World Of Warcraft Patch Will Add Fan-Requested Features, Remove More Developer References
The removal of Conduit Energy, the ability to freely swap between Covenants, and numerous alt friendly changes are coming in the game's next patch.
After months of player feedback that seemed to largely fall on deaf ears, Blizzard is set to bring about some major changes to many of World of Warcraft Shadowlands' biggest systems in the game's next patch, which will include the removal of a controversial feature that has long been a source of player complaints along with changes for in-game references to numerous former developers.
As outlined in a statement by the WoW development team, Blizzard will be making some significant quality-of-life changes to Shadowlands in patch 9.1.5, many of which are direct responses to feedback many players have had since Shadowlands launched.
"Over the past few weeks since we shared an update, the WoW team has been focused on the immediate future--both for our people and workplace, and what's next for players too," the WoW team writes. "As a part of that, the entire team came together to ask: What are the biggest things we're hearing that are getting in the way of your fun, and what are the most impactful changes we could make to WoW today to fix that?"
As stated by Shadowlands game director Ion Hazzikostas on Twitter, many of the changes coming in the next patch are tailored around making the lives of "alt" characters easier. For the unfamiliar, an alt is any secondary character a player may play after having already done the majority of the game's content on a primary, or "main," character. It's a list of changes that include adding new ranks of heirloom items, the ability to skip Covenant campaigns on alts after completing them with another character, the ability to skip the expansion's introductory Maw questline for alts, the ability to level in Torghast, and more. According to Hazzikostas, even more alt friendly changes, such as being able to transfer a Shadowlands-only currency called Anima between main and alt characters, could be coming in the future as well.
Big changes that players have long asked for are also coming to the game's Covenant system, including the widely disliked Conduit Energy system. Blizzard is removing Conduit Energy completely, writing in a forum post that the system did not play out as the developer had hoped.
"We should have heeded community feedback and taken a different direction a year ago," the post reads. "A majority of players largely ignore the system and are unaffected by it, while the minority who want to engage in multiple content types competitively feel constrained by it. Overall, that adds up to a negative experience. Conduit Energy isn't really making the game better in any appreciable way, so we're removing the system entirely."
Players who reach a high enough Renown rank will also be able to switch freely between Covenants. That change is particularly significant, as Blizzard at the outset of Shadowlands made a big deal out of how major a choice a player's chosen Covenant would be, going as far as to punish players who decided to later swap to a different Covenant. With patch 9.1.5, players will be able to change Covenants to their hearts' content with no penalty whatsoever, allowing for more experimentation with different Covenant abilities without feeling locked in to a certain path.
All of that is coming in addition to a host of other changes, like the addition of new character creation options far earlier than expected, Legendary item recycling, Legion timewalking dungeons, streamlined unlock requirements for many of the game's Allied Races, and more.
Not outlined in Blizzard's official statements is the news, via PC Gamer, that the patch will see the removal of references to former Blizzard developers Jesse McCree, Luis Barriga, and Jon LeCraft, all of who have recently departed Blizzard following allegations in a state of California lawsuit accusing Blizzard of fostering a culture of harassment and discrimination towards women. The Overwatch character sharing McCree's name will also be changed in the future, and Blizzard has already removed references in WoW to former game director Alex Afrasiabi. Blizzard did outline in its development update that the patch will bring better visibility in terms of in-game reporting alongside more serious penalties for those who break the game's code of conduct. A public test realm for 9.1.5 where players will be able to see all the changes first hand is set to release later this week.
The upcoming changes almost sound too good to be true for much of the community, and may be too little, too late for some. More than a few of WoW's biggest content creators and streamers have recently stepped away from the game, at least in part thanks to Blizzard's lack of communication with the community, while others have left following news of the lawsuit's allegations. Those content creators who haven't quit the game entirely have at the very least diversified their content to include rival MMOs like Square Enix's Final Fantasy XIV or Amazon's upcoming New World.
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