Shadowlands Conduit Update

After a few weeks of controversy following the announcement that Conduits would be consumable, Blizzard announced in a blue post today that they were revamping the system. Conduits augment your Souldbind’s power in Shadowlands, and are a core part of augmenting your power. Having to re-earn Conduits if you decide to swap specs or loadouts for an evening would have been a nightmare. You’d need to go and farm for those Conduits all over again, or have extra ones stocked up in your bags.

Blizzard now agrees that Conduits should be a permanent collection item, much like Azerite essences are in BFA. You’ll be able to take the Conduits you earn back to your Sanctum to add them to your collection and slot them into your Soulbind the same way you take Azerite Essences back to the Chamber of the Heart to collect and change them. You’ll be able to swap your your Conduits on a weekly cooldown per Souldbind.

Blizzard also confirmed that there would be multiple ways to earn each Conduit. One of the biggest issues in Battle for Azeroth was forcing people to grind hours of content they didn’t enjoy to get the Essences they need for other types of content (for instance, grinding PvP for Blood of the Enemy so that you could run Mythic Plus). With multiple ways to earn each Conduit, you’ll be able to choose how you want to play the game to earn your rewards.

There will also be more powerful versions of Conduits you can get to upgrade your existing Conduits, much like getting additional ranks of Azerite Essences. These higher level Conduits will upgrade the Conduits that you have in your collection instead of adding another Conduit to your collection, so you’ll always be applying the highest level Conduit to your Soulbinds.

These updates will go live next week on the Shadowlands Beta. 

Starting next week in the Shadowlands Beta, we will begin introducing a series of updates to the Soulbind system to add a persistent collection system for Conduits. Since the Soulbind system was unveiled in the Alpha and discussed in our Developer Update, we’ve heard consistent feedback about the shortcomings of an inventory-based destructible version of Conduits, and we agree entirely.

While we feel it’s important that there be some friction in moving Conduits around, the prospect of the having to re-earn a given Conduit, perhaps by chasing a specific dungeon or raid boss drop, was not particularly appealing to anyone. However, simply removing destructibility without making other changes would have created an inventory management nightmare, especially for players who enjoy playing multiple specializations.

Once this new system is in place, Conduits will work like this:

  • Conduits will continue to be items that can be earned from a wide variety of endgame content (dungeons, PvP, raids, reputations, world quests, etc.)
  • The power of their effects will increase with the Item Level of the Conduit.
  • Instead of placing a Conduit directly into a given Soulbind tree, you’ll bring it back to your Sanctum where you can add it to a permanent collection.
  • There will be more than one source for most Conduits, to increase flexibility in acquisition and accessibility across different playstyles.
  • Earning a more powerful version of a Conduit you already have will simply upgrade that Conduit in your collection.

At its core, the Soulbind system aims to give you the freedom to essentially build your own talent tree for yourself. Each Soulbind offers a range of fixed universal traits closely themed to that Soulbind’s nature, and there are many open slots throughout the tree that effectively serve as wildcards, allowing you to insert Conduits to customize each Soulbind to suit your playstyle and preferences. A given Conduit can only be used once per Soulbind, though the same Conduit can be added into different Soulbinds’ trees without restriction. This does not require earning more than one copy of the Conduit – once it’s in your collection, you can place it as you wish.

If you want to rebuild your Soulbind trees, once per week you’ll be able to clear all of their Conduits, with a separate cooldown per Soulbind. But once you’ve decided on your desired Conduit placements, we want to ensure that the system offers as much flexibility as other existing talent systems, so you’ll be able to switch which Soulbind is active or redirect the flow of Anima through a Soulbind’s tree (essentially respeccing them) any time you visit your Sanctum. And if you have a different Soulbind per spec, or a different active trait path within a given Soulbind, that will be saved on a per-specialization basis, and will automatically change whenever and wherever you change specializations.

We’re hoping to have an initial version of this system active in next week’s Beta, with further updates and a polished user interface in the weeks to follow.

As always, thank you for your feedback! We’re looking forward to seeing everyone play with this new system and letting us know how it feels, and it’s your thoughtful feedback that has helped us make Shadowlands even better.

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