Am I the only one who feels like Blizzcon 2019 happened years ago? World of Warcraft players have been patiently waiting for any bit of information surrounding the upcoming expansion World of Warcraft Shadowlands and our time has come. Blizzard has finally officially released two posts (so far) regarding changes and a developer post written by game director Ian Hazzikostas. So folks get your theory caps on because we are going to take a look at what has been released so far.

Be mindful that there are possible spoilers ahead regarding in-game content, endgame content and class changes.

Developer Update

The opening bulk of Hazzikostas’ post surrounded how the team will begin sending out Alpha access to Blizzard friends and family as well as long time players with active accounts in good standing, content creators and journalists. This first wave only represents a small number of players that will have access to the alpha, as they will eventually add in more players to help test other changes and PVP. Those who wish to test either the Alpha or Beta should check off their interest in their Blizzard account settings.

He then went on to share how those with access will see changes to class spells and talents which will be laid out better in a future post, additional changes to the interface when it comes to questing, as well as changes to PVP (player versus player) currency. He also hinted that over the next few weeks as data mining sites begin to dive further into the files of the game, they will uncover information regarding end game content. It is also a good point to say that if you do not want to be spoiled on endgame content or possible information, avoid these sites.

Hazzikostas ended the post sharing that they have carved out a large window of time for both the alpha and beta testing. This gives them time to make updates based on player feedback in order to release a more complete World of Warcraft Shadowlands. He signs off sharing that he will see everyone in the Shadowlands soon, no TM (trademark). The hope of many players is that we will see the launch come in November right after Blizzcon 2020 and his no TM remark is giving me hope that this is true.

Covenant Class and Signature Abilities

One major announcement surrounding World of Warcraft Shadowlands during Blizzcon 2019 was the introduction of the four Covenants that rule over the Shadowlands. Players will be able to gain abilities while leveling before finally settling on one specific Covenant to align with at max level. This decision is based heavily on what additional abilities you want for a particular class and it will be interesting to see which one will be favored when it comes to PVP and the major raiding guilds.

Once the player has chosen their Covenant, it will grant them two abilities. One is based on the theme of the Covenant and can be used by anyone while the second will be a class-specific ability. They have thankfully put together a list featuring all of the available abilities for each of the classes based on the four different Covenants. Some are still being worked out and should be updated when they are ready. Of course these abilities are subject to change after feedback during Alpha and Beta testing and even after the expansion has gone live, but it is a great jumping-off point.

New zone Revendreth in Shadowlands from upcoming World of Warcraft: Shadowlands.

New zone Revendreth in Shadowlands from upcoming World of Warcraft: Shadowlands. Image courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment.

Class Changes

The biggest announcement this week comes in the form of the class changes. We knew this was coming but I don’t think anyone expected it would be this much. They opened the post sharing how over the last 15 years, classes have seen new spells and abilities come and some favorites go in favor of balancing specializations and overall gameplay. In World of Warcraft Legion they focused heavily on class and specialization identity. This time around they are hoping to power up each specialization without cutting down on their overall toolset.

This means classes are going to have abilities that will be available to all specializations. On top of this, they are reintroducing several abilities that have been removed in previous expansions. The post goes on forever, so we won’t be breaking down all of the changes, but I will say that most changes look great. Some however, didn’t get a lot of love. Poor feral druids. When reading through this just remember, this isn’t where the changes will end. We still have months before release and changes can be made even after the official release.

The Future Looks Great

These posts might contain a lot of news, but remember that this is just the tip of the iceberg folks. News of changes, data-mined content and more will continue to pop up over the next few months until the official World of Warcraft Shadowlands release. The official posts from Blizzard can be found on their website. Let us know in the comments below and on social media how you feel about the upcoming changes!

World of Warcraft is available to play now on PC through the Blizzard application.

RELATED: Blizzcon 2019: Return to Icecrown in World of Warcraft: Shadowlands Cinematic



Julia Roth
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