New details about the Shadowlands expansion have come out, finally detailing the cosmology of the afterlife, and the different areas and factions available. There are six mentioned: Baston, Maldraxxus, Ardenweald, Revendreth, Oribus, and The Maw. Each of the first four is ruled by a faction known as a Covenant and represents a different kind of afterlife. The final two are unaligned.
World of Warcraft: Shadowlands New Zones and Covenants
The heavenly city of Bastion is ruled by the Kyrian Covenant, angelic beings who are formed from the souls of not just good people but those with unfinished business. An example of a soul-aligned with the Kyrian is Uther, the Lightbringer.
Maldraxxuss resembles the Plaguelands and is ruled by the undead seeming Necrolord Covenant. Interestingly these souls are not necessarily evil; they are the souls of those who are unyielding and strong-willed and believe in survival of the fittest above all. The example soul given is Thrall’s Mother, Draka.
Ardenweald is described as a dark inverse of the Emerald Dream. Where the Dream represents the Spring and Summer of nature, Ardenweald represents Autumn and Winter, rest and death as opposed to quickening and life. Souls connected to nature come here not just to rest eternally, but be reborn back into the world. The example soul given is Cenarius, and it is ruled by the Night Fae covenant, who appears almost identical to Night Elves.
Revendreth is the home of souls who need to atone for their sins, an example given being Kael’thas. Flawed and prideful souls are sent here, and it is ruled by the Venthyr Covenant, vampiric looking creatures who rule over the Gothic-inspired architecture of Revendreth.
Oribus is unaligned and is home to the Arbiter, judge of all dead souls. It is unaligned and acts as a player hub. It appears as an ancient city that no creature (not even the most ancient) remember how it came to be.
The Maw is the endgame area, where before now, nothing has ever escaped. Ruled by the Jailer, it is where Azeroth’s most vile, wicked, and irredeemable souls are sent, to be sealed away from the rest of the Shadowlands where they cannot harm. It is a wide-open, terrifying max level area which you will enter early, but be forced to flee.
The game will lead you first to the Maw, then to Oribus, then Bastion, Maldraxxus, Ardenweald, and finally, Revendreth as part of the main story scenario.