World of Warcraft: Shadowlands
World of Warcraft: Shadowlands (from English – “World of Warcraft: Dark Lands”) is the eighth expansion to the computer game World of Warcraft, announced on November 1, 2019 at BlizzCon and released on November 24, 2020.
Shadowlands takes place in the Dark Lands – an afterlife where the souls of the dead fall. The add-on introduced a new character development system, the maximum level was reduced from 120 to 60, the death knight class became available to representatives of all races, and at the start of the add-on, 5 new zones were added to the game world, located in the Dark Lands.
In the previous expansion, Battle for Azeroth, the leader of the Horde, Sylvanas Windrunner, unleashed a war between the Horde and the Alliance, in which many soldiers died on both sides; at the end of the expansion, the Horde and Alliance managed to negotiate peace, and Sylvanas was overthrown and fled. According to the Shadowlands preview trailer, Sylvanas fought the Lich King Bolvar Fordragon and took the magical Helm of Dominance from him. Rather than donning the helmet, Sylvanas shattered it, opening a portal to the Dark Lands in the skies above the Northrend mainland.
The Dark Lands were supposed to serve as a well-oiled mechanism where the souls of the dead are judged by their earthly deeds, but recently all souls fall into the Womb – a place of torment for the worst sinners . The player character, having fallen into the Dark Lands in the flesh, also finds himself in this place, but he manages to escape. From that moment on, the attention of the Jailer is riveted to him – a powerful creature that rules the Maw.
Characters and levels
The developers continued to expand the process of creating a new character and choosing various options for its appearance. For game characters, a choice is offered, in particular, an individual tattoo and skin color, and for human characters, a choice of one of the races has become available: Caucasian, Negroid or Mongoloid . The developers continue to work on a unique fighting style for each specialization.
For Shadowlands, “level flattening” is provided – a transition to a new scale of character development levels for both newly created and existing playable characters . Since the release of World of Warcraft in 2004, each expansion has raised the maximum character level in the game by 5 or 10 points. As of 2019, the maximum level for characters was 120, while the increase in characteristics was small and almost imperceptible. In Shadowlands, each of the new 60 levels grants a new ability, talent, or some other significant improvement.
With flattening, level 120 characters have been downgraded to level 50 and will be able to reach a maximum level 60 in the new Shadowlands; these zones are only available to characters level 48 and above. At the same time, the system of pumping up to level 50 has slightly changed: the characters receive the first 10 levels in the starting locations, after which they master the content of Battle for Azeroth up to level 50 or – by talking with a special character Chromie – any of the previous add-ons of their choice.
Death Knight and Demon Hunter Heroic Classes now start at level 8 and allied races at level 10. Players can now create more than one Demon Hunter on the same server.
Dungeons and Raids
New dungeons and raids have been introduced to Shadowlands. Among them is Torgast, the Tower of the Damned is an endless changing dungeon that can be played as many times as you like alone or as part of a group; each playthrough should be different from the previous one. In the story, players need to fight the servants of the Jailer – the terrible lord of Torgast; victory allows you to get legendary treasures and free the souls of heroes who were unfairly imprisoned in Torgast. Players must collect anima – the life force of souls. The collected anima can be transformed into special skills and abilities that make the ascent to the next floors of Torgast easier . Similar to the worlds in roguelike games, each new floor of the tower is procedurally generated, and it is impossible to reach the end of the tower – it is infinite; however, on higher floors, players face increasingly difficult opponents. According to the game’s CTO Frank Kowalkowski and Senior Game Designer Paul Kubit, Torgast’s development was influenced by the relatively small but popular Mission of the Withered in Legion. Since the “Field Training” cards and the location of the enemies were always the same, the task became boring over time – this problem should be solved by procedural generation in Torghast
The Dark Lands are ruled by 4 covenants, which feed on the power of arriving souls – anima. As a result of actions on Azeroth, all souls begin to immediately fall into the Womb.