Narrator: Welcome to the World of Warcraft: What’s Next.

Hazzikostas: BlizzCon! Hello, once again. It has been so long. I love you all, too. This is the best. Shadowlands. Like Diablo IV, we can finally say it outloud; and this is the time to tell you a bit more about where we are going, and what is next in World of Warcraft.

So, last time in World of Warcraft, this happened. The sky shattered, and we are left staring across the veil between life and death, into a small piece of the Shadowlands; but what does that mean for us exactly?

So, this panel is going to be a little bit different from the past Expansion: What’s Next panels, because this isn’t one of these expansions where it is about… ok, we are getting on a ship and sailing off to this new continent that is part of Azeroth — that mapmakers have mysteriously ignored for the last 10 years–

(Audience laughs)

We are going to another plane of existence, effectively. We are going to the realm of death. To the afterlife; and so I need to also lay out some of the ground rules for how this whole place works. So bare with me, and then we’ll put it all together at the end.

So there are a couple of things where I’m going to also go over some details because we also have a Deep Dive panel tomorrow where some of my colleagues are going to go much more in depth on some of the features and systems.

Anyways, let’s keep going. So for the lord nerds out in the crowd, you may recognize this: the Warcraft Cosmology — which lays out the six primal forces that define the Warcraft universe. We have Light and Shadow; Order and Disorder; and yes, Life and Death.

–And so, where and what is the Shadowlands? It is right there. It’s been right there in front of us this whole time. Just on the edge of reality. Separated from us by this veil that has shattered; and that’s where we are going.

So let’s talk about some light topics like what happens to us after we die in Azeroth or other worlds of Warcraft, anyways. So when death comes, a soul crosses between Life and Death. A spirit-healer makes that determination, and a wing-bearer comes to bring the soul into the Shadowlands; and souls come before a mysterious entity. An ancient entity known only as the Arbiter.

The Arbiter, since time immemorial, has functioned in this capacity; and when that soul comes before her, in a fraction of a fraction of a second, every one of the contents of that soul is laid bare before her. All the deeds, the misdeeds, the thoughts, the aspirations, the triumphs and the failures are felt and understood by the Arbiter; and the Arbiter sends that soul off to a destination realm. To one of the infinite realms of the Shadowlands — each one of which is ruled over by a powerful Covenant (a ruling force within the Shadowlands).

Also — and it will matter more in a second — but each soul brings with it a powerful source of energy known as Anima. This is a vital force that is the product of all of that soul’s experiences, all they have done in life. Great souls, whether for good or for evil, have a lot of Anima; and ones who have lived smaller and humbled lives have less. But folks like Varian, Garrosh, and certainly Arthas (the former Lich King)… they have a ton.

An Anima is the Mana. It is ironically the lifeblood of the Shadowlands. In this land of death, it is the force that makes the trees here grow, rivers flow, it is the source that is drawn upon to conduct the magic of death, and much more; and that’s going to be essential to understanding this world.

As I mentioned, the Shadowlands have infinite realms; but our journey initially will focus on a few of them. We see Revendreth, Ardenweald, Bastion, Maldraxxus, as four major realms.

Oribos — a city which stands in the center of it all, and this mysterious region known only as The Maw. Let’s start talking about that.


1. Intro to the Shadowlands2. Zones3. Covenants4. Oribos & The Maw
5. Pre-Shadowlands World Event6. Alt Characters7. Dungeons & Raids8. Systems & Rewards
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BlizzCon 2019 Panel Transcripts