Shadowlands will feature the Maw as an endgame open world sandbox to explore
A while back we talked about the Maw, which is the intro experience for Shadowlands. During the Shadowlands developer update, Game Director Ion Hazzikostas talked about how the Maw will make a return as a level 60 endgame experience. Inspired by previous expansion zones like the Timeless Isle and Argus, the Maw will feature exploration and discovery hallmarks in its gameplay experience instead of simply finding World Quests on a map.
I personally hope they learn from and improve the system from how it appeared on Mechagon, because that was not a ton of fun for me, but I did enjoy L’île sans Tim as I always loved calling it — yes, I know that translates to the Timless Isle, that’s the joke. I also enjoyed zones like Tanaan Jungle and the Argus zones, so hopefully more like those and less like Nazjatar or Mechagon.
Once you hit level 60 and join a Covenant, you’ll be sent back into the Maw to explore it after the escape from the zone at level 50, and it’s definitely going to be a project to figure out how to defeat the Jailer and clear out the Maw. For one thing, if you try and do too much in the zone, the Jailer is going to notice and send his minions to dole out that famous Maw hospitality. Since the Maw is essentially a hellscape where souls are tortured for eternity, that hospitality is extremely sharp and stabby and you’ll want to keep from attracting too much of it.
Luckily, when you arrive in the zone you’ll make contact with Ve’nari, a member of the Brokers who is mysteriously hanging around in the Maw — which seems pretty suspicious to me — but who is possibly the singular being in the Maw not trying to actively kill us. We make common cause with Ve’nari, and together begin the slow, careful exploration of the World of Warcraft version of H-E-Double Hockey Sticks, trying to keep the Jailer from noticing he has guests he didn’t invite and who keep rudely coming in, smashing up his stuff, and then leaving before he can introduce himself via magic and mayhem.
It’s definitely going to be an experience to gain rep with Ve’nari, make inroads into the Maw, gain resources and power ups for places like Torghast, and even get ourselves gear upgrades to prepare for other content. I’m looking forward to exploring Azeroth’s take on The Bad Place once the alpha becomes the beta. I’m hopeful the Maw will draw inspiration from the best open world sandbox zones of WoW‘s past (not you, Mechagon).
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