World of Warcraft: Shadowlands finally ditches the hefty time commitment

Monitoring my life and my raid cooldowns

World of Warcraft: Shadowlands finally ditches the hefty time commitment
World of Warcraft: Shadowlands finally ditches the hefty time commitment

Almost 4 years in the past, I sat in a gathering with a possible new World of Warcraft guild. The Nighthold raid had debuted a number of weeks earlier, and I hoped to get on a group earlier than the following raid, Tomb of Sargeras, opened to the general public. But by the tip of the assembly, I had some homework: I wanted to spend 30-plus hours operating the identical dungeon 80 occasions if I wished to stage up my weapon and be part of for the guild’s subsequent run.

It was at that moment that I noticed I wouldn’t be joining a guild throughout World of Warcraft: Legion. I wished to raid and I couldn’t wait to see the fights, But I wasn’t going to lose all of my free time to World of Warcraft to do it.

World of Warcraft has that status, that it’ll suck away all of your time should you let it — a status it earned throughout its earliest days. Discuss to any veteran WoW gamers, and also you’ll hear about actual habit things or feeling utterly unable to play due to their grownup commitments.

That’s the place World of Warcraft: Shadowlands begins to distinguish itself. The MMO’s eighth main growth separates itself neatly into obligatory content and optional content. In an actual world crammed with different enjoyable video video games and fewer enjoyable real-life duties, World of Warcraft is finally a extra manageable expertise.


World of Warcraft: Shadowlands sends me into the afterlife to determine why souls aren’t getting sorted based on the lives they led. Within the Shadowlands, I meet 4 completely different Covenants — afterlife golf equipment designed to service completely different sorts of souls. And at max stage, I get to dedicate myself to 1 Covenant for the remainder of the growth and borrow a few of its energy.

After testing out every Covenant’s distinctive skills as I stage, I determine to hitch the Kyrians of Bastion on my Paladin. Working with my Covenant, I get a set of duties to finish every week: Progress some story missions, grind out some foreign money, and journey via an endgame zone.

As I full these actions over a few hours, my standing with the Kyrians goes up, they usually let me borrow a bit extra energy. Exterior of substances, that is crucial energy grind in Shadowlands — one thing I must sustain with on a weekly foundation if I need to compete.

But as soon as I end my Covenant actions for the week, which takes about three or 4 hours, I’m completed with all of the “maintenance” on my principal character. It doesn’t matter what I do or how a lot I play, I can’t develop my Covenant energy extra till the weekly reset.

Now after I dive into dungeons, and finally the raid, that would be the bulk of my World of Warcraft time in a given week — not the maintenance required to get my character into these actions within the first place. That spare time provides me the prospect to concentrate on different elements of World of Warcraft that I like, like secondary characters.


I like taking part in multiple character in World of Warcraft. After I knew I might by no means raid competitively in Legion, I dove deep into my roster of characters to expertise every of their distinctive tales. In Shadowlands, every Covenant comes with its personal persona and storyline. And I need to expertise all of them, not simply be taught what’s occurring with my new Kyrian buddies.

Over the previous two weeks with Shadowlands, I’ve introduced three extra characters to stage 60. But my Paladin continues to be dressed to the nines, totally caught up, and able to raid. Due to Shadowlands’ relaxed necessities, I’ve been capable of spend time with my different characters and their Covenant-specific tales with out feeling like I’ve let my new guildmates down.

But that’s how I’ve chosen to spend my further World of Warcraft time — time the place I wished to maintain taking part in WoW after “ending” my Paladin for the week. For gamers who need to grind out cosmetics and bonuses for his or her principal character, there’s loads of that as nicely.


Whereas I don’t must play dozens of hours per week to maintain up, it wouldn’t be World of Warcraft if I didn’t have the choice to “no-life” the sport and spend all my time grinding for things.

There are dozens of actions I haven’t spent a lot time with in Shadowlands, like further constructing out my Covenant Sanctum with new comfort options and actions. Or attempting to find uncommon mounts, or upgrading my character’s professions so I can generate income on the Public sale Home.

All of this stuff take severe time, But they’re optional. I’ll get to them finally. I’ve performed a whole lot of World of Warcraft over the previous two weeks, and I’ve 4 max-level characters, together with a raid-ready Paladin, to indicate for it. But I’ve additionally gotten to spend time with my spouse and gotten to play different video video games. That’s how Shadowlands makes a clear break from the busywork of previous expansions and the luggage of a 16-year-old MMO.

Shadowlands doesn’t do every thing completely. The questing expertise doesn’t really feel as fluid in as earlier expansions, and the quests aren’t as various. And it’s nonetheless too early to see how good the endgame content and updates shall be. But even with the restricted time I’m prepared to place into Shadowlands, I’ll really be capable to play that endgame content because it comes out. And as my actual life simply will get extra sophisticated the older I get, I couldn’t ask for a greater shift in philosophy from my favourite MMO.

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