World of Warcraft’s patch 9.2.5 update arrived May 31, and along with well-publicized new additions like cross-faction support, it also brought a few surprises, like long-awaited Dark Ranger customization options.
A new quest line that rewards the new Dark Ranger customization options for elves (and a unique weapon and armor appearance for Hunters), as well as multiple in-game cutscenes, weren’t listed in the official patch notes for the update, nor were they available on the game’s public test realm.
Complete the Cleansing Lordaeron questline to unlock new Dark Ranger customizations for Night Elves, Void Elves, and Blood Elves, as well as a Dark Ranger armor appearance for Hunters. pic.twitter.com/2MCJejfPq1
— World of Warcraft (@Warcraft) June 1, 2022
The quest sees players returning to the undead capital of the Undercity, which was once the human capital city of Lordaeron, after Sylvanas destroyed the city with a chemical weapon called the Blight in the leadup to the game’s Battle for Azeroth expansion. Upon completion, players are awarded the “Of Lordaeron” title, as well as new eye color and skin tone options for Blood Elves, Night Elves, and Void Elves to make them appear similar to the game’s Dark Rangers. A faction of undead elves once loyal to Sylvanas prior to her betrayal, the Dark Rangers have long been fan-favorites and have been in the game in NPC form since its earliest days. Hunter players who have completed the quest can additionally travel to their class hall to unlock a special Hunter-only Dark Ranger cosmetic gear ensemble. Fans have long wanted the ability to play as Dark Rangers either as a race or class all their own, and this lets a large portion of the playerbase have that experience without having to create entirely new characters.
WoW players aren’t accustomed to having actual surprises to discover come patch day. Normally just about everything, including new cutscenes, quests, rewards, and balance changes are tested and datamined from the PTR weeks or even months in advance of them officially arriving in the live version of the game. The fact that Blizzard kept the lid on this one by encrypting the associated cutscene and quest on the PTR and allowing players to experience the new content and story first-hand, rather than via a datamine, could be an indication of how Blizzard plans to handle these types of things moving forward into the game’s next expansion, Dragonflight.
Dragonflight does not have a release date and is not yet available on the game’s PTR, although early signs point toward a March 2023 release window. Shadowlands will be getting a Season 4 later this summer, which will attempt to bridge the gap between expansions by making previous Shadowlands raids as well as dungeons from previous expansions loot-relevant once again.