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Blizzard’s Shadowlands summit reveals new information on World of Warcraft’s covenants

Four covenants, a whole bunch of systems

Kyrians in Shadowlands Image: Blizzard Entertainment
Cass Marshall is a news writer focusing on gaming and culture coverage, taking a particular interest in the human stories of the wild world of online games.

We’ve known about Covenants, the new system in World of Warcraft’s next expansion, Shadowlands, since BlizzCon 2019. Players will choose from one of four themed factions in the mystical lands of death, and that choice will grant their character powerful abilities. During Blizzard’s Shadowlands summit on Wednesday, World of Warcraft game director Ion Hazzikostas provided tons of information on what the player will have to do with their new friends after choosing a Covenant.

New companions (with old school talent trees)

Each Covenant will have a series of companions. This, by itself, is not remarkable; zones like Nazjatar in Battle for Azeroth allowed players to equip bodyguards. However, these new companions in Shadowlands have old-school talent trees that harken back to the days of classic World of Warcraft. Players will level these champions up and bring them into the field. Some are utility focused, others are tanks, and some focus entirely on damage.

World of Warcraft - a soul-bind companion’s talent tree Image: Blizzard Entertainment

Level up your Covenant’s crib

Players will earn Renown through endgame activities, and this will allow them to level up their chosen Covenant’s Sanctum. This draws inspiration from Warlords of Draneor’s Garrison system, and Legion’s Order Hall. Players can add utility, like a transportation network, to their Covenant’s Sanctum, as they level up and gain Renown. They will also be able to restore part of their Covenant’s zone. For instance, players can restore Ardenweald’s forests, permanently changing them from dried husks to wonderful, bustling zones full of quests.

World of Warcraft - a Covenant upgrade screen Image: Blizzard Entertainment

Four unique endgame activities

Each Covenant has its own unique and substantially different endgame activity. None of these are incredibly lore important or high stakes, but they will offer a regular activity for players to enjoy. Here are the four Sanctums that Blizzard revealed during today’s summit.

Venthyr Covenant

Unique endgame activity: Ember Court

Players will get access to a giant vampire gala. This is the party of the season, and players will be on guard duty. Kick out party crashers, make small talk, and be a fantastic host. Hazzikostas explained that part of being a Venthyr is “throwing the most badass party in the Shadowlands.” Of course, the better the party, the better the loot you can earn.

Kyrian Covenant

Unique endgame activity: Path of Ascension

This allows you to take control of one of your soul-binded companions, and run through the Kyrian tests of combat and glory. “This is a self-contained, combat-heavy system with a bit of a boss rush feel to it,” said Hazzikostas.

Necrolords Covenant

Unique endgame activity: Abomination Factory

Necrolords players have joined up with the military might of the Shadowlands. They will gain access to an Abomination Factory. Necrolords players will be able to craft their own abominations for use in the world, crafted from the finest military materials in all of the realms of death.

Night Fae Covenant

Unique endgame activity: Queen’s Conservatory

Players will get to tend to plots, expanding and upgrading the conservatory in order to nurture souls back to life. It’s a much more magical and high-concept take on the farm system in Mists of Pandaria, and players will want to make sure that each soul that enters the realm of the Night Fae have the best places to rest and be reborn.

Shadowlands is entering beta soon; the expansion is expected to release in fall 2020.

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