BlizzCon 2019 is turning out to be the gift that just keeps on giving with the announcement of a brand new expansion for World of Warcraft.
In the new expansion, entitled Shadowlands, Sylvanas Windrunner has pierced the veil separating Azeroth from the realms of the dead. Players will have to face the wonders and horrors of the afterlife as they deal with the consequences of Sylvanas’ actions.
“World of Warcraft players entering the 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. As they seek to right the cycle and uncover the extent of Sylvanas’ designs, players will forge bonds with the Covenants who hold dominion over different planes within the Shadowlands.”
There are four main Covenants within the Shadowlands, each with their own distinct realm and culture:
- The steadfast Kyrian of Bastion, whose discipline and duty compels them to safeguard souls from the mortal realm as they pass into the Shadowlands.
- The mysterious Night Fae of Ardenweald, who fiercely defend the spirits of nature from those who would deprive them of rebirth.
- The cunning Venthyr of Revendreth, who feast on the souls of the prideful and vain in a gothic realm of opulence and torment.
- The warlike Necrolords of Maldraxxus, who forge the undead armies that serve as the first line of defence for the Shadowlands and honour those who seek power and glory in battle.
“In their journeys through the Shadowlands, players will also come face-to-face with some of the departed legends of the Warcraft universe, such as Uther the Lightbringer, who struggles against dark forces that seek to transform him into a symbol of retribution, and Kael’thas, who pursues vengeance on an enemy from his past while confined to Revendreth for the crimes he committed in life.”
Blizzard also posted a list of features to expect when the expansion ships:
World of Warcraft: Shadowlands Features
- Explore the Realm of the Dead: For the first time ever in World of Warcraft, players will cross into the Shadowlands and experience the wonders and horrors of the afterlife across five new zones—the gleaming fields of Bastion, the scarred battlefields of Maldraxxus, the eternal twilight of Ardenweald, the opulent keeps of Revendreth, and the horrific Maw.
- Claim a Covenant’s Power: Players will be called upon to forge a bond with one of four Covenants that rule Shadowlands’ new zones, setting the tone for their journey through the expansion with a full Covenant Campaign. As they level up, they’ll get new abilities based on their choice, including class-specific abilities for each Covenant—as well as developing Soulbinds with specific Covenant members, which grant them access to that character’s specific traits and bonuses.
- Ascend the Tower of the Damned: At the heart of the Maw lies Torghast, Tower of the Damned, a cursed otherworldly prison where the wickedest souls in the universe are locked away. Highly replayable and inspired by roguelike games, heroes are invited to explore its ever-changing halls and chambers and do battle with the minions of the Jailer, Torghast’s vile ruler. Those who brave its trials can claim legendary treasures and help free the heroic spirits wrongfully trapped within.
- Every Level Is Meaningful: Shadowlands will introduce a new leveling system, meant to provide a meaningful sense of advancement with every level achieved. Current max-level characters will begin Shadowlands at level 50 and work toward the new level cap of 60.
- A New Army of the Dead Rises: To combat Sylvanas’ assault on Icecrown, Bolvar Fordragon— the revered former paladin who took on the mantle of Lich King to keep the Scourge at bay—has raised heroes from among all the peoples of Azeroth to bolster the Death Knights of Acherus. With Shadowlands, pandaren and all allied races will now be able to become Death Knights.
- Improved Character Customization Options: A host of new appearance options for all races will be made available to players when they create new World of Warcraft characters (or alter existing ones at the in-game barber shop).
Shadowlands is currently slated for release sometime towards the end of 2020 and is available for pre-purchase today. Players can choose from the Base Edition, the Heroic Edition, or the Epic Edition. With both the Heroic and Epic editions including a plethora of exclusive goodies.
The Heroic Edition includes the expansion; a level-120 character boost; and the Ensorcelled Everwyrm mount, which provides access to a questline through which players can earn the Vestments of the Eternal Traveler transmogrification set. Whilst the Epic Edition, in addition to all of the contents of the Heroic Edition, includes the Anima Wyrmling pet; the Wraithchill cosmetic weapon effect; the Eternal Traveler’s Hearthstone (designed with a unique visual effect); and 30 days of game time.