WoW: Shadowlands (coming Oct 26)

jdzappa wrote:

So who here is going to go against meta and choose a covenant based on looks/lore versus functionality?

I'm definitely going to Ardenweald on my Druid. I don't raid much (if at all) anymore, so I'm just going for the story. Plus I hear that there's some sort of farm mechanic there, kinda like the farm in Mists. I actually enjoyed that mechanic

Shadout wrote:

I guess I'll check what the abilities are from each, and let that affect my choice. But I dont care which one is best. I have no plan to raid anyway. And the best one will likely change anyway.

You should also check out the end-game activity that's unique to each covenant. Like, the Night Fey get some sort of MoP-like farm, one covenant gets some sort of PvE combat arena, one gets to throw lavish parties, etc.

It's important to note that you'll get to use all 4 covenants' toys as you level, so when you make the choice at level 60 it's a somewhat informed one.

Ten gold pieces say Blizzard will cave to player pressure and provide a way to switch covenants within six months of release.

You can switch covenants freely. It just takes 1-2 weeks.
But yeah, I could see that happening, making the switch instant. Sadly.

Last I saw it was pretty easy to switch to a new covenant. The bit that took time was if you wanted to come crawling back to one you had dumped. So picking the "wrong one" at first isn't much of an inconvenience, but you can't just swap them between bosses.

That might have changed since the last time I paid attention though.

Yeah, true. What I meant too. For people who want to keep switch around in end-game there is a 1-2 week wait. For switching the first time, seemingly no wait.

I dont know if you need to grind the renown thing on each covenant when you switch. Then there will be a much more significant cost to switching even the first time, unless you switch quickly. Even with the catch-up mechanism which is supposedly a thing.

You can switch covenant in less time than that ;P
(psst, its called leveling an alt, heh)

And though they have recently decided against hot swapping covenants the ripcord still exists. I really hate people that complain about removing "meaningful choice"... Because with one implementation both sides will be happy, you can opt out of swapping covenants while others can opt in. And with the other implementation, you have no choice but to only have one covenant per toon. (more than likely pissing off those who want meaningful choice despite them getting what they wanted but they will never admit it)

I guess that is just me though. This isn't even between slightly not enough versus slightly too little. I can deal with either of those. There are 4 covenants so it is not even remotely too much. And its not too little either. Its one and done.

If I was making a game, I would know there are going to be things players complain about no matter what I do. Complaining about lack of "meaningful choice" is something I could live with, especially since going down that rabbit hole is not how I want to spend my dev cycles.

fangblackbone wrote:

Because with one implementation both sides will be happy, you can opt out of swapping covenants while others can opt in. And with the other implementation, you have no choice but to only have one covenant per toon. (more than likely pissing off those who want meaningful choice despite them getting what they wanted but they will never admit it)

They aren't really getting what they wanted imo.
The moment you can switch around freely, the gameplay expectation will be that you do switch around. So you go covenant X for one boss, covenant Y for the next boss, covenant Z for PvP later in the evening etc.

fangblackbone wrote:

You can switch covenant in less time than that ;P
(psst, its called leveling an alt, heh)

I certainly expect the top guilds will just have 4 characters per class they play, for each covenant.

I completely agree with Blizzards post about it:

Before starting an arena match, engaging a raid boss, or entering a dungeon, a character in Shadowlands can change their specialization, talents (and PvP talents if appropriate), legendary item, other equipment, active soulbind, and chosen path within that soulbind. When it comes to customizing your “loadout” – the set of tools you’re going to take into a given encounter – WoW offers more options than ever before, and you can almost entirely reshape your character on the fly to suit the moment. But as malleable as those choices are, none of them, other than perhaps your specialization, defines your character – they aren’t who you are, but rather what you happen to be doing at any given moment.

Rather than add yet another layer to that decision matrix, we’re trying to do something different here, and let players more meaningfully define their character’s identity and set themselves apart from others who play the same class. And that identity entails a blend of aesthetic preference, narrative experience, and mechanical strengths and weaknesses. From the earliest sketched designs of the covenant system, our goal was for the answer to “what do you play?” in Shadowlands to be “Kyrian paladin” or “Venthyr paladin” rather than just “paladin.” And given the central role of combat and power progression to World of Warcraft as a whole, achieving that goal for most players requires that there be player power implications to covenant choice.

Of course... it is the same Blizzard who have thoroughly removed all such choices in both WoW, and even worse in my opinion, Diablo 3. So I don't expect a lot.

“what do you play?” in Shadowlands to be “Kyrian paladin” or “Venthyr paladin” rather than just “paladin.”

Except how many times in how many games have they tried that and... failed?
Racial differences neutered or removed.
Faction specific classes removed.
Racial class restrictions reduced.
Class role restrictions reduced (other than rogue, and mage)
Stat points replaced with main stat, mastery, versatility, etal.
Talent point system turned into rest areas changeable talent specs.
Stat sticks replaced with weapon/equipment based skills (legendaries, HoA)
Mana system replaced with hybrids of energy, combo points, timers, charges, procs and rage

But they won't cause any social fracturing grief this time! (in a highly social game no less)

fangblackbone wrote:

Talent point system turned into rest areas changeable talent specs.

The talent system is one area where they've largely succeeded. The "fail state" for a row is typically one where there are only 2 viable talents instead of all 3. Even in a world where talents can be swapped more-or-less on the fly, you don't actually need to change all that often.

For the most part I think the talent rows are better than the tree. Trees are really not that great in general. If you want connected choices, then do a web, not a tree (think PoE vs. Diablo 2 for example).

Some of them really do have terrible balance though. Some amount of balance issues is unavoidable. Blizzard seem to have taken a strategy of not wanting to do major balance passes for classes outside of expansions though (likely due to the endless complaining that follows), which is kinda bad. 2 years to fix problems is a looong time.

Whether talents should be swappable is debatable. It isn't like it should always be either/or when it comes to how 'permanent' choices should be. Preferably some things should be swappable on the fly, and others should not.
However, since gear is giving "talent" style bonuses these days (legendaries, BFA armors), and gear pretty much by definition is easy to change, it imo makes sense if talents were less easy to change. Doesn't have to be difficult to do. Something as simple as a short cooldown (like 1-5 hours or whatever), so you couldn't swap between bosses, could be enough. So before you enter a raid, you might need to decide if the AoE talent that is best for boss 1 is more worth it than the single target ability that is useful for boss 2. Instead of just being able to pick both.
For the top guilds, they can circumvent it by having multiple chars. But dont design the game around what those players do imo.

fangblackbone wrote:

Stat sticks replaced with weapon/equipment based skills (legendaries, HoA)
Mana system replaced with hybrids of energy, combo points, timers, charges, procs and rage

Both of those are good imo. Should always be a main goal to make classes and builds feel different from each other. Different resource systems helps with that.

BFA armors were quite boring, after coming from Legion, but Legion legendaries and artifacts were great (even if the way you acquired them was not). It should always be a goal to make gear "gameplay changing". It was a bit of a loss that set items were removed, for that reason. On the other hand, the set items also pigeonholed each sub-class into doing exactly what that set was designed to do. So it had some drawbacks. Legion legendaries were better that way, due to having more to choose from, than a single set. Now, if each sub-class had multiple sets, that would be even better, but probably not realistic to design and balance that many sets for each tier.

I'd rather see Blizzard aim high with their design, and fail sometimes, rather than not trying.

jdzappa wrote:

So who here is going to go against meta and choose a covenant based on looks/lore versus functionality? On the forums I keep reading that death knights must go Night Fae for PVE. To the point where going against meta will get you locked out of higher content which is something I want to pursue in the expansion. I mean might as well during COVID.

But I just watched the Night Fae video and have zero interest in joining that faction, at least not on my main.

It just really sucks that this is such an issue.

I am the filthiest of filthy casuals. I will absolutely choose the covenant i like lore wise and aesthetically. It's highly unlikely a sub-optimal covenant will prevent me from completing LFR raids.

The meta can kiss the flaming backside of Sargeras.

I suppose I will do the same. But I don't rule out that covenants will have skills for some specs that will offer an undeniable freshness and fun to it. I am sure I will be unable to avoid testing them out.

fangblackbone wrote:

I suppose I will do the same. But I don't rule out that covenants will have skills for some specs that will offer an undeniable freshness and fun to it. I am sure I will be unable to avoid testing them out.

From what I've read, if you actually did want to avoid testing them out you'd have to level from 50-60 entirely through PvP and maybe dungeons. And that's assuming the covenant abilities are tied to quest progress and not character level.

Apparently now you can pre-load the pre-patch

fangblackbone wrote:

Apparently now you can pre-load the pre-patch :)

OOh looks like 22nd was a good call

I want to say so but I have seen people say that the pvp season hasn't ended yet. Which means that pre-patch might not launch until the 29th or even the 6th. (yuck!)

when does the pvp season end?

Edit: The way the announcements read it looks like the PVP season ends the day the prepatch drops. It's particularly worrying because they typically give 2 weeks notice. :-/ that does suggest the 6th with a date announcement next tuesday

Holding up the pre-patch because of pvp let alone just the pvp season draws much more ire than it should right now

thrawn82 wrote:

when does the pvp season end?

Edit: The way the announcements read it looks like the PVP season ends the day the prepatch drops. It's particularly worrying because they typically give 2 weeks notice. :-/ that does suggest the 6th with a date announcement next tuesday

Aww that sucks. Now that I’ve unlocked the legion allied races I was looking forward to leveling an alt over a full month.

jdzappa wrote:
thrawn82 wrote:

when does the pvp season end?

Edit: The way the announcements read it looks like the PVP season ends the day the prepatch drops. It's particularly worrying because they typically give 2 weeks notice. :-/ that does suggest the 6th with a date announcement next tuesday

Aww that sucks. Now that I’ve unlocked the legion allied races I was looking forward to leveling an alt over a full month.

I've been checking all weekend for an announcement. i don;t think they'll drop the prepatch without some warning so.. i guess not this week

I am totally bummed about that

yo tambien, friend. esp after this weekend, i was hoping for a shiny distraction.

thrawn82 wrote:

so what do you think, oct 6 patch day?

Sounds about right. I can't imagine it being any later than that.

Wouldn't make sense with less than 3 weeks of pre-patch if after the 6th.
I'm still pulling for the 29th...

HOLY CRAP!!!!!

I just watched a video regarding lore and cherry picking cinematics for what Sylvannas is doing and hinting at the Jailer's game in Shadowlands.

Totally spoilering and maybe those of you with more raid experience already know a lot of this...

Blizzard meandered through the execution of this but I still think the twist will land hard. (like a raucous woah wtf moment) And I am now a convert.
You are going to be put off by this but here goes:

Spoiler:

-Sylvannas is a hero. Shadowlands will completely upend what happened with Arthas and how Sylvannas has picked up his mission to combat the true massive threat behind the scenes.
-The jailer enlisted her to break the barrier between life and death so that all souls go to the Maw, empowering him.
-Sylvannas is using the jailer's plans to undo him. She is trying to get the horde and alliance to stop squabbling over who did what to whom on Azeroth because it is "toy soldier" nothingness.
-Sylvannas captures Azeroth's strongest leaders (Thrall, Baine, Anduin and Jaina) and imprisons them in the Maw. This goes along with the jailer's plans but she hopes they finally see the true jailer threat and build an army to defeat the jailer.
-Arthas tried to do the same thing as the lich king but his method was to turn everyone scourge. So it failed and it probably wouldn't have been successful against the jailer either.
-I may be giving Blizzard too much credit but revealing that Nzoth was who told voljin to make Sylvannas the warchief may reveal something like even nzoth knew who the true threat was. And by that extent, there are a lot of other powerful beings like elune and the titans that could be putting some crazy chess pieces into play.

I dont have the link now but Bellular has a vid on his youtube channel in a similar vein.

Last 2 days have been lucky. If only could have been on something like Invincible or Al'ar :).

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