Video spoilers ahead, so watch them before proceeding.
Blizzard continues its glorious tradition of releasing a comic-like series of animated shorts before the next expansion. From Shao Hao’s journey in Pandaria, through alternate warlord biographies of Draenor, through Legion’s troublemakers and to BfA’s warbringers I’ve learned to like and appreciate this iconic style of still pictures turned into small movies.
Shadowlands’ Afterlives is no exception. Probably the most prominent distinction from its predecessors is that Afterlives show something really new: a world totally unseen and unexplored before. We know absolutely nothing about the afterlife, so focusing on major Azeroth lore characters is an absolute necessity to give us at least some anchors before telling the local stories and introducing the new characters and relations between them.
Uther is a lore figure to Bastion. One of the most obvious deceased choices to exemplify “righteousness”, at the same time he shows that this part of the after-world goes wrong. I think this is now obvious that he and the angelic Devos will be the anti-heroes/villains to the zone.
Yet I couldn’t help but feel for them. Cause the authorities present a perfect example of dumbass bureacracy and inability to see a situation from many angles, to adapt to the new truths, totally set in their ways. You know, the type we all hate. And we’ll help THEM :) I don’t really know how the whole campaign plays out, maybe they will learn their mistakes in the end of all, but so far Bastion feels like a disgusting covenant to ally with.
Arthas – I wish this name was the last time we ever seen in Shadowlands and in the Maw. His story is over, and despite he slipped to the Maw beyond Arbiter’s judgement, it’s the rightful place for him to dwell forever and be forgotten. The worst Blizzard could do is bring him out and – naturally – overshadow everything else around him. Even worst: writing him a redemption story.
What is a lot more interesting though is Frostmourne. Yes, we knew that Lich King’s helm and the infamous blade were forged in Shadowlands, yes, we knew we will acquire “legendary” ingredients in Torghast, but it’s the first time I put together two and two. Now this is the story I really want to hear about and explore! The influence of the Maw on the real world.
The release trailer looks pretty dark. Maybe it’s the first time when Blizzard kinda… failed to deliver the excitement of the new lands. The colors look pretty bleak and uninspiring, as do the action scenes. Deliberately or not, they left out all the amazing colors and creatures we’ve previously seen in trailers, art, datamined stuff and beta streams for the game.
And as for release dates.
Shadowlands Expansion Release Date: October 27 is not unexpected, a Blizzcon-ish date almost everyone predicted. But of course I’m glad it’s not November or even December.
Afterlives Release Dates: the final Revendreth cinematic is on September 17, so this means:
Shadowlands Pre-Patch Release Date: is September 22 or September 29. There’s not much planned actually in my camp for the pre-patch month:
- Obviously: seeing the story
- Seeing what transmogs, mounts, toys or pets are coming with daily activities and earn them all
- Killing Nathanos world boss ^^
- Spend a couple of evenings in barbershop and waste tons of gold there ^^
- Explore the new class rotations – now I need to invent where :)
Overall, a good piece of news from Blizzard, and a great cinematic with many interesting points.