Shadowlands Developer Update

In the next few days, we will be updating our Public Test Realm with a first look at Patch 9.1.5. Alongside feature updates like new Timewalking experiences (this time we’re revisiting Legion, with a couple of twists…), these “.5” patches, falling in between full content tiers, present an opportunity to focus on balance and revision of core systems based on feedback and data from the season so far. Patch 9.1.5 will include several significant changes to the Shadowlands Covenant systems in particular:

  • Once you’ve reached a high Renown threshold, you will thereafter be able to freely switch among any of the four Covenants without cooldown or restriction, as well as use cosmetic rewards that you have earned from one covenant even if you are currently a member of a different one. Both the Covenant switching and the use of cosmetic rewards will also apply to alts once the Renown threshold is reached on one character.

  • Conduit Energy is being removed - Conduits will be freely swappable without restriction.

  • When playing alternate characters, if you have already completed a given Covenant’s campaign on a different character, you will be able to immediately earn the Renown and third soulbind unlock without needing to replay the full narrative arc.

While we hope many players will be pleased at the increased accessibility and freedom for experimentation these changes will permit, we know that you might be wondering why we didn’t make adjustments like these sooner. After all, a large portion of the community has been vocal about wanting to see changes along these lines since mid-2020, when Shadowlands was still in Beta.

When it comes to the limitations on Covenant-switching, millions of players experienced Shadowlands for the first time through the lens of their Covenant of choice, and that would have not been possible had the choice carried less weight from the outset. Nevertheless, after the conclusion of the Chains of Domination campaign, the Covenants are united against the Jailer, and revisiting player feedback in that context has led us to re-evaluate our approach. In terms of the day-to-day player experience, the advantages of a rigid division between Covenants have diminished since Shadowlands launched, while the downsides (feeling disadvantaged in certain types of content, or having to choose between mechanical advantages and aesthetics) have only grown. That balance of factors no longer justifies the original limitations on Covenant-switching, so in 9.1.5 we’re looking to provide a way to circumvent them.

Conduit Energy, however, is a different story. The system simply has not played out the way we hoped it would. We should have heeded community feedback and taken a different direction a year ago. A majority of players largely ignore the system and are unaffected by it, while the minority who want to engage in multiple content types competitively feel constrained by it. Overall, that adds up to a negative experience. Conduit Energy isn’t really making the game better in any appreciable way, so we’re removing the system entirely.

As for the Covenant campaign skip for alts and the ability to freely swap Covenants on alts, that change is one outgrowth of many ongoing discussions within the development team, focused on feedback that at times players feel that the WoW content they most enjoy is locked behind experiences that aren’t nearly as appealing to them. Some of that feedback revolves around different playstyles and content types, but a consistent theme is that experiences that were fun the first time through start to lose their luster on repeat playthroughs on alts, especially when required for power progression. So just as the Threads of Fate system exists to allow players to skip the level-up zone narrative on subsequent playthroughs, we want to give max-level players a similar option to avoid having to replay a Covenant campaign they’ve already done.

As the 9.1.5 PTR progresses, we hope to roll out several other changes aimed at giving you more flexibility in choosing how you prefer to adventure in Azeroth. We’ll have more details to follow as we finalize our plans. Stay tuned for full PTR notes in the near future, and we look forward to discussion and feedback to guide us in our ongoing improvements to World of Warcraft.

–The World of Warcraft Team

277 Likes

The campaign skip for alts is appreciated but, no word on anything related to PvP?

58 Likes

Are there any plans to be able to skip the Maw intro on alts as well and go straight to Oribos?

41 Likes

Good changes, but man, it’s exhausting waiting a year for these changes everyone knew were going to happen eventually.

197 Likes

Way too late, these changes should’ve been released with 9.1, couldn’t figure out these changes in the time it took for 9.1 to come out?

84 Likes

Now people can say sorry to Blizzard after all the bashing and thrashing

6 Likes

Solid changes.

10 Likes

Can you, please, for the love of God, fix scaling in old content? My level 50+ toons hit like wet noodles in legion content. I haven’t even bothered trying Legion raids yet because I know I can’t put out the required DPS.

49 Likes

Woohoo! Thanks for the update. Looking forward to 9.1.5 :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

5 Likes

Cross faction rated pvp when?

9 Likes

Pulled the ripcord, glad to see it.

18 Likes

Asmongold, Bellular and Preach were right. You were wrong.

The worst part is you will double down on the next trash system you spew up on players in 10.0 and stubbornly refuse to listen to feedback from your customers.

182 Likes

16 Likes

“We should have changed this a year ago”

Yeah okay lol, good that you admit it I guess. Game design/lead producer(s) doesn’t care about the players, we both know that this is only a result of good ol Bobby losing money. It is a business decision, not a “oops we messed up and we’re going to be more understanding” type of thing.

Too little too late. You have lost your playerbase trusts that you will listen to feedback and make changes within a reasonable time frame. A year to make these changes is absolutely unacceptable.

This will 100% happen again, history repeats. You guys can say you have learned to listen to players but that’s a damn lie.

140 Likes

I, for one, am hopeful that these and more changes to come are the result of changes in leadership alongside the acknowledgement that the community at large has begun to exodus the game due to poor quality of life.

Then again that could be the copium talking.

33 Likes

Great changes, Blizzard.

Now, then, dear Blizzard. What have we learned here? Stubbornness is best? No.

A lack of engagement will always win the day? No.

Here’s what we’ve learned… the customer is worth listening to.

53 Likes

Question, I’ve never switched covenants on a character before, do covenant features reset? If I switch back will I need to upgrade all the features again?

5 Likes

Thanks for finally fixing the problems we told you about in Beta!

95 Likes

People still complaining, but this is awesome, my alts are now coming out! Thank you!!

13 Likes