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World Of Warcraft Shadowlands Beta Impressions

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Spoiler Warning: World of Warcraft Shadowlands beta impressions will contain spoilers. This opinion piece will cover my experience from the first two weeks within the Shadowlands beta. Obviously, two weeks isn’t enough time to fully test the complete scope of an entire expansion, but I’ll do my best to share my thoughts. Please feel free to ask questions and leave comments below.

World of Warcraft Shadowlands beta impressions are varied. Every World of Warcraft player is expecting something different regarding the next expansion. Almost everyone will agree that Battle for Azeroth failed to deliver a quality experience on every level. Shadowlands has a lot riding on it, and it will be released on October 27, 2020.

A good expansion is subjective. The majority of the fandom will agree that the years spanning Vanilla WoW, the Burning Crusade, and the Wrath of the Lich King were the glory days. You may also hear high praise for the Legion expansion from a couple of years ago.

Regardless of what your personal favorite, a good WoW expansion needs key ingredients. These ingredients include a compelling story, fun game play, unique zones to explore, and a new and interesting premise or concept.

So, let’s examine the Shadowlands beta and see how the ingredients are meshing within the mix.

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World of Warcraft Shadowlands Beta Impressions

A Compelling Story

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World of Warcraft Shadowlands beta impressions wouldn’t be complete without it’s story. Sadly, I haven’t quested within every zone yet, but I was able to complete the quest line within Exiles Reach, which I will discuss further within this post.

I started the introduction quest line for the expansion. Also, I was able to experience part of the quest line within Bastion which I will also discuss later. I also joined the Night Fae covenant in Ardenweald, so as a result, I was able to play part of their covenant quest line which I will examine later in the article.

Each covenant will feature their own unique story. If the plot line is important to you when choosing your covenant, then you may want to pay close attention to each one while questing in their zones. The covenant you choose will help shape your perception of the expansion, so be sure to choose wisely.

So, let’s begin by examining Shadowland’s introduction.

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Shadowland’s Introduction Quest Line *Spoilers*

alt="world of warcraft shadowlands beta impressions"/> Shadowlands begins with our characters receiving an urgent summons from Highlord Darion Mograine. Apparently, the leader of the Four Forsemen had grim news to share with us about our faction leaders.

So, our player characters make haste to Stormwind Keep (only if you play Alliance, but I haven’t had a chance to complete the introduction on Horde side yet) to discover that King Anduin Wrynn has been kidnapped.

He was kidnapped with Lord Admiral Jaina Proudmoore, High Chieftain Baine Bloodhoof and Thrall.

All we know at the time is that we must hurry to Icecrown Citadel because Sylvanas Windrunner has destroyed the Helm of Domination, and we must speak to the former Lich King, Bolvar Fordragon.

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World of Warcraft Shadowlands Beta Impressions

Shadowland’s Introduction Quest Line Continued *Spoilers*

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When we arrive in Icecrown, Bolver instructs us to use the broken pieces of the helm to open a portal to the Shadowlands. He informs us this is a one-way trip, but wishes us luck on our search to locate our missing leaders. Once we descend into the portal, we find ourselves instantly submerged within the Maw and it’s hellish landscape.

In the sky above, we can see the Jailer’s tower, and it’s an eerie reflection of Icecrown Citadel with it’s spiky visage.

To complicate matters, we’re immediately under attack by undead and strange winged creatures. We eventually located Jaina and Thrall by following her magical trail she left from fighting the undead, but there’s no sign of Anduin or Baine. We help Jaina fight a group of winged creatures as we search for a safe place. Eventually, our group finds shelter within a cave, and Jaina explains what’s been going on.

According to Jaina, time moves differently within the Shadowlands. The Jailer sent his lackeys after them. So at this point, we know that we must figure out where Anduin and Baine are, and we must learn more about the Shadowlands. Our player characters should also be concerned about finding a way out.

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Shadowland’s Introduction Quest Line – My Thoughts *spoilers*

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I’ve only completed the introduction quest line up until this point. During my World of Warcraft Shadowlands Beta Impressions, I haven’t had the chance to try Horde yet to see what the differences may be.

Since the game is still in beta there were many things not available for us to view.

Music is missing from compelling moments. Without cut scenes, voice acting, and music I will say that the game is missing some of it’s magic, but the beauty and charm of beta testing is it’s rough edges.

When we help Jaina search for a cave, and fight enemies, I was bored because it reminded me of the beginning of patch 8.2. But, the concept of Shadowlands helps to solve that problem and I will discuss that in a bit.

Shadowlands Introduction Quest Line – My Thoughts Continued *spoilers*

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Also, the urgent summons from Darion Mograine was interesting, but I’ll admit it was difficult to care for a second. Jaina is one of my favorite characters, but because this is beta, we haven’t experienced the pre-expansion events yet. I’m also not sure if Azeroth has been healed and maybe I’m missing something?

I might need to go back and re-watch the ending cut scenes for Battle for Azeroth. So, for me I felt as if we were jumping into a new major plot without wrapping up the last one, and it was hard to believe that our powerful leaders could be so easily subdued. But, I wasn’t able to view the cut scene as it’s still in development, so I’m sure everything will make sense in the end.

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Shadowland’s Game Play Examined

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Next in the World of Warcraft Shadowlands beta impressions is the game play. In Shadowlands we’ll receive new abilities related to whichever covenant we choose. Shadowlands is also giving players more flexibility with choosing their own play style.

Covenants will provide us with soulbinds. A soulbind is a special connection your character shares with a spirit. These soulbinds give you the ability to have new talents.

My main is a beast mastery hunter. I chose the Night Fae covenant in Ardenweald because I thought the nature theme fit with a hunter character. Every player who chooses the Night Fae covenant receives the Soulshape ability. Soulshape allows the user to shapeshift into a Vulpin and increases movement speed by 50 percent. The ability also allows you to teleport forward about 15 yards.

During my World of Warcraft Shadowlands beta impressions, I also tested my class covenant specific ability. My hunter was given the ability Wild Spirits. The Wild Spirits ability allows hunters to target a location and apply Wild Mark. It increases damage done by 5 percent for 15 seconds for all enemies within the target location. Also, all damage you do to a target causes 468 nature damage. Wild Spirits has a two minute cool down.

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Shadowland’s Game Play Examined – My Thoughts

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The Soulshape ability is gorgeous with it’s etheral blue color and swirls. It’s also useful when you need to escape. Honestly, Druids and Shamans may not have a need for Soulshape because they already can transform into a cheetah and wolf respectively.

Soulshape does come with additional abilities with soulbinds. If Niya is your soulbind, your character can utilize the Sylvari Mantle passive ability which means they’ll remain concealed after they transform back into their normal form until they move. There’s also the Stay on the Move passive ability which reduces Soulshapes cool down by 3.0 seconds every time you defeat an enemy.

I haven’t unlocked the Dreamweaver or Korayn soulbinds yet.

Shadowland’s Game Play Examined – My Thoughts Continued

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As a hunter, I do find the Soulshape ability fun and useful. Its saved my life in several tricky situations while questing. I’m also partial to anything pretty so I will admit I’m biased.

The hunter class ability Wild Spirits is interesting. I didn’t really know where to place it within my rotation. At first I was going to use it as an opener, but that wasn’t working out with the two minute cool down.

So then I began to use it within the middle of my rotation, but then I began having issues with crowd control. The Wild Spirits effect is very pretty to look at, but I found myself sticking to my normal rotation because it was familiar and reliable. I may need more practice with the spell.

So far, I haven’t had the chance to try out the game play in Torghast, dungeons, raids, or PvP type of environments. I also haven’t tested any other classes.

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World of Warcraft Shadowlands Beta Impressions

Unique Zones To Explore

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The World of Warcraft Shadowlands beta impressions has several zones to explore. These zones feature a different type of undead creature. The exception is the new starter zone Exile’s Reach.

There are five zones in the Shadowlands. These zones include Maldraxxus which is where the Necrolord covenant is found. Another zone is Revendreth where you find the Gothic and vampiric Venthyr covenant.

Ardenweald is where we meet the mysterious Night Fae covenant. Then we have Bastion where the noble Kyrian covenant can be found. And, finally we have the Maw, which is the eerie domain where the Jailer can be found.

Each new zone is fascinating and is worth exploring from the ground up. To reach a new zone, there are hidden loading screens. So we have a really cool effect where it looks like we’re flying through the afterlife. I’m not sure how exciting the loading screen will be by the end of the expansion, but the beginning of Shadowlands will be epic.

Let’s explore each zone.

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Unique Zones To Explore Continued

Exiles Reach *spoilers*

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Exile’s Reach is an uncharted island in the North Sea. New players will begin their journey here. The Horde and Alliance had previously sent expeditions to the unexplored land, but when they didn’t return, your playable character is sent out with a new team to help search for them.

Ogres live on the island. We uncover a dark plot which involves the ogres using victims as a sacrifice to raise a deadly dragon. Our job is to save the first crew and get out alive.

Exile’s Reach is awesome. The zone is visually stunning. As a starting zone I was impressed with how the game placed me right in the action. I was also pleased with hunters being taught how to tame a pet. It reminded me of being a newbie during Wrath.

My concern for hunters involved the lack of explanation for the different type of pets. A new player wouldn’t understand the difference between tenacity, cunning, or ferocity. There was also no explanation on how to revive your pet should it die.

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Exile’s Reach Continued

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The zone was compelling and featured game play elements common to end game. For example, we were able to control a creature and the zone also featured side quests.

It’s also rare to have a starer zone that’s fun to explore. I was tempted to run into new and exciting areas. There was a side quest to help a spirit and he gives you a buff which increases your movement speed.

My favorite part was the end when I got to do a dungeon. We had to defeat the dragon the ogres had been attempting to raise.

The dungeon was short and fun. If there wasn’t a group for you to play with the the game had two NPC’s fill the role of tank and healer.

Exiles Reach Cont.

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One criticism with this is that the game could use this as an opportunity to give a brief tutorial on how to tank or heal an encounter. New players may not understand the different roles within group content.

Often, the player base isn’t too helpful in educating newbies on how the game works, so this would’ve been a great chance to give a new player a quick lesson in dungeon and raid roles.

Other than that, Exile’s Reach was loads of fun. I’m sure many new WoW players will create treasured memories here.

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Shadowlands Zones Explored

Maldraxxus

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During my World of Warcraft Shadowlands beta impressions, I explored as much of each zone as possible. The first zone we’re going to discuss for the Shadowlands is Maldraxxus.  Maldraxxus is home to the Necrolord covenant and the Maldraxxi.

The undead Scourge is from Maldraxxus. So you can expect to see a lot of bones and abominations running around. Maldraxxus has an imposing and creepy aesthetic. There are gigantic skull shaped buildings which tower over the zone.

Necromantic magic comes from Maldraxxus. This zone is focused on might or power. Beings who master the art of necromancy raise ambitious souls from the dead. These souls are a mix of good and evil, but they make up the ranks of the Maldraxxi army. You’ll also find the dungeon Theater of Pain here.

Maldraxxus Continued

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Maldraxxus is home to the Primus. Who ever holds the Seat of the Primus controls all the armies of the Shadowlands. The Primus has gone missing, and the five ruling houses are in ruins.

Our characters are sent to Maldraxxus by the Archon of the Kyrian covenant. The Archon wants to know who ordered an attack on Kyrian who were fighting the Forsworn.

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Maldraxxus – My Thoughts

Maldraxxus isn’t as big as I thought. The humongous structures give the illusion of size though. I’m also intrigued by the story line. Wrath of the Lich King was my favorite expansion.

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My hope is that Maldraxxus will give us fascinating lore relating to the Scourge. I played Warcraft III often as a kid and Arthas and the Scourge always made a lasting impression. I’d love to venture into this crazy place and uncover more secrets.

One of the world quests in this zone involves a battle. You basically jump into the fray and help to protect a ballista. The quest went by quickly as I was bombarded by waves of undead. The dungeon Plaguefall is also located in this zone.

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Revendreth

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Now for the World of Warcraft Shadowlands beta impressions we’re going to discuss Revendreth. The zone of Revendreth is home to the vampiric Venthyr. This is where you’ll find the most prideful and sinful souls.

Our characters are sent to Revendreth with urgent news for Sire Denathrius. He’s the ruler of Revendreth and master of the Venthyr. Revendreth is in the middle of a rebellion thanks in part to the anima drought which haunts all of the Shadowlands.

Revendreth is a zone shrouded in dark secrets. All the souls sent to Revendreth by the Arbiter are either prideful or have a gigantic flaw preventing them from entering the other realms.

Revendreth Continued

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Each soul is given a Sinstone when they arrive. A Sinstone is a tombstone with their true name and all of their sins etched upon its surface. Souls keep the location of their Sinstone secret in the hopes of atoning for their sins and being redeemed one day.

The Ember Ward is where souls are chained in punishment. Light shines in the Ember Ward and the denizens of Revendreth are weakened by it. Revendreth has seven districts and each one is ruled by a Harvester.

A Harverster encourages spirits to repent for their sins. Spirits have three choices: return to Oribos to be judged again, become one of the Venthyr, or be banished to the Maw.

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Revendreth – My Thoughts

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Revendreth has a dark and creepy vibe. Many surprises lurk within this zone so don’t be afraid to peek inside of crypts. Also, the visual effects are impressive.

Candles in Revendreth appear to be bleeding. The lighting within the zone gives off a sinister feel, and the large castle looming over it all completes the puzzle. Fans of horror will love this zone.

The WoW development team put so much detail into this zone. Not only do candles bleed, but carriages move in an ethereal and dark way. Creatures lurk in every corner, and innocent gatherings aren’t so pure. Watch your back if you’re examining the wrong group because you could find yourself under attack.

This zone is perfect for WoW fans who enjoy the darker side of Warcraft. Revendreth has an edgy and gothic inspired feel. Honestly, the zone was so immersive that some areas gave me the creeps. I’m excited to learn more about the rebellion and to discover what the Venthyr covenant has to offer.

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World of Warcraft Shadowlands Beta Impressions

Shadowlands Zones Explored Continued

Ardenweald

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The zone of Ardenweald is what we’re examining next in the World of Warcraft Shadowlands beta impressions. Ardenweald is an enchanted forest where the mythical Night Fae live, and it was founded by the Winter Queen.

As a celestial realm which connects to nature, you’ll meet departed Wild Gods and Wild Spirits of nature. Ardenweald is like the Emerald Dream, except the Emerald Dream represents the Spring and Summer of the life cycle, and Ardenweald represents Autumn and Winter.

Gigantic dream trees draw in anima for the realm. The anima is used to rejuvenate Wild Spirits which slumber within wildseeds. This is in preparation for them to be reborn into the world of the living. Mortal souls like Druids, Hunters and others, who shared a close bound with nature, also call Ardenweald home in the afterlife. They’re allowed to choose a celestial form infused with the magic of Ardenweald.

Ardenweald Continued

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The anima drought has weakned Ardenweald’s defenses. So, Drusts from the realm of Thros have begun to invade the land. These enemies are using Drudism to feed on the dying groves.

Each wildseed that dies gives the Drust more power. They’re using their dark magic to pull native faeries into their forces.

Sadly, the Winter Queen has had to make tough choices regarding the anima drought. She has to decide which of the precious groves are allowed to die. Souls must also be chosen to receive anima, but if they aren’t chosen this means some souls will fade away.

The Winter Queen uses her Vorkai to enforce the decisions regarding the groves. Vorkai are apart of the Winter Queen’s Wild Hunt. Their job is to safeguard Ardenweald from outside threats.

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Ardenweald – My Thoughts *spoilers*

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Ardenweald is breathtaking. The zone has a bluish tinge and sparkles abound. Spiral trees swirl with stars, and water glitters with a celestial pureness.

So immersive is Ardenweald’s beauty, that you can easily become distracted by the lovely creatures roaming the land. Unicorns with colorful spirals and majestic horns gallop through the landscape.

Tiny fairy friends fly around and offer aid and quests to adventurers. Tall tree creatures may have an imposing stature, but I assure you these beings are kind and gentle. Ardenweald is one of the most relaxing zones in World of Warcraft. The beta didn’t have the music for the zone yet, but I’m sure the soundtrack in Ardenweald will be heavenly.

Ardenweald – My Thoughts Continued *spoilers*

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My hunter joined the Night Fae covenant. He had to participate within a play. The play was for the Winter Queen and her court and showcased his heroism from Azeroth. I was able to be both hero and villain in the play. The harrowing tale demonstrated the Lich King’s defeat and the Burning Legion’s fall.

When the play was complete, we’re able to speak with Ysera. The former Dragon Aspect of the Green Dragonflight had no idea about the events of Battle for Azeroth. During the return flight to the Winter Queen’s court, Ysera expresses concern about Tyrande. Our conversation is cut short when our flight ends, and we return to the Winter Queen to become an official member of the Night Fae covenant.

Ardenweald is already one of my favorite zones. I can’t wait to quest and explore more of it’s gorgeous terrain.

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Bastion *spoilers*

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Bastion is the next zone we’re going to examine in the World of Warcraft Shadowlands beta impressions. The noble Kyrian covenant resides within Bastion.

Within this angelic zone the purest and bravest souls can be found resting. Uther, the Lightbringer is resting inside of Bastions angelic domain. Kyrian are ruled by the Archon.

The zone may look beautiful, but it’s also running out of anima. In order to speak with the Archon, our characters must prove their worth as an Aspirant. An Aspirant must overcome difficult trials in order to gain their wings. Gaining your wings means that you’re ascending.

Becoming an Ascended means a soul can become a Kyrian. The Kyrians serve the Shadowlands as messengers and couriers. Ascended are considered some of the purest souls in the realm of the dead.

Bastion Continued *spoilers*

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After we first arrive into the Shadowlands, we end up in the Maw, but the next place we visit is Bastion. Our characters meet a new character named Kleia. We tell her what we saw in the Maw. Kleia is alarmed. She said we’ll have to prove ourselves as an Aspirant to speak with the Archon.

During our trial we meet Kleia’s soulbind, Pelagos. He’s struggling in his trial, but Kleia is unable to intervene. Our characters save Pelagos from his test, and we rejoin Kleia.

We eventually prove our worth in combat, and before long we earn our Aspirant wings. We’re unable to speak with the Archon due to a high ranking Kyrian blocking our attempt.

Bastion – My Thoughts *spoilers*

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Bastion is a pretty zone. The story is boring. Earning my wings was the cool part. Honestly, the visual for that was amazing.

I haven’t completed the zone yet, and I will try to reserve complete judgement until I do. At the moment, I can say that Bastion isn’t my favorite zone.

I haven’t met Uther yet, and I want to know how he’s doing. It’s great to know he’s not in torment. I’m intrigued to see if meeting Uther will teach us anything new about Arthas. I’ll just have to keep questing and find out.

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Shadowland’s Zones Explored

The Maw

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The final zone we’re going to discuss in the World of Warcraft Shadowlands beta impressions is the Maw. When our character’s first arrive in the Shadowlands we end up here. The Maw is where the mysterious Jailer resides. His home is an eerie mirror of Icecrown Citatel. You can even see the shattered orange sky above his tower.

No spirit wants to end up in the Maw. As the end game zone, the Maw is going to be a dangerous place. Souls and undead dot the landscape. The river of souls winds it’s way through the zone. Stepping into the river causes the screen to have a white filter.

The Maw – My Thoughts

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As a zone, the Maw looks like an epic and dark place. Covenants will send players to the Maw to save souls and collect anima. Doing these quests will allow you to access Torghast, the tower of the damned. Elites are walking the landscape. Huge Charred Behmoth’s and Blazing Stygia’s can sneak up on you.

The river of souls is interesting. From above the river looks like white light swirling through the zone. Once you step into the whiteness, you realize you’re actually inside of a subrealm. Inside, you find Mawsworn Shadowcaster’s which are elite enemies that work for the Jailer. These guys can take a chunk of health so stealthiness is a good idea.

The Maw has cool graphic effects. I especially love how the Jailer’s home towers over everything.  Anything you do can attract the attention of the Jailer and he may send more minions after you.

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Bonus: Oribos: The Eternal City – My Thoughts *spoilers*

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Oribos is the new major city. The neutral hub will have access to each of the Shadowlands zones, and portals to Stormwind and Orgrimmar. In Oribos, we see visions of the Arbiter.

Important plot moments between Taelia Fordragon and her father Bolvar Fordragon take place. Oribos is what you’d expect from a neutral major city.

There are vendors, a bank, an inn, and portals. The most unique thing about Oribos is how every zone connects to the city. Each zone has a huge gate in the portal room, and often times we pass by Oribos on our way to another zone.

A large white light is in the center of the city. Jumping into the light takes you to the Maw. The cut scene for jumping into the light is still in development.

Oribos is small. The cities in World of Warcraft are larger then they appear, but Oribos feels bland and tiny. The most exciting part of Oribos is the portals.

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World of Warcraft Shadowlands Beta Impressions

Shadowlands Premise or Concept

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Lastly, let’s discuss the concept of Shadowlands in the World of Warcraft Shadowlands beta impressions. Shadowlands is another death themed expansion.

The first death themed expansion was Wrath of the Lich King. Repeating the same plot line wouldn’t be a great idea, and WoW has managed to come up with a fresh take on death. Shadowlands story is completely new.

Each realm is like it’s own version of death. Bastion is where angels live, and the Maw is where the demons are. The zones are epic because we’re exploring death in all the ways it can exist within fantasy. So there are undead, angels, fairies, and demons. Shadowlands has taken the theme of death to new heights.

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Shadowlands Concept Continued

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Wrath of the Lich King focused on the undead Scourge.  The Lich King controlled his undead army with the Helm of Domination. Well, the Shadowlands is taking this idea a step further.

We’re actually going to meet the Runecarver who forged the helm and the cursed blade Frostmourne. By running the endless dungeon Torghast, we’ll be able to collect materials to have legendary weapons made by him.

Shadowlands has a juicy premise which shows endless promise. The realm of the Shadowlands can also live on in WoW lore for many years to come. Not only is time different in the realm of death, but there are countless realms.

So the Shadowlands expansion is only touching the tip of the iceberg. I’d love to meet more classic characters besides Uther. World of Warcraft has a whole library of heroes and villains, and it’d be epic to see them again.

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World of Warcraft Shadowlands Beta Impressions

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Thank you for reading my World of Warcraft Shadowlands beta impressions. What are you looking forward to the most in Shadowlands? Please leave a comment below.

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World of Warcraft has exclusive merchandise at comic-con 2020. Be sure to check out the Blizzard Gear store for more information. The Winds of Wisdom 100 percent leveling buff is still active. It’s a great time to level alts. Guilds are an important part of the WoW experience. Learn more about how guild behavior can impact your WoW adventure.

Thank you for hanging out at my hearth.

Happy Hunting,

Spyells

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