World of Warcraft: Shadowlands marks the eighth major expansion pack for the storied MMO. Judging from a half-hour playing it at BlizzCon this year, it seems like a natural evolution of modern WoW that will run alongside the very-different WoW Classic experience for the foreseeable future. That said, the biggest change wasn"t part of my hands-on demo—but don"t worry, that won"t stop me from geeking out about it in extreme detail.

Let"s be clear where I"m coming from, here: I"ve been playing World of Warcraft almost continuously for 15 years. (I lapsed for a big chunk of the Wrath of the Lich King era for IRL reasons.) While I understand the appeal of WoW Classic, I am very much a proponent of modern WoW; the game has evolved over time to be more accessible for me to play just a couple of hours a week, as real life now dictates. But I tend to play solo or just with one or two friends on a sporadic basis, which means I"m looking for something very different than the hardcore raiding or PvP crowd.

Within that framing, I feel WoW has gotten more and more fun over the years. There have been some missteps, sure (I"m looking at you, Warlords of Draenor) but I felt that the semi-recent Legion was the best expansion Blizzard has ever done. My hopes are high for Shadowlands.

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