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WoWNov 11, 2020 4:00 pm CT

What to expect on the first day of Shadowlands

Let’s be real — after the two weeks of the pre-patch Scourge event, when we hit Shadowlands on November 23, we’ll be champing at the bit to get into the new content. So, once that content drops, what do we do? What should you be ready for on the first day of Shadowlands?

Well, first off, ask yourself this question — is there anything I can or should do before the expansion goes live so I don’t have to stop and do it the day it goes live? And yes, there is quite a bit you can do before hand.

The first and simplest thing is to go through your bags and your bank and get rid of anything you don’t need to be carrying around into the next expansion. Crafting mats can go into your reagent bank, or get used up, or put on the AH ahead of time. Multiple sets of gear can get sold or abandoned — you’re going to be replacing it all as you level anyway, so you really don’t need multiple sets of Azerite Armor at this point. Ditch it. Sell it, salvage it — whatever works for you but get it gone. You want to go into Shadowlands with your bags as empty as possible. Do this for as many alts as you intend to run through Shadowlands so they’re prepared beforehand.

Secondly, park all of your alts you’re not going to play immediately in a capital city or somewhere else they can get rested. This is all stuff you can do before the first day of the expansion, but if you didn’t do it? Do it that day.

What to expect on launch day

On the actual day, log on all of your characters you’ll be playing and make sure they’re in an inn or otherwise getting rested XP. Then get on your main and get the intro quest, which will send you to the Maw. If you didn’t do the stuff I mentioned above yet — clean your bags, rested XP — do that as soon as you log in. Get those bags empty and if you’re behind on bag size, get the largest bags you can afford via your tailor or the Auction House.

The Maw is a reasonably long starting zone experience. Expect it to take about an hour to an hour and a half if you’re taking it easy. Also remember, until you complete it you can’t really get out — you might be able to hearth out to hit the AH, but you’ll have to escape the Maw before you get access to Oribos and can start leveling in earnest. Also remember, unlike the previous two expansions Shadowlands has a linear story arc. You don’t choose which zone to go to first — you go from the Maw to Oribos to Bastion, and from Bastion you’ll go to Maldraxxus, and then Ardenweald before finally going to Revendreth, and at level 60 you’ll begin exploring the Maw again as a max level zone similar to Suramar in Legion.

You’ll explore all the Covenants along the way, but you will not be picking one on your first playthrough until level 60. So it may not be something you’re likely to do on day one, especially depending on how stable the servers may be.

Reaching level cap and beyond into Covenants, Soulbinds — and alts

It doesn’t sound like much, listed off like that, but it’s a lot of content to blaze through, all told. Just the Maw itself and reaching Oribos is a significant chunk of time, and from there, you’ll get started on your first character’s experience through the zones. One thing you might want to do — but you’re not required to — is to think about what Covenant you want to join and how you’re going to approach Soulbinds and Conduits for those Soulbinds. It’s not strictly speaking necessary, but if you’re shooting for speed you may want to make that decision now.

Really, with the storyline more linear and the choices waiting until level 60, there’s not much you have to do on day one besides show up — all of the choices are going to start getting involved once you reach max level, not on day one.

As for your alts, they get access to a completely different way to level if they want it — once you’ve leveled to 60 the first time, your alts can simply choose to pick a Covenant as soon as they enter the Shadowlands, and they can level up in a manner similar to Adventure Mode in Diablo 3 instead of repeating the entire leveling experience again. Technically this also won’t happen on Day One of Shadowlands for any but the most extreme of players, but it’s worth keeping in mind as you level — pay attention, if you want to understand what you’re skipping once you get to your alt.

My personal recommendation would be to at the very least get your first character through the Maw to Oribos before taking a break, if you’re not the kind of player who tries to blaze to max level in one day. That way, you’ll at least have access to a city. Everything else is pretty straightforward.

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