What's New in Patch 9.1
Patch 9.1 for World of Warcraft was released on June 29, 2021. Also known as the Chains of Domination update, this patch brought the Shadowlands expansion into its second stage. In addition to continuing the Shadowlands storyline after the Castle Nathria raid, it introduced plenty of new content, including a zone, a raid, and a dungeon. There were plenty of smaller additions and changes as well. Read on to learn all about the new and altered content in Patch 9.1!
New zone: Korthia, City of Secrets
The newly unlockable zone called Korthia is technically a region of the Maw and follows some of its rules. However, it is a sizable area with plenty of distinctive activities and content. It includes the main quest hub for the two newly added reputation factions: Death’s Advance and Archivist’s Codex. The latter enable you to spend Cataloged Research, a local resource, to buy or upgrade certain items. Korthia also offers daily and weekly world quests, rare opponents, and a wide range of collectibles.
The rest of the Maw has changed as well. Players could now unlock ground mounts and disable the Eye of the Jailer mechanic early in the new campaign, making the region much easier to traverse. Bi-weekly Covenant Assaults spots help earn a reputation with Death’s Advance and other factions. To counter them, the Tormentors of Torghast and their minions have begun to infest locales. Adventurers could also explore Desmotaeron in Beastwarrens and fight rare and lucrative foes, including a World Boss.
New raid: Sanctum of Domination
As usual with x.1 updates, the patch introduced a cutting-edge raid. The WoW 9.1 raid is Sanctum of Domination. It comes in Normal, Heroic, and Mythic difficulties and features ten bosses including such familiar faces as Kel’Thuzad and Sylvanas Windrunner. Players could farm it for exclusive powerful gear up to item level 259. Completing challenges in this instance can let them claim the Glory of the Dominant Raider and the Bracer of Hrestmorak mount. All Raid Finder Wings have been released.
New dungeon: Tazavesh, the Veiled Market
Tazavesh is a Broker-themed interdimensional megadungeon comparable to Operation: Mechagon. It is Mythic-only, but with an optional Hard Mode that can be activated at the start. Doing so adds extra mechanics to all eight boss encounters in the dungeon while upgrading their rewards. The dungeon presents a rich variety of unique loot at item levels of 226+ (or 233+ on Hard Mode). Players could also claim numerous unusual cosmetics, mounts (like the Pilfered Gearglider), pets, and similar prizes.
The 9.1 patch included an important adjustment to the Mythic+ dungeon system. From now on, those who run them could earn a Mythic+ rating that is fully integrated and visible in the game. The score given for playing through any Mythic+ dungeon is determined by the difficulty and completion speed. It may be raised further by completing more Mythic+ versions or beating previous records. Along with granting prestigious awards like Keystone Conqueror, the rating determines access to Valor Point upgrades.
What's New in Flying in Shadowlands
As of this update, flying mounts can be used in the Shadowlands. However, players would first need to unlock flight by playing to the end of the fourth chapter of the expanded campaign. The Memories of Sunless Skies item unlocks flight account-wide. However, flying is subject to limitations. It is only available in the four Covenant home zones, not in the Maw or Oribos. Flying between zones is likewise impossible. Characters who reach Renown 45 receive free flying mounts from their Covenants.
What's New in Covenants
The Covenant campaigns converge in this update, continuing as one main storyline with subtle differences for allies of different Covenants. The Renown cap has gone up from 40 to 80. All Soulbinds now have four more rows in their talent trees. There are more Conduit options to choose from, as well as improved versions of existing Conduits. To their allies, Covenants offer more fresh rewards than just the mounts, including cosmetic armor sets and further adventures and characters for the Sanctum.
Shadowlands Season Two
Shadowlands has entered Season Two for both PvP and PvE. For the former, it means a resumed Arena rank climb towards the Gladiator title or the latest vicious war mount. Gear item levels have been raised as well. Meanwhile, in PvE, the Mythic+ affixes have been reshuffled. Tormented has taken the place of Prideful, introducing four mini-bosses. Defeating those tough opponents yields anima powers similar to those appearing in Torghast, while leaving them alive strengthens the final boss.
What's New in PvP
PvP has undergone extensive rebalancing. Gear bought with Honor or Conquest is now 13 levels better in PvP scenarios, though it starts out weaker for all other purposes. PvP loot availability has been generally enhanced. All classes have been overhauled, with their Honor talents tweaked or else removed and replaced. That, in turn, affected the PvP meta in different ways. As one result, while Fire Mage has been weakened, Frost Death Knight and Retribution Paladin have only become stronger.
What's New in Class changes
Class changes have gone beyond PvP-exclusive powers. Many of their abilities have been rebalanced in minor and major ways, including Covenant gifts. More class-specific Conduits and Legendary powers have been added, and some existing ones were modified as well. Shamans, priests, and monks in particular seem to have come out ahead on those changes. Still, PvE coaching may be necessary to fully adjust to the new meta for players who have been away and want to perform their best.
Dungeons and raids
Existing dungeons have also received numerous tweaks. Standard item levels for dungeon loot have been raised to around 184, 197, and 210 for Normal, Heroic, and Mythic dungeons. Meanwhile, Mythic+ (including Great Vault) rewards have all gone 26 levels up. Opponent health and damage has increased across the board. Conversely, auto damage in Mythic and Mythic+ has been nerfed, as have some affixes and encounters. Dungeon teleports have returned as a reward for beating dungeons on Mythic 20+.
What's New in Items and rewards
In addition to rising item levels, the reward system has been reinforced by Shards of Domination. Those gems are primarily acquired by beating 9.1 raid Shadowlands bosses and can be slotted into Domination gear from the same source. On top of their individual bonuses, they can be stacked to add stronger boons for endgame zones. There have also been quality of life improvements to the Great Vault weekly chest, most notably the ability to request currencies or reagents instead of offered items.
Runecarving or Legendary crafting has evolved as well. Optional Reagents found in Korthia may be used to craft superior Runecarving Vessels. They can then be used to create more powerful Legendary items from scratch or by upgrading old ones. Upgrades require the new Soul Cinder currency from Torghast. New Legendary powers have become available for all classes, modifying their Covenant benefits. Many existing Legendaries have been altered and strengthened as well.
Torghast, Tower of the Damned
Torghast has been overhauled. Except for Twisting Corridors, the quota of floors for each run has been cut down from six to five. Four higher layers have appeared, together with a secret Adamant Vaults level for those who manage to overcome them. With the Tarragrue moved to the Shadowlands 9.1 raid, death does not result in failing a run. However, it still penalizes groups through the new scoring mechanism, making it harder to earn the Flawless Master achievement or unlock permanent advantages.
What's New in Pet battles
The pet battle mini-game has been enriched with the addition of many more battle pets. Most of them appear here and there in the Maw, Korthia, Tazavesh, and Sanctum of Domination. Others may be obtained during Covenant Assaults or by defeating certain enemies, earning reputations, or completing quests. A pet vendor has appeared in Pandaria. Perhaps most significantly, players can now own as many battle pets as they want, so long as they do not have more than three of each.
Finally, Blizzard have implemented several long-awaited accessibility and quality of life improvements in the interface. Versatile text-to-speech and vocal transcription features have become a part of the game. A separate menu was created just for Color Blindness options. Players have received slightly more control over the visuals. Chats have been made more intuitive and user-friendly, as have multiple other important dialogue windows.