Blizzard Addresses Community Concerns Over Power Of World Of Warcraft Shadowland’s Covenant System

Blizzard Addresses Community Concerns Over Power Of World Of Warcraft Shadowland’s Covenant System
Credit: World of Warcraft via YouTube

World of Warcraft‘s upcoming eighth expansion, Shadowlands, is making a massive amount of changes. Naturally, when changes come, there’s always a huge impact to the balancing of a game, and some fans are already spotting some red flags.

Namely, the expansion is bringing in a new faction-based system, Covenants. These Covenants are specific to each region and allow a player to ally themselves with one in particular. While there doesn’t seem to be any plans for this to turn PvP centric or lower your standings with others, picking a Covenant does have rewards and incentives, and few are greater than the abilities being offered.

We discussed recently how the community was worried about these abilities and the potential balancing issues they pose, and it seems Blizzard was listening to. In a recent interview with popular streamer and Shadowlands alpha-tester Sloot, game director Ion Hazzikostas discussed the plans of balancing and the issues posed to them.

One of the key mechanics with regards to the Covenants is swapping and why players would do so. The player base was quick to point out that virtually anyone playing the game was going to go for a Covenant not based on their lore or aesthetic but off of what the ability offers, and the strongest ability will almost always be picked. But once the developers decide to nerf that ability to address this, everyone will simply switch en masse and start the problem all over again.

This can cause a conflict with one of the main things that Hazzikostas stated, mainly that the developers want a Covenant to be a meaningful choice. While it will certainly be gameplay-focused and players will rightfully be interested in gear and mounts on offer, the team wants there to be a meaningful choice based in the roleplaying aspect of identity. The team is dedicated to there being a choice but don’t want to water down the identity of the denizens of these covenants, with Kyrians using Necrolord abilities or Venthyr calling on the Fae.

While it’s still early on, the team has some ideas on how they want to move forward and how they want to keep things customizable to a reasonable point. Overall, they want to make sure that there’s more to keep a player in a Covenant than a simple ability. Whether it’s focused on gear, cosmetic equipment, or unique mounts, Covenants should be a choice that widely affects the gaming experience as a whole.