World Of Warcraft: Shadowlands Event -- Beta Test, Covenant Faction Details, And More

World of Warcraft is getting its eighth expansion, taking players of the long-running MMO into the world of the dead.

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World of Warcraft's next expansion is Shadowlands, and after a short delay Blizzard officially took the wraps off the venture into the world of the dead. Executive producer John Hight said Shadowlands will be releasing this fall "even if we end up shipping it from our homes."

Beta Test

The stream announced that a beta is coming next week. That will let players take on max level challenges in the Maw. Game director Ion Hazzikostas said the expansion is feature complete, but a lot of work remains to finish it. The beta will include the first look at the endgame content, and starting next week Blizzard will be sending out many more invites.

Shadowlands Collector's Edition

The livestream also revealed a Shadowlands Collector's edition that includes several special goodies. It comes with cover art with a lenticular effect, a large art book, mouse pad, and collector's pin set, along with digital goods like a new pet and 30 days of game time.

Four Covenants

The focus of Shadowlands revolves around four Covenants. You'll get to experiment with each, but once you choose one you'll unlock a large amount of faction-specific content. Each Covenant will get a full max-level narrative campaign of their own, along with several specialized features.

Depending on which Covenant you choose you can form "soulbinds" with powerful souls, leading to a new upgrade path. Each Covenant wants Anima, and gathering it on a weekly quest basis will gain you Renown in that faction. Each Covenant will also have a base of operations called the Sanctum. You can upgrade the Sanctums to unlock more features. Those include things like a transportation network to make your own Covenant's zone feel more like home than the other areas. You can also restore an Anima network to conduct energy, and that will unlock quests and rewards. Finally, it will introduce the Scouting Map, an extension of the existing mission system.

On top of those features that will be accessible from any Covenant, each one has an individual, unique feature. Venthyr has the Ember Court, which lets you invite guests to a party for the aristocracy. The Kyrian has the Path of Ascension, a combat-heavy gladiator arena similar to a boss rush. Necrolords get the Abomination Factory, where you can build fleshwork creatures for souls in need of a body. Finally, the Night Fae has the Queen's Conservatory, a soul garden with farm-like mechanics.

New Dungeons And Raids

A new epic dungeon arena called the Theater of Pain will serve as a non-linear dungeon experience. You'll choose which faction to engage with first as you explore the catacombs, letting you match against the strongest champions from all four houses. Blizzard teased that it will take place during an important in-game event.

The Maw will be a more sandbox area with a loose structure and lots of more general objectives. Everything you do is under the eye of the Jailer, suggesting it will be a presence somehow.

Finally, a new Castle Nathria 10-boss raid and Mythic+ dungeons will enter testing this month. Legendary runecrafting is also coming, along with focused PvP testing and character copies for testing.

Shadowlands is due to release in 2020. This expansion will reduce the level cap to 60, down from 120, as a way of streamlining game progression. It will also get controller support.

Blizzard's often makes new announcements at its annual BlizzCon event, but it has been canceled due to the pandemic. That event is usually slated for late fall, though, so Shadowlands probably wouldn't have been a part of its planned reveals.

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