World of Warcraft: Shadowlands is trying to move away from ‘anything that feels like it might be a grind’

That would place us in the "overcorrection" phase of development, then

The fanboy mines are harder to work all the time.

You’ve heard it from the World of Warcraft development team over and over: Anima for your covenants in Shadowlands will not be a grind. A recent interview with production director Patrick Dawson goes into even more detail on this point, explaining that the team is working hard to move away from anything that feels like it might be a grind. Indeed, the process as outlined in another interview with game director Ion Hazzikostas sounds more akin to upgrading the current legendary cloak, with two potential weekly sources of anima and more available through regular play if you’re below the cap.

The Dawson interview also notes that Soulbinds are meant to both provide a unique flavor to reinforce Covenants beyond the pair of active abilities and provide some extra punch in terms of player power. Hazzikostas also pointedly notes that despite rumors, the “timey-wimey” talk about the Shadowlands isn’t indicative of any sort of time skip, meaning that it’s more about perception than anything. If you’ve missed one or both interviews, now’s a good time to get caught up.

Source: VG24/7, Bellular via Wowhead

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I prefer a little grinding over time gates any day.

Bruno Brito

I find that extremely hard to believe.

WoW? Without grinding?

I’m sure that will happen.


How about time gating, but if you miss rewards one day/week the allowance continuously rolls over, or there is a ever increasing global reward cap that no one can pass, but everyone can grind up to. That way, even if you start late, you can still catch up by putting more time in. Essentially, it would be blizzard saying, we want you to be no more powerful than this at this point in time

Conduits are going to be another grind, since they get consumed if you swap them out, so if you respec alot, you are going to have to farm more up. Granted this will mostly affect higher end players who swap specs for the encounter.


And I don’t believe that somehow. Not even for a moment…



Ah the old blizzard jedi mind trick…

Sarah Cushaway


The entire expansion is based around more grinding.


Yeah they can’t get rid of grinding, the key words are “feels like” so 20k to exalted instead of 21k, omg that’s so much better and “feels like” less grind.

I doubt i’d play these games if there wasn’t some sort of grind anyway.

Not deep diving psychology here, but right at this moment, i’m wondering why i do i like logging in everyday to grind some faction? and quick thought and answer is routine most probable. I pop on grind my faction and then it’s swg or classic the rest of the night.

There’s just no way grind will disappear.


Pretty much full time classic again, (for future reference, SWG:L is always a given) but i’m still logging in to retail every day for uldum faction, i want that mount and no, not a mount collector.

I like a good mount. is what i was going to say, and yeah lol, so umm how about i love a good ride? no, that’s not much better lmao… I know i love good transprotation :) ok there!

atm i’m exclusively using Dark Phoenix on all my toons, was Squeakers for quite awhile, i love small unobtrusive mounts.

I find mounts like my, twilight avenger, vitreous stone drake, even the Eclipse dragonhawk are just to damn big, as far as ones like my thundering ruby cloud serpent, just forget about it, never, no way, i’m unsure how people put up with all these large obtrusive mounts? They drive me crazy when i try to use them.

Anyway so the uldum one is the wastewander skyterror which i might find too obtrusive too in the end but almost exalted so…


Sounds good to me. I like the philosophy of having a hard cap on rewards per week that is easily achieved and available through various activities. For one example, the Shadowlands version of Emissaries can be completed via world quests or a dungeon if you’d prefer. Torghast has a similarly player friendly system – you can play it as much as you want for fun, but weekly rewards have a low cap to prevent a necessary grind.

This type of system allows players to have short, medium, and long-term progression goals that feel rewarding and don’t punish players for not playing much.


WoW suits and developers solve the grind problem! : Only provide a couple of quests a week for the needed resources!

Ya cannot grind if ya cannot play!

Problem solved!

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Totes McGoats

There are only two realistic ways of making long-term content – either grinding or time-gated. Sounds like Shadowlands will be the latter.

Personally I don’t mind grinding – I’m not going to play your game every day or even every week, and it frustrates me when I do have time to play but can’t earn anything since progression is all capped daily or weekly.


It’s a tough balance, and I see both sides. Personally I prefer time gating because my lifestyle is more accommodating of 30-45 minutes sessions per day. I can see progress without feeling pressured to spend lots of time grinding, and I won’t fall significantly behind those who do grind a lot. It also results in grinds being much shorter in terms of time actually played.

However, I definitely understand the frustration from players who want to grind something in really long sessions or people who don’t want to log in regularly. Both sides have pros and cons.

Jeremy Barnes

It’s a fine line. Time gating has a further problem of if I can’t login in every day then I missed my chance to get those rewards. I can’t login tomorrow and do it twice. Makes it hard for people who may not be able to play every day.

Then if there’s a ‘catchup’ that makes it pointless…and the daily stuff isn’t fun…then why am I playing? I can login in a couple month and catch up.

Both ways are bad solutions. They should consider just making fun content. However, the current dev team is strongly rooted in the ‘pain for rewards’ philosophy.


Yeah, you’re absolutely right about it being a fine line. My favorite version of this was back when there were weekly rewards. So you could get a weekly bonus for doing 7 dungeons per week. You could knock them all out in one day if you wanted, or one day at a time. It struck a nice balance.

“Just making fun content” isn’t as good or easy of a solution as it seems. As much as MMO players talk about hating grinds, they are notorious for playing extremely long hours. They devour content at a crazy pace and then get angry when it runs out. If developers don’t make things take a long time people get bored and leave. Devs can’t keep making content at a pace that would keep people happy. Basically you have 3 options and 3 complaints:

Timegated grind: This sucks, just let me play the game!
Long grind without gating: This sucks, I hate grinding!
No grind & no gating: This sucks, there’s nothing to do!

These aren’t hypothetical. They have all happened. There’s no solution that will make everyone happy, you just have to pick your poison.

Jeremy Barnes

I think we have different definitions of the term, grind. If I’m doing something I enjoy…I don’t consider it grind. Their may be rewards for it, sure.

I would classify grind as doing content I don’t want to do except to gain rewards.

The weekly do it whenever you want was certainly a better solution.

However, my point was that it feels a lot like they’ve fallen back to using rewards to get people to do content which I consider a flawed philosophy. They should be designing content that people enjoy doing..that…and this is crazy…content people may do even if there wasn’t a reward because if the only reason we’re all playing is to upgrade gear and they insert their content to limit the ability to get gear then…they should just make WoW into a mobile gacha game.


I see what you’re saying, but using such a subjective definition makes it hard to talk about. I enjoy one time of content, you don’t. Is it fun, a grind, or both?

More fundamentally, repeating content for rewards has been the basic premise of WoW since 2004. Classic has proved that – nobody is farming Blackwing Lair every week just for the experience alone.

It’s also the basic gameplay loop of almost every MMO or loot games, and a lot of people play them specifically because they like that loop. It’s not even about loot – every major MMO in the market right now uses this strategy. Even GW2, which purports to be anti-loot progression, is an extremely grindy game that forces you to repeat the same content over and over and over to get a reward. It is a fundamental feature of the genre going all the way back to the original Everquest.

Take any MMO on the market right now. Remove experience gains, levels, gear drops, gaining new abilities, everything. All you have is the experience of playing through the content. Realistically, how long to do you think most people are going to play that? Progression and loot mechanics are so popular, even in non-RPGs, because people like them and they work.