World of Warcraft: Shadowlands is the eighth expansion of the dominant MMORPG game by Blizzard Activision. Following its release on November 23, 2020, it broke the world record for the fastest-selling PC game, with 3.7 million sales. Unfortunately, a week later, Cyberpunk 2077 took the top spot. But, according to Superdata, Blizzard Activision’s revenue dropped by 61% between November 2020 and January 2021. Moreover, approximately 41% of the player base left (not including players in China). So, should you play the game? Decide at the end of our World of Warcraft: Shadowlands review.
World of Warcraft: Shadowlands: What’s Notable
To begin our review of World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, we’ll point some noteworthy changes:
The level cap, which was previously 120, got shrunk to 60. Zones, quests, battlegrounds, dungeons, and raids scale with your level, giving you complete freedom to level up wherever you want, however you want.
Players can cross into the Shadowlands, World of Warcraft’s version of the afterlife, at level 50. They must choose between settling in the Sanctum (home base) in one of the four leveling zones named Bastion, Ardenweald, Maldraxxus, and Revendreth.
The expansion introduced Covenants which are in-game sects players can join. They are named Necrolord (Maldraxxus), Kyrian (Bastion), Night Fae (Ardenweald), and Venthryr (Revendreth). Adopting Covenant, besides access to the unique quest hub, allows access to unique campaigns and 2 special abilities, one Covenant, and the other class-based. Also, players can unlock Covenant-specific mounts and pets and special armor sets. Renown, Covenant’s reputation, plays a key role, as it allows players to unlock 3 different Covenant NPCs, named Soulbinds. Aligning with each of the Soulbinds unlocks their talent trees, granting new powers. Changing Covenants is possible, but costly. You’ll have to start from scratch, so, choose once and wisely.
New player hub
Shadowlands introduced the main player hub, named Oribos, the Eternal City, located in the heart of the Shadowlands.
Anima is the new currency in World of Warcraft: Shadowland. It can be gathered in the new zones through repeatable, daily, or weekly activities. One key difference compared to currencies in previous expansions is that it occupies bag space, forcing you to deposit it at your Covenant Sanctum. It powers unlocking Covenant talents, abilities, quests, locations, special events, sending your Soundbinds to missions, and more.
The new expansion introduced an infinite dungeon, named Torghast, Tower of the Damned. It can be done solo or with up to 5 players, replayed limitlessly, and is never identical. It has 6 floors, 6 wings, and 8 layers (per player). You must complete one floor to advance to the next and all on a time limit. Players can die up to 5 times (solo) or 15 times (5-player group) before the next death starts a 30-second timer. When the timer ends, an NPC named The Tarragrue spawns at the beginning of the floor. When it reaches the end of the floor, the Torghast run ends.
Players can craft Legendary items in Shadowlands thanks to Soul Ash, a currency obtained weekly from Torghast. They can choose the armor slot, rank, and primary and secondary stats of the item. Also, players get to collect, then bind a Legendary Power to it.
Class and race options
Shadowlands made it possible to create a Pandaren Death Knight character. Also, for the first time, you can use any of the 10 allied races to create a Death Knight.
The Great Vault
The Great Vault is new functionality in Shadowlands, fixing the problem of low-drop percentage. It has 9 locked item slots, which unlock as players complete more weekly objectives. Every week, players can pick to loot one of the 1-9 items they unlocked, which resets The Great Vault.
While writing our review of World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, we noticed very little change in terms of gameplay. Here’s what to expect:
You can still play as one of the two factions, Alliance and Horde.
There are no new races added in World of Warcraft: Shadowlands. That means you can still play as:
There are 14 primary races to choose from:
After completing the questlines to unlock them, you can also play as 10 Allied races:
|Dark Iron Dwarf||Zandalari Troll|
|Kul Tiran||Highmountain Tauren|
|Lightforged Draenei||Mag’har Orc|
Shadowlands didn’t introduce anything new. So, there are still 12 playable classes in World of Warcraft: Shadowlands:
- Death Knight
- Demon Hunter
The talent system remained identical to the previous expansion. You have 7 talent rows, each with 3 different talents to choose from. Enabling PvP Mode adds 3 more PvP talents to the mix.
Player vs. Player (PvP)
You can still do world PvP, and there are no new Battlegrounds (10v10, 40v40). In contrast, PvP vendor NPCs are finally re-implemented after being gone for 2 previous expansions. They let you buy and update your gear, using 2 currencies: Shadowlands PvP Honor and Shadowlands PvP Conquest. The former is earned through almost all PvP activities, while the latter is reserved for Rated PvP, such as Rated Arenas (2v2, 3v3, 5v5). Also, Shadowlands introduced one new Arena map, named Empyrean Domain.
Player vs. Environment (PvE)
The principles of PvE are identical to the previous expansion:
Dungeons still have 4 modes of difficulty – Normal, Heroic, Mythic, and Mythic+. The last mode uses Keystone levels (1-30, typically) to gradually increase the health and attack power of the NPCs inside. Also, as the level goes up, new Affixes (dungeon modifiers) are introduced, which alter the playstyle. Affixes change every week and there are 4 new Affixes in Shadowlands: Spiteful, Prideful, Inspiring, and Storming. There are also 7 new dungeons: Sanguine Depths, The Necrotic Wake, Theater of Pain, Halls of Atonement, Plaguefall, Spires of Ascension, De Other Side, and Mists of Tirna Scithe.
Once again, there are no changes to raids – they still scale based on the number of players, between 10 and 30. The only Shadowlands raid is named Castle Nathria.
To conclude our World of Warcraft: Shadowlands review, we’ll ask ourselves, “is the game worth playing?” The players are undoubtedly leaving, but many of them resubscribe after new patch releases. New players are also joining since the game is catered toward them. It’s also undeniable that the lore and the soundtrack are rich and immersive, the open-world is massive, the game has a nearly 2-decade long history, and there’s always something to do. Best of all, you’ll do it alongside millions of players who are passionate and even addicted to the game.
World of Warcraft: Shadowlands Review
World of Warcraft: Shadowlands is a beautiful game to have some fun with. For the MMORPG lovers, it is a heaven.