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Why I think allowing players to switch Covenants is wrong and how to make Covenant choices both meaningful and flexible for competitive players.

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发表于 3 day(s) ago 来自手机 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
It took me a while to decide to write this post because I know that it's very likely to be buried. And even if it didn't get buried, it probably would have zero impact on the game.

Covenants are supposed to be this massive RPG-like choice players have to make. Basically it's the first time since character creation (and BC somewhat) we've been given such an impactful choice. It's such a cool idea for players who still like to give their characters some form of identity.

Obviously, as soon as they tied numbers to Covenants they were never going to work for a lot of people. I feel like it's something that has been discussed enough so I won't develop but we all know everyone who is even semi-competitive will pick the Covenant that gives them the biggest competitive edge for whatever content they want to do.

Blizzard realised that they most likely wouldn't be able to balance them perfectly so their solution is to allow players to switch from one Covenant to another. I think it's a decent change for a few reasons but it's still so far from perfect. The reason is that while balancing can be achieved eventually, some abilities' design make them better for some form of content. For example the Warrior Kyrian Spear seems to be a great tool in PvP compared to Conqueror's Banner who seems very weak for PvP. If you're the kind of person who only partakes in one form of content, then being able to switch is

I also understand why Blizzard didn't want to add another talent row that you could freely switch from as it makes the abilities feel way too disconnected from their original Covenant.

However, while it's an alright choice from a gameplay and balance perspective, allowing the player to almost freely switch from one covenant to another renders the initial choice pretty meaningless in terms of impact and RPG feel (which is the main point of Covenants!). If you can change anytime, what's the point of choosing in the first place? Imagine if you could switch between Alliance and Horde as you want by completing a simple boring quest every week. That would make the lore behind the factions a complete joke and destroy a lot of the "faction identity".

Ever since Covenant and balance became such a hot topic I've wondered why they don't simply allow us to borrow other Covenant powers, without actually switching completely. Let me explain.

While you level up in SL, you go through each storyline, helping each Covenant and borrowing their powers while you quest in the area. You're essentially everyone's friend and the goal of Covenants is to fight together to restore the Shadowlands. Having to make a choice that locks you out of other powers never did make much sense (unless there are yet unknown lore reasons) in the first place but it just shows that Blizzard wanted us to make a big choice that impacted our character.

So imagine that after choosing your Covenant, you're not locked out of other Covenants' abilities.

It could work this way:

You pick your Covenant because you think it's cool. You like the cosmetics, the feel of the zone, etc.

Alas, their class-ability is not very good for M+ which is the content you want to do right now. You want to use another ability instead

You visit a relevant NPC in the Covenant's zone

Dialogue be like :

NPC, I call upon your help. I require your powers once more to succeed in my quest to restore the Shadowlands!

But, Player Character, you chose another Covenant and granting you our power would therefore bend the rules of this plane. It would require an immense will and incredible amount of energy.

Don't worry, I have enough

And boom, you can use the class ability of that Covenant. Permanently? Maybe. It could last a week thing but then the cost would have to be lower.

Why not also the actual Covenant ability ? Because I don't think they're the main problem in terms of design and balance and they would still thematically tie your character to that Covenant. I think it's really important for you to FEEL like you're still part of the Covenant you chose in the way you play your character.

Additionally, since Soulbinds only directly affect your non-class ability, you don't have to bother with that. You'd still be part of your Covenant, use their Soulbinds, Conduits, non-class ability, go through their campaign and storyline BUT you can rent the other covenants' class abilities for a time and a price.

This would save Blizzard a lot of design / balance headaches while players would be given a choice of Covenant that is meaningful but that does not restrict gameplay as much. It would reinforce the idea that, while being the champion of said Covenant, everyone is still working together to save the world. It would essentially still be a form of switching that doesn't break the RPG-feel and impact of choosing your Covenant while still giving players freedom to experience all the cool new abilities the game has to offer on top of not making things more tedious than they have to be.

Anyway, it sounds perfect in my head but I'm sure there are flaws to that system. The chances of Blizzard actually doing something like this are so low. I'm mostly just curious about what people here think.

Love the sunshine
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