We’ve opened the Public Test Realm (PTR) for Patch 9.0.5, the next update to World of Warcraft, which is now in-testing and expected to be released in March.
This update will be a bit different from our usual patches. It’s focused almost entirely on systems, responding to community feedback about rewards, doing tuning that requires the sort of notice and iteration that a PTR allows, and fixing a range of bugs that are beyond the scope of our ability to hotfix. We know everyone is eager to hear about the next chapter in the Shadowlands saga and what new adventures and rewards it will bring, and we’ll have a lot more information on that in the very near future. In the meantime, we’ll use this patch to get changes into your hands faster than a large content patch would allow.
Here are two of the larger changes you’ll see in 9.0.5, with further iteration to follow over the next few weeks:
Upgradable Mythic Keystone Gear - The Return of Valor Points
We’ve seen a lot of feedback about the pros and cons of the various sources of gear in the Shadowlands endgame. After a rewarding first few weeks, we know that many dungeon-focused players reached a point where the only relevant rewards from the system come from the Great Vault. While the Vault should represent a major goal and the source of the best rewards the endgame has to offer, we want to find a way for the loot from the chest at the end of a challenging Mythic Keystone run to feel relevant, without bringing back random upgrade systems such as Warforging, which partially solved this problem in the past. We also want to provide a more consistent reward for the effort for players who do not receive an item at all.
The framework for a system that attempts to address these goals should be present in this first PTR update, subject to ongoing tuning and refinement. Gear from Mythic Keystone Dungeons is now upgradeable, initially with a cap of item level 200, which players can raise to item level 207 by completing all eight Shadowlands dungeons at Mythic 5 or higher. This will award a new “Keystone Explorer” achievement, while the existing “Keystone Conqueror” achievement (for all +10s or higher) will increase the cap to item level 213, and then to item level 220 by completing the “Keystone Master” achievement for all +15s in time. The currency used to upgrade Mythic Keystone gear is Valor, which is earned from completing Mythic Keystone dungeons, or by doing covenant Callings, with a weekly cap. Upgrade costs will vary by item slot and will be consistent across all item levels.
Covenant and Legendary Tuning
We’ve deliberately used a very light touch with any hotfixes that might affect Covenant or Legendary balance, as we’re keenly aware of the resources players have invested in those systems. A patch, however, allows for ample notice for the community and a testing and feedback loop that should help ensure that we don’t unintentionally undermine your investment in your covenant or legendary items.
In many cases, the changes coming in 9.0.5 are improvements to Legendary items and Covenant class abilities that have seen comparatively less use by players. Our goal with these changes is to provide more gameplay options for crafting and utilizing Legendary items in specific situations, and to make sure that more players feel that the Covenant that suits their aesthetic, narrative, or other preferences for their character also feels more viable for their preferred playstyle.
We’ll have a number of bugfixes, tuning adjustments to other systems, and other changes coming to the PTR in the coming weeks.
The 9.0.5 PTR is available to all players via your Blizzard Battle.net App. To test with us, go to the app and change your Game Version to Public Test Realm.
We greatly appreciate bug reports! As always, while testing on the PTR, you can submit a bug report for any item, spell, or object by mousing over it and selecting default hotkey F6. Bug reports created in this way include valuable metadata about the spell, your talents, and your player-state when the bug is submitted. If you’ve unbound your “Open Bug Report” hotkey, you can rebind it in Keybindings -> PTR.
If you wish to discuss issues related to this patch with other players, we’ve opened a discussion forum here.
Thank you for testing, and we look forward to your feedback!