World of Warcraft: Shadowlands is the eighth expansion pack for the MMORPG World of Warcraft, following Battle for Azeroth. The developer Blizzard Entertainment have scheduled its released to coincide with the sixteenth anniversary of the release of the original game. (Date shown at the end of the article).
The expansion will open up the Shadowlands, the realm of the dead in Warcraft lore. It will feature the game’s first “level squish” and a completely overhauled levelling system. There will be access to the Death Knight class for the races that did not previously have access to it. There will also be Covenants in the new zones, and new dungeons and raids.
After being deposed as Warchief of the Horde and the defeat of N’Zoth in Battle for Azeroth, Sylvanas Windrunner travels to Icecrown Citadel in the Scourge-infested wastes of Northrend. Here, Sylvanas confronts the reigning Lich King, Bolvar Fordragon. Taking the Lich King’s Helm of Domination from him, she tears it in two. Unfortunately, this shatters the veil between realities and opens a portal to the Shadowlands (the Warcraft universe’s afterlife).
The Shadowlands have become warped in function during recent times. The Maw, a place in the afterlife reserved for the most sinful souls, is now absorbing all souls. The effects of the Helm’s destruction are felt across Azeroth. Sylvanas has her forces abduct Alliance leaders Anduin Wrynn, Jaina Proudmoore and Tyrande Whisperwind, and Horde leaders Thrall and Baine Bloodhoof. However, thanks to the power of the Night Warrior, Tyrande is the only leader to evade abduction.
For the first time since the release of World of Warcraft in 2004, Shadowlands will involve a level reduction (“level squish”). Player characters at level 120 (the level cap in Battle for Azeroth) reduced to level 50, with level 60 being the new level cap (as it had been in the original game).
In what Blizzard has called a “New Game+ experience“, newly created characters will have an updated starting experience on an island called “Exile’s Reach”. This is where players new to World of WarCraft will start. This will introduce them to the game and its systems. From here you will proceed to Battle for Azeroth content.
The veteran players who create new characters can choose the expansion experience they wish to play through to level 50, at which point they would proceed to the Shadowlands.
And there is more!
The Shadowlands will feature five major zones:
- Maldraxxus and the Maw.
- In the centre will be the city of Oribos, which functions as the main player hub.
There will be four new dungeons for levelling, four more at maximum level, and a new raid. In addition, a new roguelike “endless dungeon” called Torghast, Tower of the Damned, will be introduced for both solo and group play.
All playable core races (not allied races) will receive new customization options. For example, humans will be able to customize their ethnicities, dwarves and trolls will gain tattoos, and undead will be able to show varying degrees of decay. (Now doesn’t that sound delightful?) The Death Knight class (added in Wrath of the Lich King) is being opened up to pandaren (added in Mists of Pandaria) and to all allied races (added in Legion and Battle for Azeroth).
The four zones that the Shadowlands comprise are ruled by “Covenants”. This is similar to the Class Orders introduced in Legion. Each Covenant will have its own campaign, with gear specific to the faction and abilities both universal and determined by class.
The four covenants are:
- The Kyrian of Bastion
- The Night Fae of Ardenweald
- The Venthyr of Revendreth
- The Necrolords of Maldraxxus
Players experiencing the Shadowlands content for the first time will need to reach level 60 before they can choose to pledge themselves to a Covenant, while alts are able to do so at the start of the Shadowlands content.
World of Warcraft: Shadowlands will be released on the 23rd November 2020
Make sure you stick with Any Button Gaming for the latest gaming news, reviews, and features from around the world.
And if you want to show your allegiance to ABG, you’ll be happy to know we have our own merch! All proceeds go to helping fund the site.