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On the Destructibility of Conduits in Shadowlands

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Bellular interviewed Game Director Ion Hazzikostas and we learned more about the philosophy behind Conduits and Soulbinds, mainly, why they get destroyed when replaced.

What Are Conduits?

You can augment Soulbinds in Shadowlands to socket passives that enhance your Class and Covenant Abilities in various ways. You can read the official preview for more details on Soulbinds.

Conduits operate like gems, so if you put one in and would like to replace it later, the original Conduit gets destroyed. Bellular talked to Ion about the philosophy behind the destructibility of Conduits.

Blizzard Logo(Source)

CONDUITS

The Forge of Bonds also allows you to augment your Soulbinds with Conduits, socketed passives that enhance your Class and Covenant Abilities. Here are examples of Conduits for Warriors.

WARRIOR CONDUITS

Warrior (all specs): Execute increases the critical strike chance of subsequent Executes for a moderate amount of time, stacking substantially.

Warrior (Kyrian, all specs): Spear of Bastion’s instant damage and Rage generation are significantly increased.

Warrior (Necrolord, all specs): Brandishing the Conqueror’s Banner (Covenant Ability) immediately grants you a moderate amount of Glory (used to prolong the duration of your banner), and while the banner is planted your Strength is moderately increased.

Warrior (Night Fae, all specs): Ancient Aftershock’s damage and Rage generation are significantly increased against the first target struck.

Warrior (Venthyr, all specs): Condemn’s damage dealt and prevented are moderately increased for each nearby enemy.

Warrior (Arms): Overpower has a chance to apply Colossus Smash for a few seconds.

Warrior (Fury): Recklessness now last moderately longer.

Warrior (Protection): Last Stand significantly increases your Rage generation.

Interview Highlights

  • Conduits are bonus drops that you get from dungeons, bosses, some will be on vendors.
  • They want to add Stamina to some Conduits to offset Throughput benefits that are coming from the system.
  • If you could pop Conduits out, the right way to play would be the massive nuisance of inventory management. You would have to carry a lot of Conduits with you and swap them out all the time, which is not what they want you to do.
  • But the bigger philosophical reason is choice. There are a lot of systems that require micromanagement on an encounter by encounter basis. 
  • Conduits and Soulbinds offer a lot more customization flexibility than Legion Relics did, you didn't have two Ashbringer loadouts.
  • They are loathed to add another layer of micro-changes that you feel like you have to make, so Conduits are destructible.
  • They don't want you to resocket 5 conduits for every dungeon/raid/encounter, so if Conduits were not destructible, it would not add much but turn into chores that you have to complete in order to be optimal.

You can watch the whole interview below.

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What about for once make something you can change wherever you want, whenever you want, that's saved on your character and not into your inventory, and that won't make it so you can't use the other specs of your class without having to destroy what you put before?

I want to play druid in SL, but this makes it look like I won't be able to use any other spec that my main one, since i would have to destroy my conduits to change spec.

Good job Blizzard on creating a new way to annoy people who want to change spec from time to time.

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I really get the feeling they don't want people to change specs anymore and want to make specs similar to Advanced Classes...

Edited by Nobleshield

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1 hour ago, Nobleshield said:

I really get the feeling they don't want people to change specs anymore and want to make specs similar to Advanced Classes...

 

9 hours ago, Mugendai said:

I want to play druid in SL, but this makes it look like I won't be able to use any other spec that my main one, since i would have to destroy my conduits to change spec.

Good job Blizzard on creating a new way to annoy people who want to change spec from time to time.

Funny, because in vanilla it was much harder to switch specs. It seems odd to me, from an RPG perspective, that we can switch specs and talents so freely. How does that sudden re-education work, exactly?

From a gameplay perspective, I certainly agree that it's great to be able to switch freely. But given that we switch between three soulbinds at will, and each of those have multiple paths that can be likewise re-chosen almost for free, it doesn't seem to me that the current system is restraining. If this works out, one should be able to easily arrange soulbinds or paths for various specs and situations and swap a needed. Conduits seem more like a potentially fun way to craft exactly how we want our setup for each spec/situation to be.  

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I don't get, why being able to change conduits and Soulbinds would be odd from an RPG perspective. Blizzard can make it, what they want it to be. 

Not being able to replace them without destroying them will be so horrible... Try to change your spec or just do another aspect of the game like m+ or raids or pvp. 

6 hours ago, KDF said:

 

Funny, because in vanilla it was much harder to switch specs. It seems odd to me, from an RPG perspective, that we can switch specs and talents so freely. How does that sudden re-education work, exactly?

 

Yes, and there's a reason, why they changed that. Nobody was happy with having to pay huge amounts of gold if you had to change your talents every once in a while. It just seems they have to learn everything more than once to understand. I already prepare to play multiple chars, just because i seem to need one for every thing i want to do, like one for pvp, one for m+ etc... If the grind is only half that of what it is in BfA currently, it will be even more ridiculous.

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Based on how high tier play will *filtered* out another build you MUST have to come to a pug or you are trolling every know and then for the past decade I think free change is something I would appreciate myself. 

Honestly I don't mind that much the elitism I want to be as much use to the group as I can. I want to push those meters hard. But this looks like azerite traits v1

 

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I dont get the whole "oh no, i have to replace conduits over and over" thing. Sometimes we need limitations to get a challenge. If you could make any build, whenever, whereever, it takes out a bit of the challenge or thought that needs to be put into optimizing your options.

Almost everyone in youtube videos is keeping the fact out, that you have 3 soulbinds, that you CAN switch around. So you either use your conduits on them to have different builds for differents situations, like aoe, or raid builds, or you can use your souldbinds for different speccs. So when you switch from Damage to tank, you have a soulbind ready for that.

The only bummer would be, if you want to use all features of one specific soulbind on all your builds. Then okay, bummer. But as i see it, you gotta think then about which soulbind fits which build better and prepare them accordingly.

I think it's okay like it is now, and i support Ion's and the team's choice.

Just not for the fact, that we will be flooded by conduit items. ugh ... (maybe a conduit stash, as an additional unlimited bag?)

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44 minutes ago, Lawrenz said:

I dont get the whole "oh no, i have to replace conduits over and over" thing. Sometimes we need limitations to get a challenge. If you could make any build, whenever, whereever, it takes out a bit of the challenge or thought that needs to be put into optimizing your options.

Almost everyone in youtube videos is keeping the fact out, that you have 3 soulbinds, that you CAN switch around. So you either use your conduits on them to have different builds for differents situations, like aoe, or raid builds, or you can use your souldbinds for different speccs. So when you switch from Damage to tank, you have a soulbind ready for that.

The only bummer would be, if you want to use all features of one specific soulbind on all your builds. Then okay, bummer. But as i see it, you gotta think then about which soulbind fits which build better and prepare them accordingly.

I think it's okay like it is now, and i support Ion's and the team's choice.

Just not for the fact, that we will be flooded by conduit items. ugh ... (maybe a conduit stash, as an additional unlimited bag?)

The way I understood it, is that conduits are part of the soulbinds, so they're not independent of each other.  And the soulbinds aren't equal to each other as far as I know. One has more dmg traits, one has more utility, one defensives. So when you're a dd in m+ and then in raid, for which one will you sacrifice the dmg?

Also, one of them will always be better, and it sucks, imo, that you will have to choose, if you have the best stuff for m+ or for raid, or für pvp. You won't be able to optimize for all of them, and that's what makes up a big part of the fun for a big chunk of the players.  

For me, the biggest let down so far, is that, apart from the testing thing, they have absolutely NOTHING in store for pvp, but that's another story.

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19 minutes ago, Asakash said:

[...] You won't be able to optimize for all of them [...]

yeah, ofc you won't. But shouldn't it be like that? If you can prepare for everyone and any case, it get's boring. Because then you will have people who just follow spread sheets of what the best soulbind, and whats the best dmg build in there.

With this limitation on the other hand, you still have room to decide to use the best soulbind for your main build, and everything else is a off specc, where you have to look for the fitting soulbinds and the fitting conduits.

The Challenge of games always lays in optimizing yourself inside limitations and rules. If you take it away, you just have "THE best build, and that's it". The limitation forces variation and thought into having optional builds on one character. I still can understand, wanting to be the best in all, but that would be boring, imo.

They just need to lift restrictions on the covenent abilities. Thats to much power connected to the choice of covenent. They should make it just 3 to 4 abilities for each class, and make the choice of covenent just influence that chosen ability visually.

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12 minutes ago, Lawrenz said:

yeah, ofc you won't. But shouldn't it be like that? If you can prepare for everyone and any case, it get's boring. Because then you will have people who just follow spread sheets of what the best soulbind, and whats the best dmg build in there.

With this limitation on the other hand, you still have room to decide to use the best soulbind for your main build, and everything else is a off specc, where you have to look for the fitting soulbinds and the fitting conduits.

The Challenge of games always lays in optimizing yourself inside limitations and rules. If you take it away, you just have "THE best build, and that's it". The limitation forces variation and thought into having optional builds on one character. I still can understand, wanting to be the best in all, but that would be boring, imo.

They just need to lift restrictions on the covenent abilities. Thats to much power connected to the choice of covenent. They should make it just 3 to 4 abilities for each class, and make the choice of covenent just influence that chosen ability visually.

But people aren't like that, they will always choose those, that are best prepared for the respective content. Why would they choose you, with raid stuff, for m+, when there are people that are optimized for that content. And imho, it's not the impossibility of optimizing for everything, that brings the fun, but that it needs some effort. 

Plus, as I know Blizz, you will have to do everything again, to get your stuff for your specific content, just like in BfA, so you won't have a joice. 

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If it's not fun unless everyone can be optimally set up for every kind of situation, why have talents and such at all? Just give every character all the exact same skills to acquire, so that there is never a disadvantage other than how far one has progressed. Min/maxing would be easier. But that sounds boring to me. I like having toons with different specialties, so to speak. 

Honestly, having multiple conduits that I can freely switch between sounds like it could be fun. Tweaking each conduit to have it ready for different situations could be fun. And note that you can not only switch conduits at will, but even paths within each conduit. So there's lots of free choice already. 

I'll agree with Ion about one thing, that being encouraged to spend a good chunk of raid night swapping conduits back and forcth for each encounter doesn't sound fun. 

Lastly, there's a much bigger problem, in my opinion, that doesn't seem to be getting as much attention: having conduits have item levels seems like a terrible idea. 

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58 minutes ago, Asakash said:

But people aren't like that, they will always choose those, that are best prepared for the respective content. Why would they choose you, with raid stuff, for m+, when there are people that are optimized for that content. And imho, it's not the impossibility of optimizing for everything, that brings the fun, but that it needs some effort. 

Plus, as I know Blizz, you will have to do everything again, to get your stuff for your specific content, just like in BfA, so you won't have a joice. 

I dont get this kind of complaint. You are still able to be fully optimized on your Main character on your main specc. Just additional builds or speccs might be 3% weaker because you had to chose the other soulbind. boohoo. ^^ So when you get to switch from your main damage build to tank, you are an off-tank. it's an off-specc for you. I dont see a problem in being a little unoptimized in this case.

Yeah, this system isn't perfect, but it's not as limited as people make it seem. Corruption on the gear like we have it now, or pvp stats on pvp gear like back in the past, are much much more limiting. Especially the pvp stat, that fully excludes you from other content completely, and still there are people who want it back...

you can't please everyone with gameplay impacting decisions like this.

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But then tell me, where you need an off tank? And for many players, it feels bad, to not be able to optimize as far as possible. Or what's actually even worse, is being able to optimize, but make it very stressful, so it can still be demanded, and you have to do it, in order to be taken seriously. 

Idk which kind of content you do in which difficulty, but if you want to push high keys and do mythic raid progress, noone will just say "well, it's only 3%". Which, btw is just an estimated value from you, and could be much higher. Being optimized for single target significantly reduces the potency in aoe for some classes.

And then, for me, I will probably even want to do pvp, where more utility stuff might be mandatory. 
That will just feel so bad. 

Maybe for you, it doesn't matter, but i love min-maxing, like most of my friends, and that will make it hell.

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This all depends on the RNG factor of obtaining these conduits compared of obtaining Azerite gear at the very start of BFA from Mythic Dungeons.  If it's at a slow snail pace and makes it feel cumbersome from switching from DPS to Tank specialization for role priority then it seems more trouble than it's worth.  Think I racked up a 300k charge in gold, within 1 week, from constantly switching Azerite traits to accommodate what was needed for keystone and raid settings, from DPS to Tank, at the very beginning of BFA.  (No one likes to Tank in my Guild or knows how or even wishes to learn.)

But it is rather funny that WoW has all these little systems running per expansion but still want to tax the player from switching and playing around with their class builds.  FFXIV does not have this and has only the requirement that you have the proper job stone leveled per job switch for given content.  But FFXIV also does not offer a specialization tree/talent system just a job specific gear selection from various source of content.  GW2 does not have this at all...there is no penalty from switching class specializations not even repair charges if gear gets broken.  Don't like a talent from being in a map zone?  Go to safe spot, switch, go back to grinding.  Prefer to switch to Druid to Soulbeast?  Got the gear? Go ahead and switch at no charge.  You basically build your own tier sets for armor/weapons via crafting.

Blizzard stated this will be a very alt friendly expansion all I can do is lol at that comment in general.  Hell I'm just curious if this is going to be even specialization friendly expansion.  But to all those that are playing the Alpha now and have access to this system need to voice up if this is going to be problematic and a far worse system compared to Azerite gear or even the Artifact weapon system from Legion.  Because this right here will determine the future of active players willing to stay and play this expansion and continue to buy a subscription,

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