Now that’s how it’s going to go your first time through. But what about Alts, you may ask? So, one of the big things that we got out of non-linear leveling in Legion and BFA was flexibility when you’re leveling your Alts. You can have a different journey on one character versus another. But what we lost was the ability to tell a single strong narrative story. We want to get the best of both worlds this time around. So, on your Alts, once you have one character that’s made it through this journey a single time, we want to say, “Well we know breaking the 4th wall for a second, that you as a player, you understand how the world works. We don’t need to teach you how Covenants work, we don’t need to teach you about the Shadowlands.” So, let’s just let you pick a Covenant right away. If that’s what you want to do.


And so you’ll have access to their powers, permanently, and on an Alt, you can level up through any of the zones in any order that you want. You can do the narrative campaign, if that’s what you want to do; or you can go to Revendreth first; or you can spam dungeons; or battlegrounds; or whatever. In-game systems like World Quests will also be available. Ultimately, it’s about giving the maximum number of options. And finally–

Female Audience member yells: Thank you, Ian!

(Audience laughter)

Hazzikostas: You’re welcome! And finally, I think one of the questions that we ask ourselves is like, well, obviously one of the things we see with people playing Alts is, there’s a sense of wanting to rush through to get to the endgame as quickly as possible. And why is that? And it’s not just a WoW issue, it’s something that happens in many other games too. A lot of the time once you’ve been to endgame, you realize that a lot of things before then, don’t matter. And so why spend your time on things that don’t matter when you should rush and get to the things that do?

Well, why does it have to be that way? What if you can begin progressing on your various endgame systems, unlocking powers with your Soul Binds, and more as you’re leveling up? So of course, you’re still, you know, getting your levels, progressing through that story, getting your characters stronger, but the progression that you earn will matter at endgame and you’ll be meaningfully ahead of where you were when you first hit max level on your first character.

(Cheering starts again.)

Ok. So, back to our max-level experience. So, we’ve seen a glimpse of The Maw, when we first arrived in the Shadowlands and then we’re going to have to– we’ll probably visit it a couple more times over the course of level up earning, we’re learning a little bit more about it since we have this unique power to go in-and-out — but at max-level… what is The Maw?

So The Maw is… terrible. It’s a fearsome, terrifying place. But we’ve been to those before. We go to those all the time. Like, we literally, not too long ago, we were fighting on the home world of the Burning Legion in the shadow of their great fortress. And, coincidentally, we always manage to find a friendly innkeeper who will sell us water and let us bind our hearthstones, doesn’t matter how evil the place is, there’s always that guy with the hearthstone.


Not here. Um, we really set out in The Maw in the outdoor space to build an environment that matches the fantasy of the space. Where when you go in here, you’ll have to have your wits about you. Because it’s a place that wants to kill you at every corner. There’s definitely lessons drawn from revisiting classic spawning and things along those lines; and it’s a chance for us to explore some new types of outdoor world gameplay.

We’re going to have a lot more to say about this at our Deep Dive panel tomorrow; but I just wanted to tee it up. This is a place that you’ll only be going to only at max-level, and you’ll be delving in here to uncover the mysteries of Sylvanas, the Jailer, and much more.


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