WoW news

Shadowlands Press Event – Developer Interviews and More

UpdateAdded Judgehype interview with Patrick Dawson
UpdateAdded GeekCulture Interview with Ion Hazzikostas
UpdateAdded WarcraftRadio interview with Patrick Dawson
UpdateAdded MrGM Interview with Morgan Day
UpdateAdded Eurogamer Interview with John Hight
UpdateAdded HellofaRead Interview with Morgan Day

Shadowlands Press Event Recap
Blizzard recently held a Press Event for Shadowlands. We’ll be updating the post below today with interview recaps, so keep checking back!

WarcraftRadio Interview with Patrick Dawson
WarcraftRadio interviewed Patrick Dawson on Shadowlands.

  • A new idea has been pitched to make sure Torghast doesn’t get too much easier as you progress through floors.
  • The reward structure for Shadowlands is making sure player agency is the main factor.
  • The team has been discussing how to further give customization options to druid forms or even things like Paladin wings.
  • The faction imbalance is something that the team is constantly discussing. Top end raiding is a particular issue. They don’t want to give the Alliance too much power to counter it, however.
  • Realm health is a factor in faction imbalance that the team is addressing by launch day.
  • The death of the Old Gods will definitely gain the attention of the Void Lords.
  • The community team is working on an article to address things to accomplish before Shadowlands, such as when the brutosaur is going away.
  • The team is just starting with the new customization options. As they see what people like and engage with, they will add more options as time goes on.
  • The purpose of bringing the PvP vendor back was based on community feedback. It was a thank you to the community for letting them know how they wanted to interact with the game.
  • Classic has helped the team understand a bit more about what players want. The team sees the two games as separate, however.
  • The team has discussed having pet battles added to the companion app. There are no plans right now, however.
  • There is a lot more work to do in giving players more ways to represent themselves in game.
  • The prelaunch event will likely have more information when the 9.0 PTR starts. It will likely be a few weeks after prepatch and before launch.

MrGM Interview – Artifact Weapon Mog Spec Restrictions Lifted, Heirloom Exp Buffs Removed
MrGM interviewed Morgan Day on new things coming in Shadowlands.

  • Torghast and the Maw will feature mounts to collect as rewards.
  • The death elemental seen in the Maw is the mount reward for season 1 Mythic Plus.
  • Weapon Swapping should be allowed in Mythic Plus again. Morgan Day made a note of this!
  • Shadowlands will have multiple objectives spread throughout many different play styles (Mythic Plus, Raids, PvP) that will add additional reward choices to your weekly chest. If none of the items presented are an upgrade, there is a valuable currency to pick instead.
  • The team wanted to focus on making Castle Nathria feel like a real living space.
  • The Theater of Pain dungeon is inspired by Naxxramas.
  • Legion Timewalking will not be added at launch, but it is something that will be explored in a future content update.
  • Legendaries in Shadowlands are mostly influenced by previous set bonuses. Thunderfury’s proc was too unqiue and will likely not be something added to a legendary in Shadowlands.
  • In Shadowlands, Legion artifact weapon transmog will not be limited to spec. If you have the look for the artifact weapon, you can transmog it in any spec!
  • Heirlooms will no longer have experience bonuses. They are looking to replace it with something that is not a raw percentage increase.
  • There are no new class combinations for existing races in Shadowlands, but the team is always looking into adding it where it makes sense.

Shadowlands – Auto Battle Mission Table
Preach shared a video of the Auto Battle system we started to see data added for.

Shadowlands – Legendary Crafting UI
Towelliee shared a video of the legendary crafting UI.

Developer Interview – Ion Hazzikostas
Windowscentral shared a interview with Blizzard.

Character Customization

  • There was a large engineering undertaking to rebuild how characters are put together under the hood, allowing for the new customization.
  • More character customization will be added even after Shadowlands release.

Starting Experience and Leveling

  • There is a lot the team would do differently with Island Expeditions. They took lessons from Islands and applied them to Torghast, which should feel more replayable.
  • The team wanted to create a better starting experience, as the current game starts you with content that was made 10 years ago and doesn’t reflect how the game is built today. That content wasn’t created with a new player in mind in some cases.
  • The new intro experience reflects the World of Warcraft as of 2020. There are treasures, other players around, optional rares, a mini-dungeon, and more.
  • The more linear leveling experience in Shadowlands is an experiment. It’s easier to tell a broader progressive narrative when you’ll visit zones in a specific order.
  • The sense of danger and struggle was lost when you could level through zones in any order, as a new zone didn’t feel difficult due to the scaling.
  • After you level your main character, then you can experience the zones in any order on alts.
  • Keeping EU and US separate systems isn’t great experience or design choice that the team would make. It would be great if one day people could play across both regions.

Legendary Items

  • The ability to make multiple legendaries over the course of a raid tier with the limit of only one that you can equip at any given time, create interesting decisions, but players have control over these decisions.
  • You’ll probably acquire legendaries faster than you did in Legion, but the final rate hasn’t been determined yet.

Covenants, Soulbinds, and Conduits

  • The team wants players to be able to pick the Covenant that they think is cool and enjoy playing more rather than having to pick one for power reasons.
  • Making Covenant swapping easy would be a last resort. Choices in an RPG are what define your character and let you carve out an identity that’s different from every other player around you because they reflect your priorities.
  • The goal is for all end-game systems to be accessible within your first week. It’ll be paced a little bit so that you don’t arrive at your Covenant and have a ton of systems unlocked.
  • Soulbinds and Conduits are simple modifications that should be powerful that you customize your class and spec abilities for certain situations.
  • Conduits are bonus items on top of the helm or the shoulders you might get from defeating a dungeon boss or a raid boss.
  • Conduits are put into the Soulbind device in your Covenant sanctum and replacing it will destroy the existing one in that slot.
  • You’ll need to be in your Covenant Sanctum to change your Soulbind. Respeccing the Soulbind will be a minimal anima cost. You’ll need to unlock the full tree over time, it’s only fully unlocked in Alpha for testing.

Story

  • The Horde is definitely in for a period of rebuilding.
  • The Horde vs Alliance story isn’t the main focus at the outset of Shadowlands, but there will be some story there.
  • Having the final boss known at the start of the expansion makes telling the story easier, somewhat like Deathwing in Cataclysm.
  • Recent expansions haven’t revealed the end boss to preserve twists in the story. Sometimes the story needed to be told before the end boss made sense.
  • One of the challenges in creating Shadowlands is introducing a villain and building up a villain for the very first time that we previously have known nothing about
  • Villains need to be at least at Titan power level now to be a credible threat.

Shadowlands – Change Gender in Barber Shop for Free
According to an article posted on Eurogamer, Blizzard will be dropping the store fee for changing your character’s gender and adding the ability to do it for free at the Barbershop! The following is a quote from John Hight taken from the article:

Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment

A long time ago, we had the ability for players to go in – it was actually a paid service – and change their character. Much of that is now in the barber shop in the game,” he said. “And as we were adding things up in Shadowlands, we realised, ‘Gosh the only way you can change your gender in World of Warcraft is to go through this paid service.’ And we felt like that’s not the right message.

“Unfortunately we can’t fix that right now but it is our intent with Shadowlands to take that out of being a paid service thing and [put it] in the barber shop. But that’s not something we can easily hotfix – unfortunately we can’t do that right now. It is something that we’re going to have in Shadowlands itself.

HellofaRead Interview – Raid Bosses, Mythic Plus, and Secrets of the Maw
HellofaRead sat down with Morgan Day to discuss Shadowlands!

  • Covenants
    • Covenants will also introduce Callings, which are an extension of the emissary system that guide you through the end-game and give new objectives with fun rewards that you can take back to your sanctum to help progress the story.
    • There will be all kinds of stuff you get to see and engage with as you help refuel your Covenant Sanctum with anima.
    • Each covenant has a unique story and and features that provide different experiences for a person who plays alts based on their choice of covenant.
    • Renown is the main catch-up mechanic for Shadowlands. If will be capped to a certain number that can be earned every week unless you are behind. Callings will grant you Renown upon completion if you are behind. Further sources will be Mythic+ and Pvp if you are even more behind.
    • The team wants to use the Beta to introduce these systems in a way that won’t overwhelm the players.
    • The team hopes to use other aspects granted by your covenant to balance strengths and weaknesses of the class ability. Things like conduits and soulbinds will have unique spec-specific bonuses that might help balance your decision.
  • Castle Nathria Raid
    • One of the bosses in Castle Nathria is a broker that Lord Denathrius has employed to curate artefacts, weapons, and objects that he has acquired from throughout the Shadowlands. These objects will be used during the encounter.
    • Castle Nathria will be broken into 3 wings with 3 bosses each before the final fight. One of these wings is a giant ballroom with stained glass and a dance floor. A fight that takes place here will have you do mechanics that feel like a dance.
  • Mythic Plus
    • The seasonal affix in the start of Shadowlands Mythic+ will be themed around Castle Nathria.
    • The team is making changes to current affixes as well as discussing the potential for new ones, but the team is trying to rework current ones to make a lot of them less of a healer issue and give incentive to do appropriately. The example given is having Volcanic do less damage, but cause a knock up if hit.
    • The Maw will use the Eye of the Jailer system in which you will gain the ire of the Jailer while doing activities such as collecting anima or freeing souls. He will eventually send assassins after you among other things to make you feel unwelcome.
    • The Maw is also where you collect a currency called Stygia, which you have to collect and physically carry out of the Maw by bringing it to a specific location to extract it. if you die while carrying it, you will have to find where you dropped it and retrieve it again.
  • Miscellaneous
    • Morgan cannot say off the top of his head if a new expensive mount like the Brutosaur is being added in Shadowlands.

Judgehype Interview with Patrick Dawson
Judgehype interviewed Patrick Dawson on Shadowlands.

  • The Shadowlands experience is broadly linked to Shadowlands. Do not expect to return to Azeroth to complete certain quests.
  • Blizzard will add new and more powerful conduits over the course of the expansion, making it necessary to seek out new conduits the entire expansion with each update. Nothing is final, but this is probably how it will work.
  • Diminishing returns will ensure that you do not have to do an obscene amount of work to stay competitive.
  • Players who want to go the extra mile will be able to obtain cosmetic items.
  • There will not be a new class at all during Shadowlands.
  • There will be several sources to acquire legendary recipes in Shadowlands.
  • Achievements such as Herald of the Titans will be adjusted for the level squish.
  • There are still no plans to port WoW to consoles.
  • There will be nothing new for archaeology in Shadowlands.

GeekCulture Interview with Ion Hazzikostas
GeekCulture interviewed Ion Hazzikostas on Shadowlands.

  • The team first designed the shadowlands with 4 distinct zones that represent different aspects of death.
  • While leaving a covenant is a relatively straightforward process, coming back to one isn’t as easy, as it is akin to “breaking” an oath.
  • Players who do so will incur penalties, such as the inability to claim covenant-exclusive rewards such as armor, and even soulbind abilities. They will still be able to access sanctum content and currency, however.
  • Don’t expect cameos from every major character that has died in Shadowlands.
  • It is likely Baine will reunite with the spirit of his father and learn the truth of his people during Shadowlands.