World of Warcraft: Shadowlands – A Comprehensive Overview
Attention, gamers! The newest World of Warcraft expansion will be released soon after a much-anticipated waiting period. The new expansion, Shadowlands, is slated to arrive in Fall 2020, meaning that we do not have much longer to wait.
This is the eighth expansion to World of Warcraft, and it implements a whole plethora of new features, including 6 new zones to explore and Covenants. The expansion is available to be pre-ordered in different tiers, all with varying prices and rewards. These prices range from the Base Edition ($39.99) to the Collector’s Edition ($119.99), so there are a lot of factors to consider.
Exploring the Deep Lore of Shadowlands
World of Warcraft has a constantly evolving lore, and the addition of Shadowlands is no exception. Sylvanas Windrunner, the disgraced fallen leader of the Horde, makes a return in this addition, alongside other familiar faces. She has managed to pierce the thin shroud that separates Azeroth and the realm of the dead, beginning a chain of events that can possibly upset the sacred balance between life and death themselves.
In the past few years, the machine of death has broken, and those souls taken to the Shadowlands are no longer brought through The Arbiter before being taken to The Maw.
As a direct consequence of these events, Sylvannas Windrunner and the Jailer are only becoming more and more powerful with each death. A large number of innocent souls, not excluding those civilians massacred during the War of Thorns, are now wrongfully being punished in The Maw.
As heroes and adventurers journey to the Shadowlands, they too will be trapped in The Maw. However, due to their unique bond with Azeroth, they will not be forced to endure eternal torment within The Maw. Tragically, some of their friends and allies may need to be left behind, while the adventurers continue onwards to hopefully learn more about the realms of the dead- and to return and release their allies from their chains.
New Character Customizations Coming to WoW
This new expansion brings a ton of lore with it, alongside some fresh cosmetic updates. Some of these customizations have already been previewed at BlizzCon, although more will be shown through the development cycle for Shadowlands.
Some of the unique character customizations include having your eye color different from your skin color, changing your character’s gender through the Barber Shop, and the new skin tones, hairstyles, and facial hair options for most races. Another interesting addition is the ability to have mismatched eye colors, as well as blinded eyes if you wish.
These new character customization updates arrive as a push for more skin tones and other identifying features to be made available for WoW races.
The addition of many new hairstyles such as mohawks and fauxhawks will allow users to express their creativity, and maybe even have characters who look more like them, which is always a good thing. Additionally, aside from skin tone changes, Forsaken will actually be able to change their level of decay to a degree of their choosing.
This means that if you wish to be a zombie, but not some decaying pile of flesh, you can still look relatively normal and be undead. Druids will be getting the choice of choosing their Druid form racial appearance, and may also be receiving new, exclusive tattoo options. All in all, these new customization options will only improve an already packed expansion update.
Shadowlands’ New and Unique Leveling System
With this new expansion comes a controversial decision from the team at WoW to include a level squish alongside this new expansion. In the history of World of Warcraft, only 2 previous item squishes have ever been implemented in previous expansions, and these were after much thought.
Players at the previous standard maximum level of 120 in Battle for Azeroth will be reduced all the way down to level 50 in Shadowlands, with the Shadowlands expansion level cap being reduced to 60. It is not currently public knowledge how the squish will be applied on all the levels from Battle for Azeroth below 120.
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New Zones and Maps in Shadowlands
Shadowlands brings with it a whole wealth of new features, content, and characters. One thing it certainly does not lack is the zones and new areas arriving with it.
The first zone, Oribos, the Eternal City, is the player’s main hub throughout the Shadowlands expansion. It is where mortal souls go to be judged by The Arbiter before being sent to the other realms in the Shadowlands. The nexus of the Shadowlands, Oribos, is where soul traders, power brokers, and various other gamblers, traders, and merchants gather to do business. This is where the player will be safest throughout the Shadowlands.
Bastion, the pristine paradise of the Shadowlands, is where souls deemed by The Arbiter to be drawn to service are sent. It is ruled by the Kyrian covenant, and souls there are allowed to peacefully reflect on their life and work towards a state of bliss. They are encouraged to let go of their lifetime’s burdens and to strive towards ascending. Filled with crystalline spires and astounding weather, Bastion is the place all souls should work towards achieving.
Maldraxxus is the home of the Shadowlands’ military powers, governed over by the Necrolord covenant. Not all the souls who reside in Maldraxxus are evil, although there are plenty of abominations and necromancers to keep those adventurers who like danger satisfied.
The souls of Maldraxxus are battle-hardened, sent there by The Arbiter due to their unyielding nature and their experiences in battle throughout their past lives. Maldraxxus is a survival-of-the-fittest environment, and most certainly not intended for the faint of heart.
Ardenweald is the domain of the Night Fae covenant, an enchanted forest that is practically a Dark Mirror to Azeroth’s Emerald Dream. Ardenweald is a place that revolves around the rebirth of worthy souls, and The Arbiter will send those who are deemed to be heavily inclined to nature there. Focusing on the rest, rejuvenation, and hibernation of those souls who qualify for rebirth, Ardenweald is perhaps the most peaceful place in the Shadowlands- if you are chosen to be reborn, that is.
Revendreth is the realm for souls who need to be punishment, but who have also been decided redeemable by the Arbiter. A land of towering gothic spires and mysterious secrets, Revendreth is ruled by the Venethyr covenant. The torment inflicted by the vampiric Venethyr is successful in changing souls’ nature for the better, more often than not. However, if a soul remains prideful or flawed in life, there is always The Maw.
The Maw is where souls go who are considered too dangerous to be kept anywhere else in the Shadowlands by The Arbiter. Ruled by The Jailer, a being who has never been seen before, this is a dark place filled with hopelessness and despair. Any adventurers who have attempted to explore the swirling vortex that is The Maw were never seen again.
If the ancient, dark evil that is contained there were ever to be set free, the free world as we know it would be completely destroyed. As more and more souls are sent directly to The Maw, bypassing The Arbiter, this region grows increasingly powerful, alongside The Jailer and Sylvanas Windrunner. This is due to the Anima from the souls (soul essence) being sent only to The Maw.
Shadowlands’ Dungeons and Raids
There is a combined total of 10 dungeons and raids that will be made available during the initial release of Shadowlands, although speculation suggests there are more to come. 1 raid, 5 caps, and 4 leveling will be the types of dungeons and raids that can be accessed right off the bat. The 4 leveling dungeons are as follows: The Necrotic Wake, Plaguefall, Mists of Tirna Scithe, and the grandiose Halls of Atonement.
There will be a large variety of unique mobs and bosses to contend with throughout these dungeons, so being on guard at all times will be critical if you wish to make it out alive. The 5 cap dungeons will be Theater of Pain, The Other Side (a troll pocket dimension where the god Bwonsamdi keeps his followers in the afterlife), Spires of Ascension, Sanguine Depths, and Thorgast, Tower of the Damned.
The last dungeon, Thorgast, Tower of the Damned, is incredibly unique in that it is a procedurally-generated special dungeon. This means that it will be unlike anything else you will face in the Shadowlands. Therefore, being prepared to overcome any and all obstacles will be something you should focus on.
The raid, Castle Nathria, is located in Revendreth, and it contains 10 new and extremely powerful bosses to face off against. Among these bosses are Shriekwing, Sludgefist, and the Hungering Destroyer. If you feel that any of the bosses that call Castle Nathria home are overpowered, and you cannot beat them, be sure to check out https://boostcarry.com to enlist some help! While we take care of the boss for you, we welcome you to join the fight or to just chill out and pick up the loot at the end.
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Exploring the New ‘Faction’ Feature: Covenants
A cool new addition to Shadowlands and World of Warcraft as a whole is something called Covenants. In the new expansion world of Shadowlands, there are four powers that each govern a portion of the realm.
Souls are sent to one of these four groups based on the decisions made by The Arbiter, the mysterious, all-knowing entity who chooses where souls go in the afterlife. The four Covenants are all unique in their powers, and the cosmetics and abilities you can unlock with them vary on a case-by-case basis.
The Kyrian Covenant of Bastion rules over all those souls that have lived a full life of service, giving them an opportunity to look over their past deeds. All souls under the protection of the Kyrians seek the ultimate honor of ascension to become a Kyrian themselves.
The fierce and mighty Necrolords of Maldraxxus govern over all the battle-hardened souls sent from The Arbiter, and they recognize and honor strength and might, while the weaker souls become fuel for the Maldraxxus’ galactic superweapons. Those souls whose loyalty and determination stand out among the crowd can quickly and easily advance in power and standing among the Necrolords.
The Night Fae of Ardenweald accepts all those souls with a truly deep and understanding connection to nature. They particularly specialize in using the Anima in the Shadowlands to infuse the worthy slumbering spirits with the knowledge of old and preparing them for rebirth.
The Venthyr of Revendreth are the chosen tormentors of those souls who were prideful, and sinned or were flawed in life, but who The Arbiter believes may obtain redemption. The Venthyr punish those who lived a life full of sins, being the judge, jury, and executioner of whether they have earned redemption in the Shadowlands.
All of these Covenants can be selected by the player; however, you may only be a part of one at a time. And changing from one to the other will come with a hefty price tag. The changes between Covenants go much farther than cosmetics, with abilities being unique to some Covenants only. Choosing a covenant is most likely your biggest character choice throughout the entirety of Shadowlands.
This is due to the fact that each Covenant provides different signature and class abilities, Soulbinds, and even cosmetic rewards such as covenant-themed armor with back details and upgradable mounts.
A brand-new addition to this expansion is the new feature of Anima. Anima is something your character collects over time via many different sources. It can be used on multiple things throughout the Shadowlands, such as purchasing new cosmetics, changing your Covenant loyalty, and many more.
Many players are drawing similarities between Anima, Azerite, and Artifact Power. However, there is a crucial difference. Artifact Power and Azerite are both infinitely grindable, while Anima is actually capped at a certain amount within a given time frame.
This means that there is only a set limit of Anima each player can collect per day, allowing everyone to possibly progress at the same speed. This also means that people can focus on other things and not worry about falling behind in the Anima collection race to fully max out your character.
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How Soulbinding Works
Taking a page straight out of Wizards of the Coast’s playbook, the team developing World of Warcraft has decided to add Soulbinding to the Shadowlands. The way this works is very similar to the popular card game Magic The Gathering, in which you can soulbind one creature with another. Anyways, the new feature is available to all Covenants, and it allows you to learn special abilities from the person you are soulbound to.
This means that you can learn new skills that are entirely exclusive to only your Covenant, which makes for a large variety of unique combinations and possibilities.
Another advantage of this feature is that it makes Covenants a whole lot deeper than just being cosmetic differences. This allows the feature to rival Factions in other expansions, by having new abilities working hand in hand with the Covenants – such as the aforementioned Anima and Soulbinding.
The best part about being soulbound to another creature is that if you find a powerful character who inhabits the Shadowlands and you match your soul with theirs, you can be strengthened dramatically. After soulbinding with them, you can level them up with the Anima that you collect (or buy from BoostCarry’s Anima service), and this can be a passive advantage to your overall character’s power. This brings a whole wealth of new powers and abilities that characters can have, and even adds an additional surprise factor and unique new PvP interactions.
Exploring Torghast, Tower of the Damned
Deep within the absolute heart of the Maw stands a terrible structure known only as Torghast, Tower of the Damned. Trapped within are the cruelest and evilest spirits to have ever existed, sentenced to an eternity of torment inside the cursed walls of the tower. Torghast is an exclusive, procedurally-generated dungeon, with a player capacity of anywhere between 1 and 5 people at a time.
This means that you can take on the dungeon with friends over and over again, and still have different and unique experiences each attempt. As you scale the tower and advance through the levels, both you and your many enemies will increasingly grow in power.
The Jailer will continually release ever more powerful creatures to attempt to halt your advance and thwart your aspirations. To overcome these challenges that will be thrown your way, be sure to collect Anima and use it towards boosting your perks in order to increase your survivability.
A word of caution, however. It is essential that you (and your friends and companions) are prepared to fend off the quickly increasing powerful levels of monsters that will come your way. Torghast, Tower of the Damned will throw everything it has at you in order to slow you down, so bringing only your absolute best weapons to the fight will help keep you ahead of the soft timer.
Within the tower, you’ll also find epic powers to use, such as the Golden Idol, which grants the ability to see which enemies are carrying Anima. This provides you and your party with the timesaving ability to determine which enemies will be most beneficial to kill, helping you determine if your party should take them on or leave them be and move on.
All of the unique abilities that you and your party can possibly collect throughout Torghast, Tower of the Damned, and will all undoubtedly lead to fresh and interesting gameplay experiences. However, be sure to keep your confidence routinely in check. This is because powers and abilities that seem to be OP on one floor may be utterly useless on another.
As an example, if you have an ability that targets a certain creature race, then perhaps for three floors in a row, you will be unstoppable- but on the fourth, you will fail completely. Coordinating your abilities and what you spend your collected Anima upon can be the difference between winning and losing throughout Torghast, Tower of the Damned. By ensuring that you have strong synergy with the rest of your party, you will be able to crush anything The Jailer could possibly throw your way.
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Legendaries in Shadowlands: The Forge of Domination
While the developers of World of Warcraft did indeed state that they enjoyed how legendaries could be acquired in Legion, they disliked the RNG feel and style of the methods used to obtain said legendaries. Therefore, they have changed that system by implementing a new method to obtain the most coveted items.
The Forge of Domination, where the fabled Frostmourne and Lich King’s Helm were both initially crafted, will be accessible to players upon the release of the Shadowlands expansion. This unprecedented system has actually been described as working similar to that of Mechagon, where players have a sort of punch-card system and can attach affixes to legendary items.
Ultimately, all of the crafting professions are going to develop the ability to make base-level weapons and other pieces, in order to combine them into a customized legendary.
To use The Forge of Domination, players will take the piece that they have crafted and meld it with other components that will be found all around the world that is the Shadowlands. After that, you will take the new abilities that you want, and head to The Forge of Domination.
As the final step, you will combine all of the items and pieces that you wish to be a part of your legendary, and use it to create a new weapon that has been fully created by you, and you alone.
This new method of allowing players to create wholly unique weapons is a groundbreaking implementation for World of Warcraft, and the implications, benefits, and consequences have yet to be seen. The power of the legendary weapons created with The Forge of Domination is only limited by the player’s own imagination, and this means that there are boundless opportunities for all.
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The New Mounts Coming With Shadowlands
Alongside many new bosses, raids, dungeons, and other features, new and unique mounts are arriving with the Shadowlands expansion. Due to data mining, an early look at the mounts coming to Shadowlands is widely available across multiple websites. Some of these models are new spins on recognizable mounts, such as stags, boars, horses, unicorns (which will automatically have the ability to fly), bears, bats, chimeras, cats, and even devourers.
There are some new species of mounts that will be available as well, such as roc, winged lions, giant beasts, and death wargs. Based on the sneak peek that data mining gives speculators, it appears that there are mounts unique to each zone in the Shadowlands, including Bastion and Ardenweald. This may mean that, by traveling to different zones, players will be able to unlock unique mount types that are not available in other places.
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New Shadowlands Achievements
Along with all of the other new features, powers, weapons, and cosmetics, the achievement hunters of World of Warcraft will be pleased to hear that there will be many new achievements being brought into the game for Shadowlands.
An early look at the new achievements in Shadowlands includes a change to the Allied Race requirements – they are no longer exalted with the related reputation. There are also additional Feats of Strength and other goals to grind for, and trying to unlock and complete every single one will take some time, skill and dedication. Some of the most rewarding achievements found from the data mining operation include:
- Absolution for All: Help 100 souls complete their ritual of absolution in Revendreth
- Crypt Kicker: Open 50 Atonement Crypts while exploring Revendreth
- Thanks for the Mementos: Obtain 1000 Corrupted Mementos.
- WoW’s 16th Anniversary: Log in during World of Warcraft’s 16th anniversary
- Shadowlands Keystone Conqueror: Season One – Feats of Strength: Complete all the Shadowlands Season One dungeons within the time limit (at Mythic Level 10+)
- Shadowland Keystone Master: Season One – Feats of Strength: Complete all the Shadowlands Season One dungeons within the time limit (at Mythic Level 15+)
- Shriekwing: Defeat the Shriekwing in Castle Nathria (Normal+ difficulty)
- Sludgefist: Defeat the Sludgefist in Castle Nathria (Normal+ difficulty)
- Glory of the Nathria Raider: Complete both the Shriekwing Achievement and the Sludgefist Achievement
New Сhanges in World of Warcraft Classes
Every single one of the World of Warcraft classes is being balanced and/or changed in the new Shadowlands expansion, including but not limited to Druids, Hunters, Death Knights, Paladins, and Shamans. Paladins, for example, have been changed multiple times.
For example, the unique way that Protection Paladins will generate Holy Power has been changed in order to smooth out the rotation. Additionally, Holy Power is back for all specializations of Paladins, which means more fun for each and every user. The melee ability Avenging Wrath’s cooldown has been reduced by a whole 60 seconds, which will surely make a large difference in the viability of Paladins.
Another class that has been changed is the Hunters, which, reportedly after much deliberation by the World of Warcraft team, no longer has the Wing Clip ability.
That controversial decision was made due to the reported over-powered quality of said ability. Instead, Hunters will have the Concussive Shot, a ranged attack that will daze the target for 6 seconds, slowing their entire movement speed by 50%. The ability Steady Shot will most likely increase the duration of Concussive Shot by a whopping 3 seconds, which is 50% of the original time.
All in all, many class changes will be coming to World of Warcraft. The community seems excited about the modifications for the most part, as changing abilities through buffs and nerfs is part of what keeps a game stable, active, and always having fresh gameplay.
By having an active development team such as World of Warcraft’s, the game is able to avoid becoming stale for longtime players, while remaining easy for newer players to get into. A fine balance that not many games are able to maintain. Speaking of new abilities and class changes, there is going to be an Unpruning. More on that below.
Abilities and Talents Being Added Alongside Shadowlands
In the past, many abilities have been merged into Talents or wholly removed from World of Warcraft. However, along with the update and incredible new features that Shadowlands will bring to the game, there are many abilities coming out of the ‘vault,’ so to speak.
Some of the popular abilities being added back in World of Warcraft include ‘Raise Dead,’ an ability that the Death Knight Class can use, and Mages Frost Bolt and Fire Blast ranged attacks. These, among other new (and occasionally controversial) adjustments to the game, are what helps to keep the World of Warcraft community on its toes, always needing to be ready to adapt to any and all changes that are thrown their way.
This Unpruning promises to be a great change to the whole meta of World of Warcraft, redefining many classes as we know them entirely.
With this fresh update, perhaps even older players will return to the game. This means that popular classes such as Paladins and Druids may no longer be the best options, depending on how good the abilities released for other classes are compared to theirs.
How Shadowlands is Changing PvP
During the Alpha development update for the Shadowlands expansion, Blizzard has shown that they care about their community’s input by adding the much-requested feature of PvP vendors. With the addition of these merchants, players can once again focus on specific PvP items that they want to acquire.
They can also use the coveted Conquest points to upgrade their items and make them stronger in battle. This means that Conquest is once again a spendable currency earned through Shadowlands Rated PvP. Naturally, players will be able to use Conquest points to purchase the specific items of their choosing from the vendors who will be residing in the capital city of the Shadowlands, Oribos.
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