A huge array of new content with Isle of Thunder and Throne of Thunder
We'll start with the obvious: patch 5.2 introduces a brand new zone to explore. The Isle of Thunder will unlock in stages as players on your realm complete daily quests (not unlike the Isle of Quel'Danas in The Burning Crusade). Would-be heroes join forces with one of two new factions, The Kirin-Tor Offensive (Alliance), led by Jaina Proudmoore, and Sunreaver Onslaught (Horde), led by led by Lor'themar Theron. And though we know new factions and their associated dailies sound like yet another grind, the new faction quests will at least be fun the first time. And, as with all factions, with reputation comes reward, and we're pretty sure everyone enjoys new loot.
Players will also have access to a new mega-raid: the 13-boss Throne of Thunder where you'll find tier 15 gear. But, if raiding doesn't strike your fancy you'll also find The Troves of the Thunder King. This single-player scenario gives you a set amount of time to loot as many chests as possible. (And, again, who doesn't like new loot?) You can let yourself in to the treasure room once you've gotten Key To The Palace of Lei-Shen, which can drop off rare mobs or be found in reward satchels gained from doing dailies.
So if you left WoW because you lacked things to do, the size of this new zone will fill your quest log to bursting. (And even if you don't intend to stay, it's worth hopping back into WoW at least for a little while to check out the zone, because it's impressive. And we say that as old, jaded WoW-players ourselves.)
Not enough for you? Well, we're going to have to break out the big guns.
No, really, patch 5.2's Isle of Giants has enough dinosaurs to make Un'Goro Crater seem tame -- and you can ride them (which is probably what we're most excited about)! You can buy triceratops-looking Direhorn mounts from your Isle of Thunder faction once you've hit exalted or find them rare drops in several different colors. Intrepid hunters can also tame wild Direhorn as pets, for double the dinosaur fun. (And for non-hunters, there are vanity dinosaur pets, too.) If you prefer Raptors, there are also Raptor drops as well as a Black Primal Raptor quest reward. If you need a more flight-friendly dinosaur, there's also a pterodactyl-like flying mount called the Skyscreamer, which is a reward for finishing Throne of Thunder raid achievements.
And if riding a dinosaur is too tame for you, a vendor on the Isle of Giants sells Intact Direhorn Hide which turns you into a dinosaur for 10 minutes. (It also prevents most dinosaurs from attacking you, but who cares! You get to be a dinosaur! Whee!)
Still haven't gotten enough dinosaurs? There's also world boss Oondasta and Throne of Thunder boss Horridon.
So why are you still here reading? Didn't we mention the dinosaurs?
Okay, so dinosaurs weren't enough to woo you back. We've got something better: Stormwind and Orgrimmar have finally been rebuilt! At least partially. Both the Alliance and the Horde seem to use the same horrifically slow contractors: they've been working since Deathwing attacked in Cataclysm (circa 2010) to repair damage to the formerly proud faction capitols. The work isn't perfect, but the front gates have (finally) been rebuilt.
Is this really a reason to come back to the game? Well, if the WoW devs are paying these Azeroth-rebuilding contractors based on the current number of subscribers then we heartily say yes. Please come back: Azeroth needs you.
If the idea of your entire server working together to unlock a new zone doesn't seem interesting -- or, worse, seems tedious -- patch 5.2 has some quest goodies that we think certainly qualify for the "epic" moniker.
- Warlocks finally get the green fire they've always wanted! A new quest chain for warlocks will finally let them turn their drab red fire into exciting, warlock-y green fire. If you aren't a fan of green fire, you can still go through the quest chain and turn the option for green fire off after.
- For battle pet fans, a new quest chain will set you on the path to gaining elite battle pets. Collecting these new legendary-quality pets around Pandaria will prove a challenge only the worthiest pet trainer will be able to overcome!
Maybe we aren't big fans of FarmVille, but we love Sunsong Ranch, and in patch 5.2 you'll be able to run the ranch yourself (whereas before you were just helping Farmer Yoon). Once Sunsong Ranch is yours, the farm becomes a resting place that you can bind your hearthstone to (just like an inn). Additionally, you can now take work orders on the farm which allow you farm goods for Pandaria factions in exchange for reputation. For those of us who are already addicted to farming, this is great news.
a new top hat available as a Darkmoon Faire reward. Trust us, you want one.