Activision CEO Bobby Kotick has gone on record saying that World of Warcraft: Shadowlands pre-sales are the highest that the company has ever seen at this stage of development. This shows that World of Warcraft is nowhere near close to dead, despite Internet doomsayers claiming the opposite at every opportunity.
World of Warcraft: Shadowlands is the latest expansion to World of Warcraft, taking players out of the realm of the living and into the Shadowlands, the location of many different afterlives throughout the world of Azeroth, ranging from orderly Bastion to the serene Ardenweald, and the vampiric Revendreth.
Each of these locations has different people in charge, but the Shadowlands is under threat as the Arbiter, who divides the dead among the different afterlives, has gone dormant, leaving the souls of the dead to go past her and be swallowed up by the Maw.
Players must join a Covenant in one of the different afterlives and help to save the Shadowlands, and thwart the Jailer, who alongside Sylvanas Windrunner is responsible for the current crisis as the Maw grows in power at the expense of the other realms.
Considering it’s a place that no one has ever been to before, it’s no real surprise that Shadowlands pre-sales are so high. The expansion has also had an extensive multimedia campaign surrounding it, with Blizzard releasing a series of animated shorts that tell stories of the other realms and former NPCs who now inhabit them.
These NPCs include Uther Lightbringer in Bastion, Thrall’s mother Drakka in Maldraxxus, Garrosh Hellscream, who’s tortured endlessly for anima in Revendreth, and, previously, the Guardian Ursoc in the Ardenweald. All will likely have roles to play depending on the Covenant of each player.
According to Kotick, overall subscriber count for World of Warcraft has doubled since the release of World of Warcraft: Classic, and the franchise is one of the few for Activision that all on its own generates over a billion dollars a year, so it’s unlikely that WOW will be visiting the Shadowlands itself anytime soon. World of Warcraft: Shadowlands releases on November 23.