World of Warcraft Patch 5.4 is currently being worked on in the PTR realms and has a lot of exciting changes coming with it. As with any set of changes being worked on for a patch, nothing is finalized until it has actually been released (and even then its only final until the next change to it), so keep in mind that they can and will likely change a little before release. Knowing that, let's take a look at the changes coming in the soon to be released Patch 5.4.
New Raid - The Siege of Orgrimmar
This new raid is the massive final major raid for the Mists of Pandaria expansion. It has gone through a huge amount of beta testing and quite a lot is know about it, the bosses contained in it and their mechanics.
We know that it will be split into 4 wings for LFR players just like the Throne of Thunder was. We also know that it will essentially be a two stage raid as players first deal with the Sha of Pride and his minions in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms and then a second stage set in Durotar and Orgrimmar where you must deal with Garrosh Hellscream. There will be 14 bosses in the raid and as mentioned the fights contain some new and interesting mechanics. Loot is also looking good with a whole new tier of raiding gear to collect.
You can find several guides to the base LFR versions of the fights here: Siege of Orgrimmar LFR Raid Guide.
Flexible Raid Difficulty
Coming with the new Siege of Orgrimmar raid is also a whole new way to raid, the flexible raiding system. This new level of raiding fits in someplace between LFR and Normal, and has a whole new set of gear to go along with it.
This type of raiding in meant to help out those guilds that are bigger than 10 player raids allow but don't always have 25 players there to raid with. It will scale the difficulty to the number of players that you have in the raid at any given time and allow you to raid in a challenging environment without having to worry about the fact that a player or two couldn't make it.
We have more details and an opinion piece up on the new raid difficulty here: Patch 5.4 and Flexible Raiding.
New Zone - Timeless Isle
With patch 5.4 a whole new zone is going to become available to players. This is the Timeless Isle, a mysterious island off the coast of the Jade Forest that is lost for millennia at a time and has just emerged from the mists.
This zone is for max level players and focuses on PVE content for single players and for groups. There are many new solo quests and challenges as well as 5 new outdoor raid bosses available to fight.
You can find out more about the zone here: Timeless Isle Guide.
As with all patches there are a ton of different class changes coming. There are lots that have already shown up on the PTR, and already been changed, so while this list gives you an idea of what may be coming, this is also probably the most volatile section of the patch since it will change several times over before it does live.
Just a few of note so far are:
- Several classes get new abilities, such as Death Knights getting a new passive that boots crit every time they parry or dodge and Paladins being able to fear players with the new "Evil is a Point of View" talent.
- Several classes are having talents become base line abilities and new talents moving into their place.
- Monks get a rest from change and are relatively stable.
- Warriors get even more self healing!
Since there are so many changes coming, you can check them out in more detail in our guide to Class Changes in Patch 5.4.
Professions will be getting some additional patterns and crafted items to keep up a little with the item level of the newer raid items. There are even some new materials that will need to be created (on daily cooldowns) so that you can put these new items together. Better yet there will be both PVE and PVP items that players can create.
Check out our guide to the Profession changes here: Patch 5.4 Profession Changes.
This is another new feature coming to World of Warcraft that many players have been looking forward too. It will allow Blizzard to essentially merge servers into virtual realms and allow more players to be in a realm that were there before, without actually merging the servers.
This will be of great benefit to players on extremely low population servers as it will allow them to actually find groups for raids, find items on the auction house, and complete group quests. It also allows Blizzard to essentially merge servers without the negative feelings that go along with it in an MMO.
You can find out even more about this new feature in our guide and opinion piece about Virtual Realms.
Proving Grounds - Solo Training Grounds
This new feature is a way for players to test and improve their in game combat skills. It is focused on PVE roles of tanking, healing, and damage, and will apparently help walk players through learning how to be successful at the various roles in the game.
It will teach you, through various quests and tasks called trials, how to tank, heal, or DPS in game. There will also be several different difficulties available and scores will be kept for bragging rights.
This sounds like an awesome idea as currently World of Warcraft does very little to help new players how to do anything in the game other than DPS. It makes it extremely daunting for players getting into the game to do anything but play as a DPS role as they are unsure how to tank or heal successfully. This may just be what is needed to help players learn those skills. Even for DPS players, having something to score yourself against could really help those casual players that really don't have a clue what they are doing and struggle through the game doing less than 1/2 the damage they could.
There is an issue with the new feature though, as it is currently only for max level players, meaning you need to reach level 90 before you can even try it. While useful for helping high level DPS players learn how to heal or tank, it could be more useful for new players to learn the game. Find out more here: Proving Grounds Preview.
Patch 5.4 Wrathion Quest Update
As with the previous 5.x patches this patch brings further expansion to the Wrathion legendary quest chain.
In this patch you will need to again deal with the August Celestials, but not completing challenges for them. No, this time you need to form up into a raid and defeat them, as they are the new outdoor raid bosses being added.
Once you have defeated them, Wrathion will upgrade your already amazing legendary cloak that you earned in patch 5.4 to include some of the best perks I have ever seen on an item, such as:
Endurance of Niuzao - You are granted a passive ability that saves you from one attack every 60 seconds that would otherwise kill you.
You can check out the rest of the bonuses and find out even more about the new Wrathion quests in our guide to Patch 5.4 Wrathion Questline.
Pet Battle Tournament
There will be a whole new tournament mode available for those players that are into pet battles. This new tournament will be found on the new Timeless Isle and give players something more to do as a pet battle trainer. While not a whole lot is know about this feature yet, there are a lot of players that will be looking forward to more pet battle madness.
Redesigned Arena System
The whole arena system is changing to be much more like the rated battle ground system. You will no longer need to be on a team to complete, in fact teams are gone. Instead you can sign up with anyone you like for each fight, all rankings are by players, not by team.
This is set to change things up dramatically. You can find out more here: PVP Arena System Changes.
Arena Season 14
In addition to a new Arena System for teams, for all you PVP junkies out there, the new PVP season will start with a whole new set of gear and even some new rules. The biggest rule change so far is that fights will be forced to an end shortly after the 15 minute mark by a new buff called "The crowd chose you".
This new buff will be applied to a team and will increase damage, crit, allow stealth detection, and reduce the damage you suffer until the end of the match. It will go to the team that has the most players alive and if tied to the team that has brought an enemy player the closest to death (calculated by lowest health seen during the fight).
Scaling Item Enhancements
This is an interesting one, as it will allow several things to happen. The first is that almost any enchant will be usable by almost any player on items. The second is that the enchant will scale down to the level of the player, so that while a high level enchant can be applied to a low level item it will go down in power significantly. A third thing that this means is that heirloom items will be able to be enchanted and will then scale up as you level, which is very handy.
This feature will help out players leveling up alternates significantly since they will be able to enchant all of their heirlooms once and then just get on to leveling.
Unlike most patches that come along, when patch 5.4 is launched there will be no downgrade of your Valor to Justice Points. This means that you will be able to keep all your points to get any items you need as many items will be downgrading from Valor to Justice points to purchase them.
This is mainly due to the fact that there is no new Valor gear vendor in the new patch, therefore no real need to downgrade the points. The Item Upgrade vendor will be sticking around though, and this will allow players to quickly upgrade items that they earn in the new raid.
There are several reputation changes coming with patch 5.4. The biggest is how the Golden Lotus reputation will work, since it requires a complete overhaul since much of the whole vale is being changed when it is corrupted and is now known as the Vale of Eternal Sorrows. Many of the quests (both regular and daily) will go away as will many of the NPCs. This means that other changes had to be made as well such as the removal of Golden Lotus rep being needed before working on many of the other higher level reps in Mists of Pandaria.
5.4 Patch Notes
Check out the full version of the patch notes here.