Blizzard has launched World of Warcraft’s second major patch for the Shadowlands expansion onto the Public Test Realm. You’ve got a new raid, dungeons, quests, and a new mode for Torghast to check out, though expect to see some tuning tweaks as things rumble on.
The main attraction is the new Sepulcher of the First Ones raid. You’re here to find the key to “unlock the Jailer’s plans”, which involves facing Anduin, figuring out how to resist the Jailer’s Domination magic, and gathering the power of the First Ones as you “pursue Zovaal into the Sepulcher and fight through his forces”. You’ve also got the Veiled Market, Tazavesh, which has now been separated into two dungeons and added to the mythic plus dungeon rotation.
If you fancy some adventuring first, you can play chapters one, two, and three of the new campaign. You’ll also find that the Tower of the Damned, Torghast, has a new game mode called The Jailer’s Gauntlet. Expect to run through a series of increasingly challenging boss battles across eight floors per layer and eight layers in total to earn some fancy rewards.
There’s other new features to keep you going, too, like another PvP mode, profession tweaks, and other quality-of-life changes. If you fancy reading the PTR notes in full, you can find them here.
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Activision Blizzard is facing a lawsuit filed in July by the state of California (since expanded for QA and customer service contractors) alleging years of discrimination and harassment. Since then, CEO Bobby Kotick has called the company’s initial response “tone deaf”, employees have staged a walkout, Blizzard president J Allen Brack has left, and the ABK Workers Alliance has demanded change at the company. The lawsuit is ongoing; follow the latest developments here.
In September, an agency of the US federal government opened an investigation into Activision Blizzard’s response to sexual misconduct and discrimination complaints from its employees, as part of which Kotick has reportedly been subpoenaed. The company is also facing a separate unfair labour practice suit alleging “worker intimidation and union busting” filed by a workers’ union, also in September. In another, separate development, Activision Blizzard reached an agreement with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission “to settle claims and to further strengthen policies and programs to prevent harassment and discrimination”. In a subsequent letter to employees, the company has announced an end to forced arbitration, a $250 million initiative to improve diversity, and a major pay cut for Kotick.
A new report published this November now alleges Bobby Kotick knew about and suppressed reports of sexual misconduct. Kotick has responded with an official statement saying the Wall Street Journal’s article “paints an inaccurate and misleading view of our company, of me personally, and my leadership.” In reply, Activision Blizzard’s board of directors declared it “remains confident” in Kotick’s leadership.