SoD Phase 3 Preview

Phase 3 of Season of Discovery is right on the horizon, arriving on April 4th, and Blizzard have revealed a slew of additions, including new talents, a never before seen 20-player raid-dungeon, profession updates and more. Let’s take a closer look at these updates in our Phase 3 of Season of Discovery preview.

The Temple of Atal’Hakkar 20-Player Raid

Day-1 Availability, Lockout and Increased Drop Rates

The most recent addition to the end game arriving in Phase 3 is going to be the Temple of Atal’Hakkar (aka Sunken Temple) - the 20-player version of the infamous classic dungeon. It brings along 8 bosses, hundreds of new item drops and armor sets, new and revamped epics, as well as updated quests and quest rewards.

This activity will be available along with the launch of Phase 3, and will be on a 1-week lockout period, with very generous drops to compensate for fewer total number of lockouts available throughout the Phase.

New and Revamped Boss Encounters, Updated Tier Tokens, Improved Quest Rewards

The Temple of Atal’Hakkar will feature not only updated versions of classic bosses, such as Atal'alarion or Jammal’An and Ogom, but also brand new bosses! For example The Festering Rotslime - a monstrous goo-creature, patrolling one of the outer rings of the Sunken Temple, consuming any unfortunate soul who happens to cross its path.

Blizzard have also unveiled an update for the Tier Tokens. Similar to how it worked in Ahn’Qiraj, there are going to be two Tokens with several classes on each. Unlike how Token drops worked in Gnomeregan, each boss of the Temple of Atal’Hakkar, capable of dropping Tier Tokens, is going to drop multiple Tokens. This should lead to less frustration when rolling against the whole raid.

By Blizzard’s account, one of the pieces of feedback they “took to heart”, was how unsatisfying the previous level-up dungeons rewards felt. In response, Blizzard have tweaked the rewards for the Sunken Temple quests to make them more desirable.

New Runes and Abilities Coming to SoD Phase 3

With the release of Phase 3 of Season of Discovery, players will be able to get their hands on brand new Runes, more of which are going to be available during the leveling process, with some to look forward to at level 50.

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Blizzard have also unveiled some brand new runes coming to the game with the release of SoD Phase 3 on April 4th.

SoD Phase 3 Druid Rune Preview

Rune

Ability

Slot

Gore

Striking a target with Lacerate, Swipe, or Maul has a 15% chance to reset the cooldown on Mangle (Bear) and grant 10 rage. Striking a target with Mangle (Cat) or Shred has a 5% chance to reset the cooldown on Tiger's Fury.

Helmet

Improved Barkskin

Your Barkskin can now be cast on allies, no longer penalizes melee combat speed or spellcasting time, and can be cast while shapeshifted.

Helmet

SoD Phase 3 Hunter Rune Preview

Rune

Ability

Slot

Lock and Load

Each time one of your traps is triggered, your next Shot ability within 20 sec costs no mana and does not incur a cooldown.

Helmet

Focus Fire

Consumes all applications of Frenzy from your pet, increasing your ranged attack speed by 3% and granting 4 Focus to your pet for each application of Frenzy consumed. Lasts 20 sec.

Your pet gains Frenzy each time it uses a Basic Attack, increasing its melee attack speed by 6% for 10 sec, stacking up to 5 times

Bracers

SoD Phase 3 Mage Rune Preview

Rune

Ability

Slot

Deep Freeze

Stuns the target for 5 sec. Only usable on Frozen targets. Deals 578 to 673 damage to targets permanently immune to Stun.

Helmet

Balefire Bolt

Unleash a reality-distorting burst of raw magic at your enemy, dealing 350 to 525 Spellfire damage. Each time you cast Balefire Bolt, the damage of your next Balefire Bolt within 30 sec will be increased by 10% and your Spirit will be decreased by 10% for 30 sec, both stacking up to 10 times. If your Spirit reaches 0 as consequence, you will immediately die. This spell will be checked against the lower of the target's Arcane and Fire resists.

Bracers

SoD Phase 3 Paladin Rune Preview

Rune

Ability

Slot

Improved Sanctuary

Increases the damage prevented by your Blessing of Sanctuary by 100%, and increases damage done by your Blessing of Sanctuary by 30% of your shield block value.

Helmet

Wrath

Your Consecration damage can now be critical strikes, and damage from your Exorcism, Holy Shock, Holy Wrath, and Consecration spells gains additional critical strike chance equal to your melee critical strike chance.

Helmet

SoD Phase 3 Priest Rune Preview

Rune

Ability

Slot

Pain and Suffering

Mind Flay refreshes the duration of your Shadow Word: Pain on the target back to its maximum duration.

Helmet

Surge of Light

Critical spellcasts cause your next Smite, Flash Heal, or Binding Heal cast within 15 sec to be instant cast.

Bracers

SoD Phase 3 Rogue Rune Preview

Rune

Ability

Slot

Honor Among Thieves

When any player in your party critically hits with a spell or ability, you gain a combo point on your current target. This effect cannot occur more than once every second.

Helmet

Cut to the Chase

Your Eviscerate and Envenom abilities refresh either your Slice and Dice or your Blade Dance duration to its 5 combo point maximum. If both are active, only the one with shortest remaining duration will be refreshed.

Bracers

SoD Phase 3 Shaman Rune Preview

Rune

Ability

Slot

Mental Dexterity

Dealing damage with your melee weapons increases your Attack Power by 100% of your Intellect, and your spell damage and healing by 30% of your total Attack Power for 1 min.

Helmet

Riptide

Heals a friendly target for 458 to 498 and another 486 over 15 sec. Your next Chain Heal cast on that primary target within 15 sec will consume the healing over time effect and increase the amount of the Chain Heal by 25%. This spell also triggers Ancestral Awakening.

Bracers

SoD Phase 3 Walrock Rune Preview

Rune

Ability

Slot

Pandemic

Periodic damage from your Corruption, Unstable Affliction, Curse of Agony, Immolate, Curse of Doom, and Siphon Life abilities can now be critical strikes.

Helmet

Summon Felguard

Summons a Felguard under the command of the Warlock.

The Felguard benefits from all talents and effects that trigger from or benefit any of your other Demon minions.

Bracers 

SoD Phase 3 Warrior Rune Preview

Rune

Ability

Slot

Taste for Blood

Whenever your Rend ability causes damage, your Overpower ability will activate for 9 sec or 1 attack. This effect will not occur more than once every 6 sec.

Helm

Sword and Board

When your Devastate and Revenge abilities deal damage they have a 30% chance of refreshing the cooldown of your Shield Slam ability and reducing its Rage cost by 100% for 5 sec.

Bracers

Gladiator Stance

An aggressive stance that increases damage while you are wearing a shield by 10% and increases block chance by 10%, but reduces armor by 30% and threat generated by 10%.

While wearing a shield in Gladiator Stance, you may use all abilities that are restricted to other stances

Boots 

PvP Updates in Season of Discovery Phase 3

New PvP Gear Sets, Blood Moon Event Updates

A lesson Blizzard devs learned throughout past Phases, is that engaging in PvP activities in PvE gear can be rather rough, due to its limited mitigation capabilities. With that in mind, Blizzard are introducing brand new PvP oriented gear sets that are going to be available for players ranks 5 to 7. These are full 6-piece sets with PvP appropriate stats and set bonuses. Additionally, Blizzard are adding a “starter set” available through the new faction called Emerald Wardens.

The Blood Moon open-world PvP Event introduced in Phase 2 is also getting a glow up in Season of Discovery Phase 3. A new currency called Massacre Coins is being introduced. It will be earned by killing high-level players and may be spent to purchase new event rewards. With this update, Bloodstained Commendations will no longer be obtainable, but you will still be able to use up any amount that you still have, before they eventually expire after two weeks of the launch of patch 1.15.2.

Nightmare Incursions World Event and Emerald Wardens Faction

In SoD Phase 3, Blizzard are introducing a brand new PvE world event called Nightmare Incursions. Players will have the ability to access Emerald Portals, appearing throughout Ashenvale, Duskwood, Feralas, and The Hinterlands. Upon entering said portals, players will be transported to a corrupted realm, populated by creatures driven mad by the corruption. Some enemies may fall by the hand of a single seasoned adventurer, while others will require a party of heroes.

Nightmare Incursions offer repeatable content for players levels 25 through 50. You will be able to earn experience, as well as Reputation gains towards the new Emerald Wardens faction. The Emerald Wardens will award players with a heap of new items, including gear for lower and higher level players, as well new PvP sets, not unlike ones introduced in the Burning Crusade. These sets are not going to be as powerful, but will be a great stepping stone for players eager to try out PvP.

Phase 3 Profession Updates

New Quest Lines and Crafted Epic Gear, Gold Sinks changes

Continuing from Phases 1 and 2, Phase 3 of Season of Discovery will see new Profession Quest chains, bringing players to the Sunken Temple raid and awarding players with recipes for the all new and powerful Nightmare Armaments - Phase 3 crafted epics. Some of these epics have additional on-equip effects while under the influence of Nightmare, which ties into the new PvE world even we discussed previously. Blizzard have teased the addition of new epic shoulders, engineering braces and a reusable alchemy flask.

Blizzard have also mentioned several changes to Profession related gold sinks coming in SoD Phase 3. In their eyes, gold sinks are important and they will continue exploring different ways of tweaking this feature, without harming the critical path of the gearing process. With this in mind, recipes added in Phase 3 will be “essentially free” in terms of their gold cost, and the cost of Gnomeregan recipes will be decreased as well.

Profession Specializations and Other Changes

Players will finally be able to choose a Specialization for their Professions. This addition brings along several new Profession-specific quests and recipes, for example the ability to get additional potion, flask and elixir procs when crafting such consumables. The majority of Profession spec related toys are coming after level 60, and should allow you to make the most out of your Profession.

Additionally, the level cap for Professions will be extended to 300 in each Profession.

Dual Specialization

Blizzard have revealed Dual Specializations available to purchase for 50 gold for all players levels 40 and above.

World Buffs, XP Turn-in Quests and Leveling Updates

New World Buff and Consumables, Changes to Existing World Buffs

With the new Temple of Atal’Hakkar raid comes a new World Buff. While we don’t know which benefits it provides, we do have updates to existing World buffs. Boon of Blackfathom from Blackfathom Deeps will continue to benefit players up to level 40, and Spark of Inspiration, the Gnomeregan World Buff, will be relevant to characters below level 50.

Blizzard have also announced the addition of very powerful consumables, available through exchange of materials found in the Sunken Temple raid. These will be similar to the Zanza Elixir obtained in Zul’Gurub.

Repeatable Quests and XP Turn-ins

Blizzard have stated that players are not going to be able to quickly level from 40 to 49 in Phase 3 by turning in Marks of Honor, Wastewander Water Pouches, or Troll Tribal Necklaces via repeatable Quests. The devs believe that pre-questing and preparations are good, but to an extent, thus making it impossible to obtain multiple levels through this process in Phase 3 and all Phases moving forward.

Discoverer’s Delight and Leveling Updates

In order to make the process of leveling in SoD Phase 3 smoother, players are going to be able to enjoy the benefits of the Discoverer’s Delight +50% experience buff from level 40 to 49 as soon as the update drops on April 4th. Besides that, all players levels 1 through 39 will still benefit from the +100% XP buff.

Moreover, as with Blackfathom Deeps before, Gnomeregan will award a sizable amount of XP for boss kills, so continuing to run that with your guild will be a worthwhile activity. In the same vein, Nightmare Incursions are a great way to shake up your leveling process, as there are many repeatable activities.