Shadowlands Preview: A Look at Covenant Systems
In Shadowlands, players will be able to quest through four new zones ruled by ancient and powerful Covenants. Upon reaching the max level of 60, players will be able to join one of these Covenants as they continue to explore the Warcraft universe’s afterlife and the many mysteries and adventures that it holds.
While Covenants have many facets that make them unique, they all share a few key systems.
Choosing a Covenant
As you progress through Shadowlands, you’ll play through each of the four new zones where the Covenants hold dominion, learning about what each Covenant stands for and experiencing some the powers that they offer. Once you’ve completed the narrative campaign and have reached max level, you’ll receive a quest in Oribos allowing you to choose which Covenant you’d like to belong to and begin your new journey as a member.
- Kyrian: The kyrian are steadfast guardians of the afterlife who bear the souls of the dead into the Shadowlands. Eternally devoted to duty and service, only the worthy may enter their ranks.
- Necrolords: Among the necrolords, strength is rewarded and weakness cast aside. The souls of the ambitious and contentious are forged into an immortal army charged with the defense of the Shadowlands.
- Night Fae: The night fae tend to fallen nature spirits who slumber within the tranquil forest. Those with a deep bond to nature may join their cause, ensuring that the rejuvenated spirits can one day rejoin the eternal cycle.
- Venthyr: The venthyr are aristocratic overseers of souls burdened with excessive pride and wickedness. They guide troubled souls upon the rigorous path to atonement, harvesting anima to keep their realm strong.
Choosing your Covenant is a weighty decision, and not to be made lightly. While it will be possible to switch Covenants, once you have betrayed a Covenant by leaving them, they will not readmit you easily. However, your loyalty will earn you a host of benefits, including access to a unique Covenant Campaign, Soulbinds, a Covenant Sanctum, and more.
Note: For players who like to play more than one character—once you’ve reached maximum level with one character and chosen a Covenant for them, you’ll be able to immediately choose a Covenant for any additional characters who reach Shadowlands.
When you choose a Covenant, you’ll gain access to a unique Covenant Campaign that delves deeper into the story of your chosen Covenant. You’ll begin by setting up your Covenant’s Sanctum and gaining access to some initial services.
Your Covenant will begin sending you out into the world to begin aiding them in a variety of tasks and collecting Anima. As you progress through the campaign and complete the tasks at hand, you’ll begin to gain Renown.
As you progress through your Covenant’s story, you’ll build Renown and increase the amount of trust your character has earned within the Covenant. Renown is earned by performing worthy actions through the Covenant Campaign, returning Anima to the Sanctum, and by rescuing souls from the Maw.
Increasing your Renown will grant specific rewards at each Renown Level, including:
- Unlocking a new row of power for a Soulbind character.
- Increasing the item level of items you receive from World Quests.
- Increasing the maximum potential level of the features within your Sanctum.
- Earning legendary recipes for the runecrafter in Torghast.
- Earning unique Covenant-themed cosmetic items such as mounts, pets, a title, back attachment transmog, and transmog armor.
Each week, you will pick up two quests in your Sanctum. Each of these quests will award you a Renown level.
- The first quests ask that you deposit a certain of Anima into your reservoir in your Sanctum.
- The second weekly quests send you to the Maw to recover souls from the clutches of the Jailer.
Completing each chapter of your Covenant Campaign will also provide an additional Renown Level, so these will be quests that you want to focus on.
Note: If you fall behind or are leveling an alternate character, you’ll be able to earn additional Renown from endgame activities such as dungeons, raids, PvP, and Callings until you’ve reached the current maximum.
Each Covenant has a unique Sanctum available to their members. It is their seat of power and home to many of the key figures you’ll be working with throughout the Covenant Campaign. Over time, you’ll be able to upgrade Sanctum features through your ongoing adventures in Shadowlands. There are five main features in each Sanctum. Four of these are shared between each of the Covenants, with a fifth being unique to each individual Covenant.
It’s also here that you’ll bring Anima to deposit into the Covenant’s reservoir, take on new quests, and more.
Here are the four shared features within the Covenant Sanctum:
- Adventures: Put your tactical skills to the test by sending your allies into the Shadowlands and lending aid to your chosen Covenant by tackling the unique challenges facing them. You’ll need to be strategic about how you take on these combat puzzles, who you’ll send to face them, and how you’ll utilize their skills to claim victory.
- Transport Network: Players will be able to access a zone-specific travel network within their Sanctum. These travel networks are specific to each Covenant.
- Anima Conductor: Players will be able to enable additional content within the zone by investing Anima into activating a specific area.
- Soulbinds: Within your Sanctum, you’ll meet three key members from your Covenant. You’ll be able to choose one of these to Soulbind with. Soulbinding allows you to gain access to traits that enhance your skills so that you can effectively combat all who stand in your way.
Once a player chooses a Covenant to join, they will unlock the ability to Soulbind with one of several select characters within that Covenant, who will share their distinctive powers with the player in the form of a variety of traits and bonuses. Which character you’re currently bound to can be changed while in any rest area or with a Tome of Clear Mind, while modifying a Soulbind’s traits requires you to be at the Forge of Bonds in your Covenant Sanctum. You will be able to unlock access to an additional Soulbind through your Covenant Campaign.
When you’ve chosen a Soulbind, you’ll gain access to their Soulbind tree, which contains two types of nodes: Soulbind Traits and sockets for Conduits. Traits are passive abilities and buffs that are themed to each specific Soulbind character, and Conduit sockets allow players to further customize their own abilities.
Conduits are a new type of item that players can obtain and socket into Soulbind trees to enhance their class and Covenant abilities while bound with that character. There are three types of Conduits: Potency (damage/healing), Endurance (survivability), and Finesse (utility). A given Conduit can only be placed into a socket of the matching type.
Covenant Class Abilities & Signature Abilities
Each Covenant has unique class abilities and signature abilities available to players who choose to join them at max level. As you level up on your initial journey through each of their domains, you’ll get to experience these abilities firsthand—before you ultimately choose the Covenant you wish to dedicate yourself to.
- Signature Abilities are available to all players who join the Covenant regardless of class, race, or specialization. This ability helps players explore and engage with the world in new ways and provides a unique tool to help solve the problems encountered in Shadowlands.
- Covenant Class Abilities provide additional combat-oriented gameplay options that are tailored to the theme of that Covenant. Every Covenant offers an ability for each class.
This is but the beginning of your journey into the Shadowlands—and with time and perseverance, you’ll be well on your way to being a contributing member of your chosen Covenant.