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World of Warcraft fans are tired of Shadowlands’ anima grind

Please, Jailer, may we have some more?

World of Warcraft: Shadowlands arbiter 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.

World of Warcraft players have explored the four Covenants zones, made an alliance, and fought the nefarious Sire Denathrius in Castle Nathria since Blizzard released the Shadowlands expansion in November. There’s just one problem — the game’s anima draught is very frustrating. Right now, players aren’t getting much of the main currency for the expansion, which makes it harder to make progress on fun rewards.

The anima draught is a big deal in the lore of Shadowlands. It’s the fuel of the Shadowlands, and the Jailer has taken all of the anima to fuel his conquest of the realms of the dead. It’s a bigger deal mechanically, because it’s the primary currency of this new expansion. If you want to upgrade your Covenant, unlock cool new gear, and power up your Soulbind, you’re going to need anima.

Everything players do in Shadowlands is rewarded dribs and drabs of anima via little tokens or items in their inventory, and players drop them into their Covenant bank in one go. A world quest might give a handful of flower petals, but turning them in shows how pitiful your haul is. The animation and sound effects go off, but almost nothing actually trickles in. Worse, players say these numbers don’t add up to something satisfying. A representative of Blizzard told Polygon there’s currently “nothing to share” about anima at the moment.

Players can do everything available — mission table, dungeons, raids, and world quests — and earn around a thousand anima a day, depending on what’s up and available ... which is one third of a weapon or 1/25th of one set of cool-looking gear. Players who focus on one thing, like Mythic dungeons, are more likely to earn a scant few thousand anima per week.

“The anima system feels really bad!” RhombusObstacle, a World of Warcraft veteran, said in an email to Polygon. “There is a BUNCH of cosmetic stuff that I really want, but it all costs anima too. Based on my planning above, that means I still need another 35,000 anima before I can even THINK about all the cool mounts and transmog I want.”

RhombusObstacle plays consistently, but he wants a full gear set — that’s 25,000 anima, and there’s variations in different colors. Then there are weapons, mounts, and Sanctum Upgrades. Making matters worse, he accidentally spent thousands of anima on the wrong Sanctum system, setting him back by a full week.

World of Warcraft - A Kyrian spreads their ethereal wings in the cinematic Shadowlands trailer Image: Blizzard Entertainment

The idea is that anima should remain relevant throughout the expansion, and players can aim to unlock armor sets over time. But as everyone waits for the upcoming Chains of Domination patch, the slow rate of anima progression is making the game feel like a treadmill.

Jadedgeekgirl is another player who’s happy with her choice of the Night Fae Covenant and the overall expansion, but bummed about anima. “I’d love to progress more with my sanctum upgrades because I enjoy the Night Fae mini games, but I feel really demotivated to grind out world quests for anima,” she wrote to Polygon over Twitter. “It’s disheartening to spend hours doing world quests, and only get about 1k anima if I’m lucky.”

World of Warcraft usually adds catch-up mechanics to later patches, to ensure that someone who starts the expansion late isn’t stuck behind all of their friends. A new quest might give tons of anima, or players might just see their anima acquisition rates dramatically spike. No one’s sure what it’ll look like, and since there’s no release date for Chains of Domination, they’re not sure whether it’s even worth grinding or if they should just take a break and wait for the patch.

Other players are choosing to go hard on anima acquisition so they meet all of their goals before Chains of Domination, so they can dive into the new zone and remain on the cutting edge of content. These players are also annoyed, because they need to stay on one character to get as much done as possible. Their alts languish, unplayed and gathering dust on the bench, because what other option do you have? Grind anima on multiple characters? In this economy?

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