At the BlizzCon 2019 opening ceremony, Blizzard revealed World of Warcraft: Shadowlands. Player will adventure into the afterlife of the Warcraft universe, and form bonds with dead souls. But Blizzard didn’t announce a new character class alongside the expansion — something players expect every other expansion pack.
At BlizzCon, we sat down with technical director Frank Kowalkowski and senior game designer Paul Kubit. We asked them both: why no new player class in Shadowlands?
“We’ve done this before with [Warlords of] Draenor, when we decided we were going to put a lot of effort into the characters themselves, and into the character models,” said Kowalkowski. “We did the HD character models for Warlords of Draenor. Similar to that. We’re focusing more on giving more character customization options. So with humans we’re trying to get more diverse cast of human characters you can choose from that kind of represent real world.”
In the deep-dive panel for Shadowlands, the World of Warcraft developers revealed a host of new cosmetic changes coming to the character creation process in World of Warcraft. In Shadowlands, players can expand their looks as humans. They can customize skin tone, hair, and eyes with tons of new options for player diversity.
And that customization also extends to the fantasy races in World of Warcraft. Kowalkowski went on to explain that Trolls and Dwarves especially are getting tons of new options. The goal is for players to customize their characters the way they want, rather than the outdated and limited character customization World of Warcraft’s offered so far.
Kubit also chimed in to say the team didn’t feel like a new class jumped out at them, as one had in previous expansions.
“I’ll also add that when we’re making those choices for classes and races and things like that, a lot of it’s informed by setting and story,” said Kubit. And looking at the setting of the Shadowlands, there wasn’t a class that jumped out like the Demon Hunter did in the past with Legion for example. So a lot of our focus is more on building the world of the Shadowlands.”
The Shadowlands is one of the most mysterious settings we’ve ever seen for a World of Warcraft expansion. So the idea that players don’t really know enough about the Shadowlands to glean a new class out of the experience isn’t the wildest idea, although it’s possible that what players learn in Shadowlands could lead to a new class in future expansions.
It’s not clear when or if World of Warcraft will ever add another new character class, but there definitely won’t be one in Shadowlands; players will need to make do with the current roster of 12 classes for at least another two years.