Not long ago, Blizzard was forced to delay the highly-anticipated World of Warcraft: Shadowlands expansion that fans have been waiting on. Originally set to release at the end of October 2020, the expansion now has a vague “before the end of 2020” release, with no confirmed date.
The primary reason for this delay was that there was still a huge amount of work that needed to be done on the expansion. With the COVID-19 pandemic having forced the development team to work remotely, the production took a massive hit.
Recently, Blizzard released an update focused on letting the players know what they’ve been working on. The Maw, Conduits, and Class/Covenant balance all take center stage, but we’ll be focusing on the Maw this time.
The Maw, if you haven’t kept up with much of the upcoming expansion, is an endgame zone meant to be the bleak and brutal domain of the (current) primary antagonist of the expansion, the Jailer. Blizzard specifically refers to it as one of the last places a soul would want to visit.
Still, they agree that this bleak and desolate atmosphere can’t be portrayed in a way that damages the fun for the players that will be experiencing it. Many have felt that exactly this had happened, and in their announcement, Blizzard agrees with the feedback.
— Wowhead (@Wowhead) October 7, 2020
“We’re working to increase visual distinction and combat gameplay variety across the different areas of the Maw, as well as exploring adding new localized events and world interactions,” Blizzard writes in their update. Keeping things from getting too similar will undoubtedly help make the zone more refreshing.
The team also discusses wanting to give a bit more direction “while still preserving the ‘sandbox’ roots of Maw gameplay.” To this end, they’re working on making goals apparent earlier on than they currently are.
Some of these goals include helping to restore their Covenants by delving into the Maw and rescuing souls. Another is visiting Ve’nari, a mysterious broker, who gives a myriad of rewards in exchange for Stygia.
Blizzard intends to share more information about what updates and changes they have in mind for the Maw once they have them more concretely decided. That way, they can avoid upsetting or exciting anyone based on information that may not even be accurate.
Either way, it’s great to see Blizzard focusing in on the Maw and doing what they can to make it as fun as possible. Even moreso, it’s wonderful to see them hearing and responding to fan feedback, helping to keep their recent reputation of increased transparency going.