Blizzard posts developer update for WoW Shadowlands

Covenants are here to stay.

Image via Blizzard Entertainment

World of Warcraft’s newest expansion, Shadowlands, is set to release in just seven weeks on Oct. 27, but there’s still more left to be done before the game reaches consumers. 

Today in a blog post, Blizzard gave a developer update to fill in some of WoW’s more hardcore players with a few details about how things are coming along.

Some players have been helping to test the game since April through alpha testing and earlier this summer, the testing transitioned to a more complete beta test of the game.

Among the big talking points for the expansion are the new “Torghast” PvE feature that serves as its own sort of game mode and the introduction of “Covenants” that serve as a primary theme of the Shadowlands.

In the blog posted today, Blizzard discussed alt leveling, Torghast progression, the covenant system, PvP itemization, and sockets on gear.

The vast majority of the post was spent discussing the upcoming covenant system, which many players have expressed displeasure with. Early in the expansion, players will be forced to choose between one of the four Shadowlands covenants, and based on that decision, players will have tangible in-game benefits.

Because of the potential of imbalances among different covenant abilities and perks, top level players have expressed that making a character’s covenant permanent could hurt the game’s playability.

In response, Blizzard has tried to stand firm on the stance that they will try to balance covenant abilities instead of getting rid of them. As an attempt to ease players into the idea, Blizzard is making covenants swappable, but it won’t be simple.

“While picking a covenant at the end of your journey to max level is a weighty choice, it is not a permanent one. If you find that, whatever the reason, you are unhappy with your initial covenant pick at level 60, you need only return to Oribos and you can immediately switch to a different one,” the post said. “Now, if you later wish to rejoin a covenant that you have left, that is slightly more involved: There is a path to redemption consisting of a series of two weekly quests to atone for breaking your vow and to rededicate yourself to that covenant’s cause.”

There’s still time before Shadowlands’ launch, but it appears while Blizzard is taking steps toward making covenant swaps more accessible, the developers aren’t backing down from using a covenant system that has a high potential for imbalances.