Shadowlands Alpha has been out for a while now and aside from changes to existing features and class changes, lot of its new features are now testable. These new changes and features has raised the question, Will Shadowlands be good?
We (and a lot of people) have some reasons to why Shadowlands will be good, or maybe it won’t.
Why Shadowlands Will Be Good
Shadowlands have a lot of new features, like Torghast, and changes, like the Level Squish but features alone can’t make an expansion good. The best example of this is a Battle for Azeroth which had decent amount of new features added to the game, things like Warfront, Island expeditions and Heart of Azeroth. But none of these seemed enjoyable by most of the player base. Blizzard tried their best to change and make those features more appealing but failed to a degree.
So now what makes Shadowlands any better? There is one key difference between Battle for Azeroth and Shadowlands and it is Blizzard and their mindset.
Blizzard has repeatedly ignored Battle for Azeroth beta feedbacks when a lot of feedbacks were against how Azerite Armor worked and wanted a revamp. Ion Hazzikostas said in an interview a lot of things were already finished, or needed a lot of time to be finished, and they couldn’t change in the case of Battle for Azeroth.
A lot of the time, they’re just behind. They’re still developing the feature while feedback is coming in. Azerite Armor was like that, they said that players can’t see the full picture as they’re only with leveling traits right now, so they dismissed some of the feedback. However, they got Azerite Armor out so late.
In 8.2 they tried to release everything so early. Here’s how you obtain the Essences and what they do. They want to release everything important for Shadowlands early.
The first thing to look at when saying why Shadowland will be good, is how Blizzard will react to feedbacks to what it will do based on them.
From what we’ve seen so far, Blizzard started to listen to feedbacks that players on Alpha give. They are also listening to Battle for Azeroth feedbacks even though it is almost ending. An example of this is the recent nerf to Mistweaver Monks [Rising Mist] :
We’ve seen the emergence of a Mistweaver build that does a great amount of healing using Rising Mist, and we’re working on a hotfix to address it.
This change is intended to prevent the infinite extension, while allowing Rising Mist to still enable an effective melee playstyle:
- Rising Mist now extends heal-over-time effects by 2 seconds (was 4 seconds), and its healing is increased by 50%.
This change will go in with scheduled weekly maintenance on Tuesday in this region.
But this hotfix was put on hold after players backlash against it, and one week after Blizzard proposed a new hotfix which was a lot more reasonable:
Here is the change we’re working on for the next scheduled weekly maintenance (April 28 in this region):
Rising Mist can now extend a heal-over-time effect by up to 100% of its original duration.
This was a good sign as most of players, Monks and other classes, were happy with the new change and was a promising sign that Blizzard actually listens. As for Shadowlands, some feedbacks were given to Blizzard and players hope that Blizzard listens to them.
Based on past experiences of Battle For Azeroth, Shadowlands has to be good. Battle for Azeroth failed most of the times to bring what most of the player base enjoy, and was not generally thought as a good expansion with problems like Alt unfriendliness, rushes and leaps in story telling and many of the features that went live untested.
Battle for Azeroth was followed by Legion which was considered a decent and enjoyable expansion. Probably the expectation were build with Legion that Battle for Azeroth couldn’t answer, and had some core problems too.
If Shadowlands continue like Battle for Azeroth, World of Warcraft might lose a lot more subscribers and come to state that its no longer profitable for Blizzard.
WeakAuras, a popular WoW addon, said on oct 15, 2018 that World of Warcraft subscribers are down to 1.7m (which didn’t line up with other datas). If this is true, Shadowlands has to be a power point for Blizzard otherwise the subscribes will go to a lower number.
Shadowlands also have new changes and features added to the like very expansion. But what make’s it different is that based on their past experience and feedback, they removed some elements from the new features. A good example of it is the removed grind for Artifact Power, as there are no infinite grinds in Shadowlands.
There’s no infinitely grindable system in Shadowlands. We want there to be tons of different things you can do. You can do what you want to do for anima.Wowhead interview with Ely Cannon and Jeremy Feasel
There are also no Titanforging/Warforging/Corruption System and anything that adds more RNG to the loot system. New features of Shadowlands should feel better when there is no need to grind them.
The first example of good features of Shadowlands is Torghast which is praised by the players testing it. Torghast is a roguelike endless dungeon that is playable for 1-5 players. You can go solo, or with a group.
Horrific Visions can be known as lesser version of Torghast, as Torghast is procedurally generated, meaning it is very rare to see the same floor twice. In Torghast each of your run are unique and each time you go through a floor, the layout is different so you can’t just memorize the floors.
There is no timer in Torghast which makes a lot more enjoyable as you can go around and explore around or just take your time! The only thing that will end your run is many deaths.
This shows that Blizzard has learnt their lesson from Horrific Visions and listened to feedbacks. The only thing remains to be seen is how many of Torghast runs can we go in a week.
Level squish is happening in Shadowlands, changing the new max level to 60. This squish happens to shorten the level up length and now you can level up on any expansion you want from start (level 10) to around level 50. Of course you can change what expansion you level up while you are leveling.
Level up was one of the main concerns at the start of Battle for Azeroth. Leveling was slow, and more like a grind. Blizzard addressed the level issue by reducing experience required on each level, but it was just a band aid.
Shadowlands has greatly reduced the time required to get to level 50 and the world record for that (By DesMephisto) is only 7 hours! But after all, this is Alpha and Blizzard might tune leveling experience, and DesMephisto is a speed leveler. Overall it should take noticeably less to to get to max level.
Overall, we have only seen Shadowlands Alpha and there is much more to see after Shadowlands launch. But Shadowlands seem promising with the new features and Blizzards mindset of what is fun and what is not.
You can pre-purchase Shadowlands on Shadowlands Pre-purchase site. Shadowlands is scheduled to launch in 2020.