Alongside my coverage of the Shadowlands event server, I was able to take part in a group interview with Ion Hazzikostas about the expansion and WoW in general. The interview went, round robin style, from one person to the next until we ran out of time. I ended up being able to ask three questions. While there was some very juicy information revealed from others’ questions, I don’t want to steal anyone’s thunder. I’ll let those parties share those answers on their own time.

Here are the transcripts for the three questions I asked Ion and his answers.

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Yesterday, I had the chance to play on an event server for the initial build of the the upcoming Shadowlands beta, featuring The Maw and the venthyr covenant. I’ve decided to split up the many pictures I took into multiple articles based on theme. Here are some random other updates to be found on the event build.

Oribos received a few cosmetic updates. There are now tons of broker camps surrounding the city, but they lack NPCs. Sometimes guards walk past and stare at the empty camps for a moment, then resume their patrol.

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Yesterday, I had the chance to play on an event server for the initial build of the upcoming Shadowlands beta, featuring The Maw and the venthyr covenant. I’ve decided to split up the many pictures I took into multiple articles based on theme. This time, we’ll look at the venthyr covenant.

Your journey begins with Prince Renathal, leader of the resistance against Sire Denathrius, welcoming in you to the covenant. There’s also a hint of intrigue and the suggestion that Renathal’s motives aren’t as pure as they seem.

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Yesterday, I had the chance to play on an event server for the initial build of the upcoming Shadowlands beta, featuring The Maw and the venthyr covenant. I’ve decided to split up the many pictures I took into multiple articles based on theme. First up, let’s take a look at The Maw.

Unlike the other Shadowlands zones, players enter The Maw by jumping into the flow of souls at the center of Oribos. There are no flight paths or inns in The Maw, this is the only way to get in.

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The latest Shadowlands alpha build added something of particular interest to hunters. Most races received new starting pets! Some are just model or skin changes, while others like blood elves have an entirely new family for their first pet. As you can see above, the character creation screen is a little buggy, and none of the new pets actually work once you log on to your character. I’ll do my best to show what’s going on; but remember that things will likely change once the many glitches are ironed out.

First off, not every race has new pets. Mag’har orcs, Kul Tirans, Zandalari trolls, Highmountain tauren, goblins, dwarves, vulpera, and worgen all retain their old pets. Undead and Nightborne have their old pets, but the character creation screen is doing weird things which suggest they might be changed. Dark Iron dwarves and Mechagnomes have issues displaying their starting pets that persist from live servers. Night elves aren’t available in this build so their pet situation is up in the air.

The character creation screen is a mess for these new pets. For some reason there are two pets on top of each other, and sometimes they have missing or heavily distorted textures. The draenei and undead are the worst offenders:

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One of the most exciting features in Shadowlands is the new character customization options. Previously, Blizzard’s said we were only getting updates to the “core” races. Allied races are out of luck for new stuff. Or are they? Probably, but on the alpha there’s been a surprising exception.

Mechagnomes received four new customization options in the latest (as of this writing) build. These are a new set of goggle type eye enhancements with variants for each mechagnome ear type.

What’s odd about these additions is that they sort of already exist on live servers. That’s probably why they’re being made fully available in Shadowlands.

Currently mechagnome characters will use this goggle eye appearance if they’re wearing helms that cover hair or facial features on other races.

You can’t select these options in the barbershop or have your character display them outside of equipping/transmogrifying certain helms… until now! (Technically until the Shadowlands pre-patch releases, but until now sounded cooler.)

It’s time for another of my fan expansion concepts. You may have noticed there’s been a lot of foreshadowing about Wrathion and the dragonflights in Battle for Azeroth. The most tantalizing piece is an island expedition quest (Unscarred Black Scale) that reveals Wrathion is searching for the Dragon Isles. For those unaware, the Dragon Isles were a scrapped zone north of Tirisfal Glades planned for vanilla WoW. They gained a level of infamy for their cool name and this really neat concept art. It may have been re-purposed into BfA’s own Shrine of the Storm:

Outside of the concept art and some other behind the scenes information (such as The World of Warcraft Diary by John Staats), the Dragon Isles have never been mentioned in lore and were assumed non-canon. BfA changed that. From the Unscarred Black Scale quest text, this official version of the Dragon Isles is actually related to the dragonflights. Whereas the old version was just a bunch of Old God temples based on sea creatures. Obviously the concept has changed and so for this expansion I started from scratch. Yes the nautilus temple is iconic, but at this point it really would just come off as Shrine of the Storms 2.0 and that wouldn’t work in the expansion immediately following it. Maybe it could show up in a patch.

I don’t have a name for the expansion this time. I wanted to call it World of Warcraft: Dragonsworn but that sounded too close to the Dragonborn expansion for Skyrim in my opinion. I’ve tried to follow the history of expansions sounding pretty out there story wise when first announced (no one tends to predict major side stories or in some cases even main stories for real expansions) so some of the story will be pretty out of left field. Mostly the return of a certain character. Read it after the jump.

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I love to search through the game’s models with WoW Model Viewer to learn more about the pieces that make up World of WarCraft. Over the years I’ve found some interesting discoveries inside. Fully (and in one instance partially) complete models that despite being finished are nowhere to be found in the live game. It’s fascinating to see what could have been, so I’ve picked out seven of these unused models (and one bonus, a cut character customization option) to share today. See them all after the read more button!

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World of WarCraft lore discussion has been set aflame (see what I did there?) over the past few days, following Eurogamer’s interview with Alex Afrasiabi. The interview itself is about the divide of opinions on Sylvanas and her future in Battle for Azeroth. What’s caused the frenzy of confusion and speculation is this one line from Alex:

“I’ve heard these discussions on the internet about ‘she’s going off the rails’, but is she? I’ve been writing Sylvanas personally since 2006, and this is pretty much – the Wrathgate and the Blight and the Forsaken – in character. Those were all under Sylvanas’ orders. What we’re seeing now is an escalation of the plans Sylvanas has, clearly, and we’re in the middle of that.”

The Wrathgate being under Sylvanas’ orders, rather than part of Burning Legion aligned coup that followed, hugely changes one of the most beloved moments in WoW’s history. Is this a misunderstanding? It wouldn’t be the first time Alex Afrasiabi misspoke during an interview. Or was he correct? It’s not the first time Blizzard’s suggested Sylvanas had more to do with the Wrathgate than she let on. I’ll be looking into the implications behind this and various theories below.

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