Ahead of the release of World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth, there's going to be a patch that helps set up the MMO for the next major expansion pack. This isn't an uncommon tactic for most major releases, with many companies opting to roll out pre-release patches to help set up the hooks for a huge update. It usually sets the foundation in place and makes it easier to get the game up to par so that there's less loading to be done, less downloading to be done and less hassle when the big day arrives for the expansion to release.
Over on the World of Warcraft YouTube channel, there's a pre-release guide that covers the patch notes for the upcoming July 17th rollout, and it explains that some of the biggest changes include a stat switch. In the video, it's explained that the switch is similar to the one that Blizzard rolled out for the Warlords of Draenor, which came out back in 2014, four years ago. The stat switch includes a reduced output of damage and damage intake for players and NPCs. This is so that the new areas and new enemies can scale upward. Everything else has been scaled down to make things seem bigger in the new patch.
The artifacts have also been changed. All of the power for the artifacts have been used up, and all of the traits are no longer active. The traits that you did unlock have now been added to the characters by default, as opposed to being contained within the level tree of the artifact. For new players moving through the Legion expansion, the artifacts will still play a role in the game, enabling you to level them up and gain power, but then when you transfer over and get high enough level to engage in the Battle For Azeroth content, your artifact will no longer be as useful.
Professions have also been completely overhauled, with each of the recipes within the professions being sorted out into categories and that each new category has its own progression now. This means that you level up by proceeding through different recipes as opposed to spamming through the old recipes to gain profession levels.
First aid has been removed as well, with two new healing properties added to the tailors and alchemist professions. This is designed to give World of Warcraft players more diversity in how they utilize specific skills through the profession system.
There's also an entirely new feature in version 8.0 for the popular MMORPG that many PvP fans will enjoy called "War Mode." This is lifted right out of rival games to World Warcraft, which had a similar feature, such as the "Flag of War" in Allods Online. This removes the global PvP servers and instead makes it where any server can become a PvP battleground. Simply open the talents menu and toggle on the "War Mode," and you'll be ready to engage in constant open-world PvP, which you can see demonstrated in the video below.
Much like in Allods Online, with the War Mode on, you'll earn additional XP from battling other players in addition to completing quests. Blizzard is also implementing special rewards for those PvP aficionados leading up to the release of World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth. The rewards will allow you to earn new gear that will help aid you when the expansion finally becomes available.