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…
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.”