1.8 Cycle Conclusion
Today we look back at the 1.8 patch cycle to see not only how it fits into the ‘progressive’ expansion mentality, but more so to see how the story of past patches has evolved and in many ways concluded. This grand patch cycle ran from 1.8.0 to 1.8.6b with two content patches, 5 live events, and three patches following live events ushering in new classes!
The 1.8 patch cycle began with 1.8.0, the Proliferation of WAR. This patch was a content injection patch of a massive scale. In many ways the Proliferation of WAR is the culmination and conclusion of patch cycle 1.7 which focused around the arms race that led to the 6 new HDPS classes which fought across new lands. For the clever of mind, they would have noticed that in the three live events preceding the HDPS classes, new scenarios were fought in new locations, these locations would be revealed in the Proliferation of WAR. For example in the Dusk of Ulthuan players fought in the Shrine of Asuryan and Tor Anroc, which correspond to the new maps of Eastern Eataine and Tiranoc respectively. Also introduced were Ostermark, Mordheim, Mount Grimfang, and Mad Dog Pass. With the introduction of these new zones, Tier 4 gained two additional maps elongating the pairing and making the fighting in the final campaign grander and take on a more epic scale.
1.8.1 consisted of the Winds of Ghyran live event which took players to the rolling hills of Chrace as a new plot unfolded indicating Malekith’s plan to spread suffering across the world, starting with the beats of Ulthuan. Players descended into a new scenario which takes place in the capital of Chrace, Tor Achare, and this scenario rewarded players with a new profession allowing for the capture and training of wild animals to use as pets and mounts.
1.8.2 continued the storyline of 1.8.1 with the Of Royal Blood live event focusing on the sinister event of the abduction of the Everqueen and her newborn daughter. Players began their journey scouring Avelorn for clues regarding her whereabouts and then entered the Lost Vale in search of her, a search which ended with a dire omen indicating Slaanesh’s involvement. Players also got to enter the new Everqueen Palace scenario and engage in a small 6v6 death-match in the iconic location of the Lost Vale.
1.8.3, the Escalation of WAR, was the second major content injection with 6 new maps forming what would be Tier 5 of Warhammer for RR90+ players. These new maps took players to new locations such as the eastern coast of Ulthuan with the dense forests of Cothique and the fjords of Yvresse; the ancient dwarven holds bordering the massive lake Black Water known as Zhufbar and the fallen hold of Cragmere; and to the key Kislevite port of Erengrad for a dense urban brawl and the jagged Jotunheim Mountains where the winds of Chaos twist the minds of the Norse. The introduction of these new zones furthered the storyline of Malekith’s plot to spread suffering across the world, all in an attempt to lure a new ally to his cause. Only with enough pain and suffering would Slaanesh’s appetite be driven into a fury causing him to join the cause of Destruction.
1.8.4 consisted of the Savage Reprisal live event which brought the struggle of Slaanesh and Kislev into full perspective. Slaanesh had accepted Malekith’s offering of pain and suffering for his pleasure, and now was ready to join the ranks and march alongside his brother Khorne in the struggle against Kislev, but first he had to win over Khorne’s favor. The Savage Reprisal was a live event which revolved around this concept of proving Slaanesh’s worth in the eyes of Khorne primarily in the two fields of trial – the new scenarios of the Shattered Coast taking place in Cothique, and in the Sacellum Challenges scenario taking place in the heart of the Inevitable City. This patch was concluded with 1.8.4b, A Pleasure to Kill, which ushered in Slaanesh’s first new host of warriors to bring carnage unto the plains of Kislev – the Pleasure Cultists. To counter this massive horde of vile women Kislev called upon the loyal Kossars to march to war.
1.8.5, the Turbulent Winds, took the struggle between Slaanesh and Kislev into a wintery scene as the winds of magic clashed above the frozen steppes of Kislev. Players engaged in two struggles to manipulate the winds of magic, first in Avalanche Pass in the deadly Jotunheim Mountains, and second in Eltharion’s Plaza in Yvresse. This struggle brought about the introduction of two new magical range dps classes in 1.8.5b, the Arcane Tempest. Joining the legions of Slaanesh were the Haruspices (Haruspex singular) who unleash dark magic to fuel their sadistic pleasures, and to counter this threat were the Ice Witches of Kislev wielding their deadly Ice Magic.
1.8.6a, the Crimson Fields, continued the wintery struggle between Kislev and the gods of Chaos as the forces of Order sought to deal a preemptive surprise attack against Khorne in his lair of Bastion Stair. Players battled it out once more in the Blood Arena as they fought to defeat Khorne, and in the Erengrad Docks as the Norse led a seaborne attack against the Kislevite port. However no amount of bloodshed can ever defeat the god of blood. 1.8.6b, the Carrion Feast, ushered in the heavy dps classes of the Skull Reapers of Khorne who were fed on the blood of the Red Winter and would exact a deadly punishment upon Kislev; and to face this dire threat the Tsarina of Kislev called upon her oldest and loyalest warriors, the Boyars.
While the Proliferation of WAR was more of a conclusion to 1.7 and should have been included in that patch-cycle, it was throw into this numerical cycle in order to keep 1.7 on a ‘medium scale’ of progressive expansion. 1.8.1 to 1.8.6 take upon a new storyline as Malekith pursues a plan to unleash suffering across the lands in order to whet Slaanesh’s appetite and join the cause of Destruction. The main reason for this plot is to tie back into 1.6 when during the Bloodied Steppes and Norscan Fate live events the armies of Khorne and Kislev were first introduced with the two tanks – the Gryphon Lancer and the Scion of Khorne, and the two healers – the Priest of Ursun and the Bloodflayer. In this sense 1.8 finishes up the armies of Kislev and the joint army of Khorne/Slaanesh – though Khorne is given a dominant role with three classes of the five archetypes.
Some may ask ‘why not make a pure Khorne army’ and the reason is to adhere to lore – Khorne would never have a range dps archetype because he despises ranged weapons (bows) and magic. Thus I opted to introduce Slaanesh as the filler for this role, but instead of having just one Slaanesh class and four Khorne classes which would seem out of balance, I opted to give Slaanesh one more class to give the pairing some more ‘balance’. Khorne maintains a dominant role in the alliance with his control over the tank, healer, and heavy dps archetypes. Likewise one may ask why not make a pure Slaanesh army which is possible with lore, and the reason is twofold. First of all tying Khorne into the game is much easier with the existing presence of Khorne in Bastion Stair (i.e. there are more npcs already modeled for Khorne) – while Slaanesh also exists in the game it is on a smaller scale. However, given Mythic’s concept art (which is no longer on the site) Slaanesh has someof the archetypes drawn up so this would have been easier to grasp as possible (though Nurgle has all four drawn up). Secondly, I like Khorne way more than Slaanesh. Personally I would have preferred to have an entirely Khorne army almost to the degree where I’d break the lore (hey Mythic did it!) and give Khorne a range dps, but I opted for the
Joining the ranks of the Order of the Griffon, the Oathbears, and the Shining Guard is the Ursun Confederation of Kislev; and joining the ranks of the Raven Host, the Bloody Sun Boyz, and House Uthorin, is the Blood Legion of the armies of Khorne/Slaanesh.