During the BlizzCon 2019 opening ceremony, Blizzard announced the Shadowlands, the next expansion for the long-running MMO World Of Warcraft (WoW).
The World Of Warcraft Shadowlands cinematic trailer depicts Sylvanas Windrunner forcefully claiming the crown of the Lich King from Bolvar Fordragon after an epic and earth-shattering battle. Instead of wearing the crown, Sylvanas surprisingly broke it into, tearing apart reality and opening a wormhole to Shadowlands (the land of the afterlife) in the process.
Shadowlands will introduce a brand new gameplay mechanic called the Covenant system, where players will be able to align themselves with one of several Covenants who hold domain over different planes within the ShadowlandsÂ :
- The steadfastÂ KyrianÂ of Bastion,Â whose discipline and duty compels them to safeguard souls from the mortal realm as they pass into the Shadowlands.
- The mysteriousÂ NightÂ FaeÂ of Ardenweald,Â who fiercely defend the spirits of nature from those who would deprive them of rebirth.
- The cunningÂ VenthyrÂ of Revendreth,Â who feast on the souls of the prideful and vain in a gothic realm of opulence and torment.
- The warlikeÂ NecrolordsÂ of Maldraxxus,Â who forge the undead armies that serve as the first line of defence for the Shadowlands and honour those who seek power and glory in battle.
With the new Covenant system, players will be able to gain new class-specific abilities for each Covenant and the ability to develop SoulbindsÂ with specific Covenant members, granting them access to that characterâ€™s specific traits and bonuses.
World Of Warcraft Shadowlands will also feature:
- Five explorable new zones within Shadowlands: The gleaming fields ofÂ Bastion,Â the scarred battlefields ofÂ Maldraxxus, the eternal twilight ofÂ Ardenweald, the opulent keeps ofÂ Revendreth,Â and theÂ horrificÂ Maw.
- Ascend the Tower of the Damned:Â At the heart of the Maw liesÂ Torghast, Tower of the Damned,Â a cursed otherworldly prison where the wickedest souls in the universe are locked away. Highly replayable and inspired by roguelike games, heroes are invited to explore its ever-changing halls and chambers and do battle with the minions ofÂ theÂ Jailer,Â Torghastâ€™s vile ruler.
- A new levelling system:Â Meant to provide a meaningful sense of advancement with every level achieved.Â Current max-level characters will beginÂ ShadowlandsÂ at level 50 and work toward the new level cap of 60.
- A New Army of the Dead Rises:Â WithÂ Shadowlands, Pandaren and all allied races will now be able to become Death Knights.
- Improved Character Customization Options:Â A host of new appearance options for all races will be made available to players when they create newÂ World of WarcraftÂ characters (or alter existing ones at the in-game barbershop).
World Of Warcraft Shadowlands is already available for pre-purchase digitally from the Blizzard Shop starting today. There will be three different options, including:
- The Base Edition (US$39.99)
- The Heroic Edition ($59.99): Includes the expansion; a level-120 character boost; and the Ensorcelled Everwyrm mount, which provides access to a questline through which players can earn the Vestments of the Eternal Traveler transmogrification set.
- The Epic Edition ($79.99): Includes the Anima Wyrmling pet; the Wraithchill cosmetic weapon effect; the Eternal Travelerâ€™s Hearthstone, designed with a unique visual effect; and 30 days of game time, in addition to all of the contents from the Heroic Edition.
All bonuses from the Heroic and Epic Editions are unlocked immediately upon pre-purchase. In addition, pre-purchasing any edition of World of Warcraft: ShadowlandsÂ will allow players to create Pandaren and allied race Death Knights once the Visions of Nâ€™Zoth content update for Battle for Azeroth arrives in the coming months.
World of Warcraft: Shadowlands is slated to release on (or potentially before) 31 December 2020. In the meantime, check out the cinematic and feature trailers below.