Over the last few weeks, Blizzard has been hyping up World of Warcraft: Shadowlands with a new animated series, Afterlives. The animated shorts mainly focus on the zones that players will have the opportunity to explore in the upcoming expansion, while the characters featured in the series have been a mix of franchise staples and soon-to-debut newcomers.
The newest installment of Afterlives focused entirely on the region of Ardenweald, a lush forest where the souls of those who were one with nature in life pass on after their death. The featured character from the greater Warcraft story in the Ardenweald episode was Ursoc, who was last seen as a raid boss back in the Emerald Nightmare during the Legion expansion four years ago.
After players got a chance to defeat a corrupted Ursoc two expansions ago, his fate was left up in the air. But this animated short tied up any loose ends and questions the player base might have surrounding what exactly happened after the events of Legion.
Urosc’s soul was sent to Ardenweald to save the forests of the Shadowlands, eventually crossing paths with new characters like Ara’lon, the Grove Tender, and the mysterious Winter Queen. Not much is known about the regions of the Shadowlands now, but Afterlives has been doing a stellar job of introducing newer characters in preparation for their big debuts once the expansion launches.
Players will have the opportunity to explore these characters and their stories fully when the expansion launches later this year. Every region and storyline featured in the Afterlives animated series is merely an introduction to the full stories that will play a key part in the Warcraft universe over the course of the next few years.
What’s most appealing is the fact that players will have the opportunity to truly hone in on one particular region of their choosing. The four zones of the Shadowlands each have a specific “Covenant” attached to them. Depending on which zone you choose to focus on throughout Shadowlands, you’ll also gain a certain set of abilities and renown with the accompanying faction for the zone of your choice.
For players inspired by the newest episode of Afterlives, the region of Ardenweald is particularly welcoming to those who have an affinity for nature. If you play a class like Druid or Hunter in World of Warcraft, Ardenweald—and its respective faction, the Night Fae—would probably be for you.
The final episode of Afterlives drops next Thursday, Sept. 17, and will focus on the gothic and vampiric region of Revendreth. World of Warcraft: Shadowlands is scheduled to release later this fall on Oct. 26.