World of Warcraft‘s 6.0.2 patch will go live on North American servers tomorrow before arriving on European servers this Wednesday, Blizzard has announced.
Why is that of consequence? Because 6.0.2 is the final patch to be released prior to the launch of the game’s fifth expansion Warlords of Draenor, which goes live on November 14. As such, it brings with it a raft of balance and mechanical changes, as well as enhanced character models for most of the playable races. It also marks the start of a new questline to coincide with the invasion of the Iron Horde – the expansion’s time-displaced villains – as well as a retuned level-90 version of the expansion’s redesigned Upper Blackrock Spire dungeon, which will be raised to level 100 once the expansion launches.
A full list of the changes, including details of changes to long-standing stats, can be found over on the game’s official website. Here are some of the highlights:
- Character models for races from the original game Dwarf, Gnome, Human, Night Elf, Orc, Tauren, Troll, Undead, and Draenei have been overhauled with an increase to fidelity and texture resolution; while retaining the core look and feel of the originals.
- Character animations have been updated to have more personality and now support expressive facial expressions. Emotes are now more emotive!
- The Dark Portal in the Blasted Lands has turned blood red. Hundreds of strange-looking orcs are violently pouring into Azeroth, killing everything that stands in their path. Nethergarde and Okril’lon have already fallen, and while the Horde and the Alliance moved as quickly as they could to get reinforcements to their people, they are too late. The Iron Horde invasion has begun.
- A specially revamped five-player version of Upper Blackrock Spire is available to level-90 characters for a limited time, and sets the stage for the coming counterstrike against the Iron Horde.
- Group Finder received an upgrade and expanded to facilitate players trying to create groups for both PvE and PvP content. Browsing or creating a Premade Group can be done via Group Finder (Bound to the I key by default) or the Player vs. Player pane (Bound to the H key by default.)
- The quest log has been integrated into the world map to make it easier to know where to go and what to do.
- Quest items no longer take up space in the inventory and are accessed through the Quest Tracker.
- Tradeskill materials now stack up to 200 (up from 20).
- Added a “Clean up Bags” button to automatically sort items in the character’s inventory, moving all empty slots to one area, and automatically sorting items to the correct bag. There’s also the option to ignore a bag from cleanup.
- Character stats have been squished into smaller numbers that are easier to understand. It’s important to understand that this is not a nerf as enemies’ stats have been squished as well.
- All characters now learn some important Major Glyphs automatically as they level up.
For more on Warlords of Draenor, check out Heather’s preview from August. And be sure to follow us on twitter and facebook, or subscribe to our RSS feed to be kept in the loop on future World of Warcraft news.