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Is the New Silence Penalty Bad?

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As some of you may have seen recently, there were two videos put out by Asmongold in which he displayed how easy it is to abuse the silence penalty, as well as discussing how it happened and what he thought of it.

If you missed the videos, you can check out the "full story" video that he posted on his YouTube:

The general summary of the video is that he arranged a raid to help test the new silence penalty. He sent out the following message in /s:

MY NAME IS ASMONGOLD AND I LOVE WORLD OF WARCRAFT!!

A pretty harmless message that is by no means offensive, abusive or worthy of a report; after telling everyone in the raid to then report him, he was immediately silenced for 24 hours. 

This might seem ordinary for some of you, given that he was reported by a large number of people, but this is actually the opposite of what Blizzard detailed this new system as. I feel a good reference for what the system is supposed to be comes from these tweets by Lore:

Placeholder for tweet 752962622962532352
Placeholder for tweet 752965839192666112

We can very clearly see that the new system is actually a "guilty until proven innocent" type of thing, where players are silenced immediately by an automated system and then a GM might review it in the future. While I'm sure some of you might feel that this case is different because it's such a huge concentration of reports in a small amount of time, other players are reporting similar problems.

Those of you that are familiar with the Friendship Moose runs will most likely know who Zelse is. He puts together runs to help players get the Grove Warden mount from Archimonde. While advertising for runs, it seems he was reported and, as with Asmongold, immediately silenced. 

Placeholder for tweet 755907002635878401

Despite the fact that Zelse's silence was removed by GMs, this still goes to show that the system silences you before any form of review. 

So what does all of this mean? Why is this a bad thing? I sat down with Asmongold over on his stream to discuss everything that had happened to him with the penalty, as well as the Reddit post that popped up concerning his video.

It's important to note that he has not received any contact from Blizzard regarding the silence or his video at the time of writing this, and he sat out the full duration of the 24 hour silence.

There seems to be a lot of discussion about something called "squelching" in the Reddit thread. Why is it different from the new penalty?

Before I show you his response to this, I want to clarify exactly what squelching was. This feature seems to have been around since as early as 2011; it was a feature that essentially automatically muted people for 3 hours when they were "squelched". If you take a look at the video above, starting at around 5 minutes, you can listen to Asmongold's clarification about what it actually is. 

Given how much discussion there was about it, I asked him to go through his reasoning about squelching again and really distinguish the two. He said the following:

Quote

Whenever I was reported, what I was reported for, I only said it once, so it had nothing to do with anything like spam. If there was some form of spam filter, my message would not have been caught by that because it was only sent once.

It also wasn't a squelch because whenever I received the e-mail after I was reported, the more information link that they gave me was a link to the silence page, not a link to the squelch page for spamming. It was specifically a link to the silence page had just been updated at that point, 15 hours ago or so.

Also, all of the information on the silence support page was all stuff we had seen mirrored in the punishments for whenever the silence penalty was implemented.

If my account was squelched and the punishments mirror the punishments for being silenced, then these two would be synonymous, right? They would be one and the same.

So, if I was squelched, then I was also silenced. This means that getting squelched is getting silenced. If I get squelched without an investigation, then I get silenced without an investigation. 

Changing the rhetoric doesn't change what this all comes down to, where a person is still getting their account silenced and action being taken without an investigation.

Before we look at whether or not the system is inherently bad, let's take a look at what is currently happening. Does this system open itself up to abuse?

Given that we can now see there is no review before the silence is applied, this system starts to seem a lot more scary. As evidenced by Asmongold's video, there was no profanity in his message, nothing negative, nothing malicious. If something as positive as his message can still receive the full penalty, do we now have a system that becomes very easy to abuse?

I asked what Asmongold thought about the ability of players to misuse the system and simply report people they don't like, people that are competition in either raiding or selling things or just generally people they don't agree with. Here's what he had to say:

Quote

You have to ask the question, are they going to be able to punish people for misusing the system? I think any reasonable person knows the answer is no. They won't be able to do that because it's too fine of a line between punishing the victim and the people abusing the system.

People will not get in trouble for falsely reporting others; there are just too many ways to explain why you reported someone, such as clicking the name accidentally, wanting to report someone else and so on. There are too many ways to rationalise it and they are actually legitimate reasons.

Blizzard could be punishing innocent players for something that they might not have done knowingly, since they might have had good intentions. Let's say someone says that Brexit was a good decision. They are reported for racism, because a person believes that someone supporting Brexit is a racist. Whether or not it is true is irrelevant, since the person that is reporting believes their reason is fair. Blizzard won't ban the person that is reported, but should they punish the person that filed the report? 

You can find easier situations, like a guild mass reporting, but for many other reporting cases, you can't understand what someone intended when filing the report.

So it's clear that the system is very easy to abuse with a group of people, since you most likely won't get into trouble for it. In order to actually get someone silenced though, you'll need a fairly large group of players. At least, that's what it seems like.

In the past already, there has been problems with certain multiboxers in the community. They pay for a huge number of accounts and have shown evidence of going out of their way to ruin the experience of players in-game. Have Blizzard just given them the perfect tool to do so?

Quote

Blizzard has created the tools for them to do this now. 

Is it necessarily going to happen a lot? I don't think so, but the fact that there is the potential for the abuse makes it so that innocent people can be punished. It's better in a game that people actually pay for, whether by real money or WoW tokens. As a paying subscriber, you should be given the benefit of the doubt and actually treated like an adult. I feel like this is what's really missing here.

With the multiboxing, absolutely. It doesn't matter what the person says. You can get silenced, no matter what you say. There should be a word filter that will only automatically silence people if they are using certain profanities, racial slurs, whatever.

How can we fix this system? What simple improvements can prevent this from occurring?

As someone that dislikes the system altogether, I wanted to hear Asmongold's opinions on how they can fix the system and make sure it properly works. Keep in mind that he is definitely against the system, but I wanted to see how he would optimise it. Here were his suggestions:

Quote
  • Make the ignore list as large as possible.
  • Add a whitelisting feature for people who are reported often but the reports turn out to have no proper reasons behind them.
    • If a person is constantly reported and there is constantly no grounding behind it, that person is given the benefit of the doubt in the future.
    • No action is taken until a full investigation has taken place for whitelisted accounts.
  • A 3-hour immediate suspension isn't necessarily a bad thing.
  • Introduce a word filter that instantly silences people depending on which words are used. 
    • The filter could include words such as racial slurs.
    • No matter how the word is used, these filtered words should not be used.
    • If people report you and the word filter finds the banned words, you are then silenced.
  • Add a feature that blacklists people that continuously report people for nothing.
    • If their reports are constantly found to have no grounding, they can no longer submit reports.
  • Be more forthcoming with information on the new system.
    • Explain the difference between the old system and the new system.
    • What was squelching and why did it need to be changed?
    • What exactly is needed to trigger the silence?

Conclusions

So, have Blizzard made the right choice with this new system? Personally, I'm not so sure. I think it's an OK idea, but it definitely needs a lot of work. In reality, the system either needs to be reworked or removed until they can find a way to fix what is now starting to happen.

Fingers crossed!

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1 minute ago, Duncnx said:

I was watching the interview during the stream last night.  Very well written article and summary of the issue.

Thanks for the kind words, it was great of Zack to let me jump onto the stream and do it right there. Was also fun watching chat laugh at how often I say "fair enough".

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42 minutes ago, Blainie said:

Thanks for the kind words, it was great of Zack to let me jump onto the stream and do it right there. Was also fun watching chat laugh at how often I say "fair enough".

Omg I also say 'fair enough' a lot. Turns out, it can be a reaction to any statement.

 

On topic, I never liked the system the way it was, and this doesn't  seem like much of an improvement.

That said I think it's good to know they're at least trying to better it.

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It would be nice to have an account ignore option that extends beyond just simple text. too often I see players circumvent ignore by making another toon in the game. an account ignore would also have the greater benefit for curtailing a lot of the in game abuse by players that reach beyond simple trade chat spam or defamation. I would like to see an account ignore extend for the abuse that occurs within looking for raid and the AH as well.

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2 minutes ago, Daddy said:

It would be nice to have an account ignore option that extends beyond just simple text. too often I see players circumvent ignore by making another toon in the game. an account ignore would also have the greater benefit for curtailing a lot of the in game abuse by players that reach beyond simple trade chat spam or defamation. I would like to see an account ignore extend for the abuse that occurs within looking for raid and the AH as well.

I'd love to see this as well. Especially if you're someone that is dealing with targeted abuse by an individual, they won't hesitate to keep making characters to continue abusing you.

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Great article. I was in Asmongold's stream for the interview as well and one important detail left out is the ability for trial accounts to report people. 

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20 minutes ago, bantam said:

Great article. I was in Asmongold's stream for the interview as well and one important detail left out is the ability for trial accounts to report people. 

That seems like a huge oversight.  Giving trial accounts the ability to cause a silence is ridiculous, and opens the system up even further for misuse.  When Blizz announced the silence in WoW I was all for it, but it really seems like they need to do some serious work or everyone will be silenced. 

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33 minutes ago, bantam said:

Great article. I was in Asmongold's stream for the interview as well and one important detail left out is the ability for trial accounts to report people. 

Completely forgot to add that, thanks for bringing it up!

11 minutes ago, ghostdeini said:

That seems like a huge oversight.  Giving trial accounts the ability to cause a silence is ridiculous, and opens the system up even further for misuse.  When Blizz announced the silence in WoW I was all for it, but it really seems like they need to do some serious work or everyone will be silenced. 

I agree. The ability to report from trial accounts basically means that I can create accounts in any region I wish, with no restrictions, to harass and report people.

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2 hours ago, Daddy said:

It would be nice to have an account ignore option that extends beyond just simple text. too often I see players circumvent ignore by making another toon in the game. an account ignore would also have the greater benefit for curtailing a lot of the in game abuse by players that reach beyond simple trade chat spam or defamation. I would like to see an account ignore extend for the abuse that occurs within looking for raid and the AH as well.

They need to overhaul the friending and ignoring system on WoW as a whole. They already integrated battle.net friends which is a very good start, but they need to make ignore work by ignoring by battletag rather than specific characters.

People shouldn't be able to remove themselves from your ignore list by deleting their character or by realm transferring. They shouldn't be able to bypass it by creating another character on a different realm and whispering you (because "account-wide ignore" actually only means "ignore all their characters on your realm but not their other characters on different realms.")

It's already a good thing that ignore keeps track of character name changes but it needs to keep people ignored if they delete their character or transfer to a different realm.

Edited by Ammako
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All that Asmongold did was speculate on how it would be implemented. He *assumed* that getting a silence penalty was strictly based off volume of reports (i.e. getting your friends to dogpile someone would result in an effective silence penalty), then completely disregarded what an "investigation" might include.

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12 minutes ago, Farinata said:

All that Asmongold did was speculate on how it would be implemented. He *assumed* that getting a silence penalty was strictly based off volume of reports (i.e. getting your friends to dogpile someone would result in an effective silence penalty), then completely disregarded what an "investigation" might include.

But the silence happened before an investigation occurred, so why does the investigation matter? He had a 24 hour silence with no investigation at all.

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In all honesty, the silence system is one of the key features that convinced me to resub now after the prepatch. While I'm sure this is not the systems final form yet, I really detest the often toxic culture in MMO's. (WoW is by no means unique, you see the same thing in ESO, Rift, SWTOR and and so on. People are great for the first few months after release then it just gets progressively worse.) Average casual players doing their nightly pug dungeons or LRF are easily exposed to truly horrid harassments for no other reason than being average casual players. Don't get me wrong, if you sign up for a mythic pug, or guild, claiming to be god almighty and fail you should expect to be replaced. But lets be honest, all it takes for people to rage is that their dungeon takes 30 seconds longer than the last time, that the tank pulls a skippable pack, an alternative tactic is applied, that someone makes an actual mistake, or that the group "fails" due to the rager’s obsessive ninjapulling, or that someone doesn’t know the tactics for everything and so on and so forth.

 

The harassments are almost exlusively counterproductive. Instead of spending time explaining and guiding, it’s spent on making others feel bad about themselves.

 

In the critiques against the silence system, a common one seems to this: git gud! Or in laymen’s terms, being harassed is in itself proof that you deserve it because you are "underperforming". In a video game that most people play for fun.

 

As a long time MMO-player, I'm actually not sure I would allow my own kids to play because of the toxicity. And I am very happy that blizzard is finally taking additional steps to disperse some of it.

Is it possible to abuse the silence system in it's current (or any form)? Problably. Has the non-presence of a similar system up until now been abused, and is likely to continue to be abused? Without a shadow of a doubt!

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The only part I disagree with is this bit:

" Introduce a word filter that instantly silences people depending on which words are used.  "

The problem with that is there are cultural differences between players.

For example - the phrase "you sneaky bastard" is friendly in Australia, where as may be offensive in the USA.

For another example - the gnome emote /rasp is extremely offensive in Australia, where as ok in the USA.

Language is too complex to allow any automated system to attempt to just it in a 'moral' sense.

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In spite of the potential problems, I am pleased with the new Silence.  Being one of those average casual players with the desire to play a game and not wage a life and death struggle for mastery, I eventually stopped doing dungeons and events entirely due the harassment by some group members.  It is one thing to mess up in group, but being screamed at and the subject of obscenities merely because you are just an average player is way over the line.   At least now one can hope that the ill-mannered will simply seethe in silence and left the rest of us have fun. 

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4 hours ago, schwarzkopf said:

The only part I disagree with is this bit:

" Introduce a word filter that instantly silences people depending on which words are used.  "

The problem with that is there are cultural differences between players.

For example - the phrase "you sneaky bastard" is friendly in Australia, where as may be offensive in the USA.

For another example - the gnome emote /rasp is extremely offensive in Australia, where as ok in the USA.

Language is too complex to allow any automated system to attempt to just it in a 'moral' sense.

I do agree that catching everything in every region would be difficult, but I think that there are more than a few insulting/derogatory terms that that could be used as a general filter. Anything else would have to be reviewed which still creates an issue if there is an automatic silence after being reported. 

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The system can only be "easily abused" to the extent that a large number of players can be easily convinced to make simultaneous fake reports. And this will only remain true if there are no consequences for doing so. Assuming Blizzard disciplines those making false reports and especially harshly those organizing large blocks of them, the supply of players willing and able to do this is going to drop sharply after an initial period. Even before then, I believe the system is on balance fixing more existing problems than it is creating new ones.

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1 hour ago, MOHRONIC said:

I do agree that catching everything in every region would be difficult, but I think that there are more than a few insulting/derogatory terms that that could be used as a general filter. Anything else would have to be reviewed which still creates an issue if there is an automatic silence after being reported. 

In Australia, very few words or phrases are deemed truly offensive inherently. Probably count the words on 1 hand that I wouldn't have said to my mum, on one finger the words I wouldn't say to my boss.

If a person has no way of determining what they are allowed to say or not, it makes it difficult to judge them, however an automated system supported by mob rule will judge them anyway.

 

 

 

 

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On 2016-07-21 at 5:12 PM, Blainie said:

But the silence happened before an investigation occurred, so why does the investigation matter? He had a 24 hour silence with no investigation at all.

He also staged it with a full raid group. Which is not that easily done by a single person.

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5 hours ago, Calysia said:

He also staged it with a full raid group. Which is not that easily done by a single person.

Actually, when I was watching his video I realised how easy it would be for guilds to mass silence people. Guilds can have a huge mass of people in them... it only took 30ish to get Asmongold silenced...

So it does also beg the question. If it takes a group of people to get someone silenced... Then if i report someone for harassing me, and I'm just one person. Then is it doing anything? Is it accrued?

There probably should be a long GM post about how it works. But possibly why that hasn't occurred as much, is because elusiveness might stop the masses from abusing it as much.

Personally, I report people a lot. Well... I report a lot of gold sellers :P. But also, sometimes, people swing abuse my way and I report them. When the info first came out about the silence, I thought, well thats kinda good under the acknowledgement that maybe my reports will accrue with other peoples.Iif they are abusive to more people than just me. Because, tbh, I assumed that nothing ever came of my reporting. I thought that the click was a bit of a cop out. Like, why allow a report feature if nothing ever comes of it?

I dont report people for being mean if they know who I am, thats their right. But, if someone goes out of their way to be a cunt to a total fucking random in trade for saying something intelligent, then pfft. Ofc I'll ignore and report. This is why i turn off trade most of the time :(. Which is poor for a community mmo. But yeah, after I /ignore, then I'm free of their shit to some degree. But, I worry about other people. People can stand up for themselves sure, but if I can save the next version-of-me from getting abused then I'd prefer that.

But yeah... the deal is, that if its accrued then it works for individuals. If it doesnt, if only one person reports something. Then someone else reports something 10 days later, and its a different convo and it fails to stack... Then this system is useless. Because it can only be used in open forum in this context. Like, trade chat, or within a group or raid. It cant ever be used properly in private convos if it doesnt stack.

"What exactly is needed to trigger the silence?" Is possibly the best question asked.

"A 3-hour immediate suspension isn't necessarily a bad thing." I agree with this. If you are immediately silenced AND THEN its investigated within a few hours when the GMs get back to work hours or whatever other reason, like delay in processing. Then sure, I can see that.

Great post Blainie, thanks for the good read :).

Edited by Swatch
Full stops. Rofl.
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20 hours ago, schwarzkopf said:

The only part I disagree with is this bit:

" Introduce a word filter that instantly silences people depending on which words are used.  "

The problem with that is there are cultural differences between players.

For example - the phrase "you sneaky bastard" is friendly in Australia, where as may be offensive in the USA.

For another example - the gnome emote /rasp is extremely offensive in Australia, where as ok in the USA.

Language is too complex to allow any automated system to attempt to just it in a 'moral' sense.

I think it's important to draw a line between two things here: normal curse words and racial slurs. There are filters in game to stop people seeing normal curse words. If they don't like them, enable the mature filter. I think it's something different with racial slurs. I don't care about swearing, so I don't have my filter on. That doesn't mean I'm OK with someone being openly racist and berating people with slurs. 

It's important to also note that the various localisation departments could work to ensure that the filters work properly for the different regions, given that they'd need to do it anyway for countries that don't have English as a main language.

7 hours ago, Calysia said:

He also staged it with a full raid group. Which is not that easily done by a single person.

Remember that we don't actually know the minimum number of reports to get someone silenced. Maybe you only need 10, 20 or 30. Players can always ask guild members, friends, raid members, whatever. Let's say someone wipes a pug raid. Everyone is angry, let's report the person that wiped us, they're wasting our time. 

Alternatively, let's say you annoy a multiboxer. Hey, they can suddenly report you from 40+ characters!

1 hour ago, Swatch said:

"What exactly is needed to trigger the silence?" Is possibly the best question asked.

This for me is the most important. Knowing exactly what it is that is needed for me to be silenced, then I can avoid doing whatever it is until they fix it.

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This is definitely concerning for a paying customer, and as an adult. I seen on the media of the growing problem of SJW. People are entitled to their own opinions and can believe what they want. But when they cross the line into banning paying customers for language that may or may not be offensive, that is a scary situation. BTW, this post caught my attention because I recently discovered Asmondgold (sorry if I mispelled!) after watching youtube videos explaining how to get achievements. Your videos are the best. Keep them coming. Thanks. And good luck to ya concerning this issue. Thanks for spreading the word. Hopefully Blizzard takes notice.

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      Now, it is time for you to die. Do not despair, for I shall ensure your allies meet the same fate.
      Hold onto the gryphons, they're trained to avoid all sorts of danger. Hopefully it also includes fire from a dragon's artifact!
      I'm gonna get meself to Camp Bronzebeard te see how they're doin'. I'll meet up with the rest of ye later!
      We'll have to leap off the gryphons when we get to the camp and get to work as fast as possible with whoever is left there.
      I'm goin' ahead te make sure Camp Bronzebeard is safe. For the Alliance!
      The recruits back at Stormwind are never going to believe this!
      Let's hope whoever has the shield up lets us in, or this will be one short ride!
      Hang on!
      Deal, now hold on tight!
      Not if I can help it, ye overgrown lizard!
      We'll hold the dragon's attention! Ye best get te Camp Bronzebeard, they need yer help!
      We will take your soul, and raise the dragon from the dead!
      The full force of the Alliance will rain down upon you!
      As a newly arrived soul you should know this is a place of torment and of penance.
      Not to fear though, for as you see by these many sinstones, the road to redemption is possible.
      Let's go. Those monsters have my son.
      Henry? I didn't see him... but I'm sure he's still alive.
      Each of these sinstones represents a soul who has come to this place and cleansed themselves of their sins, eventually moving on from this place or accepting the role of a venthyr.
      Final judgement comes from the Master. It is he who commands this place. It is he who embraces souls to become venthyr, the tormentors and eaters of sin.
      There are always those few who are unwilling to work for redemption.
      Or don't agree with their sinstone.
      Or are simply just a bunch of bad apples.
      Thems get the boot. Down to the Maw and never to come back. Take this poor soul for example. He's on his final warning.
      Won't even admit he did somethin' wrong. Still thinks he's someone important.
      Hold, creatures. This is a guest, not a charge.
      Quick, make yaself presentable. Lord Chamberlain is here.
      Mother... I'm sorry. I tried to fight the ogres... but they were too strong.
      Henry... always remember that you are more than your mistakes. Now, Private Garrick, I want a full situation report.
      Yes, mother--Captain Garrick! The ogres are using necromancy to raise a dragon from the dead.
      They need sacrifices like us to fuel their magic. They're about to start a ritual that--
      It's already begun... they're going to use the life force they gathered to reanimate the dragon!
      My children, I know the suffering you have endured.
      The shortage of anima and the lack of new souls have inflicted terrible hardship upon us all.
      I fear further sacrifices must be made if Revendreth is to survive this crisis.
      Ah! The mortal who escaped the inescapable prison. A living soul restoring hope to the realms eternal.
      This drought has left my people desperate...
      But if you were to aid our cause, then I could gratefully provide the aid you seek.
      Begging my Master's pardon.
      Ravagers and thieves. Stop them before they raid what few anima reserves we have left.
      Elune, please shield us from harm!
      Hailing from the human kingdom of Stormwind, you follow in the footsteps of valiant knights, clever sorcerers, and legendary heroes.
      Representing the stout and enduring dwarves of Ironforge, you have emerged from the mountain and stand ready to face any challenge.
      As one of the ancient and elusive night elves, you have left the tranquil boughs of Teldrassil to aid your allies and defend the wilds.
      The gnomes of Gnomeregan bolster the Alliance with their ingenuity and mechanical aptitude. You have opted for a more direct approach.
      Your people, the draenei, arrived on Azeroth as refugees from another world. But this world is now your home, and you have sworn to defend it.
      Like many pandaren, you have known a life of quiet harmony on the traveling isle of Shen-zin Su. But your intrepid spirit yearns for adventure.
      Though the worgen curse decimated your home kingdom of Gilneas and turned you into a beast, your feral rage can be used for the good of all.
      It is up to you to find the missing expedition members and bring them home. For the Alliance!
      You two, dredgers, leave that mortal alone. They are under the protection of the Master.
      Come, mortal, let us away from this place.
      No doubt by now you have heard of the anima drought plaguing our reality.
      My Master, the supreme Sire Denathrius, has a plan to see us through these dark times.
      We face this challenge with dignity and remain united behind the Master. Revendreth remains resolute!
      They claim he is hoarding aether when in fact he must ration what limited reserves we have left.
      Rumors of a rebellion are greatly overstated. Everything is under control.
      Lord Chamberlain! There's a commotion up ahead. Looks like a fight.
      Rebels. Just drive either over or through them. They would not dare to- Aah!
      Aaaaaaaah!
      Aaaaaaaaah!
      Aaaaaaaah!
      He is your Master too, traitor! Release us at once.
      As you command, Lord Chamberlain.
      Champion deal with the Maw Walker!
      Out of the way, little spiders!
      These poor creatures... we cannot stop to help them.
      By the Light, you're alive!
      Ye did a good job, savin' those people and dealin' with those spiders.
      Those spiders were victims, too. They just lost their home.
      Yeah... well, I guess ye could see it that way.
      The Light shines on all creatures. That does not mean I have to like them.
      This mortal will not become another puppet of the Master.
      Hah! Our dragon will crush them!
      I shall tear this world apart!
      No more excuses. The Master will have his tithe of anima or I will see to it that everyone in this miserable hamlet are exiled to the Ember Ward.
      Shattered!Shattered!
      RUN!!!
      Dead end! Well, time to see if this amulet works.
      Master! Master! The creature has arrived!
      I know. I raised him to overcome any challenge.
      We have other rituals to oversee. Savor the final moments of your life!
      Then we need to move quickly. Recruit, Private Garrick, the Alliance never gives up hope, even in the face of disaster.
      We'll put a stop to these rituals before the ogres can complete them. Let's go!
      Foolish loa. I will feast upon your worshippers and be reborn!
      Hah! I be callin' da shots... and you be under me command with dis little trick. Now... you be tellin' me everytin' dat ya did ta Ardenweald.
      Ignorant loa... the undead come to this place as we speak. You will be overrun!
      Heh heh... I... said... SPEAK!
      AGH! I discarded the spirits in Ardenweald that refused to follow me into the Maw!
      Oh? Good ting Bwonsamdi got a deal with someone who can be recoverin' dem spirits from dat place.
      Haha... you think you can undo what I have wrought? The Jailer's work cannot be stopped now... especially not by an idiotic loa like yourself.
      Azeroth is in ruins... and all because of one... little... whisper to a dying warchief.
      What? No... de whisper dat told me to make Sylvanas warchief... it be you?
      You played your part perfectly, troll. And I would have tortured you for eternity... if not for someone's intervention.
      I be hearin' enough! I want ya ta be knowin' sometin' before I destroy ya, Mueh'zala.
      Dere only be room for one loa o' death.
      And it be Bwonsamdi.
      What dis be? Bwonsamdi too busy ta be summonin' me heself now?
      When dis starts, Mueh'zala gonna be drainin' de life outta me people. You gonna make sure dey don't get lost ta him.
      Now... we be seein' what little secrets dis puny death loa has. Wake up, Mueh'zala!
      Dat be for usin' me ta put Sylvanas in power.
      We gotta hurry. We got spirits stuck in da Maw to rescue... for da Winter Queen.
      Hold on, $n. I got sometin' ta be talkin' ta ya about.
      I last heard you had gone somewhere with Bwonsamdi. Now you are here with these loa?
      Hey dere Winter Queen! Ol' Bwonsamdi can be explainin'... see, I be findin' out dat Mueh'zala be takin' ya loa away.
      So I be helpin' dis one find where dey be... deep in da Maw.
      ... Even if Ardenweald does not have the power to rebirth all spirits, they must all flow through here to try to be saved.
      I will take these three spirits into our care. And you will find your way out of my land, Bwonsamdi.
      Four spirits, if ya please.
      I thought I sensed something special about your spirit. You have a loa within you... waiting to be reborn.
      I cannot promise that you will survive... or what form of loa you will become. But I shall allow you a pod to be reborn.
      Life be full o' mysteries. I be learnin' ta embrace dem and see what happens next.
      Rezan be smarter dan I thought... but now dere be a new loa who be havin' a deal wit ol' Bwonsamdi. Heh heh heh...
      You are a part of the powerful Horde, a united group of disparate races seeking to carve their own path within Azeroth.
      Two weeks ago, a Horde expedition sent to explore an uncharted island in the Great Sea disappeared without a trace.
      A rescue mission led by Warlord Breka Grimaxe has set sail from Orgrimmar with you aboard.
      Your orcish blood thrives for adventure, and you seek to prove your strength and honor.
      You bear the curse of the Forsaken, returned from the grave. It is your choice what you do with this second chance at life.
      As a member of the wise and peaceful Tauren, you travel through Azeroth to preserve the balance of nature.
      The ferocity and pride of the trolls are known throughout Azeroth. You set off for adventure to prove yourself amongst the many troll heroes.
      You left the comforts of Silvermoon City to find power and greatness within Azeroth, like many blood elves before you.
      As a goblin, you know there's no fame to be made sitting at home. You set out for adventure, glory, and gold!
      It's up to you to find the missing expedition members and bring them home. For the Horde!
      What in the name of the Master?
      I humbly present... the Maw Walker.
      Maw Walker, I am aware of your urgent request for anima. Under normal circumstances, I would of course oblige.
      Sadly, you arrive in the midst of a violent rebellion. Our resources are stretched perilously thin.
      ...starving...
      ...and some, even defiant.
      We move. These monsters have my daughter.
      The Horde will crush you and your dragon beneath its feet!
      Mother... I tried stopping the ogres on my own, but I failed. I just don't have your raw strength to fight them.
      You have your own strength, Shuja. Do not try to be anyone but yourself. Now, tell me what's going on here.
      I understand. The ogres are using necromancy to raise a dragon from the dead.
      They need sacrifices like us to fuel their magic. They're about to start a ritual that --
      It has already begun. They're going to use the life force they've gathered to reanimate the dragon!
      Then we must move. Remember, when times are difficult, the Horde remains strong when we stay together.
      We're going to put a stop to these rituals before the ogres can complete them. Let's go.
      Earth Mother, guide my steps so we may flee this wicked place!
      The ogres and their vile servants have disrupted the balance of nature in this place!
      By me ancestors, ya be alive!
      Good job getting everyone out and blowing up that cave of spiders.
      Those spiders did not deserve to have their home destroyed.
      Returned for more, necromancer? I can do this all day.
      My paragon, you do not stand alone!
      Ah, you will work well.
      Thanikos, no!
      What... is happening...to me?
      No! No! NOOOOOOOO!!!
      Y-yes... master...
      A perfect reunion. Now please finish this matter, Thanikos.
      Magnificent. Bron's strength is my strength. Our strength!
      New Campaigns
       
      9.0 Shadowlands - Narrative Arc - Revendreth (ZTO) - Sire Denathrius may know the secrets to ending the anima drought. Venture into his realm of Revendreth to learn more.
      9.0 Shadowlands - Covenant Campaign - Revendreth (ZTO) - The road to redemption for Revendreth is a long one, and the Dark Prince of Sinfall is ready to walk it. He will need your help if he is to wrest control of Revendreth from the clutches of the Master and his loyalists.
      Bastion 9.0 Shadowlands - Narrative Arc - Bastion - GJC - TBD
      9.0 Shadowlands - Covenant Campaign - Maldraxxus (MDE) - TBD
      9.0 Shadowlands - Covenant Campaign - Ardenweald (KRB) - The groves of Ardenweald are dying. As each great celestial tree falls, the Winter Queen's desperation grows. The queen and her Court of Night will need your help to restore balance to Ardenweald.
      9.0 Shadowlands - Narrative Arc - Maldraxxus - SJC - TBD
      9.0 Shadowlands - Covenant Campaign - Bastion - GJC - TBD
      9.0 Shadowlands - Narrative Arc - Ardenweald (ZTO) - TBD
      New Currencies
       
      Progenitor Shard - TEST
      Phantasma - This extinguished strand of anima can be used to gain power within Torghast. Leaving Torghast will destroy all Phantasma.
      Freed Soul - With enough Freed Souls, you may be able to advance aspects of your Covenant Sanctum.
      Soul Ash - Soul Ash powers the Pyres of Creation.
      Enemy Damage - Dummy currency for Torghast UI
      Enemy Health - Dummy currency for Torghast UI
      Deaths - Dummy currency for Torghast UI
      Stygia - The byproduct of the violent destruction of a Soul within the Maw.
      Quest Experience - (Standard)
      Shadowlands PvP Rated
      Shadowlands PvP Unrated
      Covenant Anima - Placeholder Resource
      Shadowlands PvP Rated - Item Purchase - Use this to purchase Shadowlands Gladiator gear.
      Kyrian - Grants reputation with the Kyrian.
      Maldraxxus - Grants reputation with Maldraxxus.
      Ardenweald - Grants reputation with Ardenweald.
      Revendreth - Grants reputation with Revendreth.
      New Dungeon Bosses
       
      Tunk
      Ravnyr
      Boss 2
      Kin-Tara
      Oryphrion
      Boss 4
      Kryxis the Voracious
      Executor Tarvold
      Grand Proctor Beryllia
      General Kaal
      Kul'tarok
      Gorechop
      Warlord Boss
      Echelon
      Lord Chamberlain
      Boss 01
      Hungering Destroyer
      Boss 02
      Boss 03
      Boss 04
      Blightbone
      Amarth, The Reanimator
      Stichflesh
      Nalthor the Rimebinder
      An Affront of Challengers
      Mistcaller
      Tred'ova
      The Manastorms
      Hakkar, the Soulflayer
      Mueh'zala
      Ingra Maloch
      Bat Gargoyle
      Sludgefist
      Dealer G'exa
      Halkias, the Sin-Stained Goliath
      Kael'thas
      The High Priestess of Nathria
      Mordretha
      Broker Curator
      Lady Inerva Darkvein
      Sire Denathrius
      Nurgash Muckformed
      Oranomonos the Everbranching
      Mortanis
      Valinor
      Venthyr Nobility
      Ember Court
      Journal Encounter
       
      Echelon
      Kryxis the Voracious - Kryxis the Voracious sensed the anima stores deep within the Sanguine Depths, and his lust to consume this energy has driven him to madness. With the recent tear that has formed in Revendreth, Kryxis the Voracious has a found a way into these catacombs, and aims to drain every last drop of anima out of the subterranean storage house.
      Kul'tharok
      Hazak the Unfallen
      Amarth, The Reanimator - Amarth is the powerful, sadistic leader of the necromancers of Zolramus. He oversees the harvesting of corpses from atop his flying mount, the undead monstrosity Bonefang.
      Surgeon Stitchflesh - Surgeon Stitchflesh is the mastermind behind the grisly abominations that are deployed from the floating fortress of Zolramus. He bends to his task with maniacal fervor, crafting the flesh of fallen enemies into undead constructs to be used in Maldraxxus' wars.
      Bat Gargoyle - Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, omnis ignota reformidans ius ad, cibo brute impedit te qui, stet sale forensibus usu no. Mel erat nonumy moderatius cu, enim nibh ne eos. Usu erant numquam aliquid eu, eum et facilisi adipisci assueverit, ad mei aliquip aperiam iudicabit. Dictas nostrud contentiones duo ut.
      Dredger Giant - Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, omnis ignota reformidans ius ad, cibo brute impedit te qui, stet sale forensibus usu no. Mel erat nonumy moderatius cu, enim nibh ne eos. Usu erant numquam aliquid eu, eum et facilisi adipisci assueverit, ad mei aliquip aperiam iudicabit. Dictas nostrud contentiones duo ut.
      Blightbone - The corpulent mass of rotting flesh known as Blightbone was lovingly stitched together by Surgeon Stichflesh to lead the vanguard of the assault upon the Temple of Courage.
      Nalthor the Rimebinder - As a commander of the House of Rituals, the conniving Nalthor the Rimebinder leads the attack upon the unwitting kyran forces.
      An Affront of Challengers
      Dealer G'exa - Dealer G'exa is a cunning aquisitionist, wielding an array of magical contrivances that she has collected over the millennia. She relies on spatial manipulation to stay one step ahead of the innumerable enemies she's made in her dealings.
      Kin-Tara
      Ingra Maloch - Cursed to exist outside the cycle of Life and Death, the Drust now seek to circumvent their fate using Ardenweald's mechanisms of Rebirth. Their would-be conquest has found its way to Tirna Scithe, where Ingra Maloch and his followers use foul magic to subjugate the local inhabitants.
      Gorechop
      Mistcaller
      Doctor Ickus - Amidst the fallout from the slime eruption, the deranged Doctor Ickus continues his mad experiments with ooze.
      Stradama Margrave - Transformed due to the explosion that destroyed her house, Margrave Stradama is now the source of the plague that continues to ooze across Maldraxxus.
      Tred'ova
      Halkias, the Sin-Stained Goliath - A massive sin-stone golem with stained glass windows on all four sides, infused with sin and anima, unfortunately awakened by the Depraved Venthyr's machinations.
      General Kaal - General Kaal stands as one of Sire Denathrius's main generals overseeing his operations in Revendreth. Strong, agile and full of guile, General Kaal uses her agility and anima-infused nature to eliminate all who would stand against her master.
      Hakkar the Soulflayer[PH]
      The Manastorms
      Mueh'zala
      The High Priestess of NathriaWithin the Halls of Atonement, past the courtyard and gargoyles, is a church unlike any seen on Azeroth. A Venthyr Priestess presides over a congregation of spirits, spreading the dark word of the Nathrian religion.
      Paragon of Loyalty
      Lord Chamberlain
      Oryphrion[PH] - Oryphrion is the firepower in the Paragon of Loyalty's vanguard. The Dark Colossus has dominated the invasion into the city with their Anima fueled artillery, and now fiercely defends the font of power before the Archon's seat.
      Executor Tarvold - The depraved warden of the Sanguine Depths, Executor Tarvold, takes sick pleasure in tormenting the prisoners here. Freeing the prisoners of their sins and their anima.
      Ventunax - A Dark Kyrian construct, powered by Anima and honed to a razor edge. The Praetorian's movements are so quick she can seem to disappear before players' eyes, appearing behind them or in cover, and can cut through the air such that she generates tornados in her wake.
      Mordretha, the Endless Empress
      Broker Curator - Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, omnis ignota reformidans ius ad, cibo brute impedit te qui, stet sale forensibus usu no. Mel erat nonumy moderatius cu, enim nibh ne eos. Usu erant numquam aliquid eu, eum et facilisi adipisci assueverit, ad mei aliquip aperiam iudicabit. Dictas nostrud contentiones duo ut.
      Globgrog - A monstrosity formed from the fallout of the destruction of the Plague House.
      Lady Inerva Darkvein[NYI]
      Grand Proctor Beryllia - Grand Proctor Beryllia has spent an eternity studying the flows of anima in Revendreth. Her skill and knowledge has been put to the test learning about a very curious prisoner deep within the Sanguine Depths, the naaru Z'rali.
      Kael'thas
      Domina Venomblade - A vile and sinister figure of the House of Many Eyes who fought her way to the source of the Plaguefall.
      Sire Denathrius
      New Factions
       
      9.0 Maldraxxus - Abominations
      9.0 Maldraxxus - Lich
      9.0 Maldraxxus - Warriors
      Kyrian
      Dark Kyrian
      9.0 Maldraxxus - End Game
      Stone Legion
      Sinfall - Revendreth
      Court of Harvesters - Revendreth
      Shadowlands
      Night Fae - Ardenweald
      Maw Broker
      Torghast - Guard
      Torghast - Prisoner
      New Titles
       
      Pilgrim %s the Mallet Bearer
      %s, As Themselves%s
      %s the Cryptkeeper
      Mounts
       
      PH Gargon - PH
      PH Epic Gargon - PH
      PH Phalynx - PH
      PH Epic Phalynx - PH
      PH Runestag - PH
      PH Epic Runestag - PH
      PH Shadehound - PH
      PH Gorm - PH
      PH Horned Horse - PH
      PH Horned Horse - PH
      Gilded Prowler - Unparalleled apex predator of Bastion, this mighty larion has trained since birth to carry its rider across the Shadowlands.
      PH Devourer Mite - PH
      PH Dredbat - PH
      PH Maldraxxus Chimaera - PH
      PH Moth - PH
      PH Death Roc - PH
      Vicious War Spider - PH
      Vicious War Spider - PH
      Scenarios
       
      Torghast, Tower of the Damned
      Plane of Torment
      The Master of Lies
      Darkmaul Citadel
      The Blade of the Primus
      The Path of Totality
      Recovering Tyrande Whisperwind
      Sanguine Depths
      Sanguine Depths
      Sanguine Depths
      The Greater Good
      The Ember Court
      Assault on the House of Rituals
      The Necrotic Wake
      Spires of Ascension
      Spires of Ascension
      Halls of Atonement
      Halls of Atonement
      Halls of Atonement
      The Necrotic Wake
      The Necrotic Wake
      Scenario Steps
       
      Torghast, Tower of the Damned
      Ascend the Tower - The higher you climb, the more dangerous the enemies... but the more lucrative the rewards. Be cautious: too many deaths may awaken the Tarragrue!
      Hurry Up! Your deaths have attracted the Tarragrue! Get to the next floor before he does!
      Save the Prisoner - Save the Kyrian Prisoner before their soul is drained!
      Powerful Foe - Defeat the powerful foe!
      Plane of Torment
      Investigate the Town Hall
      Defeat the Monstrosity
      Defeat the Deprivator
      Take the Anima Stream
      Find the Fragment of Jaina
      Free the Fragment of Jaina
      The Master of Lies
      Awaken the Army - Awaken stoneborn who are loyal to Prince Renathal.
      Rally at Dominance Gate - Meet Prince Renathal and your allies at Dominance Gate.
      The Stone Legion Gauntlet - Reach the far side of Dominance Gate.
      General of the Stone Legion - Defeat General Kaal
      To Dam the Damned - Disable Anima Diverters
      The Master - Confront Sire Denathrius.
      The Blade of the Primus
      Where the Pieces Fall - Break through the upper terrace
      Heir to the Primus - Assist Bonesmeith Heirmir.
      Unleash the Helhounds! - Free beasts of war.
      The Highlord and the Lady - Regroup with the forces of Alexandros and Baroness Vashj.
      Courage Guide Thy Blade - Escape the House of the Chosen.
      Caustic Chemistry - Assist with Marileth's 'testing'.
      Together, We Ride! Defend the Sanctum.
      When One Door Closes... Defeat Margrave Krexus.
      The Path of Totality
      A Lost Cause - Investigate the memory.
      A Desperate Gambit - Find the next memory.
      A Peace Made - Find the next memory.
      A Parting of Ways - Find the next memory.
      A Sacrifice Paid - Find the next memory.
      A Moon's Death - Relive the last moments of the Night Warrior.
      Recovering Tyrande Whisperwind
      Find Tyrande Whisperwind - Search Torghast for Tyrande Whisperind
      Fend off Maw Warriors - Aid Tyrande in defeating Maw Assassins
      Keep up with Tyrande Whisperwind - Tyrande is not stopping. Try to keep up with her.
      Defeat Maw Ambushers - Tyrande charged ahead. Deal with the incoming Maw minions!
      Catch up with Tyrande - Tyrande is up ahead, try to catch up with her!
      Find an alternate route to Tyrande - Tyrande has pushed forward. Find another way to catch up with her.
      Defeat Maw Monstrosity - Skuld stands in your way!
      Catch up with Tyrande - Tyrande must be up ahead. Find her!
      Defeat the Tortured Shade - The Maw has created an amalgam of tortured night elf souls. Help Tyrande fight them off.
      The Greater Good
      One Small Step - Push forward into the Citadel of Loyalty.
      No Doubt - Clear the Courtyard.
      Dark Machinations - Defeat Petris and Phaedra.
      Attack of Opportunity - Push forward to the Truthbringer.
      An Old Friend - Stop the Forsworn from activating the Truthbringer.
      Follow the Path - Take the gateway to the Temple.
      In Darkness' Domain - Confront Lysonia.
      A Clever Ploy - Rally to Elysian Hold's defense!
      The Greater Good - Defeat Lysonia once and for all.
      The Ember Court
      Opening Ceremony - Welcome guests and instruct your staff.
      Refreshments - Attend Tubbins's tea party and ensure your guests enjoy it.
      Party Crashers! - Repel the invaders attacking the Ember Court.
      Entertainment - Ensure your guests have everything they need. Then, speak with Prince Renathal when you are done with entertainment.
      Closing Ceremony - Ensure your guests are as happy. Then, speak with Prince Renathal when you're ready to accept tribute.
      Tribute - Collect the tribute left by your guests.
      An Unwelcome Guest - Your hasty defeat of the party crashers attracted a powerful and unwelcome guest.
      Refreshments - Ensure your guests have fun with the divine desserts.
      Refreshments (Maldraxxus) - Take a risk and enjoy the samplings of wild fungi.
      Refreshments (TBD)
      No Refreshments - Hopefully your guests won't be too disappointed.
      Entertainment (Zoo)
      Entertainment (Band)
      Entertainment (TBD)
      No Entertainment - Hopefully your guests won't bee too disappointed.
      Assault on the House of Rituals
      Into the Breach - Clear the way into the House of Rituals Fortress.
      The Finale Lesson of Baroness Ninadar - Defeat Baroness Ninadar
      The Prime Arcanum - Stop the Ritual at the Prime Arcanum.
      Confronting the Margrave - Confront Margrave Sin'dane about Kel'Thuzad's treachery.
      The Third Fall of Kel'Thuzad - End Kel'Thuzad's manipulations in Maldraxxus.
      The Maldraxxian Armistice - Witness the First Maldraxxian Armistice.
      The Strength of Maldracite - Secure the Halls of Rites.
      The Prime Arcanum - Kill the Ossium Horror.
      Halls of Atonement
      Defeat the Lord Chamberlain and restore order to the Halls of Atonement in Revendreth.
      Latest Shadowlands News
      A New Leveling Experience in Shadowlands Hunter Stable Size Increased in Shadowlands Shadowlands Class Changes All Covenant Class Abilities Shadowlands Developer Update PvP Vendors Return in Shadowlands The first dataminable Shadowlands Alpha build is here!
    • By Starym
      With only 2 days having passed since Blizzard announced the first pass of the Covenant abilities we'll be getting in Shadowlands, they've already become the most controversial feature of the new expansion. The WoW community is up in arms about the class-specific abilities in particular, with a big concern relating to the announced difficult re-specing of your Covenant choice.
      Players are reacting so strongly to this announcement in part due to the issues already experienced in Battle for Azeroth, with the Azerite system being maligned since the BfA beta, the huge alt un-friendlyness of Essences etc, so one of the major features of Shadowlands now also having problems is making people scared the system won't be fixed before late into the new expansion as well, so they're being very vocal about it.
      There have already been dozens and dozens of reddit posts on the matter, ranging from players just begging Blizzard not to lock the new abilities to Covenants, raging about the repeating of BfA mistakes, many coming up with better solutions to how the abilities should be handled, and even a few defending the system. There have been locked threads, deleted comments and a whole lot of work for the r/wow mods, as the community is getting pretty combative on the subject. Here are a few of those threads so we get a better idea of what's going on (apologies for some of the bigger posts):

      Then we move on to the more constructive posts, detailing how exactly the system should be fixed, but almost everyone is in agreement that the class abilities should be separate from your Covenant choice, or that respecing a Covenant should be extremely simple:
      And finally, we do actually have a few players that are standing behind the decision to lock these abilities behind Covenant selection, with the main argument being that it fosters meaningful player choice:
      And so only a few days after the announcement, the community is pretty upset at one of the main features of the new expansion, with the vast majority being against the class-specific abilities being tied to Covenants and the fact that it will be difficult/take a lot of effort to respec them. The simplest solution here does seem to be simply making Covenants easily swappable, but that would remove the significance of your choice of Covenant almost entirely. Making the abilities themselves not part of Covenants at all is also a good option, but that would relegate the Covenants to simple cosmetic choices, and Blizzard seems to want more from them than that.
      Will Blizzard respond to this in time? Or will we have another BfA situation where one of the core systems is constantly complained about throughout the entire expansion? It's very early in the Shadowlands lifespan (well, technically it hasn't even been born yet), so there's time to fine-tune these decisions, let's just hope Blizzard learned some lessons from BfA.
    • By Stan
      Blizzard is significantly increasing the Hunter stable size in WoW Shadowlands.
      Hunters will be finally able to hold more pets at a time as Blizzard announced their plans to significantly increase the stable size to hold more companions come Shadowlands.
      (Source)
      General Changes
      Arcane Shot, Eyes of the Beast, Hunter’s Mark, Kill Shot, Scare Beast, and Tranquilizing Shot will be available for all Hunters to use regardless of their active specialization.
      To prepare for the fight ahead, all Hunters will have their stable size significantly increased to hold many companions including the new creatures they discover and tame in the ethereal wilds of the Shadowlands.
      To find out more about Class changes in Shadowlands, check out the official blog post.
      Latest Shadowlands News
      A New Leveling Experience in Shadowlands Shadowlands Class Changes All Covenant Class Abilities Shadowlands Developer Update PvP Vendors Return in Shadowlands
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