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Covenants Are Much Worse for Multi-Spec Players

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Much has been said about the inflexibility of the Covenant system, with it being the focal point of Shadowlands dissatisfaction even prior to its release. A lot of the focus has been on the switching Covenants for the abilities because of their differing benefits for different activities like Mythic+, raids and PvP, from a main's perspective, but as our own Shadow Priest guide writer Publik is pointing out, it gets a lot worse if you're a multi-spec player, and it's not limited to just the abilities.

Publik goes into how the system is much worse for players that like to change specs, from the soulbinds sharing power across them, conduit resets not being spec-based, how the system doesn't actually offer meaningful choice and more. Most importantly, the system very much discourages spec and role switching and is much more alt than multi-spec friendly, with players already planning out having separate characters of the same class so they can play the different specs. You can check out the video or the full forum post below, and it's well worth a read.

And here's the full forum post:

Quote

After alpha and beta testing Shadowlands I wanted to bring up a problem that still hasn’t gotten much headway and aim to talk about big pain points I have with the Covenant system. It’s no surprise that people are unhappy about the player power tied to Covenants themselves, and I think wanting to multi-spec or multi-role actually highlights this problem to whole new degree.

Soulbinds force you to share power across roles and specs

Right now after picking a Covenant you have access to three Soulbinds (after weeks of unlocking renown). In a world where you have all three Soulbinds, the argument pitched to us is that you can use one Soulbind for Raiding, maybe one for Mythic+, and another for an offspec or something. This is not a good solution. You are effectively putting a cap on the amount of builds a given character can have, meaning if you want to do more than 3 types of content, or play 3 or more specs you will have to choose something to IGNORE. Even If we assume that Blizzard will eventually balance these three Soulbinds against each other, that means that for some classes and specs you will be extremely disincentivized to play your off specs.

Lets walk through a quick example, using the Druid class to make the point that much clearer. If you choose to be a Kyrian Druid you have access to Pelagos, Kleia, and Mikanikos soulbind trees. If you are a main spec Balance druid lets say you pick Pelagos as your Balance Soulbind and slot in 3 balance potency (throughput) conduits. This now leaves you with a choice, what do you use the other two Soulbinds for? Maybe you pick Kleia for your Restoration Soulbind and slot in Restoration conduits, and then that leaves you with Mikanikos as your Guardian Soulbind. Before I move on, you don’t even unlock this Soulbind until Renown 21, and the full tree unlocks at Renown 39 meaning that the third Soulbind in particular will be at a massive disadvantage than the other two until you get enough renown (weeks into the expansion). So now you have all 3 roles attached to a Soulbind, but some have access to more traits or conduit slots than others. This is somewhat consistent with the Artifact system from legion, where your off-spec was slightly behind your main spec in power levels (artifact power).

Now comes the problem. What if you want to try out feral druid for some arena? Or maybe your raid team wants to swap you from Balance to Feral on this fight because they need an extra melee. You are now stuck. There isn’t a fourth Soulbind, and conduits are not loadout based on spec. You can either choose to swap conduits and put them on a weekly cooldown, or reuse one of your existing Soulbinds so that you can actually use a Soulbind with Feral conduits. I don’t understand how this is meaningful choice, I’m being gated by the game and essentially blocked off from playing my off-specs…all for the case of some traits that are typically just “X ability hits Y harder”.

As a Shadow Priest main my perspective is quite similar, I want to be able to off-spec heal on occasion for my guild, and also spec out for Mythic+ and Raid content. In a perfect world I could just use one Soulbind for each of these roles or specs of gameplay, but unfortunately the balancing between these Soulbinds from a DPS throughput perspective is upwards of 10-15% depending on what you swap out. This stops becoming meaningful choice and instead is now just telling the players that multi-spec main characters will be at a severe disadvantage in the game compared to someone who doesn’t do that. The game needs more tanks and healers, pushing people away from that doesn’t feel like a good solution to me.

Conduits weekly cooldown is not per spec

The big reason this is a problem right now is because conduits have a weekly cooldown between swapping them around. This is particularly problematic if you want to use the same Soulbind across specs. Lets say Theotar from the Venthyr is the best Soulbind, or rather the Soulbind you want to use for your Shadow spec. If that Soulbind is also the one you want to use for Discipline, or maybe it has a trait that synergizes really well with your playstyle you basically cannot use it for both of these use cases. You will have to choose the specific purpose of this Soulbind, and swapping specs doesn’t grant you another loadout. This is distinctly different than Battle for Azeroth’s Azerite system, where you could just have off-spec Azerite gear in your bags ready to swap in if you want to play another spec. Now its basically like you have to use the same Azerite armor for all 3 of your specs…how does that make any sense??

Why this isn’t meaningful choice

A lot of people are chalking this up to the Soulbinds and Covenants themselves are meant to be a meaningful choice. I think that could be an interesting thing to see in the game, but I can tell you very honestly that is not what this system is currently. Back to Priest specifically, 3 of my covenant abilities have no interaction with my spec (press X button on cooldown for Y damage) and the Soulbinds offered to all the various covenants basically just give you random secondary or main stat procs added to your character. Soulbind traits very very rarely change your gameplay in any meaningful way.

So if this system is full of uninteresting covenant abilities and unimpactful Soulbind traits, so why are we punished for this choice?

Why this discourages people playing other specs or roles

If I am a main spec Priest healer, and I use two of my Soulbinds for Discipline and Holy, I will probably leave the worst of the three Soulbinds to my off-spec Shadow specialization. Knowing what we know about the system, my character might be using the “wrong” or significantly worse DPS throughput Soulbind for this situation. Before even picking up Shadow to DPS a quick key I am already at a potentially massive difference in my damage, just because I don’t main spec Shadow. So in addition to playing a spec I’m probably less familiar with, I also might have a Covenant ability that is less useful or impactful, conduits that don’t work with Shadow, lack of Shadow Priest legendary, and Soulbind traits that aren’t as good for Shadow JUST because systems are getting in my way. Putting all of these obstacles in front of players does not encourage people to try new things and play different roles, it makes people anxious and immediately feel bad about not being the best they can be.

This system is more alt friendly than main-offspec friendly

The last point is a pretty simple one. The fact that simply playing a second character solves all of these problems is completely wild to me. In my case, having a Shadow Priest character and a Discipline Priest character is so much more advantageous for me if I want to play both optimally, and that is just frankly unacceptable.

I love the themes of the Covenants and the zones and the Soulbinds, but because player power is attached to the entire system, I’m being blocked from playing other specs or other roles on a singular character. And it just feels horrible.

So if you really like a specific class and want to get the full experience for more than one of its specs, you might have to get some same-class alts going.

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I was going to play Druid this expansion, but the covenant thing was the absolute reason I changed my mind, impossible to play Druid without thinking about playing other specs, so i'm gonna go with my arcane mage, since I don't like fire and forst at least I know I won't have to change.

But for almost every classes, covenants are just terrible if you want to change spec, and I can't believe Blizzard still let this pass, with their 'meaningfull' choices, which are just punitive choices that have no meaning other than being annoying.

Edited by Mugendai
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I guess I'm one of the few people looking forward to this. I miss the days where you had 2 trees, and it costed an increasing amount of gold to swap things around. It allowed me to make very specialized builds to push a spec to its limits if all I wanted to do is specialize in a single spec, rather than having two specs on a character. I had a single target Arms spec that ignored Wrecking Crew and Bladestorm, and went into the Fury tree to get Death Wish as an extra dps cooldown on bossfights. I had an AoE arms spec that focused all of its talents on getting bladestorm and buffing cleave. If I was on boss duty, I nailed it. If I swapped to massive adds, I nailed that too. I had a situation in my spec for every fight.

What did it cost? It cost me the ability to have a tank spec. But that's OK because I had a Death Knight that I tanked with. And wouldn't you know it? It had two tanking specs too! It had a blood spec for main tanking progression fights, and it had a frost spec for adds focused offtanking, such as (I think it was called Razorscale?) in Ulduar. Again, no dps specs on my DK except insofar as the tank talents overlapped with dps ones, and i could swap stances. I could go dps in a pinch but I wasn't the greatest at it, on that character. 

I can't tell you how excited I am that they're bringing this back. You can have a cookie cutter spec that does reasonably well at everything like "the cookie cutter" arms spec, and a "cookie cutter" offspec that works well enough in that system. Or, you can prioritize everything for "one" spec and use that spec to its fullest in a variety of situations. I do think the current system is flawed in that however. Here are some tweaks I'd suggest:

1. Two soulbind trees that are completely unrelated to each other (just like in WotLK). Conduits you pick in one do not affect conduits you pick in another.

2. More hybrid conduits. Necrolord's general theme of "over time effects matter" for Druids, even if undertuned and should be buffed a little, is a cool way to make spec agnostic builds that might not perform the best, but still feel like you're building a theme rather than having to just take general nonsense compared to what you want to take. Just because people want to go hybrid doesn't mean they don't want cool synergy too. 

3. More conduits based on talents. A cool way to "lock" people into talents in an optional way is to make more conduits based on talent skills or passives. You only get the benefit of those conduits while you're spec'd into that talent, and when you swap, the conduit doesn't work. So players can choose to take talent conduits if they want for extra oomph at a loss of flexibility in talents for the week, or they can take general spec conduits, maybe do a little less output, but keep the flexibility in their talents on a fight by fight basis.

The only way to stop the cookie cutter problem with any sort of character customization system is to allow multiple specialized talent trees to compete with generalized "best of" talent trees (my single target Arms spec destroyed the cookie cutter on single target fights) without letting the player swap at will. Otherwise you just get "cookie cutter talents for fight X" rather than talents which customize your character. 

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So we have to pick a class specialization and covenant then live with the consequences of that decision.  I like this very much.

Picking a lane and running with it, is something lacking in the game right now.

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28 minutes ago, Reno2171 said:

So we have to pick a class specialization and covenant then live with the consequences of that decision.  I like this very much.

Picking a lane and running with it, is something lacking in the game right now.

Have to agree with you.  One of the big problems with retail is how flaccid player choice feels compared to where the game was in its earliest expansions.  This may harken back to that, and I like having choices with more weight.

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1 hour ago, Reno2171 said:

So we have to pick a class specialization and covenant then live with the consequences of that decision.  I like this very much.

Picking a lane and running with it, is something lacking in the game right now.

Depends, most people will likely pick dps for the sake of overall convenience. It might not be that good for amount of tanks and healers on LFG, if someone can't easily switch and they aren't into alts. Having this choice is good. I don't see how semi-locking people out of that choice is a good idea.

Edited by Arcling
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1 hour ago, Arcling said:

Depends, most people will likely pick dps for the sake of overall convenience. It might not be that good for amount of tanks and healers on LFG, if someone can't easily switch and they aren't into alts. Having this choice is good. I don't see how semi-locking people out of that choice is a good idea.

i understand how locking poeple out of a choice seems like a bad thing but i like the consept of having your one spec and making the best out of it. i think it could take pressure of some poeple who think they have the need to fullfill three roles with there druid just to have a better chance to get pickt for a raid group.

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Disheartening and not fun. One of the happiest moments i had in the game was when they annoyed dual speccs, and later when you could just pick your specc. I liked the ability to play the class however i wished without needing wows massive alternate power grinds for each specc. Now i cant, and i cant even optimize a single specc for the variety of content i do (i like arena, m+, raiding and prolly torghast). 

 

Its a bad system looking worse each day. Their intent is understandable, but the frustration for players isn't worth it in today's multi-activity wow. 

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This not ideal and rather bitter imo.  I've already had 8 Guildies asking me what I'm going to do for Tanking and what my plan will be since they wish to be strictly dps only with very few wishing to heal.  I rather have the option to switch roles on a whim than being restricted to one role.  And I roll my eyes with everyone that I've talked to in Discord stating, "WoW was never meant to be like that to begin with."  I do respect their statement but if that were the case then every Class should have been shortened down to 1 role with zero option for off specialization or talent trees...the very exact replica model of FFXIV.  

I believe that this expansion will offer a mix bag of sorts for all playstyles but I don't think this expansion is going to be the absolute best at the start.  And I do have my reasons to be skeptical but I do try to be optimistic and give what is given in a game setting a try.

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3 hours ago, Mishmish said:

Disheartening and not fun. One of the happiest moments i had in the game was when they annoyed dual speccs, and later when you could just pick your specc. I liked the ability to play the class however i wished without needing wows massive alternate power grinds for each specc. Now i cant, and i cant even optimize a single specc for the variety of content i do (i like arena, m+, raiding and prolly torghast). 

 

Its a bad system looking worse each day. Their intent is understandable, but the frustration for players isn't worth it in today's multi-activity wow. 

Each class has a role in the game(Can't be a DPS/healer/tank). With each one having three specializations NOT generalizations. People's inability to choose a lane(whether it's a covenant, a spec for arena, m+, raiding and probably torghast) just makes them sound like spoiled children.

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People sound like spoiled children, because they want to enjoy more than one aspect of a game. Alright.

Also, let's ignore the fact, that you can't even really do one part of the game, without doing another.
You basically have to do mythic raids to get gear for m+, and probably also for pvp.

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31 minutes ago, Reno2171 said:

Each class has a role in the game(Can't be a DPS/healer/tank). With each one having three specializations NOT generalizations. People's inability to choose a lane(whether it's a covenant, a spec for arena, m+, raiding and probably torghast) just makes them sound like spoiled children.

I'll try to keep it civil but frankly, You sound spoiled and immature when you don't understand people's enjoyment out of a variety of content. 

 

There is nothing absolute about "picking a lane", as you call it. It's cool you enjoy the game that way. Others don't. Wow attracted many of those others when it started creating fun competitive content beside raiding. Your desire to specialize is legitimate, but there is little reason to disable players ability to min max their character for what they wish to do. You can stay a feral druid only, for ezample, if you so desire, nobody will force you to respecc unless you're in the highest of mythic guilds and even then, that's rare. 

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Blizzard will have to address this problem fast before Shadowlands hit, otherwise I can already foresee a fiasco like Azerite Gear.

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I can't believe the amount of selfishness in the comments, I wasn't expecting that.

Most people want to enjoy their character completely, and also want a change of pace by being able to change their gameplay from time to time.

People saying they like it because they want to play one, and only one aspect of their character sounds really selfish to me, as they can do this, even if other people are allowed to change if they want to.

No one is stopping people from making a character and sticking to one play style, but it doesn't mean we should stop everyone else from changing.

People often forget that this is a game, and this kind of unfun mechanic has no positive value, as it doesn't change anything for a small amount of the players who are ok with it, and only hinders the gameplay of the vast majority.

Edited by Mugendai
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8 hours ago, Valhalen said:

Blizzard will have to address this problem fast before Shadowlands hit, otherwise I can already foresee a fiasco like Azerite Gear.

That might even be worse than Azerite Gear. People are literally locked out of their character choices since your power doesn't just go up but without soulbinds and a covenant it might even go down. Imagine not using a soulbind but playing a tank off-spec. Mobs in Dungeons will pummel you into the ground...
 

And all this talk about being happy about this. No freakin' way. I am around ever since 2005 when Vanilla hit live and it thinking back at it. It is crap. It's so bad designed... of course players nowdays like to think back and remember stuff, the good stuff. Being inspected wearing only purples, nope. Forget the 40 man BWL Raid on Sunday starting at 3 PM. Yey....
Players today want a faster experience in game play. The long time commitment comes from playing wow alone but not from playing just 1 spec. You cannot except to hold the masses in your game with this. I wouldn't stay either.

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a thought just came up in me, maybe blizz is trying to encourage poeple to play alts to cover difrent roles instead of one char doing everything

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14 hours ago, Asakash said:

People sound like spoiled children, because they want to enjoy more than one aspect of a game. Alright.

They can, with alts or other copies of a main.

14 hours ago, Asakash said:

You basically have to do mythic raids to get gear for m+, and probably also for pvp.

That sounds like a content balancing problem, not a class systems problem. I think mythic raiding gear should just be removed and it should be only for cosmetics at this point. I mean, what have raiders been saying to M+ runners for the past several weeks? "It doesn't matter if M+ pushes higher, you do the content just because you LIKE IT." What's good for the goose is good for the gander IMO. People can push mythic +25 because they want to, they can raid mythic because they want to, gear caps out at heroic (scale PvP up to that level). 

13 hours ago, Mishmish said:

There is nothing absolute about "picking a lane", as you call it. It's cool you enjoy the game that way. Others don't. Wow attracted many of those others when it started creating fun competitive content beside raiding.

The problem started with Cataclysm. WoW completely overhauled its dungeon / raiding system after Wrath by making them much more complex, under the assumption that people would be able to bring their class tools more easily, making the raids less about getting a party comp together and more about navigating increasingly complex (often reflex based) mechanics. That model destroyed server communities, left a lot of people behind and caused a mass exodus that has never recovered since Wrath. Blizzard has seen the success of Classic, realized the people who left aren't truly gone, and are trying to see what systems they can incorporate into retail to bring them back.

14 hours ago, Mishmish said:

You can stay a feral druid only, for ezample, if you so desire, nobody will force you to respecc unless you're in the highest of mythic guilds and even then, that's rare. 

Flexibility is a problem even within specs, not just between specs. The fact that a feral druid can respec everything at the snap of a finger to have all tools at their disposal 24/7 destroys pillars of MMO design (namely, players should need other players, and not just as robots merely carrying out a rotation, MOBA's have players need players in such a simple manner) but also cranks up the tuning on raid fights.

13 hours ago, Mugendai said:

Most people want to enjoy their character completely, and also want a change of pace by being able to change their gameplay from time to time.

You can change gameplay by making alts. Also you can enjoy your "character" completely, it depends on your definition of "character".

13 hours ago, Mugendai said:

People saying they like it because they want to play one, and only one aspect of their character sounds really selfish to me, as they can do this, even if other people are allowed to change if they want to.

Depends on how the game is balanced. If the game is balanced around talent swapping between fights, then people locking in their talents are gimping themselves for no reason. If the game is balanced around people being locked into talents for the week, then people locking in their specs aren't gimping themselves for no reason.

 

13 hours ago, Mugendai said:

People often forget that this is a game, and this kind of unfun mechanic has no positive value, as it doesn't change anything for a small amount of the players who are ok with it, and only hinders the gameplay of the vast majority.

Unfun is subjective. I listed positive values it had in my original post, so saying it has none is blatantly begging the question. It changes EVERYTHING for the small amount of (current) players who are OK with it, and all the people not currently subbed but could be (the Classic-Wrath market that Blizzard is trying to bring back to retail). 

3 hours ago, N3ilo said:

a thought just came up in me, maybe blizz is trying to encourage poeple to play alts to cover difrent roles instead of one char doing everything

Or, they're just trying to use basic economic theory we've known for hundreds of years to finally solve the cookie cutter problem with talents. Alts are a good workaround, like they always were, but the point is that if talents are 100% flexible at all times, they might as well not even exist. They exist only to be noob traps. Once people find the "best talents" for a fight, not swapping is just unoptimal play, which makes talents a crap design for customizing your character and a needless UI headache for players. Without opportunity cost, there is no customization. That's just a basic fact fact that anyone with even a Bachelor's in Econ should be able to spot a mile away.

 

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23 minutes ago, Logos89 said:

Depends on how the game is balanced. If the game is balanced around talent swapping between fights, then people locking in their talents are gimping themselves for no reason. If the game is balanced around people being locked into talents for the week, then people locking in their specs aren't gimping themselves for no reason.

 

 

 

No, the thing is, they will balance the fights around the best possibly prepared characters. So as if everyone in the raid were optimized for this very fight.
If you are not, which would most certainly the case, if you usually do other content like m+, you will be gimping.

And of course I don't want to play 3 different chars of the same class, that's a horrible suggestion. I actually can't believe, that that is even considered a good thing by some people. 

23 minutes ago, Logos89 said:

They can, with alts or other copies of a main.

That sounds like a content balancing problem, not a class systems problem. I think mythic raiding gear should just be removed and it should be only for cosmetics at this point. I mean, what have raiders been saying to M+ runners for the past several weeks? "It doesn't matter if M+ pushes higher, you do the content just because you LIKE IT." What's good for the goose is good for the gander IMO. People can push mythic +25 because they want to, they can raid mythic because they want to, gear caps out at heroic (scale PvP up to that level). 

 

This whole thread is about the content balancing problem. The covenants won't be balanced, that's impossible, as some are good for aoe, some for st. How would you ever balance this? And the removal of mythic gear, it doesn't matter, if it would be a good idea, because it's not real. Blizz forces players, that want to do any kind of content at least a little bit competitively, to gear through mythic raids. 
So having alts for every role or content just doesn't work, because even if you want to do only m+ or pvp, and optimize your char for that very content, you won't be able to be competitive in mythic raids, which you have to do, to be suited for the other. How does that fit together?

Edited by Asakash
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3 hours ago, Asakash said:

No, the thing is, they will balance the fights around the best possibly prepared characters. So as if everyone in the raid were optimized for this very fight.

Then the fight will be overtuned, no one will down it, and Blizzard will have to lower their tuning (see Firelands in Cataclysm which got nuked way harder than ICC in less time haha). The way I see the system working is one of two ways:

1. Mythic raiders have a bench with people with different builds specializing in different fights, and they swap people in and out for their strong fights, until fights are on farm.

2. Such a bench can't be maintained, all mythic raiders are good at some fights, gimped at others, and Blizz needs to address the tuning of those fights.

3 hours ago, Asakash said:

If you are not, which would most certainly the case, if you usually do other content like m+, you will be gimping.

Or, you can use an M+ character for M+ and a raid character for raid. Each should be able to do well enough in its own system without needing gear from the others. If not, again that's a problem with raids / gear, not covenants.

4 hours ago, Asakash said:

And of course I don't want to play 3 different chars of the same class

Then don't. I had a DK tank and a Warrior DPS in Wrath. You make what you want to make to do the content you want to do. But if your answer is "just make talents infinitely swappable" then, again, talents might as well not even exist. WoW might as well go full mask-off and just have cookie cutter MOBA characters, and they should advertise in bold: "This game is not an MMORPG. It is a PvE / PvP MOBA with MMO elements. All that matters is APM. You have been warned." 

4 hours ago, Asakash said:

This whole thread is about the content balancing problem.

No it's about covenants. You can make whatever class / covenant system you want and tune raids / loot accordingly. You have to differentiate problems between the system intrinsically, and the system only relative to how raids / loot currently exists. Especially if the raid / loot system ought to be changed for reasons 100% independent of the current state of covenants.

 

4 hours ago, Asakash said:

The covenants won't be balanced, that's impossible, as some are good for aoe, some for st. How would you ever balance this?

You don't. The fact that covenants are good for AoE or ST but not vice versa is a FEATURE not a bug. If all covenants were equally balanced at everything, none of the decision making around covenants is interesting, and they might as well not even exist.

4 hours ago, Asakash said:

And the removal of mythic gear, it doesn't matter, if it would be a good idea, because it's not real. Blizz forces players, that want to do any kind of content at least a little bit competitively, to gear through mythic raids. 

The point there is that if Blizz could fix this particular covenants by changing something about gear, i.e. a completely different system, then the problem wasn't with covenants to begin with.

4 hours ago, Asakash said:

So having alts for every role or content just doesn't work, because even if you want to do only m+ or pvp, and optimize your char for that very content, you won't be able to be competitive in mythic raids, which you have to do, to be suited for the other. How does that fit together?

It doesn't. Which sounds like a problem with mythic raid gear dwarfing what are supposed to be PARALLEL endgame systems. You cannot blame covenants for that problem. Even if covenants were 100% the way you want them, you'd still need to do mythic raids to get the best PvP gear. It would still suck for people that just want to PvP and so it would still need to be fixed regardless. PvPers want to gear from PvP, they don't care if their covenant is balanced just so they can do content they never wanted to do, to get the gear to do the content they actually wanted. 

Bringing this up in a discussion about COVENANTS is just a red herring meant to muddy the waters.

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 I can see both sides to having one character and one spec, and if you choose another spec it may not be optimal. I like meaningful choices but also get bored shoved into my role when it is maxed out half way through an expansion and I am waiting for content.

 I also hate it when people who more often than not are DPS and they switch to healing or tanking halfway through an expansion, think they know the fights because they did it on DPS and don’t realize how different it is on other specs and we wipe 12 times on the first boss while they apologize because this is the first time they are healing/tanking. Not that you cannot pick up the role later, but in my experience people need to learn how the role is different.

 Now I may be a minority in this, but I am really sick of borrowed power, I think I would be really excited for this expansion if they allowed the same choice on covenant but it was cosmetic only, and simply even just added an extra talent row for each class. In addition taking the extra time to make sure classes worked a bit more smoothly and their synergies better. I feel they did an amazing job on reworking shadow priests! I know there are definitely other classes that could really use that kind of attention. It would be really nice if instead of them having to balance all of this additional borrowed power, they would work more on each classes core rotation, synergy, and tuning. I feel that several specs are falling short and getting bandaids as we are coming up to the expansion start here, and they are going to suffer because they are still balancing covenant abilities, soulbinds, and conduits.

 I know at the end of the day one spec will be at the bottom of the charts whether it is healing, tanking, DPS, and that is fine, but when properly tuned if the overall numbers are not that far off, they can do the content, and the spec is FUN to play, then I call that a win!
That is what I am looking for, I don’t want my abilities to be under-tuned because I had so much borrowed power that they don’t even know how to fix it when that power is gone, or they feel they have to keep mucking around to give us something (like glimmering light) that provides a new way to play, but when they give it as a talent and retune the whole spec in some ways hindering the other play style because of how they need to tune it. It just feels like it is getting out of hand, think of new synergies, new ways we may be able to play, but tune us, our specs for each expansion, not borrowed power.

  Sorry I rambled so much, but I really liked seeing how Blizzard addressed shadow priests and would love to see them apply that to attention to each spec, there are many specs that function well, but there are several that really need a closer look. 

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1 hour ago, Logos89 said:

Then the fight will be overtuned, no one will down it, and Blizzard will have to lower their tuning (see Firelands in Cataclysm which got nuked way harder than ICC in less time haha). The way I see the system working is one of two ways:

No, because then it would be undertuned, for groups that ARE optimized. Do you see where this is going? It's impossible to make that right.

1 hour ago, Logos89 said:

Or, you can use an M+ character for M+ and a raid character for raid. Each should be able to do well enough in its own system without needing gear from the others. If not, again that's a problem with raids / gear, not covenants.

Yeah, should. And for me, that would be fine, if it was that way. But that hasn't been the reality for quite some time. You get Ilvl lower than hc raid at the end of an m+. And one competitive piece of gear in the weekly. Assuming you get a useful piece every week, you still need 14 or 15 weeks to be geared. 
What I'm saying is, either they stop us from having to do different types of content to gear us up, or they remove the restrictions through covenants and conduits, that keep us from doing that.
Covenant would be sooo amazing, if they weren't connected to all that borrowed player power.

1 hour ago, Logos89 said:

Then don't. I had a DK tank and a Warrior DPS in Wrath. You make what you want to make to do the content you want to do. But if your answer is "just make talents infinitely swappable" then, again, talents might as well not even exist. WoW might as well go full mask-off and just have cookie cutter MOBA characters, and they should advertise in bold: "This game is not an MMORPG. It is a PvE / PvP MOBA with MMO elements. All that matters is APM. You have been warned." 

I think, it's the exact opposite. If you're locked into your talents, THEN you might as well remove them and bake them into own subclasses. Because then you have your irreversible 'meaningful' joice. Talents offer flexibility, and there was a reason why changing them has been made easier over time, so there is some variance. And now they implement the very system, that we had in form of talents, which we couldn't swap easily, and which they abolished for a more flexible system, again. That doesn't make any sense at all.

1 hour ago, Logos89 said:

You don't. The fact that covenants are good for AoE or ST but not vice versa is a FEATURE not a bug. If all covenants were equally balanced at everything, none of the decision making around covenants is interesting, and they might as well not even exist.

They can exist, if they don't lock you in. I see, that you and I are different in that regard. But when I enjoy a class or spec, I probably don't want to use it only for one type of content. Or, as you suggested earlier, for only a few bosses in a raid progress, where my exact combination of class, spec, covenant and coduits fit the fight. I see absolutely no downside in disconnecting the covenants from player power. And just because something is called a feature, it doesn't make it helpful.

1 hour ago, Logos89 said:

It doesn't. Which sounds like a problem with mythic raid gear dwarfing what are supposed to be PARALLEL endgame systems. You cannot blame covenants for that problem. Even if covenants were 100% the way you want them, you'd still need to do mythic raids to get the best PvP gear. It would still suck for people that just want to PvP and so it would still need to be fixed regardless. PvPers want to gear from PvP, they don't care if their covenant is balanced just so they can do content they never wanted to do, to get the gear to do the content they actually wanted. 

Bringing this up in a discussion about COVENANTS is just a red herring meant to muddy the waters.

It's not. If covenants would be 100% the way I want them, it would at least be POSSIBLE to get geared, even though it would suck, because I'm exactly what you're describing. I wish, I wouldn't have to raid at all. I'd love to be able to just do m+ or pvp. But Blizz made that even worse than before, with the m+ gearing system.
Bringing this up in this discussion is unavoidable, because those things affect each other. 
Also you brought it up, when you stated, that the covenant problems could be solved with a better gearing system and I agree to a certain degree.

My suggestion for you, just out of interest: I would be ok with a system with the covenants like they are, but you have completely different types of gear for m+, pvp and raid. Like sets, or a pvp stat and a m+ stat and a raid stat, or whatever comes to their mind. Would that be ok for you as well?

Edited by Asakash
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10 hours ago, N3ilo said:

a thought just came up in me, maybe blizz is trying to encourage poeple to play alts to cover difrent roles instead of one char doing everything

I disagree.  I've leveled and played the Tanking role of each class during BFA.  Out of all the classes that I've played I'm more adept at playing Vengeance and love the playstyle over Protection Paladin and Blood DeathKnight.  Instead of working on an alt of a different class for Tanking I ended up spending $30 for a Faction Change on my Alliance DH to go to Horde.  People will say that was a waste of money but to me it's a waste on Blizzards end to be putting a restriction up on a class that I enjoy playing both roles on.  So instead of cutting my time on leveling 1 DH and getting stuff for both roles I will be doing 2 and doing twice the work to move around Blizzard's road block just to enjoy the content I wish to do while plans to do all three roles on my Paladin getting snuffed and working on a ranged dps being placed at the very bottom of the list of things to do in SL.

I refuse to be in the same predicament as I was in at the start of BFA with Azerite gear at the start of the expansion.

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On 9/26/2020 at 3:02 PM, Asakash said:

No, because then it would be undertuned, for groups that ARE optimized. Do you see where this is going? It's impossible to make that right.

 

I think in an RPG, you err on the side of making raids easier rather than harder, and the sub numbers seem to reflect that handily. It's not coincidence that there was a mass exodus of subscribers right after the "Dungeons are hard!" blog and into Firelands which ended up being nerfed around as hard as ICC was 9 months after its release, 2 months after its release. Then followed again by the LFR patch in November which flattened the sub nosedive, until people got bored with Dragon Soul and end of expansion burnout caused people to naturally quit until MoP. MoP itself was an expansion with insanely low raid participation even with LFR, so devs had to release Flex, another pre normal raid difficulty, to justify continued raid development.

Seems like it was a lot easier to keep "most" people happy with Wrath style difficulty than the post Cataclysm rollercoaster we've been on since. That's a hill I'm definitely prepared to die on, and I think that making the difference between Heroic / Mythic less about pure eye/hand coordination and more about group composition would go a long way to making the raids more sustainable in the long run. And that has to start with a model that makes it so you can't swap to a perfect set of tools between fights. 

On 9/26/2020 at 3:02 PM, Asakash said:

It's not. If covenants would be 100% the way I want them, it would at least be POSSIBLE to get geared, even though it would suck, because I'm exactly what you're describing. I wish, I wouldn't have to raid at all. I'd love to be able to just do m+ or pvp. But Blizz made that even worse than before, with the m+ gearing system.

I agree with that wholeheartedly. When Blizzard promises parallel endgame systems it needs to live up to that promise. And then after it lives up to that promise and people aren't worried about having to gear for PvP in mythic raids, covenants can be looked at again. The world I want to see is where people can specialize their characters for the content they enjoy. Let's suppose you play Druid. You could have 2 Feral specs, one for AoE trash, and one you can swap to when you fight bosses (all Mythic+ oriented). Or, you could have a jack of all trades Feral that does well in most Mythic+ situations, and then you have a tanking spec you can run Mythic+ in, if the group needs a tank. That way the two druids who play together could be built very differently depending on how they want to specialize, even if they're both Feral.

This does not mean I want the Mythic+ person to be gimped in gearing because, surprise, they have to raid and PvP. That's just too much to balance talent trees for. I will die on the hill with you that this system cannot work unless the endgame systems really are parallel and valid intrinsically to avoid diseconomies of scope for players in making their trees.

On 9/26/2020 at 3:02 PM, Asakash said:

My suggestion for you, just out of interest: I would be ok with a system with the covenants like they are, but you have completely different types of gear for m+, pvp and raid. Like sets, or a pvp stat and a m+ stat and a raid stat, or whatever comes to their mind. Would that be ok for you as well?

100% with you here. Wrath had resilience gear for a reason. It worked very well. I think Mythic+ should have its own style of gear. Hell you could get creative and say something like a set that does something like "Recover X% of mana and reduce cooldowns by Y% when all members of the party/raid have left combat (doesn't work in Arena)". Especially on trinkets, or things with higher ilevel for mythic raids. Would make Mythic+ more efficient for Mythic+ players since you have a very fast cadence of pulling groups of trash, killing, and then running to the next trash. Raiders could have higher ilvl gear, but they'll have to spend more time getting mana and waiting for cooldowns between fights. Mythic+ players would have a speed advantage in being able to leave combat, get resources back quickly, and chain pull faster. I think over the course of a dungeon, the Mythic+ set would have a much better edge. Note it would be basically useless for raid fights since you don't leave combat for the duration of the whole bossfight so the set wouldn't do anything for raids and raiders shouldn't feel pressured to get a set like this.

And I'll do you one better on the current system. Like I mentioned in my first post, the current system as it is, even if I like what the devs are going for here, is too inflexible! I think if you're going to restrict the amount of talent trees to 2 already and lock resets on those 2, there's NO reason you need to make the conduits in 1 tree apply to another. That's even more draconian than Wrath's system and undermines the flexibility you can really run on with 2 trees. I want to fully let players build the 2 trees exactly how they want. Having 2 trees is enough to undermine the "cookie cutter problem", let players choose between role flexibility or spec flexibility, and make real choice based difference between players.

There's no need for this weird conduit rule making it that much harder for people to specialize their dps specs, etc. It's also hard to explain to new players how it works. Conduits carry over, but where do they go when you swap trees? What is the rule? How can players build a tree which future proofs how they might want to use a second tree? At a certain point, it's too much to think about even for me, and these kinds of systems are my favorite part about RPG's, so it's really going to be a headache for most people.

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On 9/25/2020 at 9:30 PM, N3ilo said:

i understand how locking poeple out of a choice seems like a bad thing but i like the consept of having your one spec and making the best out of it. i think it could take pressure of some poeple who think they have the need to fullfill three roles with there druid just to have a better chance to get pickt for a raid group.

What about those of us who want to tank M+, Heal raids, and DPS in open world (last one less an issue as it's just open world stuff tbf)?

I don't want to do the same *filtered* every week on 3 druids (or even 2) just to be competitive, and try and gear them all. I have multiple druids at 120 now on different servers mainly for cosmetics/race/horde vs ally reasons, but only really play the one, since it does the same as the others but has the gear, and has been my main for 12 years now and just feels, better? 

We're already pushing the same raid and same dungeons every week for the foreseeable, but redoing all the renown and torghast stuff on the same class just to be somewhat optimal when they could just have soulbinds change on spec seems ridiculous and ANOTHER case of not learning from the issues of the past. (AP in weapons, Azerite at BFA launch).

On 9/25/2020 at 7:18 PM, Logos89 said:

I guess I'm one of the few people looking forward to this. I miss the days where you had 2 trees, and it costed an increasing amount of gold to swap things around. It allowed me to make very specialized builds to push a spec to its limits if all I wanted to do is specialize in a single spec, rather than having two specs on a character. I had a single target Arms spec that ignored Wrecking Crew and Bladestorm, and went into the Fury tree to get Death Wish as an extra dps cooldown on bossfights. I had an AoE arms spec that focused all of its talents on getting bladestorm and buffing cleave. If I was on boss duty, I nailed it. If I swapped to massive adds, I nailed that too. I had a situation in my spec for every fight.

You still have that, just without the unnecessary 5 rank you do 1% more damage with X talents. Even going back to Classic / pre cata and these builds (mainly wrath with the extra points), there were not many real scenarios where more than 2-3 talents changed per build. Some were crazy and non viable (DW resto shaman, which led to int weapons being main hand for example) but fun to be able to do, granted, but there's still some builds like that now, just without the increasing gold sink.

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