World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, the eighth expansion of Blizzard Entertainment's MMORPG, launches this fall, taking players to the land of the dead. You'll start your journey in The Maw, a miserable realm where the souls of the world's greatest villains are tortured for all eternity. At least that's how it's supposed to work. The Arbiter responsible for determining where each soul should spend their afterlife has gone dormant and everyone is being sent to The Maw instead.
You'll be rescued from the Maw by the Kyrian, a group of angelic beings that serve as the guardians of the dead. But once you've had time to level up to 60 – the new level cap for the game – you'll need to head back to The Maw for Shadowlands' endgame content.
The Jailer's forces
Shadowlands introduces the Jailer, a mysterious new villain that rules over the Maw and seeks to spread his dark influence across all the realms of the dead. As you explore the Maw, you'll learn more about the Jailer and gain the power you need to fight him. But he'll also be constantly fighting back.
Blizzard has revealed six of the enemies that you'll face in the Maw. The Mawsworn are agents of the Jailer tasked with punishing wicked souls. Winged Mawsworn Avengers will try to impale you with spears from above while Mawsworn Shadowcasters will strike with powerful dark magic. The Jailer is also served by Soul Seekers, sentries tasked with eliminating intruders.
Souls trapped in the Maw for eternity eventually turn into the Death's Essence while the fiery hatred of dead villains gives rise to Blazing Stygia, creatures driven to burn souls in a mindless rage. True to their name, Soul Eaters devour unlucky spirits after ripping them apart with their claws. True to their name, Soul Eaters devour unlucky spirits after ripping them apart with their claws. You should also be wary of the brutal assaults of the heavily armored Charred Behemoths.
As you kill Mawsworn and other enemies in the Maw and complete other objectives such as quests and opening treasure chests, you will attract the Jailer's attention. Your Threat Level will rise, resulting in nasty effects like attacks from assassins or high damage siege fire. When you reach Threat Level 5, your health will be drained until you die, and you won't be able to return to the zone until the next day. Think of it as a particularly lethal version of daily quests.
Making friends and gathering resources
One of your key tasks in the Maw is saving souls that have been sent there unjustly and bringing them back to your Covenant's sanctum. When you complete quests and defeat enemies, you'll earn Stygia, a resources that you can spend with the mysterious broker Ve'nari, who has managed to survive the horrors of The Maw for a long time.
Stygia can be used to buy cosmetic items including pets. You can also purchase Cyphers, which provide you with buffs that can be applies in the Maw or the roguelike dungeon Torghast. For instance, one of the Cyphers means that when you receive an Anima Power, random abilities found when exploring the tower, you'll get to choose between two options for enhancing your abilities.
The beginning of the end
Visiting the Maw will be one of the key ways that players earn Renown to improve your standing with whatever Covenant you've chosen, which is key to your endgame progression. Stay tuned for more information about the zone and other news about Shadowlands ahead of the game's release.
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