The next World of Warcraft expansion, Shadowlands, was announced back at BlizzCon, though we haven’t heard a whole lot of detail since. That’s about to change, as the Shadowlands closed alpha is scheduled to begin “later this week” – so sometime before Saturday, April 11. Game director Ion Hazzikostas has also provided some detail on nuts-and-bolts changes players can expect.
“This first batch of invitations will mainly go out to long-time WoW players with active accounts in good standing,” Hazzikostas says in the blog, “as well as Blizzard friends and family, along with a limited number of content creators and journalists. This initial wave represents only a small fraction of the pool of testers that will ultimately gain access to the test in the coming months.”
If you want to sign up for the alphas and betas to come, you should (as always) head to the beta opt-in on the official site. Hazzikostas notes that as “focused PvP and raid testing” begins, players with extensive experience in those sides of the game will be part of targeted invite waves.
The first wave of invitees this week will get access to the “full level-up experience” in the new Bastion zone, alongside the Necrotic Wake dungeon. The Revendreth zone is set to launch later in April, as is an early look at the endless dungeon, Torghast.
The initial alpha will also show the results of the class rebalance, so you’ll see big changes among your spellbooks and talents. The quest interface is getting revamped to more clearly distinguish major quests from side stories, and to make objective markers more obvious. PvP currencies are changing, too, and Conquest is returning as a spendable currency.
Plenty of further features to the massive MMORPG, and you’ll certainly start seeing them in datamines soon, though Hazzikostas warns that many of them are very work-in-progress, and are likely to change substantially before they hit the alpha, much less the live expansion.