With The Old Republic due out at the end of the year, everyone is wondering what Blizzard will pull out of their pocket to fight it off. Aside from an expected Expansion announcement at BlizzCon next month, Blizzard plans to release patch 4.3 “End Time” for WoW by the end of the year. The patch is the end of the Cataclysm expansion where players will fight Deathwing in an epic raid. Patch 4.4 will be the pre-expansion world event sometime early next year.
Today Blizzard has posted the first preview of the patch on the official site, showing off the first of the three new five-man instances that lead up to the Deathwing raid. This one sends players into the future of Azeroth to show them what will happen if Deathwing wins. The screens on the site show a dark and charred version of the Northrend zone Dragonblight with Deathwing perched on Wyrmrest Temple.
The five-man dungeons will work like the ones in Icecrown Citadel where you need to progress through them before unlocking them in Dungeon Finder. They’ll include new epic loot, and new non-class specific dungeon sets.
Patch 4.3 is due later this year, and the leaked Blizzard release schedule shows the next expansion due in the 2nd Quarter for 2012. So even if The Old Republic has to be delayed to its rumored 2nd Quarter 2012 release date; Blizzard seems to have a big gun waiting to blow it away.