When is World of Warcraft Shadowlands set to be released? - Dexerto
World of Warcraft

When is WoW Shadowlands coming out? Release date, level changes, more

Published: 26/May/2020 6:42

by Isaac McIntyre

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The eighth World of Warcraft expansion, Shadowlands, is set to shake up the MMORPG franchise in a big way. New leveling changes have already been locked in, and the narrative will be taking a plunge straight into the underworld.

Shadowlands was announced at BlizzCon 2019, and tentatively locked in for a 2020 release date soon after. Since then, the hype has only grown ⁠— following the closed beta, some players went as far as to suggest it could be the “greatest ever.”

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There’s plenty already penned in for the expansion: WoW will be getting more realms, factions, and buddy-up features in the 2020 update, as well as the aforementioned level changes, and a new storyline.

When is the World of Warcraft Shadowlands release date?

Shadowlands was originally slated for a mid-2020 release when it was first announced, but Blizzard made sure not to point to a specific date for the drop. Recently, however, the devs have narrowed their release window: Q4 this year.

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That means the eighth WoW expansion will be available in November or December 2020, a two-month window that was confirmed in Blizzard’s Q1 earnings call last month. They also confirmed it would be “before the holidays.”

Everything we know about Shadowlands so far

Shadowlands storyline

The new Shadowlands narrative is set to take place right after the epic Battle for Azeroth storyline. According to the expansion’s cinematic trailer, Sylvanas will shatter the Lich King’s fabled Helm of Domination and destroy the barrier between Azeroth and the Shadowlands.

Players will be tasked with stopping the evil machinations of the undead Banshee queen before she can unleash the full power of the game’s afterlife on the living. Along the way, they’ll fight The Jailer, The Maw, and more.

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It looks like Sylvanas is fully prepared to destroy Azeroth to achieve her goals in World of Warcraft expansion Shadowlands.
Blizzard Entertainment
It looks like Sylvanas is fully prepared to destroy Azeroth to achieve her goals in World of Warcraft expansion Shadowlands.

New World of Warcraft zones

WoW’s eighth expansion is set to, as per usual, add several new zones to the ever-expanding MMORPG. Four will be leveling zones, to be played through in specific orders. Blizzard has also confirmed there will be a new player hub called “Oribos.”

The four new zones will be called Bastion, Maldraxxus, Ardenweald, and Revendreth. Each will boast their own new enemies. Revendreth will host Shadowlands’ first raid. There will also be a max-level zone called The Maw.

Shadowlands Covenants

The biggest new feature coming in Shadowlands are covenants, a World of Warcraft title for factions in the underworld. As players help each faction ⁠— the Kyrian, Venthyr, Necrolord, and Night Fae ⁠— they’ll earn faction-specific gear and abilities.

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Players will also be able to align with one of the new Covenants once they have completed the main Shadowlands campaign. These alliances will permanently unlock faction-specific abilities, and unlock a long post-game quest.

The Shadowlands endgame will be based around new alliances with one of the four new 'Covenant' groups.
Blizzard Entertainment
The Shadowlands endgame will be based around new alliances with one of the four new ‘Covenant’ groups.

Dungeons & endgame in Shadowlands: Torghast, more

Shadowlands is adding eight new dungeons at launch, and will have a major raid ⁠— based in Revendreth, as mentioned before ⁠— that will unlock towards the end of the expansion drop. Four of the new dungeons will unlock at level 60.

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As well as the new dungeons, Shadowlands will also be adding “Torghast, Tower of the Damned.” This new feature is an “endless dungeon,” Blizzard has revealed, which is made for between one and four players to grind repetitively.

Torghast is highly randomized, meaning it will change every single time you load into a new instance. Game director Ion Hazzikostas said it is based on ‘roguelike’ genres, and “should” make a “mighty endgame challenge” for hardcore fans.

Shadowlands is introducing a new randomly-generated dungeon,
Blizzard Entertainment
Shadowlands is introducing a new randomly-generated dungeon, “Torghast.”

World of Warcraft level cap dropped to 60

The last big change Blizzard will be implementing when Shadowlands finally drops at the end of the year will be a major reduction to the World of Warcraft level cap. The highest rank was level 120 in BFA, but that’s now set to be halved.

Blizzard is also tweaking new character experiences. When you start a new ‘toon,’ they will be loaded into a starter zone that aims to “better showcase WoW’s combat and questing.” Once you hit level 10, you can choose any expansion to play.

Finally, Shadowlands will be adding a new starter zone called “Exile’s Reach,” which will be replacing old level 1 zones. The new area is a whole island full of quests and tutorials, to better introduce new faces to the world of Warcraft.

Shadowlands is locked in for a 2020 release, in one of the final months of the year.
Blizzard Entertainment
Shadowlands is locked in for a 2020 release, in one of the final months of the year.

Can’t wait for November? Fair enough ⁠— the Shadowlands closed beta will open ahead of the official launch later this year, and you can sign up now. Here’s how to get your name in the hat for an early peek at the 2020 expansion.

World of Warcraft

Henry Cavill as Arthas in Warcraft 2 makes perfect sense: here’s why

Published: 7/Oct/2020 4:11 Updated: 7/Oct/2020 5:03

by Isaac McIntyre

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Okay World of Warcraft fans, it’s time to go all-in… Henry Cavill would make a perfect Arthas in Blizzard’s newly rumored Warcraft 2 revival, especially after proving he’s got the fantasy chops as Geralt of Rivia in Netflix’s The Witcher.

The original Warcraft movie came out back in 2016, and landed with mixed reviews. World of Warcraft fans loved it, of course; seeing characters like Anduin, Medivh, Gul’dan, and Durotan brought to life on the big screen was a dream come true.

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Critics and general audiences were less convinced. Duncan Jones’ high-fantasy romp in the world of Azeroth was dubbed a failure. A sequel was stamped ‘highly unlikely’ after the box office flop. 

Except, just four years later, the Warcraft rumor mill has thundered back to life. Legendary Entertainment has already green-lit a sequel, according to insider Daniel Ritchman, with Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson involved.

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Warcraft raked in just $47.4 million in the United States, but made $391.7m overseas.
Legendary Entertainment
Warcraft raked in just $47.4 million in the States, but made $391.7m overseas.

And so, with Warcraft 2 reportedly in development, that leaves us with the biggest question for the sequel; what will the story be? Will the franchise take it step by step, and tell the story of “Tides of Darkness,” or head for a better-selling sequel?

In our opinion, Blizzard’s best bet for the sequel is to skip straight to “Reign of Chaos” and it’s genre-defining expansion “The Frozen Throne.” The third game’s storyline has plenty of ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘Lord of the Rings’ elements.

Enter fantasy’s man of the hour, Henry Cavill.

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Arthas Menethil is key to Warcraft 3, and Cavill is a perfect pick to play him. The prince’s path to the throne is littered with huge battles, dastardly schemes, and of course, the biggest twist Blizzard’s Warcraft franchise has ever offered up.

Reason number one: I mean, look at Henry Cavill. That speaks for itself.

Henry Cavill in a fan-mockup depicting him as Arthas Menethil.
Reddit: GeordieGamerGuy
Henry Cavill in a fan-mockup depicting him as Warcraft’s Arthas Menethil.

There are other reasons too though. One is that Cavill is a big World of Warcraft fan himself, meaning he’d likely be eager to sign on. I mean come on, the guy missed the news he had been cast as Superman because he was deep in a WoW raid.

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Former Blizzard figurehead Chris Metzen and Rise of the Lich King writer Christie Golden have both given Cavill’s fan-casting their tick of approval too; the Warcraft duo are well and truly “on the [Cavill as] Arthas train.”

Finally, Warcraft 2 will need ticket-selling star power. The first 2016 flick did have plenty of big names ⁠— Vikings lead Travis Fimmell was among them, as was Marvel’s Dominic Cooper ⁠— but none command the same household stardom as Henry Cavill.

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Cavill, 37, is a little old for Arthas in “Reign of Chaos” and “The Frozen Throne,” but if Legendary and Blizzard plan out a trilogy leading into “Wrath of the Lich King” ⁠— which they absolutely should ⁠— the British star will fit perfectly for Menethil’s final Warcraft hurrah.

Heck, cast a younger actor for the opening stage of the prince’s life, then bring Cavill in with a narrative time-jump in the third or fourth Warcraft movie.

Arthas Menethil and his path to the throne should be front and center in future Warcraft sequels.
Blizzard Entertainment
Arthas Menethil and his path to the throne should be front and center in future Warcraft sequels.

The Superman star isn’t the only name being linked to Warcraft 2 either. Fimmel is expected to return as Anduin in the sequel, as is Ben Schnetzer as Khadgar. Paula Patton has also said she’d “love” to return for another Warcraft outing.

The same insider reports that suggested Warcraft 2 is now in the works also tipped Jurassic World lead Chris Pratt as another star who has already been tabled a multi-movie deal.

Duncan Jones, who directed the 2016 release, also said he would happily return as long as there are “less cooks in the kitchen.” Blizzard has yet to officially respond to the reported new sequel, so take everything with a pinch of salt… for now.