Announced today at the BlizzCon 2019 keynote, the seventh major expansion for World of Warcraft is called Shadowlands. The followup to Battle for Azeroth, coming in 2020, sees former Horde Warchief turned master villain Sylvanas Windrunner unleash death across the world of Azeroth and players venturing into the realm of the afterlife.
In a dramatic cinematic trailer, Sylvanas travels to Icecrown to confront the current Lich King, Bolvar Fordragon, who took up the mantle following the events of the second World of Warcraft expansion, Wrath of the Lich King. The pair battle and Sylvanas is triumphant. Bolvar warns her the power of the Lich King’s crown will be her undoing. Instead of donning the helm, the undead queen tears it apart, ripping open the veil between life and death.
The Shadowlands is an infinite realm filled with unspeakable evils because if it wasn’t it would make for a pretty boring expansion.
According to information on the expansion website, players will align themselves with one of the Shadowlands covenants, shepherds of the dead, each with their own motivations and ambitions. The game will also introduce Torghast, Tower of the Damned, a replayable, ever-changing dungeon.
Here is more information, directly from the official press release:
- Explore the Realm of the Dead: For the first time ever in World of Warcraft, players will cross into the Shadowlands and experience the wonders and horrors of the afterlife across five new zones—the gleaming fields of Bastion, the scarred battlefields of Maldraxxus, the eternal twilight of Ardenweald, the opulent keeps of Revendreth, and the horrific Maw.
- Claim a Covenant’s Power: Players will be called upon to forge a bond with one of four Covenants that rule Shadowlands’ new zones, setting the tone for their journey through the expansion with a full Covenant Campaign. As they level up, they’ll get new abilities based on their choice, including class-specific abilities for each Covenant—as well as developing Soulbinds with specific Covenant members, which grant them access to that character’s specific traits and bonuses.
- Ascend the Tower of the Damned: At the heart of the Maw lies Torghast, Tower of the Damned, 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 of the Jailer, Torghast’s vile ruler. Those who brave its trials can claim legendary treasures and help free the heroic spirits wrongfully trapped within.
- Every Level Is Meaningful: Shadowlands will introduce a new leveling system, meant to provide a meaningful sense of advancement with every level achieved.
Current max-level characters will begin Shadowlands at level 50 and work toward the new level cap of 60.
- A New Army of the Dead Rises: To combat Sylvanas’ assault on Icecrown, Bolvar Fordragon— the revered former paladin who took on the mantle of Lich King to keep the Scourge at bay—has raised heroes from among all the peoples of Azeroth to bolster the Death Knights of Acherus. With Shadowlands, pandaren and all allied races will now be able to become Death Knights.
- Improved Character Customization Options: A host of new appearance options for all races will be made available to players when they create new World of Warcraft characters (or alter existing ones at the in-game barber shop).
The expansion is now available for preorder at the game’s official website. We’ll learn more about Shadowlands later today during BlizzCon 2019.