World of Warcraft: Shadowlands represents the culmination of a storyline that has been brewing for years, with Sylvanas Windrunner's character assassination drawing towards its whimpering conclusion.
For the past few expansions, we've seen fan-favorite Horde heroine Sylvanas Windrunner inexplicably commit genocide, while betraying the Horde, and her kingdom of Lordaeron for reasons unknown. In the most recent update, Blizzard revealed Sylvanas was "tricked" all along by The Jailer, Shadowlands' promising but ultimately disappointing villain, who manipulated the so-called "master tactician" Sylvanas with the most predictable plot in the history of writing.
Bitterness aside, World of Warcraft: Shadowlands is picking up one final update, dubbed 9.2, which will end what has been one of the least successful World of Warcraft expansions of recent memory. Despite being a major driver of profits for Activision still in 2021, Shadowlands has seen Blizzard's monthly active users dip to their lowest levels in five years, as the company battles lawsuits from the U.S. government over its treatment of women in the workplace. Will 9.2 change Shadowlands' fortunes? My guess is no, but if you're one of the few people still following WoW news in the hopes it will one day be good again (like me), here's what you're getting in 9.2.
Zereth Mortis: Zereth Mortis is a new endgame zone populated by the "First Ones," who are an alien race responsible for the creation of the Shadowlands, and play a heavy role in structuring the rules behind life and death. Zereth Mortis will feature a unlockable storyline involving the study of the First One's native language, as players assist in fighting back The Jailer and his shadowy forces that have seeped into Zereth Mortis.
Blizzard claims that Zereth Mortis is "truly alien," featuring otherworldly creature prototypes that have yet to be fully completed by the First Ones architects. If I was cynical, I'd suggest that they're prototypical because this patch was rushed out as Blizzard pivots hard in an attempt to make up lost ground by developing a new expansion, but hey.
Sepulcher of the First Ones raid: The Sepulcher of the First Ones is the final raid of the expansion, and is set to feature Dreadlords, an Algalon-style Titan boss, culminating in a fight with The Jailor and a corrupted Anduin Wrynn. So far there doesn't seem to be anything particularly unique about this dungeon. But looks can be deceiving.
Class Tier Sets: Players have been asking Blizzard for years for a return of unique class sets for raid dungeons, alas, they may wish they hadn't after seeing what Blizzard managed to cook up for this final tier. The tier sets follow the Sepulcher's design but want for detail and flair, looking more like a entry-level dungeon set than what we used to get in Legion and earlier.
Those are the main additions, beyond separating Tazavesh' mega-dungeon into two parts, and a vague "much more."
Blizzard has rushed out patches like this in expansions past when it shuts down expansions early to move ahead into the next one. Cataclysm comes to mind, whose end raid took place in an existing zone, featuring bosses comprised entirely of existing assets without even the slightest changes. Blizzard is likely putting the majority of its resources alongside the next expansion, which will be looking to make up for the terrible writing and unpopular features of the last two expansions, faced with insurmountable competition from a resurgent Final Fantasy XIV, who is getting a new expansion of its own in the form of Endwalker in a few short weeks.
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Jez Corden 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 caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!