All You Need To Know About Shadowlands Patch 9.2.5
Patch 9.2.5 is the final significant update for WoW Shadowlands. It has brought a surprising amount of changes, including the highly-anticipated implementation of cross-faction gameplay. While the main story is over, several follow-up questlines have been introduced. The expansion’s most prominent activities received significant tweaks, making them easier to farm in the remaining months before WoW Dragonflight. This article will inform you about all of those changes and more, as well as the upcoming Season Four that will begin this August.
The ability to fight side by side with members of a different faction has long been requested by fans. Even though the conflict between the Alliance and the Horde might seem fundamental to the MMORPG’s premies, there have been plenty of situations where they have put aside their differences. Moving on from the lore, the lack of cooperative gameplay has been a problem due to server faction imbalance, meaning that players in a realm dominated by the hostile faction could struggle to find teammates for any activities. It has also hindered friends with characters from different factions who might have liked to use them together.
Despite its popularity, this concept also had its detractors, so the developers had to tread carefully in their implementation. Their solution has been to limit inter-faction cooperation and always make its inclusion optional. The following activities have been opened up for mixed-group parties:
- Dungeons at Mythic difficulty and higher;
- Torghast Tower;
- Rated versions of both Arenas and Battlegrounds.
Most of the older raids and dungeons may be explored in this mode, except for ones where different factions encounter different content. One obvious example would be the Battle of Dazar’alor, which, after all, was fought between them. That said, this may be a temporary restriction, since the developers might create adapted versions of those instances in the future. Lower-difficulty dungeons and other activities with open matchmaking are also excluded to prevent players from unwittingly and unwillingly teaming up with their enemies. According to the developers, those relatively casual activities are less affected by factional balance issues to begin with, so the feature is also less necessary for them.
Playing with members of a different faction requires forming a party with them, which can be done in several ways:
- Online friends can invite each other directly using their Battle.net tags or Real IDs;
- WoW Communities (but not Guilds!) can be set to accept applicants from other factions. Members of the same Community can then be invited to the party in-game;
- Party recruitment for eligible activities for the Group Finder now accepts players from either side, unless this feature is specifically disabled by the group’s leader.
Heroes from the same party will no longer suffer from the traditional language barrier and have full access to all chat commands for communications with each other. While partymates from opposing sides will normally be considered unfriendly in the open world, they will be turned to friendly upon entering the prearranged instance. Once there, they could operate just like a normal party in every way, from supporting each other in combat to trading loot or earning group achievements.
Note that the above features are all limited to parties. People in the same Community do not automatically enjoy such benefits. There are other restrictions, too. For example, using the other faction’s portals, vendors from passenger mounts, and unique buffs remains impossible even inside one party. Conversely, mail now operates across factional boundaries, making it much easier to exchange goods with friends.
Story and Questlines
The campaign concluded in the previous major patch, but the developers have used this update to provide some additional closure. Several minor quests, dialogues between NPCs including Jaina and Bolvar, and three cutscenes have been added for narrative fans to hunt down. In addition to wrapping up the earlier events, this content may point towards future developments and prepare the ground for later questlines. Those additions are not the only quests in this update, however. The heroes of Azeroth received a surprising bounty of questlines with intriguing stories and unique cosmetic rewards.
The first such questline is meant solely for adventurers who earned the Dark Iron Dwarf Heritage Armor. That means they must have been created as members of that race (as opposed to switching to it later) and reached level 50. Those heroes must travel to their subterranean capital via the Mole Machine and complete a few short, but entertaining errands there at the behest of the Anvil-Thane. The final rewards are weapon cosmetics in the same style as the armor for staves, axes, and shields, plus a version of the racial mount that is wearing an axe-fronted helmet.
Blood Elf heroes who have reached both the highest character level and the highest standing with their racial faction are eligible for a lengthier questline. It is primarily set in the Ghostlands, though it also involves a visit to Maldraxxus. Completing it will yield an epic Hawkstrider racial mount and an iconic Ranseur skin for polearms available to all characters. Blood Elf Paladins who finish this series of missions can also earn an exclusive Blood Knight equipment appearance set, plus another version of the Ranseur.
Finally, all adventurers can take part in a particularly elaborate storyline involving the Forsaken in Lordaeron. The main rewards consist of a title and a set of character customization options available for all elven characters except Demon Hunters or Death Knights. They could have the red eyes and pale skins of Sylvanas’ servants. Hunters can claim an additional prize: a Dark Ranger-themed armor transmogrification set. There are no racial restrictions on this set, but it is limited to Hunters. Note that the exclusive class unlocks for this and the previous questline cannot be earned by other characters of different classes. Those who would play through them once should plan accordingly.
Helping Players Catch Up
The amount of effort required to obtain rewards has been a target for criticism since the start of this expansion. As it winds down, the developers introduced adjustments to many parts of its content, all aimed at making it easier for players to progress and to claim prizes:
- The Broker Mark of Distinction has been enhanced to instantly increase the character’s Renown with their current allies to Rank 60. It is still only purchasable by players who already have at least one Rank 80 character, but the intent is to make it easier to level up alts;
- The bonus Renown system has likewise been expanded to increase Renown awards from all sources until the character reaches Rank 80;
- Clearing dungeons at Mythic difficulty or higher, encounters in Shadowlands raids, and Torghast runs on Layer Nine or upwards now yields a single Renown point for each completion, as does winning Rated Battlegrounds matches;
- Access to Torghast has been streamlined. Adventurers can visit all wings whenever they wish, instead of waiting for them to come up in the rotation. Unlocking Torghast immediately allows adventurers to run the first eight Layers. Clearing the eighth Layer grants access to four Layers above it. The remaining four still need to be unlocked individually, by clearing the Layer below the one you seek to enter;
- Cross-server parties may now embark on the Mythic version of Sepulcher of the First Ones. Most encounters have been nerfed in all versions, reducing the denizens’ hit points and making their combat mechanics more forgiving. Farming the raid should be substantially easier as a result;
- The Patterns Within Patterns weekly task has been changed to yield Grateful Offerings, which can be used to purchase certain items from Covenant vendors. Callings now give twice as much of this currency as they did before;
- Creating Legendary base items now gives four times as much Legendary crafting XP, making it considerably cheaper and easier to reach the highest level. To be precise, ranking up now requires three rather than fifteen items. This has the effect of making Legendary items much easier to acquire for everyone, as it also means a greater supply for the Auction House;
- According to the patch notes, Party Sync has been modified to give full XP awards to characters in the 51-60 level range. However, it is unclear if this feature is working correctly, as the quest rewards appear to be unchanged, even though XP gains from other sources have increased.
Miscellaneous Tweaks and Additions
The patch included a few other changes of note:
- Cypher weapons of all types have been added to Zereth Mortis. After unlocking those items by turning in a disc-shaped token that drops as random loot in that zone, heroes will begin receiving them as rewards for completing various local activities. Their item level is determined by the character’s progression in the Cypher of the First Ones;
- The endgame zone also plays host to the new Arena, Enigma Crucible. While the initial ambitious plans for modifiable terrain had to be cancelled, it is still an interesting and atmospheric setting, with plenty of opportunities for maneuvering around cover;
- The item level prerequisite for participating in Solo Shuffle Brawl has been bumped up to 252;
- The interface has received a handful of improvements, including the ability to clear all search filters in dropdown menus in one click and the addition of a higher-resolution cursor;
- Threat has been buffed for all Tank classes, increasing their effectiveness in PvE by ensuring that opponents will remain focused on them so long as they keep up targeted attacks;
- There have been numerous smaller changes to specific classes and specializations, particularly focusing on PvP. Several Honor Talents have been buffed, nerfed, or replaced. Other types of power have been rebalanced as well.
What We Know About Season Four
The patch did not include the start of Season Four, but it effectively constitutes a delayed second part to this ultimate update. It is shaping up to be pretty different from the previous seasons. By this point, we have found out a lot about it, including the release date: August 2 in the United States. As usual, European servers will follow a day later. The other details we know follow:
- The PvP season should unfold without changes to the formula, with the latest Gladiator title being the Eternal Gladiator. The newest Vicious War Mount will be the Vicious Warstalker, a shining protoform wolf;
- Instead of using recent dungeons that many players know inside out by this point, the Mythic Plus rotation will switch things up by bringing up instances from different expansions. Specifically, it will include Tazavesh, Mechagon, and Return to Karazhan (separated into two wings each), plus two Warlords of Draenor dungeons chosen by popular vote: Grimrail Depot and Iron Docks. Naturally, they will offer updated rewards as well as a serious challenge increased by their relative unfamiliarity;
- The affix rotation will be altered once again. Shrouded, the final seasonal affix for this expansion, inserts disguised dreadlords into the instance and challenges adventurers to hunt them down. Killing each gives temporary health and mana regeneration, plus a secondary stat bonus chosen by the player. While most of the dreadlords are comparatively weak, one of them will be a stronger miniboss. Defeating him gives bigger bonuses and stronger regeneration;
- Players will once again have the opportunity to claim seasonal Keystone achievements for Mythic excellence, with the latest Keystone Master achievement unlocking an eerie purple Restoration Deathwalker mount;
- The current expansion’s raids will be placed on a Fated rotation. Every week, one of the three raids will feature buffed bosses and a special affix modifying all encounters. Some level of buffs will be present on all difficulties, including Raid Finder wings. Rewards will be improved as well;
- Clearing Fated encounters will count towards a questline that yields a special currency. This currency could be expended with dedicated vendors to purchase any specific Normal item from the raids. This is a form of bad luck protection for players who never get the exact item they want. Fated runs will also yield consumables that could be used to upgrade items to superior versions, raising their item levels in the process;
- The highest item level will be 311, available from Fated Mythic raids;
- There will be special achievements for Fated content. Beating all raids on Fated Mythic shall grant heroes the ability to teleport to their doorsteps;
- To encourage a more casual and friendly atmosphere, the developers decided to forego a Hall of Fame for this season.
How We Can Help
With the release of this update, WoW Shadowlands has entered its final phase. Its changes make this a perfect opportunity to complete any unfinished business and get ready for what is to come. However, if you lack the playtime or the inclination to farm content that may have already gotten stale, WoW boost delivered by Rocketboost or our trusted partners are here to help. Our WoW Shadowlands boost services will let you finish any remaining tasks and prepare for the upcoming content. In case you have not yet unlocked the endgame, Zereth Mortis Unlock services will get this obstacle out of your way fast. Meanwhile, we are beginning to put together our WoW Dragonflight boost offerings for the next expansion.
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