The upcoming World of Warcraft: Shadowlands is the eighth expansion for Blizzard Entertainment’s MMORPG which takes us into the realm of the afterlife.
With the postponement of the anticipated June 9 livestream where fans were hyped to get further insight from executive producer John Hight and game director Ion Hazzikostas, we can only guess what the upcoming updates may be. However, here is an overview of what we have got so far.
What We Know
The expansion will come with four leveling zones (Bastion, Ardenweald, Maldraxxus, Revendreth) and 1 end-game zone (The Maw). While we are aware that Shadowlands will follow a linear progression, all the zones have not been unveiled except for the following:
- Bastion: This beautiful Kyrian habitat is the opening leveling zone in Shadowlands. Kyrian Aspirants strive for the cleansing and redemption of their souls by journeying into Ascendance. Visually, the art team has strikingly carried this game forward with its heavenly look as compared to the Battle of Azeroth where it was more stylized to fit real-world settings.
- Ardenweald: A Fae-influenced lush nature paradise. The reincarnation cycle of death and rebirth plays an important role here as nature, like the Fae. Despite this, the cycle is being interrupted by the Anima slowly rotting away.
- Revendreth: A gothic grandeur with glorious sites such as Castle Nathria, resembling a frightening place before hell. It is made up of seven districts, ruled by the Lords of Venthyr, where unworthy souls receive a “Sinstone” which inscribes their name as well as the crimes that they have committed when they were living.
New Player Hub
Oribos acts as the main player hub in the game. Not much is known about Oribos, except that this is the eternal city where the Arbiter judges the dead on the final destinations that they will be sent to. This will be distinctive of the other zones. Its inhabitants consist of the Attendants and Brokers.
At the heart of the Oribos is The Soul Stream which consists of all the mortal souls awaiting their judgment. The Ring of Transference will also have portals to Orgrimmar and Stormwind available for the use of Azeroth’s champions.
- Covenants: Upon reaching Level 60, this expansion offers a unique take on factions. Players must choose from the four covenants: Kyrian Covenant of Bastion, Night Fae of Ardenweald, Necrolords of Maldraxxus, or the Venthyr of Revendreth. Think of it as the Order Halls in Legion. Players must be prudent as stories, gear, and abilities are specific to the covenant of their choice.
- Torghast: One of the eight dungeons to be explored is the roguelike Torghast, which can be done alone or with four other players. It is an eerie tower found in The Maw, which is basically Shadowlands’ Hell. It is designed to be endlessly playable with different levels, puzzles, traps, and enemies that become more and more challenging with every ascension to the tower. Players can reap epic rewards and ally with spirits by freeing them, to make themselves stronger upon further progression.
- Level Changes: An important update that has been going around is the level squishing. The leveling has always been criticized as confusing and Shadowlands is Blizzard’s attempt to revamp the leveling system. Players can move up all the way to Level 50 where Shadowlands can be played, and the level cap will now be at 60 which shakes up the painstakingly long experience in the past.
- Customization: A selection of races will be available that is not limited to simply changing the skin tone. In addition to this, options such as facial features (face shape, eye color, blind eyes, mismatched eyes, ear options for Goblins and Gnomes), hairstyles, and tattoos will also be available to differentiate and diversify players. This is good news for races such as the Nightborne who have had really narrow alternatives in terms of their appearance. Furthermore, Hazzikostas announced that Death Knights will also be offered to all Allied Races and Pandarians.
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While there has been no word of any additional Allied Races and we already currently have 23 options of playable races, it is still probable for more to be explored in Shadowlands. One of which has been heavily suggested are the native Kyrian spirits as it would be interesting to see them alongside Azeroth. Also, based on the flying animations on their wings, it would be great as a mount for collectors. Another possibility could be the Faun due to having been similarly rigged to the Draenei race.
Martin Benjamins, a programmer, posted what he had determined on his Twitter account which suggests what could be the potential beginning for a console port. He also references the strings found by Fraunhofer ITWM engineer, Bernd Lörwald, which cites that it may be playable on Sony’s PlayStation 4, PlayStation 4 Pro, and PlayStation 5. The discovery has also been acknowledged on the official forums by the community manager, Randy Jordan, that it has always been intended for WoW to be more “widely accessible”.
Nonetheless, accepted operating systems as per the website so far remains to be for Windows and Mac.
During the Q1 2020 Earnings Call, Blizzard’s president, J. Allen Brack, mentions that Shadowlands release is on course for launch in Q4. This narrows it down to October 1 to December 31, which differs from previous debuted expansion launches being held around the summer months of July and August. Whatever the month may actually be at this point, we can expect its arrival this 2020.
Preorders are available online through their website in three editions: Basic, Heroic, and Epic. Depending on what the player chooses, each will come with its own special inclusions from initial access to Death Knights for Allied Races and Pandaren to game times of up to thirty days. Further information can be viewed on their website. As of the time of writing, there has been no mention of a special Collectors edition.