World of Warcraft: Shadowlands won't be launching until later this summer, but just last weekend Blizzard invited the first wave of players into a closed alpha test. Naturally, dataminers have pored through all these new game files to find all kinds of secrets, including new abilities, armor sets, mounts, and more.
But with the alpha being routinely updated and expanded, there's a lot of new stuff to dig through. That's why I've rounded up some of the coolest and most interesting stuff so far, like rudimentary support for controllers and some much-needed changes to how Alliance Races work. Of course, game director Ion Hazzikostas has said that not everything dataminers uncover will be in the final version of Shadowlands, so take this all with a grain of salt.
I also want to give a huge shout out to the folks at Wowhead and IcyVeins, who are the ones datamining and uploading their findings for all of us to snoop through.
Possible gamepad support
One of the more interesting things players have datamined from the Shadowlands alpha is data that hints at possible support for controllers, but some players are even speculating this might be the beginnings of a console port. The file itself is simply a list of default bindings for different controller buttons, with references to PlayStation consoles, but Blizzard has already acknowledged the datamine and said that controller support is actually intended to make WoW more accessible, especially to players who use the Xbox Adaptive Controller to play games.
First cool find by grayson in my Discord. Hints of gamepad support? :O pic.twitter.com/q6Bqidf3KWApril 8, 2020
Still, native controller support would be amazing. I doubt you'd be able to run dungeons or raids efficiently, but being able to kick back and quest using a controller would be awesome. Of course, there are mods that let you do that already, but either way, more customization of WoW's controls is welcome.
Mounts, mounts, and even more mounts
One of the more exciting parts of a new expansion, aside from the new story and zones, is all the new cosmetic options like mounts and equipment. Though I'm not much of a mount collector myself, I love checking out all the cool rides that will be coming to Azeroth. And with Shadowlands, there's certainly a lot of them. I've picked out a few of my favorites for you to look at below, but you can also check out the full list on Wowhead.
One of the biggest features in Shadowlands is the new Covenants system and the armor that comes with it. Somewhat similar to Legion's Class Orders, Shadowlands has four different Covenants that players can choose to align with, each offering unique abilities, quests, and equipment. The armor sets, in particular, are excellent. I'm kind of torn between which Covenant to choose because they all look pretty cool.
With Covenant having four different armor sets for the different armor types—not to mention different color tints—it's a lot to sift through. You can find the full list of datamined armors here, but here are some of my favorites.
What's also cool about these armor sets, as you might've noticed, is that cloaks are no longer just different types of capes. Players will now have options like backpacks, weird floaty crystals, and ornaments.
New character customization options
In Battle for Azeroth, Blizzard finally started adding some better character customization options along with some much-needed redesigns of races. Orcs and trolls could finally stand up straight, while humans got the option to play as thicc Kul Tirans. Shadowlands continues that trend with a host of new facial customization options for a variety of races, including hair styles, tattoos and more.
Big changes to Allied Races, with more possibly coming
In WoW, Allied Races are cool variants of its core races. Some are pretty similar, like Dark Iron Dwarves and regular Dwarves, while others are really unique, like the recently added Vulpera. But instead of being available to all players right away, Allied Races are a reward for completing a series of quests and grinding a specific faction reputation to its max level—a very time intensive process. Fortunately, it looks like that second requirement is going away in Shadowlands.
Dataminers have dug through Shadowlands new achievements and found that the ones referring to Allied Races no longer require you to reach Exalted with a specific faction. That's a huge change that should make earning older Allied Races much easier for players.
Over at IcyVeins, though, dataminers have also spotted some interesting details regarding new NPC character models that might hint at what future Allied Races might be. Fauns from the new zone of Ardenweald, for example, use the same animation rigging as playable Dranei and have unique run animations. Other potential Allied Race candidates include the angel-esque Kyrians and the new race of vampires that can be found in Revendreth.