So World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth ended on an interesting note, with long time narrative character Sylvanas Windrunner revealing herself to be…a bit of a douchebag, to be honest.
The story of World of Warcraft has definitely ramped up in recent expansions, so it’s no surprise that Shadowlands feels a little more ‘WHAT HAPPENS NEXT’ rather than ‘HERE IS THE NEXT BADDY’.
The cinematic trailer does an excellent job of carrying the story forward, with Sylvanas D-bagger heading to the seconding Lich King (Bolvar) and messing with his special hat:
So it turns out that if you destroy the magic helmet that controls the undead, you open a portal to the afterlife. And thus, Shadowlands main hook is revealed – we’re going to see dead people. An official statement from Blizzard offered the following:
World of Warcraft players entering the fabled Shadowlands will find the realms of the dead in upheaval. Under the normal order, departed souls were delivered to a realm appropriate to the lives they led, but now, all souls are being funnelled into the Maw, where the most wicked are damned to suffer for eternity
…Like I said, sounds spooky. Don’t just take my word for it, check out some of the gorgeous visual styles present in the gameplay/feature trailer:
It’s a fairly pared-back expansion trailer – Blizzard has learned to maybe not spotlight ‘major’ features prior to release, in case the scope of the release changes. Instead, we have a hard and fast look at all the gameplay content to expect – and good lord are those some sexy zones.
As a long-time Darksiders fan, I am a huge lover of all things gothic and stylised. It looks like Shadowlands aims to bring players to a very morbid – but fun – new world, with gargoyles and vampires abound.
There is also an interesting little detail that hasn’t received a big focus – a fairly massive level squish to a max of level 60 once more. Each expansion did make a massive point of adding more levels to the game for players to earn – getting into the triple digits and all, but Shadowlands promises to “introduce a new levelling system, meant to provide a meaningful sense of advancement with every level achieved.”
This means that current max-level characters will begin Shadowlands at level 50 and work toward the new level cap of 60 – a little bit of Deja Vu for all the players who remember doing this a long time ago.
There will of course be new raids, new dungeons, all the standard stuff that a long-time WoW player should expect…but a neat new feature that has my interest piqued is definitely the Tower of the Damned.
Apparently inspired by roguelike games, the Tower of the Damned is promised to be a ‘highly replayable’ experience, with ‘ever-changing halls and chambers’ where you can ‘do battle with the minions of the Jailer, Torghast’s vile ruler.’
Basically, sounds a bit like the WoW Devs have found a way to incorporate Diablo III’s Nephilim Rifts into the game, creating some kind of ‘endless’ (or at least modular) dungeon to create and ever-changing challenge. Though I am deep into the World of Warcraft: Classic experience, this does have me interested and wanting to know more.
Also, far more importantly – new hairstyles will be added to the barbershop for your character. That’s what we are all here for right?
World of Warcraft: Shadowlands will be available on or before 31 December, 2020