The World of Warcraft: Shadowlands pre-patch is (mostly) here, and it brings with it some of the most meaningful changes in any pre-expansion patch.
On October 1, Blizzard delayed the highly anticipated Shadowlands expansion pack for World of Warcraft. The expansion currently doesn’t have a release date as it is supposed to come out "later this year", but its big, pre-expansion patch is here nonetheless.

While we don’t know when we’ll be playing Shadowlands this year, the pre-patch is the first step for Blizzard transitioning World of Warcraft game from the dismal Battle for Azeroth expansion to a fresh start with Shadowlands. This WoW Shadowlands pre-patch also rebuilds some important structures in World of Warcraft, like level, leveling process, and character customization.

What this new pre-patch has to offer?


One of the most exciting aspects of World of Warcraft: Shadowlands is a complete overhaul to the character customization system inside World of Warcraft. For years, players have been stuck with older looking models that have very little variety. While initially limited to the original races, several Allied Races have received options as well.

With the pre-patch, players can express themselves with different jewelry, eye colors, hair colors, beard and hair options, tattoos, and more. More importantly, Blizzard has included more diverse options for players — especially in the human models — so they can create characters that represent themselves better than before.

All of these new options are available at Barber Shops throughout Azeroth, including the option for Druids to choose the appearance of their shapeshifting forms and the ability to swap genders. Now all customization is available in game at any time so the Appearance Change service will no longer be sold in the Shop.

Some of the big improvements are:
- Night Elves have a "Teldrassil" burn option as well as vine decorations for their hair and marking colors separated out from hair color.
- Undead have pink hair options and the ability to hide bones.
- Orcs have several layers of scars, tattoos, and war paint.
- Draenei have different tail lengths and dozens of new jewelry colors.
- Worgen can customize their human form separately from their worgen form.
- Void Elves can access blue eyes and all the skin tones of Blood Elves, for a High Elf appearance.
- Dwarves have numerous tattoo options, including Wildhammer appearances.
- Tauren can wear flowers with their new hairstyles.
- Humans have a large variety of facial features to represent the diversity in the real world.
- Most races now have a bald option.


Exile’s Reach is an all-new starting experience that will take you on an excursion that will introduce you to the fundamentals of playing World of Warcraft and the important mechanics for your chosen class. If you’re new to World of Warcraft and have never created or leveled a character, you will automatically begin your journey into Azeroth with the starting experience. It even has a unique quest based on the player’s chosen class, and culminates in a mini-dungeon.

If you’re a veteran player or you’ve leveled a character before, you can choose to opt out of the starting experience and begin instead at level 1 in the starting area for your race. Upon reaching level 10, new players will continue their journey through Battle for Azeroth and into Shadowlands.


While we’ve listed the meat of the pre-patch above, there are some quests that won’t be available on Oct. 13. This includes the pre-patch event, a Scourge invasion outside of Icecrown Citadel.

This event will set up the story and prepare players for the Shadowlands expansion. But we currently don’t know when the Scourge invasion will start in-game — all Blizzard says is “shortly after the pre-expansion launch.” We expect to learn more about the new Shadowlands release date and the release date of the Scourge event in the coming weeks.

Event will include a new questline tying into the Shadowlands story, zombie invasions in capital cities, familiar bosses in Icecrown that drop catch-up epics for alts, and the return of Nathanos Blightcaller. You’ll be called upon to defend Azeroth from an undead invasion as the Scourge sweep across the land. Players will embark on a quest to establish a foothold in Icecrown, where the barrier between Azeroth and the afterlife has been shattered, and prepare for the coming journey into the Shadowlands. This limited time pre-expansion event will only be available until the launch of Shadowlands, so make sure to log in to experience it and earn special rewards.


Shadowlands pre-patch comes with a massive leveling revamp, featuring not only a level squish but also an item level squish. While the max level during Battle for Azeroth was level 120, the max level is now 50. How does that work? Well, any level 120 characters players had are now 50, and any characters below that will get a similar adjustment. When Shadowlands actually launches, players can level from 50 to 60.

For new characters, the level squish changes everything. Blizzard has completely redone the World of Warcraft questing situation. Instead of questing through Vanilla, Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, and all the way up through the old expansions, players now just choose one leveling experience.
Once players hit level 10, they’ll speak to Chromie, who will set them on a journey through a single expansion — like the Mists of Pandaria leveling experience, or Warlords of Draenor. The next 40 levels will only take about 10-15 hours depending on the chosen experience and player pace. Once players finish their chosen expansion, they’ll be ready for Shadowlands.

- Stats on all gear have been reduced with the item level squish.
- For the first time, characters will undergo a level squish, with 120 characters going down to level 50.
- There is a brand-new leveling experience for first-time players: Exile's Reach.
- While most races will begin life at level 1, Death Knights and Demon Hunters start at level 8 and Allied Races begin at level 10.
- When leveling from 10-50, you will choose to level in a specific expansion through a new system called Chromie Time / Timewalking Journeys. You will not progress through multiple continents, as in past expansions.
- Newly created Allied Race characters will receive their Heritage Armor and achievements upon reaching level 50 without using any boosts.
- With the Black Empire turned to ash upon the defeat of N’Zoth the Corruptor, Corruption effects on items will no longer function.
- Ashjra’kamas, Shroud of Resolve, with Corruption receding, Malefic Core will be temporarily removed from MOTHER until the launch of Shadowlands.
- Heart of Azeroth Rank 4 Essences are no longer obtainable.
- Heirlooms no longer have experience bonuses and now have a set bonus. The new set bonus can be obtained from all Heirloom pieces except weapons and trinkets.

(2) Set: Rested experience consumed is reduced by 30%.
(3) Set: Increases your out-of-combat regeneration in the outdoors, normal dungeons and battlegrounds.
(4) Set: Gaining a level triggers Burst of Knowledge, dealing Holy damage to nearby enemies and granting you 40% primary stat for 2 minutes. Defeating additional enemies extends this effect, up to 2 additional minutes.
(6) Set: Rested experience consumed is reduced by an additional 30%.
PvP Weapon Illusions can be used by all characters across the account.


Players who have already experienced Battle for Azeroth and reached level 50 on at least one character can now choose to level any subsequent characters in a different expansion using Timewalking Campaigns. This new feature allows content from locations like Northrend or Pandaria to scale to a player’s level, so they can adventure from level 10 all the way to 50 and experience the stories of these areas at their originally intended pacing. Visit Chromie near the embassies in Stormwind or Orgrimmar to select your expansion leveling experience. If you’d like to select a different expansion to level through, simply speak to Chromie again.


After creating your character and beginning your journey into World of Warcraft for the first time, you will enter the Newcomer Chat channel where you can chat with other new players and experienced players on the same faction who will be your guides as you level through the new starting zone – Exile’s Reach. New players and guides will be able to recognize one another in the chat channels and with icons above their characters’ heads that only they can see. Upon reaching level 20, new players will be prepared to continue their journey ahead on their own and will no longer have access to the Newcomer Chat.
If you’re a veteran player and are interested in guiding new players as they experience World of Warcraft for the first time, head over to Stormwind Embassy or Orgrimmar Embassy and speak to the guide recruiter once you’ve met the following criteria:

- Have an account in good standing
- Reach level 50
- Complete 3000 quests
- 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.
- If you no longer wish to be a guide, you can speak to the guide recruiter once again.


Flying in Warlords of Draenor and Legion no longer requires earning the achievements, Draenor Pathfinder and Broken Isles Pathfinder, Part Two. Players who have completed the criteria for The Alterac Blitz but did not receive the achievement may receive it upon login.


All Allied Races will be easier to unlock in the Shadowlands pre-patch. The requirement to hit Exalted with a related faction has been removed, leaving only the requirement to complete a related series of zone quests.


- Sold auctions will now show buyer or bidder player names in a tooltip.
- Commodities (stackable items) are now sold by selected stacks before other stacks from the inventory.
- Personal auctions can now be sorted by time remaining.
- The “Level Range” filter now also filters battle pets by level.
- A “Runecarving” option for Profession-crafted armor pieces for Legendaries has been added under each Armor category. These materials are not yet available until Shadowlands.


Max level is now required to access the Black Market Auction House.
The Mighty Caravan Brutosaur is no longer sold by vendors and will now be occasionally available on the Black Market Auction House.


Bursting - is now a dispellable Magic debuff.
Bursting - deals a flat amount of damage instead of a percentage based off of max HP.
Volcanic - Players are now knocked in the air when hit by Volcanic.
Volcanic - now deals damage equal to 15% of the player’s health (was 40%).
Sanguine - duration reduced to 20 seconds (was 60 seconds).
Grievous - Non-periodic heals now removes 1 stack of Grievous.
Grievous - now deals a flat amount of damage instead of a percentage based off of max HP.
Explosive - Orbs now spawn 4 to 8 yards from the unit that summoned them (was 3 yards).
Explosive - Orb health has been reduced and no longer scales with keystone level.
Explosive - Orbs now have a sound effect when defeated.


Battle for Azeroth Season 4 will end with the launch of the Shadowlands pre-patch. During the off-season, Mythic Keystone dungeons will still be playable using Season 4 affixes and rewards, but their seasonal achievements will no longer be available. Additionally, it will still be possible to queue for Rated PvP based on your Season 4 rating, but titles and associated rewards will no longer be earnable.

All Gladiator mounts and titles, including those from previous seasons, can be used by all characters across the account the mount and titles were earned on.
Gladiator’s Medallion, Adaptation, and Relentless have been removed from Honor Talents. The functionality of removing control-impairing effects will be restored as a powerful PvP trinket option that can be purchased with Honor from Aneka Melae in the Hall of Legends in Orgrimmar and Alice Fischer in the Champion’s Hall in Stormwind.


- Wands can be transmogged to other main-hand weapons.
- Mages and Warlocks can transmog wands to daggers and swords.
- Priests can transmog wands to 1H maces and daggers.
- As part of completing the Exile's Reach experience you can unlock simple HD weapon appearances.
- Exile's Reach New Player Weapon Models
- Legion Artifact Transmog updates have leveled up the quality of life for those who want more versatility in their options.
- Artifact appearances for all specs of your class are now available in the appropriate weapon categories.
- You can transmog any Artifact appearance from your class, as long as it follows normal weapon transmog rules (i.e. 1-hand to 1-hand, 2-hand to 2-hand, etc).
- You can mix and match the appearance of different Artifacts now, having your Main-Hand and Off-hand from different appearances, or from completely different Artifacts.
- The Artifact transmog interface is being retained so you can still transmog your own spec Artifact weapons over whatever weapons you are using.


The barbershop has several impactful improvements in the pre-patch:
- You can change your gender at the barbershop instead of using a paid service.
- Druids can customize their racial form tints via the barbershop instead of the tints being tied to their hair color.
- Druids can select Bear and Cat forms from Legion Artifacts via the barbershop, instead of being tied to weapon transmog.
- Aquatic, Travel, and Flight Form appearances from glyphs as well as Fandral's Flamescythe are also accessible through the barbershop.
- The UI for the barbershop uses the same updated graphics as the character creation screen, including color swatches for skin and hair color.


- A navigational marker will now appear on screen to direct you to quest objectives reducing the need to open and close the map.
- Pins can now be placed on the World Map by pressing Ctrl+Left Click at the targeted location. The map pin can be tracked with the navigational marker and shared in chat.
- Druids are now able to customize their shapeshift forms, including Artifact appearances, in the Barber Shop separately from their hair color and weapon transmogs.
- Player spells have been rearranged in the Spellbook. Each class now has a tab that shows abilities that are available to all players of that class, while specialization-specific spells appear under individual specialization tabs.
- Group leaders can now start a countdown timer using group manager tools, or by typing /countdown 10.
- Auction House and player mail notifications will now show on the character selection screen.


The Brawler’s Guild is now temporarily closed. This forum for fisticuffs and furious fighting will return in the future.


- Ahead of the Curve and Cutting Edge achievements
- Mad World from Horrific Visions
- Awakened Mindborer from Mythic+
- Hertz Locker from Mythic Mechagon
- Elite PvP sets
- Reins of the Mighty Caravan Brutosaur moved from vendors to the BMAH


That's all we have for you today, hopefully, that helped you understand the WoW Shadowlands Pre-Expansion Patch. You took a while to read through it and besides of meritorical value, we want to give you something else. If you don't have enough time to farm something or you simply need assistance with anything in the game feel free to poke us on Discord or LiveChat and make use of the 7% discount code which we prepared for our guide readers - RUSHGUIDE7

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