I feel privileged to be able to read the novel after 87 days playing Shadowlands Alpha to understand the lore from both media.
Especially, after playing the Shadowlands Intro Questline where players participate in a ritual at The Frozen Throne to open a way into The Maw in the Shadowlands.
Reading the novel helped me fill up the gap of what led to the new expansion.
Throughout this review, I will offer minor spoilers without names in some instances, or without going into detail. So keep this in mind beyond the break below. If you want to skip the soft spoilers, but want to check out the Table of Content with chapters listed, skip to the image.
The World of Warcraft: Shadowlands Alpha build 34902 introduced today the Shadowlands Intro questline.
Players start in Acherus, the floating necropolis of the Knights of the Ebon Blade. Acherus is floating next to the aerial port of Icecrown Citadel — where players fought Saurfang’s son: Deathbringer’s Rise.
Blizzard Entertainment deployed Shadowlands Alpha build 34821. Over 2.5GB in size.
This build doesn’t introduce access to The Maw. In fact, the level cap remains at level 59.
There is no character wipe, but there is a bug that causes a sort of soft character wipe. Basically, the game no longer recognizes your progress. This is problematic, because if you completed Ardenweald quests up to the point where you meet the Winter Queen and get access to the Heart of the Forest — this build no longer allows you to enter the Heart of the Forest.
If you were in Maldraxxus and completed all the quests up to the point where you were granted access to the Seat of the Primus… this build doesn’t recognize that progress. The door is locked and you can’t enter the Seat of the Primus.
In short, you need to create a new character and start from scratch.
The latest Shadowlands Alpha build 34714 has introduced the new zone: Maldraxxus.
ORIBOS WORMHOLE TRAVEL
The most exciting thing ever to happen in World of Warcraft is wormhole travel from Oribos to the Shadowlands zones. At the moment: Ardenweald, Bastion, and Revendreth.
The mystery of the Shadowlands sandbox verticality is now revealed. Blizzard has introduced wormhole travel between the zones.
I had a feeling (several weeks ago) that Blizzard had arranged the zones at different vertical locations for something unique. This is it. You can’t see it while in the wormhole, but during the walking-on-air bug I could see Bastion is at the top of the vertical coordinates, followed by Oribos, then Ardenweald, Maldraxxus, Revendreth, and the Maw at the bottom.
Difficult to explain without a proper 3D perspective representation. Maybe this 2D image can help you visualize what I saw during the bug that allowed alpha testers to walk in the air from Bastion to Oribos and beyond in the sandbox. The bug didn’t allow me to walk up or down. South of Oribos, I could see the silhouette of Ardenweald several hundred yards below. When I went northeast of Oribos, I could see the Maldraxxus’ silhouette even further below.
Summer Games Fest updated the schedule in the evening to add World of Warcraft: Shadowlands Update. The livestream will start on June 9 at 12 ET / 9am PT. (source)
This is just conjecture: Some of the content not yet available for testing in Shadowlands Alpha — which might be the focus of this livestream:
Castle Nathria (Raid)
June 24 marks the day 76 since Shadowlands Alpha started. It took Battle for Azeroth Alpha 76 days to switch to Beta. It is highly possible we might hear about Closed Beta invitations date or approximate date range. Stay tuned. Follow @blizzplanetcom for more updates as I continue to monitor the Summer Game Fest and IGN Summer of Gaming events’ schedule for any changes.
I got an email from a PR agency associated with Blizzard Entertainment alerting that a Shadowlands Developer Livestream will take place on June 9 at 9am PDT.
On June 9, join World of Warcraft Executive Producer John Hight and Game Director Ion Hazzikostas, live from their homes, as they share a look at some of the new content the team has been working on for the forthcoming expansion, Shadowlands.
The stream kicks off at 9:00 a.m. PDT and will be simulcast on the World of Warcraft Twitch and YouTube channels.