Shadowlands Pre-Expansion Patch

Hey, since I'm currently still dipping my toes into retail I can write about the same stuff as all the cool kids are talking about: the pre-expansion event for Shadowlands.

So far it consists of three parts (though my understanding is that more will be added this week):

Part one has you talking to Genn Greymane in Stormwind and he tells you in the form of a cut scene that King Anduin was abducted by some weird flying creatures. As a sort of afterthought it transpires that other faction leaders were captured as well. It's all a big plot by Sylvanas! I'll admit that I've only been following the storyline of the current expansion from afar, but this all feels kind of ham-fisted and disconnected. I did like how you had the option to trigger additional conversations between the NPCs though if you're interested in that kind of thing (which I am).

Then you get sent off to investigate and deliver some reports about a Scourge invasion in the area, which involves slaying a couple of zombies but doesn't really feel very exciting.

Part two gives you a quest to kill Nathanos Blightcaller at the Marris Stead, where he just happens to hang out, waiting to be attacked. Doing this results in a cool cut scene, though it was a bit weird/buggy for us in a group. The husband and I got separated so he actually got his kill before me, but we were still grouped so I suddenly got thrown into a cinematic while flying over Arathi Highlands. I quickly escaped out of it so that I could watch it again later in the proper context, which fortunately worked. The husband on the other hand never saw the cut scene at all and had to go to YouTube to watch it. I thought that one was pretty neat, even if it involved an NPC kill-stealing from the players once again.

Nathanos also dropped an ilevel 115 weapon, which was more than double the strength of what I had. I'd read somewhere that you could kill him repeatedly if you wanted more than one (e.g. if you were dual-wielding, which my monk is), so returned later for another go but had no luck, as the two additional kills resulted in no loot whatsoever. However, at least this gave me an opportunity to try out the pre-made group finder feature, which was functional but weeeird.

Part three of the event has you flying to Icecrown and doing a couple of dailies there as well as the option to visit a world boss every twenty minutes. (There are twenty different ones on a rotation.) Doing so rewards you with a currency that you can trade in for some catch-up gear, which once again more than doubled my ilevel in those slots.

The most common opinion of the event from what I've seen is that people tend to find it okay but underwhelming. I actually kind of like it though, but then I'm probably not a good judge - once I started thinking about it, I only really remember the Cataclysm pre-expansion event and no others, as I have no memory of taking part in either the BC or Wrath ones.

Anyway, I do wonder whether this isn't intentionally designed to appeal to players coming over from Classic or more generally returning old-school players, because it certainly ticked several boxes for me:

  • Killing Nathanos at the Marris Stead is something Alliance players do in Classic as well, so it's a nice tie-in.
  • It's hard not to get the feels when returning to Icecrown. I always say that Wrath wasn't my favourite expansion and was when things first started to go downhill (in my opinion), but that doesn't mean that I don't have plenty of good memories of that expansion too. The bosses are all revived versions of Wrath dungeon bosses as well, uttering familiar quotes, so there's a lot of "a-ha, I remember you" going on. There's nothing quite like watching Falric fear several dozen players around an Icecrown rampart.
  • I've seen people complain that the twenty minutes between boss spawns are too long/slow, but personally I appreciate the somewhat slower pace. I'm not a completionist who's there to camp all the things, and I agree with Rohan that the timing encourages you to use the bosses to bookend other activities. In general I feel that retail is too much of a rush-rush game these days, but that's a whole different post to be honest.
  • The bosses also actually encourage some friendly community interaction as people will always helpfully share spawn times and locations in general chat (the new map ping system is really cool by the way). People being friendly and helpful to strangers in retail? Perish the thought.


  1. I'd read somewhere that you could kill him repeatedly if you wanted more than one (e.g. if you were dual-wielding, which my monk is), so returned later for another go but had no luck, as the two additional kills resulted in no loot whatsoever.

    Oh, this is a misunderstanding. You can kill a World Boss once per week. So when people say you can get 2 weapons for dual-spec, they're implicitly saying that you can kill him next week for the second weapon. That he will be active for 2 weeks, giving you enough time for the set.

    1. Oh, that makes sense. Thanks for the clarification!

  2. Looks like we've moved to phase 2 already. Also, the timers between bosses has dropped to 10 minutes. There's a nifty spreadsheet here:


    It's kept up to date. Be sure to select the right tab (NA or EU)

    1. I liked the 20 minute timer on the bosses but the ten minute gapis even better. It's still plenty of time to do the other events or to go sell or visit the campfire between spawns and it even then it allows for a few minutes of just chilling in a big gang, waiting for the reverse-valkyries to appear.

    2. @Grimm: Wow, that sheet's quite something! That's some dedication from whoever's maintaining it. I also found this image posted by Gnomecore to be quite helpful: https://gnomecore.files.wordpress.com/2020/11/icecrown-boss-map.jpg

      @Bhagpuss: I dunno, I could see every 10 minutes starting to feel a bit rushed for me, but I guess I'll find out soon!

  3. You can finish the quest chain now. What's nice is if you complete it on one character you unlock portals to Icecrown and to Stormwind for your alts. While I'm meh about the story itself, the rares did keep me playing as I ended up getting more transmog than I had intended.

    Speaking social, the new map pin system surprisingly promotes that. People were defending using that to help others when 'those guys' would whine in /1 that everyone should be "helping themselves" and checking Wowhead. A lot of pleasant conversations came about that way.

    I was a bit annoyed by the weapon drops from Nathanos. My fury warrior who uses 2 two-handers got a one-hander because of the class changes. That was useless for fury since she doesn't have a second one-hander. :/ I still wish Blizzard would let us pick our rewards via quest turn in instead of just dropping something potentially useless in our bags. :sigh:

    1. Well, I don't have any alts worth mentioning at the moment. :D To be honest, for me these hidden account-wide benefits have been more annoying than helpful, as the husband has another max-level character and will sometimes have access to stuff that I can't see/get due to some hidden account flag. It's not a bad feature to have, but I wish it was more transparent.

      And yeah, the RNG with the weapon drops seems kind of annoying when you can only get the one drop per week (two for the entirety of the event).