Blizzard Entertainment today revealed World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, the latest expansion for the company’s multiplayer online role-playing game. The company also unveiled Descent of Dragons, a 135-card expansion for their free-to-play digital card game Hearthstone.
World of Warcraft players entering the fabled Shadowlands will find the realms of the dead in upheaval. Under the normal order, departed souls were delivered to a realm appropriate to the lives they led, but now, all souls are being funneled into the Maw, where the most wicked are damned to suffer for eternity. As they seek to right the cycle and uncover the extent of Sylvanas’ designs, players will forge bonds with the Covenants who hold domain over different planes within the Shadowlands:
- The steadfast Kyrian of Bastion, whose discipline and duty compels them to safeguard souls from the mortal realm as they pass into the Shadowlands.
- The mysterious Night Fae of Ardenweald, who fiercely defend the spirits of nature from those who would deprive them of rebirth.
- The cunning Venthyr of Revendreth, who feast on the souls of the prideful and vain in a gothic realm of opulence and torment.
- The warlike Necrolords of Maldraxxus, who forge the undead armies that serve as the first line of defense for the Shadowlands and honor those who seek power and glory in battle.
In their journeys through the Shadowlands, players will also come face-to-face with some of the departed legends of the Warcraft universe, such as Uther the Lightbringer, who struggles against dark forces that seek to transform him into a symbol of retribution, and Kael’thas, who pursues vengeance on an enemy from his past while confined to Revendreth for the crimes he committed in life.
New features and activities await players in World of Warcraft: Shadowlands. When they cross into the realm-between-realms, players will be able to:
- Explore the Realm of the Dead: For the first time in World of Warcraft, players will cross into the Shadowlands and experience the wonders and horrors of the afterlife across five new zones—the gleaming fields of Bastion, the scarred battlefields of Maldraxxus, the eternal twilight of Ardenweald, the opulent keeps of Revendreth, and the horrific Maw.
- Claim a Covenant’s Power: Players will be called upon to forge a bond with one of four Covenants that rule Shadowlands’ new zones, setting the tone for their journey through the expansion with a full Covenant Campaign. As they level up, they’ll get new abilities based on their choice, including class-specific abilities for each Covenant—as well as developing Soulbinds with specific Covenant members, which grant them access to that character’s specific traits and bonuses.
- Ascend the Tower of the Damned: At the heart of the Maw lies Torghast, Tower of the Damned, a cursed otherworldly prison where the wickedest souls in the universe are locked away. Highly replayable and inspired by roguelike games, heroes are invited to explore its ever-changing halls and chambers and do battle with the minions of the Jailer, Torghast’s vile ruler. Those who brave its trials can claim legendary treasures and help free the heroic spirits wrongfully trapped within.
- Every Level Is Meaningful: Shadowlands will introduce a new leveling system, meant to provide a meaningful sense of advancement with every level achieved. Current max-level characters will begin Shadowlands at level 50 and work toward the new level cap of 60.
- A New Army of the Dead Rises: To combat Sylvanas’ assault on Icecrown, Bolvar Fordragon— the revered former paladin who took on the mantle of Lich King to keep the Scourge at bay—has raised heroes from among all the peoples of Azeroth to bolster the Death Knights of Acherus. With Shadowlands, pandaren and all allied races will now be able to become Death Knights.
- Improved Character Customization Options: A host of new appearance options for all races will be made available to players when they create new World of Warcraft characters (or alter existing ones at the in-game barber shop).
World of Warcraft: Shadowlands is available for pre-purchase digitally from the Blizzard Shop starting today, with three different options all designed with player preference in mind. The Base Edition of Shadowlands is available for $39.99 SRP, providing a new lower entry point compared to previous expansions. The Heroic Edition ($59.99) includes the expansion; a level-120 character boost; and the Ensorcelled Everwyrm mount, which provides access to a questline through which players can earn the Vestments of the Eternal Traveler transmogrification set. The Epic Edition ($79.99) includes the Anima Wyrmling pet; the Wraithchill cosmetic weapon effect; the Eternal Traveler’s Hearthstone, designed with a unique visual effect; and 30 days of game time, in addition to all of the contents from the Heroic Edition.
All bonuses from the Heroic and Epic Editions are unlocked immediately upon pre-purchase. In addition, pre-purchasing any edition of World of Warcraft: Shadowlands will open the ability for players to create pandaren and allied race Death Knights once the Visions of N’Zoth content update for the current expansion, Battle for Azeroth, arrives in the coming months.
Hearthstone Players Take to the Skies in Descent of Dragons
Blizzard's Descent of Dragons is a high-flying 135-card expansion for their free-to-play digital card game Hearthstone. Hatching on December 10, the conclusion to Hearthstone’s first-ever year-long story line will arm players with draconic firepower—including the ability to transform into Galakrond, the mightiest dragon in Warcraft history.
The Year of the Dragon began with Rise of Shadows, where players were introduced to the League of E.V.I.L., a shadowy organization led by the Archvillain Rafaam. In Saviors of Uldum, the villains threatened to unleash a world-ending plague, but players joined up with the League of Explorers to save the day. Now, in Descent of Dragons, the forces of good and evil will settle things once and for all with the help of dragons—lots and lots of dragons.
The League of E.V.I.L. plans to bring doom to Azeroth by resurrecting Galakrond—the father of all dragons—who’s playable in different forms in Hearthstone as a set of five new Hero cards. Available to the five “E.V.I.L.” classes—Priest, Rogue, Shaman, Warlock, and Warrior—Galakrond takes on a form appropriate to the corresponding class, each with a unique Battlecry and Hero Power.
Cultist minions and spells with the new Invoke keyword will trigger the effect of Galakrond’s Hero Power. Invoking multiple times upgrades Galakrond into his two increasingly stronger forms, the mightiest of which is Galakrond, Azeroth’s End—which comes into play with a quadruple-strength Battlecry and a powerful claw attack. Hearthstone players who log in when Descent of Dragons swoops in will receive all five Galakrond Hero cards free.
Heroic Druids, Hunters, Mages, and Paladins can cower in the face of Galakrond’s might, or they can prepare to face their doom by completing the new Sidequests, which provide a variety of accessible early-game goals and rewards.
Until launch, players can pre-purchase two different Descent of Dragons card pack bundles: a 60-pack bundle, which includes a Descent of Dragons-specific golden Legendary card and the Shattering card back; and the 100-pack Mega Bundle, which includes those bonuses and the new Deathwing playable Warrior Hero. These bundles are available for $49.99 and $79.99, respectively; one of each can be purchased per account.
Enter the Battlegrounds
At BlizzCon 2019, Blizzard unveiled Hearthstone: Battlegrounds, a new way to play. Hearthstone: Battlegrounds is an eight-player auto-battler featuring 24 unique Heroes, in which players will recruit minions, strategically position them, and watch as they battle for supremacy.
This free game mode is designed as a standalone experience that uses Hearthstone as a foundation, but it does not involve building or maintaining a card collection. Hearthstone: Battlegrounds will be available to everyone when it enters open beta on Tuesday, November 12. An early access period will be available from November 5–11 for everyone who attended BlizzCon, purchased the BlizzCon Virtual Ticket, or pre-purchased either of the Descent of Dragons bundles.
Beginning with Descent of Dragons, everyone will receive free access to Hearthstone: Battlegrounds. While nonessential for play, Hearthstone players will be able to unlock optional bonus features when they acquire card packs from the most recent expansion (starting with Descent of Dragons). This includes free packs, those acquired with in-game gold, or those purchased with real money. At 10 packs, players unlock comprehensive stat-tracking in Hearthstone: Battlegrounds (slated for release following beta testing); at 20 they can choose from three different Heroes instead of two at the start of each match; and at 30, players unlock the ability to taunt or playfully communicate with their opponents using a visual emote system.