Review World of Warcraft: Shadowlands. In this review, we are going to talk about the new expansion of the legendary Blizzard game, World of Warcraft. This expansion aims to take the traditional game and take it to a new level, along with new mechanics and options.
Review World of Warcraft: Shadowlands
Shadowlands is one of the more ambitious expansions from World of Warcraft. There are moments when all of its complex and interconnected progression systems make me feel a bit overwhelmed. I’m exploring its dangerous new endgame zone or climbing the endless floors of Torghast, the excellent Shadowlands dungeon that is basically a standalone roguelike when I’m not trying to raise my Curia’s Sanctuary (basically my superhero HQ) or my renown. And then, like new quests, there’s the familiar grind of world quests, dungeon crawling, and treasure hunting.
It’s a lot to keep up with and a bit too familiar at times, but much of Shadowlands’ endgame is varied and inventive enough to keep things fun. It may not win over tired gamers who have drifted away over the years, but Shadowlands is the best it’s come in a long time. World of Warcraft.
The lost and the damned
Shadowlands bears the heavy responsibility of making up for the frustrations of the previous chapter of Warcraft. In the same way that after the disaster that was Warlords of Draenor, Legion had to win back fans, Shadowlands is tasked with making up for the tedious grind and convoluted story of Battle for Azeroth. I’m really starting to get tired of this dizzying, up and down pattern of good and bad WoW expansions, especially when each new update is no longer just about improving WoW but also competing with other MMOs like Final Fantasy 14 and The Elder Scrolls Online.
However, Shadowlands makes vast improvements over Battle for Azeroth. There is no more endless routine to chase breathlessly. There is no dull armor system like Azerite to suck the joy out of getting a dungeon boss drop that coveted loot. And, best of all in favor of player choice, a lot of randomness has been dialed in. I can get the materials for the one I want instead of spending weeks praying for a particular almighty legendary item to drop on its own and getting one that doesn’t work for me, but instead can build it myself. Instead of feeling indebted to fickle gods of chance, it’s empowering to be the one to call the shots.
This emphasis on player choice is most evident in the Curiae, which are essentially Hogwarts houses if said houses were each belonging to a separate afterlife where souls are sent to live for all eternity. You’ve got Maldraxxus instead of Slytherin, a nightmarish green h**l where armies of Necrolords battle it out in the Theater of Pain. Still, that’s better than sitting like those blue-skinned fools on Bastion, in silent contemplation.
Once players complete the story and reach level 60, they will have to choose to join one of these four. Not only does each offer a different end-story campaign, but two unique (and very powerful) abilities, armor sets, mounts, and even fun side events, like a garden of souls to tend or a forge where they can make their own abominations-style. of Frankenstein. An area to meet. Since choosing my race and class, it’s one of the biggest decisions I’ve made in WoW and I love how much weight it carries. Said choice can be modified, but you will suffer a time penalty for doing so.
Choosing the Venthyr means I get Shadow Gate, which allows me to teleport 35 yards, jump monsters, or traverse impassable chasms I couldn’t otherwise. I would have the ability to summon a cute owl butler (slave) who can serve me stat-boosting drinks, play a song, or do a dozen other tasks that benefit me in different ways if I had enrolled with the Bastion angels, who they are definitely not as virtuous as they seem.
However, it really took me a while before I really liked it. Shadowlands. The story starts off with a bang, but quickly settles into a leveling experience that’s so on-rails and free of any real risk that it ends up feeling like a burden. I rarely felt challenged or excited by the tasks before me as I ventured into each of the four new zones. It’s a lot to go somewhere, click things, kill other things, and then stand still for a minute or two while the characters talk to me before moving on to the next objective to repeat it all over again.
I liked many of the court scenes, but the events move too fast and the characters are given so little room to breathe that I never really get a chance to understand them. The writing itself is not the problem. There are many long speeches and information dumps, but little of everything that makes me feel emotionally invested in the story actually. I’m going to watch a dramatic scene that stages a huge boss fight in 20 seconds just to melt the jerk off without getting as big of a cut. Everything feels so monotonous.
The only exception is the zone of Ardenweald, a slowly fading enchanting cosmic forest. There’s a tangible sadness to that area, but much of the emotional weight of its story is carried in an optional six-minute animated cutscene that was released by Blizzard three months ago.
It makes me wonder why at this stage I need to level my character. In the early days of World of Warcraft, the reason was travel. Every grade felt earned. But it’s so mindless leveling up in modern Warcraft that it sucks the tension out of the story, making every moment I’m forced to stop and listen a bit painful for another exposition dump. When it takes less is more up close, Shadowlands is much more interesting, like when I found out that a cool mount had a tragic history dating back to WoW Vanilla.
I was able to spend more time doing things that were really fun once I got to level 60 and finished the story. And Shadowlands is packed to the end with lots of fun. I love the Curia system and my daily routine of running through dungeons, removing world quests and exploring how much texture it adds.
I chill in my underground vampire lair like a venthyrusing mirrors of blood to roam the ruinous castles of Revendreth. However, if I had gone with Maldraxxus, there would be a colossal statue of his god within my sanctuary, populated by festering undead monstrosities. World of Warcraft’s story may be bubblier than it sounds, but its world building is still great as h**l.
A resource called Anima is obtained from completing most activities in the ending and can be spent on upgrading various parts of your Curia’s headquarters, called Sanctuary. It’s a much more engaging endgame system because instead of just incremental status updates, I’m working on unlocking new ways to play Warcraft.
Recently, I have been able to build the Court of Embers, where all my vampire friends can throw special vampire parties. I have to make guest list, entertainment, and catering decisions every time I throw one of these courts, almost like at a Sims party. It’s surprisingly fun juggling the different dispositions and expectations of my party guests to make sure everyone has a good time. If I invite a few smug fists who thrive on formality, I’d better serve a lot of tea.
Compared to Torghast, the Tower of the Damned, the quaint tea parties are nothing. Torghast is easily the crowning glory of the Shadowlands, a rogue dungeon that moves every time you enter it. The real joy, like any good rogue, comes from slowly gaining ridiculous powers that veer my character into a killing machine. There are hundreds to discover (although some are limited by class and pact), but I have discovered powers that turn me into a giant, temporarily blind me in exchange for massively increased damage, and turn me into a small rat to be able to sneak past enemies.
Torghast is such an amazing addition to WoW, but I can’t escape the feeling of having been running this marathon before sometimes. I love that when other MMOs are happy to stick to a template, Blizzard rocks in their expansions, but also makes everything seem inconsequential. I can work my a*s off sharpening my Curia, but with minimal effort, a player who starts playing a month from now will catch up with me. The goalposts will be moved back when a major update comes out and all that hard-earned gear will be worthless garbage compared to anything new available. When everything is so fleeting, it’s hard to see the value in investing tons of time in the game.
Fortunately, unlike Battle for Azeroth, many of the Shadowlands new features they’re fun enough that I want to keep playing even though I’m worried about the bigger picture. With surprises and treasure, the four new zones are dense, the Curias are an exciting way to customize my character, and now that the main campaign is over, I’m enjoying more subtle storytelling and world building.