So what does this patch do? Well, it provides the mid-tier nerf to the final raid that we get literally every expansion, so it ought not be surprising, really. This time said nerf is in the form of item upgrades and valor points.
Blizzard is adding eight dungeons to the timewalking rotation, including a number of Cataclysm dungeons. Not new content per se, but it does take work to get those dungeons to work for scaling purposes. Boss drops need to be scalable, they need to test abilities that players of that level don't normally have to ensure no strange behaviour, and they need to do the engineering/design work to hook them up into the timewalking system as a whole. It's definitely far easier to do all that than design new dungeons from scratch, and people have been clamouring for more timewalking dungeons, so this looks to be low-hanging fruit they could toss a small team on and push out the door while everyone else finishes Legion.
Though I'm still miffed "timewalking" events are limited time period things rather than just something we can run.
What valor points do for the playerbase is give you a mechanism to want to run dungeons--and valor in the past has been a very popular reason to do so. It provides a method where raiders can "nerf" their content by upgrading their existing items to get the power boost to get over the hump. Mythic dungeons providing higher ilvl gear also provides this, though I can't say I'm a fan of their slot machine approach to ilvls given you can't chain run them.
|Moose like carrots.|
The question though, is the Grove Warden still also going to be a shop mount? I'd actually be okay with that. Give the raiders a little bit of timed exclusivity, then let everyone else who really, really wants a moose buy it later. But Blizzard hasn't said much of anything on this at the moment as far as I can tell, so nobody really knows if it's literally just going to be a, "Hey active raiders, have a gift!" thing.
On the other hand, by the end of Mists, people were selling runs to Heroic/Mythic Siege of Orgimmar, so maybe it won't be such a big deal. But hey, don't forget they're actually tying the one bit of plot they're adding this patch to the moose, so that's great.
So I don't quite get why they're doing the moose this way. They have hordes of people who are totally willing to spend money on the moose, and it's not exactly a great big carrot to keep high-end raiders raiding. I don't know that the Heroic raiding population is large enough to justify using it as a carrot for them.
Business As Usual
So I'm fine with nerfing the raids this way, as it's a more interactive way to do so than they've done with zone buffs. It encourages me to go run Mythic 5-Players and Timewalking dungeons, (which are both fun!) to feed back into my raiding.
Folks who are complaining that we're not likely to see Legion for a while yet, uh, what were you expecting? No, seriously, what in the Titan's blue Azeroth did you think would happen? I realize I'm coming off as a totally cynical asshole right now, but I don't understand why people keep expecting a release anytime soon.
Should we get a release super soon? In an ideal world, yes. We're definitely looking at yet another relatively lengthy end of expansion lull, which is not good, at all. I don't blame people for being upset at that. But this patch isn't news that the expansion is delayed, or in trouble, or anything of the sort. This is business as usual, like every expansion previously.
Betas generally last 4 - 6 months before release, and we know they said we'd have a beta by end of year. Or at least news of a beta, but I'm betting an actual beta. So if they release the beta at Blizzcon, we're looking at an April/May 2016 release at the latest (which is still my prediction). That would put it in the 9 - 10 month range between 6.2 and 7.x, which actually would be one of the shorter lulls. Heck, the current raid has only been out for 4 months, so the nerf is coming earlier relative to previous expansions.
I'm not concerned. I'd like faster releases, they're clearly not quite there, but I think my predictions are still bang on. We shall see soon, Blizzcon is right around the corner!