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Patch 4.1: Rise of the Zandalari preview now online

For those of us waiting with bated breath (yes, it's bated, not baited -- look it up) for the release of patch 4.1, one of the most highly anticipated aspects of the patch would be the new heroic 5-man dungeons Zul'Gurub and Zul'Aman. Now, at last, we have Blizzard's patch 4.1 content preview, Rise of the Zandalari, to tell us how ZG and ZA came back to life after we defeated the horrors within both dungeons.

If you want to see how the same Zandalar tribe that once assisted us against the Hakkari in Zul'Gurub and the Drakkari in Zul'Drak is now working at cross purposes, how Vol'jin has stepped out of the shadows to stake his own claim to troll affairs, and who replaced Zul'jin as warchief of the Amani (and how the Zandalar are behind it all), this preview is for you. You can view it directly on the official Battle.net blog, or read it behind the cut below.


Patch 4.1 content preview
In years past, the Zandalar tribe, encompassing the wise and scholarly progenitors of the trolls, heroically assisted the Horde and the Alliance with thwarting the nefarious activities of their brethren in Zul'Gurub and Zul'Drak. Yet the chaos unleashed by the recent Cataclysm has reshaped the Zandalari's philosophy about the world and the dwindling remnants of their race. Led by a mysterious prophet known only as Zul, the Zandalari have issued a call to Azeroth's embattled troll populations: unite into a single mighty empire and save their race from extinction.

Thus far, the Gurubashi and Amani trolls have answered the summons and received aid from the Zandalari, allowing them to rebuild their respective capitals in Zul'Gurub and Zul'Aman. Not all trolls, however, have so eagerly adopted the Zandalari's grandiose vision of a new troll empire. Vol'jin and his Darkspear tribe are opposed to the warmongering espoused by Zul. To prevent the burgeoning Gurubashi and Amani troll forces from wreaking havoc on Azeroth, Vol'jin has reached out to his Horde comrades and members of the Alliance for assistance. Should the Darkspears' campaign fail, a new troll empire shall rise and bring war to a world already beset by suffering and conflict.


A Threat Fought in Secret

Using a great deal of discretion, Vol'jin has dispatched Darkspear delegates to the capital cities of Stormwind and Orgrimmar calling for all able-bodied adventurers to investigate recent threats that have risen in the jungles of Stranglethorn.

The outlook isn't good. The Gurubashi tribe, their strength renewed, is running rampant throughout Stranglethorn. Players will have a chance to embark on all-new level-85 solo quests in Stranglethorn and will discover exactly what tribulations lie ahead -- Gurubashi leadership is still largely intact and rehabilitated through the new union with the Zandalari. Along the way, players will assist a sassy, headstrong Darkspear spirit-talker named Bwemba, they'll track down the elusive Hemet Nesingwary, and they'll encounter many of the new Zul'Gurub bosses throughout the steaming jungles of Stranglethorn.

Rewards for addressing the issues in Stranglethorn include an adorable panther pet of your own to care for. Players should seek out Vol'jin's representatives in Orgrimmar or Stormwind Harbor to begin their adventure.

Return to Zul'Gurub

This ancient city has once again become the staging grounds for an empowered Gurubashi people to strike against those who they perceive to be invading their ancestral lands. Now backed by the Zandalari, the Gurubashi present all-new challenges for players in this level-85 5-player Heroic dungeon. While players may see some familiar faces in this dungeon, the encounters and fight mechanics have been considerably updated. For allying yourself with the Darkspears, High Priest Venoxis, Broodlord Mandokir, High Priestess Kilnara, Zanzil, and Jin'do the Godbreaker would like to make one thing clear -- your intrusion will cost you. Take their heads and you'll be presented with a treasure map. You'll want to seek out its precious booty, including an account-bound ring with a gem so big it's visible when worn!

Also, for those with a high enough Archaeology skill, an additional boss can be unlocked in Zul'Gurub. Gri'lek, Renataki, Hazza'rah, and Wushoolay will be randomly selected to put an end to those who dig too deep for greater riches. Should your group survive the challenge, you'll unearth a selection of rewards available from any of the four bosses, as well as loot unique to each boss.

The Amani Regrouped

With the aid of the Zandalari, the remaining Amani have reassembled under new, sturdy leadership in Daakara. Zul'Aman has been converted into a challenging level-85 5-player Heroic dungeon. For those who fought Zul'jin back during The Burning Crusade, much of the dungeon will feel similar, but the mechanics have been updated to suit a 5-player group. Akil'zon, Nalorakk, Jan'alai, Halazzi, Hex Lord Malacrass, and Daakara look to bring their tribe out of hiding and into the spotlight as a force to be reckoned with. Challengers beware.

Both Zul'Aman and Zul'Gurub will require players to have a minimum average item level of 346 before they can enter. These two Heroic dungeons will exist in a separate Heroic difficulty tier in the Dungeon Finder, above the current Cataclysm Heroic dungeons. In return, they will offer players item level 353 epic-quality loot. Players can expect to find items for nearly every gear slot available in these two dungeons, though much focus has been placed on offering players itemization for hard-to-fill slots or specializations, such as bracers, helms, shoulders, guns, and wands.

Rare Mounts and More

As with the original iterations of Zul'Gurub and Zul'Aman, players will have a chance to obtain updated rare mounts. The Swift Zulian Panther and Armored Razzashi Raptor are obtained in Zul'Gurub, while the Amani Battle Bear can be earned by killing the first four bosses of Zul'Aman in a limited amount of time.

The interests of the Zandalari no longer align with your own. Vol'jin needs your help to stop this play for power. Will you rise to the challenge?


WoW Patch 4.1 is on the PTR, and WoW Insider has all the latest news for you -- from previews of the revamped Zul'Aman and Zul'Gurub to new valor point mechanics and new archaeology items.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Cataclysm

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