Patch 9.2 has finally been revealed as the last major content patch of Shadowlands. There’s quite a bit to explore - a new zone, tier sets return to the game and this patch marks the end of the Shadowlands. It’s not just the video preview, there have been a bunch of interviews with the new information as well, so let’s break down everything we know about Shadowlands patch 9.2 so far.
The main chunk of new content seems to revolve around the new zone Zereth Mortis. This is the workshop of the first ones where they created forges and construct to fabricate new afterlives in the Shadowlands. It seems like a very important place so we’re going to trance around it and happily plunder anything. We come across standard adventurous stuff. The dev team said they wanted this zone to look weird and alien and super far out there. It looks pretty cool from the previews that we’ve seen so far.
There are two distinct landscapes a barren side which looks like a huge desert, and a lush side where the first ones were conducting their life-growing experiments. Even though the zone looks like it could be fun to explore, definitely way more exciting when compared to Korthia, or the more it doesn’t look all that different from some zones we’ve seen in the past. We don’t really get alien from this though. The main thing that stands out are all their floating balls which are everywhere. A lot of the monsters and creatures that were previewed look really interesting too, so we are actually looking forward to exploring Zereth Mortis. We hope it’s a big zone with lots to do. We’re going to be spending a very long time here after all this zone will make up the vast majority of our content.
With the new zone comes a brand new progression system for us to grind our way through, because of course it does. We don’t know too much about it just yet, but we will be playing around with Cypher of the first ones. A lot of the NPCs in the zone speak in a strange runic language, so when we first arrive we literally can’t talk to anyone. This is going to be the new rep grind for Zereth Mortis by the looks of things we have to decipher the first ones runes, and apparently we’ll be doing this one rune at a time, which just screams time gating to me. We don’t have much more information besides that, but we do have an early look at what the interface might look like.
There are eight groups of what look like talents or unlocks with a new currency at the top right. The leftmost group seems to be the runes that make up the Cypher, but the other groups could literally be anything. It looks like a lot of progress though, which isn’t too surprising, considering this is the last major patch of this expansion. What could be interesting in this system is, if it’s relatively open-ended, and we can choose how to progress through it and want to unlock first. That could be kind of fun. Players would end up in in different areas with different quests and different powers, and multiple ways to progress through the system could change things up and give players a variety of experience. Apparently, as we work our way through the Cypher and begin to understand more of the first one’s language. We’ll unlock new stuff to do in the zone like new daily quests, areas to explore, new things to kill and there are new powers to obtain. This system will sink or swim based on the pace of the time gating. What those mysterious new powers are going to be, if this rap grind ends up as bad as the one, we’re called here. We can see a lot of players getting fed up very early on, hopefully the dev team learned their lesson there, and this r?p grind is less time-gated and smoother to progress through.
Overall, we will also have a new raid to look forward to - The Sepulcher of The First Ones. This is the thing we were trying to stop the jailer from getting to raid the big bad machine that can rewrite whatever it wants. That should make for a pretty cool environment and what we’ve seen so far in the video preview, this raid is going to have an awesome layout with very cool visuals. This is something we’re definitely excited for partly, because of the looks and also because of who will be fighting. There are 11 bosses total in this raid. With the last boss being the jailer, so whatever happens we’re wrapping up Shadowlands by taking on the big dude himself, it’s about time. We also know that Anduin will be a boss in the raid and we assume we’re saving him because the preview said Anduin should know how to defend against the domination magic and we need that knowledge to fight against the jailer. We also know there’s going to be a jailer-controlled celestial being much like Algalon from Ulduar which could be a very interesting fight, and then there are 8 more bosses to work our way through the raids.
So, a new raid is always exciting to us. There is something a bit weird about this new raid though. Some of the bosses are going to be time gated. For the first week of the patch the raid will not be open. That’s pretty typical. For the second week of the patch, the raid will open on Normal and Heroic, but only the first eight bosses will be available. The eighth boss being Anduin, so we deal with him in the first week and then we can’t go any further. In the third week of the patch Mythic is going to open up. The first wing of LFR will open up and then the last three bosses will be available on Normal and Heroic. So, you actually can’t clear the raid in that very first week which is something new. We guess the main intention here is to try and make the story an actual part of the raid, and to keep those last three bosses a bit more secret and special. It kind of looks just like time gating on the face of things but if we see how the zone and the raid work together. We guess it might make more sense.
Something that a lot of players have been looking forward to is the return of tier sets. Patch 9.2 will in fact be bringing back tier sets and they’re going to have both two set bonuses and four bonuses that actively change up your rotation and how spells interact with each other. We’re super excited to see what effects the dev team can come up with. As for how the tear sets look, they’re all based on the first ones with a kind of Oribos style aesthetic. The concept art for some of these looks really cool. It’s a lot of whites, golds, and blacks, because the scents are themed after the raid. The environment and the story, they all look pretty similar. We think some of them look better than others here, but this is concept art. This is what the sets currently look like in-game from the preview that we have.
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Anyway, they could obviously change by the time the patch comes out but we think a lot of them didn’t really translate super well from concept to in-game. Maybe it’s because they modeled them on a variety of races, some of which have terrible proportions to begin with, but some of the sets look like questing gear that we’ve already collected. It’s kind of disappointing especially when you consider that we don’t have class themes to work with or look forward to either some of them still turned out okay. In our opinion, and there is one huge factor to still consider, Mythic Tier sets were always a step above the others, so the Mythic variations of these new tier sets could blow us away.
In general, as for getting your hands on these tier sets, they’re going to drop from the raid as usual, but you can also obtain them from Mythic+ and PvP which is going to be new. The main plan is for your weekly vault activities to have a chance to contain one those tier items even the Mythic+ and PvP roads, giving you multiple avenues for obtaining your full set. You will not be able to earn tier gear directly from dungeons or PvP content, though. It’s only going to be in the weekly box, but there is another way to get tier gear. As you progress through the Zereth Mortis zone, you’ll eventually unlock The Forge of Creation. This might have multiple uses, but one of them is to turn any piece of dungeon gear or PvP gear into a piece of tier gear using a special new currency. So if you don’t get your tier gear from your weekly box or even from raid bosses, you’ll have a direct source to actively progress towards tier gear reliably in the new zone. That’s very interesting, we’re seeing the catch-up mechanic for tier gear introduced at the start of the patch instead of months later. We guess they maybe did learn a lesson or two for this patch.
Now, we have no idea how the forge is going to work, how long it will take to unlock, how long it will take to get the currency, or how long it will take to create tier gear, and we guess there’s going to be an upgrading mechanism to go along with everything else, but at least the system itself is in place at the start of the patch.
How we use and upgrade legendary gear is going to change in 9.2 as well. The first big change is that we’ll be allowed to equip two legendary items at the same time. There does seem to be a few restrictions with this though. First, you’ll have to unlock it. That’s going to be tied to the new zone and the new reputation grind, but once you get that done on one character, the two legendary equip unlock will be account wide, so you’ll only ever have to do this once. The second major restriction is that right now the plan is to force one of those legendary items to be your covenant-specific legendary effect, so you don’t really get a choice of what that second legendary is going to be. You can just equip it as well. That’s going to be great for the classes and specs to have a good covenant-specific legendary and it’s going to be kind of awful for everyone who doesn’t have a good covenant legendary.
Upgrading legendary items will also use a new currency from the Zereth Mortis and you will not have to run Torghast at all. For patch 9.2 legendary upgrades and then to round out the 9.2 news we have some info about how other Shadowlands systems to are going to evolve.
- The Tazervash Mega Dungeon will be split into two different wings and added into the Mythic+ keystone system. So we’ll have some more options for Mythic+ keys.
- There’s going to be a new season for PvP and Mythic+ which will include a new seasonal affix which will probably be themed after the new zone or the first ones or something to do with the jailer, and maybe rewriting history that could end up being really cool hopefully. They go a bit crazy with this one seeing that it’s the last seasonal affix we will see in Shadowlands.
- There are obviously going to be plenty of new mounts and pets to collect mainly from the new zone. A few of these were previewed in the announcement video and they look interesting. We would expect to see a lot of records of these mounts as well, and we should get new mounts from the raid and the Mythic+ season 3 achievements.
- There will also apparently be some updates to professions which we must say are sorely needed at this point in the expansion. We wouldn’t be surprised if we get a new round of raw materials that only drop from the new zone that fuel, new crafting recipes, higher tier legendary crafting recipes, new flasks, and potions. You know the drill at this point in an expansion’s lifecycle hopefully they spice things up a bit more than just better recipes of what we can already make, but we kind of doubt it.
- At this point, we will also be getting some updates to conduits so expect to see higher item level drops of the conduits we already have, and maybe a few new conduits added into the mix.
- They will also be introducing a new dancing mini game at the Darkmoon Fair. So that dance studio that was supposed to be introduced in was it rather the Lich King Holy Cow. That’s a log time ago but the dance studio minigame will finally make its way into the game.
- As for features or systems that will not be carrying over there are no plans to update or change soul binds or how they work, so probably no new talents or traits to work towards, no more soul bites to actually collect, no more empowering conduit slots. They’re just going to work as they do right now. So what we have access to in patch 9.1.5 as far as soul binds go, that’s exactly what we’ll have in patch 9.2 and the plan is for everything to just work the same. That also means if you get caught up right now and unlock everything you won’t have any extra work to do in patch 9.2. It might also be safe to assume that we won’t see any more updates to the covenant systems as a whole apparently the story is moving on and the focus is going to be on the new zone and the new progression systems.
- The best news of all is that there will be no more renown levels in 9.2. 80 is going to be the max renown level for the rest of the expansion so as soon as you hit that milestone, you are done with the renown of that covenant. If you get all four covenants to renown 80 you are done with renown in its entirety no more weakly renown grind. No more chasing tiny rewards every week and no more massive time gating tied to the renowned system. There’s going to be a lot of other time gating by the sounds of things but at least we won’t have renowned grinding.
- On top of that, we also now have confirmation that patch 9.2 is the last major patch in the Shadowlands expansion. So, no 9.3 or whatsoever. We might see some smaller content patches in the future like 9.2.5, but patch 9.2 will wrap up the vast majority of this story up until this point and apparently, it’s also going to be the closing chapter in the first book of Warcraft.
- This patch ties together all the threads that go back as far as Warcraft 3, because Shadowlands kind of retconned absolutely everything and that has happened in Warcraft. Up until this point is now related to the jailer in one way or another even If we didn’t know it and we will finally take the fight to the jailer in the new raid. So that’s it for Shadowlands. After this patch we’ll be moving directly into an expansion which will start an entirely new book of Warcraft according to the dev team. This means we could see some very interesting and potentially massive changes going forward.
Overall, we are tentatively excited. There’s some good stuff in here and some things we’re a bit worried about. We’re looking forward to exploring Zereth Mortis. The zone has potential for sure. It could end up being really beautiful, the visuals look great, there’s a good boss line up. The raids seem quite solid, so that’s definitely something we’re looking forward to.
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