World of Warcraft previews the first pass of Covenant abilities for Shadowlands

    
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Roast somebody.

Players were promised yesterday that the developers behind World of Warcraft would be shedding some more light on Shadowlands in the near future. That near future is now, as it turns out, since we’ve already got a rundown of the full set of Covenant signature abilities being added in the expansion. Or more accurately, the first pass of same; Blizzard states outright that not all classes have abilities in place for all Covenants just yet, and the ones that are present may wind up changing over time.

Still, it should be enough to give players an idea of what awaits, ranging from the Vanthyr Warrior ability that turns Execute into an early debuff as well as an execution move to the Rogue Necrolord ability jamming bone spikes into targets for long-term physical damage that scales with more applications. While there are still some notable blank spots, it should give a broad idea of what to expect when players start rolling into the game’s upcoming expansion testing this week.

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Utakata
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Daniel Reasor

From Warlords of Draenor’s stronghold sidekick spells to the Legion’s Artifact powers to Battle for Azeroth’s necklace powers to these Covenant abilities, Blizz seems to really like giving players temporary spells that are good for one expansion only.

It’s probably a sound way of testing prototype versions of potential future spells and talents.

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Bruno Brito

It’s probably a sound way of testing prototype versions of potential future spells and talents.

Then they have years of experience testing that.

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rosieposie

This just seems like a terrible idea, tying these into what should be a purely RP choice between the various covenants. Get ready for the ‘which covenant is the best for Class X’ spam in chat. Why not have covenant specific story content and cosmetics as a reward, why do you have to include game play changing mechanics in it? Dumb, dumb, dumb.

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Ashfyn Ninegold

Yup. This is a bad direction. Blizz just can’t seem to get how stifling removing choice from gameplay is. They think they are giving players choice (See, for example, class fantasies), but in reality they are interfering in player choice at the most basic level. Every WoW strategy website will have “best covenant” page up by the end of Alpha.

And then they will wonder, why don’t people like covenants?

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johnwillo

Well, the Covenant was pretty mean to me in HALO…

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Utakata

To my understanding, one will be mandatory. As that will be tied to the primary start zone for this expansion pack. Putting the bottle necking issues aside (and you’d think Blizz would had learned from this by now)…the decision of where to start should still be at the players’ discretion if they want any semblance of choice, IMO.

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Bruno Brito

Here’s the problem: When i’ve read the Bastion key ability, i knew it would be the PvP ability of choice. A vial that recovers hp, cleanses bleeds, poisons and some other debuffs is EXTREMELY powerful for PvP. Which creates another Wrath situation where 80% of the entire Arena population are Humans. I’ll assume that somewhere between 70%+ will be Bastions.

The shield key ability will be for tanks.

This is a TERRIBLE direction they’re choosing. Not to speak about the covenant abilities who clearly are tied to the xpac and we’ll lose them. Ion learned absolutely nothing with BfA, and Shadowlands is poised to be an “average” xpac, but with all the bad habits Blizzard already have.

Btw, unprunning and level squish won’t solve much. The leveling woes of the game go far beyond visual effects and some abilities that ill were used before, let alone now, with this completely different WoW.

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Ashfyn Ninegold

I think it’s possible that they are so out of touch that they have no idea what makes a fun game any more.

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Bruno Brito

Which is the case and it’ll seal the deal with Blizzard for me.

Shadowlands has a lot of what i call semi or half-fixes: Basically, they identify the issues, to an extent, because they seem to not realize how much of a issue they are ( Ion seems extremely fond of RNG, i don’t know why ), and they compromise to an extent.

For instance, they’ll “fix” leveling, with the level squish, and somewhat, with the “unprunning”. So? What does that leave us? The leveling experience will surely improve with the possibility of you being able to level wherever you want, which is cool, but so what?

I mean, am i going to get eyes of the beast on a level? Great. An spell that had almost no applications even when the game was in it’s early inception is coming back for flavor. Awesome. We still won’t get talent points, or stat distribution, or anything that actively builds upon you getting STRONGER and more tactically BUILT as you level. It’ll still be the same MoP talent system.

The level squish is good but it’s not the whole fix we need. Same with the unprunning. We don’t just need the class fantasy back, we need more options with the classes, we need a fucking design team that doesn’t want us to unlearn stuff every single xpac that goes by. It got tiresome ages ago.

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Ben Stone

A lot of these look super imbalanced for PvP. Look at the Hanzo hunter one which lets them keep DPSing without line of sight. And Demon Hunter being able to teleport to someone without line of sight every 30s.

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Ben Stone

I believe they make you play through all 4 covenants, and give you a trial of each skill while levelling up before you make your decision. I don’t like the idea of linking skills and the covenants though, especially since it is standard for Blizzard to make it annoying to swap.

Either make them easy to swap between whenever you want, or have the skill choices mirrored in all covenants, just with different visuals. They should be a RP / cosmetic choice, not related to character power.

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Bruno Brito

It’ll also be skills you will unlearn when the xpac comes, or the covenants will be useful only for the skills after Shadowlands, and that’s it.

Mark my words.