The road to Shadowlands has been a rocky one, to say the least, but the much-awaited shadowlands pre-patch is here. Which is a great thing right? Well, it is both good and bad and not everything people had hoped it would be.
The pre-patch brings a lot of new things to the game and gives it a much-needed refresh.
New Character Customisation Options
Blizzard has finally added new character customization options. This includes new hair, jewellery, tattoo options, but also the long-awaited skin colour changes. This is something I feel people have been asking for for a long time now. Who wouldn’t want the ability to make their character look more like them? In terms of inclusivity, this is a great move.
The Level Squish
The most confusing new feature is the level squish. The purpose behind the level squish was to curb the player power as it grows. Squishing the levels is the easiest way of doing that. This means all your character’s current levels will be roughly divided by 2.2. So the max level for BFA (Battle for Azeroth) is now level 50. Death Knights and Demon Hunters will start at level 8, and allied races at level 10.
The New Shadowlands Levelling System
The most exciting part of the Pre-Patch is the revamped levelling system. This gives new players the Exile’s Reach zone. Allowing them to complete a short story, with a mini raid encounter, and take them to level 10. If you are not a new player, you level normally but once you hit level 10, you have the choice of levelling through any expansion you choose. You should be able to play the full contents of 1 expansion and then reach level 50.
What is Missing?
Similar to BFA (Battle for Azeroth), there was supposed to be a pre-patch quest line leading up to the new expansion. This was confirmed to launch 1 month before the expansion with new quests unlocking each week. Now with the release date of Shadowlands in question, this will be released later and will help us identify the new launch date.
The other thing missing is the scourge invasion event. The scourge invasion event has zombies attacking major cities, allows you to bite your friends, and overall spread the zombie fun times to others while conquering the world. The downside to this is you can also kill NPCs in major cities making questing quite difficult.
What Does the Future Look Like?
To be honest, this is going to still be a really great time. The new levelling experience alone adds a lot of content to sink your teeth into. However, if levelling alts does not excite you this may not be the best thing out there.
Blizzard has mentioned they are doing more tuning towards endgame content, which amongst the people playing the beta was a welcome change.
The current shadowlands pre-order contract runs until the end of 2020 which could be seen as a huge problem. If people are to request a refund on Shadowlands, we could start seeing locks on characters. This is due to part of the shadowlands pre-order contains early access to new races for death knights, and also character boosts. So in order to continue playing these new races or using the boosts, it will require you to re-purchase the preorder. And no one wants that.
The other big part of this is the race to become the first people in the world to complete the first raid. Blizzard has been very adamant Castle Nathria will be available 3 weeks after the launch of Shadowlands. Therefore, if it launches at the beginning of December this puts the release date during the holiday period, which is not ideal. Blizzard has stated that they do not make any decisions based on world-first races, but they do have to consider this would be directly affecting the player base.