World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, let's discover the Domination Chains update

World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, let's discover the Domination Chains update

World of Warcraft

More than six months have passed since the release of World of Warcraft: Shadowlands and Blizzard had to face the development of the first update amidst the many difficulties of COVID that slowed down the work and heavily postponed the publication. So, after all this time spent on the same content, the expectations for Dominion Chains were very high. Update 9.1 was initially presented during BlizzConline, when the guys from Irvine put the load of one hundred and announced the highly anticipated final battle with Sylvanas Windrunner, villain who has been tormenting players for years now. "[Domination Chains] is the most ambitious update we've ever worked on," said lead game designer Morgan Day, who we had the opportunity to interview with lead narrative designer Steve Danuser. "We preferred to take our time to offer players flawless content."

Korthia, the city of secrets

Beyond any balancing or tweaking of classes and their skills, the most important and juicy component of this 9.1 update is undoubtedly Korthia, the City of Secrets: A new map interconnected with the Maw that becomes accessible after a long but interesting cycle of missions available to players who have completed at least the second chapter in the Coven campaign. Once you've completed this mission cycle and unlocked Korthia on at least one character on the account, any other character can skip the entire prologue and immediately reach the new zone and its activities. Danuser told us that his writers took great care of the Domination Chains narrative, claiming that they had "delved into World of Warcraft lore to change the status quo in the most consistent and unexpected way possible." The premise was extravagant to say the least: Korthia is a lump of land scattered across the Underworld and the Jailer literally pulled her to him to uncover the secrets she hides and carry out her diabolical plan.

World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, Domination Chains update The situation in the Shadowlands is indeed quite desperate. The Jailer is aiming directly at Oribos and has a deadly weapon in his hands: none other than Anduin Wrynn, corrupted by the power of the Dominion and turned into a Jurafauce. We have discovered that Zovaal, the Jailer, has influenced the history of Warcraft since time immemorial and virtually every misfortune that has occurred in the course of the last few expansions belongs to him. World of Warcraft writing has been on and off over the years, and we sincerely feared that Danuser's staff wouldn't be able to put the pieces together convincingly. The new campaign, on the other hand, pleasantly surprised us. We are still at the beginning and it will take weeks for all chapters to unlock, but so far we can confirm the quality of the storyline, which has its roots in lore and brings up old faces like Helya, Odyn and her Valkyrs in an ingenious way that intersects with gameplay, reinforcing the best moments with quality cinematics.

World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, Domination Chains update The very first missions of the new campaign, in fact, finally unlock all the mounts in the Maw and blind the 'Eye of the Jailer, the mechanic that limited the daily progression in the map and that now no longer makes sense to exist not only in terms of gameplay, given that Korthia is the new daily reference point, but also from the profile of the story. Korthia itself is a much better designed map than the Maw: it is articulate, but more enjoyable to navigate; it is geometrically and geographically varied, but coherent and rich in different contents, including rare monsters, secondary missions, unpublished and collectible currencies in profusion.

World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, update The Chains of Domination The new hub corresponds to a traditional faction, formed by the coven alliance called Death March, but also a faction similar to that represented by Ve'nari in the Maw , called the Code of the Archivists: dealing with the contents in the map accumulates a resource called Cataloged Research that we can spend on collectibles and upgrades of the new Korthian equipment, which works as a typical "catch-up" mechanic. Loots are randomly obtained and start at item level 207, but players can spend Cataloged Research to upgrade them up to 220 and get some great alternate gear in preparation for the new raid and second season of Mythics +.

Torgast and beyond

World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, Domain Chains update "This time we did not want to insist on daily activities, however present but much less repetitive and demanding than in the past", Morgan Day had anticipated. and in fact we have noticed that the side missions to be completed each day in Korthia are few and far between, apart from a few that must have been planned by an intern in depression. Whether because the map is small in size, or because the disposition of enemies and objectives is more prudent than in the Maw, we found ourselves playing these first few days without too many worries, accumulating reputation and unpublished materials that will be needed later. We know, for example, that the Embers of the soul will be needed to upgrade the legendary equipment to level 260, and that to obtain this new currency we will have to explore the new plans of Torgast, which go from eight to twelve per wing. "We partially revised Torgast because we felt that players needed new stimuli after so many months of exploring known wings," Day explained to us.

World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, The Chains of Domination update Torgast , the tower of the damned, works as well or badly as before, but there are some noteworthy innovations. First, the Trucidasque has moved to the Sanctuary of Dominion raid, so there is no longer a limit to the times you can die within Blizzard's first procedural expedition. Furthermore, starting from the fourth difficulty level, players will have to deal with torments, penalties that will annoy them during exploration and combat. Each level now consists of five floors rather than six, but the game takes into account the speed and degree of completion of each floor, rewarding players with a final score that translates into achievements and rewards, but above all in Tower Knowledge, a new currency that we can spend in the Box of Many Things, an artifact in the Rune Engraver's room that basically functions as a miniature talent tree, complete with perk to unlock to improve our rounds in Torgast.

World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, update The Chains of Domination Torgast has a role of primary importance in this update also from the narrative point of view. It will in fact be the scene of some important turning points in the plot, which will culminate in the clash with the forces of the Jailer in his Sanctuary of the Domain. The raid, which will open its doors starting from July 7 in Europe with the classic difficulty Normal and Heroic and then unlock in the coming weeks also the Mythic and the Search for raids, will count ten bosses, among which old acquaintances such as Kel 'thuzad and the aforementioned face to face with Sylvanas. "We can't wait to find out what the players think of the ending we designed," admitted Danuser. "Sylvanas has so far used the Jailer for his own purposes, but something has begun to crack his security facade and maybe he'll have to decide which side to take," the lead narrative designer teased. Our hope is that Blizzard doesn't decide to redeem her: it would be a questionable choice for one of the most hated villains in MMORPG history.

World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, The Chains of Domination update Be that as it may, Sanctuary of Dominion seems to be one of the most elaborate forays Blizzard has ever worked on, and what we've seen in the PTR promises fun nights out. "We drew some fights and let our creativity run wild, especially Sylvanas '- we wanted it to be truly unforgettable," Day said. Considering the importance this content would seem to have in Shadowlands' economy, we asked why Blizzard artists have not re-implemented the class armor, which disappeared from Battle for Azeroth and now demanded promptly and loudly. "Yes, we know the players want them back and I can promise you we're working on it, but for the Sanctuary of Dominion we thought we stick to our current philosophy to allow players to complete the Jurafauce look of the legendary gear," he explained. Day. Let's say we have some reservations about this explanation, but we'll make it right for now.

World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, Domain Chains update Shrine of Dominion won't be the only group content in anyway. released on July 7th. In addition to introducing a new boss to the Korthia area, the second week of Domination Chains will also unlock a new mega-expedition: Tazavesh, the Hidden Bazaar. For those unfamiliar with what a mega-expedition is, it is a larger and more demanding expedition than usual, on Mythic difficulty, which resets weekly instead of daily. We've already seen a couple of them in previous expansions, namely the revision of Karazhan in Legion and Mechagon in Battle for Azeroth. "We decided to release Tazavesh in this update because we wanted to offer players a completely different setting where our artists went wild," explained Danuser. The story of this expedition is completely crazy, but among the eight bosses there is also an infinity dragon pirate with a hat and an eye patch.

World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, The Chains of Domination update In short, the update 9.1 so far seems really rich, even if we find the emphasis that Blizzard is placing on the collectible aspect. While PvP continues to gasp, and it does not seem that the changes made by the patch to the various talents will revive the fortunes of a game mode that has slowly slipped to the bottom of the priority list at the Irvine headquarters, on the front of the PvE update. implement dozens of new mounts, pets and toys to search the new map and unlock by completing quests and other activities. This collectible component is slowly creeping into the gameplay as well: we had a taste of it with the Condotti and the legendary Memories, but now it's up to the Shards of the Domain. These new items are embedded in special pieces of equipment, and in addition to granting very specific bonuses, when combined in a particular way they activate further upgrades that can make a difference in the areas of the Maw in which they work.

World of Warcraft : Shadowlands, Domination Chains Update Our impression is that Blizzard is working on compulsive collecting to keep players interested and artificially extend the life cycle of this content. An absolutely sensible approach from a pragmatic point of view, but which also has the effect of exacerbating the casual drift that World of Warcraft has taken on for many years now. The same, it must be said, that allows the Blizzard experience to bring new players together with the promise of an extraordinary amount of content and activities for all tastes.

With the ability to fly in the Darklands that will be unlocked simply by continuing in the campaign starting next week - with all due respect to the stringent requirements of previous expansions - it remains only to understand what influence the new system will have on the community score in the Mythical + which replaces the damn rubbish that was the add-on, probably the biggest misfortune that has happened to World of Warcraft in recent years. The new official system works exactly like, but encourages better players to help those in need to get a better score at the end of the expedition. Our hope is that Blizzard will closely monitor Season 2 of Mythics + and prepare to tweak this controversial content so as to limit toxic community behavior as much as possible and encourage positive attitude instead.

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