The pre-patch date isn't finalized yet, but the timing will be similar to other expansions, some number of weeks before Legion release.
The demon invasion event is live on both beta and PTR.
Players liked the social feeling from group loot and being able to pass along items they don't need to other players.
In Legion, if you get an item from a dungeon or raid with personal loot that isn't an upgrade for you (lower or equal item level for that slot), you can trade it to another eligible player.
Healer Leveling and Talents
The team put effort into improving healer damage and healer soloing in Legion, so players are now able to level more as a healer more efficiently than they were able to in previous expansions.
A Holy Priest and Shadow Priest won't kill things at the same speed, but the overall difference in time to complete a zone is not meaningfully different now.
DPS still has a small advantage in leveling speed, but healers no longer take 2-3x as long to kill enemies.
There are talents and Artifact traits that will help you level faster as a healer.
You can change your talents around freely when you queue and arrive in a new dungeon, so there is no need to go back to town.
Content Droughts and Expansion Development Timelines
Not having content droughts is a priority for the team. They know that they still haven't managed to eliminate them and that actions speak louder than words here.
When the team set out to make Legion, the goal was to solve the content drought problem by making expansions faster than they have before.
The team made sacrifices along the way to try and make Legion faster.
They discovered along the way that there is a certain amount of time that goes into making an expansion that is up to par with what players expect and deserve.
If an expansion was just some new zones and dungeons, like a bigger patch, they probably could make them faster.
When the team starts adding new systems or classes, it takes time to iterate on the new things and get them right.
The team was too ambitious with their targets when planning for Legion.
The team has learned their lesson and accepted that they can't produce an expansion faster, so the plan moving forward as they start working on the next expansion is to make sure Legion has a lot more patch content.
They want to build on the stories that they are in the middle of telling in an expansion, giving players something to do while they work on the next expansion.
Yearly expansions wouldn't be the best thing for players. Longer expansions give us time to explore the world that was created and time for the team to get the next expansion done right.
The team occasionally talks about adding a Ulduar style harder mode to a boss when it fits a fight. They did it in Terrace of Endless Spring with the different and harder kill order for a boss, but not many guilds did it.
Thal'dranath will not be part of Legion.
It won't be a reduction in content delivered to players, just that the team had a better and way cooler idea.
Thal'dranath was yet another ancient elven ruined island that has a heavy Legion presence. There is already a lot of that in Broken Isles.
There are cool new places to explore in the patch content and once players see it they will agree that it is cooler than what Thal'dranath would have been.
Suramar and Storytelling
New content will be added to Suramar during Legion.
There is a good portion of the story of the Nightfallen and Nightborne in the initial release, but there is more of that story to tell.
There were lost opportunities in Warlords, such as the story of Shattrath, the Shadow Council's assault on Shattrath, and the Arakkoa.
In the next beta build there will more more Blood of Sargeras sources.
There are players that are double crafting professions wishing they had a gathering profession now and to some extent that is how it should be.
Double-crafting is absolutely a viable path that offers some advantages. But even if 2x-crafting has advantages, you should still have a bit of gatherer-envy; if not, gathering is probably undervalued. (WatcherDev)
With Garrisons everyone was self sufficient and there wasn't much of a reason to trade or interact with other players.
The value of BoP crafting materials is that it gives some market power to the crafter.
When you can trade all of the materials used to craft something, all you do is push a button and hope for a tip.
One option is completely deterministic loot acquisition. Loot is on vendors, so you grind out a currency and then go and purchase the item you wanted. This often feels like a grind.
With randomness, there is a chance for surprise, excitement, unexpected outcomes, and variety.
In Warlords, if you were going to daily quests or run a dungeon you knew at the start of that session that nothing exciting could happen. Warforged, Titanforged, and legendary items should help to add the possibility of some excitement.
There aren't any dungeon sets in Legion, but it is something they are keeping in mind for the future.
There is an Order Hall set that is obtained by doing a wide variety types of content.
World quests should occasionally reward Relics, there was a bug in previous builds that prevented this.
Randomness with PvP gear in past expansions didn't work well, as you needed a full set to be competitive.
In Legion, you have normalized stats in PvP, so gear is far less important.
Being unlucky when gear doesn't matter as much might make a one item level difference, meaning a fraction of a percent power difference.
The gear you get from PvP is now the same gear you can get from elsewhere in the world, so it is useful for a variety of content.
The team wants to encourage more people to try out PvP, especially if they have written it off in the past because of the time investment or bad experience from being undergeared.
Legendary items can come from world quests, dungeon bosses, raid bosses, and PvP strongboxes.
Legendary items are attempting to recapture the spirit of world drops from early World of Warcraft. You could randomly get a really awesome item.
There is some bad luck protection for legendary items, so that you have better odds to get one the longer you go without getting one.
The team doesn't want people to be able to target specific legendary items at launch, but later in the expansion it might make sense to add targeting a specific legendary item.
The team decided to allow legendary items from the start of raid progression because WoW is a RPG and the power you get from items should matter. The team wants to let you use the items you have when possible.
The cap of one equipped legendary should help to prevent lucky players or outliers from distorting the overall progression race.
The legendary items are powerful, but not out of line with other power disparities from past progression races.
In Hellfire Citadel, if you got a few Heroic Warforged trinkets and some nice weapons during your first Heroic clear, you had a 10% ore more power advantage over another group that didn't get those drops. That is larger power gap than having some legendary items and not in most cases.
The race won't be won or lost because of a legendary item.
The pristine server idea was not aimed at the audience that wants Vanilla servers
The ideas from pristine servers such as the social aspect of the game, need for community, and speed at which you progress through the content are things that the team is attempting to improve on live.
The team has made some improvements to the leveling experience and there are more improvements they can continue to make in the future.
The leveling experience should let you take your time and enjoy a well paced experience if that is what you want, as well as allowing people to equip heirlooms and rush through it.
Dungeon Finder and Raid Finder make content very accessible, but they also diminish the need to form social ties to engage in cooperative gameplay. Things like Mythic dungeons and other content that aren't super hardcore will allow the team to reintroduce the need for community.
The team continues to talk about all of the pristine server ideas, and is learning a lot from the discussion, but their main focus is Legion.
Legion is going to be the most alt-friendly expansion in terms of the diversity and replayability of the content.
You won't be going through the same thing each time you level an alt.
There are different Artifact story lines, different Artifact progression, different Order Hall campaigns, different leveling zone order.
Artifact Knowledge is not account wide. It applies to all Artifact weapons on a single character.
After Legion launches, it will become faster and faster each week to earn Artifact Knowledge. It applies to all characters, so alts and returning players will be able to catch up.
There are a couple dozen levels of Artifact Knowledge to progress through.
If you focus on your primary weapon and are 20 traits in, you might have to choose if you want one trait in your main weapon or five in your off-spec weapon.
It should be pretty easy to keep off-spec weapons up to around 80% of your main spec weapon. Anything beyond that will require more effort.
There are no plans to further loosen transmog restrictions across different weapon types.
The remaining restrictions are mostly due to animation constraints.
There are custom animations like Mutiliate that only exist for daggers. so if you transmogged your dagger into a mace, your character would be trying to stab people with a mace.
Some of the artifact appearance unlocks give you a different weapon type to help players that don't like their Artifact weapon type.
Time-walking is awesome and the team will continue to expand upon it going forward.
There will be a World Quest bonus week that grants a 50% bonus to reputation from world quests.
Weekly events will be taking a month long break when Legion launches so that players aren't pushed to focus on one type of content right away.
DPS numbers are getting up to where they were in Mists of Pandaria, so next expansion will probably have a squish again.
There will also be a chance to look at the combat system, stats, and scaling to see if they can come up with a better solution than repeated squishing.
New Animations and Visual Effects
The team added new animations and visual effects to melee combat for Legion release.
New animations and visuals for casters are coming up next. These changes will come in patches and expansions rather than holding them to release all at once.
Titanforged gear can come from world quests, dungeons, PvP rewards, quest rewards.
In previous expansions, there wasn't any reason to do content once you have passed the item level rewarded by the content.
In Legion you can get a range of item levels from content, so older content still has a chance to give you something relevant.
In theory, you could kill a normal dungeon boss and get a Mythic raid item level item! (That has a very very tiny chance of happening)
he fact that someone who does normal and heroic dungeons has a small chance to have a mythic raid quality item doesn't destroy progression at all.
No one is going to confuse the player running normal dungeons with a mythic raider because of the one item they got.
Getting that powerful item will make the day of the player that runs normal dungeons and give everyone doing harder content a reason to do some content with that friend.
It gives everyone a chance for a surprise upgrade when they are doing content that would normally not reward any upgrade.
At the end of the day, if you do harder content you will have better gear and occasional exceptions don't change that.
Valor and Valor Upgrades are something that could come back towards the end of Legion, but no plans for it right now.
Flying will be unlocked roughly in the middle of Legion. There will be more patches that come out after flying is unlocked.
The team is mostly focusing on tuning now, so there won't be lots of bigger changes to mechanics.
It doesn't feel satisfying to use Frozen Orb as your Brain Freeze cooldown reset mechanic when soloing.
A new single target nuke is being added that takes the place of what Frostfire Bolt used to be.
In Legion, Holy Priest is the traditional healer spec while Discipline is more of a healer and damage hybrid. There will be a much bigger difference between the specs than ever before.
Tanks are great at leveling and soloing. They may kill things slower when killing them one at a time, but they can pull more and survive.
The team is also trying to get tanks involved in PvP in a non-obnoxious way. Tuning is still ongoing on that front.
There are no plans to add another spec to Demon Hunter at this time.
A Demon Hunter healing spec didn't make sense and splitting the cool and iconic things from Demon Hunter into two specs doesn't feel great.
All of the specs for each class should be mostly competitive with each other, but some specs will have a niche where they are a little bit better.
The UI options have been pruned. The team added a few back that a lot of people asked for.
Options were removed for clarity, so that you could find the important options that you are looking for.
There were a lot of options that very few players actually changed.
Most of these options can still be set through console commands.
Addons also still have access to the options, so someone could make an addon to control the options.
The UI should be an accessible mainstream default that applies to a majority of players. Players that want more customization have the opportunity to use addons.
The power of the legendary ring proc and passive will decline as you level.
You may use the ring for a little while at Level 110, but it isn't designed to be powerful in raids.
The pre-expansion patch will stop players from starting the legendary ring quest.
At Legion release the legendary ring questline will be removed.