As the World of Warcraft alpha test for the upcoming Legion expansion continues, many changes and new features are being introduced to players at a rapid rate. Over the past few weeks, a number of announcements birthed by the Legion alpha have stirred up a little controversy. Epic pet battle stones and the changes to water strider mounts were two points of contention that are now no longer going to be affecting players in Legion.
Epic pet battle stones were data mined in an update to the Legion alpha over a week ago by WoWhead. These stones would upgrade a battle pet to epic quality, increasing their statistics and introducing a new tier all pets would need to reach to be the strongest possible pets they could be. For many serious pet battle participants, that meant over 600 pets would need to be upgraded in addition to collecting any new pets available in the expansion.
Today, Blizzard employees announced that epic pet battle stones will not be introduced in Legion. Due to player feedback and concern, this form of vertical progression, adding more levels to pets or new tiers, was deemed too daunting since horizontal progression, adding more pets to find with new abilities, works much better for pet battling and collecting. The post on the official forums also mentions that pet battlers will likely see changes to the tamer battles in the future.
Earlier last week, the World of Warcraft alpha updated with a number of changes to the game the removal of the water striders’ ability to walk on water unless they were being used in the zones in which they were purchased. As the Inquisitr reported, the Azure Water Strider was flagged to only work in Pandaria while the Crimson Water Strider would only be able to function in Draenor.
Fortunately for players who worked to unlock these mounts, Blizzard developers addressed player concern on the change and partially reverted water striders back to their current form. They would be able to walk on water again, but not in the upcoming Legion expansion content. The reason for the change was cited as a desire to let players use the mount they want instead of one that functions in a way that they feel is necessary according to the official developer forum post. The removal of the utility during the new content seemed like the intentional removal of something extremely useful. After all, flight in Legion will be disabled until a future patch, even though it is a disappointing occurrence for a large group of World of Warcraft players. Walking on water could potentially help many players during their climb to the new level cap of 110, making it a bit quicker just like flying would if it were available.
Most recently, however, developers opted to leave water striders completely alone. As WoWhead reported, water-walking on the water strider mounts is currently possible throughout the game, including Legion content. The reported use of water striders was still considered disproportionate to the use of other mounts due to their utility, but clearly the proposed change was not welcome. A Blizzard developer noted that the change was not meant to lengthen players’ travel time in the game.
“We observed what seemed like a potential problem, explored some solutions, and clearly the cure has proven worse than the disease.”
The whirlwind of changes to the World of Warcraft alpha prove that everything happening during the alpha stage of Legion‘s development is still subject to change. As with any alpha announcement, nothing is definite and players will see major differences between what is in the Legion alpha today compared to what is seen in the final expansion that launches this summer.
Legion, the sixth expansion to World of Warcraft, is scheduled to release on or before September 21. In addition to the level cap increase, the Demon Hunter hero class, the Broken Isles area, the major transmogrification changes, the introduction of Artifact weapons, and much more is expected to launch with the expansion. Many classes and specializations are also seeing major changes. For instance, Combat Rogues will soon be known as Outlaw Rogues with limited use pistol abilities, Balance Druids will no longer be managing an Eclipse bar, and Shadow Priests will utilize Insanity to power their spells.
[Image via Blizzard Entertainment]