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Is it Worth playing World of Warcraft: Shadowland in 2021?

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If you are thinking about starting or coming back to this 16 years-old MMORPG, now maybe the best time to join the game. With the new expansion, Shadowland, which was released in Nov 2020 included many qualities of life improved features, such as level squish, gear reset, updated customization, new leveling experience, brand new tutorial and starting zone for beginners. In short, this expansion is probably the best time to come back or start World of Warcraft if the pandemic has you trapped at home with free time. 

World of Warcraft, WoW, a game that I have been playing on and off for about 16 years. Though I am not a world-first raider or rank 1 PVP player, I did play through most of the end game in the expansions that I played and Shadowland has been the smoothest expansion that I have had.

Pros of Shadowland

Leveling:

With the level squish to 60 from 120, leveling is no longer a drag. From level 1 to 50, players can choose a past WoW expansion to level in. Furthermore, once a player has reached max level on one character, their alts can have the choice to go through the Shadowland quest lines or skip it with Threads of Fate and begin the Shadowland contents straight away. 

Choose What You Want to Play

There is no more forced participation in all contents to be competitive. Whether you want to just PVP or PVE, you can play the content that you want for gearing up and have fun. Unlike it’s previous expansion, Battle for Azeroth, where if a player wants to be accomplished in PVP, they have to participate in PVE content such as raid and 5-men dungeons in order to acquire specific gear. The new weekly vault system rewards players based on how much content they accomplish that week. Players are rewarded with extra pieces of gear by completing up to nine activities across PVP, dungeons and raid. Upon weekly reset, players can choose one item from possible nine options, which was a much needed upgrade from the previous random one piece of gear. A player can be waiting for months before finally acquiring an upgrade. 

Brand New Storyline

Unlike previous expansions, the Shadowland explores one of the oldest concepts of World of Warcraft universe. It is diving into the afterlife of WoW with memorable/familiar characters and heroes/villains making their return after being defeated. The Shadowland begins to dig deeper into what the World of Warcraft can offer outside Azeroth. 

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Cons of Shadowland

Cost

Even with all the new updates and revamped, there are still factors that can turn people away from WoW. First of all, it is not a cheap game. Unlike many of the new games, which are either free to play with in-game purchases or just an up front price for the copy of the game, WoW requires an upfront cost for the game and a monthly subscription at $15. However, all of the in-game purchases for WoW are only cosmetics related, so players don’t have to spend money to be competitive in game. 

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Borrowing Power

One of the criticisms that people raised for Shadowland is the borrowing power that the new covenants system brought. Players choose one of four covenants to pledge their allegiance to and in return, players receive a covenant skills and a class specific skill. Besides two new skills, each covenant also offers unique cosmetics rewards that’s specific to the covenant. You can switch the covenant at your will, but the switch is not instant. Even though the borrowing power is not everything for all classes, some classes’ power levels are directly tied to a specific covenant. So if your best covenant for raid is different from the mythic dungeon, you wouldn’t be able to switch covenant at will for different content. 

Conclusion

Since released, Shadowland has been receiving positive reviews from it’s players and critics. With the level squished and content released at a meaningful pace, players are able to play what they enjoy and feel accomplished at their own pace. It is quite exciting to work through the new storyline, dungeons and raid that the new expansion brings. While the game is not perfect, there are still things that can be improved, however, it is worth giving it a try. 

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