The latest expansion coming to World of Warcraft, Shadowlands, has originally been announced during BlizzCon 2019 followed by a long period of silence as the current expansion, Battle for Azeroth, was winding down. But now, with the last boss defeated and the factions once again at tentative peace, the developers have slightly lifted the veil hiding what’s in store for WoW and its players.
In yesterday’s Shadowlands Developer Update, World of Warcraft Game Director Ion Hazzikostas revealed that the first round of invitations to the closed alpha test will be sent out this week. This first batch of invitations will mainly go out to long-time WoW players with active accounts in good standing, as well as Blizzard friends and family, along with a limited number of content creators and journalists. If you’re interested in making WoW better, sign up using the Beta Opt-In link on the Shadowlands home page.
When the alpha servers go live, we will have the full level-up experience in the zone of Bastion available, along with its accompanying dungeon, the Necrotic Wake. Testers who are interested in checking out our revamped new player experience can play through the Alliance version of the new zone and tutorials. We’ll aim to roll out new content on a regular basis throughout the test cycle—later in April we hope to offer the zone of Revendreth, as well as a look at Torghast, Tower of the Damned, our endless dungeon experience. We will continue to unlock content such as zones, dungeons, and endgame questlines when they’re ready for feedback, using template characters as needed to focus testing and feedback on specific parts of the game. Once everything has been released into the test environment, we’ll officially move into a beta phase, wiping all characters and kicking off a larger round of invites for an end-to-end test of the entire Shadowlands experience.
Some of the things players will find inside the alpha:
- Players of all 12 classes will immediately see changes in their Spellbooks, Talents, and in some cases even their resources.
- The team is rolling out a system that allows players to set a personal waypoint on the map as well as share that pin in chat channels, so that you should no longer need an add-on to convey exactly where Rustfeather just spawned.
- Conquest is once again a spendable currency earned through Shadowlands Rated PvP. Players will be able to use Conquest points to purchase specific items of their choice from a vendor in the capital city of Oribos (in an easy-to-find location, naturally). Conquest can also be used to upgrade that gear further (similar to how Benthic gear worked with Manapearls in Rise of Azshara).
Additionally, the developers have shared a look at Covenant Class & Signature abilities.
As a part of their journey through Shadowlands, players will get to meet the denizens of this mysterious realm represented by the four Covenants, one of which you will ultimately join.
- Kyrians: The denizens of Bastion, these angelic beings embrace humility and service to their order.
- Necrolords: Comprised of liches, warlords, and spies, the Necrolord Covenant calls Maldraxxus home. They make up the army that defends the Shadowlands.
- Night Fae: Guardians of nature, the Night Fae inhabit Ardenweald and shepherd beings through the cycle of life and death. It was through their aid that the demigod Cenarius was able to make his return to Azeroth during the events of the Cataclysm.
- Venthyr: Making their home in Revendreth, the vampiric Venthyr are the punishers of the unworthy, seeking to rehabilitate the sinful souls sent to them by the Arbiter.
Your Covenant of choosing will provide you with a Signature ability (the same for all classes) as well as a Class-specific one. Due to formatting and the volume of information, it is easier to check it out on the official site or on Wowhead.