Raiding the Firelands
From what Stockton says, it appears that Firelands is the entirety of the new raid tier, complete with seven new bosses sporting a full tier of itemization. The final boss is Ragnaros, with a heroic mode completely different from the normal version of the fight. Stockton says Blizzard went out of its way to not reuse models and give the Firelands a new and different feel.
On the size of the raid zone, Stockton confirms land mounts will be usable and that the zone is about four times as large as the Obsidian Sanctum, home of Sartharion and his protective twilight drakes. The first four bosses of the encounter are non-linear as well, giving raid groups plenty of options to start with.
The tier sets for patch 4.2 will have their art aesthetics rooted in the creatures of the Firelands, with warlocks taking on the appearance of lava spiders. Stockton confirms that one plate set will resemble the original Molten Giants from the Molten Core, who will be returning with an all-new model and texture. The set abilities are unique this time around, actually granting abilities that many of the bosses or creatures use in the Firelands, as opposed to the cut-and-dry bonuses of previous tier sets. It's something new that Blizzard is trying, and I'm really excited.
Fire resistance isn't going to be an issue, as Stockton says the gate on content is too restrictive when you add in resist checks as part of the gear checking. In addition, epic profession patterns will be dropping in the instance for all professions.
Baradin Hold will also be getting a new inmate, as Stockton describes as "a new buddy" for Argaloth who is a similar "random loot machine."
Stockton confirmed that there will be an epic level 85 quest line that all max-level players can pick up without any prerequisites. The story is the reward, with no epics or loot as part of doing the quest. The story revolves around Thrall and is potentially linked to his status as the new aspect of earth. We haven't seen Thrall since the Maelstrom, and now that Deepholm is all better from its little boo-boo, I cannot wait to see what happens with Thrall.
The legendary weapon coming with 4.2 will be an offensive caster staff, with bonuses that will not be attractive to healers. Guilds that complete the legendary will get a guild-wide reward as well; while the specific reward has not been announced, Stockton hinted it could be a companion pet.
As for how long the epic staff should take to construct, Stockton says that 10- and 25-man raiders should be completing the staff at the same pace, with 25-man teams having a potentially quicker time with the "professions" part of the quest. We don't yet know what this refers to, but the speed at which 10-mans can get the staff versus 25-man groups seems to have changed since the last time Blizzard spoke about it.
Dailies and more
Also coming in patch 4.2 is the encounter journal, Blizzard's own version of Atlasloot, showing players the loot that bosses drop and the abilities each boss possesses. The system is designed to make PUG group explanations easier for the group or raid leader. You will not have to defeat a boss to gain any of this information -- it will be ready to go in your encounter journal.
Hyjal and the Firelands dailies will be the "solo" content of patch 4.2, enabling players to bring the Guardians' fight into the Firelands itself. Over the course of completing dailies, players will earn currency that unlocks separate areas of the new Firelands environment and slowly enlarges the Guardians of Hyjal's influence in the area. Players get to choose which portions to open up -- but it is a unique phasing experience, as players will always be able to quest with each other despite having different areas unlocked. There will be gear, vanity items, and even mounts.
Patch 4.2 should be up on the PTR soon, and with all of this content coming, it should be another great patch for Catacylsm. Blizzard is really pouring on the patch 4.2 information, and we've got a lot of previews in the coming week, based on its latest information timetable.
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm has destroyed Azeroth as we know it; nothing is the same! In WoW Insider's Guide to Cataclysm, you can find out everything you need to know about WoW's third expansion, from leveling up a new goblin or worgen to breaking news and strategies on endgame play.