06Nov

BlizzCon 2019 World of Warcraft: Shadowlands Panel Transcript

COVENANTS

Hazzikostas: I’ve used the word Covenant a whole lot. What is a Covenant? A Covenant is the ruling power of the Shadowlands. There are four major ones we’re going to be encountering:

  • the Kyrians in Bastion
  • the Necrolords in Maldraxxus
  • the Night Fae of Ardenweald
  • the Venthyr of Revendreth

–as described. Covenants are also really the number one major feature of Shadowlands. In Battle for Azeroth, we had a few different smaller features: we had Island Expeditions, we had the Heart of Azeroth, we had Warfronts.

Covenants are more like a Garrison or an Artifact in the sense of being what we call internally a build-around feature. They’re integrated into every aspect of the game, and they’re an essential part of your journey, your progression, your power and more.

Each of these covenants, as you encounter them in your journeys, will seek your aid; because you are a powerful mighty hero who comes with some unique abilities seeing as you actually are tethered to the land of the living, and you are coming alive from Azeroth; which we’ll get to in a second.

And of course, in exchange for this, each one of them offers access to their power and a variety of rewards; and so each of you will have to make a fateful choice: which covenant will you join? Let’s take a look at what that will mean for you. So, a covenant entails multiple things:

First off, each covenant has its own large narrative end-game arc. So in Battle for Azeroth, we have the Horde war campaign and the Alliance war campaign. In Shadowlands, we have four of those. Each one opens up at max level depending on your choice and will lead you through the world in different ways as you unravel the mysteries of the Shadowlands; but do so in pursuit of your covenants goals, and working to empower them and thus yourself.

Each Covenant also brings with it two active abilities. One of these is class-specific. It’s a combat ability that will change your moment-to-moment gameplay. The other one is a universal ability that all members of that covenant will share; and if you check out the demo here today for Bastion you can see the Kyrian abilities for any given class and mess around with them.

Next, Covenants bring with them an end-game progression system. There’s a ritual known as Soul Binding, where as a member of a Covenant you can bond your soul to a powerful Denizen of the Shadowlands enhancing your abilities, unlocking new ones, and having a ton of customization there.

At a glance, I know this sounds like: “Okay, this is the artifact system, this is the Heart of Azeroth this expansion.

In some ways, it builds upon lessons learned from both of those. First and foremost, there is no artifact power to grind–

(loud cheers)

–because honestly look that was an essential starting point for us when designing the system.

One of the lessons we learned from Legion onwards is there is something great about having end-game goals, and customization, and things to work towards, and to not just have the things that modify your character come to a screeching halt when you hit max level. The flip side is, despite some of these diminishing returns, and other things we have in place in Legion and BFA, there is social pressures, there are things that make it feel bad to play Alts, where if you are not doing X amount of things every week, you feel like you are falling behind. You are letting your team down, or you are letting your own character down. We want to have a world where you can have goals towards, customization, differentiation without the grind. More details on this to come. We are going to be talking about Covenants in the Deep Dive panel tomorrow, but that is an essential piece of this.

And of course, alongside the power is also a wide array of cosmetic rewards that each Covenant has. We saw some of the armor sets inthe expansion trailer; and there is a whole lot beyond that.

Each Covenant also has a home base, effectively. A Sanctum. This is a cross in some ways between the Legion Class Halls, but also the general feeling you might have had back in Legion playing through Suramar, and restoring Shal’aran; and building it up from this dusty dark hole in the ground into a base for teleportation network, and allies that you recruited; and as you work to restore your Covenant’s power, you will benefit from that, but you will also be making choices along the way.

Let’s take a look at some of these rewards. So you join the Kyrian. Let’s say you are a Warrior. This might be the plate set of armor that you can earn, a mount that you can earn, the active ability that all Kyrian warriors will have: Spear of Bastion.

If you join the Venthyr, or you join the Night Fae you will have a different ability there; and Unburden, a utility movement ability that all members of the Kyrian Covenant will have.

With Covenant rewards, we are also looking at exploring some new cosmetic options. Recently you have seen a couple of cloak replacements in the form of Backpacks, or Totems on the Tauren Heritage armor. You want to do more with that to really change your silhouette. So… different Covenants.

(Audience roars loudly in excitement)

Each Covenant will offer a set of cloak replacements or back attachments. So if you want a Halo, or a set of wings, or depending on the different Covenants you’re joining, a different aesthetic entirely. You can pick the one that best suits you.

NEXT: ORIBOS & THE MAW

WORLD OF WARCRAFT: WHAT'S NEXT PANEL TRANSCRIPT
1. Intro to the Shadowlands2. Zones3. Covenants4. Oribos & The Maw
5. Pre-Shadowlands World Event6. Alt Characters7. Dungeons & Raids8. Systems & Rewards
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BlizzCon 2019 Panel Transcripts

Tomas Hernandez is owner of Blizzplanet.com since 2003. I post news about World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Diablo III, Hearthstone, Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm, Blizzard Careers, and the Warcraft film. Blizzplanet is a leading fansite covering news about upcoming Blizzard Entertainment licensed products. I also post previews and reviews. I have interviewed book writers and Blizzard game developers. I was previously an employee of the OGaming Network (2003), and IncGamers (2008-2010). I was a guest newsposter for GosuGamers (World of Warcraft) a few years ago and for Diablofans.com (formerly Diablo3.com) ***Fans who would love to watch Blizzard-related panels and appreciate our efforts can support Blizzplanet's patreon in a monthly-basis, or a one-time basis. Our staff are volunteer fans like you. Your donations will help us travel to all the Blizzard events we attend year-round to bring you the latest interview with the developers, photos, and panel videos (where allowed).