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Leading the update are changes to the level cap, tweaks to character customisation and a modified navigation system, which were all previously touched upon in a previously released video, dubbed a “survival guide” for the expansion.
The current level cap of 120 will automatically be reset to level 50, and scaled-down across the board for all other levels, as well as for enemies. Players will also now have more choices when it comes to skin tones, hairstyles and more.
The pre-expansion patch also introduced a brand-new event called Death Rising, where players will be “called upon to defend Azeroth from an undead invasion”, according to the developer. The limited-time event will run from the release of the patch until the launch of Shadowlands.
Changes have also been made to the PvP mode, achievement system, classes, items and more in the new patch. Several new UI features have been implemented, including a navigational marker that will appear on screen to direct you to quest objectives, reducing the need to open and close the map.
Additionally, pins can now be marked on the world map, it can be tracked with the navigational marker and shared in chats. Campaign quests will now have separate headers in the Quest Tracker, which now features a collapse button for each section.
The update also adds a function called the Newcomer Chat, which lets veteran players act as guides for new players. To become a guide (or opt out thereafter), players will have to head down to the Stormwind or Orgimmar embassies to speak to the guide recruiter.
To meet the criteria to become a guide, players will have to have an account in good standing, reach level 50, complete 3000 quests and earn at least two of the following achievements: Terrific Trio, Rival: Battle for Azeroth Season Four, Battle for Azeroth Keystone Conqueror: Season Four, The Waking Dream or We Have the Technology.
The pre-expansion patch for Shadowlands also includes updates to the Black Market Auction House, Dungeons and Raids, achievements, world events and more. Check out the full list of patch notes here.
The Shadowlands pre-expansion patch is now live in North America, but it has not been made available to the rest of the world yet. Europe and other regions are scheduled to receive the update next, although a confirmed date has not been announced.