Battle for Azeroth Pre-Patch Coming to World of Warcraft July 18

In the run-up to the World of Warcraft Battle For Azeroth expansion pack, Blizzard is releasing a Battle for Azeroth pre-patch to prepare players. It’ll lay the groundwork and bring with it a variety of new features and some system changes.

The World of Warcraft Battle for Azeroth expansion pack will be releasing on August 14, and to prepare you for it, Blizzard is implementing a Battle for Azeroth pre-patch, patch 8.0. There are three primary updates to systems and new features, the first of which is the Communities feature. They’re a new kind of social group that you’ll be able to create and join cross-realm, making it easier to play alongside other players from your faction who share common interests. Communities exist independently of your Guild, so you can retain membership of and create both.

The first thing you’ll notice when you boot up World of Warcraft is another “stat squish.” Similar to when it was implemented in Warlords of Draenor, health, damage and stat numbers have been scaled down across the board for both players and NPCs “roughly evenly.” The intent here is that it’ll be easier for you to get an idea of what’s going on at a glance, without feeling daunted by gigantic and specific numbers.

The other significant new feature is the War Mode. When playing World of Warcraft, you’ll be able to toggle War Mode on or off whenever you’re in Orgrimmar or Stormwind and venture out into the world to find other players with War Mode turned on to engage in PvP combat. With this War Mode feature, there will also be a new bounty hunter system. The more players you kill of the opposite faction, the closer you’ll get to achieving Assassin status, granting you a damage and healing boost. But you’ll also have a bounty on your head within a certain radius, and players that successfully kill you will receive Conquest points and other rewards.

There are a whole bunch of changes coming in this Battle for Azeroth patch, and in the expansion altogether. There’s a Survival Guide for the patch that you can check out, and also dedicated news pages for all of the PvP updates and the Communities feature.