World of Warcraft patch 9.1.5 removes conduit energy and finally makes covenants freely swappable

This has not gone according to plan

We have previously noted that the overall design philosophy for World of Warcraft patch 9.1.5 appears to be focused on things that players have been asking to receive for quite some time but that Blizzard has heretofore refused to deliver. But today’s new developer update confirms that patch 9.1.5 will be going up on the PTR in a few days, and among the more notable changes are the removal of conduit energy, the ability to freely swap covenants for players at an undisclosed but high level of Renown, and a skip option for steps of the Covenant campaign already completed on other characters.

So why now? The developer missive makes it clear that Blizzard is aware that conduit energy in particular added nothing appreciable to the game, tacitly acknowledging that negative feedback about the system was right during the long period throughout expansion testing. Covenants, meanwhile, are defended as having provided an important player experience in the early days of the expansion when it was harder to swap covenants. But for all that, it’s pretty clear that at this point in development, under the current cloud of the corporate lawsuit and scandal and perceived mass exodus from the game, the expansion appears to be pulling the ripcord with vigor.

Source: Official Site. Cheers, Stefan and Josh!
Activision-Blizzard is considered a controversial company in the MMO and gaming space owing to a long string of scandals over the last few years, including the Blitzchung boycott, mass layoffs, labor disputes, and executive pay fiasco. Most recently, the company was sued by the state of California for fostering a work environment riddled with sexual harassment and discrimination, the disastrous corporate response to which has further compounded Blizzard’s ongoing pipeline issues and the widespread perception that its online games are in decline.

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So why now?

Because content patch 1 is conceived and begun prior to before launch, meaning there is very little feedback to consider and they typically double-down on the main expansion features. Anything more than minor fiddling would delay the release of new content at a time when the audience start to get thirsty.
The .1.5 patch is their first opportunity to make big changes.

IronSalamander8 .

This is such crap. They have said that they couldn’t make these changes and suddenly they can when things are hitting the fan? The hypocrisy here is so blatant that it actually makes them look worse, which I didn’t think was possible.

Kickstarter Donor

It’s just like saying they couldn’t find the Vanilla files.

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They said quite early on that they could make changes and “Pull the ripcord” but they did not want to at that time.

Geo Kavu

Sums up the issue here perfectly.

Matt Genaro

Whatever. It’s too late by now. Anything that is just a quality of life modification in the game, won’t be enough to make me going back to play.
No substantial changes, no propositions of fresh new content and mechanics. Just a going from a bad game to a okay game.


How do they think this will come across?

First, for a year and a half, claiming that the systems won’t be changed, or *can’t* be changed, and suddenly they do an about-face while *still blaming the players for the issues*?

They’ve learned absolutely nothing, and they expect people to trust them on it?

Serious question: Are there still people who take them for their word on this?


Yeah, as usual they make things super hard for everyone and make it a content, and then in the middle of expac they brand everything easier “new” to attract the people to pay the sub… pathetic…


I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I have so much issues with this…that despite informed warnings and criticisms unpopular decisions with the expansion, only to be rescinded when the PR shit hits the fan. Like J. Allen Brack’s ode to Gloria Steinem when it was first reported that their rock star devs where having chronic boundary issues with their staff, this all rings completely shallow, hollow and more transparent than Saran Wrap. /bleah

…it also says something when their audience seems to be better at designing games than they are. Just saying.

Bryan Correll

ode to Gloria Steinem

He was probably just plagiarizing Laura Branigan.


For several expansions in a row now, the loop as gone like this:
Players get into Beta.
Players give feedback that X and Y are bad systems.
Blizzard plugs their ears and refuses to listen until the tail end of the expansion when suddenly they implement all the fixes that should’ve been in the expansion from the start, fixing pitfalls that players warned them about in the beta.
Basically wasting the entire expansion by insisting that they know best.


Tell us you’re worried about people playing The New World without saying that you’re worried about people playing The New World.

Too little, too late. This game has been deeply unfun for years. I’ve been playing since the final year of TBC; in the last few expansions (WoD, Legion, BFA, now Shadowlands) my interest has waned progressively … and I’m the last of all my friends to throw in the towel on this game. It’s just not an enjoyable game for me. I know lots of folk still play (well, a lost less nowadays), but I’ve got limited time and I’d rather not choose to spend time in a game that’s more interested in actively removing fun and installing infuriating RNG.

Sarah Cushaway

Yeah no thanks. The game’s still a tedious carrot on a stick grind with no meaningful content outside endgame raids and mythics. The company is still awful and treats both its employees and players like crap.

Sorry Blizzard, you lost this one forever. The only thing that would bring me back is an entire overhaul of the upper management (Kotick included) and sweeping changes to WoW that have been sorely needed for years and years.


It shouldn’t take 9 months to fix stupid design decisions that were pointed out in beta. This happens every expansion too so there are no excuses for it.

Despite these changes even the thought of going back to play Shadowlands now makes me feel slightly nauseous.