World of Warcraft: Shadowlands beta opt-in is now live, join here

WoW Shadowlands Venthyr
WoW Shadowlands Venthyr (Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

World of Warcraft: Shadowlands is the next big expansion hitting the industry-leading MMO. Set in the realm of the afterlife, Shadowlands continues the story beats set up by Battle for Azeroth, as players follow Sylvanas Windrunner to confront her and her mysterious master — The Jailor — who are abusing the balance between life and death.

Shadowlands introduces a range of new features, including new cosmetic options for every playable race, new abilities, and special "Covens," allowing players to join a specific faction in exchange for unique abilities and gear options. Shadowlands will also extend to traditional WoW systems like PvP battlegrounds, Mythic+ dungeons, and new raids, complete with a new roguelike procedural dungeon system called The Tower of the Damned, which will be playable solo as well as with friends. For more info on Shadowlands, head over to here.

If you want to test Shadowlands ahead of the game's expected late-2020 launch, Blizzard is now allowing users to opt-in to the game's closed beta tests, which should go live sometime in the near future. Head over here or hit the link below to find the opt-in page. You'll be prompted to log in with your account. Opting in won't guarantee access, but if you're one of the lucky chosen, you'll get to try the game out early.

WoW: Shadowlands beta opt-in

World of Warcraft enjoyed a bit of a resurgence in 2019 on the back of WoW Classic, as well as some high-profile Twitch streams where world-class guilds race to become world-first boss killers.

The current expansion Battle for Azeroth (BFA) has been decent in a lot of ways, notably art style and atmosphere, with some great characters like Bwonsamdi. In other ways, BFA has been controversial with players, for its luck-based loot systems, grindy end-game mechanics that make leveling and gearing extra characters a chore, and story beats, which landed a bit haphazardly (to say the least). Hopefully, Blizzard will take note of what worked well in BFA and make Shadowlands one of the more fondly remembered expansions in years to come.

Related: Is it worth playing WoW: Battle for Azeroth in 2020?

Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden is a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by tea. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his XB2 Podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!