Bellular Shadowlands Interview with Ion Hazzikostas – Renown, Covenant Swapping, Time Skip Speculation Dispelled

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Bellular Shadowlands Interview with Ion Hazzikostas - Renown, Covenant Swapping, Time Skip Speculation Dispelled



Huge Shadowlands Event Recap

Lore

  • When asked about the mysterious First Ones, Ion replied we’ll learn more about the Pantheon of Death in Shadowlands, which are analogous to the Titans in our world. The wording implied that the Arbiter and Jailer may be separate from the Pantheon. Blizzard wants to start to delve into the lore behind even higher powers than the Titans.
  • When asked about the term “The Lifebinder” and any sinister implications if Sylvanas claims Azeroth is a prison, Ion said it was possible that players may read too much into it–this was likely an artful term thought up years before the current story. He did point out that Bolvar is in a unique position as he’s been seared by the Lifebinder and also has worn the Helm of Domination–he’s anchored in both realms. (Also worth noting that Bellular was asking about Eonar while Ion replied about Alexstraza.)
  • Who is the clockmaker behind the rules of the universe? How is Anima created? These are bigger questions to unravel in years to come, but we may not answer this in the Shadowlands.
  • Bellular asked a few qustions on the importance of Elune, as we keep getting hints that she’s part of something larger, worshipped across multiple realms. When asked if Eonar hiding out on Elunaria was an connection to Elune, Ion only said “perhaps.” When it comes to the Night Warrior story, there is some light shed on Elune in the story of Ardenweald and the covenant campaign.
  • In a past interview, some hints were dropped that time worked differently in Shadowlands, which led to speculation that when we return from the Shadowlands, there is a huge timeskip coming in a future expansion. Ion clarified this, saying that time is perceived differently in Shadowlands, like a dream where you sleep for six hours but in the dream state you experience events covering a wider range of time. It’s not like every day in the Shadowlands is equivalent to five days in Azeroth. “Don’t read too much into the timey-wimey-ness of it.”
  • Uther’s Tomb was updated in Battle for Azeroth as part of the visual revamp tied to Lordaeron at the start of the expansion. This was a side project because it seemed cool at the time, without a deeper purpose.

Shadowlands Content

  • The Shadowlands pre-patch event is closest to the Wrath event in style–Scourge Invasion 2.0. We’re looking at what happens without a Lich King. We’re dealing with the Scourge rampaging across Azeroth, while gathering in Northrend to assault Icecrown Citadel. There’s also loose threads like the fate of Nathanos Blightcaller.
  • Blizzard is happy with the Legion/BFA schedule of alternating .5 patches, with some patches adding new zones and content, while others add systems. They are planning the next raid tier and major story beats, although it’s too early to share them right now.
  • Legion Timewalking is likely coming, and Blizzard is aware that with so many Timewalking events now, it can now be months until you see one return. They realize this is an issue and want to improve upon the schedule in the future.

Loot

  • Covenant armor is the focus of Shadowlands sets at launch, but class-themed sets are coming later.
  • Shadowlands loot may have unique effects inspired by BFA experiments, like Mechagon bit bands. Items should feel simple and accessible, but with layered uniqueness and twists like trinkets and mini-sets.
  • Ion also highlighted that Legendary items are returning with more control than in the past, as players will determine which they choose to craft first, as opposed to relying on RNG drops. As part of the new legendary crafting systems, this will elevate the importance of crafting professions–something that has been missing in WoW for over a decade.
  • When it comes to feeling like random proc effects can lead to tons of damage–Ion is well aware of combat logs showing Gushing Wounds and Infinite Stars being a high % of damage. Part of this is due to procs being treated as separate entries for logs, while corruptions that increase a stat just boost all of your abilities in the background.
  • Passive sources of damage can feel jarring and disempowering. If you hit a class ability and four other effects randomly happen, it can feel like you’re not in control.
  • They don’t want things that aren’t driven by player skill to dominate sims and recommendations. If things are proccing and happening regardless of how well you execute your rotation, nobody would want to choose other types of bonuses.
  • Ideally flat-damage effects should be middle of the road.

Soulbinds

The soulbinds and conduit portion of the interview was released a few days ago, including why conduits are planned to be destroyed when swapped out. Check it out at the link below!

Ion on Soulbinds and Conduits

Weekly Renown

  • Each week in your covenant you have weekly quests to get Anima and bring it back, as well as souls from the Maw. That is optimal for your weekly Renown advancement. Anything excess you collect would go into other parts of the Covenant progression (ie healing your champions on missions).
  • For catch-up, if you are behind on Renown, whether you’re an alt or you took a break, you will find other sources of Renown around the world. For example, an extra bonus reward from World Quests, or a sigil from the end of a dungeon. Those are direct accelerated catch-up mechanisms until you get close to being caught up. Blizzard doesn’t want catch-up to mean removing gates or doing marathon repetitive activities like grinding quests for 20 hours straight.

Covenant Swapping

  • No details on actual costs yet, but leaving a covenant is simple and costless. The cost comes into play if you return to a covenant you left.
  • They’re trying to strike between a painful grind (which they don’t want to encourage) and a process that takes couple of weeks. it might be easy but time-consuming, so you can’t swap boss from boss. if you leave and come back, your covenant progress will be saved like sanctum upgrades and rewards.
  • They don’t want there to be player expectation to respec between bosses.





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