Shadowlands Preview: Ardenweald and the Night Fae Covenant
A twilight-tinged afterlife for those closely connected to the wild, Ardenweald is a domain of restoration tended by the mystic night fae. Within this eternal forest, massive dream trees draw in precious anima—the essence of souls that flows through the Shadowlands—to feed the spirits of nature awaiting rebirth into the cycle.
Welcome to Ardenweald
The ethereal umbral forests of Ardenweald are where wild spirits return after their time on the mortal plane come to an end so that they can again be reborn. However, this lush afterlife paradise has suffered greatly from the mysterious anima drought plaguing the Shadowlands. Everything that grows here has begun to wither, and the cycle of reincarnation is in peril unless things change—and swiftly.
First things first, you must seek out the Winter Queen—ruler of Ardenweald and the Night Fae Covenant—to deliver urgent news.
Deep within Ardenweald, wildseeds nurturing slumbering nature spirits are restored until they are ready to be awakened.
Meet the denizens of Ardenweald.
Mischievous tricksters of the woods, the mercurial faeries of Ardenweald use a mix of theatrical talents and cunning to care for rejuvenating spirits. Faeries use song to soothe away the pain of the great, resting spirits and snatch up lesser creatures lured by their eerie melodies, grinding them up into poultices. Faeries are just as easy to appease as they are to offend, so be wary of your actions.
The fierce and daring vorkai are the protectors and guardians of Ardenweald.
Vorkai make up the bulk of the Winter Queen’s Wild Hunt, who safeguard the domain against those seeking to bring imbalance. During the anima drought, it has fallen on them to enact the Winter Queen’s decrees of which groves flourish or are left to wither.
Loyal, polite, and graceful, the sylvar are crafters and enchanters who create tools, foci, and magical objects to maintain the ebb and flow of existence in Ardenweald.
Recently, some groves in Ardenweald have been decreed to let their nurtured souls perish, so that others may survive the drought.
Calm, patient, and enigmatic even to others in the Shadowlands, the tirnenn are slow to action as well as anger. They are the eldest of the Fae Court—quiet and thoughtful, and generally friendly unless you threaten their groves.
While slow to enrage, they are terrible to behold in battle, capable of shaping the land and flora around their enemies with frightening speed.
Leader of Ardenweald, the ethereal Winter Queen is charged with the sacred task of maintaining the great cycle of rebirth: restoring perished loa, Wild Gods, Ancients, and other nature spirits and returning them to the mortal plane.
She and the land are one; as the land thrives, so does she. But recently the land has grown sick, and this has taken a bitter toll on her. The anima drought has forced her to make hard choices over which groves to save and which to let go—losing beloved nature spirits in the process.
With the drought weakening the guardians of Ardenweald, the ancient Drust have seized the opportunity to invade from their nightmarish realm of Thros. Using their twisted form of druidism to feed upon the dying groves, the Drust grow stronger with every wildseed that perishes. Though relatively few in number, the Drust are using dark rituals to pull the native fae into their forces.
Spriggan are small, malicious creatures native to Ardenweald who live to create chaos. Some have heard the whispers of the death loa Mueh'zala, and gleefully carry out his plans. Others follow no ruler, simply reveling in the wanton mischief and destruction they unleash upon the inhabitants of Ardenweald.
In addition to the native fae creatures that the forest calls forth to nurture the wildseeds, Ardenweald serves as an afterlife for mortal souls who shared a special bond with the natural cycle. Druids, hunters, and others who tended the land may be judged worthy of an eternity spent caring for the wilds. Upon arrival, these souls can choose an animal form infused with the celestial magic of Ardenweald.
These are but a few of the entities you’ll encounter in Ardenweald. While adventuring, it's best to stay vigilant—you might even cross paths with long-passed heroes of Azeroth who now wander this world.
Night Fae Covenant
When players reach maximum level and have explored the first four zones, they’ll be able to pledge themselves to a Covenant, like the Night Fae. Each Covenant offers its champions abilities, along with other powers and cosmetic rewards that can be unlocked through a Covenant Campaign—an epic storyline unique to the faction. This alliance also gives the player access to a Covenant Sanctum, a hall only open to players who have forged a pact with its rulers.
Power of the Night Fae
If you choose to join the Night Fae Covenant, you’ll gain two unique abilities—one class ability used in combat, as well as a signature ability to explore the world in a new way.
Here is the signature ability that the Night Fae bestow upon their champions:
Soulshape: Turn into a Vulpin, increasing movement speed. You may reactivate Soulshape to teleport a short distance forward.
Additional cosmetic forms can be earned and collected through a variety of gameplay.
While out in the world, this effect has a short duration before it wears off, but lasts indefinitely while in a rest area.
To give you an idea of what to expect, you can view a list of the Covenant signature and class abilities Please keep in mind that all these are a work in progress and may have additional changes during the course of development and testing, so all abilities shown are subject to change.
When you join a Covenant, you’ll be able to undergo an ancient rite to bind your soul to some of its most powerful members. By doing so, your character harnesses their power, gaining access to powerful bonuses. Over time, you can unlock new tiers of power and even switch Soulbinds when strategy demands it.
Night Fae Covenant Spoils
For your contributions to the Night Fae Covenant’s cause, you’ll be rewarded with several cosmetic rewards including: a mount, a pet, Night Fae-forged armor, and back attachments that will capture the Night Fae's attention.
Don specially crafted armor forged within the heart of Ardenweald.
Mists of Tirna Scithe
Despite the whirlwind of chaos stirred by the anima drought, Tirne Scithe has become eerily quiet. Go forth and investigate to ensure the grove’s inhabitants and precious wildseeds are safe.
Difficulties: Normal, Heroic, Mythic
Level: 50+ (One of four level-up dungeons*)
Cursed to exist outside the cycle of Life and Death, the Drust now seek to circumvent their fate using Ardenweald's mechanisms of rebirth. Their would-be conquest has found its way to Tirna Scithe, where Ingra Maloch and his followers use foul magic to subjugate the local inhabitants.
Tirna Scithe is defended by force of arms, but also cunning. The playful Mistcaller has used the mists to confuse and disorient invaders. With the Drust attack, the Mistcaller cannot easily tell friend from foe, and only after her puzzles and games are defeated can you safely reach the heart of Tirna Scithe.
The gorm have been chewing at the edges of Ardenweald, devouring desiccated husks of the dead. The beast called Tred'ova has gorged herself on something far more precious—the wildseed of Lakali, loa of knowledge. Now that Tred'ova has tasted the loa's power and wisdom, she hungers for more than survival.
*Mists of Tirna Scithe is a 5-player dungeon inside Ardenweald.
We look forward to sharing more information as development continues, and we hope this preview prepares you for Ardenweald and perhaps selecting the Night Fae Covenant!
Will you be joining the Night Fae Covenant? Join the discussion on the forums.
Rewards and abilities are still in development and subject to change, so be sure check back for periodic updates on worldofwarcraft.com as we approach the release of Shadowlands.