In classic World of Warcraft expansion “Wrath of the Lich King,” Alliance soldier Bolvar Fordragon replaced Arthas Menethil as the avatar of the Lich King, ruler of the undead Scourge on Azeroth. Pledging to keep the ravenous dead at bay, Bolvar was sealed into the Frozen Throne, entombed in the haunted armor of the Lich King. It looks as though Bolvar is set to play a central role in the next WoW expansion, tentatively dubbed “Shadowlands.”
What is World of Warcraft: Shadowlands?
Following a few high-profile leaks, including key art work, we finally have a look at the next big WoW expansion, which continues events from Battle for Azeroth.
The Shadowlands have long been referenced in World of Warcraft lore, but their origins and true nature remain a mystery. One thing is for certain, the Shadowlands are inextricably tied to death and decay, and stand opposed to the verdant spiritual realm of the Emerald Dream, which represents a vision of reality untarnished by corruption and mortal intervention.
In previous expansions, entities like the Loa of Death Bwonsamdi, ex-Forsaken Queen Sylvanas Windrunner, and corrupted titan watcher Helya all have spoken of the Shadowlands, and for some, the desire to conquer it. Sylvanas’ character arc throughout Battle for Azeroth ends with her seeking to control death itself, indicating that she will play a pivotal role in Shadowlands.
World of Warcraft: Shadowlands features
Some of the features unveiled for World of Warcraft: Shadowlands are as follows:
- The story shows Sylvanas taking the Lich King’s helm, destroying it. In the process, the Banshee Queen tears a rift between the world of the living, and the dead. The realm of the dead is known as the Shadowlands.
- The Shadowlands is the “after life” for all life on Azeroth. It predates the titans.
- It’s the source of all necromantic power, and deceased characters may return.
- It’s not all evil. The noble Val’kyr hail from there, the spirit healers that revive dead players are also from there.
- New zones like “Revendreth,” are filled with vampire-like beings.
- Zones like “Bastion” showcase a Titan Valahalla-like afterlife.
- The expansion revolves around “choice,” players will be able to join a “Covenant.” The factions are called Kyrian, Venthyr, Necrolords, and Night Fae. Each faction comes with specific bonuses and a unique story, similar to Legion’s class halls.
- Torghast, Tower of the Damned is a “replayable” dungeon with dynamic changing layout.
- Blizzard says max level 120 players will be squished down to level 50.
- There will be a new levelling system for 1-60, to try and make each level up feel more meaningful.
- All races will be able to become Death Knights, including allied races.
When will Shadowlands launch?
There’s no fixed launch date yet, but Blizzard says it will be available in 2020. You can pre-purchase it now via Blizzard right here.