WoW news

Shadowlands Developer Interview – Ion Hazzikostas

Shadowlands Developer Interview – Ion Hazzikostas
Zoltan sat down with Ion Hazzikostas to talk about Shadowlands!


  • This is the real Jailer. What we saw at Blizzcon was a silhouette of the Jailer that wasn’t final.
  • We’ll learn some about the history of the Arbiter and Jailer, the rulers, and what forces shaped the Shadowlands.
  • There are parallels between the Titans that rule Azeroth and the Pantheon of death that rules the Shadowlands.

Pre-Expansion Patch

  • The current plan is to tell the story of what happened to all of the Undead after the Helm of the Lich King. Main experience will be in Northrend and Icecrown.
  • Fight the way to the center of what happened to save our world. Bolvar and Death Knights will mobilize alongside the Horde and Alliance.
  • There will be a few one time story moments, time to resolve some of the threads, such as Nathanos.
  • There will be some re-playable outdoor content to help people coming back to gear up and get ready for Shadowlands.

More Lore

  • The team is generally planning two expansions in advance. Not a super detailed plan, but a higher level plan.
  • Bwonsamdi was really loved by players, so the team is happy to incorporate him into Shadowlands.
  • The Tyrande scenario is a piece of an endgame quest line, not the introduction.
  • Tyrande will be important in Shadowlands, has a connection to Ardenweald, her story is far from over.

Shadowlands Launch

  • The window given for launch at BlizzCon was just 2020, nothing has changed there.
  • Everyone can see development moving along.
  • The team will announce an exact release date when they are confident the expansion quality will be where it needs to be.


  • Covenant Abilities will be a gameplay choice. It’s part of playing a RPG.
  • As you go through each zone, you’ll get to sample each Covenant’s ability and aesthetic.
  • The team is going to use all of the aspects of Covenants to create packages with no one best choice.
  • The team has heard the feedback on the cost of changing Azerite armor. It was supposed to be expensive to discourage people from doing it often.
  • Soulbinds can be used everywhere.
  • Upon joining, you’ll have access to two Soulbinds that you’ll know from questing. You’ll unlock a third by doing your Covenant campaign questline.
  • You can swap Soulbinds when you go back to your Covenant’s sanctum.


  • The team is still tuning things. You might get one legendary item every 2-3 weeks. Probably similar to the rate you could acquire Legendary items in Legion, but not as random.
  • The team can’t let you do 20 Torghast runs a day and get rewards from all of them, but they want to let players have the ability to experience Torghast whenever you want.


  • Layering will be used as needed at launch.
  • The new Horde starting zone should be on Alpha in the next few weeks.
  • The team did the Alliance zone first so that they could fix bugs and respond to feedback before they build the Horde version.
  • The team wants leveling to be faster than it is today. Having to do 120 levels feels like an impossible barrier for new players.
  • Seven hours to level is probably too fast, but powerlevelers who are trying to do it as fast as possible are an outlier. Leveling speed hasn’t been tuned on Alpha.
  • The team is still figuring out how Shadowlands flying will work for new players that are leveling through Battle for Azeroth.
  • The team is still listening to feedback on how to handle flying moving forward.

Dungeons and Raids

  • The team will continue with Seasonal Affixes, so Shadowlands Season 1 will have one. It hasn’t been designed yet.
  • There might be some balance adjustments to existing affixes, or replace a couple if they have better ideas.
  • The team wants to make all of the dungeons playable on Mythic to understand what mechanics they can layer on top of them.
  • Legendary items will use the hardcore Maw set.


  • The additional customization that is being added in Shadowlands was overdue.
  • Many of the Allied Races already had more customization, so the team will come back to them at some point for more customizations.
  • Character customization will never be over, it’s an ongoing project.
  • The focus is Covenant armor and sets that match the raid’s team, but the team wants to return to class themed sets later in Shadowlands.
  • The team is open to more Allied Races, but there are no plans for any in Shadowlands.
  • There are no plans for blue eyes on Blood Elves.
  • You can apply any texture to any model, that doesn’t mean it’ll be a customization that you can get.
  • Character customizations will be on Alpha in the coming weeks, and then you’ll be able to see what options are actually planned.


  • PvP vendors are back, Conquest and Honor as well.
  • No new battlegrounds planned for launch, potentially a new arena.
  • Battlegrounds can be added in patches.
  • High end PvP accomplishments demonstrate what you did on that class. There aren’t plans to make PvP rewards account wide right now. The team will probably revisit this decision and see if it still makes sense and accomplishes what they want, especially with Mythic rewards being account wide.


  • The team will announce more about endgame as the Alpha cap gets to 60.
  • There will still be world quests, no more Emissaries. Covenant calling gives you world objectives with more variety than do X world quests.
  • Epic Covenant campaign that spans multiple weeks, unlocks Soulbind, tells story of Covenant.
  • Maw and Torghast progression.
  • Level up Covenant sanctum as a longer term goal. Get Anima and Souls to power it back up.
  • The Maw will open in the Alpha in a few weeks.
  • Shadowlands will take you to the Maw as soon as the expansion starts. You’ll go back in a few times while leveling, rescuing souls that are important.
  • The Maw will be a max level zone, with the Eye of the Jailer mechanic.

Controller Settings

  • There are no current plans to bring WoW to consoles.
  • The controller settings were added to help improve accessibility.


  • The team likes updating the old world, but they have to maintain a balance between improving old areas and creating new ones.
  • There are no plans to overhaul Stormwind and Orgrimmar right now.


  • The team is working on figuring out what will come next.
  • Burning Crusade is a logical option.