BlizzCon 2019: World of Warcraft Shadowlands liveblog

    
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We’re liveblogging from BlizzCon once again! Starting at 5:30 p.m. EDT, we’re getting the third of a total of six “coming soon” panels for this show: This one’s on World of Warcraft’s just-announced expansion, Shadowlands. Watch the stream on the BlizzCon site, and join Eliot down in the comments for live commentary on everything we’re seeing, or just check back for a full run-down at the end of this post.

Everything BlizzCon 2019

Panel notes

Ion Hazzikostas says Shadowlands is taking us to the realm of death, the afterlife. When someone dies, the soul crosses the veil, brought before the Arbiter. The Arbiter judges that soul in an instant, and it is sent to its destination, each realm ruled by a Covenant. Bastion looks pretty gorgeous.

Unlike Bastion, Maldraxxus is ruled by the Necrolord, the military might.

Next there’s Ardenweald, ruled by the Night Fae, the Emerald Dream’s dark mirror, A place of rest and rebirth.

Revendreth:

So what’s a covenant? Players will be choosing which one to join, which’ll cement you to one of four narrative arcs at max level.

“There is no artifact power to grind.” HUGE cheers from the crowd. Hazzikostas says the team learned its lesson.

Joining a covenant will come with rewards too.

Cloaks and backpacks too.

Let’d do some lore.

Arthas is definitely dead, by the way. It appears Sylvanas is using her partnership with the Jailer and the collection of souls in the Maw.

Alts are a big deal too. Playing an alt is more of a “new game+” experience; you can pick a covenant immediately. Level in any zone, do world quests, or do whatever. Earn endgame progression while you level on the alt.

The Maw isn’t going to be like any other open world zone in the game, and Torghast, Tower of the Damned, is more like a roguelike dungeon than a WoW dungeon.

Eight dungeons and a 10-boss raid en route.

Hazzikostas goes back to the game’s newfound focus on player agency. “We want to give all of you a feel of more control over your destiny.” “What if there was some other system that just… tracked your deeds, and gave you a list of rewards, and you picked one?” Gee, we can’t imagine. Oh wait, yes we can, it was called badges.

Oh yeah, and we’re back to class identity – yes, some deleted abilities are coming back.

And yes, there’s going to be a level squish, so everyone’s being retooled; the new max level will be 60. What got our team hyped was allowing people to start in the existing expansions and level the whole way up – in other words, you can start in Pandaria at level 1 and go all the way to level 50 there, then go to the new expansion – basically, it’s Guild Wars 2.

Big customization inbound too.

And everyone can be a deathknight.

And that’s a wrap! More details down in the comments where Eliot was liveblogging. :D We’ll be liveblogging tomorrow’s panels too!

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Techno Wizard
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Techno Wizard

It’s like they, Blizzard, are deliberately ignoring that WoW Classic exists with only the most cursory nod to its existence. Discrimination against their own game. Oh tell me there is a happy ending to WoW Classic’s lifespan, tell me so.

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Bruno Brito

Uh…but WoW classic exists in it’s entirety. Why are people expecting something from Classic when Retail is the one supposed to be on the spotlight here?

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Oleg Chebeneev

They have timeline of updates for classic. What else did you expect from it?

Mordyjuice
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Mordyjuice

Did you think they have some alternate expansion content set in Classic that moves past Naxx, because that’s just cray cray; more than likely next year they tack on BC, then in another year or two Wrath (then they should stop).

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kody

Not sure what you’re expecting. They aren’t going to create a panel for content that everyone has known about for 15 years.

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Jokerchyld

Soo does that mean I can do level 1-12 in Pandaria, then go to Northrend for 13-35 and finally Legion for 36-50 before going to the shadowlands? Or am I stuck in one zone for the entire 1-50. That would be disappointing and apparent miss.

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Bruno Brito

I think the former. This is their way of making the leveling process less linear, which i don’t think it helps since the Azerothian maps are linear yet.

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Oleg Chebeneev

You can level where you want. If you want to hop from expansion to expansion every 5 levels, you can. Not sure why would you want tho

Mordyjuice
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Mordyjuice

If you started with BC then at least the timeline would make sense.

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Jokerchyld

It allows me to play exactly how I want. Just like in ESO I dont do an entire zone and move to the next. I explore all over depending what I’m interested in. This was one of my biggest criticisms of WoW. Why cant I start where ever I want and go where I want. It made leveling on rails which is too restrictive.

They still have a ways to go, as they need to add new content all over the world to add value to actually going there outside of leveling. This “play in this expansion area and never go back to anywhere else” model is unsustainable. Also “this is the gimmick for this expansion and goes away in the next” has to go to

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Daniel Reasor

Is that a Hunter pet on the right, or do the Covenants award signature Druid forms?

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kody

He talked about a unique mount from each covenant while that slide was active, so I would imagine that’s the Kyrian mount.

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Rick Mills

So… does this answer the Vague Patch Notes question from a couple of days ago? :)

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Utakata

OMFG! This has me really excited now… o.O

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Alyn
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Alyn

Eliot what can I say. You were absolutely fabulous. Many ty’s and more to come I am quite sure!
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Mordyjuice
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Mordyjuice

I might buy the Epic version of this for the added items, option to roll Allied DKs, besides I let my sub lapse any way so I’d be spending close to that extra $20 any way.

I don’t know man, I was really hoping the Blizz Shop would have taken more advantage of Blizzcon by throwing up some items cosmetically related to upcoming games like Diablo 3 Items inspired by Diablo 4.

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Christmas Dog

Lots of really good info in this. I’m still disappointed by the lack of new features, but this panel changed my mind. I think this will be solid, if they manage to pull it off. The huge reduction in RNG aspects and making alts not such a chore are both huge boons, and the customization features coming look absolutely fantastic.

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Matthäus Wey

So am I getting this right here… The zones are not connected this time?

Once again not really impressed with the information. Nothing about PvP and it’s somewhat clear now that there’s nothing exciting coming out way beside what has been announced already. BFA was low in features and this has even less so I’m a little worried about that as well.

Thanks for the coverage Eliot!