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World of Warcraft Shadowlands to Unleash the Chains of Domination
Post by KostaAndreadis @ 02:46pm 24/02/21 | Comments
Shadowlands is set to get its first major content drop, we chat to Blizzard about what's in store and telling stories in the afterlife.

The first major content drop for World of Warcraft Shadowlands is called Chains of Domination and sees the afterlife strike back by continuing the story of betrayal and discovery and the power of the Maw. And now featuring giant chains too -- yeah, they’re both literal and figurative. Oh and the new 10-boss raid called, Sanctum of Domination will see players come face to face with none other than Sylvanas.

For Shadowlands proper the expansion’s tale sent players to the great beyond where they met various Covenants, helped restore an energy known as ‘anima’, and solve the various conflicts and issues befalling angelic-looking gods and twisted necrotic creations. At a pivotal point players also chose a side - Kyrian, Venthyr, Necrolord or Night Fae - to both align with and help grow stronger.

Blizzard’s continuously evolving storytelling within WoW expansions has been interesting to watch over the years, and of late there has been this sense that there’s always something else happening behind the curtains. They have curtains in the afterlife… probably. Here players will venture to Korthia, the City of Secrets -- a place relocated deep within the Maw and a place key to the Jailer’s mysterious plans.

Korthia, the City of Secrets

“The Chains of Domination part of that storyline is now okay, we've become stronger so it’s time to take the fight to our enemy, the Jailer,” Steve Danuser, Lead Narrative Designer on World of Warcraft Shadowlands tells AusGamers. “Of course he hasn't been idle either and he's been gathering strength and moving to the next stage of his plan. The first thing that he had to do was get all those souls pouring into the Maw -- which became this scary and oppressive place. Now we have a chance to go in there and make a foothold, and find out what the Jailer’s up to.”

“The Chains of Domination part of that storyline is now okay, we've become stronger so it’s time to take the fight to our enemy, the Jailer.”

As for Korthia, apparently it was built by the same mysterious “first ones'' that built Oribos, so it’ll share similar architecture and an additional layer of mystery on the account of it being deliberately hidden. “Think of it as like a secret vault for the deepest, darkest secrets of the Shadowlands,” Steve explains. “A place for weapons that were never meant to be in the hands of anyone, things that should be hidden away for all of time. And that's what Korthia’s purpose was and why the Jailer has been looking for it.”

As per the intro, the Jailer’s literal Chains of Domination have been sent out into the Maw, have found Korthia, and pulled it in. “It is a very different feeling place,” Steve continues. “You'll get hints about what this place was before, and you'll see those who survived the trauma of being pulled into the Maw.” Wildlife too, though on that front Korthia’s surviving beasts will be of the extreme danger variety.

Chains of Domination and the big 9.1 Patch will continue the story of the Covenants too, an aspect of Shadowlands that has been at the forefront of the team’s mind as it planned the storyline. And on that note, in addition to new Covenant storylines and earning Renown and finding out what Uther has been up to, taking the fight to the Jailer also puts a spotlight on how each might act or react to a certain situation.

“Not only are they working together they're going to be sharing a space,” Morgan Day, Lead Game Designer on Shadowlands explains. “We get to see that contrast and how they might handle different situations. The way someone from Maldraxxus might solve a problem is very different from how someone from Ardenweald might solve a problem, it's still going to be really cool seeing that contrast in a shared space.”

Of Raids and Sylvannas

In continuing the story this of course means a new Raid that delves into new areas of the menacing Torghast called Sanctum of Domination, and a new “eight-boss Mythic mega-dungeon” that builds on the setting of Korthia called Tazavesh, The Veiled Market. A black market of sorts where brokers trade in secrets and information.

“With Sanctum of Domination we really wanted to continue that story of climbing Torghast, of trying to reach the top,” Morgan says. “Where else would the Jailer be? Once you start to ascend, there's all kinds of awesome story elements that we are going to be able to explore. Characters from the past that we might be familiar with, the really evil, worst of the worst of Warcraft.”

“What makes Raids so awesome in Warcraft is that intertwining of story and gameplay.”

Which makes a lot of sense, as The Maw is the place they would get sent. One of the names dropped by the team so far will be familiar to a lot of players - Kel'Thuzad. Of course the big set piece is reaching the top and coming face-to-face with Sylvannas -- a moment the team is excited to finally put out there. “What makes Raids so awesome in Warcraft is that intertwining of story and gameplay,” Steve Danuser adds. “And when both of those things fire on all cylinders, like I feel they do in Sanctum of Domination, it's just the best of all worlds for players.”

Finally, in terms of mechanics and gameplay the team is looking at expanding the possibilities of Soulbinds to add more options for customisation and abilities to draw from and work towards. “Soulbinds are almost small talent tree that you've unlocked, so we're going to be adding new powers in you haven't seen before,” Morgan adds. “There’ll be things that might interact with your Covenant signature ability too.”

An example for the Night Fae might be different animals to shape-shift into.

With Chains of Domination the team is excited to expand Shadowlands, and ahead of the 9.1 drop there’s a big pre-patch coming that will introduce new systems, fix bugs, and do a bunch of tuning based on player feedback. As to the exact date for Chains of Domination, well, that info should start to become clearer in the weeks ahead.