BlizzCon 2019: World of Warcraft Shadowlands’ Covenants explained

    
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World of Warcraft’s Shadowlands expansion might not have been a total surprise when it was announced, but some of its features (as listed in the official trailer) have sure mystified fans. One word in particular seems to be generating the most interest and confusion: Covenants.

In Friday evening’s “What’s Next?” panel for World of Warcraft, Ion Hazzikostas explained what Covenants are and why they will be a major factor in players’ journeys through the afterlife. According to him, Covenants are the “ruling powers” of the Shadowlands, four factions each with their own zone, goals, and methods.

The first Covenant is the angelic-looking Kyrian, who are all about order, virtue, and service as they watch over the beautiful Bastion. The Necrolords are death-themed soldiers who roam Maldraxxus, while the Night Fae offer rest and rebirth in Ardenweald. Finally, the last Covenant is the Venthyr, who get all vampy in their gothic Revendreth.

Now as players level their first character through Shadowlands, they’ll be learning about all four Covenants along the way. Then, at max level, they’ll choose to align that character with one of the four factions. This will not only propel them on a tailored narrative journey but also offer them unique cosmetics, armor, and (yes) powers.

In fact, Blizzard said that players can gain access to two permanent new powers per character. Each Covenant grants one class-related power in addition to a second power that all characters in that Covenant have.

Each Covenant also has a home base, called a Covenant Sanctum, that players will be able to restore and build up to use its various features. The new class order halls, perhaps?

Hazzikostas said that once you unlock Covenants on a max-leveled character, successive alts can pick a Covenant from the very start of Shadowlands and progress as they see fit.

Covenants are tied into the new endgame “Soulbinds” progression system. Unlike artifact weapons and the Heart of Azeroth, there will be no artifact power to grind. The team said that it wants to offer players goals to work toward without that degenerating into an annoying grind.

It definitely sounds like Covenants are a framework around which Shadowlands is built. Will they be fun and compelling enough to get you to level four characters through the expansion to see all of the factions? That’s for you to decide when this expansion releases next year.

Everything BlizzCon 2019

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Bannex

I blew this off initially but it actually sounds pretty interesting. It’s going to depend on how detailed and unique each covenant feels.

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styopa

So…it sort of seems like we’re taking heavenly angel-sides now, sort of somewhere between Skyforge, RIFT, Aion?

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Dobablo

I guess I need to level more alts. I only needed 2 max level characters to complete the story in BfA. Now I will need 4 (which is massive improvement on the 11 max level characters required in Legion).

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Sorenthaz

Sounds interesting I guess, and would be a decent way to have a different form of PvP that is no longer Horde vs Alliance. But it seems like yet another system that’s set up to be current-expansion-only.

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Bannex

They said the powers you earn are permanent so… there’s that

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zoward

Balancing these covenant powers against each other could prove a challenge. Four ways? Blizzard even had problems balancing the Shaman/Paladin against each other until BC gave the classes to both factions. Anyone remember the 1.9 patch?

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Bruno Brito

Considering history, they’ll probably balance them in a way that denies player “agency” as they want so much.

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Dobablo

Hope you don’t need to your raising chances by selecting the wrong covenant.

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Giggilybits

More garbage or more of the same. The game director needs to step down.

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johnwillo

At last! My status with the Scryers will finally pay off! What? They’re not? Well, @#@%#W%!!

hurbster
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hurbster

No neutral option ?

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Tenthyr Adi

No, but they dont actually seem to be in conflict: the different covenants have different duties for the whole ecosystem of death.

Zola_Rose
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Zola_Rose

From what he presented, players level through the Shadowlands learning about each covenant in the process, and later they choose which one to bind themselves to. So it seems they make sure players are familiar with each of them before that choice has to be made. Meaning, you don’t have to level through 4 characters in order to get to know each faction. I believe he mentioned being able to access powers in that process, before making the commitment to one faction.

hurbster
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hurbster

Yay, more Sylvanus….

And that’s not how you spell Ravenloft.

semugh
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semugh

and how about Alien Covenant?