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|Level: 52 - 54|
Maldraxxus is one of the realms of the Shadowlands, ruled by the Necrolord Covenant. It represents the heart of the Shadowlands' military might. It is home to wicked beings like necromancers and abominations, but not everyone here is evil. Relentless, warlike souls who never yield and are willing to strive against one another for greatness are welcomed here by the necrolords, and the greatest of them are reformed by necromancers into undead soldiers who defend the Shadowlands from external forces and wage war on the enemies of death. The determined rise to positions of power, while the less-promising become fuel for Maldraxxus' weapons. This brutal selection process has created a vast militia with a wobbling hierarchy. The realm's longtime leader—the Primus—has vanished, and five of the most powerful necrolords now vie for the role of advancing the cause of death throughout the cosmos.
Maldraxxus is a realm of unending conflict. It is a place of brutality and bravery where its chosen are forged by the fires of war to answer a great calling: to protect the Shadowlands against any force that threatens its infinite realms. The First Ones who shaped the cosmos knew they needed to protect the Shadowlands from external threats and beyond. Maldraxxus was their answer. Maldraxxus is home to the mighty. Ours is a station for souls consumed with great determination, or for those who maintain an unending drive to make their mark upon death. Those who strove for greatness in life may have the chance to find it in death. Maldraxxus is a realm where ambition is rewarded and where the strong of body and mind thrive.
Maps and subregions
|Instance name||Level range||Group size||Approximate run time|
|Plaguefall||50 - 60||5|
|Theater of Pain||5|
|Zone Name||Faction||Level Range||Direction||Access|
|Oribos||South||Entrance at the Bleak Redoubt|
- During development, one of the primary inspirations for Maldraxxus was to revisit the fan-favorite themes of undeath represented by the Scourge in Warcraft III and Wrath of the Lich King, and to see how Blizzard's current artists could depict those themes with World of Warcraft's modern visual fidelity. Many of the creatures found in the zone are similar to those used by the Scourge but represented in a much purer and more powerful form. Another aspect was to play with players' expectations, as Maldraxxus' aggressive and evil-looking exterior initially belies its noble purpose, but this also caused the team to worry—at least until the first external playthroughs of the zone started—if players would be able to care and empathize with the characters in such an alien-looking place.
- Another important inspiration for the designers was heavy metal music, with some artists jokingly stating that they designed parts of the zone to look like they could fit on a heavy metal album cover. This aesthetic extended to some of the creatures in Maldraxxus, such as the flayedwings.
- Steve Danuser wanted the name of the zone to recall the themes of the Scourge and locations like Naxxramas, saying "X is a big letter in terms of that kind of 'scourgey' sound". The prefix "Mal-" usually hints at bad or dangerous things, conveying the zone's sense of danger. However, in line with the heavy metal inspiration used by the artists, Danuser admits that he and the other designers also wanted the zone name to sound like a "really metal aggressive sound" that someone could scream out, because that's what fits the zone's theme.
- One of the challenges in designing Maldraxxus was the zone's lack of trees, which meant that the artists had to find other vertical forms that serve the same purpose of breaking up the horizon lines. The solution was insect hives on bone legs, mushroom-like bone tumors growing out of the landscape, and areas filled with fungi. Some of the bone tumors are loosely based on rocks found in Laguna Canyon in California.
- The objects in Maldraxxus presented some unique opportunities and challenges for the prop team, who had to weave strange organic elements into the traditional construction methods used by other cultures. The team also wanted the objects to feel like they belong in an unfamiliar place while still feeling familiar to players. They drew inspiration from Warcraft III and knew that they would make heavy use of bone as a design material, but also later began including other elements like sinew, flesh, and corroded metal to provide some variety in the designs.
Maldraxxus as shown at BlizzCon 2019
Map of Maldraxxus in Afterlives.
In the Beyond the Veil cinematic.
- Concept art
- Patch 9.0.2 (2020-11-17): Added.
- ^ a b Blizzard Entertainment 2019-11-01. BlizzCon 2019 - World of Warcraft: What's Next. Retrieved on 2019-11-02.
- ^ Blizzard Entertainment 2019-11-01. World of Warcraft: What’s Next Panel Recap. Retrieved on 2019-11-02.
- ^ Blizzard Entertainment. Kyrian - Covenants - Shadowlands. Retrieved on 2019-11-02.
- ^ Blizzard Entertainment. Shadowlands - Home. Retrieved on 2019-11-02.
- ^ The Art of World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, page 71
- ^ The Art of World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, page 98
- ^ The Art of World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, page 102
- ^ The Art of World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, page 110
- ^ a b c d Garth Holden 2020-09-24. A deep dive into Maldraxxus, the defenders of Death. SA Gamer. Archived from the original on 2020-09-24.
- ^ a b Ezgi Pajecki 2020-09-26. Maldraxxus, Shadowlands and Beyond - Interview with Steve Danuser. Lorekeeper. Archived from the original on 2020-10-01.
- ^ perculia 2020-07-09. Shadowlands Zones, Covenant Armor, and Character Customization Interview with Art Director Ely Cannon. Wowhead. Archived from the original on 2020-07-09.