World of Warcraft: Shadowlands – preview
During Developer’s Day on July 8, held strictly online, Ion Hazzikostas finally revealed many details about the content and key systems of the new Shadowlands expansion, which now has a pseudo-release date in the fall season and a beta that will start next week with a new wave of invitations. These are details that in recent months, thanks to the data mining operated by the WowHead site, have generated speculation, excitement and discouragement not only in those who are testing the alpha, but also in all the players who await Shadowlands as the expansion of redemption.
But let’s go in order: the first point of discussion was “Congregas and Sanctuaries”. During the entire expansion we will have the opportunity to know and understand the motivations, the key characters and the history of the four factions in which the Darklands are divided. In addition, we will receive a taste of the power they can provide if we decide to become their representatives. Once the maximum level is reached – which will be 60 following the level squish – players will have to choose which of these factions (Kyrian, Necrosignori, Venthyr or Sylph of the Night) will become the champions.
The Collector Edition returns in all its glory. With lots of content and the beloved Artbook, a precious piece for every collector!
On this point of discussion the players are divided, between those who want to choose a coven for the history and beauty of the area, and those who are looking for the Coven that can be more useful in terms of power for a Raid or for PVP, risking to sacrifice one for the other. Although it is possible to change your mind in the process, it will not be as easy as changing from DPS to Tank with a click of the mouse. Each faction will require a constant investment of time and resources that would inevitably end up being lost when the change occurs.
For this reason, during the conference, Ion discussed the new mechanic of “Soul Bonds”, a system of allies – three for each Coven – each with a tree of skills and talents (called Conduit) specific to each class. . Through quests, dungeons and raids we will gradually strengthen our adventure companions, following very closely the functioning of the auxiliary abilities of the Legion artifacts. Furthermore, these allies are interchangeable according to circumstances, while their talents can be reset with a nominal cost to adapt them to different situations; but don’t worry, there won’t be an exorbitant cost like BFA’s Azerite armor. It is a system that, at least on paper, should balance all four Covenants, so as not to regret one’s initial choice.
A glimpse of the Maw, the area where we will spend most of our time once we reach the maximum level.
The Sanctuaries are instead the natural evolution of the Legion Class Rooms, areas where we will spend most of our time accepting quests and enhancing the skills of the Coven; they will also allow us, through a system of portals and fast travel, to quickly reach every part of the map of our faction. The Sanctuaries can be upgraded thanks to a “Renown” system, a sort of reputation in the form of currency that will be obtained by carrying out daily activities and quests representing our faction.
The mission table returns in a new iteration: it no longer consists of an almost automatic selection of followers to be sent around the world, but requires more careful planning of your team to make the most of the strengths and decrease the criticalities. It is in fact a very simplified version of an Auto Battler, in which we will physically see our followers fight, win or lose miserably against the opponents of the current mission, complete with a textual log that exposes all the information relating to the combat. This change is mainly designed to give new life to the mobile app, through which we can manage all the missions comfortably remotely.
The talent tree of Soul Bonds. The empty slots will be occupied by the Conduits, obtainable through different activities and will be specific to each class.
Later, Ion talked about the maximum level content, not only with regard to dungeons such as Theater of Pain, an instance in the form of an arena in which to choose, in a non-linear way, your opponents among the various champions of the four Covenants , or the new Raid Castle Nathria, coming to test at the end of the month, but especially in the area of the Maw. The Maw, in fact, will be very punitive and not a walk at all, an area strewn with contents, between powerful enemies and the eye of the Jailer always focused on us like that of Sauron. This is where we will spend most of our time, with numerous activities including Torghast La Torre dei Dannati, the much loved roguelike section in the alpha phase. With a riot of applause in chat, Ion confirmed that access to the tower will not be via a finite number of keys, but will be unlimited; a big sigh of relief for anyone who wants to spend hours and hours in WoW’s new roguelike content.
Finally, Hazzikostas briefly talked about the new crafting system of our Legendary item, which will be able to show off features borrowed from objects from our past, such as set bonuses, whose materials will be farmable especially during our runs at the inside Torghast, as well as equipped with a weekly cap easily accessible by all. In short, handling a copy of Darkness does not seem to be so impossible now.
In short, there is a lot, indeed, a lot of meat on the fire, all to be tested and adjusted before arriving at the moment of launch. We can say it almost with certainty: Shadowlands really appears to be the expansion of redemption after the Battle for Azeroth disaster.