The book 8 patch notes are finally live. You can read them all here. Below are the things that stick out in my mind.
Class balance changes: Runekeepers, and Minstrels to a lesser extent, are getting a damage nerf. Blackarrow DoTs will now be curable. Champions will get healed for less when in their highest damage stance.
Thoughts: The first two changes were needed. No-one should be able to out DPS a hunter on single targets, that is their primary class role. And Blackarrows apparently have been insanely overpowered since the last patch.
The Champion change is puzzling. No sane champion would use their high damage stance when trying to tank. All of your active defenses go to zero, and high AC is not nearly enough to make up for that in my experience. Even as an offtank, if you are in a situation where you are expecting to need frequent heals...again you aren't going to use your highest damage stance. You'll go for the middling one or for full defenses. This change ultimately makes little difference to the class, and I am not sure why Turbine thought it was necessary.
Lothlorian gift box changes: low end rewards have been removed, you will be guaranteed at least a rune worth 250K weapon XP. The possibility of first age weapons has also been removed. Instead, the chances of getting a second age have been improved. However, second ages that you get will randomly be 58, 59, or 60. The cost for gift boxes has also been reduce by nearly 40%.
Thoughts: The odds of getting a first or second age weapon out the boxes is so low that there is little reason to even try it in the current game. The low end rewards that you can get are also so bad that they might as well be coal. This sounds like a good change. However, until this goes live it remains to be seen whether the entire Lothlorian gift box system is worth messing with. If the chances of getting a 2nd age legendary are still only 5% or so, I'd say it's still not worth it.
Crafting Revamp: all optional items will now tell you what crafts use them in the description. Optional items will only drop off of humanoids and crafting nodes. Teir VI crafted armor is getting stat boosts.
Thoughts: Being able to tell what a crit item is used for by reading the description is absolutely a needed change. Most of these items currently only say "this item can be used by crafters." I have high level crafters in most of the professions, and half of the time I haven't got the foggiest idea which character to send a given crit item to. I absolutely applaud this change.
The change in drop patterns of crit items honestly bothers me. One of the things I enjoy about the current game is that if you want certain crit items, you have to head out and farm specific mobs. I think it's great that crit items are now available from resource nodes. However, I don't think it's so great that humanoids are the only mobs that will drop crit items now, and that they will drop all of them. It seems like some of the depth of the game has been diminished.
Finally, the stat boost on crafted tier VI armor. As you might surmise if you have read any of my past posts, I feel that this is absolutely a needed change. The current tier VI armor is actually so bad that if you have the best crafted tier V armor there is no reason to upgrade. Even the best guild tier VI armor is barely better than the best tier V armor. As it stands currently, a maxed out tailor can make a few good cloaks and a maxed out metalsmith can mainly make tools. Other than that neither profession makes any gear at all that most characters would care about. I am very glad to see Turbine addressing this. If the new recipes are on par with the normal mode coin drop gear, I'll be happy as a clam.
Now if only Turbine would revisit the PvP gear, we might have an end game as good as what we had 6 months ago.