World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, the eighth expansion of the MMORPG, launches this fall and gives players newfound agency when it comes to what to do after they finish leveling up. At level 60, the new max level thanks to a condensing system that will scale the game back from its previous 120 levels, each character can enlist in one of four Covenants in charge of the realms of the dead.
This is a big decision that will impact your powers, quest lines, and endgame activities so you'll want to choose wisely. We're making it easier by putting together guides to each faction. Here's everything you need to know if you're considering joining the Necrolords, the necromancers tasked with assembling undead armies to defend the Shadowlands.
Who are the Necrolords?
The Necrolords are the inventors of necromancy, which they use to turn ambitious souls into an army capable of defending the Shadowlands. Unfortunately, the faction is in crisis following the disappearance of the Primus, a brilliant warlord who kept the five houses of Maldraxxus united.
You'll first encounter the Necrolords as enemies when you're working with the Kyrian. Agents of Maldraxxus have infiltrated the angelic realm of Bastion and joined the fallen Kyrian known as the Forsworn. You'll be sent to investigate who's responsible for this treachery and find a Covenant at war with itself.
Two of the five houses have already been destroyed and the rest are ruthlessly fighting to claim the Seat of the Primus and the power to command all of the armies of Maldraxxus. To restore order, you'll need to understand the cryptic prophecies left behind by the Primus, who believes a hero could save the realm by drawing upon all of its strength.
The denizens of Maldraxxus
Maldraxxus is filled with undead and other horrors that you'll need to fight or befriend. Liches rule the House of Rituals and use anima, the resource that empowers most of the Shadowlands, to fuel their dark magic. The world's most powerful fighters find new purpose in death through the House of the Chosen, where they train to become tacticians and gladiators wielding runeforged weapons that will be familiar to Death Knights.
Abominations have been a staple in WoW raids and dungeons since Naxxramas, and there are plenty to be found among the Necrolords, who build them from corpses at the House of Constructs. Even more terrible are Soul-Rotted Flesh, hulking monstrosities made from numerous dead warriors used to patrol Maldraxxus.
While two of the houses have fallen, some of their members and creations remain. The spider-like Aranakk have lost the necropolis where they served as assassins and spies but they will still sell secrets as they search for new purpose. You should try to steer clear of Plague House Remnants, mindless products of horrible experiments that were meant to devise new ways to fight the enemies of the Shadowlands.
If you choose to join the Necrolords, you'll receive the power Fleshcraft, which lets you create a shield made of flesh and bone that protects you from an amount of damage based on a percent of your health. The shield will be more powerful if you use the spell while standing next to the corpse of an enemy you've killed. Players will also gain an additional combat power based on their class and specialization:
- Death Knights can grow an Abomination Limb that will pull in distant enemies and deal Shadow damage to closer foes.
- Demon Hunters cast Fodder to the Flame to summon a Condemned Demon from the Theater of Pain that they must then dispatch. When they kill their foe, it leaves behind a pool of demon blood that the Demon Hunter can stand in to increase their attack speed by 20% and reduce damage taken from enemies by 10%. The demon counts as a powerful enemy for purposes of Fleshcraft's buff.
- Druids summon an Adaptive Swarm that will either heal or do Shadow damage to a target and increases the effectiveness of any periodic effects the Druid has on them. When the duration expires, the swarm will move to a new target within range, alternating between affecting enemies and allies.
- Hunters throw a Death Chakram that deals Shadow damage. Alternating between targets of the attack grants the Hunter additional Focus and increases the damage dealt.
- Mages use the Deathborne spell to turn themselves into a skeleton and increase the damage done by their Firebolt, Fireball, and Arcane Blast spells.
- Monks craft Bonedust Brew from their fallen foes and spray it all over everyone in the area for 10 seconds. During that duration, the Monk's powers have a 15% chance to affect a target a second time with 25% of the normal result done as either Shadow damage or healing. Brewmaster Monks who hit enemies under the effects of Bonedust Brew with Tiger Palm or Keg Smash will have the cooldown of future brews reduced by one second. Windwalker Monks will get one Chi back when they hit enemies affected by Bonedust Brew with Crane Kick. Allies affected by Bonedust Brew will receive extra healing from a Mistweaver monk's Gust of Mist ability.
- Paladins throw Vanquisher's Hammer at an enemy to do Shadow damage and empower their next spell. Casting Word of Glory will automatically trigger Light of Dawn for Holy Paladins or Shield of the Righteous for Protection Paladins. Divine Storm will automatically trigger when a Retribution Paladin casts Templar's Verdict.
- Priests unleash an Unholy Nova, healing nearby allies and afflicting nearby enemies with an Unholy Transfusion debuff that deals Shadow damage over time.
- Rogues stick a Serrated Bone Spike in their enemies that deals Physicial damage over time until they die. Using the power causes any active spikes to strike your new target, increasing the initial damage by a percentage based on the number of spikes in use.
- Shamans let loose a Primordial Wave that heals an ally and deals Shadow damge to an enemy and afflicts them with Flame Shock. Targets affected by Flame Shock will also be hit by the next Lava Burst cast by Elemental Shamans or Lightning Bolt used by Enhancement Shamans. Restoration Shamans who target an ally with Primoridal Wave will place Riptide on them, and their next Healing Wave will also target everyone affected by Riptide.
- Warlocks hurl a Decimating Bolt that deals Shadow damage and increases the effect of the next Incinerate, Drain Soul, or Shadow Bolt. The damage and bonuses will both be higher on enemies with lower health.
- Warriors wield the Conqueror's Banner, upping their movement speed and gaining Glory from killing enemies or using Mortal Strike, Raging Blow, or Shield Slam. When they use the Banner a second time, it will be planted in the ground and give all allies in range a boost to their maximum helath and attack speed for a duration based on how much Glory the Warrior accumulated.
Soulbind characters and powers
Once you pledge your loyalty to a Covenant and start completing their quests, you'll gain the ability to Soulbind with some members of the group. These allies will share their power with you, providing additional abilities as you increase your Renown with the faction. These are the three Necrolord Soulbinds and the boons they'll bestow on your character:
- Plague Deviser Marileth is a mad scientist formerly employed in the House of Plagues. He'll buff your Fleshcraft so that it also makes you immune to crowd control effects. You'll also build stacks of Bloop's Wanderlust when standing still, which will increase your movement speed for a few minutes once they max out.
- Emeni, the Slaughter Daughter was once a powerful noble who slaughtered her own siblings to gain power. Now she wants to help you kill your shared enemies and gain more status through your partnership. When you use your Necrolord class ability, you'll also gain a stack of Emeni's Magnificent Skin, which will be consumed when you cast Fleshcraft to slightly increase your maximum health for a significant duration based on how many stacks you have. Defeating enemies gives you a stack of Runescribed Bone, each of which will slightly reduce the amount of damage you take. When you're at max stacks, your Soulbind traits will be empowered for a limited time.
- Bonesmith Heirmir is one of the oldest souls in Maldraxxus and its most skilled crafter of weapons and armor, which she makes from a mix of bone and steel. With her Soulbind, Fleshcraft's cooldown will be slightly reduced when you defeat an enemy. She'll also animate your armor to keep fighting for a few seconds after you die, though your damage and healing will be moderately reduced and you can't receive healing yourself.
Keep checking back for more information on the Necrolords and other Covenants and let us know who you plan on joining in Shadowlands!
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