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What Shadowlands Is Learning from Classic

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In an interview with Kotaku, executive producer John Hight and senior game designer Johnny Cash talked about how the success of Classic has affected the development of Shadowlands and what they learned from it, mostly focusing on the social aspects and difficulty.

The way social interaction works in Classic seems to be the biggest takeaway for Shadowlands, the way people are actually cooperating without being forced to by a game mechanic or system, as Hight put it. Specifically he talked about how people were lining up to do quest objectives in Classic, even though there was nothing preventing them from pushing through and just ignoring everyone else. And with that, they realized that maybe you don't need to force the way things work to make it fair for everyone, that some complexity and friction is good as long as there's a solid social system to support player interaction. And as for what that means for Shadowlands development, Hight had this to say:

Quote

“As we look at Shadowlands or even talk about the future, I think we’re challenging ourselves to think more about, ‘OK, this has to be fun as a solo experience, because sometimes you just want to go online and not be bothered by anyway, but how can it be more fun, more engaging, or more rewarding with others?’ If you have forced systems that bring people together, they seem to be more reluctant to stay together. Whereas, if they have a common goal they have to chase and we create a lot of situations where they bump into each other and keep crossing each others’ paths, they wind up being like ‘Oh, you’re also doing this thing? Wanna do this together?’”

Further on Cash talked about how Classic's world and skills really promote exploration and a "stop and smell the roses" approach, despite the fact that some of the skills themselves aren't that useful or have a specific role in gameplay. He seems to have perhaps missed the mark on the world design side of things, as he mentions that having a more linear and faction-based narrative in Shadowlands will make the world feel more like a cohesive whole - which may be the case, but doesn't really have much to do with Classic's world design.

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The other big focus of the interview and what was learned from Classic is the feeling of danger in the world and how the max level Maw zone will be bringing some of that feeling back. As Cash put it:

Quote

There are some people who want something a little more approachable and people who are super hardcore. A great example of that influence and where we’re taking it is the Maw, especially the outdoor area. It’s an unforgiving place where there are a lot of mobs with really nasty abilities and combinations of mechanics. There’s no safe haven. There’s not a hub. You’re not binding your Hearthstone there. There’s not flight points. It’s a place where you’re gonna dip in and see how long you can last.

We also found out even Blizzard still aren't sure whether Classic's current player base is stable or if it's still in the novelty phase, as the game has only been out for a few months. They finish the interview by reiterating that Classic and retail really are two distinct experiences and should remain that way, as each has something unique to offer, but both can learn from each other and improve.

Check out the full interview over on Kotaku.
 

For more details on Shadowlands, check out our BlizzCon 2019 Content Hub!

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...Is that guy's name actually Johnny Cash? ?

As mostly a solo player myself, usually joining a guild only to chat in gchat while I'm soloing "thangs," I like the approach they're taking. Even though I play alone, I never have an issue with joining up with someone if we both hit the same objective at the same time. Classic has a *lot* of that due to the slow leveling process - you would regularly bump into familiar faces over the course of hours, days, sometimes weeks. I hope they can set the world up in a way that allows seamless weaving in and out of joining with players - that way if you get a nice vibe or had a blast, you can make a new friend, and if it was awkward beyond measure: you can move on, no strings attached.

I dig having areas tailored towards casuals and hardcores. Why not?  I love dabbling in both. Sometimes you crave that challenge, and sometimes you just want to have a coffee (or beer..) and relax pew-pewing things.

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Interesting read. I'm glad they are bringing a difficult world back, especially where you need or should cooperate with others. MMORPGs for me have always been social. I stopped playing seriously around Legion..I started late with MoP so..I never got to experience wow back from 2004 - 2011.

 

I also love the fact they want to bring back exploration and  "stop and smell the roses" back to the world. I'm also looking forward to the 60 level cap. I've always thought MMOs that have levels above 80 look too grindy or you get the feeling of "I'm way behind". 60 looks and sounds great. I'm genuinely excited for Shadowlands, time to reunite with some old wow buddies.

 

 

Edited by Knoxtane
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14 minutes ago, Knoxtane said:

Interesting read. I'm glad they are bringing a difficult world back, especially where you need or should cooperate with others. MMORPGs for me have always been social. I stopped playing seriously around Legion..I start late with MoP so..I never got to experience wow back from 2004 - 2011.

 

I also love the fact they want to bring back exploration and  "stop and smell the roses" back to the world. I'm also looking forward to the 60 level cap. I've always thought MMOs that have levels above 80 look too grindy or you get the feeling of "I'm way behind". 60 looks and sounds great. I'm genuinely excited for Shadowlands, time to reunite with some old wow buddies.

With the Torghast rogueline dungeon thing and the Maw being more like classic I'm really liking what' they're going for. Hopefully the linear nature of the story will also improve it (although I've given up on wow's story and lore, they've taken a dump on it far too many times - mostly with Sylvanas).

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5 minutes ago, Starym said:

With the Torghast rogueline dungeon thing and the Maw being more like classic I'm really liking what' they're going for. Hopefully the linear nature of the story will also improve it (although I've given up on wow's story and lore, they've taken a dump on it far too many times - mostly with Sylvanas).

Yeah, I'm excited. I want to group up with other players and engage with them instead of a party invite to a random name and then leave 2 minutes later. Also, I never really liked Sylvanas, even as a Horde player..she just doesn't fit in anymore, she seems way to OP and is starting junk everywhere. We will see where Blizzard goes, so far so good (how it looks and sounds).

Edited by Knoxtane

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I did play WOW back in 2004 (2nd day it went live) and honestly, folks were piggys then and they still are now in classic with the first hit, first serve.  Others are still doing it, grabbing everything they can before others,   I call this, "mightier than you, so I go first and gather mobs for me" mentality.  One of the reasons why I stopped playing classic and removed it from my system.   Maybe it depends on one's server, but to be honest, I believe it is human nature.    When blizzard introduced the sharing of resources, I believe it was a grand idea (the best they ever had and still do).

Edited by roo
huh?!? LOL, I have no idea why I wrote this.

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48 minutes ago, roo said:

I did play WOW back in 2004 (2nd day it went live) and honestly, folks were piggys then and they still are now in classic with the first hit, first serve.  Others are still doing it, grabbing everything they can before others,   I call this, "mightier than you, so I go first and gather mobs for me" mentality.  One of the reasons why I stopped playing classic and removed it from my system.   Maybe it depends on one's server, but to be honest, I believe it is human nature and do expect expect Blizzard to control and force running dungeons/raids.    When blizzard introduced the sharing of resources, I believe it was a grand idea (the best they ever had and still do).

 I take the first step by whisping to the player who would compete with me otherwise, works at 90 percent.

Sometimes i see people choking on their greediness when they pull more than they capable of handling because they want to tap the mobs first. So there is a learning curve involved.

 Occasionally I cooped with the opposite faction too when a mob was so challenging like Araj in WP. (PvE serv)

I do silly small talks waiting for the zeppelin just to entertain the people around there and hit the time. I love it when someone plays along. 

My wife said she wants to play with me. Due to the slow pace and this kind of cooperation I'll do classic with her not retail.

Edited by Odi
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45 minutes ago, Odi said:

My wife said she wants to play with me. Due to the slow pace and this kind of cooperation I'll do classic with her not retail.

That's an interesting point.

My partner is already on board to play Warcraft 3 Reforged with me when it releases. She's been ready since it was announced (she knows how much of a blizzard nerd I am).

If she ever said she'd be down with dabbling in WoW with me, I probably would choose Classic as well. There's tons of content available in Retail, to be sure. But there's something about the slower pace of Classic, that makes you feel like you're actually traversing a world.

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5 hours ago, Starym said:

There are some people who want something a little more approachable and people who are super hardcore. A great example of that influence and where we’re taking it is the Maw, especially the outdoor area. It’s an unforgiving place where there are a lot of mobs with really nasty abilities and combinations of mechanics. There’s no safe haven. There’s not a hub. You’re not binding your Hearthstone there. There’s not flight points. It’s a place where you’re gonna dip in and see how long you can last.

For about three weeks until people have completely outgeared everything just like they did on Argus. 

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8 hours ago, Starym said:

If you have forced systems that bring people together, they seem to be more reluctant to stay together.

Simply wrong. And the result of the total opposite of this can be seen in Retail to this day. A Singleplayer game with some chat. Just because no one should be feeling forced to do something. Thats the path to toxic behavior.

Classic has "forced systems" like long pre-quests (Ony etc.), elite quests you cant do alone or the need to stay in (friendly) touch with people when it comes to crafting.

For me, back in the days of Vanilla, this created some of the most unique and enjoyable experiences with other players, I still remember today.

The "forced systems" slowed the pace and in turn made the achievements more meaningful. The statements of Blizzard doesnt convince me that they truly understood what went wrong with WoW.

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27 minutes ago, Helvorn said:

Simply wrong. And the result of the total opposite of this can be seen in Retail to this day. A Singleplayer game with some chat. Just because no one should be feeling forced to do something. Thats the path to toxic behavior.

Classic has "forced systems" like long pre-quests (Ony etc.), elite quests you cant do alone or the need to stay in (friendly) touch with people when it comes to crafting.

For me, back in the days of Vanilla, this created some of the most unique and enjoyable experiences with other players, I still remember today.

The "forced systems" slowed the pace and in turn made the achievements more meaningful. The statements of Blizzard doesnt convince me that they truly understood what went wrong with WoW.

Not only that, social normatives also went under changes over the years. Hell, it is not considered polite to have a seat beside a stranger on the bus, even when there are no free double seats. (At least where i live). People live in close to total isolation of each other, their social interactivity is on FB/IG. I once met a girl in a bar, tried to strike a conversation with her but she seemed unfriendly to me. Days later, i was reviewing my T**der, saw the same girl, swiped right. It's a match! Like wtaf. Tried a cheesy, but really over used pickup line. And it worked. Lol. 

The point is, Wow tries to be up to date to social norms and networks. (Remember WoDs Garrisons? It's Farmville but Wow.) But the pool of people who like Wow and like social networking is very small, and, to be honest, uniqueness is what sells a game, especially Wow. 

That uniqueness went away when devs integrated social conveniencies, like Dungeon/Raid Finder and non-tagging bosses to the game, effectively killing the dire need of socially interact with group(s) of people, and giving way to toxic behaviors. 

 

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7 hours ago, Starym said:

With the Torghast rogueline dungeon thing and the Maw being more like classic I'm really liking what' they're going for. Hopefully the linear nature of the story will also improve it (although I've given up on wow's story and lore, they've taken a dump on it far too many times - mostly with Sylvanas).

Pretty much this, instead of building upon already developed lore (and there is plenty of that), they usually tend to introduce something that didn't exist before. Often at the cost of forgetting about certain characters or things, because "this is not the story we want to tell". Recently, they talked about how we'll now see that the versions of what we've known so far on Azeroth (like Val'kyr, spirit healers and so on) aren't the "true" versions of those beings, instead, we're going to see "more primal" versions of these species in the Shadowlands (like Kyrian and Jailer). This even cheapens some of existing villains like Arthas/Lich King, because Jailer is considered as something "more primal". Totally unnecessary, they could always introduce them as their own thing, without needing to sort of downgrade previously established characters. It was similar with Old Gods, instead of them being powerful on their own, they have introduced their masters and creators, the Void Lords.

Anyway, hopefully they will strike a right balance when designing the content, as I'm now mostly playing this game in solo mode. Probably like majority nowadays, usually forums give wrong impression what players might want, as vocal minority tends to support classic more.

Edited by Arcling

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The problem with things that require social activity is that another person isn't always available. And when that happens, it can really highlight a dwindling population.

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5 hours ago, Arcling said:

Pretty much this, instead of building upon already developed lore (and there is plenty of that), they usually tend to introduce something that didn't exist before. Often at the cost of forgetting about certain characters or things, because "this is not the story we want to tell". Recently, they talked about how we'll now see that the versions of what we've known so far on Azeroth (like Val'kyr, spirit healers and so on) aren't the "true" versions of those beings, instead, we're going to see "more primal" versions of these species in the Shadowlands (like Kyrian and Jailer). This even cheapens some of existing villains like Arthas/Lich King, because Jailer is considered as something "more primal". Totally unnecessary, they could always introduce them as their own thing, without needing to sort of downgrade previously established characters. It was similar with Old Gods, instead of them being powerful on their own, they have introduced their masters and creators, the Void Lords.

Anyway, hopefully they will strike a right balance when designing the content, as I'm now mostly playing this game in solo mode. Probably like majority nowadays, usually forums give wrong impression what players might want, as vocal minority tends to support classic more.

We've known pretty much everything you've mentioned so nothing is cheapened. We just didn't know the who, what, or why of it all. And they are now explaining it now. You don't have to like the lore but they are literally expanding on it. The Shadowlands has always existed and now we are having to fix death since Sylvanas has been plotting this for almost a decade. WoW's lore is vast and it sucks that some of it is outside the game but most of it for damn sure can be found inside and plenty of it as you said. Through this story telling we are actually getting more characters back that were under utilized making thier characters often times more compelling.

Also they never said true versions of existing beings. That was just your intrepration. All they said is we will go to zones where the spirits of the fallen go and that we will learn about them. The Kyrian just happen to be where souls go who still feel purpose and they become Spirit Healers and Val'kyr. Not all of them do though. And the Jailor is just someone who gaurds the souls of the unredeemable. Arthas isn't cheapened. He just took souls for himself and stopped a natural flow. And then you say they could introduce them as their own thing when you previously complained about not building upon existing lore? I don't get it, quite contradictory there. 

Anywho, the lore is there just not fleshed out. They are trying to do part of it now and Blizzard said as much. I was fortunate enough to be at Blizzcon and was able to see all this first hand. It's ok if you don't like the direction they are heading currently but that doesn't mean they aren't doing exactly what you asked. I'm still enjoying it because it's their story not mine. A big reason I don't like large speculations or "leaks" like we saw, they end up being wrong and people always get dissapointed. But to each their own.

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1 hour ago, TheWizard said:

We've known pretty much everything you've mentioned so nothing is cheapened. We just didn't know the who, what, or why of it all. And they are now explaining it now. You don't have to like the lore but they are literally expanding on it. The Shadowlands has always existed and now we are having to fix death since Sylvanas has been plotting this for almost a decade. WoW's lore is vast and it sucks that some of it is outside the game but most of it for damn sure can be found inside and plenty of it as you said. Through this story telling we are actually getting more characters back that were under utilized making thier characters often times more compelling.

Also they never said true versions of existing beings. That was just your intrepration. All they said is we will go to zones where the spirits of the fallen go and that we will learn about them. The Kyrian just happen to be where souls go who still feel purpose and they become Spirit Healers and Val'kyr. Not all of them do though. And the Jailor is just someone who gaurds the souls of the unredeemable. Arthas isn't cheapened. He just took souls for himself and stopped a natural flow. And then you say they could introduce them as their own thing when you previously complained about not building upon existing lore? I don't get it, quite contradictory there. 

It's this interview, if you are interested: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NlOwrv8YKEg

 

As for Sylvanas, she barely appeared, even in books and short stories, so there is a lot that we don't know yet (and that's why her powerups look so sudden). Last book had more Anduin in it, than Sylvanas. Most of Shadowlands is completely new lore, since originally Burning Legion had created the Lich King, without any sort of "inspiration". Even that helmet was supposedly forged by Nathrezim, as there was no background for Shadowlands back then. Kyrian are also sort of new, since previously spirit healers and Val'kyr have been former Vrykul, now it seems most of them, or their "original" versions, come from Kyrian. 

As for Jailer, what I meant is they had sort of introduced him as "upgraded" Lich King, with LK being sort of based on him (in lore). At least we don't know much about him, so hopefully there will be something more. It all depends how this story is going to turn out in later patches, whether it will all just serve as interlude to fighting Void Lords, and we're going to spend whole expansion chasing after Sylvanas and Jailer, or they are going to appear much earlier.

Edited by Arcling

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There are some people who want something a little more approachable and people who are super hardcore. A great example of that influence and where we’re taking it is the Maw, especially the outdoor area. It’s an unforgiving place where there are a lot of mobs with really nasty abilities and combinations of mechanics. There’s no safe haven. There’s not a hub. You’re not binding your Hearthstone there. There’s not flight points. It’s a place where you’re gonna dip in and see how long you can last.

Okay, this excites me enough to likely pre-order now.

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      Avenging Wrath: Might (NYI) - Call upon the Light to become an avatar of retribution, increasing your damage and healing 20% for 20 sec. Combines with other Avenging Wrath abilities. Barrier of Faith (NYI) - Imbue a friendly target with a Barrier of Faith, healing them for [ 65% of Spell Power ]. For the next 18 sec, Barrier of Faith accumulates 20% of effective healing from your Flash of Light or Holy Light spells. Every 6 sec, the accumulated healing becomes an absorb shield. (Instant, Costs 9.5% of Base Mana, 25 sec cooldown, 40 yd range) Blessing of Autumn - Bless an ally for 30 sec, causing their cooldowns to recover 30% faster. Blessing of Spring - Bless an ally for 30 sec, increasing their healing done by 15% and healing received by 30%. Blessing of Summer - Bless an ally for 30 sec, causing their attacks to have a 40% chance to deal 30% additional damage as Holy. Blessing of Winter - Bless an ally for 30 sec. Their spells and abilities deal [ 5% of Attack Power or 5% of Spell Power ] Frost damage and reduce enemies' movement speed by 5% and attack speed by 2%, stacking 10 times. Breaking Dawn - Increases the range of Light of Dawn to 40 yds. Consecration - Consecrates the land beneath you, causing [ 45% of Attack Power ] Holy damage over 12 sec to enemies who enter the area. Limit 1. Divine Resonance - After casting Divine Toll, you instantly cast Holy Shock every 5 sec. This effect lasts 15 sec. Divine Revelations - While empowered by Infusion of Light, Flash of Light heals for an additional 5%, and Holy Light refunds 1% of maximum mana. Echoing Blessings - Blessing of Freedom increases the target's movement speed by 5%. Blessing of Protection and Blessing of Sacrifice reduce the target's damage taken by 5%. These effects linger for 8 sec after the Blessing ends. Empyrean Endowment - Judgment empowers your next Templar's Verdict to automatically trigger Divine Storm with 25% increased effectiveness. This effect can only occur every 30 sec. Empyreal Ward - Lay on Hands grants the target 15% increased armor for 60 sec. Executioner's Wrath - Execution Sentence now instead deals 15% of the damage taken from your abilities during its active time to the target and nearby enemies within 8 yards. Execution Sentence - A hammer slowly falls from the sky upon the target. After until cancelled, they suffer [ 282% of Attack Power ] Holy damage, plus [ 250% of Attack Power ]% of damage taken from your abilities in that time. Eye of Tyr - Releases a blinding flash from Truthguard, causing [ 56.7% of Attack Power ] Holy damage to all nearby enemies within 8 yds and reducing all damage they deal to you by 25% for 9 sec. (Instant, 1 min cooldown) Focal Light - Beacon of Light transfers an additional 10% of the amount healed. Holy Crusader - Increases your mastery by 2%. Illumination - Holy Light and Flash of Light healing increased by 10%. Maraad's Dying Breath - Light of Dawn increases your next Light of the Martyr by 10% for each ally healed, and allows that Light of the Martyr to heal through Beacon of Light. Light of the Martyr damages you over 5 sec instead of instantly. Sacred Shield - Protects the target with a shield of Holy Light for 30 sec, absorbing up to [ 1 + 130.6% of Holy Spell Power ] damage every 6 sec. Only one target can be affected at a time. (Instant, 40 yd range, 6 sec cooldown) Sanctified Ground - Your Consecration is 15% larger, and you cannot be slowed below 80% of normal movement speed within Consecration. This effect lasts for 2 sec after leaving Consecration. Scintillation - Holy Shock has a 5% increased critical strike chance. Sealed Verdict - Your Holy Power spending abilities increase the damage of your next Blade of Justice by 8%. Seal of Wrath - Judgment has a 25% chance to cast again and deal [ 28% of Attack Power ] extra Holy damage to the target. Shining Savior - Word of Glory and Light of Dawn healing increased by 5%. Unending Light (NYI) - Each Holy Power spent on Light of Dawn increases the healing of your next Word of Glory by 5%, up to a maximum of 45%. Untempered Dedication - Light of the Martyr's damage and healing is increased by 8% each time it is cast. This effect can stack up to 5 times and lasts for 15 sec.
    • By Stan
      In our latest post, we go through a list of things to do before Dragonflight goes live.
      Disclaimer
      Dragonflight launches on or before December 31, 2022. The mounts listed here will still be obtainable in the Dragonflight pre-patch that will hit live servers a few weeks before the expansion.
      Complete Ahead of the Curve: The Jailer
      Fractal Cypher of the Carcinized Zerethsteed will be removed with Dragonflight. Until then, the mount guaranteed upon defeating the Jailer on Heroic difficulty and above. The Jailer drops a quest item (Almanac's Echo) that you turn in for the mount.

      Carcinized Zerethsteed
      Defeat Sylvanas Windrunner on Mythic Difficulty
      Defeating Sylvanas Windrunner in the Sanctum of Domination raid on Mythic difficulty yields Vengeance's Reins. The mount will have a drop chance close to 1% when Dragonflight launches.

      Vengeance's Reins
      Defeat the Jailer on Mythic Difficulty
      Likewise, if you haven't obtained the mount from Mythic Jailer yet, you still have plenty of time to do so before the drop rate is reduced to a measly 1% with the opening of the first Dragonflight raid tier.

      Zereth Overseer
      Earn Keystone Master in Shadowlands Season 4
      The mount tied to Season 4 is Restoration Deathwalker and requires a Mythic+ Rating of at least 2,000. It's going away when Season 4 ends.

      Restoration Deathwalker
      Earn the Gladiator Title and Mount
      Eternal Gladiator's Soul Eater and the title are going away with the end of PvP Season 4. You must win 50 3v3 games while at Elite rank during Shadowlands Season 4 to earn both.

      Eternal Gladiator's Soul Eater (the wings are not rendered correctly in the model viewer).
      Season 4 Dungeon Teleports
      Dungeons from previous expansions were added to the Mythic+ pool in Season 4 and completing them at Mythic Level 20 or higher, rewards dungeon teleports that are going away with the launch of Dragonflight.
      Keystone Hero: Grimrail Depot - Complete Grimrail Depot at Mythic Level 20 or higher, within the time limit.Reward: Teleport to Grimrail Depot Keystone Hero: Iron Docks - Complete Iron Docks at Mythic Level 20 or higher, within the time limit. Reward: Teleport to Iron Docks Keystone Hero: Operation: Mechagon - Complete Operation: Mechagon - Junkyard and Operation: Mechagon - Workshop at Mythic Level 20 or higher, within the time limit. Reward: Teleport to Mechagon Keystone Hero: Return to Karazhan - Complete Return to Karazhan: Lower and Return to Karazhan: Upper at Mythic Level 20 or higher, within the time limit. Reward: Teleport to Karazhan Shadowlands Feat of Strength Achievement
      Back from the Beyond, the Shadowlands meta-achievement, is a Feat of Strength and will most likely be removed with the launch of Dragonflight.
      Thanks to MrLachyG and @Arip.
      Mythic Season 4 Elite PvP Armor Sets
      The current Elite PvP Sets are going away too and you must earn a rating of 2,100+ (Duelist: Shadowlands Season 4) if you want to earn every single piece of armor, including the cloak.
      Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments down below!
    • By Stan
      Fishbones06 is back with another awesome concept of Zandalari Warlock minion glyphs.
      Even though Zandalari Troll Warlocks are not available for play in World of Warcraft, Fishbones06 created concept art of minion glyphs. Voidwalkers with masks look awesome, don't you agree?

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