More World of Warcraft: Shadowlands covenant abilities unveiled as Classic returns layering for population issues

    
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Time for you to learn how to play your max-level characters yet again!

As the testing for World of Warcraft: Shadowlands continues, players continue to datamine the game and find new information about what’s coming with the expansion. Among the latest datamining discoveries are a set of new or updated covenant abilities, signature class skills that you gain access to when you ally with one of the major factions in the eponymous Shadowlands.

Players who are less about the future and more about the past while playing in WoW Classic, meanwhile, have no doubt noticed some notable population jumps. The result is that layering is back in place on some of the highest population servers, with a lengthy explanation of why the team went with layering instead of other solutions. The short version is that most of the other tactics require people just laving the servers they’ve chosen to play on or involve technology that’s incompatible with Classic, making layering as a temporary solution far more reasonable.

Last and certainly not least, you can go ahead and celebrate the achievement of Ferrandi, a Draenei Paladin who made it from 1-120 without dying a single time. No deaths whatsoever. Or you can be like far too many people on the discussion board and claim that it’s not really an accomplishment, if you want to be a joyless toolbox.

Source: Wowhead, Official Site (1, 2, 3)

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rosieposie

You never hear much about people returning to retail during this social distancing, do you.

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Rick Mills

Never left!

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Gordi_the_mighti

Came back to llevel a vulpera.

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

We definitely do!

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Jack Pipsam

I noticed that Arugal was stated as ‘locked’ the other day even though I could play my current toon on it, I guess this is why as it meant that no new characters can be temporarily made on it.
I am surprised at how well it has kept up, I seriously thought that the possible end-game scenario for the Australian servers could be one main server (Arugal) on high-to-medium with the rest on low. But that’s not the case at all, Arugal is like always on high-to-full, I don’t think I’ve never seen it below (granted I was unsubbed for months due to the boycott perhaps it dipped then).
The second PVP server is now also stuck on high most of the time due to Arugal being locked and the PVE server is on Medium most of the time.
Only the knee-jerk added third PVP server during the launch remains forever on low, but that’s fine in my book as it can be a spill-over plus there’s folk who legit prefer to play on low-pop servers for PVP sometimes.

I wonder if this’ll settle after the COVID-19 thing eases though, it’s entirely (if not likely) possible I’m only seeing these impressive server loads because of it. Still it’s bloody good as it means the locally hosted servers were and remain, completely legitimised.

oruh
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oruh

Crazy how busy the Classic servers are. I tried for the first time a couple weeks ago, and I was blown away by the amount of people. I keep wondering why Bree is saying Classic population died, on the podcast. Clearly, it’s still pretty busy.

Pepperzine
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Pepperzine

Yeah, it does seem strange to depict it as dying when the news relating to it over the last month or so have either been about population numbers being so high or content being made available.

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zoward

The problem with Classic is that everyone wants to be on the most popular servers. The overall number of Classic players can still be declining.

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jamie torch

Most of the servers are pretty busy on classic . There was an initial decline after the first couple of months but other than that I don’t think there has been much of a decline . I’ve put my classic subscription on hiatus until later in the year because I am busy in lotro and want to try warhammer online . I mostly do pvp in WoW and I think Warhammer might scratch that itch for a while .

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Utakata

Do you guys live under a rock or something? (Of course you don’t!)

We all know why it’s picked up…like most other games, because the current pandemic requires most to stay indoors. Leaving peeps a choice to star up at stucco on a ceiling all day…or play games. It is clear that Wow classic along with likely a number of other titles have benefited from that.

So stay safe, enjoy Classic and please stop trolling. Thnkx!

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Robert Andle

There’s always an excuse for why Classic is popular. First it’s because it was free to play (via private servers), then because it’s new (on the official Blizzard servers), now it’s because of coronavirus (which apparently isn’t resulting in a popularity boost for retail).

Why can’t people just accept that Classic is a great game in its own right and that’s why people want to play it? That’s certainly a more believable scenario than anything else I’ve heard.

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Utakata

It’s not an excuse though…the population was going down, then it went dramatically back up again. The proof of that is already well covered by this article. There are reasons why this is happening. And we are allowed to speculate as to why. Sorry bub.

But sure, feel free to keep rolling out those strawmen that anyone here is denying that Classic is a great game in its own right. Including the claim without evidence by the OP that this includes this site’s Editor-in-Chief. You guys should know better. Just saying.

Pepperzine
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Pepperzine

I don’t listen to the podcasts so I can’t comment directly on that, but I stand by opinion that depicting it’s dying is strange. Regardless of the reason for it not dying, at this point in time it’s not dying.

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Utakata

I’m not sure anyone claimed it’s dying beyond wishful think and/or trolling.

While the expansions of Cata, WoD and BfA have shed lots of numbers both actual and suspected for example, WoW retail has never really been in a position where it was considered dying. It still retained more players than most MMO’s combined. The same appears for Classic as well. So it should be always be noted then when numbers go down, doesn’t mean the game is dying. For WoW, both Retail and Classic, not even remotely.

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Bruno Brito

I can accept that, but there are the other sides of the coin. There were Classic servers dying, and they poised themselves to launch TBC quickly. Blizzard is well aware of what happens when a server spends too much time after-Naxx.

Bree is jumping the gun. Classic would only die if they allowed 4+ months of Naxx raiding. They won’t. So it’ll keep being boosted with people.

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

I don’t think I’ve ever said it was literally dying, but we have certainly discussed WoW Classic struggling, which it has. WoW Classic had already lost most of WoW’s gains as of February. We covered this extensively. It’s perked back up since quarantine, on some servers, and Blizzard is making plenty of money right now – we covered both of those things on the podcast and in articles too. But Classic on its own was 1) incredibly successful for its first few months and 2) not maintaining it earlier this year. That is something Blizzard will need to address eventually when the audience isn’t quite so… captive. And not just by delayering again to make the game feel busier than it is.

Podcast commentary should probably go on podcast posts – randomly cherrypicking a convo from a different location to attack me in an unrelated post I didn’t write looks pretty shady.

ETA: Also, to the person who claimed I’ve never liked WoW, what? I played WoW hardcore for many, many years. I have gushed about the periods of WoW I love. Just because I skipped Legion and BFA (like most MMO players) doesn’t mean I didn’t used to like WoW. It even made my personal top 5 MMOs of all time list. And since you are so dramatically ignorant about me, why would you decide to act as if you knew anything about my opinion? All while insulting me as if my covering the facts of Classic’s struggles earlier this year were based in bias. FFS.

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Utakata

“Also, to the person who claimed I’ve never liked WoW, what?”

…claimed to be a long term reader too! Isn’t amazing what you learn about yourself from random folks on the internets!? O.o

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

Account’s first post was in January 2020. Lotta anti-retail/pro-classic stuff in it.

I just wish people could separate their own favoritism for something like Classic from the actual numbers and the press covering the business and design aspects of the game – that they could recognize that most people who’ve been playing and working in this genre for decades have way more nuanced opinions than the strawmen they would prefer to argue against in the comments. It is possible to have enjoyed the hell out of a game while finding serious problems in its design, have nostalgia for how a company used to be but know it is a trainwreck now, and believe an MMO was both a crowning achievement and a crushing derail for the genre. Just as it’s possible to have adored an MMO in its day and have no personal interest in the out-of-ideas rehash years later.

Look at me, down here arguing with bad-faith pro-Classic trolls when I oughta be working. Sorry Uta.

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Utakata

“…arguing with bad-faith pro-Classic trolls…”

…I think the polite term for that is #influencers. >.<

But thanks for explaining that. And no worries! :)