The Shadowlands launch is finally upon us and we can all finally begin our journey to level 60. We will first travel through the Maw where we will meet our main enemies and then to the beautiful city of Oribos which will serve as our main hub. Along this journey, we will meet the four different covenants and ally ourselves with one of them permanently enhancing our character’s power.
Upon your first login during Shadowlands, a pop-up quest will appear on the side titled ‘A Chilling Summons’. This quest will send you through the capital city portal to Icecrown Citadel where you will travel to speak with Bolvar. Upon arrival, you will find Bolvar standing before the shattered helm of domination, surrounded by several faction leaders. Bolvar will now give a quest to complete a ritual surrounding the shattered fragments and, once completed, you will be teleported straight into the Maw.
Once inside the Maw, you will find Darion Mograine who has a brief series of quests tasking you with finding his ebon blade knights and killing several of the Mawsworn lingering around. After aiding enough of your allies, you will now have to find and kill one of the Mawsworn leaders, Ruiner Marnoth. After you have killed the leader, you will regroup with Mograine to start searching for your allies.
The next quest, ‘Fear to Tread’, sends you on a breadcrumb trail of clues leading up to where you’ll find Jaina and Thrall. Thrall is wounded and must be defended from waves of Mawsworn before you can proceed. You then press on to find a safe haven to speak.
Jaina will then share with you everything she has learned about the creatures dwelling inside the Maw. Darion Mograine expands upon this by trying to force the dead souls to speak about the whereabouts of Anduin and Sylvanas. The souls themselves are unable to speak so he will then command an Tormented Amalgamation to speak for them.
Jaina is too weak to press on alone so the two of you go to Anduin’s presumed whereabouts and find Sylvanas has been holding him captive with her being nowhere to be found. You must now collect keys off Mawsworn to free trapped souls and then defeat Phael the Afflictor to get the key to free Anduin.
Upon returning to Mograine, we learn more from the soul we captured earlier. He tells of a long since sealed waystone and the only way to get there is to cross the River of Souls. Helya appears and shatters the bridge, hurling you and your allies into the freezing waters. After making it to safety, Thrall notices the jailer, and he has Baine in his grasp. Baine is injured and you must find a mawsworn dagger to draw out and defeat the souls hurting Baine.
Finally, you will head to the waystone that will send you to Oribos and use Jaina’s magic to make it there undetected. After defeating the Jailer’s forces, you can travel through the waystone and find yourself in Oribos for the very first time, completing the intro questline.
Your first time leveling through Shadowlands will be spent on a linear journey to meet the four different covenants, one in each zone.
Each covenant offers unique abilities to your class through soulbinds as well as signature abilities like Necrolords’ Fleshcraft. There are also unique cosmetic rewards such as transmogs and mounts for each covenant as well. It is important to choose the covenant that best fits your playstyle and enhances the overall performance of your class. Take the time to review each one before choosing at the end of your journey.
When leveling an alt, you can choose your covenant right away and begin earning renown, opening up alternate leveling paths.
The Shadowlands launch brings with it 8 new dungeons. Four of these will be available while leveling and the remaining four will unlock at level 60. Each of the four leveling zones has 2 dungeons, one for leveling and one for max level only. The leveling dungeons will unlock simultaneously after completing their respective story zone. Spamming dungeons to level doesn’t appear to be an option, at least not the first time through the leveling experience.
For those looking to rush level 60 as fast as possible, please note that Torghaast, Renown quests, and Mythic dungeons will not open until tomorrow after the first reset. This is to prevent speed levelers from getting an edge and so regions will not feel they missed out on a weekly lockout for not rushing. There will be catch up mechanics in place if you fall short one week.
Although the reputation and experience buff from the 16th anniversary will have ended with the Shadowlands launch, fear not because Pilgrim’s bounty begins the very same day. This event comes with a 10% reputation buff for one hour that is refillable each time you go back to a bountiful feast and eat from each plate. This will be useful while questing in Shadowlands but keep in mind, the buff does not persist through death and will have to be reobtained every hour. This may break up your questing but it will give a slight edge upon hitting max level. This buff will also be super useful for world quests during the first week!
Blizzard hasn’t given us very much time to prepare for the first major season of Shadowlands. Just two weeks post launch, on December 8th, Shadowlands season 1 will begin. This will mark the opening of the first raid tier, Castle Nathria, as well as the first mythic plus and arena season. While speed leveling to 60 isn’t mandatory, it is still important to get there in a timely enough manner to take advantage of mythic dungeon lockouts for gearing prior to the season start.
This is going to be a hectic launch but it’s time for us to meet Bwonsamdi on ‘De Other Side’!