What do you miss about Shadowlands?
I’m not sure why but I’m feeling nostalgic lately — maybe it’s all the Timewalking I’ve been doing, maybe it’s the pre-patch 10.1 anticipation (not that I’m done with all the new content from patch 10.0.7, mind you). Even though it’s been less than six months since we last were hanging out in Zereth Mortis I find myself missing Shadowlands.
Don’t get me wrong, Dragonflight has been great so far. The factions of the Dragon Isles are blast to hang out with, the enemies are more down-to-earth (get it?), and while I wouldn’t call it a “vacation” or anything, it feels nice not having to deal with threats to the cosmos. That said, I feel like the expansion is missing something that Shadowlands had in spades: pathos.
As could be expected in an expansion that was all about the realm of Death, there was a lot of things that tugged at the emotions in Shadowlands. Whether it was seeing former companions like Warbrave Oro or witnessing the torture of souls in the Maw, there was a background of desolation and sadness that Dragonflight has come nowhere close to replicating — Veritistrasz and the Dragonmaw Orcs aside. Not that I want an expansion to be a downer, but as a backdrop it’s effective and tends to better highlight the moments of humor and joy.
Plague Deviser Marileth was a fantastic new character in Shadowlands, but his eccentricity is even more appreciated not because he’s dealing in corpse-transforming alchemy, but because said alchemy is a natural extension of his role in the House of Plagues. He’s not a “mad scientist”, he’s a normal scientist who just happens to also be “mad”.
Revendreth was replete with this sort of sardonic touches. It’s a realm dedicated to the torture of souls in order to extract anima, but they still find the time to have tea and throw lavish parties for the nobility. It’s essentially Downton Abbey but set in the world of the Diablo series.
I don’t mean to suggest that every expansion should have an obvious layer of gloom to lend contrast, and I would even argue that Veritistrasz and the Dragonmaw Orcs are a lot more poignant than they would’ve been if the stories had taken place in Maldraxxus. But there’s a rosy and frankly relieving optimism to Dragonflight that forces the poignancy through melancholy rather than like in Shadowlands where the poignant moments were humorous.
So what do you miss about Shadowlands? Are you missing the moments of contrasted joy like I am? Do you miss the Covenants (if not the anima grind)? Do you find yourself wishing you could still use soulshapes or the other extra abilities in combat? Or do you miss the challenge of the Maw? Or are you glad for it to be dead (ha!) and buried?
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