World of Warcraft's 'Return to Karazan' 7.1 patch is now live and Blizzard has provided the full patch notes, including balance changes and the new raid.
Blizzard surprised World of Warcraft players shortly before the most recent expansion, Legion, was released by announcing the game's 7.1 patch -- Return to Karazhan. Return to Karazhan would be a substantial patch that fit between Legion's launch and the debut of the expansion's next major raid, Nighthold. However, few expected Return to Karazhan to be released quite this soon, and they likely didn't expect it to be quite as substantial as it is. Return to Karazhan is out today and Blizzard has released all of 7.1's patch notes.
At the heart of Return to Karazhan is the updated and expanded Karazhan dungeon. New Karazhan is a Mythic difficulty dungeon with eight total bosses, making it the longest and potentially most difficult dungeon in Legion. Like the other Mythic Legion dungeons, Arcway and Court of Stars, Karazhan features an attunement questline, so those planning on tackling the Karazhan dungeon this week should make sure to speak to Khadgar and get that questline moving as soon as possible.
The next chunk of substantial content included with 7.1 isn't actually available yet. The Trial of Valor raid, which concludes the storyline of Legion's Stormheim zone, will become available in two weeks at Normal and Heroic difficulties, and Mythic as well as Raid Finder will then follow. Trial of Valor is a short 3-boss raid with gear on-par with the already available Emerald Nightmare raid.
There is a type of progress that's unlocked with 7.1, though, but it isn't tied to gear. Blizzard is adding a 9-week quest chain that unlocks week-by-week that is a march to the entrance of the Nighthold. This continuation of the Suramar campaign picks up from where it ended once players reached Exalted reputation with the Nightborne. Whether or not the Nighthold raid actually opens after those 9 weeks is another matter entirely, but Blizzard will give those who finish the quest a Manasaber mount.
Return to Karazhan, Trial of Valor, and more Suramar campaign are just the major content additions in patch 7.1. Extensive balance changes across all classes and specs have also been made, including how skills unlock as all classes level. The PvP system has received a buff to its entire system of rewards. New World Quests have been unlocked, including some that may unlock a new Falcosaur mount, and professions should have a few new recipes worth checking out too.
Considering Warlords of Draenor, World of Warcraft's expansion prior to Legion, went without major content updates for such a long period of time, 7.1 comes as a huge breath of fresh air. Blizzard could very well have sat on content releases until the Nighthold raid was ready to launch, but instead the studio has put out a huge content patch to help keep players invested. Will Blizzard maintain a two-month content update schedule? Will they dedicate themselves to big updates between major raid launches? Blizzard has said Legion will be different than Warlords of Draenor and so far the devs are keeping that promise.
World of Warcraft: Legion is currently available on PC. Return to Karazhan, Legion's first major content update, went live this morning. The Trial of Valor raid is not yet available and will unlock in two weeks.