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BlizzCon 2019 – World of Warcraft: What’s Next

BlizzCon 2019 – World of Warcraft: What’s Next
Ion talked about what is coming in Shadowlands!

Shadowlands

  • This isn’t one of those expansions that gets on a ship and sails off to a new continent.
  • We are going to another plane of existence, the afterlife!
  • Deep dive tomorrow on features and systems.
  • Six primal forces – Light, Shadow, Order, Disorder, Life, Death.
  • Souls cross the veil between life and death.
  • Souls come before the ancient entity, the Arbiter.
  • Soul comes before Arbiter and she sees all of the deeds and misdeeds, thoughts, aspirations, triumphs, failures.
  • Arbiter sends that soul off to one of many realms, each ruled over by a powerful Covenant.
  • Each soul brings anima with them. Great souls have more, more humble lives have less.
  • Anima is the mana of the Shadowlands, source that is drawn upon to conduct the magic of death.
  • We focus on four realms, Oribos (central city), and The Maw.
  • Bastion
    • Ruled by Kyrian – Forebearers of Spirit Healers and Valykir
    • Ordered and purposeful, called to service
    • Souls shed their past burdens and seek virtue
    • Lots of meditation and reflection
    • Uther ended up here and we’ll see him again
    • Bastion is the BlizzCon demo zone.
  • Maldraxxus
    • Rules by Necrolord Covenant
    • Heart of the Shadowland’s military might
    • Forces that were called upon by the Lich King
    • Survival of the fittest, not strictly evil
    • Power can be used for evil, but it’s more about an unrelenting spirit, inward and outward strength
    • Draka ended up here.
    • Think of Legion as the old Burning Crusade style turned up to 11, Maldraxxus is Eastern Plaguelands turned up to 11.
  • Ardenweald
    • Enchanted fairy forrest
    • Ruled by the Night Fae
    • Emerald Dream’s dark mirror.
    • A place of rest, death, and preparation for rebirth.
    • Spirits of nature called here.
    • Cenarius ended up here.
    • Magical ancient trees, Drust forest.
  • Revendreth
    • Creepy Gothic zone, soaring castles, horrors around every corner
    • Ruled by Venthyr
    • Isn’t the place you want to go as a soul
    • Souls sent here have a flaw or were prideful, sent here to atone for their sins.
    • Kael’thas ended up here.
    • Light has broken through clouds in some areas, searing the earth.
    • Exposure to the light does horrible things to the souls in this land.

Covenant

  • Ruling power of the Shadowlands, four of them.
  • This is the major feature of Shadowlands. BfA had fewer smaller features.
  • Integrated into every part of the game.
  • Each Covenant will seek your aid and offer power and rewards.
  • There is a full endgame narrative campaign. BfA had Horde and Alliance campaigns, now there are four!
  • Each covenant has two active abilities, one being class specific. Will change your gameplay.
  • Endgame progression system – Soulbind. Bind your soul to a denizen of the Shadowlands, customization, more. It builds upon lessons learned from Heart of Azeroth.
  • No Artifact Power to grind this time around.
  • Lots of cosmetic rewards for each Covenant, armor sets and more.
  • Each Covenant has a Sanctum to restore to glory, similar to Suramar or Class Halls.
  • Spear of Bastion – 25 yd range, instant, 1 min CD. Throw a spear doing damage, DoT. Enemies are tethered to location for duration. Generates Rage.
  • Unburden – 1 sec cast, 2 min CD.
  • Covenant Cloaks – Each will have cloak replacements or back attachments. Get wings, a halo, or more!
  • Oribos, the Eternal City. Old city, Arbiter at the core, gathering point for brokers and soul traders. Politics of entire dimension centered around this city. It will be the main player city in this expansion.
  • The Maw isn’t a Covenant, horrific prison for worst souls, a mystery even to natives. Jailer’s domain from which nothing has ever escaped.
  • Jailer is almost a boogeyman, nothing is known about him.

Death

  • Death itself is broken.
  • Instead of coming before the Arbiter, souls are pouring directly into the Maw, causing it to grow and become stronger.
  • Other realms are starved of Anima, the Shadowlands wither.
  • Sylvanas has taken actions to cause the maximum amount of death possible.
  • The Jailer isn’t Sylvanas’s master, they are working together. Eventually we’ll discover their common goal.
  • How did Sylvanas grow so powerful in recent years? As the Maw’s power grew, so did hers.

Expansion

  • Pre-patch – Scourge are marauding across Azeroth. Scourge invasion 2.0.
  • Azeroth’s heroes make for Icecrown, trying to attack the source of this evil.
  • Bolvar isn’t dead, just defeated. He is a key figure in this fight. He has one foot in each realm and understands them both.
  • Head into the Maw!
  • We have a unique bond to Azeroth, allowing us to escape the Maw. Not everyone will be able to escape, including some great champions of Azeroth.
  • We move on to Oribos, level through four zones in order.
  • The team wants to have a strong narrative arc, going through the zones, working with them and gaining their trust. Allowed to borrow their powers, previewing what you can choose later.
  • Eventually you make the big choice at Level 60, which Covenant will you choose.
  • You pick one, have their power permanently, and work on the campaign.
  • Alts will be able to pick a Covenant immediately! Level up through any zones in any order, do world quests, and more.
  • Alts can earn endgame progression while leveling. Unlock powers with your Soulbinds, and more.
  • Your alts will be meaningfully ahead of where your main was when it hit level 60.

The Maw

  • Max-level fearsome zone.
  • This area wants to kill you at every turn, matching the fantasy of the space.
  • The center of the Maw is Torghast, Tower of the Damned. This is the second main feature of the expansion.
  • Torghast is a ever-changing dungeon. Endless halls, environment constantly changes.
  • You can do Torghast solo or with up to 4 friends.
  • Endgame progression that is solo or group focused.
  • Earn permanent upgrades over time, absorb anima that will upgrade or transform your powers.
  • Anima choice – Increase crit damage/healing by 10%, Flame Shock lasts forever, or Fire Elemental lasts forever, but you can’t cast Frost spells.

Dungeons and Raids

  • 8 dungeons in addition to Torghast – 4 level up and 4 max-level.
  • The Other Side – Dungeon that is a pocket dimension with Bwonsamdi
  • Castle Nathria – 10 boss raid in Revendreth
  • Come in the front door, ascend the castle, face the lord of the castle.

Systems and Rewards

  • Team wants to increase player agency.
  • Professions – Currently if you want to make some armor, you have a few stats you want. Crit/Haste? Make pants over and over until you get the ones you want. What if you could take a Crit and Haste gem, add them as optional materials, and be guaranteed the pants you want.
  • Armor crafting professions should be more relevant at endgame.
  • Weekly loot chest – Giant loot pool, plus some RNG. Usually walking away disappointed after the first few weeks. Randomness has gone too far!
  • Chest replaced with 5 or 6 options to choose from, system takes into account all the activities you did. Will be a universal fallback option.
  • Legion legendary items were super fun, people didn’t like how they were obtained.
  • Shadowlands legendaries are worked towards crafting through work in Torghast. Earn access to powers and then work towards building the legendary that suits your goal. Repeat for the next.
  • Shadowlands will return to class identity as opposed to spec identity.
  • Return abilities that have been taken away and make some spec specific ones class specific again.
  • Holinka the Unpruner will talk about this more tomorrow.
  • Streamlined leveling experience, level from 50 to 60 in Shadowlands.
  • Level squish is going to allow for a better pace for content and granting skills.
  • Every level should unlock something. This is an RPG and that is what levels should do.
  • Modern new player zone, can play through any expansion in its entirety to get 1-50.

Character Customization

  • Improving customization to existing races.
  • More options than ever before.
  • Trolls are getting full body tattoos, tusk shapes, skin colors, eye colors separate from face.
  • Dwarves are getting a wildhammer look, hair and skin colors, and more.
  • Undead are getting the option to hide the bones.
  • Humans are getting new races, skin colors, hair, eyes, and more.
  • Everyone can be a Death Knight in Shadowlands!