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Judgehype Interview with Patrick Dawson - Shadowlands Content, Lore, & Prepatch
09/7/2020 em 11:51
French news site
Judgehype published an interview
Production Director Patrick Dawson, who shared some insights regarding the state of the expansion. We've highlighted some of the interesting bits below along with our own commentary, though please keep in mind the interview is originally written in French, so some pieces may not quite translate exactly and have been paraphrased below.
As we've only hit on a few bits, please check out the full interview on JudgeHype!
Shadowlands Press Event Coverage
News & Updates
Potential Class Wide Artifact Transmog
Account Wide Legendary Power Recipes
Changing Covenants Should be Easy, Changing Back Should Be Hard
Rune Carving - Legendary Armor Crafting
Change Gender at the Barber Shop, No Longer a Paid Service
New Class Animations on Character Selection Screen
The Final Boss of Shadowlands
Pathfinder Based on Renown Instead of Reputation
No Bonus Experience from Heirlooms in Shadowlands
Save Famous Characters from the Maw
The Maw Max Level Questline
The Maw Max Level Zone Preview
Venthyr Covenant Campaign Preview
Sinfall Covenant Sanctum Environment Preview
Covenant Sanctum Systems - Upgrades, Many Resources, Transportation Network
Rune Carving - Legendary Armor Crafting
Soulbinds Progression Breakdown
Covenant Adventures: Missions Evolved
Dangers of the Maw - Eye of the Jailer Levels
The Maw Zone Preview
Abominable Stitching Recipes
Venthyr Covenant Preview and Ember Court
Night Fae Covenant Preview and Queen's Conservatory
Necrolord Covenant Preview and Abomination Stitching
Kyrian Covenant Preview and Path of Ascension
Covenants System Preview
Soulbinds and Conduits Preview
PandaTV and Ion Hazzikostas Liveblog
Lordmons with Morgan Day - Pantheon of Death & Unlocking Legendary Powers
Warcraft Radio and Patrick Dawson Liveblog
Judgehype Insights with Patrick Dawson
Morgan Day and MrGM Liveblog
Zones, Covenant Armor, and Customization with Ely Cannon
Ion Hazzikostas - End-game Loot, Utility Legendaries, Droprates
Highlights from Ion Hazzikostas Group Interview
Shadowlands Lore with Steve Danuser - Elune, Sylvanas, Calia
Sloot Interview with Paul Kubit
HazelNuttyGames Interview with John Hight
Tonton Interview with Ion Hazzikostas - Open World Lag, Swapping Covenants, PvP Power
Lapi Interview with Ion Hazzikostas - Weekly Loot, Covenant Tuning
Some lore questions are still unanswered, but there will be a few surprises over the course of
Presumably this will touch on things such as the now infamous claim that the "Chronicles are written from the Titan's perspective". With frequent references to the
Pantheon of Death
, and the recent revelation that the Jailer is a "
Titan Plus Plus
" power level entity, it would stand to reason that we'll learn more about the greater powers within the Warcraft cosmology beyond the Titans and demons we've already familiar with.
Balance and Design
Even we have seen balance changes for several classes in Shadowlands alpha in the past two weeks, Blizzard has not finished with them, far from it. Especially since the bonuses linked to the congregations will only arrive on the beta. These will act in areas as well as dungeons or raids and PvP, their impact will therefore be significant. During the following months, the developers will follow very closely the feedback from players on this subject, so as to balance everything out for the release of Shadowlands in the fall.
Tuning is traditionally one of the last things to be finalized before the launch of an expansion, and frequently continues well after, although
Battle for Azeroth
was criticized for being rather light on tuning changes each patch/raid tier. Still, the varied level of power between different Covenant abilities is something that has been frequently criticized, with players worried that they'll be forced into whatever decision leads to the highest performance, though it's important to remember that the Covenant ability is only part of the equation - Soulbinds and Conduits will have a considerable impact on that performance, which has largely been overlooked thus far due to being untestable on the Alpha, though our recent
Soulbind Progression Breakdown
goes into a bit more detail about how Soulbinds and Conduits work.
While we all know that true perfect balance is unobtainable, and one option will always be strictly superior by
margin, it would seem that between Covenant abilities, the ability to swap between three different Soulbinds at will, and various Conduit options (some of which may be Covenant specific), the goal would seem to be less about perfect balance and more about
the balance to a point where it's hard to definitively say one choice is strictly better than another. This may prove to be even more frustrating to the strictly min-max oriented players, but may actually come as a relief to players who don't want to feel ostracized for choosing what they like rather than what is demonstrably stronger.
Choose Your Content
The leveling of alts will be facilitated, in particular through the immediate choice of a Covenant. In addition, certain elements will be linked to the account, so as not to have to systematically recover everything. On the other hand, even if Torghast is supposed to be a high level activity, Blizzard does not put aside the idea of being able to level the alts there.
The first time leveling through Shadowlands is a linear experience, always taking players in a set path through the zones, so that they can experience the story and be introduced to each Covenant before making a final choice at level 60. However, subsequent characters will have more freedom, and be able to choose a covenant immediately, speeding up the process and presumably allowing them to get a head start on certain aspects related to leveling said Covenant. The idea that we'll be able to level up in Torghast is interesting though, especially with the recently stated intent to
remove keys from Torghast
and allow players to run it without restriction.
Whichever covenant you choose, you can play with any other player. There is a small portion of the campaign that is strictly linked to your covenant, but that will not prevent you from enjoying the rest of the content with your friends.
This is something we already knew, but it bears repeating. Although there are seemingly
a lot of systems
which interact with your chosen covenants, such as the new
, none of them require you to play with other players of that covenant or preclude you from grouping with players of another.
With Shadowlands, Blizzard wants you to be able to advance your character in several ways, by choosing the activities that you enjoy. No need to systematically do this or that to become more powerful, you are free to choose one or two activities to increase your personal power.
Very little detail here, but one of the chief complaints in
Battle for Azeroth
is that there were simply too many activities which felt required in order to keep up with power progression - weekly Mythic+ and Arena for caches, world quests for Emissaries, weekly Island Expedition quests, periodic Warfronts, War Campaign missions, and then Old God Invasions all led to a wide breadth of content, but a lot of different activities to deal with, which was especially a drag for someone who just really didn't enjoy PvP for example.
A common request has been to find a way to let players prioritize the activity they want in lieu of others - say doing 10 World Quests a week instead of 4 World Quests and 4 Islands, or the option of doing two Mythic+ dungeons instead of Mythic+ and Arena each week. While again we have no current details of such a system coming in Shadowlands, the fact that it's on their mind is undoubtedly a good thing.
There will be several sources to acquire the recipes for legendary items. Compared to
, you can actually choose the legendaries you want in
. You will then always go through Torghast to collect the materials necessary for their manufacture. No info on the time needed to collect enough material to craft them, however.
This topic was recently
covered by Game Director Ion Hazzikostas
, particularly player agency in choosing which legendary to craft, which was considered a point of failure in
. There are still few details on exactly how difficult it will be to craft legendaries, or how long it might take to acquire multiple to choose between, but the ability for players to prioritize their choice of legendary rather than let fate decide would seem to be a selling point of this new system.
No New Class in Shadowlands
No new classes for Shadowlands, even in the middle of the expansion's life. This is too important a functionality to be launched in a simple patch. It is systematically a feature linked to a new expansion.
Not sure anyone seriously thought a new class would come in the middle of an expansion, but this should put any such rumors to rest - no new class coming either at launch or later in
No Archaeology in Shadowlands Either
Archaeology is entirely linked to the artifacts of Azeroth. Nothing new for this secondary profession in Shadowlands to be expected.
Considering how frequently derided the profession is, there are a surprising amount of angry comments about this one, so let's elaborate.
Wording aside, the point would seem to be that Archaeology artifacts are tied to the races which
Azeroth - which at this point that very much includes the Orcs and Draenei of Outland/Draenor, so it makes perfect sense that we'd explore that history through Archaeology on their native worlds. However, Shadowlands exists as a realm apart; the races which inhabit Azeroth (etc) may go there, but it's not a part of their history... it's their future.
Certainly the developers could come up with any number of lore minded reason to avoid adding Archaeology into Shadowlands, but the implication seems clear that the intent is for Shadowlands to be about exploring the future and what happens to the souls after characters die, not about their past.
No major changes are planned for WoW eSports. Blizzard is happy with the current situation with the arenas. No concrete info on other major changes to come on the PvP side. PvP merchant returns, some adjustments for War mode, but nothing new to report yet.
Not much to say. Certainly a disappointment to avid PvP fans, though the inclusion of the
return of Conquest PvP vendors
is some consolation.
The patch that will prepare the release of Shadowlands will be released about 4 to 6 weeks before the extension.
This would be in keeping with previous expansions, as the prepatch period typically lasts about a month in order to tell the introductory story while also allowing players to adapt to changes. With the recent announcement that
Shadowlands will launch in the fall
, this gives us a rough time frame to work with, though there's some ambiguity between whether prepatch is necessarily part of "launch" or not. With these dates, it would also seem likely that we will not see the first
raid tier until at least mid-January
Not Coming to Console
Blizzard has no plans to port World of Warcraft to consoles or Stadia.
This has been a longstanding rumor, exacerbated by
increased gamepad support
, despite Blizzard frequently citing it as an accessibility improvement. Despite definitively stating there are no plans in the work however, the rumor will likely continue to persist for another decade, as some players continue to decry what they perceive as simplification of the game.
Ray Tracing is a feature that Blizzard is following closely to improve World of Warcraft. The technical team regularly updates the game, but always keeps accessibility in mind. This is why, for example, controllers will be supported with Shadowlands, but also that improvements have been made (such as hyperthreading) during Battle for Azeroth, in particular to improve the situation during activities requiring good fluidity, as in raids and dungeons. World of Warcraft must always be accessible to as many people as possible, but Blizzard also monitors the wishes of the community when it comes to bringing new graphics options.
Battle for Azeroth brought players back to familiar areas to fight new threats, such as the Old God invasions of Uldum and the Vale of Eternal Blossom, but Shadowlands is more self-contained. Although the team hasn't set aside the possibility of returning to Azeroth in future patches, the current focus will remain within the Shadowlands.
Blizzard does not plan to allow players from EU and US or other regions to play together at this time. The region limits are still current, even if it is a subject that is regularly discussed internally.
Certain achievements such as
Herald of the Titans
, which require a level higher than 60 to be validated, are sure to be adapted in order to allow players to continue their hunt for achievements.
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