World of Warcraft: Shadowlands' endgame is inspired by roguelikes

World of Warcraft: Shadowlands
(Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

World of Warcraft: Shadowlands was just announced during BlizzCon 2019, and when it releases next year it will introduce an entire new set of dungeons and raids for players to conquer. But one feature coming to Shadowlands' new endgame is something players haven't really seen before: A randomized, ever-changing dungeon that game director Ion Hazzikostas says is inspired by the brutally challenging roguelike genre.

Called Torghast, Tower of the Damned, this new dungeon is first glimpsed in the new expansion trailer when Sylvanas shatters the barrier between the living world and The Shadowlands. And it's going to play a major role in what players are doing once they reach the new level cap of 60. "I would call this our second major feature," Hazzikostas said during a presentation. "Because Torghast is a bit different than anything we've seen before."

Hazzikostas describes Torghast as an "endless dungeon" that is "ever-changing." To put it more simply, Torghast is a dungeon that changes every time you enter it (just like how Roguelike's randomly generate a new map on each run). Unlike normal dungeons, Torghast can also be played alone or with up to four other friends—regardless of what class they are.

The point of Torghast is to ascend to higher levels of the randomly generated tower. Each time, you'll walk out with permanent upgrades, but each time you play you'll also earn temporary buffs that can wildly change how you play—just like any good roguelike.

Hazzikostas gave one example of this during the presentation, which is shown below.

(Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

As Hazzikostas explained, during your adventures in Torghast, you will be able to augment your abilities in certain ways. Using the Shaman as an example, you could play it safe and pick up a relatively minor buff or you could grab "Secret of the Living Flame" which massively upgrades your flame abilities but significantly weakens y our frost spells.

"A different journey might offer different options and different upgrades," Hazzikostas said. "None is going to be quite like the others."

Torghast sounds like it could be quite a challenge too, considering earlier in the presentation Hazzikostas made it clear that the new zone it belongs to, called The Maw, will be a punishing max level area that draws inspirations from WoW Classic. Which is to say, it will be really hard.

That's all very exciting. Part of what I love about new expansions is the ways Blizzard experiments and tries new things. Torghast sounds awfully similar to Final Fantasy 14's Palace of the Dead, but I can't wait to see what kind of spin Blizzard puts on the endless dungeon. Hazzikostas says more details will be available tomorrow during a second WoW panel. We'll update this story when we know more.

Steven Messner

With over 7 years of experience with in-depth feature reporting, Steven's mission is to chronicle the fascinating ways that games intersect our lives. Whether it's colossal in-game wars in an MMO, or long-haul truckers who turn to games to protect them from the loneliness of the open road, Steven tries to unearth PC gaming's greatest untold stories. His love of PC gaming started extremely early. Without money to spend, he spent an entire day watching the progress bar on a 25mb download of the Heroes of Might and Magic 2 demo that he then played for at least a hundred hours. It was a good demo.