Shadowlands Preview: A Look at Covenant Systems
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
In Shadowlands, players will be able to quest through four new zones ruled by ancient and powerful Covenants. Upon reaching the max level of 60, players will be able to join one of these Covenants as they continue to explore the Warcraft universe’s afterlife and the many mysteries and adventures that it holds.

While Covenants have many facets that make them unique, they all share a few key systems.

Choosing a Covenant

As you progress through Shadowlands, you’ll play through each of the four new zones where the Covenants hold dominion, learning about what each Covenant stands for and experiencing some the powers that they offer. Once you’ve completed the narrative campaign and have reached max level, you’ll receive a quest in Oribos allowing you to choose which Covenant you’d like to belong to and begin your new journey as a member.

  • Kyrian: The kyrian are steadfast guardians of the afterlife who bear the souls of the dead into the Shadowlands. Eternally devoted to duty and service, only the worthy may enter their ranks.
  • Necrolords: Among the necrolords, strength is rewarded and weakness cast aside. The souls of the ambitious and contentious are forged into an immortal army charged with the defense of the Shadowlands.
  • Night Fae: The night fae tend to fallen nature spirits who slumber within the tranquil forest. Those with a deep bond to nature may join their cause, ensuring that the rejuvenated spirits can one day rejoin the eternal cycle.
  • Venthyr: The venthyr are aristocratic overseers of souls burdened with excessive pride and wickedness. They guide troubled souls upon the rigorous path to atonement, harvesting anima to keep their realm strong.

Choosing your Covenant is a weighty decision, and not to be made lightly. While it will be possible to switch Covenants, once you have betrayed a Covenant by leaving them, they will not readmit you easily. However, your loyalty will earn you a host of benefits, including access to a unique Covenant Campaign, Soulbinds, a Covenant Sanctum, and more.

Note: For players who like to play more than one character—once you’ve reached maximum level with one character and chosen a Covenant for them, you’ll be able to immediately choose a Covenant for any additional characters who reach Shadowlands.

Covenant Campaign

When you choose a Covenant, you’ll gain access to a unique Covenant Campaign that delves deeper into the story of your chosen Covenant. You’ll begin by setting up your Covenant’s Sanctum and gaining access to some initial services.

Your Covenant will begin sending you out into the world to begin aiding them in a variety of tasks and collecting Anima. As you progress through the campaign and complete the tasks at hand, you’ll begin to gain Renown.

Renown

As you progress through your Covenant’s story, you’ll build Renown and increase the amount of trust your character has earned within the Covenant. Renown is earned by performing worthy actions through the Covenant Campaign, returning Anima to the Sanctum, and by rescuing souls from the Maw.

Increasing your Renown will grant specific rewards at each Renown Level, including:

  • Unlocking a new row of power for a Soulbind character.
  • Increasing the item level of items you receive from World Quests.
  • Increasing the maximum potential level of the features within your Sanctum.
  • Earning legendary recipes for the runecrafter in Torghast.
  • Earning unique Covenant-themed cosmetic items such as mounts, pets, a title, back attachment transmog, and transmog armor.

Each week, you will pick up two quests in your Sanctum. Each of these quests will award you a Renown level.

  • The first quests ask that you deposit a certain of Anima into your reservoir in your Sanctum.
  • The second weekly quests send you to the Maw to recover souls from the clutches of the Jailer.

Completing each chapter of your Covenant Campaign will also provide an additional Renown Level, so these will be quests that you want to focus on.

Note: If you fall behind or are leveling an alternate character, you’ll be able to earn additional Renown from endgame activities such as dungeons, raids, PvP, and Callings until you’ve reached the current maximum.

Covenant Sanctums


Each Covenant has a unique Sanctum available to their members. It is their seat of power and home to many of the key figures you’ll be working with throughout the Covenant Campaign. Over time, you’ll be able to upgrade Sanctum features through your ongoing adventures in Shadowlands. There are five main features in each Sanctum. Four of these are shared between each of the Covenants, with a fifth being unique to each individual Covenant.

It’s also here that you’ll bring Anima to deposit into the Covenant’s reservoir, take on new quests, and more.

Here are the four shared features within the Covenant Sanctum:

  • Adventures: Put your tactical skills to the test by sending your allies into the Shadowlands and lending aid to your chosen Covenant by tackling the unique challenges facing them. You’ll need to be strategic about how you take on these combat puzzles, who you’ll send to face them, and how you’ll utilize their skills to claim victory.
  • Transport Network: Players will be able to access a zone-specific travel network within their Sanctum. These travel networks are specific to each Covenant.
  • Anima Conductor: Players will be able to enable additional content within the zone by investing Anima into activating a specific area.
  • Soulbinds: Within your Sanctum, you’ll meet three key members from your Covenant. You’ll be able to choose one of these to Soulbind with. Soulbinding allows you to gain access to traits that enhance your skills so that you can effectively combat all who stand in your way.

Soulbinds

Once a player chooses a Covenant to join, they will unlock the ability to Soulbind with one of several select characters within that Covenant, who will share their distinctive powers with the player in the form of a variety of traits and bonuses. Which character you’re currently bound to can be changed while in any rest area or with a Tome of Clear Mind, while modifying a Soulbind’s traits requires you to be at the Forge of Bonds in your Covenant Sanctum. You will be able to unlock access to an additional Soulbind through your Covenant Campaign.

When you’ve chosen a Soulbind, you’ll gain access to their Soulbind tree, which contains two types of nodes: Soulbind Traits and sockets for Conduits. Traits are passive abilities and buffs that are themed to each specific Soulbind character, and Conduit sockets allow players to further customize their own abilities.

Conduits

Conduits are a new type of item that players can obtain and socket into Soulbind trees to enhance their class and Covenant abilities while bound with that character. There are three types of Conduits: Potency (damage/healing), Endurance (survivability), and Finesse (utility). A given Conduit can only be placed into a socket of the matching type.

Learn more about Soulbinds in our article.

Covenant Class Abilities & Signature Abilities

Each Covenant has unique class abilities and signature abilities available to players who choose to join them at max level. As you level up on your initial journey through each of their domains, you’ll get to experience these abilities firsthand—before you ultimately choose the Covenant you wish to dedicate yourself to.

  • Signature Abilities are available to all players who join the Covenant regardless of class, race, or specialization. This ability helps players explore and engage with the world in new ways and provides a unique tool to help solve the problems encountered in Shadowlands.
  • Covenant Class Abilities provide additional combat-oriented gameplay options that are tailored to the theme of that Covenant. Every Covenant offers an ability for each class.

This is but the beginning of your journey into the Shadowlands—and with time and perseverance, you’ll be well on your way to being a contributing member of your chosen Covenant.
This article was originally published in forum thread: Shadowlands Preview: A Look at Covenant Systems started by Lumy View original post
Comments 21 Comments
  1. Adi91's Avatar
    This system would be great if the Covenant abbilites were exactly give you the same power.

    Now if you're minmaxing you can't choose the Covenant you most like, because you'll have to choose the Covenant which gives you the best abbilites.

    For example you like Kyrians the most but the Covenant abbility of it is the worst for your character. With the knowledge of this would you choose the Kyrians with such a good heart? Definiatly NO, and that's why this system is a suck.
  1. Yakkahboo's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Adi91 View Post
    This system would be great if the Covenant abbilites were exactly give you the same power.

    Now if you're minmaxing you can't choose the Covenant you most like, because you'll have to choose the Covenant which gives you the best abbilites.

    For example you like Kyrians the most but the Covenant abbility of it is the worst for your character. With the knowledge of this would you choose the Kyrians with such a good heart? Definiatly NO, and that's why this system is a suck.
    There will always be a best ability unless the abilities are identical, is that a better system?
  1. Rendark's Avatar
    Covenants would be fine is they were just cosmetic but since that's not the case, it's going to be painful.
  1. Adi91's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Kháine View Post
    There will always be a best ability unless the abilities are identical, is that a better system?
    It is, because you can realy choose the Covenant you most like, not the Covenant that give you the most power.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Rendark View Post
    Covenants would be fine is they were just cosmetic but since that's not the case, it's going to be painful.
    That's the point.
  1. Onikaroshi's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Adi91 View Post
    This system would be great if the Covenant abbilites were exactly give you the same power.

    Now if you're minmaxing you can't choose the Covenant you most like, because you'll have to choose the Covenant which gives you the best abbilites.

    For example you like Kyrians the most but the Covenant abbility of it is the worst for your character. With the knowledge of this would you choose the Kyrians with such a good heart? Definiatly NO, and that's why this system is a suck.
    No thank you, just allow easy ability switching. I want my 4 separate ability choices.
  1. Kaito92's Avatar
    Dumb system that is gonna get reverted in 9.3 while people who don't have a clue about the game and love blizzard gonna defend it until then
  1. justandulas's Avatar
    Awful system as designed. People are gonna want one covenant but their BiS abilities on another. Bad design

    They should offer every ability for every covenant and offer a cosmetic flavor
  1. Rendark's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Adi91 View Post
    That's the point.
    If the point of a system is to be painful then its a bad system.
  1. kodemonkee's Avatar
    Looks like we will get a system on top of a system on top of a system and on top of a system... Hmm don't know what to think of it.
  1. chiddie's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Yakkahboo View Post
    There will always be a best ability unless the abilities are identical, is that a better system?
    This is true, but fine tuning of numbers is also a thing we pay a monthly fee for.

    A best ability that does 1% more dps than the one of the covenant you like most is not an issue.

    If 1% starts to become 5% and more then it starts to become an issue.

    I like the idea of “binding” yourself to one and only covenant, but to make the system really fun the output difference between the abilities covenants grant have to be really near to non existent. And I fear this will never ever happen.
  1. Djaye's Avatar
    will people now admit that every time the say they have learned and are righting the ship that its all PR BS.

    This looks to be so much worse than BFA. exponentially worse...
  1. Logwyn's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Adi91 View Post
    This system would be great if the Covenant abbilites were exactly give you the same power.

    Now if you're minmaxing you can't choose the Covenant you most like, because you'll have to choose the Covenant which gives you the best abbilites.

    For example you like Kyrians the most but the Covenant abbility of it is the worst for your character. With the knowledge of this would you choose the Kyrians with such a good heart? Definiatly NO, and that's why this system is a suck.
    I agree the system is lacking. But I'm picking the covenant I want to play based on what goes best with the class/race the character is. Since I really do not care about min/maxing
  1. Super Kami Dende's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Adi91 View Post
    It is, because you can realy choose the Covenant you most like, not the Covenant that give you the most power.
    Most People will choose the Covenant they most like. The only ones that won't will be the 0.01% of top raiders and the 5% of People that think following those raiders choices will somehow make them good.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by justandulas View Post
    Awful system as designed. People are gonna want one covenant but their BiS abilities on another. Bad design

    They should offer every ability for every covenant and offer a cosmetic flavor
    Or People can stop thinking about Videogames as Maths and stop ruining fun for everyone else that likes variety?
  1. justandulas's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Super Kami Dende View Post
    Most People will choose the Covenant they most like. The only ones that won't will be the 0.01% of top raiders and the 5% of People that think following those raiders choices will somehow make them good.

    - - - Updated - - -



    Or People can stop thinking about Videogames as Maths and stop ruining fun for everyone else that likes variety?
    You would think super Kami guru would understand min maxing. Especially at this point in wows age.

    And if you don’t, mythic guilds will.

    I’m a very high end mythic tank, and I’m going to be forced into a covenant I don’t want when I’d prefer one unless coincidentally they line up. That breeds contempt

    This will end up worse than azerite gear unless they liberate the abilities from the covenants. Give them all to every covenant and add a cosmetic flavor to each instead

    Bad system is bad.
  1. Super Kami Dende's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by justandulas View Post
    You would think super Kami guru would understand min maxing. Especially at this point in wows age.

    And if you don’t, mythic guilds will.

    I’m a very high end mythic tank, and I’m going to be forced into a covenant I don’t want when I’d prefer one unless coincidentally they line up. That breeds contempt
    Protip: I don't give a fuck about Mythic Raiders since they make up such a small population and whine incessantly that any opinion of theirs is instantly disregarded by myself.

    If you feel forced into something in a Videogame, re-evaluate your life.
  1. justandulas's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Super Kami Dende View Post
    Protip: I don't give a fuck about Mythic Raiders since they make up such a small population and whine incessantly that any opinion of theirs is instantly disregarded by myself.

    If you feel forced into something in a Videogame, re-evaluate your life.
    Most people will just re evaluate what game they’re playing

    I’d argue if you don’t min max at this point of wows life, you’re playing the game wrong

    Some of us enjoy hard content. You continue living in lfr tho.

    You are not super kami dense. You’re just little green
  1. Segus1992's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by justandulas View Post
    Most people will just re evaluate what game they’re playing

    I’d argue if you don’t min max at this point of wows life, you’re playing the game wrong

    Some of us enjoy hard content. You continue living in lfr tho.

    You are not super kami dense. You’re just little green
    Funny how the argument can easily be turned: I'd argue that if you're tryharding in a game this old, you're playing the game wrong. See how stupid that sounds?

    And damn you're naive with your first sentence. You think people will quit over covenant abilities being poorly balanced? Are you new to the game or do you just not pay any attention?
  1. justandulas's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Segus1992 View Post
    Funny how the argument can easily be turned: I'd argue that if you're tryharding in a game this old, you're playing the game wrong. See how stupid that sounds?

    And damn you're naive with your first sentence. You think people will quit over covenant abilities being poorly balanced? Are you new to the game or do you just not pay any attention?
    People have quit wow over LESS. This is a deal breaking game design whether you realize it or not. And i guarantee by patch 9.1 or 9.2, they'll change their tune quickly because to do otherwise would leave shadowlands even worse off than early BFA
  1. SerratedEdge252's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Djaye View Post
    will people now admit that every time the say they have learned and are righting the ship that its all PR BS.

    This looks to be so much worse than BFA. exponentially worse...
    Sorry but you can't get worse than BFA , that's literally impossible. This looks/is way better than you think it is doomsayer.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by justandulas View Post
    You would think super Kami guru would understand min maxing. Especially at this point in wows age.

    And if you don’t, mythic guilds will.

    I’m a very high end mythic tank, and I’m going to be forced into a covenant I don’t want when I’d prefer one unless coincidentally they line up. That breeds contempt

    This will end up worse than azerite gear unless they liberate the abilities from the covenants. Give them all to every covenant and add a cosmetic flavor to each instead

    Bad system is bad.
    I mean same, but things will get buffed/nerfed. If not now watch the other covenants besides the one you think is OP get better soulbinds etc. You can't get worse than azerite gear as that was a complete piss mess. This is looking promising actually.
  1. justandulas's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by SerratedEdge252 View Post
    Sorry but you can't get worse than BFA , that's literally impossible. This looks/is way better than you think it is doomsayer.

    - - - Updated - - -



    I mean same, but things will get buffed/nerfed. If not now watch the other covenants besides the one you think is OP get better soulbinds etc. You can't get worse than azerite gear as that was a complete piss mess. This is looking promising actually.
    At least with azerite you could swap. With this, it’s even worse because of pigeon holes you into one role in game and no other content.

    You want the best pvp abilities? You’ll pay for it in m+ and raids.

    Want the best raid covenant? Don’t bother pvping. Etc

    It’s a bad system. A better one would offer all the abilities up like a talent tree you could respec and you’re covenant offered a cosmetic flavor

    As it stands now, it’s a single player rpg mechanic being stuffed into the mosh casual mmorpg on the market. May as well make realms, talent trees, races, etc permanent

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