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UPDATE (November 1st): Blizzard Entertainment has confirmed that World of Warcraft: Shadowlands will be the next WoW expansion.
As the leaks suggested, players will venture to the Shadowlands, the realm of the dead.
In the announcement trailer, Sylvanas does battle with the current Lich King, Bolvar Fordragon:
You can see an outline of the expansion’s features here:
Players will be able to side with one of four covenants, each of which has some notable souls of heroes and villains that have previously died in Azeroth, like Kel’Thuzad and Draka.
There will also be Torghast, Tower of the Damned, a never-ending dungeon that changes each time you access it.
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UPDATE (September 10th): The idea that Shadowlands could be the next WoW expansion is looking more likely, following another apparently leaked screen.
This one appears to be a still from a cinematic, showing a ghostly fleet of Helya’s ships picking up members of the horde and alliance from Stormwind, as they prepare to sail to the Shadowlands.
It’s speculated that Sylvanas will aim to take Stormwind.
You can see the info here and watch a helpful video from Bellular analysing the supposed leak in greater detail here:
Original article (posted July 28th):
It’s that funny time after a big World of Warcraft content update has gone live but before Blizzcon – and internet speculation about the next expansion is rife.
The WoW community is currently talking about the ‘leak’ of the moment: Shadowlands.
Details of the possible Shadowlands expansion were first posted on 4chan and later discussed by content creator Pyromancer on YouTube. After this, he claimed to Asmongold that he was contacted by a couple of people who had worked at Blizzard confirming the ‘leaked’ assets to be true (including the zone image, below, apparently taken at an internal dev ‘show and tell’ session).
The 4chan post claims that World of Warcraft: Shadowlands will see The Black Empire rise in Azeroth once again, as old god N’Zoth has apparently been redirecting souls to the Shadowlands.
The Shadowlands is of course the realm where the spirits of mortals go when they die. Players will recognise this whenever they die in-game and need to walk around as a ghost in a greyed-out environment to find their body and resurrect.
The speculation for the WoW expansion is that there’s apparently a secret war going on in the Shadowlands, between the old gods who are trying to reclaim power, and ‘Death’s Vanguard’, consisting of Elune, Helya and more (whom the player will assist).
The 4chan post claims that the current Lich King – Bolvar Fordragon – takes the player to the Shadowlands, while Sylvanas has been waging war in Helya’s name (instead of the forces of the sleeping city of Ny’alhota) and Bwonsamdi is working for Hakkar the Soulflayer.
Shadowlands as an expansion is said to include two new continents – Dragon Isles and Shadowlands – as well as a new Tinkerer DPS class. This mail-wearing class will apparently include turrets, bombs and ‘Ghosbusters’-style abilities and have healer and tank specs.
It’s also said to include new scaling tech that replaces stat squishing, a ‘Vestiges of Power’ secondary talent system and a champion system where the player reunites with fallen heroes and villains.
Areas will allegedly include the long-discussed Dragon Isles, a group of islands originally intended to be an early raid in the game, featuring void dragons where the players are said to help rebuild the black dragonflight.
Then there’s the Alnir Riftlands, where everything is spilling in and out of rifts and the ‘fabric of all realities’ collide, and Xiros, which will apparently be the main city and sanctuary of the next WoW expansion.
The Xiros zone is actually one of the main reasons that some are believing the Shadowlands expansion info to be true.
Blizzard Entertainment’s WoW game director Ion Hazzikostas mentioned a past developer update video that he’s been inspired by Greek mythology. Not only that, he used to visit family on the Greek island of Syros (or Siros).
— Lobodreams (@Joefran92) July 26, 2019
Some are saying that the whole ‘leak’ has possibly been planned by Blizzard in order to drum up some community hype towards the next expansion, considering Battle for Azeroth has been seen largely as a disappointment.
Of course, it’s all just speculation at this stage, so take the above info with a pinch of salt. We’ll most likely find out if Shadowlands is the next WoW expansion for sure at Blizzcon on November 1st and 2nd.
WoW has been enjoying a lot of coverage of late around the Eternal Palace Race to World First raids (with Limit and Pieces raiding from London’s Red Bull Gaming Sphere and Method raiding from TakeTV in Germany).
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Dom is an award-winning writer who graduated from Bournemouth University with a 2:1 degree in Multi-Media Journalism in 2007.
As a long-time gamer having first picked up the NES controller in the late ’80s, he has written for a range of publications including GamesTM, Nintendo Official Magazine, industry publication MCV as well as Riot Games and others. He worked as head of content for the British Esports Association up until February 2021, when he stepped back to work full-time on Esports News UK and as an esports consultant helping brands and businesses better understand the industry.