Shadowlands Development Update -- October

As we continue to work towards making Shadowlands worth the wait, we have an update on several changes and improvements players can expect to see coming to the Beta over the next few weeks.

The Maw

The Maw is intended to be the desolate and brutal domain of the Jailer, and not a place any soul in the Warcraft cosmos ever hopes to visit. But this is, after all, a video game, and telling that story can’t come at the expense of creating a fun environment for adventurers. We’ve heard feedback that this content is currently falling short of that mark, and we agree.

We’re working to increase visual distinction and combat gameplay variety across the different areas of the Maw, as well as exploring adding new localized events and world interactions. We also want to give players who journey to the Maw a bit more direction, while still preserving the “sandbox” roots of Maw gameplay. Players will venture into the Maw weekly to rescue souls to aid in restoring their Covenants, and the mysterious broker Ve’nari offers a range of cosmetic, convenience, and power rewards in exchange for Stygia. Those goals need to be more immediately apparent early on. We’ll share more info about specific updates when these changes are ready for Beta testing and feedback.

Conduits

We’ve also received a lot of feedback about the Conduit system. Many of you have expressed concerns that the current system will unreasonably limit experimentation and multi-spec play early in the expansion. While the existing weekly cooldown may provide sufficient flexibility once players have all three soulbinds fully unlocked, we agree that it is initially too limiting. A single weekly reset also fails to draw any distinction between someone who only wants to adjust a single conduit, and someone who wants to clear and rebuild their entire soulbind tree.

In an upcoming build, we will be replacing the weekly cooldown on changing conduits with a more flexible system: When first unlocked, the Forge of Bonds will be charged with 10 Conduit Energy, and placing a conduit into a socket will consume a single charge. Conduit Energy recharges at the rate of one per day, up to a cap of 10, and adding a new conduit to your collection immediately restores one Conduit Energy as well.

Our goal with this change is to ensure that, especially when players are acquiring new conduits and only have access to a small number of soulbinds and conduit slots, all players feel free to try out new upgrades and to adjust their soulbinds to support multiple specializations or activities. After the initial collection period for a given character, 7+ swaps per week should allow for more adaptation to suit specific roles or activities, while still requiring thoughtful decisions about how to customize each Soulbind for your playstyle preferences.

Class and Covenant Balance

Tuning has been underway over the past couple of weeks, but much work remains. Our initial tuning efforts have focused on Covenant class abilities that were outliers on either end of the spectrum, including some substantial redesigns where necessary. The coming weeks will see continued iteration on these abilities, as well as the soulbinds that complement them. Balance in this area means pursuing a mix of offsetting strengths and weaknesses rather than identical capabilities, and our goal in this process is that every class/covenant combination should have something to commend it.

Alongside these specific areas of focus, we are all using this time to tune various endgame rewards, fix bugs (thousands of which continue to come from the in-game Bug Report tool - thank you!), and add the finishing touches that will hopefully make your journey into Shadowlands a magical one when the time comes.

Thank you very much for all of your testing and feedback!

164 Likes

Blizzard,

Please just stop. This is probably one of the most pointless, pedantic things you’ve ever done. Just get rid of the restrictions.

642 Likes

Right? Thank god we’re not locked behind a week timer for multispecs but… they spent time coming up with this “solution” for what reason? lmao

176 Likes

I was hoping for something about making Bastion feel less empty soon…

14 Likes

Happy to hear this. It didn’t leave as distinct an impression as other expansions when I played beta. I felt like the zone “style” was incomplete then was surprised to hear of the end-of-October release date. I’m glad now there’s time to revisit it and we’ll get that chilling afterlife Maw vibe the artists were going for.

11 Likes

If you just HAVE to add a cooldown for some non-sensical reason, this is the best way to go.
I’d rather have none, but this will do

42 Likes

There is zero…ZERO…reason to limit Conduit swaps in ANY WAY. We could change Azerite as freely as we wanted (provided we had the gold). We can change talents, gear, PVP talents, etc without penalty. You’re literally crippling multi-spec and multi-content players for what? What lore-related argument is there for this? Gameplay trumps lore except when inconvenient?!

280 Likes

feels like being stubborn for the sake of being stubborn but oh well, atleast it is an improvment, altho just letting us switch how ever we want would still be much prefered

58 Likes

Looking forward for feral and guardian changes adressing their zero group and raid utility.

32 Likes

This conduit change sounds absolutely insane. What if I want to use a different loadout for different content and switch between? What if I want to experiment and try a variety of builds back and forth to see what I like? This restriction is absolutely pointless. I rarely changed my Azerite traits in BFA. Not because I didn’t want to but because it was so needlessly difficult. The result wasn’t be making more meaningful choices but instead I was slightly weaker in all content that wasn’t raids. I should have been able to freely alter my azerite as if it were talents. Conduits should function like talents do. No reason not to, no excuse.

151 Likes

Please consider allowing mounts in the Maw. Until then, play will be at an absolute bare minimum.

73 Likes

It’s meant to be open fields, I’m fairly certain, but I don’t think that makes it feel empty. There are plenty of mobs and WQs and things to discover around Bastion. I’ve spent hours wandering and discovering things just in that one zone.

Feral has not been hit with a tuning pass, yet, so I suspect it should be soon.

As a druid who can easily use travel form, I’m not sure why we can’t use mounts in the maw. Maybe it’s supposed to feel lonely and desperate?

6 Likes

Agreed, this is the one piece that truly feels BAD in the maw. I appreciate the redesign of some quests to make things more local, but with daily quest having you walk across the map or find a little dog to ride, it doesn’t feel fun. I’d love if there was even a mount timer “you can spend X amount of time in the maw before your mount trembles in fear and refuses your call.” type deal. Keeps the “Terror” of the maw, while still limiting being able to endlessly able to farm stygia with a mount giving you an endless bonus.

18 Likes

Terrible idea. Please just add a gold sink to it if you must add anything. Or just let us reset it like talents, with the covenants already having a lengthy process to change, this seems unnecessary and very punishing for those of us who play hybrid classes.

66 Likes

Conduits are still pretty lackluster, the conduits needs to be tied to specs. As it stands, you can’t play offspecs.

49 Likes

Thank you for providing this update.

The Maw
This is good because currently when visiting the Maw I just want to leave. I’m tired of these desolate, harsh landscapes in WoW where they make the terrain work against you. I’m not sure what improvements they can make at this point but hopefully it moves to be a little bit more tolerable.

Conduits
What obviously needs to happen is that conduits need to be set up per spec. There is no reason to make this even more complicated.

Class and Covenant Balance
The covenants for Holy Priest are terrible. There is no option I like so I hope that they are not done doing substantial revisions. I want to choose Kyrian based on aesthetics. The Kyrian covenant replaces a spammable spell, Smite, with one with a 3 second cooldown or requires moving into range as a fragile priest. We have to stop using priest spells for 10 seconds to get the full effect. This lack of choices doesn’t help the Holy Priest spec out as it’s already considered a poor choice for Mythic+, a meh choice for Raiding, and has poor damage for soloing.

Numbers tuning won’t help Holy Priest covenant abilities, and I’m sure there are other specs in the same boat.

45 Likes

Agreed, changing conduits should be like changing talents, just requires town/specific area to swap around…shouldn’t be limited by timers/energy etc

56 Likes

Just stop already. No one asked for this, no one asked for any type of punishing lockout to the amount of times you can swap conduits. Let players swap conduits in rested areas or with respec tomes. Why do you guys hate player choice this much. I truly do not understand.

136 Likes

It seems like such a waste of energy and time, on an already delayed xpac, to think up another new system for conduits players don’t really want… I have played the game I earned them, Just let me change them when I want to.

112 Likes