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Starym

Covenant Abilities Already Very Controversial in the WoW Community

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With only 2 days having passed since Blizzard announced the first pass of the Covenant abilities we'll be getting in Shadowlands, they've already become the most controversial feature of the new expansion. The WoW community is up in arms about the class-specific abilities in particular, with a big concern relating to the announced difficult re-specing of your Covenant choice.

Players are reacting so strongly to this announcement in part due to the issues already experienced in Battle for Azeroth, with the Azerite system being maligned since the BfA beta, the huge alt un-friendlyness of Essences etc, so one of the major features of Shadowlands now also having problems is making people scared the system won't be fixed before late into the new expansion as well, so they're being very vocal about it.

There have already been dozens and dozens of reddit posts on the matter, ranging from players just begging Blizzard not to lock the new abilities to Covenants, raging about the repeating of BfA mistakes, many coming up with better solutions to how the abilities should be handled, and even a few defending the system. There have been locked threads, deleted comments and a whole lot of work for the r/wow mods, as the community is getting pretty combative on the subject. Here are a few of those threads so we get a better idea of what's going on (apologies for some of the bigger posts):


Then we move on to the more constructive posts, detailing how exactly the system should be fixed, but almost everyone is in agreement that the class abilities should be separate from your Covenant choice, or that respecing a Covenant should be extremely simple:

And finally, we do actually have a few players that are standing behind the decision to lock these abilities behind Covenant selection, with the main argument being that it fosters meaningful player choice:

And so only a few days after the announcement, the community is pretty upset at one of the main features of the new expansion, with the vast majority being against the class-specific abilities being tied to Covenants and the fact that it will be difficult/take a lot of effort to respec them. The simplest solution here does seem to be simply making Covenants easily swappable, but that would remove the significance of your choice of Covenant almost entirely. Making the abilities themselves not part of Covenants at all is also a good option, but that would relegate the Covenants to simple cosmetic choices, and Blizzard seems to want more from them than that.

Will Blizzard respond to this in time? Or will we have another BfA situation where one of the core systems is constantly complained about throughout the entire expansion? It's very early in the Shadowlands lifespan (well, technically it hasn't even been born yet), so there's time to fine-tune these decisions, let's just hope Blizzard learned some lessons from BfA.

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Honestly, I feel like Blizzard just needs to return to what worked in MoP, Cata and Wrath of the Lich King. No gimmicky systems, no endless grinding to get a decent item, just loot and tier sets that scale based purely on difficulty, currency that you can earn from any activity and spend on gear vendors, reps that you can farm from dungeons and not just dailies, and the current talent system. Maybe a few adjustments to itemization, but please cut out all of the RNG crap, and stop trying to punish players for trying to optimize their characters. And let people have alts.

Edited by Monlyth
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My God - maybe these elitist jerks should get a job at Blizzard so we can verbally attack them for every single decision they make.  There needs to be changes or the game gets OLD! Don't like it...pay the money and develop your own game! Personally I am sick of this corruption garbage on my alts! Why do I need 55 corruption on a level 420 ring? STOP!

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16 minutes ago, Wildwitch said:

My God - maybe these elitist jerks should get a job at Blizzard so we can verbally attack them for every single decision they make.  There needs to be changes or the game gets OLD! Don't like it...pay the money and develop your own game! Personally I am sick of this corruption garbage on my alts! Why do I need 55 corruption on a level 420 ring? STOP!

It is a lose-lose situation, really.

If Blizzard doesn't add new mechanics, people will complain saying they're adding nothing new to the game and just shoving fancy new stuff that was supposed to be in the current expansion, and that the game is stale and dying.

If Blizzard adds new mechanics, people will also complain by saying they don't want "yer old ways" to change and that the devs are ruining the game by adding "useless stuff", and that the game is losing its touch and dying.

Either way, people will find some way to complain and nitpick. Been hearing that kind of crap since The Burning Crusade.

Yes, the Azerite system is deeply flawed, but if wasn't for the terrible RNG, it would actually be pretty good. Corruption is interesting on paper for a high-risk high-reward system but is also plagued with issues. But Jesus Christ, the beta for Shadowlands is not even out yet and people are complaining before seeing what abilities will be avaliable.

Edited by Valhalen
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I'm slightly confused by a lot of these replies here. Are they not supposed to complain about something they don't like now, at the best possible time when Blizzard can still change a lot of the systems? Are they supposed to wait until it's all finalized and released with Shadowlands and THEN complain that it's terrible?

Like, regardless of your personal opinion on this system, WHY should people not complain about something they don't like as early as humanly possible? Are they supposed to assume that the thing Blizzard literally presented will be massively changed by Blizzard on their own without any feedback?

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1 hour ago, Starym said:

I'm slightly confused by a lot of these replies here. Are they not supposed to complain about something they don't like now, at the best possible time when Blizzard can still change a lot of the systems? Are they supposed to wait until it's all finalized and released with Shadowlands and THEN complain that it's terrible?

Like, regardless of your personal opinion on this system, WHY should people not complain about something they don't like as early as humanly possible? Are they supposed to assume that the thing Blizzard literally presented will be massively changed by Blizzard on their own without any feedback?

They're just following the "It's just Alpha stop complaining-> It's just Beta stop complaining  -> It's only just been released it'll get better -> this sucks why did no one complain about this during Beta" Cycle

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4 minutes ago, Yojiro said:

They're just following the "It's just Alpha stop complaining-> It's just Beta stop complaining  -> It's only just been released it'll get better -> this sucks why did no one complain about this during Beta" Cycle

The thing is: the Alpha/Beta is not even out yet. Once people play and the system does prove to be flawed, then they have the right to complain (or do "constructive feedback", rather). But doing so before even getting the chance to test is just childish elitism.

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4 minutes ago, Valhalen said:

The thing is: the Alpha/Beta is not even out yet. Once people play and the system does prove to be flawed, then they have the right to complain (or do "constructive feedback", rather). But doing so before even getting the chance to test is just childish elitism.

But this isn't really one of the systems that needs to be tested to be understood. You will absolutely 100% have to pick a covenant either based on the skills or the aesthetics and for a lot of specs those two will not be the same aka you will be forced to make a choice you don't want. I don't really see how playing the Alpha has anything to do with a "right to complain" when everything is obvious right now - not to mention people's lack of faith in Blizzard (or anyone really) balancing that amount of abilities so some of them don't end up being must-have.

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2 hours ago, Monlyth said:

Honestly, I feel like Blizzard just needs to return to what worked in MoP, Cata and Wrath of the Lich King. No gimmicky systems, no endless grinding to get a decent item, just loot and tier sets that scale based purely on difficulty, currency that you can earn from any activity and spend on gear vendors, reps that you can farm from dungeons and not just dailies, and the current talent system. Maybe a few adjustments to itemization, but please cut out all of the RNG crap, and stop trying to punish players for trying to optimize their characters. And let people have alts.

exactly, if i am spending the entire expansion grinding a rng system for the best abilities and loot that will be obsolete and replaced with another rng grind next expansion then your just wasting my time and limiting me to one character per expansion

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So nearly exactly what I've written under previous news. These factions should have been cosmetic only, it's another system that they will spend entire expansion trying to fix (and likely slapping something else on top of it later on, like they used to do), only to abandon it later. Whatever remains from those abilities, might end up as future talents and that's probably all that's going to remain of it after Shadowlands, just like some Legion artifact abilities ended up as talents (or mission tables as a remnant of WoD's garrison, or artifact power as Azerite power...).

Edited by Arcling

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Doesn't really matter to me one way or another regarding covenants.

Because no matter what I choose, my resto shaman's Icy Veins introduction paragraph will start will "Most of all, restoration is a fun specialization..." while all the other healers will have things like "excels at", "brings amazing", and "fantastic at".

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3 hours ago, Starym said:

But this isn't really one of the systems that needs to be tested to be understood. You will absolutely 100% have to pick a covenant either based on the skills or the aesthetics and for a lot of specs those two will not be the same aka you will be forced to make a choice you don't want. I don't really see how playing the Alpha has anything to do with a "right to complain" when everything is obvious right now - not to mention people's lack of faith in Blizzard (or anyone really) balancing that amount of abilities so some of them don't end up being must-have.

We don't know that yet. I'm trying to be optimistic, but I think that what you said is true. However, we can't know for sure until we know what are all the skills.

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