Sometimes, as much as I love the game World of Warcraft in its various incarnations, I don’t play though the current expansion until a new expansion is announced. Then all of a sudden I power level and gear up my characters as much as possible to have them ready for the upcoming game release.
The last time I disliked an expansion enough to do this was Legion. It was hard to even come in at the last, when they had made everything super easy and accessible for catch up players, to do the content there. I think it still remains an expansion where I did only the barest minimum content.
I’m actually surprised to see I’m playing Shadowlands with the same reluctance. I’m certain I’ll be ready for Dragonflight, but oof.
The first off putting thing about Shadowlands was Sylvanas.
I sometimes think I must be the only person who has never played through Horde content and become attached in some way to the Horde leaders and lore characters. Sylvanas was way too prominent in Battle for Azeroth as a monstrous character. Now she’s torn the veil between life and death, and we’re supposed to be excited. What a terribly overused character. I did watch all of the cinematics as they came out (they’re always so well done). I know she is punished eventually.
The next problem with Shadowlands was the oddity of the Covenants. Until I read the following on Wowhead explaining what each Covenant previously had as a role in the afterlife, I could not have said how you could tell who would naturally end up where, and what you were supposed to do in each realm of death. Except that the Very Bad Dogs ended up in Revendreth.
Wowhead’s Explanation of Covenants
Covenants are a new take on factions for Shadowlands. There are four powers governing each of the areas of death in the Shadowlands. From The Arbiter’s judgement, souls are assigned to an appropriate Covenant to help them find a purpose in the afterlife:
- The Kyrian Covenant of Bastion governs over souls that served a life of service, offering them a chance to look over their past deeds and seek ascension to become a Kyrian themselves.
- The Venthyr of Revendreth take over souls that were flawed or prideful in life, but can still obtain redemption. The Venthyr punish those who lived a life of sin, determining whether they are worthy of redemption in the Shadowlands.
- The Necrolords of Maldraxxus governs over battle-hardened souls and rewards strength, while weaker souls become fuel for Maldraxxus’ cosmic weapons. Those who are deemed determined, quickly rise to positions of power.
- The Night Fae of Ardenweald accepts those with a deep connection to nature, using of the Anima in the Shadowlands to infuse slumbering spirits with the knowledge of old, and preparing them for rebirth.
Thing Three that has been an annoyance (and they seem to have fixed this) as I played through, was the absolute on the rails nature of your journey from the first Covenant to the last. I much preferred the infamous Legion, which let you explore the lands in any order you wished. Go Legion go.
Thing Four, Shadowlands is unrelentingly grim in a time where, by God, we could all have used something heroic and uplifting. What were they thinking?
I almost forgot Thing 5. It’s illustrated above in the picture of Sylvanas. Anduin Wrynn, that innocent young man who has struggled to fill his father’s shoes and hold the Alliance together, is tortured far beyond the level of the other prisoners. His very soul is taken and made to do the unthinkable while he watches from within helplessly. Someone must have thought he was “too nice” and let him have it. Poor kid.
Dragonflight looks to be heroic and uplifting. It’s about time.