World of Warcraft News: Patch 9.1, Burning Crusade Classic leaked

Ahead of this weekend’s virtual BlizzCon event, a Blizzard employee mistakenly posted PR information about World of Warcraft that discussed both Patch 9.1 and The Burning Crusade Classic. The leak was immediately posted to the MMOChampion forums. BlizzCon is being held virtually from February 19-20, 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and is free of charge.

Patch 9.1

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While not much about Patch 9.1 has been set in stone yet, there will be a new 10-boss raid, the Sanctum of Domination, as well as a new eight-boss mega-dungeon, Tazavesh, the Veiled Market. In addition, there will also be a new zone, Korthia, the City of Secrets. The new PvP season will be released with 9.1 in addition to the next Mythic+ season.

There will also be additions to the covenants, such as upgrades to soulbinds and (possibly) new conduits. You can also fly in the Shadowlands in 9.1, although it is not clear what achievements will be needed to unlock flying. Flying will be similar to Legion with players only being able to fly in the four original Shadowlands zones of Revendreth, Maldraxxus, Bastion, and Ardenweald.

It is not yet known when 9.1 will release, but several reports have speculated a late May to early June release due to the amount of content involved.

The Burning Crusade Classic

While this was a matter of when and not if, The Burning Crusade Classic was also leaked. While all features of The Burning Crusade return (along with being free to play for World of Warcraft subscribers), there is also an option to advance characters straight to The Burning Crusade or opt to remain in WoW Classic. This is an interesting addition and may spark some debates in the community.

We’re looking forward to more information during BlizzCon Online this weekend. Stay tuned for more news about Blizzard games in the upcoming days!

Reckful, former top-ranked World of Warcraft PvPer, commits suicide at age 31

Reckful once held the highest PvP ranking in the game’s history.

Byron “Reckful” Bernstein was once a fixture in the World of Warcraft arena scene for many years, playing a rogue. He was in the middle of developing his own video game before he sadly took his own life at the age of 31. His roommate and ex-girlfriend confirmed his death via Twitter. Many others in the gaming world paid tribute to Reckful, who once held the highest PvP ranking in World of Warcraft history.

What made Reckful even more prominent was his openness with his struggle with mental health issues. Typically, mental health issues are still a taboo subject even in the gaming world, where a higher percentage of individuals may suffer from mental health issues than the general population. He even talked with a psychiatrist on his stream to encourage other viewers who were also undergoing depression and other mental health issues to seek help. Sadly, some people took advantage of Reckful’s vulnerable state. Some viewers even openly encouraged him to commit suicide despite their knowledge of his mental health issues.

Hours ago, Reckful made a series of tweets proposing to his ex-girlfriend and even apologized to people who had to deal with his struggles with mental health. These were the last tweets he would make before taking his own life.

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Reckful was developing a game called Everland at the time of his death. He will be missed by everyone in the World of Warcraft community and the gaming world. We would like to use this time to remind everyone to be kind to one another and check in on all your friends during this difficult time, especially those who are struggling with mental health issues.

If you are struggling and want to reach out, here are some global resources for you to use.

Michael Chu Leaves Blizzard

Lead Overwatch Writer Searches for New Opportunities

After 20 years at Blizzard, Overwatch lead writer Michael Chu is leaving the company to pursue other adventures. Chu is a significant contributor to the ongoing Overwatch lore and story outside of the game. He’s written many of the hero’s origin stories and flushed out the universe in which the game takes place both through comics and short fiction. Two of Chu’s pieces, “Bastet” and “Reflections” were celebrated throughout the community for revealing Soldier:76 and Tracer as LGBTQ+ heroes. Chu also worked on Diablo 3, World of Warcraft, and the in-development Overwatch 2.

On Chu’s website, he stated that: “Overwatch has been a life-changing experience. I have always felt that games and the stories they tell have the unique ability to bring people closer together and that the empathy you feel from stepping into someone else’s shoes, even virtually, can bridge the gap between miles, cultures, and nations.”

Whoever takes Chu’s place has big shoes to fill. Overwatch 2, which will feature a story-driven campaign, will rely heavily on the writing done by his replacement. While Overwatch lore has always been a hot topic for discussion, I’m hoping that Overwatch 2 will teach us more about the characters and the world they inhabit than ever before. While lore exists in the game, many players don’t seem to know much about the world, nor do they care. Hopefully, a game based around the story aspect will entice players new and old to learn about the characters that make up this world. It’s one of my few expectations for the new game.

Here’s Blizzard’s statement on Michael Chu’s departure: “Michael’s contributions to the games and stories of the Warcraft, Diablo, and Overwatch universes have been a source of inspiration, and we will always be thankful for the time he spent at Blizzard. We wish him the best for the future.”