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Pre-expansion Event Details, Time in the Shadowlands, Major Lore Implications, Renown Catch-up: Full Bellular InterviewBy Starym
We have another interview to check out with some new and exciting info, as Bellular talked to Ion Hazzikostas and got us a lot of very interesting lore and story related things in particular, including a hint that the First Ones might be the creators of the entire Warcraft universe, details on the Pantheon of Death, confirmation of a Scourge invasion and Nathanos presence in the pre-expansion event, Renown catch-up and more! Obviously spoilers ahead.
We've already covered the Counduits and Soulbinds portion of the interview that was released earlier, and you can check that out here.
The pre-expansion event got some solid details, as Ion said we'd be fighting another Scourge invasion, as they run around Azeroth aimless without a Lich King, and we'll be fighting them and pushing towards Icecrown Citadel to assault it. He also confirmed Nathanos will be involved, as his fate is a "loose thread" that will be followed (and we've already seen him in the Plaguelands as a potential boss on the Alpha).
Ion starts talking about who created the Titans and what the exact ordering of the entire Warcraft universe is really like when the First Ones are mentioned, and explains that the Pantheon of Death is equivalent to the Titans (aka the Pantheon of Order) and is made up of the Covenant leaders. We don't yet know how the Jailer and Arbiter fit into that (but we'll discover it in Shadowlands). The actual bigger story of who actually created everything is something we will get into in the years to come, but maybe not directly in Shadowlands.
One of the big things that was finally explained is the "time works differently in the Shadowlands" issue, where Ion said that we shouldn't read too much into it. It's dream like, where you might spend more time in there but less time has passed in reality, which pretty solidly smashes the popular time skip after Shadowlands theory (although again, he specifically said not to focus too much on the weird time stuff, implying it's not going to be a story point in either direction).
Renown catch-up will work with additional sources of Renown popping up (like additional rewards in World Quests etc.) until you're nearly caught up. The standard/normal Renown system will see you doing weekly quests to get Anima and souls in for your Covenant.
Legion timewalking is coming, with a possibly improvement to the scheduling of the events as there's more and more of them. Reminder that class themed armor sets will be coming with later patches. Ion talks about passive procs and that they understand they're bad. No specific on the cost of returning to a Covenant you abandoned before, but they're trying to find a balance between an intense but shorter grind and something easier but taking longer, even weeks (presumably gated). Your Covenant progress will be saved if you leave and come back later. For the full details check out the interview itself, particularly the very beginning where Ion talks about the Pantheons and possible creators of the Warcraft universe itself:
The announced Horrific Visions nerfs are joined by a graphical fix for the Corrupted Affix in today's hotfixes.
July 13 (source)
Dungeons and Raids
Mythic Keystone Dungeons Corrupted Affix The ground visual for Explosive Scarab’s Volatile Rupture should remain visible with lowered Graphics Quality in the System Settings menu. Horrific Visions
[With regional restarts] The Leaden Foot slow effect is now capped at 50% of movement speed (was 90%). [With regional restarts] Split Personality clones are now spawned for 5 seconds (was 6 seconds), and its disorient effect now lasts 2 seconds (was 4 seconds).
We're getting some Horrific Visions difficulty tuning this week, as Leaden Foot and Split Personality get nerfed, with slow effect caps and shorter durations for the clones and disorient effects! The hotfix will be applied with each region's resets and it should make some of the Visions less frustrating to deal with.
Horrific Visions (source)
With the weekly reset in each region, we’re going to do some difficulty tuning in Horrific Visions. We agree with player feedback that a couple of the challenging effects can be a bit too punishing. Going forward:
The Leaden Foot slow effect is now capped at 50% of movement speed (was 90%). Split Personality clones are now spawned for 5 seconds (was 6 seconds), and its disorient effect now lasts 2 seconds (was 4 seconds). We’ll have these listed in our next hotfixes update.
Blizzard renamed the Human Racial Every Man for Himself to Will to Survive in Shadowlands.
The subtle name change was spotted by MrGM, who posted it on Reddit. At this time, we do not know if it has anything to do with gender, but it is worth noting that Blizzard recently posted an update on Pelagos' Pronouns on the Alpha and Shadows Rising made one of the most fan-requested pairings reality.
"Every Man For Himself" does sound somewhat cowardly as pointed out by Reddit user audioshaman, so maybe the change was just made to give Humans a more positive racial name.
Will to Survive from the Alpha spellbook.
Game Director Ion Hazzikostas recently talked to Bellular about why Conduits get consumed when replaced. Still, it turns out the community wants the direct opposite, and the same goes for the Covenants system.
Yesterday, we brought you a summary of Bellular's interview with Ion. The main topic was the destructibility of Conduits.
Conduits operate like gems, so the original Conduit you want to replace will be consumed/destroyed in the process. Conduits come from dungeons, bosses, and vendors, so it is not a fortunate decision having to refarm them if you ever decide to replace them. Ion argumented in the interview that the WoW developer team does not want you to change Conduits on every single boss pull, and that's why they made them destructible.
"Having to carry around a physical inventory of Conduits that need to be micro-managed and constantly swapped in and out is the opposite of fun," he added.
He also said that Conduits in their current state offered more flexibility than Legion Relics.
It turns out, however, that the community wants the direct opposite. Redditor Vandar started a thread that accrued 1.5K upvotes in just one day, where he suggests that Conduits should be obtained and managed like Essences, suggesting they should be swappable in a specific zone and not take up valuable inventory space.
Zack (Asmongold) also suggested that Conduits should become craftable so that you don't have to refarm them if they get consumed.
Placeholder for tweet 1282366987025424385 Covenants
Another growing concern are Covenants and Covenant Abilities, mainly their balance. In Shadowlands, we have many systems layered on top of each other. There are Anima Powers that work in Torghast, Legendary Powers (Legion Legendaries 2.0), Soulbinds, Conduits, and Covenant Abilities, so it is natural for players to feel concerned given that Blizzard said it would be hard to regain the trust of a Covenant if you decide to pursue a different one only to switch back later.
Now imagine what will happen if Covenant Abilities end up unbalanced, and some of them will get buffed while other abilities get nerfed to the ground. The player will automatically pursue what is best for them in the ideal scenario, which might involve abandoning and returning to the same Covenant.
The thing is that Covenants are not just about abilities. They have their themes, hubs to unlock, Soulbinds, rewards, and depth, so at the end of the day, the player will be forced to give all this away in favor of their Covenant ability and never be happy with their choice because they want to pick the best one for raiding.
Preach also voiced his concerns about the Covenant system in his latest video.
A practical and straightforward solution suggested by Redditor Corgibox is to detach Covenant Abilities from the Covenants and add them as a separate talent row, but with no level requirement, as Blizzard wants you to use Covenant Abilities straight as you jump into the new content, and not at max level.
Do you agree with the changes suggested by the community? Let us know in the comments below!