The next expansion was officially announced and presented on the first day of BlizzCon. A first conference made it possible to present the main lines of what the latter will bring.
As the title of the game suggests, the game will take place in the Shadowlands, which is the realm of death. It is glued to the plane of reality and is found between the plane of the air, the plane of the living dead, and the plane of decay in the cosmology of Warcraft.
When a person dies, their soul is taken to the Shadowlands and passes a mysterious being called the Arbiter. The latter analyzes the entire existence of the soul (its acts, its intentions, etc.) to then judge to which place the soul will be sent. Souls generate a tremendous source of power called Anima. The more deeds a person has done and had a “great” life (both good and bad), the more Anima and powerful his soul will be.
When players enter the Shadowlands, they will find souls in turmoil. Historically, the souls of the deceased pass before the Arbiter and are sent to one of the "realms" of the Darklands, but now all souls are sent to one and the same realm, the Den, where are supposed to be sent there only the most base and cursed souls, condemned to suffer for eternity.
It is for this reason that the players will go to the Shadowlands, in order to restore the balance there by traversing the five zones and the seat of this kingdom, a huge city.
There are a total of five zones: Bastion, Maldraxxus, Sylvarden, Revendreth and the Den, as well as a huge city, which acts as a HUB: Oribos.
The main scenario of the extension will cover all areas.
- The Lair
Congregation : The Kyrians.
The souls sent to the Bastion are virtuous souls, guided by discipline and a sense of duty. The souls here protect the souls on their journey to the Shadowlands. One of the souls there is the famous Uther, bearer of light.
Congregation : The Necro-lords
Maldraxxus is the heart of the military might of the Shadowlands. Only the souls with great survivability, the strongest, combative and seeking glory in battle are sent there. Despite the congregation and the area, these souls are not inherently evil or evil. One of the souls there is the great Draka (Thrall's mother).
Congregation : The nocturnal fairies.
Sylvarden is a mystical and enchanted forest, which is the dark mirror of the emerald dream. It is a place where souls and spirits linked to nature are found, waiting to be reborn. One of the souls there is the great and venerable Cenarius.
Congregation : Venthyrs.
Revendreth is a dark land in which opulence mingles with turmoil. Proud souls are sent there to atone for their sins. One of the souls there is the great and mighty Kael'Thas.
Congregation : any.
The Den is the area serving as the ultimate prison where the worst souls that ever lived are sent. It is ruled by a powerful and mysterious being, similar to the Arbiter, named the Jailer. No soul ever came out of it. This is the place where, since Sylvanas broke the passage, all souls are automatically sent. The Lair will be the maximum level zone and the one where the Tower of the Damned is located.
Congregation : any
Oribos is a huge and ancient city nestled in the very heart of the Shadowlands. This is where the Arbitrator resides. This will be the expansion's central HUB.
Extension launch plan
Prior to the expansion launch, there will be a number of big in-game events taking place to set up the expansion and subsequent events. These events will lead us in particular to the Icecrown in order to find Bolvar there who, although no longer the Lich King, is still alive!
More information will be given later!
The congregations are the 4 powers ruling the Shadowlands (in the service of the Arbiter). Because of the imbalance, they will call on the heroes of Azeroth to come to their aid.
During the leveling phase, the player will have to work and discover each of these congregations. The player will have to choose between one of the four, once reached the maximum level. The congregations will each have their own scripted campaign.
Each congregation will grant unique rewards, but also two special active abilities. One will be common to everyone and the second will be specific to the player's class.
The players will have to progress within the congregation thanks to a system of “soul ties”.
Congregations will also grant cosmetic rewards, such as an armor set, but also a mount and cosmetics for the back slot.
If you already have a max level character who has chosen their congregation, when you play a secondary character (reroll) you will have the option to choose a congregation from the start, without having to wait for the max level!
The dungeons, the Tower of the Damned and the raid
At launch, the game will offer 8 new dungeons, as well as a special dungeon, called the "Tower of the Damned". Four dungeons will be accessible during the leveling phase, and the other four will be accessible once at maximum level.
Level Up Dungeon:
- The Necrotic Wake
- Mist of Tirna Scithe
- Halls of Atonement
Maximum level dungeons:
- Spires of Ascension
- Theater of Pain
- The Other Side
- Sanguise Depths
There is also the Tower of the Damned. This dungeon is accessible once the maximum level is reached and will offer increasing difficulty as the players advance inside. It can be played alone, or in groups of 2, 3, 4 or 5 players.
As you progress through the tower, it will be possible to forge legendary items. Unlike legendary items from previous expansions, it will be possible to choose which legendary item you get. There will be NO random in obtaining!
A new raid will be available at launch, a huge castle that will be inspired by the myth of Dracula and will be located in Revendreth. The raid will consist of 10 bosses.
Classes, leveling and customization
The expansion will be an opportunity for Blizzard to redesign several points: the classes, the leveling phase and the customization of avatars.
Currently, the identity of classes no longer corresponds to classes, but to specializations. Blizzard wishes to return to the “fundamentals” of the classes, in order to find the identity of the latter, rather than on specializations which do not necessarily reflect the class in question and have practically no connection.
Blizzard gave the mage as an example, indicating that a specialist in Fire and a mage specializing in Arcane have virtually no commonality or connection, while specializations are both part of the same class. Blizzard thus wants all specializations to reflect the class before the specialization because, for them, a player chooses a class not for its specialization, but for what the class represents. More information will be given during BlizzCon.
The rise of levels
As for the ilvl there are some extensions, the levels will undergo a readjustment (lvl squish). Thus, the current maximum level of 120 will be reduced to 50 when the expansion is released. The maximum level on expansion will be 60.
The leveling phase has been completely revised. The time to reach the max level will be similar to what it is now but, following the readjustment, players will level up less quickly. Blizzard also states that each leveling will now unlock something, in order to have a sense of accomplishment, giving more interest in leveling up.
The creation of characters will undergo an overhaul (first, that of the "base" races). Many new elements will be added, such as tattoos, new hairstyles, and even ethnicities (especially for humans).