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Blizzard details Warcraft 4.2 update

Firelands, encounter journal, new quests due.

World of Warcraft's 4.2 update will include a new raid, a new encounter journal feature, a new quest line and a new legendary weapon, Blizzard has revealed.

Due out later this year, the focus of the patch will be the new Firelands raid, which sees you entering the domain of powerful Elemental Lord Ragnaros. The zone will feature seven different boss fights.

"Some players first encountered Ragnaros in Molten Core but that was inside a mountain on Azeroth," lead system designer Greg Street told Eurogamer.

"Firelands is like his home domain. It's another plain of existence. It's this big island floating in a sea of fire. It has a supernatural ecosystem – there are creatures like firey spiders and firey birds, as well as the legions of Ragnaros."

Players not interested in raiding will also be catered for, with a series of new quests set in the region. You'll be attempting to set up a foothold in the Firelands on behalf of the druids of Hyjal.

"It's a different portion of the Firelands to where the raid takes place but it has a lot of the same environments," explained Street.

"As players progress they're helping the druids of Mount Hyjal establish a base in the Firelands, which takes the form of a giant tree. It starts off as a sapling and as the player completes more quests it grows and grows into this gigantic tree which becomes their base of operations."

Street estimated that there would be around 60 new quests in total, many of which could be repeated over and over.

"If they can do all these quests solo they'll fight molten giants and flame walkers and various other creatures out there."

The update will also add in a new Legendary Weapon. It hasn't yet been named but will involve taking a branch from the World Tree Nordrassil and imbuing it with the power of a blue dragon.

"It has a really amazing quest series that goes along with it," insisted Street. "By the end players will find themselves going through an old classic dungeon with a companion and fighting their way through to complete the staff."

As first discussed at BlizzCon last year, the encounter journal will also be making its debut, providing players with some background on key enemies that they come across.

"Basically we feel like we've done kind of a poor job educating players about the details of encounters," admitted Street. "They usually have to go into a dungeon or raid and die a few times before they really have a feel for what's going on in a fight.

"So what we want to do is just introduce the bosses in a way that players can click through their different abilities and say 'oh, okay, that ability is interruptable' or 'oh, I'm not supposed to stand in this fire'.

"It doesn't provide a tonne of strategy on the encounters but just kind of shows what the boss looks like and gives you a bit of backstory on him."

Finally, 4.2 introduces one new quest line picking up the story of Horde Warchief Thrall as he attempts to repair the damage done during Deathwing's return to Azeroth.

"Really we're trying to tell a story here," explained Street. "Often the adventures of the main heroes get told in books and things like that outside of the main game. So what we're trying to do is give players a chance to feel like they're adventuring for a short time alongside Thrall.

"[In terms of difficulty] the Quest Line should be pretty similar to, say, Twilight Highlands and some of the later zones players have done. It does require slightly better gear as we've recognised that, by now, players have better loot."

Patch 4.2 sees Blizzard implementing its new strategy of delivering smaller, more frequent patches. Street is confident that players will get behind the move away from the more extensive updates that followed the Wrath of the Lich King launch.

"They seem to be excited about the concept, but then we're yet to deliver the first patch," he said.

"I think when they see 4.1 come out, which will be pretty soon, and then 4.2 close on its heels, they'll see that they're going to get content pretty regularly."

Street was reluctant to pin down a timeframe for future updates but insisted that Blizzard was hoping to reduce waiting times down from the current four to six month standard.

"We're trying to cut down on that as much as we can," he promised, "and also ideally release the expansions on a more regular basis than we've done before."

The Cataclysm add-on launched back in December, winning a perfect 10/10 from Eurogamer's Oli Welsh.