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BlizzConline 2021: World of Warcraft reveals a massive new Shadowlands update

By Tim Augustin - on 20 Feb 2021, 8:59am

BlizzConline 2021: World of Warcraft reveals a massive new Shadowlands update

Image: Blizzard Entertainment

The Shadowlands aren’t done with you yet. 

Blizzard Entertainment have announced a new update for World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, bringing a swathe of new content to the game and advancing the story so far. Sire Denathrius might have fallen, but the Shadowlands’ woes are far from over. The Jailer continues to grow as a threat - and that would be a much bigger problem if the Covenants weren't finally working together.

Watch the new 'Kingsmourne' trailer:

Champions of the Horde and the Alliance will battle their way to the seat of the Jailer’s power in the new Chains of Domination update, backed by the power of the four Covenants’ renewed power. This update sees the introduction of the Banished One’s new champion for them to contend with however, one conscripted by Sylvanas WIndrunner. Blizzard describes the new champion as, “capable of instilling dread into the hearts of Azeroth’s heroes like no creature of the Shadowlands.” So… tread lightly. 

Image: Blizzard Entertainment

Chains of Domination brings a sizable amount of new content to the Shadowlands expansion, including a new area: Korthia, the City of Secrets. In search of a key to fulfill his enigmatic plans, the Jailer has pulled a fragment of this long-lost domain to the Maw itself. Korthia holds answers for players too, along with new quests and outdoor activities.

When asked what’s so special about the City of Secrets, Warcraft's principal game designer Jeremy Feasel said:

Up until now, the characters that we've met in Oribos - like these Attendants and the Protector - we don’t know much about them and the larger mysteries behind the Shadowlands. Korthia is a city of mysteries, so we’re going to unravel how the Shadowlands were created, why the Jailer is in the position he's in, what the Arbiter is, and answer a lot of those fundamental questions that have been in the back of players’ minds after playing through the expansion. 

Things are heating up in the Shadowlands, thanks to the Covenants finally sharing a goal. The Kyrian, Night Fae, Necrolords and Venthyr have had their strength restored, and you can embark on a new campaign to unite them and launch an assault against the Jailer together. All for one, and all that. The Maw is also going to be a very, very different place due to the Covenants’ sudden presence. 

Feasel stated that his team really wanted Korthia and the Maw to feel like, “a brand-new, refreshed playspace,” with lots of new content including, “Mechagon-style visitors.” The scale of this battle between the Covenants and the Jailer should not be underestimated, either. Feasel promises that we’ll get to see the Maldraxxians fighting alongside the Kyrians, and we might even see them, “bring in a huge Necropolis to blast the Jailer’s forces away.” The Eye of the Jailer won’t be such a strong influence in the Maw anymore, which should change things up quite a bit. Players can call their Mounts in the Maw again, and dive into areas that were previously blocked off.

If you’re looking for content to grind out, Chains of Domination has that too. Players can touch unexplored reaches of Torghast in an all-new 10-boss raid: the Sanctum of Domination. You’ll meet the true Eye of the Jailer, turn the tide against the Tarragrue and face off against the Banshee Queen herself. Take a look at the spooky Sanctum below:

Image: Blizzard Entertainment

What, the raid wasn’t enough? There’s a new mega-dungeon too: Tazavesh, the Veiled Market. The mega-dungeon holds strange creatures and exotic wares, as well as no less than eight bosses. The whole thing is set in an ‘otherworldly’ bazaar of the mysterious Brokers, culminating in a high-stakes heist to steal powerful artifacts from Azeroth. Feasel describes it as an opportunity to explore Broker culture and see different ‘crazy’ creatures that they’ve taken from different worlds. 

“What does a Broker post office look like?” he asks excitedly. “Well, it's probably filled with all kinds of crazy portals, transporting weird things from other lives. This is our opportunity to go nuts with Broker architecture and create, artistically, an area that feels sort of like a Broker caravan in space.” Players will see most of the marketplace in the first half of this dungeon (with the first five bosses), but the second half will revolve around chasing down a specific Broker who’s stealing an artifact of power. You'll visit a lot of, “notable locations in Azeroth history,” via portals at this point, and fight off some, “even wackier bosses.” At the end of it all, there’ll be a showdown against a Broker unleashing the full power of the artifact they’ve stolen. 

There’s more content in the pipeline too, including PvP Season 2, a seasonal Mythic Keystone dungeon affix, new Covenant cosmetic armour sets for any class to wear, expanded Soulbinds and Conduits, new mounts and pets, and flying for the Covenants’ four domains. PvP Season 2 will see the addition of Vicious Mounts themed after the Ardenweald Gorm and an honour-talent refresh. The team plans to, “look at their honour talents that may not have been touched in a while, or ones that are underused, and see what we can do to help freshen up the PvP metagame,” says Feasel.

Image: Blizzard Entertainment

On the expanded Soulbinds, technical director Frank Kowalkowski chimes in, promising that new rows and new Conduit slots are coming to existing Soulbinds, as well as new Conduits that players can slide into those slots. The system isn’t getting a dramatic rework, but the team aims to expand its depth by offering players, “a few new things to play with,” says Kowalkowski. In addition to that, Feasel teases, “some different ideas,” for the system, proposing, “what if you could empower a conduit for a set period of time and level that up for a while?”

The Chains of Domination won't end this story for good, either. The team promises more story content to come, with Feasel saying that, “you'll get a bit of a glimpse at (what come's next) once you finish that final raid boss fight of Sylvanas and the Sanctum of Domination.” Of course, they didn’t want to spoil anything (hey, we tried!), so we’ll just have to wait until the update’s out to see what’s up with Sylvanas. 

Blizzard also announced an exciting new addition to World of Warcraft Classic, which you can check out here. 

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