It’s a very big day for World of Warcraft. While the Shadowlands expansion has been delayed to a later date in 2020, the pre-patch that contains a number of significant updates and improvements is available right now in North America.
The European launch is next, with other regions presumably to follow thereafter.
This is a gigantic update that introduces the “majority” of the game system changes that will come in Shadowlands, including the first-ever level squish for the MMO. Players are now reduced to a maximum level of 50, in preparation for the new level cap of 60 when Shadowlands releases. The pre-patch also introduces the Exile’s Reach starting zone, new customization options for all races, and adjustments to item and stat levels.
Also new with the pre-patch is a limited-time event called Death Rising. As part of this, players must defend Azeroth from an “undead invasion” that takes over the continent. This event is only available until Shadowlands releases, and it offers special rewards.
In terms of the new customization options, Blizzard has “revitalized” the experience with a new UI and new options such as eye color, more skin tones, additional hair styles, and color options for your hair or fur.
There is also a “newcomer chat” channel for new players seeking help and advice getting started in the MMO. Players will be removed from this channel once they reach level 20. Experienced players who want to help newcomers can become a guide by visiting the Stormwind Embassy or Orgrimmar Embassy. Players seeking to become guides must have an account in good standing, be level 50, and have completed more than 3,000 quests, among other things.
For a full rundown of what’s in the pre-patch and to see the full patch notes–which are incredibly in-depth, detailed, and lengthy–head to the WoW website.
Shadowlands was recently delayed to give the team more time to polish the expansion. It’s still coming in 2020, but an official release date has not been announced yet.
Shadowlands is the eighth expansion for WoW since the game’s release in 2004.
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