World of Warcraft Shadowlands’ beta begins next week

    
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World of Warcraft Shadowlands’ beta begins next week

Updates and pics are at the bottom of this post!

Welcome back to Eliot liveblogging about Blizzard events. Like you, I thought we were done with this with BlizzCon being cancelled, but the World of Warcraft team decided to host a Twitch stream with what is promised to be significant information about Shadowlands. And, metrics and the algorithm being what they are, I am here before you once again, a broken and miserable man. On the plus side, this will probably feature less mugging for applause than usual.

All SNL Celebrity Jeopardy-inspired introductions aside, yes, here we are with a liveblog of what’s going down on the aforementioned Twitch stream. As always, I’ll be liveblogging the details in the comments down below as Bree updates this post with the key info, so feel free to chime in in response or watch along as you prefer. What will we learn? The planned release date? The pre-patch date? How babby is formed? We don’t know! But we’ll find out very, very soon…

Recap
So up first, EP John Hight showed off all the collector edition goodies, including an artbook, mousepad, pins, the soundtrack, and so forth. He also offered confirmation that Shadowlands is definitely launching this fall, which we already knew. Does that mean we’re not getting a hard date today? Maybe not, but now we do know beta begins next week!
Ion Hazzikostas recapped the alpha and pushed on to talking about what to expect from the beta. Expect another wave of beta invites and a feature-complete but unfinished expansion testing, with a level cap of 60, a first look at the endgame systems with sanctums, joining covenants, soulbinds, and so forth. And Torghast looks like it’s going to be entirely unlimited, no time-gated elements.

Now we’re on to more specific content, starting with covenants, sanctums, soulbinding, and conduits, the last of which are spec-specific and akin to relics. Players will also be dungeon-diving the Maw or collecting anima for their Renown progression track (it’s not meant to be a grind, and there will be “robust” catch-up systems).
Covenant sanctums sound an awful lot like upgradeable class halls, though they’ll have transportation hubs and anima conductors. The adventure missions for followers and offline content sound fun – it won’t be as essential as in past content, but it’ll be more deep and “nuanced.” Bonus, this content will be supported in the mobile companion app too.
Expect some fun side minigame activities too, each one different for each covenant, like boss rushes and catering parties. Way more details on this type of content will roll out over the summer.

Hazzikostas just revealed the new Theater of War dungeon, which is thematically a battle royale, where your dungeon party is trying to emerge victorious over the NPC parties. A very familiar concept for WoW players, of course.

Now we’re on to the Maw itself – this is the big zone that anchors the expansion, inspired by the game’s more “sandboxy” content with lots of “discoverable gameplay.” Snaps from the quick video of the area:
The short-term beta roadmap includes Castle Nathria raid testing, Mythic+ keystones for Shadowlands, legendary runecrafting, covenant campaigns, PvP testing, and character copy into the beta.

Hazzikostas is winding down, thanking players for being patient. The original reveal livestream was meant to go a month ago, but Blizzard postponed it because of Black Lives Matter, which as Hazzikostas very pointedly notes is still true and still a conversation deserving attention. “Black lives mattered a month ago,” he said (kinda sounded like he was choking up there too). “Black lives matter today.”
Full video up now for those who missed it:

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kalech

I’m not sure why they’re bothering having a beta when they don’t listen to beta testers anyway? People told them in BFA Beta that the new mechanics didn’t work well, and Blizzard wasted the entire expansion plugging their ears and going “We know best” until they eventually had to admit defeat and that yeah, maybe there were some issues.

Also my biggest concern is still that they’re going to make Shadowlands as big of a chore as BFA, based on Ion’s inane opinion that something has to be RNG-based to give a sense of achievement. Are we actually gonna get to have fun this expansion, or is it gonna be another expansion where I have to pay 15 bucks a month to basically have an extra job?

dafino
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dafino

Catering parties? What kind of parties? Like a Raven’s Banquet, maybe?

Freddy
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Freddy

More UI based click and go content I see… -sigh-

Also whats the reason for the level squish? Is it lore based? or just one of blizzards fascinating ideas?

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jealouspirate

The reason for the level squish is to make leveling feel more meaningful. With 120+ levels, it’s virtually impossible to make reaching each level feel significant. By reducing the total number of levels they can make each one feel like a more important moment, giving your character some meaningful feeling of progression every time you ding.

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Danny Smith

Another mission table, another resource to farm, once again the art team looks like they are doing a nice job but the rest just gets a ‘meh’ reaction. Nothing exciting nothing dramatically off putting. Just kind of more of the last two goes around.

Sometimes all you get is a shrug and an ‘okay’.

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Utakata

The Character Creator update will be novel and interesting. But once that is ran out on folk’s interest…

…the rest looks like rehashed resource mistakes they where making in the last 3 expansions. >.<

Alyn
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Alyn

A thematic “battle royale” GROOVY –comment image

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Sarah Cushaway

Looks like garbage tbh.

xpsync
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xpsync

Agreed all this spam does look like garbage

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Amorey

I love this news and the comment section

Thanks You Elliot :)

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Bryan Turner

I’m more curious about when the prepatch to Shadowlands hits with the level revamp, the intro storyline, the catch up gear. I just want to level a character through appropriate expansion themes to enjoy the whole expansion like all of Wrath with a DK, all of Burning Crusade with a Draeni Shaman/BE Paladin, all of Pandy Land with a Monk (just kidding I hated that expansion).

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Utakata

We need more comments with Mr. Eliot spam! <3

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TomTurtle

The devil is in the details and hoo boy, there are quite a lot of details here! I’ll be pleasantly surprised if they somehow manage all of these systems in a satisfying manner.

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jealouspirate

Yes, I agree. The ideas all look good to me, but the entire expansion rides on how well they’re executed. There are so many complicated and interlocking systems that it will be extremely hard to balance them all, and unfortunately Blizzard’s track record on balancing these systems isn’t great.

As someone who still loves WoW despite everything, I wish they would step back from focusing so much on systems. It seems like everything is so systems-heavy right now. New systems upon new systems, throwing out the new system for a new system, and so on. It makes my head spin.