Now those three features that I just talked about are something that every Covenant has access to. They are universal, but each Covenant also has a fourth structure that is unique depending on which Covenant you have joined.
Now I’ve been using the Venthyr a lot as these examples, so let’s start with them. If you are a Venthyr in Revendreth, you also have this fourth section of your Sanctum known as the Ember Court.
What the Ember Court is it is basically a hosting venue for pretty rad parties. If the culture of Revendreth certainly before things really went off the rails in the events leading up to the expansion was one of elegance, aristocracy, a lot of those new tropes surrounding nobility; and part of what that means is showing off your influence by hosting grand galas for the most important individuals not just from Revendreth, but from across the Shadowlands as a whole; and the Venthyr were notorious for this.
Your ally as you join the Venthyr, Prince Renathal, is looking to re-establish himself to reestablish a new order and showing off his growing influence and stature in that area, and you are going to help him out as a loyal member of his Covenant; and the way that is going to play out is what is effectively a self-contained mini-game where you can go out, seek out guests, invite them to the party, not maybe literally arrange catering, but figure out the different services that are going to make those guests happy, play through the party in real time, maybe fending off party crashers that are trying to disrupt the festivities, and at the end of the day, maximizing the happiness of all your guests; and ideally if they are happy on the way out, they will give you a token of their gratitude in the form of well… sweet Warcraft loot.
To be clear this is not gloom and doom life, or death saving the Shadowlands stuff. This is just a fun side activity that has a remarkable amount of depth to it, but it is there to allow us to flesh out the culture and the personality and the identities of these Covenants, of these areas.
You are not going to defeat the Jailer by throwing the most badass party in the Shadowlands, but that is part of what being a Venthyr is.
Now if on the other hand, you join the Kyrian in Bastion, very unique feature is called Path of Ascension. Now the Path of Ascension is driven by this unique soul mirror whereby you can actually inhabit the consciousness of one of your Soulbinds.
So you can play let’s say as the aspirant Pelagos with a unique set of abilities and go through a series of trials: gladiatorial combat against the most powerful souls of the Shadowlands that you will also go out in your adventures across the world and recruit and capture and bring back to fight within the Path of Ascension.
This is a self-contained combat heavy system that has a little bit of a boss rush feel to it. For those of you who are very old-school, if you remember the Shartuul event way back in the Burning Crusade in the Blade’s Edge Mountains, this is loosely inspired by that. It’s the same kind of vibe, and this is available to members of the Kyrian.
Nowif you join the Necrolords of Maldraxxus — the source of the military might of the Shadowlands. This is a lot of power that we saw manifested by the Scourge in the great floating Necropolis Naxxramas and abominations like Patchwork and ghouls, and geists, and the art of creating those creatures.
The art of Necromancy is most closely affiliated with Maldraxxus. So the structure you have as a member of the Necrolords is called the Abomination Factory; and this is a system whereby you can build fleshwork creatures essentially. Whether it is an Abomination, or a Ghoul, or a Geist to be the perfect housing for a soul that is in need of a physical form.
Now these souls have quirks and unique personalities and interests, and abilities. So as you meet them, figure out what the right form for them is, and create a body for them to house, you can then adventure with them unlocking various perks ranging from utility, extra gathering bonuses to some combat perks in the outdoor world; and again, as always, this is available to Necrolords only.
Finally, if you are a member of the Night Fae of Ardenweald, Ardenweald contains in its innermost reaches, a sacred grove known as the Queen’s Conservatory.
This is where powerful souls effectively germinate rest are infused with the surrounding energies of the forest and are prepared for rebirth; and return to the world of the living; because that is the essential function one of the essential properties of Ardenweald; and the form that takes for you as a player this is effectively a soul garden; and it is inspired and has some parallels to the Farm back in Mists of Pandaria, where you are tending your own plots, you are expanding them, upgrading them, and being able to effectively fertilize them with different catalysts that are going to shape the consciousness of these souls as you nurture them back to life.
So it is a bit more magical, but at the end of the day, it is its own branch of self-contained gameplay; and really one of the core ideas behind this variety of features is to reinforce the breath of what Covenant choice is all about, and to make your experience slightly different from that of your peers as we journey through the Shadowlands; or when you are jumping at an Alt and checking out a different Covenant, giving you a whole set of new fresh systems to explore an experience there.
So we will have a lot more to talk about with Sanctums. We will have deep dive blogs on individual pieces of these over the course of the Summer as Beta progresses; but that is an overview of some of the new stuff you are going to be seeing in Covenants as Beta begins.
NEXT: DUNGEON: THEATER OF PAIN
|SHADOWLANDS DEVELOPER UPDATE TRANSCRIPT|
|1. Shadowlands Collector's Edition||2. Shadowlands Alpha Recap||3. Shadowlands Beta||4. Covenants|
|5. Soulbinds||6. Conduits||7. Renown||8. Upgrade Sanctum|
|9. Anima Conductor||10. Scouting Map Missions||11. Covenant Sanctums||12. Theater of Pain|
|13. Return to the Maw||14. The Road Ahead|