BlizzCon 2019 delivered on many of the promises and leaks that Blizzard fans were looking forward to, World of Warcraft fans among them. Ion Hazzikostas, World of Warcraft's ongoing game director, took to the BlizzCon 2019 stage and officially announced what's coming next for Blizzard's ever-popular MMO. Introducing World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, wherein ex-Horde warchief Sylvanas has opened up a portal to the Warcraft universe's world of the afterlife.
Ion announced the World of Warcraft: Shadowlands expansion with an incredible new cinematic trailer. The cinematic, which lasts almost five and a half minutes long, is a World of Warcraft lore fans' dream. It depicts an encounter between Sylvanas, who has traveled to Icecrown, and the current Lich King, Bolvar. Sylvanas hasn't come to Icecrown to take up the mantle of Lich King, however. She's come in pursuit of something much more nefarious.
Through the trailer, Sylvanas battles with Bolvar. She continues to wield the incredible power that was previously seen in her fight to the death with the orc Saurfang. Her arrows become chains that bind Bolvar, denying him his strength. Sylvanas defeats the Lich King with relative ease, dodging his attacks and shrugging off a massive stone that should have crushed her. With Bolvar kneeling in front of Sylvanas, she reaches out and takes his Helm of Domination. And then she crushes it.
While the logic behind how crushing the Helm of Domination leads to the creation of a portal to the Shadowlands isn't exactly clear, the result certainly speaks for itself. Sylvanas' goal was to connect Azeroth to the realm of the dead, and she proved successful. World of Warcraft players will soon journey to the Shadowlands in pursuit of Sylvanas, though what awaits them beyond the veil remains to be seen.
With the announcement of World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, however, only comes more questions. To say that the current state of World of Warcraft, as of the Battle for Azeroth expansion, has the playerbase divided would be an understatement. But Ion and Blizzard weren't ready to talk about the details during BlizzCon 2019's Opening Ceremony. Fans will have to wait for the World of Warcraft-focused panels through the rest of BlizzCon for more information regarding what will actually be changing.
World of Warcraft is available now on PC. The Shadowlands expansion has no currently confirmed release date.