World of Warcraft: Shadowlands has been in its launch phase for months, as Tuesday’s 9.1 patch is the first piece of content created entirely under Blizzard Entertainment’s work-from-home protocols. Chains of Dominations changes up the current anima grind and Covenant quests by introducing a smorgasbord of new content for players who are focused on the endgame.
First — and most prominent — is the new zone of Korthia, the City of Secrets. Korthia is the next frontier of the Maw, and the Covenants are showing up to fight back against the Jailer. There are two new reputations and a ton of mounts to collect in the area, as well as new gear and quests. If you’re looking for a new horsie or bat to ride, this patch is a pretty good time — there are 45 in total that have been added to the game.
There’s also a raid alongside Korthia known as the Sanctum of Domination, and it’ll be a big story beat for the Shadowlands cast. While some of these guys are brand-new characters, others are returning foes from Azeroth. Ner’zhul and Kel’Thuzad are featured as bosses, and Garrosh Hellscream is part of another encounter, as the Jailer has been milking his soul for anima since his death in an alternate timeline. It remains to be seen whether Garrosh hitches a ride with us back home like the world’s weirdest couch surfer.
All the new stuff is exciting, but Blizzard has also gone back and changed one of World of Warcraft’s biggest endgame modes. The familiar setting of Torghast should feel a little less like a chore-ghast for players who are struggling with the roguelite combat gauntlet.
There are fewer floors per layer, and the tower drops 50% more Soul Ash, which can be used to craft Legendary weapons. Once you knock out a layer, you can complete it again in the same week for a small amount of Soul Ash, in case you need just a bit more to get that Legendary or build up a reserve.
There are new additions to the mode to round it out as well. Torghast now has a scoring system, so you can rank your runs. The more runs you do, the more you can upgrade a new talent system called the Box of Many Things. You can remove negative auras, do more damage, and so on and so forth. In short, the more you Torghast, the better you are at Torghast.
A major source of player feedback was frustration over progression, especially when someone hits a snag on a tough layer, according to Blizzard. “It’s interesting when you think about the games that inspired Torghast, the roguelite and roguelike games,” said lead designer Morgan Day in a call with Polygon. “It’s a different relationship in terms of success, and with a lot of these games, you never actually expect to win.”
He continued, “What we found with the relationship with Soul Ash, Legendaries, meeting the Runecarver to talk to him … any time the player lost, it didn’t feel rewarding; it felt really not great. So we wanted to add elements of meta progression and have some more granularity with what success means in Torghast.”
This is especially handy since there are new layers, and these ones drop Soul Cinders, which is a new material for building and upgrading Legendaries. The mega-dungeon Tazavesh, the Veiled Market, will be another good place to acquire gear. In future patches, it’s likely that Tazavesh will become two separate dungeons for Mythic+ runs.
Chains of Domination is available Tuesday, but it’ll take a little bit for the patch to roll out in its entirety. The raid opens on July 6, and players will have to work their way through the new storyline to learn all of the new lore and secrets.