The Shadowlands have their own rules. We realize this from the moment we take our first step into the ominous realm of the dead in World of Warcraft. One of these rules concerns time - or rather, its passage. Because time passes differently in the Shadowlands than it does on Azeroth. This, in turn, will have consequences for what happens on Azeroth after our trip to the world of the deceased.

Ion Hazzikostas had already made it clear in an interview


while back that time does not run faster or slower in the Shadowlands to a fixed degree than it does on Azeroth. Instead, the game director described the passage of time in Shadowlands as "chaotic."


editors of BlizzardWatch have taken this statement from Hazzikostas as an opportunity to speculate a bit about the effects of the "chaotic" time progression of the Shadowlands and what we can expect after Shadowlands in WoW. We don't want to withhold these ideas from you and have therefore summarized them for you and expanded them a bit.

Table of Contents1

. Time in the Shadowlands, Possibility #1: No time passes in Azeroth2. Time in the Shadowlands, possibility #2: We travel several thousand years into the future or into the past3. Time in the Shadowlands, possibility #3: We end up in an alternate timeline4. Time in the Shadowlands, option #4: We experience a combination of options 1-35. Blizzard, you have all the options, please use them!

Time in the Shadowlands, option #1: No time passes in Azeroth

The simplest, but probably most boring option would be that no time passes at all in Azeroth while we are in the Shadowlands. We travel to the Realm of the Dead, save the world there (again), return to Azeroth - and find that everything has remained exactly as we left it.

The question is: What does this mean for the story of WoW? Our trip to the Shadowlands would have no effect on Azeroth, because our absence did not ensure that anything could have happened in the meantime. There was no in-between time in the true sense of the word. This also means that potential tensions, problems, unrest that developed before Shadowlands would remain.

Blizzard could therefore devise a new threat for the expansion that appears after Shadowlands, which would function completely independently of the events of Shadowlands. However, the resulting events would at least have to correlate with which story-bearing characters travel with us to Shadowlands or are influenced by the events there.
When we return to Azeroth from the Shadowlands, perhaps nothing has changed? Source: buffed

Time in the Shadowlands, Possibility #2: We travel several thousand years into the future or into the past.

The opposite of no time passing at all while we are in the Shadowlands would be a time jump of several thousand years into the past or future. Blizzard has several options here to strand us somewhere in the WoW expansion after next: Once we have fulfilled our world-saving function in the Shadowlands, we return to Azeroth only to discover that we haven't landed in the present at all.


expansion could then revolve around us trying to return to our real time.

A trip into the past could take us to the time of the Titans, for example, to the battles of the Troll kingdoms against the Aqir or against the High Elves and Humans, or to the destruction of the Well of Eternity during the War of the Ancestors. Here, there are still large gaps in the lore of WoW, which Blizzard could fill with an expansion to Shadowlands. Alternatively, we could find a future where Azeroth has completely changed, Horde and Alliance no longer exist at all, and where the question is whether we even want to return to our own past.

Both options could mean a large development effort for Blizzard, depending on how much the team would need or want to redesign a past or future Azeroth


Perhaps we'll travel far back into the Titans' past after Shadowlands? Source: Blizzard

Time in the Shadowlands, possibility #3: We end up in an alternate tim


The third way Blizzard could handle the effects of chaotic time in the Shadowlands after Shadowlands would be an alternate timeline. We could end up in an alternate timeline after returning from the Shadowlands because Sylvanas somehow managed to kill Arthas and Kel'Thuzad before the undead plague could spread across Azeroth. Then the Legion invasion, the Third War, and the destruction of Silvermoon would never occur.

So when we return to our supposed homeland after Shadowlands, we end up in a different time where Lordaeron still stands and the orcs never migrated to Kalimdor. An imminent attack by the Burning Legion could demand everything from our battle-hardened heroes, because Azeroth lacks experience in fighting the demons. Alternatively, a new conflict could develop between the Alliance and the Horde, depending on the situation of the orcs.

This variant would probably be the most complex for Blizzard - after all, the developers would have to change various components of the game world and the lore and undertake a comprehensive redesign of Azeroth.
Sylvanas strives to undo the past... Source: Blizzard

Time in the Shadowlands, Possibility #4: We experience a combination of Possibility 1-3.

Ion Hazzikostas had said that time in the Shadowlands is chaotic. So why shouldn't something chaotic happen to the timeline of Azeroth, that is, why shouldn't we experience all three of the above possibilities at once? Maybe after Shadowlands we'll get an expansion where the space-time continuum of World of Warcraft (buy now €14.99)


completely messed up and we have to travel through time with the help of the Bronze Dragonflight to fix time in the world of the living?

Maybe we'll travel back in time to make sure it happens exactly as it's supposed to


We make sure Azshara is truly working with the Burning Legion, that the orcs travel to Kalimdor, and most importantly, that Sylvanas cannot interfere in the affairs of Kel Thuzad and Arthas to prevent her own death and the destruction of Silvermoon.
Kel'Thuzad could again play a special role in and after Shadowlands. Source: Blizzard

Blizzard, you have all the options, please use them!

Whatever Blizzard plans to do with the story of WoW and however our journey to the Shadowlands will affect Azeroth, one

thing is certain:

The developers have a plethora of ways to use this "chaotic time". We're sure: Ion Hazzikostas wouldn't have just mentioned any mysterious consequences of this temporal anomaly of Shadowlands if Blizzard wasn't also planning something with it. Therefore, we hope that the developers will take the opportunity and that the expansion after Shadowlands will be as chaotic as Hazzikostas' statement promises.

What do you think? What can we expect after our return from the Shadowlands in Azeroth? What do you want to see in the Shadowlands expansion? Write us your opinion in the comments!

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