Five things I want to see in World of Warcraft: Shadowlands
Every time a new World of Warcraft expansion comes out, I think about what I want. Sometimes I’m pleasantly surprised by not getting what I expected at all, as was the case in Legion. Sometimes I get a few things, like in Cataclysm when I got to see Gilneas and the Worgen added, but I didn’t get the Runemasters I’ve wanted ever since Wrath of the Lich King. I get why — it’d be hard to do them and have them be different than Death Knights who are also rune dependent. And gameplay based around throwing runes on the ground would be an interesting and different way to go about things, but it might be pretty hard to make balanced.
But for Shadowlands I have five specific things I really hope we get to see once the expansion goes live. And I figure it’s worth talking about them here, to see what other ideas you all have that I might be missing.
I want more Allied Races in Shadowlands
The whole concept of Allied Races was very much a Battle for Azeroth idea, but the first ones we got — the Nightborne, the Lightforged Draenei, the Void Elves, and the Highmountain Tauren — were all very much a part of Legion, and that makes me hopeful that it’s a concept and a feature that can survive this expansion and get carried further into Shadowlands. And this doesn’t mean that all new Allied Races should be related to the new expansion. We got Dark Iron Dwarves and Mag’har Orcs in Battle, and they didn’t really have much of anything to do with the story of this expansion, so I’d be perfectly okay with Vrykul or Tuskarr showing up as Allied Races in Shadowlands. Perhaps they appear due to the efforts of Bolvar and the Death Knights to recruit allies from the people of Northrend.
But I definitely want there to be a continuation of Allied Races in Shadowlands. It is simply too good an idea to just leave it behind the way so many other features have been throughout the game’s life.
Please let Soulbinding be good
I wasn’t a huge fan of how Azerite Armor worked or how it tied into the Heart of Azeroth. I liked the Heart in theory, and I think I would have preferred a system more directly built around an Artifact that Azeroth itself gifted to us. So, with Soulbinding being so tied up in the whole feel of Shadowlands as a trip into the land of the dead and making alliances with the Covenants we find there, I really want to love this mechanic.
I want it to be fun, to have a lot of cool flavor, and not to feel like I need a calculator to figure out which Soulbind I want. Plus I want distinctive, interesting characters who aren’t just a source of a few powers when we Soulbind to them — I want them to feel like fully fledged, interesting characters, a la Star Wars The Old Republic‘s companions. I feel like Soulbinding has the potential to be really interesting, and I hope Shadowlands runs with that potential.
Move the story of Azeroth forward
Now, I honestly feel very much like Battle for Azeroth actually did this. I didn’t always like every aspect of the story, but it definitely changed things and moved the plot forward. But there are quite a few elements of that story — Anduin as King, Calia Menethil and Derek Proudmoore and their role in the new Forsaken, how the Horde and Alliance are going to coexist if not moving forward, the leadership of the Horde, and what’s going on with Vol’jin — that I very much want to see dealt with in some manner.
They don’t have to resolve all of these stories, but I want to see them mentioned and referenced. Lillian Voss? Definitely needs to show up again. Rexxar? Yes, absolutely. What are the Night Elves doing in this expansion, what happened at Darkshore, and how are they reclaiming their lands? And what about Azeroth itself, the nascent Titan? It’s seen a Legion invasion, a world war, an invasion of the forces of an Old God, and now the lands of the dead have spilled out into the world of the living. How is Azeroth itself dealing with all this?
Give us lore about Bolvar and Taelia
Okay, so Bolvar doesn’t have the Helm of Domination anymore, and he hasn’t had Frostmourne ever. Is Bolvar still the Lich King? If not, what is he now? If we end up taking the Helm to the Forge of Domination and remaking it, will Bolvar need to wear it again to seal the rift between the Shadowlands and Northrend?
And more importantly, will he and Taelia Fordragon finally meet? I mean, seriously, this is a meeting I’ve been waiting for the entirety of Battle to see, and I definitely want some version of it to happen in Shadowlands. Especially if Bolvar ends up the Lich King at the end of it all. That moment of finally seeing his daughter again, while in his twisted, constantly burning form trapped between death and life… to have that moment and then to lose it again would be beyond heartbreaking. But I think it needs to happen.
A resolution for Sylvanas Windrunner
We have essentially been on this treadmill with Sylvanas since the Edge of Night short, way back when Arthas died. She’s been doing a slow burn for multiple expansions now, but Legion and Battle for Azeroth put her off of that slow burn and threw it on high, and it’s time for her story to be resolved. Note, I’m not saying, “Kill her off!” or “Take her out of the game!” — I think it could be a big mistake to just take her out at the end of this expansion. But we do need her story to come to some sort of satisfying end.
Shadowlands is the expansion that all of Sylvanas’ actions in multiple expansions — her taking of the role of Warchief, everything she did in Stormheim, and her role in Battle as a whole — has been leading up to. She’s pulled her, “Here I am escaping you” shtick a few times now. She did it at the destruction of Undercity and she did it again after the Mak’gora outside of Orgrimmar. We can’t have that in Shadowlands. Whatever happens to her, it needs to happen this time around.
So there you go. My five wishes for Shadowlands. What do you want to see from this expansion? What did I forget that needs to be addressed?
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