The newest patch for World of Warcraft is right around the corner! Patch 10.1, titled Embers of Neltharion, brings a host of new content to the game.

World of Warcraft has been on a roll with the Dragonflight expansion, with speedy releases of new content. Especially when compared to the previous expansion, Shadowlands, which had a decidedly sluggish release cadence.

And when you consider Blizzard has been putting out some seriously high-quality content with these quick releases, this looks to continue being true with Patch 10.1. In any case, let’s take a peek under the hood and see what’s on the way.

New Zone: Zaralek Caverns

World of Warcraft

The Zaralek Caverns are the newest zone added to World of Warcraft, and they’re down under… ground!

The first huge addition in Embers of Neltharion is the new zone, the Zaralek Caverns. Firstly, this zone is something that we haven’t seen since the release of the Cataclysm expansion. It’s a fully underground zone, which is a concept that has been underutilized in World of Warcraft. Furthermore, this zone is no slouch when it comes to size. Both in terms of area and verticality, this zone is surprisingly large.

After testing on the Public Test Realm, I’ve found that the Zaralek Caverns is a perfect zone for Dragonflight’s marquee feature — Dragonriding. The zone has a lot of winding tunnels, but very few are so narrow that you will find yourself bumping into walls and losing momentum. Plus, many of these tunnels eventually open into large open spaces that give a grand sense of scale to the whole place.

Despite the Zaralek Caverns being one zone, there are three visually distinct biomes as well, offering a variety of visuals to the zone. One example is a set of crystalline caverns that have a similarity to both Deepholm and its dungeon, the Stonecore. The darkening shades of green really make the area pop, and flying through here is rad.

Even entering the Zaralek Caverns is a delight, as it is as simple as flying down into the hole that leads into the zone. Overall, a great zone.

New Raid: Aberrus, the Shadowed Crucible

Aberrus, the Shadowed Crucible is full of experiments gone wrong and epic loot!

Aberrus, the Shadowed Crucible is a new raid coming to World of Warcraft in Embers of Neltharion, and it is a rather interesting raid. Inside Aberrus, raid teams of at least 10 players battle against many of the secrets hidden inside the former laboratory of Neltharion, the Earth-Warder. Aberrus is a 9-boss raid, with Normal, Heroic, and Mythic difficulties.

RELATED  NBA 2K24 Player Overall Ratings - Cleveland Cavaliers

Thematically, it is rather flavorful, serving as the laboratory where the Dracthyr were created. It wasn’t just the origin point of the Dracthyr though. It also houses many of Neltharion’s old experiments. One thought-line here is Shadowflame, a power that Neltharion experimented with. It has been showing up here and there since Vanilla, so getting some lore on Shadowflame will be intriguing to say the least.

Blizzard is continuing with the trend that started in Vault of the Incarnates. New unique items are dropping in this raid that have special effects. The first is a special cape that comes from Sarkareth. It does something unique, letting you steal power from your party. After that, there are four trinkets that come from a pair of bosses in the raid. Neltharion and Kazzara drop trinkets that have a chance to give you a huge power boost, but in exchange, you suffer a specific debuff. These trinkets are class-specific, so keep an eye out for yours!

Speaking of class-specific items, Aberrus also includes new tier sets! They look great and have powerful set bonuses. Even if you have difficulty getting your tier items, you can use the Revival Catalyst to acquire them.

Aberrus looks like it’s going to be a really fun raid, and I’m looking forward to it! But that’s not all that’s in Embers of Neltharion!

New Faction: Loamm Niffen

The Niffem are the residents of the Zaralek Caverns and trade in some interesting goods.

World of Warcraft: Dragonflight launched with four main factions, for which reputation could be gained with Renown. It was an evolution of the Renown system from the previous expansion, Shadowlands – and a big upgrade, at that. Embers of Neltharion bring in another faction with which to earn Renown. The Loamm Niffen are a group of underground-dwelling mole people with a reputation for hospitality and trade.

Earning renown with the Loamm Niffen yields some pretty great rewards, too! One of these is access to the Ornate Black Dragon Labwear, a transmog set for all classes that include shoulder plates and a tabard. Another is the Morsel Sniffer mount, which while unable to fly in the Dragon Isles, is still a very cool mount. Finally, earning renown with the Loamm Niffen can earn drake helms for your Winding Slitherdrake and Highland Drake. Combined with the armor earned from the Valdrakken Accord, you could get a really interesting look for your drake.

Wait, what’s a slitherdrake?

New Dragonriding Mount: Winding Slitherdrake

The Winding Slitherdrake is a long-awaited new Dragonriding mount in World of Warcraft.

When World of Warcraft: Dragonflight was in beta testing, there were originally five Dragonriding mounts, despite there only being four factions. Rampant speculation ensued on what this mount could be and where to get it. Eventually, it just disappeared entirely — that is until now. The Winding Slitherdrake makes its official debut in Embers of Neltharion. Much like the other Dragonriding mounts, this mount comes with a large number of customization options.

RELATED  What Is The New Game: Stray?

With the Winding Slitherdrake, further customization options are being added for all of the Dragonriding Mounts. For me, the standout is clearly the white scale color. It still is uncertain where we will get this color-variant. However, my best guess would be that it has something to do with the Loamm Niffen mentioned above.

Either way, getting access to another and long-awaited Dragonriding mount is a big deal and a nice new option for all players.

New Event: Fyrrak Assaults

The Winding Slitherdrake is a long-awaited new Dragonriding mount in World of Warcraft.

The Zaralek Caverns are deeply focused on the mysteries underground, but things are happening above ground, too! At the end of the Vault of the Incarnates raid, three of the mighty Primal Incarnates were freed from their prison. They aren’t just sitting around and waiting, either. They’re on the move to overthrow the Aspects and purge the influence of the Titans.

One of them, the Primal Incarnate of flame Fyrrak, is attacking a number of zones in the Dragon Isles. When one such attack happens, his forces will be in a part of that zone and will need to be beaten back. Fyrrak himself will also be flying around the area and kills any player who gets caught within his path.

The Fyrrak assaults have a myriad number of rewards associated with them. Some of the most useful include a large number of crafting and upgrading materials that players will earn. Additionally, gear drops, as well as dragon-riding customization options, can be earned from Fyrrak assaults.

Cross-Faction Guilds

Are the Alliance and the Horde getting along? It’s more likely than you think!

For the first time in World of Warcraft‘s history, back in Shadowlands, characters from the Alliance and Horde could join groups together to tackle instanced content. In Embers of Neltharion, the barriers between the two playable factions continue to be broken down, as players can now join guilds of either faction. This is a huge change and will allow groups of players from all over the game to interact with people who they had never met before.

RELATED  Starfield Factions: An Introduction to Constellation

This is especially true on servers where there are faction imbalances, which do account for a large majority of the game’s servers. Currently, the Horde severely outnumbers the Alliance, and this shows in participation in Mythic raiding. With the introduction of cross-faction guilds, these communities will be able to take members from the Alliance and join them. This will diversify the raiding pool of guilds that are tackling high-end content.

Dragonflight: Season 2

For those who couldn’t get enough of last season of Mythic+ and PvP, here’s some more!

The second season of Dragonflight’s seasonal content will launch on May 9th, a week after the patch launches. Aberrus, the previously mentioned raid, will launch at the same time. Additionally, there will be changes to the Mythic and Mythic+ dungeon systems, changing the dungeons that are currently playable. New affixes will also be added, while other affixes will be removed.

From older expansions, Freehold, Underrot, Neltharion’s Lair, and the Vortex Pinnacle will be making a return. This is alongside Neltharus, Halls of Infusion, Brackenhide Hollow, and Uldaman: Legacy of Tyr from Dragonflight.

The Home Stretch

World of Warcraft‘s newest patch, Embers of Neltharion, launches less than a month from now. This is a surprisingly fast release, especially considering that patch 10.0.7 – Return to the Forbidden Shore – launched not more than two months ago.

Blizzard has delivered a huge amount of content in a short amount of time with the Forbidden Shore, Trading Post, and Vault of the Incarnates, all in nearly half the time it took to get a single patch in the last expansion. It’s a breath of fresh air and is sorely needed.

There’s no denying Blizzard has been on a roll lately, and I look forward to seeing what comes out next, as well as Embers of Neltharion proper. I’m feeling pretty optimistic about Dragonflight in general if this patch is any indication of a trend.

Good luck in the Zaralek Caverns, friends!

World of Warcraft Patch 10.1: Embers of Neltharion launches on May 2nd, 2023.

Matthew Blair

Leave a comment