The Maw is intended to be the desolate and brutal domain of the Jailer, and not a place any soul in the Warcraft cosmos ever hopes to visit. But this is, after all, a video game, and telling that story can’t come at the expense of creating a fun environment for adventurers. We’ve heard feedback that this content is currently falling short of that mark, and we agree.
We’re working to increase visual distinction and combat gameplay variety across the different areas of the Maw, as well as exploring adding new localized events and world interactions. We also want give players who journey to the Maw a bit more direction, while still preserving the “sandbox” roots of Maw gameplay. Players will venture into the Maw weekly to rescue souls to aid in restoring their Covenants, and the mysterious broker Ve’nari offers a range of cosmetic, convenience, and power rewards in exchange for Stygia. Those goals need to be more immediately apparent early on. We’ll share more info about specific updates when these changes are ready for Beta testing and feedback.
We’ve also received a lot of feedback about the Conduit system. Many of you have expressed concerns that the current system will unreasonably limit experimentation and multi-spec play early in the expansion. While the existing weekly cooldown may provide sufficient flexibility once players have all three soulbinds fully unlocked, we agree that it is initially too limiting. A single weekly reset also fails to draw any distinction between someone who only wants to adjust a single conduit, and someone who wants to clear and rebuild their entire soulbind tree.
In an upcoming build, we will be replacing the weekly cooldown on changing conduits with a more flexible system: When first unlocked, the Forge of Bonds will be charged with 10 Conduit Energy, and placing a conduit into a socket will consume a single charge. Conduit Energy recharges at the rate of one per day, up to a cap of 10, and adding a new conduit to your collection immediately restores one Conduit Energy as well.
Our goal with this change is to ensure that, especially when players are acquiring new conduits and only have access to a small number of soulbinds and conduit slots, all players feel free to try out new upgrades and to adjust their soulbinds to support multiple specializations or activities. After the initial collection period for a given character, 7+ swaps per week should allow for more adaptation to suit specific roles or activities, while still requiring thoughtful decisions about how to customize each Soulbind for your playstyle preferences.
Class and Covenant Balance
Tuning has been underway over the past couple of weeks, but much work remains. Our initial tuning efforts have focused on Covenant class abilities that were outliers on either end of the spectrum, including some substantial redesigns where necessary. The coming weeks will see continued iteration on these abilities, as well as the soulbinds that complement them. Balance in this area means pursuing a mix of offsetting strengths and weaknesses rather than identical capabilities, and our goal in this process is that every class/covenant combination should have something to commend it.
Alongside these specific areas of focus, we are all using this time to tune various endgame rewards, fix bugs (thousands of which continue to come from the in-game Bug Report tool – thank you!), and add the finishing touches that will hopefully make your journey into Shadowlands a magical one when the time comes.
Thank you very much for all of your testing and feedback!