A bit of a surprise struck during my evening browsing last night, as the 8.1.5 PTR went live with a small-ish amount of content. The stuff that is here does have some intrigue, so let’s dive right in!
Oh, before we do, some spacing for the preview text in Reader….THERE WILL BE SPOILERS, TURN AWAY NOW (if you are trying to remain untainted)
Xal’atath Gets A Voice
The lines are mostly the same to what was datamined during 8.1, but now we have voiceover lines to them, and nearly 10 minutes of well-performed voiceover that likely serves to bridge us from the faction conflict to the Old Gods.
…Speaking of Voices, How About N’Zoth?!
Whoa. Big, prime Old God, the big N himself, N’Zoth, has about 3 minutes of voiceover lines in this patch. While it’s very likely to be the finale of Crucible of Storms, it is still very interesting to put an in-game voice to the Old God who likely waits at the end of the expansion.
The Horde Rebels (Sort Of)
The rebellious spirit against Sylvanas has begun to expand, and in patch 8.1.5 we now see more of the Horde pushing against Sylvanas. The big get of the 8.0 war campaign for the Horde was Derek Proudmoore, and the crux of the 8.1 war campaign has been and will be to break his will and enlist him into the Horde.
But a new Horde recruit, the tidesage Zelling, sees this happening, and acts against the Horde – freeing Derek Proudmoore and being punished for the act.
UPDATE DURING WRITING: So it turns out that the freeing of Derek Proudmoore is masterminded by Baine Bloodhoof, and Zelling is only involved to help ferry Derek to the Alliance, to a meeting in Theramore. In the end, Baine is punished by Sylvanas for an audience, which is a fascinating choice and one that will certainly need more context! But things are definitely getting interesting with that bit of information!
So far, this is the only fracture, but there is one other Horde-aligned NPC that isn’t too happy with Sylvanas…
Bwonsamdi Is Willing To Give Up The Zandalari For Sylvanas’ Head
Another whoa. The leveling story for the Horde centered on a pivotal event – Rastakhan signing his people, his bloodline, to Bwonsamdi for the power he could offer, as the result of the death of Rezan. It was clear through the Bwonsamdi-related content we’ve had that he really, really, REALLY wanted this deal with Rastakhan.
However, in the wake of Rastakhan’s death, a surprising offer will pop up from the loa of death – an offer to end the arrangement for Talanji if she were only to serve up Sylvanas’ head to him – an offer which she refuses.
In a way, it makes sense – the Zandalari, in this patch and the aftermath of the Battle for Dazar’Alor, offer their allegiance to the Horde, a bond that does not come lightly. It would be highly weird if Talanji were then to cut ties, or to mutiny against Sylvanas. Now, granted, Talanji herself has not seen much of the bad side of Sylvanas. Her involvement with the Horde begins after the War of the Thorns, and in parallel to the atrocities Sylvanas and her underlings are committing during the expansion thus far. It will likely end up being a bigger part of this side of the story, I would imagine, then, that Talanji will begin to see these horrors that define Sylvanas in the current game, and Bwonsamdi still has leverage over the Zandalari which may come further into play should he decide he is done asking nicely for Sylvanas’ death.
However, the addition of the Zandalari to the Horde is as equals, with Talanji specifically stating she will not bow to Sylvanas, so perhaps there is some rivalry there? It is hard to say from text alone, but it seems like an interesting start.
Magni Is Doing An Awful Job of Healing Azeroth, It Turns Out
There is, in the files of this new patch, a whole scenario, with some preliminary text datamined, which reveals that Magni is rather bothered by the fact that all the efforts he’s undertaken alongside our player character with the Heart of Azeroth, just aren’t working. Despite some early progress as revealed during the reputation milestone quests with Champions of Azeroth, the planet just doesn’t seem to be getting better, and Magni has asked MOTHER (the very same multi-room raid boss from Uldir) for help in figuring out what to do next. It seems likely that this is to begin the transition of Azerite powers from gear-focused to Heart of Azeroth-focused that was discussed in the last Q&A for patch 8.2, but many details of the scenario remain largely hidden.
ANOTHER MID-WRITING UPDATE: So MOTHER has an interesting line that will certainly spark a ton of conversation:
“Heart of Azeroth detected. Activation of the Heart Protocol signifies that planetary demise is inevitable.”
So…Azeroth is doomed? (Or a joke about the way some players talk about how Azerite killed the game, heyooo)
(There’s also a little line about MOTHER fixing the Heart Chamber requiring 77 cycles, which sounds like either A. a joke about how players figured out there were 77 days between patches in Legion or B. an actual timer that indicates how long between this scenario and 8.2!)
MoP Gets Raid Pets
Despite Mists of Pandaria being the expansion that began pet battles, its early raids don’t have a lot of pet drops. This changes in 8.1.5, with multiple new, unique pets and a new chapter of the Raiding with Leashes acheivement series. There are some cool new pets in here, including a unique-model Sha of Happiness pet, a Mogu statue, and others!
Brawler’s Guild is Back
The Brawler’s Guild makes it back in 8.1.5 for a fourth season, with a new mount, new transmog armor look, and some story quests to come.
Northrend appears to be getting an updated world map, which is likely just an asset refresh to keep things current in the game. There’s some scenario about a prison of ink, with some weird voice lines that are very Old-God-y and a map that looks like the Stormwind Stockades tied to it. Jaina makes a ship to offer to Anduin as the Kul Tiran unlock quest, and you get to name this ship. The new Arathi Basin and Warsong Gulch remastered maps appear to be in, or at least, their map screens show refreshed, HD visuals.
All told, given that this is the first minor patch of Battle for Azeroth, I’m impressed at the content that has already made its way into even this sliver of the patch, considering we still have more content in the patch yet to come!