As the hype for World of Warcraft: Shadowlands continues to build – only emboldened by the recently announced release date of October 27th – the developers have been showing a great deal of transparency towards the player base.
This has been a fantastic change, and directly addressed a primary concern from the players that Blizzard tended to ignore feedback and player experience. With the developers at Blizzard seemingly turning a new leaf, players have been delightfully surprised.
Towards that transparency, a dev post by game director Ion Hazzikostas was recently released, discussing a myriad of topics. We already discussed PvP vendors, Torghast, and a few other things here, but there was one section that deserved to be viewed in-depth.
The Covenant system of Shadowlands is an integral piece of content that will have massive ramifications on players in every aspect of play. Swearing fealty to one of the four Covenants in the game, players will receive perks and penalties for their allegiance.
“A weighty decision almost by definition comes with some amount of stress,” Hazzikostas states, “whether anxiety about making the ‘wrong’ choice, or just evaluating various pros and cons and wishing there were a way to just get the best of all worlds.
World of Warcraft Game Director Ion Hazzikostas has just posted a Shadowlands development update:https://t.co/s5ghb42bI1
— WarcraftDevs (@WarcraftDevs) September 9, 2020
To that end, the developers have done what they can to mitigate this feeling of potential remorse. Picking a covenant is important, but Hazzikostas assures readers that it isn’t permanent – you can leave a covenant to join another immediately.
That isn’t to say that there isn’t a penalty for doing such a thing, though. Players won’t be able to switch back to their previous covenant with ease and will have to atone for their betrayal.
One of the main concerns of this mechanic is that players who switched covenants could potentially be left behind relative to others, their progress hindered by their switch. Many feared a similar situation to the current patch 8.3, where a player who just received their legendary cloak will have to grind relentlessly to catch up.
Players who regret their choice, Hazzikostas says, should be able to change their decision straightforwardly without any long-term drawbacks compared to others. However, in response to fan criticism asking for there to be no choice at all, with all rewards available, Blizzard bluntly declines.
“These covenant systems are thoroughly intertwined: Covenant abilities are often modified by covenant-specific conduit and soulbinds… granting access to one of these without the others would lead to an incomplete or confusing result. In short, pulling on that thread would unravel the entire fabric of the system.”