WoW: Legion Patch 7.1 “Return to Karazhan” Releases On October 25; Trial of Valor Raid Opens On November 8


World of Warcraft: Legion patch 7.1 “Return to Karazhan” will release on October 25 (October 26 in EU), and the expansion’s “Trial of Valor” raid will open two weeks later after this year’s Blizzcon event.

Game director Ion Hazzikostas and community manager Josh Allen, confirmed the release date for Legion’s first patch during a developers Q&A on Twitch last Friday.

You can check out the Developers Q&A that was streamed down below:

Website Wowhead wrote down the answers that were provided in the Q&A down below:

Legion Patch 7.1 Developers Q&A

Are you and the team happy with where classes have ended up after the initial balance tuning pass? Can we expect to see more before 7.1?

Class balance and tuning is always a hot topic across the entire community. Blizzard is happier than before the balance tuning pass, but they know more work is needed. Tuning encompasses a bunch of settings - eg PvP settings, Raid performance, Mythic+ Dungeons. Many moving pieces and more work to do; this is an ongoing process. Likely there are more tweaks before and after 7.1.

There are some specializations on the low end which are getting buffs in 7.1 to be competitive.

The actual numbers people use to gauge balance are based on actual players not simulators. Some members of the community want to play the strongest spec, and they also tend to be min-maxers who optimize rotation and play on the cutting edge. So whichever spec has all of those skilled players will naturally get a bump in results. Examples: Frost Mages have more potential than what WarcraftLogs would reflect; but more min-maxers are drawn to Fire currently. This is an example of why Blizzard tends to be conservative with changes. Blizzard has seen this in the past - spec B gets buffed over spec A, more top players switch to spec B, and then the performance of spec A drops even though spec A was not nerfed.

What can be done to make Hunter Barrage less annoying, eg pulling mobs directly above you? otherwise great talent but too random.

Yes, everyone has encountered that situation, eg "Where did that Seagull come from?" Blizzard would like to make Barrage feel more reliable and fix the Z axis.

Another concern related to talent balance. Even when Barrage feels risky to use, it feels like the "best" talent to use. Ideally, if you don't want to deal with the hassle of managing Barrage, then you should be able to pick another talent. But right now it feels like other talents in the row aren't competitive. Barrage just feels too good.

What can be done to curb the heavy RNG element in regards to legendaries that's the cause of a lot of frustration?

The flipside of the frustration is excitement when the legendaries drop - guild chat, among friends, personal reactions, streams, videos. This excitement would not be present in a completely routine manner of acquiring them.

Should there be interesting items in the game? Or primary stats, secondary stats, nothing else? Blizzard feels that as an MMORPG, items at max level should affect your gameplay. Ion then brainstormed different ways people could theoretically obtain items; putting them on a vendor makes the legendary feel like a grind and a relief when you acquire it. Legendaries should be the direct complement to Artifact Power, which is a guaranteed reward and progress to make your character stronger as you complete content.

Obviously there is frustration to chasing a legendary (or anything rare) and not getting it. Ion doesn't have a legendary yet!

What are your plans with legendaries for people who haven't gotten one or have gotten one notably subpar for their class?

If you haven't gotten one, keep playing the game - World Quests, BGs, etc. On the flipside, there are some people that are hoping for specific items and don't get their dream legendary. You'll keep getting more over time.

Ion also talked about the value of utility legendaries which don't have a damage increase or change to rotation. However, there are situations where extra utility is very valuable, like surviving AOE trash bursts in a high-end Mythic+ dungeon, or a Warlock that can instantly drop a Demonic Gateway with  Pillars of the Dark Portal.

All that said, some aren't as good as we'd like that could feel disappointing. Example, a Tank Demon Hunter or Monk with  Cinidaria, the Symbiote. There are plans in the future to redesign some legendaries. For example, that legendary would proc extra damage but also heal for that amount.

Is the current design of hardcore for casual players and casual for hardcore players intended? Mythic cleared Day 1.

The top guilds in the world cleared Mythic Emerald Nightmare quickly; the process was anything but casual.

Xavius was not tuned to the level of difficulty Blizzard intended on Mythic difficult; that was their one Emerald Nightmare regret. Dropped the ball on that; in an ideal world it would have been a 2 day boss with 80-100 attempts for the top guilds.

That said, Blizzard was not looking to create a 300-attempt boss in this raid zone; it is the first raid in Legion with Trial of Valor and Nighthold to follow. Emerald Nightmare is an introduction to Legion raiding with only a few dozen guilds clearing it.

Top guilds also do things that are not representative of the greater player base - running tons of Mythic+ Keystone runs, many split runs across multiple alts. In the longer term, Blizzard would like to curb some types of behavior that nobody seems to enjoy but feels 'required' at the top level like split runs.

What is the design intent behind Protection Warriors, and why was the rage from damage taken model brought back?

They are mix of tanky and mobile with things like Heroic Leap and Intercept. Rage from Damage Taken was a throwback to old-school Warrior days - "getting punched makes you angry." In some ways it was a replacement for Vengeance and Resolve from past expansions; your tanking should scale in some form so you aren't invincible at lower-end content.

Will the level 100 Spriest talent redesign be in 7.1 or later?

Not in 7.1 but soon after that. Blizzard knows that they have to do it right,  Surrender to Madness forces Shadow Priests into a certain playstyle (eg die on every encounter); their viability seems to hinge more on that talent than Blizzard would like.

In the meantime, Shadow Priests are in a pretty solid place if they do embrace the  Surrender to Madness playstyle.

Will secondary stat values be tuned?

There aren't a ton of things Blizzard would do differently in Legion, but the way primary and secondary stats have played out is a regret. Work has to be done.

There are large disparity in secondary stat values for some specializations. Certain stats shouldn't feel worthless. Blizzard wants to improve this carefully and give lots of notice since it affects the gearing choices players make.

Blizzard changed how secondary stats scale in Legion, so you wouldn't have too-low or too-high amounts of secondary stats on items. However by front-loading secondary stats it has made them too strong now.

Item level should determine upgrades; it's a failure right now that it doesn't totally work that way.

Any chance of reducing the crafting material requirement to alleviate the very onerous cost of optimizing for raids before 7.1? Potions, enchants, etc.

This is something on Blizzard's radar. They want to see how the new recipes and Blood of Sargeras trade works out, as well as (Item #142117) which costs Bloods. It seems that in 7.1, a huge amount of resources will be dumped on the market as players can turn Bloods in. (More information in our 7.1 Profession Post.)

However, it will still feel more onerous than in Warlords. in Warlords it felt like consumables were too cheap and plentiful. A high demand for resources leads to a healthy player economy. (Check out Legion consumables here).

There is also a shift in how to view consumables. In Warlords, many guilds settled into a culture where people were expected to use every type of consumable on every pull. That was a sign of being ready for raiding. In Legion, those assumptions are being re-examined. Will one potion make a huge difference? Far more often one consumable will not make a difference. The Legion consumables were designed as luxuries to use as special occasions, not 100% uptime items. For cutting-edge Mythic guilds that want every possible edge, it is a different story, but they are in the minority.

Consumable costs are the highest they will ever be in the expansion, and decline over time as supply increases and 7.1 items are added. In a month for now, if stuff is still very expensive, then Blizzard would look at crafting requirements for items.

With Mythic+ being a huge part of Legion, are there any plans to help specs that don't have strong consistent AoE so they can partake in higher Keystones?

The goal is to have areas of strength and weaknesses; eg a Demon Hunter can melt AoE while a Feral Druid can do single target DPS like no other. Consistent AoE is emphasized as a good attribute in strong farming clearing runs, or speedruns of lower-level Keystone runs.

However, at higher keystone levels with Fortified and Tyrannical, players are not clearing content quickly. Some affixes even make AOE a terrible idea. So other specs like Shadow Priests have a place to shine.

One challenge is community perception, ie it doesn't matter if you're good if people think your spec is bad and reject you from groups. This is a challenge for Blizzard; they are working towards improving visibility and perceptions as to how viable specs actually are. They recognize this is a huge factor in player experience.

Could rewards from World Quests (not caches) adjust according to Loot Spec? Would be really nice for focused gearing.

Two reasons why it doesn't work this way. Blizzard went with class-based loot for a few reasons.

if the map changed every time you changed spec that could be an annoying player experience. If you felt you had to cycle between specs to see all of the rewards, that could be cumbersome.

This also lets players get gear for their offspec in a safe way. There is value in being able to look at the map and get offspec relics and trinkets to keep them up to speed. It also encourages people to try out new specs they wouldn't have since they now have some easy upgrades.

How does the bad luck protection for legendaries work? Right now the system feel time based only. Does it reward player activity?

Legendary acquisition has no time-based component. However, there was one initial bug which slightly-skewed results, but it was a single-digit percentage of eligible players that were affected and it was fixed promptly.

With millions of players, extreme situations are bound to happen (eg one person with three legendaries in one day) and those will be widely publicized. This drives perceptions that something is broken, when in reality, that lucky person is the outlier.

When will the action cam come back? It added extra immersion to the game.

It is returning in 7.1! You can check it out on the PTR. In 7.1, you will have to re-enable it every time you log on. This is to avoid people forgetting they have it on and leading to confusion.

Will there be any punishment for leaving Mythic+ Dungeon runs?

This is very tricky. Someone leaving is a very frustrating experience. That said, Blizzard can't think of alternatives which don't invite more serious abuse in other ways (eg the ability to swap in other people when the run is nearly complete, selling runs at the very end). If there was a way to undeplete your keystone if someone dropped, then people would be encouraged to leave and reset whenever something went wrong in a dungeon.

Best protection is to run Mythic+ with friends and guildmates. Take a minute to talk to your group before you start to be on the same page as far as goals and ideal times.

Will there be a system in place where we can move all AP to another weapon? Can't properly test other specs now.

No plans to do that, but the way Artifact Knowledge scaling works, it is very straightforward to keep other weapons caught up in striking distance of your main weapon. For example, if you put all future AP gains into a brand new weapon, you would be surprised how fast it can catch up.

Is Artifact Knowledge working as hoped? Any plans to adjust research rates or make account/server wide?

Overall they are happy with how Artifact Knowledge and progress are playing out. Blizzard did not want to make it a hard weekly cap like Valor in Mists of Pandaria. If you didn't hit the cap, you felt behind, and if you hit the cap, you had no motivation to continue playing and helping others.

So if you play a ton now in Legion, you feel like you're always moving forward towards your goal.

As for as catch-up for latecomings, the research rates are the main mechanism for now. Artifact Knowledge research times will speed up as players are further behind. Alts and newcomers should feel like they can get into the game and be relevant. Additional mechanisms may be added as the expansion continues.

What is the logic behind gating some hidden artifact appearances behind RNG/time requirements when others are from vendors?

It's not a one-size-fits-all approach. There were different goals for some artifacts. For Beast Mastery hunters, the appearance is on a vendor so people that don't want to use a gun had an easy alternative option. The flipside there is that there is no prestige to acquiring that item.

However, if you are farming Thunderfury variant on your Outlaw Rogue, you are pretty excited when you finally get the binding. And when you see a Rogue with that appearance, you feel impressed and know that person put in a ton of effort to acquire it.

There are valid concerns about the Fury Warrior appearance with how the World Boss schedule works.

There are some Death Knights that are still working towards their weapon; while that can be frustrating for players, once those are figured out it will feel prestigious and really good to acquire. Watching the community work together and discover things has been really fun for Blizzard. They'd like to do more in-game discoveries that can be determined in advance with datamining.

Will Karazhan also be an account-wide unlock?

Not sure right now; it feels like it should be. After you unlock it once and do the quests, it demonstrates you have the ability to access the content.

Can we please get something other than gold for non-loot bonus rolls? Even Artifact Power would feel better.

This is an unfortunate technical limitation; Blizzard would love to give Artifact Power. There are restrictions hardcoded into the system where the "failure" option was gold. Blizzard would love to add other things based on context. Getting a few dozen gold feels like an insult.

World Quests were supposed to have a large variety that we would not see many of them often, but I have found since launch we see many frequently. Will this be addressed?

There are a large variety of World Quests, and there are some that you've only seen a few times before. However, Blizzard does not handle overlapping World Quests very well. The scheduling tool determine which ones come up next, and currently some quests are overriden and ignored which leads to  Aw, Nuts!, for example, being up frequently.

Lots of class balance issues with mechanics problems (eg Balance Druid) impacting raid and Mythic+ desirability. What plan for 7.1?

Balance and number-wise is an ongoing process to make specs competitive. However each spec has strengths and weaknesses. For Balance Druids, things like Solar Beam and Typhoon are very useful for Mythic+ Dungeons (eg Solar Beaming imps in Court of Stars). Blizzard would prefer to double down and make those mechanics shine.

What about "bring the player not the class?" In many ways, Ion feels that class importance has been lessened too much. In Burning Crusade, the importance of class balance was an extreme jigsaw puzzle, and that was a problem. In the process of fixing that, Blizzard moved away from mandatory class setup.

Ideally, the playerbase should play all difference classes. The playerbase is best-served if they want some of everything. When it's just "we want a ranged dps" then raid leaders will look for the top-performing spec. But if specs have unique cool abilities, then raid leaders would be interested in multiple specs, not just one.

If all else is equal and you're picking a group among strangers, the community is better served when you pick specs that aren't already represented in filling out a group. There is definitely a lot of work to still get there! Perhaps by reintroducing abilities for utility or synergy.

With the higher maximum item level in Trial of Valor, will the maximum Mythic+ item level also increase?

No plans to do that right now since Trial of Valor is a +5 ilvl bump and the ilvl 895 ceiling remains. When Nighthold comes out a few months later, then high-end Mythic+ would have better loot (eg Mythic+ 11).

Ursoc's Rending Paw and several other Emerald Nightmare raid trinkets are severely undertuned. Is this being looked into?

Yes. There are many trinkets with varied and flavorful effects (as opposed to passive stats/procs). It's trickier to make these types of trinkets with interesting proc effects.

Can you comment on the current state of Fury? Our single target doesn't seem effective.

Some improvements for Fury are coming in 7.1 (number tweaks) as well as less damage taken from Enrage. Admittedly this is feedback brought up during beta and Blizzard should have listened them, but better late than never.

Feels frustrating to gain Enrage right before a boss ability goes out and then you accidentally die; 7.1 changes should improve that as a band-aid. However more serious work is needed to rework how abilities work to maintain the Berserker Class Fantasy.

Why must relics be destroyed? Very easy to mess up if you're not up to speed on theorycraft or you get bad advice.

Unlike other items, item levels by and large is king for Artifacts due to how weapons work. In general, you should feel you trust higher item levels.

They are destroyed because your inventory would be full with dozens of relics. They are meant to feel like a permanent decision.

Patch 7.1 release date?

Blizzard doesn't want to rush anything; content needs to be as perfect as it can be. As a result, we can never really commit to patch dates because who knows what can happen.

In this case, the patch is really close to ready - October 25th!

Trial of Valor will be open two weeks after 7.1 hits - November 8th!

Patch 7.1 “Return to Karazhan” was released on the PTR several weeks ago, and players will finally be able to return to Karazhan within 3 weeks from now.