In a recent update to the Shadowlands Beta, players found themselves unable to use their Covenant Abilities outside of Shadowlands zones. Ion Hazzikostas announced today in a blue post that they’d be reverting this change.
The idea behind the change initially was to soften the blow of losing access to this ability in the future expansion after Shadowlands (which was also confirmed in the post). The team came to the conclusion that it it wasn’t the way to go based on player feedback.
We’ll be reverting this change in next week’s update. It’s something we were on the fence about internally, and seeing the range of reactions has been helpful in making it clear that it wasn’t the right move.
We explored adding this restriction partly for world-fantasy reasons (I mean, it’s a bit weird seeing someone’s summoned swolekin just hanging out in the Orgrimmar AH), but mainly as an exploration of how to make expansion-specific systems feel more grounded in their expansion from the outset. Covenants are the centerpiece of Shadowlands, but when the following expansion comes out (yes, there will be one), we know we’ll need to ensure that a returning player doesn’t need to go back and do the full covenant progression in order to be complete and competitive. And when that time comes, it won’t feel great to lose something that will have come to feel like a part of your character.
That led us to this experiment of just establishing these powers as inherently tied to the Shadowlands, so that nothing would technically change when the time comes for players to move on to the next chapter in their journey. But reducing that feeling of loss a couple of years from now isn’t worth the expense of a weaker sense of connection to your covenants in the meantime, along with feeling like a part of your character is missing when you’re running legacy content. The feedback around this change makes that clear.