Looking Ahead to Shadowlands

So Blizzcon has come and gone, and we are left to pick over the information given, and try to surmise what comes next…

Blizzcon 2019: The Reckoning

The yearly nerdgasm paid off and disappointed in equal measures this year

First up, the bad. Still no sign or hope of faction restrictions being loosened, let alone dissolved. This is a massive disappointment for me personally, as I was really hopeful that we’d at least be able to have a free choice of race, regardless of faction.

However, that, it seems, was not on the cards.

But outside of that, reflecting on Shadowlands has me somewhat hopeful, especially after the decidedly lacklustre BfA.

First up, the Cinematic…

This world is a prison, and I will set us all free.

WOW. What a cinematic!

This is not only one of the strongest character-based intro cinematics Blizzard has ever made for World of Warcraft, but also featured one of the most mind-blowingly cool moments the game has ever shown us: The Piercing of the Veil.

What this scenario sets up is the permission to create Death Knights of all races now, without restriction! Starting in 8.3 (coming in early to mid-January 2020) if you have pre-purchased Shadowlands (as it’s an expansion feature) you will be able to create or race change a current DK to any race you like. Yes, you can even have a Mechagnome or Vulpera Death Knight if you feel so inclined.

The BIG feature of the expansion though, aside from the usual new continent to explore, will be of course the MASSIVE changes to the game in terms of levels and levelling.

Current level 120 characters will be squished to level 50 come Shadowlands, and they will then level through the new expansion content from 50 to 60.

However, the bigger feature is that levelling for new characters will take place from 1 to 50 in ANY single one of the previous expansions.

Did you really love the levelling experience in Wrath? Well guess what? You’ll be able to head to Northrend at level 1 and start your journey to endgame there. Quite how levelling through the Storm Peaks (or a zone like Deepholm from Cata) that low will work out is anyone’s guess, because of course they won’t be able to fly until 40 most likely.

That all said, Blizzard have told us that the basic levelling process itself will be 50-70% faster than right now, so one wonders if they’ll be leaving Heirlooms intact in the new expansion…

Setting aside my bow.
For now

Of course, this means that I am, even now, beginning to look ahead to levelling in Shadowlands, and by extension which class I’ll be maining. I’ve really enjoyed playing Hunter for this entire expansion, however I’m yearning for some variety.

Playing a pure DPS class such as Hunter (or Mage, Rogue or Warlock) is fun, but offers little scope for helping out in raids when a non-dps role needs covered.

The number of times I could’ve pulled a raid out of a hole by switching spec and tanking or healing has been plentiful this expansion. So next expansion I’ll be looking to play a hybrid class. Especially one that can tank, as I’ve missed tanking in my time away from it and I’d like to get back to it again after stepping away in Warlords. I did begin Legion tanking, but quickly had to switch to cover healing and DPS roles.

With that in mind, over the weekend I faction changed my Zandalari-Troll druid.

I went with Worgen! 😀

of Darnassus

Normally I’d have gone with a Night Elf, however the new Worgen models released in 8.2 have made a massive difference to their appeal for me, particularly the female models, which no longer look like a vicious snarling dog. Now they actually look like a sentient, intelligent being!

So I levelled her from 113 to 120 in about 3 hours or so, which was done with the aid of:

  • Full Heirlooms (+55% XP)
  • +15% Anniversary Bonus
  • +10% Draught of Ten Lands Bonus
  • +10% Bonus XP from Assault completion

I chose to level mainly via chain-running Island Expeditions, which even on normal with rested XP was only taking about 30-40 minutes per-level. This was about 25-30% of a level per-island, and each one took about 10 minutes on average.

Definitely my preferred way to level, but it does mean a complete lack of levelling gear and hitting 120 with Heirlooms and the artifact weapon I had in Legion 🙂

So I have chosen to play Druid in Shadowlands, primarily as Guardian, but with any other spec up for playing too, mainly for said variety.

Back to Shadowlands

The new continent and zones coming in SL are pretty nice looking, especially the Kyrian area, Bastion. Looking like a shinier version of Odyn’s realm (itself pretty awesome looking), it’s a strong candidate for my first Covenant choice, along with the gothic, vampire themed Rivendreth.

Covenants themselves are essentially the new reps we will be grinding at launch, and choosing one of them on a somewhat semi-permanent basis will grant characters extra abilities, transmogs and no doubt mounts & pets too.

However there will be no new races or classes this expansion, for the first time since Warlords:

  • TBC: New Races: Belfs & Draenei
  • Wrath: New Class (DK)
  • Cataclysm: New Races: Worgen & Goblin
  • Mists of Pandaria: New Race: Pandaren & New Class: Monk
  • Warlords of Draenor: New character models
  • Legion: New Class: Demon Hunters, New Allied Races
  • BfA: New Allied Races (KT & Zandalari) & new Worgen/Goblin models
  • Shadowlands: New character customisation system.

Looking at it like that, it doesn’t bode well, but you’d have to think that given the lack of content in BfA that Blizzard have been hard at work on SL content…?

Either way, it’ll be good to put BfA in the rear view mirror and dive into completely new lore for only the 2nd time in WoW’s history (MoP being the first).