World of Warcraft: Shadowlands is a remarkably polished early expansion experience from rodeoneerer's blog

World of Warcraft (WoW) enters its 17th year in 2021, hot on the heels of the launch of Shadowlands, the MMO's next big expansion. In Shadowlands, players become the Maw Walker, capable of shifting between the realm of the afterlife and the lands of the living. The Shadowlands is a mysterious other-worldly dimension, where souls appear after death and are judged an afterlife deemed suitable for their deeds (or misdeeds). However, something has gone terribly wrong.

Shadowlands basically opens up with the fabric between life and death being torn asunder, by the current Big Bad of the game, Sylvanas. Basically, she rips apart the crown of the Lich King, and it opens a big portal in the sky to the WoW versions of Heaven and Hell. Key leaders from both factions are kidnapped to the Hell side (The Maw, here) as are you. But you quickly bust out and go to Heaven (Oribos) where you are tasked with rescuing the leaders, stopping Sylvanas (again), and figuring out why the afterlife is broken.

Fortunately, for leveling, you’ll only be there for 30 to 45 minutes before you escape to Shadowlands’ other zones. You’ll spend roughly equal time in each of the four zones. You begin in Bastion, the angelic home of the Kyrian, Shadowlands’ Sorting Hat of ferrying new souls to the afterlife and determining where they should go.

The story in World of Warcraft: Shadowlands sees players venture into the Shadowlands after Sylvanas shatters the Helm of Domination, causing the barrier between life and death to fracture. In this new location, players work from a new hub called Oribos as they follow questlines that showcase each new zone. Within these zones are covenants that offer a multitude of unique rewards.

It wouldn’t be a World of Warcraft expansion without mentioning the gear. Shadowlands offers a handful of new dungeons for players to pilfer with a variety of difficulty levels and of course new raid content. Beyond this, there’s also a new rogue-like dungeon called Torghast, which features randomly-generated rooms and encounters. This can be tackled solo or as a group and should provide players with ample opportunity to farm the perfect item for their builds.

Shadowlands is a remarkably polished early expansion experience. Previous efforts were marred with exploding servers, massive queues, and the like, but Blizzard has done well to ensure Shadowlands' launch was a relatively stable one. Not only that, Shadowlands is one of the first expansions I've played at launch that really delivered a full spread of rich endgame content right out of the gate, that moved beyond simply raiding and rep grinding.

Stunning art, a step-up for story delivery, and a rich endgame makes me confident that World of Warcraft: Shadowlands will be remembered as one of the legendary MMO's better expansions — if Blizzard can continue to prioritize feedback from players, rather than its shareholders.


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By rodeoneerer
Added Feb 2

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