Nearly fourteen years since its release, World of Warcraft continues to iterate on and refine its fundamentals. This morning a new balance patch went live, bringing with it new quests, battlegrounds, items, and changes to the greater leveling systems.
As seen in the patch notes, the most major change is the introduction of a “scaling world.” A system previously utilized only in zones introduced in Legion, the entire world of Azeroth will now use a level-scaling model. All quests, monsters, and loot in an area will scale to the player, opening up the world map and allowing players to break off from the predetermined paths of the past. However, this doesn’t mean a new toon can run straight into the Burning Steppes—all zones still maintain their minimum level requirements, and have level caps as well.
Leveling changes aren’t the only newsworthy items in the patch. Players who have conquered Legion‘s Antorus, The Burning Throne can embark on a new questline called Silithus: The Wound. This will also unlock a new battleground, Seething Shore, which brings a 10-on-10 king of the hill scenario into the fold. Rounding out the added content is actually a past piece of content: Ulduar Timewalking, a legacy raid from Wrath of the Lick King that can be enjoyed again by players level 80 and above.
The massive patch continues with changes to legendary item transformation, resurrection charges in Mythic Keystone dungeons, and the stat budget for weapons and armor at lower item levels. The Hunter, Monk, Priest, Rogue, Shaman, Warlock, and Warrior classes also received some balance tweaks to their abilities, though the patch notes specify that these are for “low-level balance, and are neutral at level 110.” And of course, players will be happy to hear that the critical and meta-defining S.E.L.F.I.E. camera can now be unlocked earlier.
This patch brings a host of quality of life changes for players, and may help entice those on the fence, especially with the seventh expansion, Battle for Azeroth, promised later this year. If you’ve never taken the dive in World of Warcraft, the game is at one of its most accessible points in decades. And if you’re a longtime faithful, then sit back, enjoy the new content, and wait for the real bomb to drop sometime in 2018.