So first off… Bastion. For each of these zones, I am going to start by showing a piece of internal concept art that help define the look and the feel of the zone; and then we’ll see how that turns into reality within the game. So this piece which I am sure you have seen for the first time ever as an exclusive part of BlizzCon–
EDITOR’S NOTE: It’s an internal joke because this image was leaked a couple days before BlizzCon)
— reflects an artist’s early take on the splendor of Bastion. Bastion is ruled over by the Kyrian Covenant. Now the Kyrian are the forebearers of the Val’kyr and the Spirit Healers, and more. The Kyrian are ordered and purposeful; and the souls that find their way here, that are sent here by the arbiter, are ones that have had some natural calling in life to service in one form or another. But they don’t come here fully ready to assume their ascended role as a Kyrian. Souls come with burdens; and a lot of what goes on in Bastion is meditation, reflection, understanding, self through combat and other means to shed those burdens; and be ready to ascend to an eternity of service in the afterlife as a Val’kyr, or a Spirit Healer, or one of a couple of other paths.
An example of a soul that might be familiar to us — who ended up in Bastion — is Uther the Lightbringer; and we’ll be encountering him among other in our journey through Bastion; and of course, if you haven’t had a chance to check it out yet, Bastion is the zone that is playable here on the showfloor today.
So here is a look at some of the environments of Bastion. Glowing. Resplendant. Very much distant from the dark and dready images that might have been conjured up when you first heard the word Shadowlands. The land of death is not all darkness. There is a distinction there.
Next. A bit of a darker place. The zone of Maldraxxus. So Maldraxxus, as initially defined in this concept, is ruled over by the Necrolord Covenant; and it reflects the heart of the Shadowlands’ military might. The souls here defend the Shadowlands from external forces and wage war on the enemies of Death. These are the forces that were called upon by the Lich King, by his servant Kel’Thuzad, and others; and we have seen a piece of that. An unyielding search and pursuit of power and strength inward and outward.
An example of a soul that ended up in Maldraxxus is actually Draka. Mother of Thrall. Who is certainly not an evil wicked soul, was one who would never kneel, never bow befor another; and she has actually ascended to a position of some prominense within Maldraxxus — as we will discover when we journey there.
Now, while at a glance, Ok… death, rot, decay… this seems like this are all evil guys. That is not necessarily what Maldraxxus is all about. While this power certainly can be used for evil, at its core really it’s more of about just a relentless spirit.
Let’s take a couple of looks at how this is coming together. Now if you think of Legion as the old Burning Crusade look and feel dialed up to eleven, Maldraxxus is very much Eastern Plaguelands, the Scourge, and more taken to the Nth degree. This is the source of that power, and much more.
Next. Ardenweald is an enchanted faerie forest, and that was what we were setting up to create; and this concept by our environment team really helped define that look and the general vibe of where we are going for.
Ardenweald is ruled over by the Night Fae, and we are familiar with the Emerald Dream. Those of you who are druids, maybe more so than most, and if we think of the Emerald Dream as a reflection of the Spring and Summer — heart of Nature’s cycle, Ardenweald reflects Autumn and Winter. It is a place of rest. Yes, of death. But also a preparation for eventual rebirth. Because the journey into the Shadowlands isn’t necessarily a one-way journey; and spirits of nature are the ones who are called powerfully to Ardenweald; and most of them come here to rest and to prepare to serve the wilds once more.
An example of a powerful well-known soul who ended up in Ardenweald is actually the demigod Cenarius when he fell before the axes of Grommash Hellscream and his band of fel-infused Orcs. His soul passed into Ardenweald where he rested and recovered, and returned to serve the wilds in a time of need during the events of the Cataclysm.
So here is a look at how those general concepts have been translated into in-world environments. As you look up in Ardenweald, you are looking at the underside of canopies of magial ancient trees that almost look like starting up at the nightsky.
But there are also some parts of Ardenweald that aren’t faring quite as well, but also reflect some sort of power that we may have seen recently, especially for those of you who are playing Alliance in Battle for Azeroth — because Ardenweald is also deeply connected to the Drust, who come from the land of death.
Revendreth is awesome. It is basically just a creepy gothic-zone-miasma-soaring castles, villages in their shadow, and terrors and horrors lurking around every corner.
Revendreth is ruled over by the Venthyr. This is a fourth major Covenant; and Revendreth — unlike the other realms — maybe isn’t a place that you would want to go, or hope to go as a soul passing into the Shadowlands. The souls that the Arbiter has sent to Revendreth over the years, tend to be the ones that have some flaw. Whether it is pride, or some other problem that has kinda blocking them, that is hindering their ability to serve the Shadowlands in one of the other known paths, make home to Revendreth to atone, do penance for their misdeeds, and potentially to be redeemed and to move on to one of the other realms. Or perhaps not.
Revendreth isn’t particularly a fond place to be, but it is an essential part of the engine of death that is the Shadowlands.
An example of a soul that came here, and whom you will encounter in our journeys is none other than Kael’thas Sunstrider — who after a setback or two found his way to this dark land.
So here we see a look at the landscape, the silhouette of the spires that define the environment. This is one of my favorite zones. I can’t wait to explore it. I can’t wait for all of you to check it out. There are also parts of Revendreth where the light has actually broken through the clouds, and seared the earth; and some are actually caged up here; because exposure to the light does horrible horrible things to many of the souls of this land.
|WORLD OF WARCRAFT: WHAT'S NEXT PANEL TRANSCRIPT|
|1. Intro to the Shadowlands||2. Zones||3. Covenants||4. Oribos & The Maw|
|5. Pre-Shadowlands World Event||6. Alt Characters||7. Dungeons & Raids||8. Systems & Rewards|
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