During today’s Shadowlands Livestream, we got a ton of new information about Covenants. The Covenant you choose will play a critical role in your Shadowlands experience.
Selecting a Covenant
Once you hit level 60 and return to Oribos, you’ll be able to choose your Covenant after having experienced a taste of all of them during your leveling adventure. This is an important choice, as it will affect your end game experience. Covenant’s can be swapped later, but there is no word yet on how to swap them or what is required in order to do so.
Soulbinds will provide an additional talent tree in the Shadowlands, much like Artifact Weapons did in Legion. You’ll be able to form a Soulbind with certain key, powerful NPCs in your Covenant. Soulbinding is described as an ancient Shadowlands ritual that allows to souls to form a bond that allows them to share a portion of their identity, memory, and powers. The characters available to Soulbind with each have a personality and identity that shapes the powers that become available by Soulbinding with them. The talents on the Soulbind tree will grant you abilities, additional powers, and utilities.
You’ll also be able to add Conduits to your Soulbind tree. Conduits will be class specific and will allow you to further customize your abilities to suit your playstyle. They are described as being similar to Relics that you could add to your Legion Artifact Weapon.
You’ll be able to re-spec and swap between Soulbinds for what was described as a nominal cost. The cost was compared to the cost for Azerite gear re-specs in Battle for Azeroth and players were assured that it will be nothing like that.
After you choose a Covenant, you’ll be able to start gaining Renown. Renown will be a progression timegating system that will “deepen your connection with your soulbinds,” unlock features, and rewards including followers and cosmetics. You’ll be able to gain Renown by going out each week and collecting Anima or by going into the Maw and rescuing souls that should belong in your Covenant. There will be catchup mechanics from the start so you’re able to get up to speed if you fall behind or to get an alt up and running.
Each Covenant will also have a Sanctum only available to members of that Covenant. Sanctums are the base of operations for the Covenant, are similar to the Garrison in Warlords of Draenor and the Class Hall in Legion. You’ll be able to make upgrades and restore structures in your Sanctum.
Covenants will also have a unique transportation network available for members of that Covenant. You’ll be able to travel throughout your Covenant’s zone quickly as you restore this transportation network.
A structure every Covenant Sanctum will have is the Anima Conductor. You’ll be collecting Anima during your adventures in the Shadowlands and bringing it back to your Covenant’s Sanctum. You’ll be able to direct that Anima to various parts of your Covenants zone through the Anima Conductor. Directing Anima will “enable quests, treasures, events, and outdoor world content” in the area you directed the Anima too. You’ll have more options as you upgrade your Anima Conductor and progress towards being able to permanently restoring parts of the zone. This will change the environment so you can see your efforts, and have the unlocked content that would normally only temporarily become available when you direct Anima to that area become permanently available.
The Scouting Map will be replacing the Mission Table in Shadowlands. This system will have new mechanics and more depth than previous iterations of the mission table system have since they were introduced in Warlords of Draenor. The Scouting Map have turn-based, offline “Adventures” instead of Missions. You’ll assemble your Adventurers (called Followers in previous expansions) into a party with a tank, healer, and three DPS.
The system will be available to use on the WoW Companion App at the start of Shadowlands, like previous iterations of the Mission Table system have been. This will allow you to send your Adventurers off to do your bidding even when you’re not logged into your desktop.
Unique Covenant Structures
Each Covenant Sanctum will also house a unique structure that is only available to players who belong to that Covenant. The unique structures will provide gameplay experiences unique to that Coventant.
Venthyr: Ember Court
The Venthyr’s Ember Court is where you’ll throw parties and galas to increase your Covenent’s influence in the Shadowlands. You’ll go out and invite characters to your parties, fend off party crashers, and receive gifts from gracious guests.
Kyrian: Path of Ascension
The Path of Ascension will allow Kyrian players to use the Soul Mirror to inhabit the consciousness of your soulbinds. You’ll gain access to a unique set of abilities and fight your way through a set of trials consisting of gladiatorial combat. You’ll have to go out and recruit or capture powerful enemies to fight within the Path of Ascension.
Necrolords: Abomination Factory
The Necrolords’ Abomination Factory will allow you to practice necromancy to craft hosts for souls. Each soul will have specific preferences and requirements, so you’ll need to create the right body for them to inhabit. Once you craft an abomination, you’ll be able to adventure with them around the zone, granting you bonuses to things such as gathering.
Night Fae: Queen’s Conservatory
The Queen’s Conservatory is a sacred grove where powerful souls rest and absorb the energy of Ardenweald as they prepare for rebirth in the mortal world. It will function similar to the farm in Mists of Pandaria, where you’ll be able to grow and nurture souls, expand and upgrade your plots, and add catalysts to shape the souls.