World of Warcraft’s Shadowlands update 9.1.5 will roll out in the game’s public test realm this week, bringing with it a raft of player-requested and suggested changes, as well as new efforts to curb toxic behavior and sanction players who don’t get the message.
The 9.1.5 content update closely follows the 9.1 patch, which launched in June, four months after it was first announced. The 9.1 update was the first big content patch for World of Warcraft: Shadowlands since the expansion launched in November. The newest patch will allow players to switch Covenants without restriction (including the use of their cosmetic rewards), and will remove the Conduit Energy system, which was effectively a cooldown restriction on swapping special powers, and one that many players didn’t care for.
The end of Conduit Energy is a concession that “the system simply has not played out the way we hoped it would,” Blizzard community manager Randy Jordan wrote on Friday. Its removal in the forthcoming patch is indicative of a larger quality-of-life, fan-service effort behind most of the Shadowlands update changes.
“While we hope many players will be pleased at the increased accessibility and freedom for experimentation these changes will permit, we know that you might be wondering why we didn’t make adjustments like these sooner,” Jordan wrote. “After all, a large portion of the community has been vocal about wanting to see changes along these lines since mid-2020, when Shadowlands was still in Beta.”
Jordan said that the original limitations on switching Covenants were useful in that “millions of players experienced Shadowlands for the first time through the lens of their Covenant of choice, and that would have not been possible had the choice carried less weight from the outset.” But as the Chains of Domination campaign effectively ends with every Covenant in the same place, narratively, “that context has led us to re-evaluate our approach.”
A tweet sent around the same time Friday also referred to changes that would give “better visibility into the impact of your in-game reports of harassment, and more serious penalties for people engaged in disruptive behavior.”
Neither an accompanying preview post nor Jordan’s more detailed update mentioned what this entailed, specifically. The same tweet also referenced “changes to some content to better reflect our shared values.” That follows a promise in July to remove some in-game references to a developer named in a sexual harassment and gender discrimination complaint brought that month against Activision Blizzard.
Other fan-driven changes coming in 9.1.5 include new customizations for Draeni and Void Elves, plus new travel forms for druids and new Soulshapes for Night Fae. The preview post has an accounting of all the changes. Among them, a special event called Legion Timewalking will allow players back into Legion and Legion Mythic-plus dungeons. That event will run for two weeks beginning with the 9.1.5 content update’s full launch, and then on a regular weekly schedule later.