About once every two years, the developers delight us with an incredible and memorable game event, which, to my deepest regret, does not repeat itself. And now I propose to wander on the sidelines of memory and remember the pre-patches that were already in the game earlier.
I managed to participate in almost all the events that will be discussed, and I want to briefly tell you what surprised and pleased or, on the contrary, disappointed each pre-patch. All the dates used in the article, I cited European, if possible, but, perhaps, somewhere in the United States.
The Burning Crusade: Opening The Dark Portal
Everything happens for the first time. And World of Warcraft, sooner or later, was supposed to have a significant game event associated with the first pre-patch in the history of Azeroth. The “Opening of the Dark Portal” or, as it was also called in Europe, “Highlord Kruul at large”, happened back in 2007, when the world first saw update 2.0.3 on January 7th.
If you think that this was an invasion, then you are grossly mistaken, it was a real massacre. Hordes of demons poured into our world through the Dark Portal. Hundreds of Azeroth’s heroes were already waiting for them at the entrance to complete the only mission, The Battle of the Breach, for which they received the Tabard of the Protector, and later the associated achievement. It was necessary to kill only six demons that came out of the portal, but it was not an easy task, because whoever hit first, that one and slippers. And not surprisingly, players gathered in groups and flooded with AOE abilities all around. Such AOE attacks could not fail to generate terrible “lags” and freezes in the game world. The official forums of World of Warcraft just exploded with the outrage of players who could not complete this task, not only because of the lack of a group or a small number of AOE abilities in their class, but also because
While the players at the dark portal were arranging a real meat grinder, the demons managed to “seep” further and scatter across a number of locations. Highlord Kruul personally tested the strength of the Horde and Alliance capital, attacking them in turn.
This event was held for the first time, and the developers learned from it for the future (at least, they always write that). It lasted a record short period of time, the players were given only one week, after which, on January 16, 2007, the brave heroes of Azeroth first entered Outland.
After some time, Blizzard repeated this event on new game servers. But today we should expect the closure or consolidation of old servers rather than the opening of new ones.
Wrath of the Lich King: Scourge Invasion
Before the Wrath of the Lich King update, there was a second game event related to the pre-patch. It lasted only two weeks from October 22 to November 4, 2008. But this was, perhaps, the best gaming event in which I have ever participated. In it, the developers affected the whole of Azeroth, and not just its individual locations or cities. And first of all, it is worth noting the main antagonist, this time it was Prince Tenris Mudblood from San’layn, whose brothers we will meet much later. He was waiting for the players in Karazhan, and after defeating him, the lucky ones received a pet, a baby bat, as a reward. And after the end of the event, the Vampire Hunter achievement became an additional reward. From the prince it was possible to knock out the Arcanite Ripper, which now can only be purchased on the black market.
Players, as before, were carried away by the rewards and missed the plague on Azeroth. In the Pirate Cove appeared “suspicious boxes”, touching which instantly infected the player with a plague. After that, a ten-minute countdown was started until the curious poor fellow turned into a soulless puppet of the Lich King. “Brains, there are brains,” the players shouted and, joyfully “hooting”, tried to infect and turn everyone around them into zombies. At the same time, previously enemy monsters from the Scourge immediately became friendly.
Argent Dawn healers, as well as a number of playable classes, were able to dispel the plague, thereby preventing its further spread. But many decided that it was not so interesting. After turning into plague zombies, players could safely attack both their own and previously friendly NPCs. Troubled times have come across Azeroth …
The newly minted zombies had their own language and could communicate with each other, regardless of factional barriers. And soon plague “suspicious boxes” appeared in all capitals. This could not fail to attract the inhabitants of any big city to them – cockroaches, which quickly became carriers of the plague. In addition, the time to transform into a zombie was reduced to five minutes.
Then plague zombies appeared in the initial locations, attacking both players and all non-infected creatures. It seemed that it could not be worse. Much worse … But after that, the Necropolis of the Scourge attacked the capitals of the Horde and the Alliance from the air, while the interval of plague infection was reduced to two minutes.
The Scourge invasion was in full swing, plague infestation was now only a minute long, and many players who could not dispel themselves simply did not have time to approach the healer before transforming. High Apothecary Putress has departed for Shattrath City in search of a vaccine. On the same day, a vaccine was found and gradually the plague began to disappear with general jubilation. At the same time, it became possible to get Painful memories, a kind of trifle in which a shadow followed you. They were handed out by Frozen Shadows in capitals, which discouraged players from fighting the Lich King. Painful Memories can still be purchased from some players who survived these events. Since October 27, every 20 minutes, the Lich King has tested Orgrimmar and Stormwind for strength, sending crowds of the strongest soldiers to the capitals.
The developers took this event seriously, even the avatars of the players who turned into zombies were changed on the official forum. Some of the newly minted zombies have found many unique abilities of their new faction. For example, the ability to use boxes or open doors and grilles that were previously inaccessible for use. The most meticulous were able to close the doors to the Hall of Champions, where they sold the PvP kit, thereby locking up all the players who were there.
Cataclysm: Elemental Invasion
The cataclysm was marked not only by a change in classic locations, but also by a rather lengthy patch, which lasted from November 1 to December 7, 2010, that is, 37 days. At the same time, the event turned out to be incredibly boring, the achievement No Unauthorized Entry! was available for execution by any player. Many managed to make this achievement even at level 15. To complete it, you just had to close four types of portals, from which various elementals attacked Azeroth.
It all started with small seismic shocks, more and more, and plaster began to fall from the ceiling during an earthquake. Soon, the reason for what was happening became clear to everyone. Azeroth is overrun by hordes of elementals, alarmed by Deathwing. At first, the event seemed funny, but, unfortunately, did not receive an epic development. Elementals attacked more often, there were more of them, but generally nothing else happened. And in the end it all boiled down to endless running around and doing simple tasks. This patch looked especially boring compared to the previous one.
Mists of Pandaria: The Prepatch That Wasn’t There
In 2012, prior to the release of Mists of Pandaria, Blizzard developers did not create a special game event for the first time in the history of the game. Instead, Theramore’s Fall scenario was launched a week before Pandaria’s release from September 18 to 25. So the developers wanted to introduce users to the new functionality. Alas, the players did not understand and did not appreciate the whole “trick”. As a result, the developers had to create a topic with explanations. In the future, this scenario was adjusted to the current level 90 at that time.
The Fall of Theramore was Blizzard’s first experiment. And players who managed to participate in this in-game event still received unique rewards in the form of the Theramore Tabard for the Alliance and the Little Mana Bomb toy for the Horde, but the game experience clearly failed. This event is still available in the form of a script that can be launched from Lorewalker Fu, so I will not describe it.
Warlords of Draenor: Iron Invasion The
Iron Invasion began on October 15, 2014 and ended a month later. At that time, it was the second longest prepatch. The players were sent to once again confront the invaders from the dark Portal. But this time it was not demons, but the Draenic Iron Horde.
During the missions, players had to fight Gar’mak the Fencer, the Ore Lord Gor’ashan, Kirak, and Commander Tarbek. The winners were rewarded with the Iron Starlet pet, which can be obtained even now, and the Iron Invasion achievement, for which they were given the title “from the Iron Vanguard”.
The Iron Horde quickly captured nearly all of the Blasted Lands and took control of Okril’lon Keep and Nethergarde Hold. In addition, a small group of invaders managed to break through into the depths of the territory to the Upper Part of the Black Mountain Peak and gain a foothold there.
Overall, the pre-patch looked rather damp and boring. So, go through once, get rewards and forget. It could be compared to Theramore’s Fall for the simple reason that all tasks are still available, and if you have a desire to complete them, you can easily do it. I don’t know why Blizzard decided that a unique event was bad. Thank God they changed their minds in the Legion.
Legion: Standing Against the Legion
Surpassing “Iron Invasion” in terms of duration was easy. In July 2016, the world saw the longest-running pre-patch in the history of the game. Legion’s pre-release events began on July 20 and ended forty days later on August 30. Such a long period of time implied the presence of a large number of activities. And they were, but they closed pretty quickly.
Players were pleased with a whole string of achievements: Now everything is clear, Confrontation of the Legion and Defender of Azeroth: Legion Invasions, as well as the Pocket Fel Spreader toy, which could be sold at auction or gifted to friends, a rather specific set of transmogrification and a felbat hatchling that was sold for Void Shards … But I remember this pre-patch first of all by the opportunity to quickly pump the character, which I took advantage of by pumping in a couple of altos. At first, the pumping went so fast that a couple of intrusions gave 40-50 levels at once, but the developers quickly closed the shop and suspended the experience a bit.
This invasion resembled a hellish mixture of prepatch from The Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King. Demons attacked locations, trying to destroy important strongholds, the players were opposed not only by ordinary, but also very hardened enemies. In the cities, it was possible to find demons disguised as local residents, thereby obtaining valuable loot. And, of course, here and there heralds of rock appeared, informing everyone about the imminent end of the world. The similarity with the Wrath of the Lich King pre-patch was that while in the capitals, you could hear a whisper, after which the Fragile Mind debuff was hung on the players. As soon as you caught it, all your abilities disappeared, and instead of them five new ones appeared, and you could start rampaging, for example, turning into a raid boss, increasing your health by 6666%.
Battle for Azeroth: War of Thorns
On July 18, 2018, a pre-release update for Battle for Azeroth was installed on game servers, although the start of the patch should still be considered July 25. It was then that the first game events appeared in the game. And 21 days later, on August 14, a new addition started.
This time, the developers were not greedy and issued a couple of mounts: Smoldering Reins of the Teldrassil Hippogryph for the Alliance and Torn Reins of the Undercity Plague Bat for the Horde, but the player did not receive any achievements.
During the War of Thorns in-game event, players participated in the burning of Teldrassil, and closer to the end of the pre-patch, the siege of the Undercity began, followed by its flooding with the plague. This event was available for players at the maximum level 110 at that time. Therefore, no “buns” in the form of leveling up, as it was in the Legion, should not have been expected. Note that some of the prepatch’s developments did not become unique content, but remained in the game in the form of a scenario of the battle for the Undercity.
Shadowlands: Invasion of the Scourge 2.0
Now the prepatch resembles an ordinary meat grinder and cutting into cabbage everything that moves. Perhaps, when this event is delivered to the Live server, it will be more interesting. But do not run ahead and be too hopeful or happy in anticipation of epic events, the main thing here is not to overestimate the product ahead of time. Therefore, I, perhaps, will not express my thoughts on this topic, let time itself dot all the i’s.
I managed to participate in almost all of the events described above. Some seemed interesting to me, others drawn out and boring. In the Legion prepatch, I was doing fast leveling of alts, and in the Lich King prepatch, I ran around the city and infected the townspeople with a plague, and it was quite fun. What did you do in these pre-patches? Most importantly, what do you expect from the Shadowlands pre-patch, how would you like to see it?
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