was broken
and he was fully unleashed.
And so what does that mean for us?
Well, I’m excited to announce
that the next major content update coming
to World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth
is Visions of N’Zoth,
that will answer that question
and so much more.
For the first time,
we’re going to see an Old God
unleashed in their full might
and their dark fury.
We have seen C’Thun’s Eye,
we have seen Yogg-Saron
locked away in a prison,
we have heard of Y’Shaarj,
who perished long, long ago.
But now, for the first time,
we are contending with an Old God
that is fully free of all shackles,
to roam Azeroth, to reach out
with his tentacles and tendrils,
and plot and plan and undermine
all that keeps us safe.
That is the threat that we face
in Visions of N’Zoth.
Ny’alotha, the Sleeping City –
the Dreaming City,
as some have called it –
is the domain of the Black Empire.
It is this alternate world inhabited
by the Old Gods and their minions.
And it’s not a distant location for us
to travel to via starship or a portal.
It’s, in fact, all around us,
on the other side of this thin veil.
And what N’Zoth is doing
is tearing that veil down,
bringing horrible nightmares
and dark visions of a future
in which the forces of the Old God
are ascendant into our world.
And if we don’t stop him, there will be
nothing left of Azeroth to defend.
Because this has been a battle for Azeroth
between the Alliance and Horde,
but it’s also always been a battle
for the safety of Azeroth,
for the future of Azeroth,
that our heroes
have been waging all along.
And this now is coming to its conclusion.
Titan facilities across Azeroth
are the key to containing,
controlling, and understanding
the power of N’Zoth.
The Titans have always been
our world’s last bulwark
against the assault of the Old Gods.
And so, of course,
those facilities are being assaulted
by the minions of N’Zoth,
whether humanoid allies, horrible insects,
or the Eldritch creatures
of the Old Gods themselves.
We’re going to have to rally
to their defense
and actually venture through these rifts
into the world
that N’Zoth’s minions inhabit,
into an alternate reality
that reflects the manifestation
of all of N’Zoth’s goals,
to analyze it,
understand the power of the Old Gods,
and destroy these visions from within.
Let me talk about what that actually means
in practice, in terms of gameplay.
Now, the first sign of N’Zoth’s power
that we’re going to witness first-hand
are Assaults by his minions
on 2 key locations in Azeroth
that are home to Titan facilities.
Now, these Titan facilities are
our world’s last defense,
our final bulwark against N’Zoth
coming completely into our world
and plunging it into madness.
So, when an Assault is active,
the zone will be overcome
with powerful lieutenants of N’Zoth,
enemies to defeat, treasures to uncover,
puzzles to solve, and much more.
Building out this content has drawn upon
everything that we’ve learned
in making Assaults in Tides of Vengeance,
as well as major zones like Mechagon
and Nazjatar most recently.
Let’s look at a couple of these locations.
First off, Uldum,
home to the Halls of Origination,
a great Titan vault
is going to come under regular assault
by the minions of N’Zoth.
When an Assault is active in the zone,
players will rally to Uldum
and battle across the zone
against the Old Gods’ minions.
Now, another key location in Azeroth
that’s home to a major Titan facility
is the Vale of Eternal Blossoms
back in Pandaria.
is what I’m referring to, of course.
Now, last time we saw
the Vale of Eternal Blossoms,
it had been blighted with Dark Sha Energy
unleashed by Garrosh
towards the end of Mists of Pandaria.
Now, the passage of time
and the natural redemption
that came at the end of that arc
has finally healed those old,
old wounds to the land,
and the Vale stands fully restored
to its original glory
for all players to visit
in this next content update.
At least, until it comes under attack
by the minions of the Old God
and is once again plunged into
a new type of darkness.
Don’t worry, it only looks like this
while N’Zoth is actively assaulting it,
otherwise, and in the long-run,
pristine Vale is here to stay.
But you’ll want to journey here,
fight off the Old Gods’ minions,
unravel the mysteries behind them,
and do everything you can to thwart
this great threat that’s facing Azeroth.
Visions of N’Zoth isn’t just the name
of this content update,
it’s also the name
of its major new feature.
By completing Assaults,
you’ll be able to earn your way into
the deepest recesses of N’Zoth’s mind,
and the reality that’s seeking
to manifest itself across Azeroth.
There are these horrific visions
which are 1-5 player content
centered around the capital cities
of Orgrimmar and Stormwind,
that show us an alternate reality of what
might come to pass if we do not succeed.
Here we see maps of Orgrimmar
indicating the deepening corruption
the further into the cities we go.
Now, when you first enter
a Horrific Vision,
I can virtually guarantee
you’re not going to make it very far.
Your mind will succumb
to N’Zoth’s relentless assault.
As your sanity slips away,
you’ll begin to experience effects –
various detrimental effects,
some very serious mechanical hindrances,
as your sanity literally is drained
by being within this Horrific Vision,
and by facing off
against N’Zoth’s minions.
You will have to retreat,
but you’ll do it taking with you
the things that you’ve learned
along the way,
which will enable you to build
better defenses for your future trips.
Now, we’re going to be working with
none other than Wrathion,
son of Deathwing,
who knows a thing or 2 about corruption,
because his father, of course,
was famously plunged into madness
by N’Zoth’s corruption.
And what else
does Wrathion know very well?
Well, of course, Legendary Cloaks.
And Wrathion is going to work with us
to create a Legendary Cloak
that will initially provide
some sort of defense,
some sort of shield
against N’Zoth’s sanity-draining attacks.
This will enable us to venture deeper
and deeper into these visions
on our successive visits,
earning greater rewards,
also unlocking more of the mysteries
behind N’Zoth’s power.
This cloak may actually also come in handy
when you face off against N’Zoth himself
further down the road.
Now, in addition to the Legendary Cloaks,
you’ll also be taking fragments
of N’Zoth’s corruption
out of these Horrific Visions with you.
You can bring them to MOTHER and Magni
to analyze and research,
which will allow you and allow them
to strengthen your defenses
against N’Zoth’s corruption
and give you new tools
to battle him and his minions.
These will help your future visits
into the Horrific Visions,
allowing you to delve deeper,
overcome greater threats,
and weather the effects
of his sanity-draining attacks.
Ever since the Mage Tower in Legion,
we’ve been looking for a way to provide
a more satisfying
solo progression experience,
and a real challenge
that you can work towards on your own
without needing a group
of dungeon players or raiders,
or a battleground group at your side.
And that’s one of our goals, really,
in crafting this Visions of N’Zoth feature
and these Horrific Visions.
This is an experience
that you can go into entirely solo
and work your way through,
further and further each time,
as you gain the benefit of Titan research,
understand the tricks and the threats
posed by N’Zoth’s enemies,
and, eventually, fully clear the vision
at the end of your journey.
Now, of course,
you can also bring friends in with you.
We’ve made this experience something that
will scale seamlessly from 1-5 players,
regardless of your role,
and rewards are equal
regardless of the size of your group.
We want to let you experience this
the way that best suits your playstyle.
We can’t wait to let players
check this out on the PTR
and hear from you what you think.
All of this is leading to a showdown
with N’Zoth himself,
and that journey is going to take us
into the sprawling raid
that is the centerpiece
of this content update:
Ny’alotha – a 12-boss raid that showcases
the full splendor of the Black Empire.
We have to fight our way through
the military might of N’Zoth’s minions,
disgusting spawning pools
that have created the corruptions
that we’ve seen across the years,
the insectoid allies
and minions of N’Zoth,
those humans that have decided
to embrace his cause of corruption,
and much more.
At the end of this journey
awaits the Old God himself.
We’re going to need all of our allies,
all of our might, all that we have learned
through our research,
our work with Magni,
and channeling the power
of Azeroth herself
in order to emerge triumphant
and save Azeroth.
We also have a number of changes
coming to our rewards systems
with Visions of N’Zoth.
In addition to the Legendary Cloak
that I mentioned earlier
that you can earn and upgrade to defend
yourself against N’Zoth’s Assaults,
we’ll also have new levels
for the Heart of Azeroth
that come with both passive benefits
and an all-new Essence slot.
Now, that slot can be filled
by a number of new Essences
that you’ll be able to earn
through content such as the Assaults
on Uldum and Vale of Eternal Blossoms,
delving into Horrific Visions,
our new Mythic+ season, PvP,
the Ny’alotha raid, and more.
And also, as we’re seeing assaults
by the minions of N’Zoth
on Titan forges around the world,
we have to wonder,
is it possible that these assaults
on Titan forges
might somehow change the nature
of Titan forging?
This is something we are still discussing,
and we are working on a plan
we’ll be able to roll out
in the very near future.
But we’re excited about the idea
of embracing the Old God threat
this time around
to replace Titan forging
with something a bit different,
something a bit more twisted and corrupt,
that also ideally works to preserve
the value of item level
and the correlation between
doing difficult content
and getting the best rewards.
Also coming in Visions of N’Zoth,
at long last,
are a couple of new allied races
joining the Horde and the Alliance.
First off, on the Horde side,
in a shock to everyone, I’m sure,
we have the Vulpera of Vol’dun,
who will be joining the Horde.
And if you’ve completed
the Vol’dun level-up questline,
and you’re exalted with the Vol’duni,
you’ll be able to jump in
Visions of N’Zoth,
complete a questline and run around
as a Vulpera of your very own.
Alpaca not included. Sorry.
On the Alliance side, in the meantime,
the Mechagnomes of Mechagon are joining
the gnomish brethren on the Alliance.
Grateful for the aid that’s been rendered
in overthrowing the despotic rule
of King Mechagon,
the Mechagnomes will complete a questline.
For those of you who are exalted with
Mechagon and can join the Alliance,
you, too, can have
a gnome of your very own
with a robot arm and/or leg – your choice.
I’m also happy to share that we’re adding
new Heritage Armor questlines
for the recently updated goblin
and worgen, coming in Visions of N’Zoth.
On the goblin side, you’ll be able to earn
this perfectly suitable set,
complete with explosives and rockets,
and everything else that makes
a goblin’s cold heart happy.
And, of course, for worgen,
what worgen would be complete
without a top hat
that you can at long last use to express
your true snooty inner self?
Or just walk around as a wolf
in a top hat. Who doesn’t want to do that?
Also coming with Visions of N’Zoth
is a complete overhaul
of our Auction House.
This isn’t just a UI reskin,
but we actually redesigned
and rebuilt the guts of the system
to make it faster, more performant,
and to get rid of those annoying
single stacks that literally no one likes.
We recognize that there are hundreds
of thousands of transactions happening
across our Auction Houses
on a regular basis,
and we want to create a modern system
that’s smooth and easy to use.
In redesigning the Auction House,
we had a couple of major goals.
First off, we wanted to make the whole
thing smoother and more performant.
This is something we started working on
right around the launch
of Battle for Azeroth,
when, folks may remember,
the Auction Houses were clogged with
tons and tons of single stacks,
and searches –
and even purchasing or selling things –
might take several seconds, or upwards
of a minute in unfortunate cases.
We want to make sure
that never happens again.
Separately, we want to tailor
the Auction House functionality
to the way that most people use it
And so if you are just somebody
who goes to the Auction House periodically
to buy consumables for your raid,
or to sell some extra stacks
of cloth or ore,
we want to make that as smooth
and as seamless a process as possible.
The first major change that we’ve made
is separating out stackable items
to effectively create a separate
where you can just go list a stack of ore
or cloth or potions,
and people who are purchasing them
can purchase portions of a stack.
There’s no more sense of,
“There’s 1 of this and 2 of this.”
There just happen to be
117 pieces of ore at this price
listed by 7 or 8 different buyers.
If you want to buy them,
you can just buy 15 pieces.
It will buy part of someone’s stack,
send them the gold.
If you’ve listed a stack
and only part of it is sold,
you’ll get the gold for what’s sold
and the remainder back in the mail to you.
Also, we have the ability
to favorite items
and create a shopping list for yourself.
So, if you regularly forget the name
of that specific cut of gem
or that consumable,
you can just have a checklist that you can
quickly search for and buy on the go.
And on the selling side,
you won’t have to worry about stack sizes
as you’re listing your goods,
and undercutting is much less of a factor
in the market as it plays out in practice.
Ultimately, we’ve just tried to offer
a smoother interface,
and faster responsiveness
for people on all sides of the market,
as well as some of
the power users out there.
We can’t wait for people
to check it out on the PTR.
Let us know what you think,
and we’ll be listening to see
any further improvements we can make.
So, that’s just some of what
Visions of N’Zoth has to offer.
Also coming in this content update
is a Heroic version
of the Darkshore warfront,
a new PvP season –
Season 4 of Battle for Azeroth,
with, of course, all-new rewards –
and a new Mythic Keystone affix
that reflects N’Zoth’s
as his tendrils
spread their way across Azeroth.
With this corrupted affix active,
when you go into a dungeon in Season 4
you’ll see occasional Black Empire
obelisks dotting the landscape.
Interacting with one of these obelisks
will pull you into an alternate world
where we see N’Zoth’s power ascendant,
and a powerful lieutenant of his
Defeating that lieutenant
will return you to your regular reality,
but will do so in whatever location
you’re currently standing
when that mini boss is defeated.
This will enable some interesting skips
that don’t involve the use of Shroud
of Concealment or Invisibility.
Now, of course,
if you keep these minions alive
and you just decide to ignore them
entirely, they may pay you a visit
as you’re fighting
the final boss of the dungeon,
so you’ll want to strategize carefully
as you approach dungeons with
the corrupted affix in play
during BFA Season 4.
You may be wondering when you’re
going to get to check all of this out.
Well, I’m very happy to announce
that we are working, literally as I speak,
on getting this uploaded to our
Public Test Realm for the entire world,
and we should have it live later today.
You’ll be able to jump in, check out
Assaults by N’Zoth’s minions,
venture into your very first
Horrific Visions, and much more.
And just after that, stay tuned for news
regarding multiplayer raid testing
Thank you all so much. We’ll be listening
closely to your feedback from the PTR.
And just around the corner after that,
see you at BlizzCon.