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The World of Warcraft: Shadowlands pre-expansion patch is now live

Wow Shadowlands Character Customization
Wow Shadowlands Character Customization (Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

What you need to know

  • The World of Warcraft: Shadowlands pre-expansion patch is now live.
  • Players can now spend their first 10 levels in a new experience called Exile's Reach.
  • Existing characters will have their levels altered to fit the new pre-Shadowlands cap of 50.

World of Warcraft: Shadowlands was originally scheduled to be released on Oct. 27, but it's been delayed so that Blizzard Entertainment can give it a little more polish. However fans eagerly anticipating some of the expansion's new features now have access to them via the pre-expansion patch.

The patch has crunched character levels from 120 down to 50, though characters will be able to hit the game's original max level of 60 once Shadowlands releases. Brand new players will start the game in Exile's Reach, an introductory zone meant to help them learn the basics of the complex and long-lived game.

Players will take on the role of new adventurers tasked with searching for a missing expedition. Unfortunately their rescue mission doesn't go as planned and they'll be faced with scaling challenges until they hit level 10, with the tutorial meant to introduce them to the fundamentals of the game along with their class skills before they venture into a mini-dungeon for up to five players with two new bosses.

After completing Exile's Reach, players will spend their next 40 levels playing through the game's most recent expansion, Battle for Azeroth. Experienced players can still try Exile's Reach, but can then complete their leveling in an expansion of their choice.

The pre-patch expansion also unlocks a host of new character customization options, allowing players to change their character's gender, hairstyle and facial features free of charge via the in-game barber shop. Players will also be able to make characters from allied races such as the foxlike Vulpera or cyborg Mechagnome without having to earn earn Exalted reputation with the group. Instead they'll just need to complete a questline with a max level character of the appropriate faction.

There are some known bugs with installing the patch. If you're having trouble getting it to work, try updating your drivers and uninstalling the Battle.net app.

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