On to the announced gameplay features and my opinion about them.
Leveling 50-60 in Shadowlands and Covenants
Apparently Blizzard is back to linear leveling, opposed to Legion and BfA routines. On our main, we will get to see the stories of all the Covenants, and make a calculated choice of one of them which we like most.
Covenant choices will be based on lore, cosmetic and minor gameplay awards – again, which we like most. You cannot use the others once you choose a Covenant, as well as you will have to say farewell to the current perks if you decide to change it. An extra campaign is thrown in the fold too, so naturally I’m going to all four on my alts. This new lore option is a nerf from 12 Legion’s class storylines (which no one complained about) but a tweak up from 2 BfA’s faction storylines (which everyone did not like for reasons unknown).
For a Covenant, you’ll get an extra button much like we have now with necklaces. Of course some of the players will set off to calculating “BiS” buttons, but in my case the choice will be tied to a character fantasy. For example, my paladin Anibell will go for Bastion, druid Jammu will be playing with Night Fae, warrior Gorgul goes for Maldraxxus, and demon hunter Melaris will explore the darkness of Revendreth.
It is uncertain how the announced “alt-friendliness” works. Once we walk through the story once, alts may immediately choose a Covenant, but they will have to level 50-60 nevertheless? We shall see.
This is huge, because we will have new and unique starting leveling experience, tied to current expansion. If you’ve never played WoW before, it’s only Exile’s Reach island, but on alts it’s either a classic starting zone or Exile’s Reach as well.
This is also huge, because leveling experience will be cut to 60-70% faster from what it is now, and an leveling expansion of choice will be available via Chromie. It’s a long-awaited leveling nerf, good for current alt-players and new players both. I wonder how dungeon leveling will work? Anyways, they’re keeping all the content for revisiting, and also make it fast to catch-up, be it a brand-new vulpera, an 11th shaman, or a friend which finally wants to join you for the journey.
One restriction here: a completely new player will have to level 10-50 in BfA to get a link to the current expansion.
Legendaries are back, and random is not. There will be a full system of creating and customizing gear according to your needs. If only they learned from the crafting mistakes! What I need is:
- Getting enough mats for crafting without insane grind of top-difficulty content (see crafting in BfA) – by just playing the game.
- In any case, entry ilvl for at least LFR should be achieved without them.
Not much, but these are important wishes.
Tower of Torghast
Blizzard is quite bold by introducing this feature, and as a central one, for expansion end gameplay. The system is a scenario based for groups 1 to 5, much like Horrific Visions. Granted that we did not see it yet, they must be pretty sure that it will fly high upon release. Or maybe they will have time to implement vital changes considering how players will play the said 8.3. Visions.
Anyways, it’s the place where we go for the endgame upgrades, and it’s good that they try to offer someting completely new – hopefully nothing like the infamous island expeditions which went into trash bin for me after a couple of tries.
Anima Instead of Artifact Grind
Looks like a mild cap for now. Announced as easy to catch up if you just play the game, and extra anima will be converted to utility or cosmetic awards. Also, required only as a perk for Torghast the Tower.
Blizzard finally address all the changes they’ve made after Pandaria and bring forward class over spec. I can’t say whether it is good or bad. I like that when I’m playing my frost mage, I don’t have any fire spells, and imo classes and specs in general are in a good spot now (mostly – hunters and shadow priests, I hear and feel you!). My only wish is that adding a shadow spell on my holy priest or a fire spell on my mage will not feel like an obligatory addition to the rotation. If arcane blast will be my old-raid trash option, or fire blast as just an aggro spell, we’re good.
Now that’s one of the most desired things that is devastatingly back in time now! New haircuts, tattoos, faces, skin colors and what not is most welcome – say, Mag’har hair options can’t be compared to green Orcs! Bring it on – in shovels, the more the better.
All in all the new expansion looks like a work on mistakes – and ignored issues too. I only wish it plays out in favor of everybody, like Legion solved many Draenor’s problems. We shall see about that, but I have very high hopes.
6 thoughts on “WoW Shadowlands: Expansion Features”
There’s a lot of time left before we start to see more solid details. The narrative, the artwork, all seem great. I just want to know if I will still be forced to play my priest the same as I’ve had these last expansions.
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Shadowlands cinematic may bring a lot of lore questions, adding to a long list of existing ones, but the new leveling system is even more puzzling.
– Will we be locked on a time period during 10-50 leveling? Can I change my mind half way through and jump from Northrend to, say, Eastern Kingdoms content?
– Speaking of: is it even feasible to level all the way from 10 to 50 in Cataclysm/Pandaria/Legion locations? Right now the amount of quests in Kalimdor/Eastern Kingdoms is way bigger than in any of the newer expansions. If two players choose Kalimdor and Legion as their leveling route – does it mean that one of them will get more exp. per quest and finish leveling faster? Or is it gonna be “grind till the last quest in the area” to get to 50?
– How will solo raiding work? Can I farm Invincible with level 40-ish toon? Or do I have to reach level cap to even think of going to the old instances/raids?
– How will the level squish affect half-leveled alts? What happened to my lvl 57 paladin?
The most underwhelming part about this new add-on announcement is that it seems as Blizzard just throw some concepts at us, “as is”, without ANY meat to them: “here’s – you asked for it, right? – level squish”, “here’s endless (maybe, possibly, we don’t know yet) tower climb mode”, “here’s new (covenant) talent system”. I wouldn’t be surprised if later on they remove/completely change these features. It never felt that rushed, even with WoD (which was also a large mind fuck, but at least had a steady concept at the beginning), even with Legion (which was a wish-come-true-expansion, but had much more than just wish fulfillment).
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They answered some of your questions about leveling:
– You can talk to Chromie and switch mid-expansion anytime you want. Their goal is not to make players do Jade forest and half of Valley, then outgrow it and never see other Pandaria’s zones, for example. In the Shadowlands you can go to Northrend and just be there, or do one zone, hop to Tiragarde, hop to outland etc. There’s no information about how expansions’ quest lengths match, but Vanilla are all zones in themselves, no continent arcs, so I don’t see it as a problem.
– All I know you can farm older raids at level cap, or riot :)
– Mid-level alts will squish by a formula, I think it’s easy to guess. For example, a 57 paladin is at 47% from 120 level cap, so it’s gotta be around 28-29 level with 60 level cap.
The new expansion doesn’t feel too rushed. They have stories in development for ages, and the new systems and designs seem forged out pretty well, unlike Legion initial announcement which was mostly just rough pencil sketches.
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So with the new phasing tech syncing people playing together, allowing a person to work on a quest they may have already completed, how will that work if say my wife and I choose different covenants. I believe they each get unique quests, but would we still be able to play together, or would we end up needing to do double the work.
I understand it’s like Legion’s campaigns. You have your Covenant (in Legion: class) content, but you can do most activities together.
They gave an example of people from different Covenants entering the Torghast tower in a group. It’s cool how you may only open a secret door if you belong to a certain Covenant, so traveling together actually adds up the places you may visit.
Covenants will have campaign content like war campaigns in BfA in length. I mean it’s not scarce, but it doesn’t take too long either.
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The expansion seems pretty nice from what they talked about. We shall have to wait and see if they deliver on those words though.
I am most anticipating the new cosmetic options and the revamped leveling
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