World of Warcraft: Shadowlands

With a new World of Warcraft expansion comes new zones to explore. Except for Cataclysm; we got some old zones in there. And Warlords of Draenor; we got to experience Outland before its destruction…

Okay, so, sometimes a new expansion brings new zones to World of Warcraft. I can confirm that Shadowlands is one of those expansions: A total of five new zones have been introduced, with the potential of more to come later on.

So how do these zones compare with each other? Let’s rank them, from worst to best.


World of Warcraft: Shadowlands

Bastion is a gorgeous and angelic slice of heaven that has more in common with an NBC sitcom starring Kristen Bell and Ted Danson than you realize…

Let’s not beat around the bush: Bastion is a gorgeous zone, filled with an intriguing storyline that leaves you wanting for more despite its cliffhanger ending. After your introduction scenario in The Maw, this is where you’ll begin leveling in earnest.

Well, once you get through the story and RP elements, that is; pacing in Bastion is pretty hit or mess. This issue is compounded by the fact that, as the opening leveling zone, you’re never more eager to quest than you are when you first step foot into Bastion. Having the storyline get in the way of this is beyond frustrating.

The Maw

World of Warcraft: Shadowlands

The Maw is a dark and dangerous place where no one can ever escape. Unless, of course, you’re a player character. Then you can escape. But that’s only what, a couple million people? And if everyone has an average of 2.7634 alts, then that means that, carry the three… about 7 million people are going to be able to escape the Maw. No one else, though.

Still, the Maw, Shadowlands‘ high-level area, is a dangerous place. I’m not just blowing marketing smoke up your rear; there’s a very good chance you’re going to die here a lot.

A big part of this is the way you’re being watched by the Jailer, the game’s main antagonist. In a fashion similar to Grand Theft Auto, the more you do within the Maw, the more attention you’ll draw to yourself, from causing assassins to track your movements and attack you on sight to a debuff that will eventually just flat out kill you.

For now, it’s not the biggest of deals since we’re only doing a couple of daily quests in the zone. As the expansion goes on, however, I imagine there will be more to do within the Maw, which means that we’ll have to tread more carefully in the future.


World of Warcraft: Shadowlands

Revendreth is a combination of Bloodborne, Magic: the Gathering‘s Rakdos Guild, I Am Legend, and predictable plot twists.

Revendreth feels like it was a tad bit rushed. It has the shortest and quickest story campaign of all the other leveling zones despite (arguably) having the most variance in terms of locales, characters, and narrative twists and turns. It’s almost as if Blizzard said “Well, they’re probably ready to be level 60 and move on to endgame content, so we should wrap things up.”

It’s disappointing, because Shadowlands‘ first raid is taking place in this zone. It’d be great if we could spend more time with these characters (especially since I’m not joining this covenant on my main).


World of Warcraft: Shadowlands

Ah, Maldraxxus, where the first rule of Maldraxxus is the same as the second rule: don’t talk about it. The eighth and final rule of Maldraxxus? If this is your first night, you have to fight.

Mechanically, there’s nothing special about Maldraxxus. The quests are World of Warcraft stereotypes. The storyline, despite introducing us to many characters, is the standard “do all this stuff to complete the creation of the McGuffin.”

The pacing, however, is absolutely top-notch. You’re immediately thrown into a gigantic pit of combat, something that’s extra enjoyable if you’re planning to PvP and gank the opposing faction. This high-octane opening quest helps set the pace for what’s to come, but you’re also given plenty of time to breathe as you explore every corner of the zone itself.

Its finale is an enjoyable and satisfying conclusion, one that gives you a definite ending (despite its open-ended nature) and encourages you to continue its covenant. My first alt will 100% become a Necrolord, not just for the ability, but to also see where the story goes from here.


World of Warcraft: Shadowlands

Ardenweald will test the limits of your tolerance for the color blue, love of animals, and dramatic theater.

In all seriousness, though, Ardenweald is absolutely gorgeous. From start to finish, it has the strongest storyline by far, complete with personality, charm, and some gigantic emotional moments for Warcraft lore nerds. This zone is an audio/visual dream come true, complete with gorgeous landscapes, enchanting visuals, and a warm soundtrack.

What makes Ardenweald truly memorable, though, is how it combines a lighthearted nature with some serious story implications. Let’s not beat around the bush, here: The covenant is flat out called Night Fae. The zone is filled with faeries and mystical woodland creatures, yet it doesn’t seem too campy or out of place when compared to the much darker zones of the Shadowlands.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x