World of Warcraft: Shadowlands – take a look on new zones, features and character customization options.

World of Warcraft: Shadowlands was announced at BlizzCon 2019, and, as predicted, will take players to an alternate dimension of death and decay as they try to stop Sylvanas from wielding the powers of death to destroy Azeroth. Don’t you just hate it when that happens?

A new expansion means sweeping changes to World of Warcraft—and Shadowlands promises to be one of the most transformative expansions in years. There’s a lot to cover and details are still emerging, but consider this your one-stop source for all the news about World of Warcraft: Shadowlands.

Here’s what we know so far.

What is World of Warcraft: Shadowlands’ release date?

The release date is yet unknow, but game director Ion Hazzikostas confirmed it would release in 2020. Quite often WoW expansions tend to launch around July and August, so one might assume that Shadowlands will arrive sometime in the summer of 2020. It is available for preorder now.

What’s the premise for World of Warcraft: Shadowlands?

Taking place immediately after the events of Battle for Azeroth (which still has one major update to go), World of Warcraft: Shadowlands sees players adventure to the land of the dead after Sylvanas destroys the Helm of Domination and sunders the barrier between Azeroth and The Shadowlands, WoW’s version of an afterlife.

The Shadowlands is supposed to be a well-oiled machine where dead souls are judged by their deeds and sent to different realms. But Sylvanas and her mysterious partner, The Jailer, have broken that cycle and are now funneling all perished souls into The Maw, a terrible, inescapable realm reserved for only the most horrific and evil of monsters.

It’s not clear what Sylvanas aims to do, but it can’t be good, so players have to ally with different Covenants found in The Shadowlands and restore balance.

Bastion

Bastion is the first zone players will venture to. It’s the homeland of the Kyrian, the angelic progenitors of the Valkyr. This is kind of like The Shadowlands version of Heaven, where noble souls come to meditate and unburden themselves from the turmoil of their past life. Renown paladin Uther, The Lightbringer, lives here.

We don’t yet know much about the player hub of Oribos or the endgame zone of The Maw (besides what we talk about below with regards to endgame).

World of Warcraft: Shadowlands Covenants

One of the biggest new features in Shadowlands in Covenants. Each zone you adventure to is ruled by a faction (like the Kyrian or Night Fae) who each have a specific purpose in the afterlife. As you assist each faction, they’ll reward you with faction-specific gear and two special abilities: One that’s specific to your class and one universal ability.

Once you complete the main campaign and reach the new level cap, you’ll choose one Covenant to align with. This unlocks those faction-specific abilities permanently, along with a specific armor set. Choosing a Covenant will unlock a long quest that will comprise much of Shadowlands’ endgame. You can think of Covenants kind of like Legion’s Order Halls. Covenants also unlock an endgame progression system called Soulbinding that we don’t have much info on currently.

World of Warcraft: Shadowlands endgame and dungeons

Like every expansion, Shadowlands will add eight new dungeons at launch, with a new raid to unlock soon after. Four of those dungeons will be unlocked while leveling and an additional four will be unlocked after reaching the level cap.

Shadowlands’ second biggest feature is Torghast, Tower of the Damned. As we already reported, Torghast is an “endless dungeon” that you can explore either alone or with a party of four other players. Hazzikostas said Torghast is directly inspired by the roguelike genre, meaning it’s highly randomized and changes each time you enter it. Like any good roguelike, you’ll also gain wild new abilities that change each time you enter Torghast, and the dungeon should provide a mighty difficult challenge for all players.

The level cap is being squished to 60

Instead of leveling to 130, Blizzard is condensing World of Warcraft’s character levels so that current level 120 characters will be level 50 and the new level cap will be 60 when Shadowlands launches next year. That’s actually good news because WoW’s leveling experience was painfully long and too spread out. With this new leveling squish, each level you gain will guarantee new skills and abilities.

What’s more, new characters will start at level one in a brand new starter zone designed to better showcase WoW’s combat and questing. Once you reach level 10, you can then choose any expansion to jump into, which will take you all the way to level 50 where you can begin Shadowlands. That’s right, you can now experience the entirety of Mists of Pandaria’s story instead of quickly outleveling it and having to move on.

Improved character customization and Death Knights available to all races

Shadowlands will also introduce a variety of new character customization options including human faces that better represent ethnic minorities instead of just different skin tones. Each race will have extra options like tattoos and hair styles to further differentiate how you look from other players.

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