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Patch 9.2: What's New for Mythic+ and Raiding?



Patch 9.2 is the next major content patch of the Shadowlands expansion, and Blizzard has announced that it will be launching on February 22/23 (NA/EU). The patch, known as Eternity’s End, brings with it the exciting new raid: Sepulcher of the First Ones. It also heralds the changing of the Seasons, marking the beginning of the 3rd and likely final Mythic+ Season of the expansion.

So what does the launch of Patch 9.2 mean for you? Read on to explore the various ways your experiences in Mythic+ Dungeons and raids are expected to change!



Table of Contents






Venture to Zereth Mortis!



After the “defeat” of Sylvanas in Sanctum of Domination, the Jailer and Anduin left Oribos through a portal. Before succumbing to whatever the Jailer did to her, Sylvanas uttered the words, “cannot let him reach the…”. Clearly, he’s heading somewhere new to continue his nefarious plans. What are we going to do? Follow him of course! Patch 9.2 sees us venturing into a brand new (and may we say absolutely beautiful) zone known as Zereth Mortis.



We don’t want to go too much into the story and campaign behind the new zone, but Zereth Mortis will be where we find the new raid – Sepulcher of the First Ones – as well as a new faction of brokers called the Enlightened. Similar to most new zones that are introduced with major content patches, Zereth Mortis will have its own world, dailies, and campaign quests, treasures to seek, rare mobs to farm, and new things to explore!

If you are coming back to the game or looking at gearing up some alts in 9.2, Zereth Mortis will have a vendor that sells some excellent catch-up gear sets. These items will be item level 246, and purchasable using Sandworn Relics, which you can loot from Zereth Mortis rare mobs and treasure chests.

The first thing you will want to do when the patch launches on Feb 22/23 (NA/EU), is dive right into the campaign quests to open up the various zones of Zereth Mortis, and begin earning reputation gains with the Enlightened. There are a few notable rewards available upon gaining reputation levels with the Enlightened such as new mounts, new levels of the Crafter’s Mark profession item, and finally an infinite-use Augment Rune.

Also available upon reaching Exalted with the Enlightened is the Vessel of Profound Possibilities, an item that will not only teach you any conduit you are missing, but level all your conduits to item level 278! However, they are not making it easy to obtain — not only do you need to gain Exalted reputation with the Enlightened, but you also need to achieve one of the following:


Enlightened reputation is a useful but not mandatory grind for Mythic+ oriented players. Besides the Vessel of Profound Possibilities at Exalted, there are some benefits at Revered, though they’re also gated by the Campaign’s 7th Chapter (which can be done on the patch’s 5th week, or the 3rd week that the Mythic raid is open). The ability to equip the new Double Legendary comes without a Reputation requirement in the form of a 265 Belt. However, if you want to upgrade its item level and re-craft it onto another slot, you will need Revered with the Enlightened (in addition to the Chapter 7 completion). This is a moderate but not massive or urgent power spike, so it’s good to work on the Enlightened rep grind when you can!

It also may be worth mentioning that, today, the Vessel of Profound Possibilities 278 Conduit upgrade item has mysteriously disappeared from the vendor on the 9.2 PTR. In the absence of a formal announcement from Blizzard on whether this is intentional or not, it may just be a bug. If not though, it might indicate a change on whether this item will be attainable, or how the item will be acquired.



Double Legendaries and Tier Set Bonuses



The major gearing changes coming with Patch 9.2 are the ability to wear two legendary pieces, and the re-introduction of set bonuses! Also, you can leave your domination sockets at home, as those won’t function in the new zone and raid.

Double legendaries will be acquirable via the new campaign. You will unlock the legendary belt by completing the campaign chapter on the 5th week of the patch (3rd week of Mythic raid). You can continue to pick whatever legendary you want for your first piece, but this second legendary will always be your covenant-specific power. Revered reputation will let you move that power to a non-belt slot and a higher item level, so it’s worth aiming for! While there has been extensive theorycrafting surrounding double legendaries from the community, it is definitely going to be interesting to see how the introduction of a second legendary 5 weeks into the patch will shape things like the Mythic+ meta, and boss strategies in Sepulcher of the First Ones!

The last time we had armor with set bonuses was during Legion. Blizzard’s initial decision to remove this gearing system was met with mixed reactions, but community feedback since then has seemed to drift increasingly towards the desire to bring set bonuses back. Some of the set bonuses look to be very fun and rewarding, so we are excited to see them return!

Bonuses will be earned with 2 and 4 pieces of the new Progenitor Tier, and can be earned through the new raid, the Great Vault, and through a separate progression system found within Zereth Mortis called Cypher of the First Ones. You can check out the various set bonuses as they currently stand on the PTR here.

How do we think the addition of a second legendary and set bonuses is going to affect raiding, the Race to World First (RWF), and Mythic+? Let’s check in with Dratnos!


Dratnalysis

Double Legendaries and the RWF


Let’s start with a look at how these systems will intersect the RWF. The double legendary is slated to arrive on the 3rd week of the Mythic raid, which means it’s very likely to be after the RWF is over (every raid tier since Legion’s Kil’jaeden has ended before that 3rd reset). However, if the raid does make it to that time, American guild Liquid will have a massive advantage over their European rivals Echo, as they’ll get to equip that ~10% DPS increase 16 hours earlier. This could potentially convert a nearly dead boss into a very dead boss to win the race.


Tier Set Bonuses and the RWF


On the other hand, the new tier set bonuses will certainly impact the RWF, as they’ll be accessible starting with the first week of the raid on Normal/Heroic difficulty. After the first week of Sepulcher, you can expect the top guilds to use “helper splits” more than ever before. Helper splits are when top guilds search for fans and friends who have already obtained some of their tier pieces from Normal and Heroic difficulty. Then, the guild will fill up raids with those players in an attempt to trade extra tier pieces to the guild’s main raiders. Much of the community may view this “helper” dynamic as an undesirable part of the modern RWF; however, it’s an advantage that any guild competing for the World First title cannot afford to ignore. For a more detailed explanation on what split running is and how it works, click here.


Impacts on Mythic+


Mythic+ is also likely to see some shake ups due to these new systems. In particular, look for specs that gain a covenant legendary and/or a set bonus that dramatically increases their AoE damage potential. Most tanks have set bonuses that work best in Mythic+ environments, so expect tank players to feel more powerful than ever before and be capable of surviving pulls that would have caused immediate death in previous patches. My early metagame spec predictions for Mythic+ favors Protection Paladins, Restoration Shamans, and Subtlety Rogues. While I expect to see these three very common specs on the top of the Season 3 Mythic+ leaderboards, the penalty for playing off-meta specs will likely be lower this season than the average, as overall class balance appears to be quite good in Patch 9.2.




New Mythic+ Affix: Encrypted



Season 3, which will begin in week 2 of Patch 9.2, brings with it a brand new affix: Encrypted. We went over the affix as it currently exists on the PTR in detail recently. You can check that out here.

For a quick summary, the new affix seems like a good mix of past seasonal affixes. There are Encrypted Relics present throughout the dungeons in groups of 3, and when all 3 Relics are killed, a mob spawns. Upon its death, the mob grants your party a buff – the buff you get is determined by which Relic you killed first.



Some of the Relics are skippable, and others are attached to mob packs and bosses that you cannot avoid. However, it is possible that the placement of the Relics may give rise to new routes this season — especially in the higher level dungeons when gaining a specific buff could be instrumental to your party’s success. Unlike other seasonal affixes such as Awakened and Tormented where skipping mobs throughout the dungeon had some sort of effect on the final boss, that is not the case with Encrypted.

We think Encrypted has some pretty solid potential to be an interesting and innovative affix. We like this direction that Blizzard is taking by creating seasonal affixes that provide substantial rewards to the party and that also have some element of choice. Encrypted looks to fit that bill!



Two New Mythic+ Dungeons: Tazavesh



Similar to Return to Karazhan in Legion, and Operation: Mechagon in Battle for Azeroth, the trend of having one “mega-dungeon” per expansion has continued in Shadowlands with the introduction of Tazavesh, the Veiled Market back in Patch 9.1. Located in the space between Revendreth and Ardenweald, Tazavesh is an 8 boss mega-dungeon that has only been available on Mythic until now.

However, Patch 9.2 is bringing some changes to Tazavesh, and it is getting the same treatment that Return to Karazhan and Mechagon both got in their respective expansions. When Eternity’s End launches, Tazavesh will now be available on Heroic, Mythic, and Mythic+ difficulties as two separate dungeons:

  • Tazavesh: Streets of Wonder (first 5 bosses)
  • Tazavesh: So’leah’s Gambit (last 3 bosses)


There are a few pieces of gear from Tazavesh that will likely be worth farming, as they are very strong for both raiding and Mythic+. The So’leah’s Secret Technique trinket will be good for pretty much everyone, and some players will seek the Ticking Sack of Terror as well. This trinket is particularly powerful for melee DPS players.

While there are a few decent trinkets for casters and healers from the P.O.S.T Master and a tank trinket on So’azmi, So’leah’s Secret Technique and Ticking Sack of Terror are looking to be the real stars of this dungeon’s loot table.



With Tazavesh being split up and added to the list of available Mythic+ dungeons, the thing to remember is that it will be added to the Season 3 MDI! This means there will be a total of 10 dungeons in the competition. Not only will it be exciting to see a brand new dungeon and watch teams develop their strategies, but with 10 dungeons available, it is possible that Blizzard will bring the banning system into more than just the championship match of each weekend. This is definitely something the players have been asking for.



New Raid: Sepulcher of the First Ones



A new major content patch means a brand new raid…and a brand new raid means another Race to World First (RWF)! This is one of the most exciting events in all of Warcraft, and the RWF for Sepulcher of the First Ones is shaping up to be an interesting one indeed!

Early in the PTR cycle for 9.2, Blizzard declared that Sepulcher of the First Ones would not be following the standard lockout schedule. As per normal, the raid itself will be opening on Normal and Heroic difficulty on the second week of the Patch – March 1st/2nd (NA/EU). However, the final 3 bosses of the raid: The Lords of Dread, Rygelon, and The Jailer, will not be available on week 2 on any difficulty. That means that when the raid opens up on Mythic difficulty on March 8th/9th (NA/EU), and the RWF begins, it will be the first time the last 3 bosses will be available to fight on any difficulty.

When this schedule was first announced, we discussed the possibilities granted by the last 3 bosses being unreleased until Mythic week, specifically if Blizzard opted to not publicly test them. While this was speculative at the time, it was since confirmed that the last 3 bosses were not going to be available on the PTR at all. When the RWF starts and all eyes are watching, the top guilds in the world will be seeing those final bosses for the very first time with only the in-game dungeon journal for any kind of direction on what kind of mechanics they are going to face. This is a pretty unprecedented occurrence since the RWF has become such a large event – we cannot wait to see what is going to happen!

For those of us who are not world-first raiders, the raid is obviously going to provide 11 brand new encounters to navigate through, and new gear (including set bonuses!) to power us up. We will also (assumedly) see the conclusion of the conflict we have been engaged in since Sylvanas shattered the Helm of Domination and the veil between worlds. What is going to happen upon defeating The Jailer? Only time will tell…so get your friends together and head into Sepulcher of the First Ones to battle for the fate of the Shadowlands!





Links




About the Authors


Dratnos hosts the The Titanforge WoW Podcast. He’s also an Officer in the World 36th guild poptart corndoG, and a commentator for events such as the MDI and the Race to World First! He streams on Twitch, where he likes to review his friends’ logs.


Hulahoops has been playing WoW since Vanilla. She has recently shelved Retail to go back and re-experience TBC in all its glory, but will one day make her way back to the Shadowlands. In her hey-day, Hulahoops could be found raid-leading in Mythic Progression, or competing in the MDI with her team Angry Toast. Hulahoops is a Holy Paladin in every sense of the term: she moderates the Hammer of Wrath Paladin Class Discord, and she was a practicing Lawyer for 7 years. Judgment isn't just a spell! Hulahoops decided to put the law books away and follow her passion for gaming and esports by joining the team at Raider.IO. In her capacity as General Manager, Hulahoops oversees events, content, and more!