The release date for Battle for Azeroth has been announced! Take that into consideration and get ready for the content release that update 8.0, better known as a "pre-patch", will bring with it as it introduces you to most of the systems used in the new addition and small portions of content.
Assumptions about the release date of update 8.0
During the PAX press event, Ion Hazzikostas, the project manager, let slip that update 8.0 will be installed shortly before Battle for Azeroth release, as is the case with all the other additions, and asked us not to present this as a guarantee. Oops.
Historically, pre-patches are usually installed on servers 4 or 6 weeks before the add-on's release. Based on this information, we think it will happen on the 4th, 11th or 17th of July. Given that July 5 is a national holiday in the United States, it's likely that the pre-patch will be installed on July 11 or July 17. At this time, this information is just a figment of speculation and is not official.
The Burning of Teldrassil and the Battle of the Undercity
At PAX, we learned that update 8.0 will show us the beginnings of the conflict between factions in Battle for Azeroth: Burning of Teldrassil and Battle for the Suburbs These events in the pre-patch will add more content in the Dark Coast and Tirisfal Forests. These areas will feature story missions and skirmishes in the open world.
Check out our preview of the Battle of Lordaeron (Alliance and Horde) scenario!
Our dataminer was able to find two means of transportation most likely related to these events: a plague nephyr from Podgorod and an unnamed hippogriff from Darnas.
Update 8.0 will bring all of Battle for Azeroth's class changes to the game: At the same time, we will have to part with artifacts either before or after the patch is installed.
Learn more about the current Battle for Azeroth class changes!
Learn more about this artifact breakdown (spoilers!).
As with any add-on, there is content that will irrevocably be gone when the 8.0 update is installed on the servers. To prepare for this, we have written a guide that covers everything you need to know about what to expect when the 8.0 update rolls out and Battle for Azeroth launches - What to do before Battle for Azeroth!
As with any expansion, Blizzard is updating older models to bring their appearance up to current standards and the Battle for Azeroth expansion is no exception in this regard. You can check out the dataminer's summary article to see the full list of new and updated models that we found in numerous Battle for Azeroth test builds. For example, the appearance of the druid bear received an updated skeleton, which made their movements more realistic: this change is reflected in many other bear models as well.