Archive for the ‘Covenants’ Category

When I read yesterday’s dev update from Ion Hazzikostas, I was intrigued by the section about how they’d changed the alt experience. Because I’m choosing Covenant affiliations for my alts based on aesthetics and personality rather than on gameplay utility, the feedback about wanting to test out all of the Covenant active abilities with a different class before committting to a Covenant doesn’t matter so much to me. The feedback about story disjunction and dissonance, however, does. Looking at the description in the update post about the Threads of Fate choice to either experience the linear narrative again or join a Covenant and use alternative XP-gaining pathways, I wondered if it would be possible to choose the narrative, play through just enough of the narrative to experience the leveling zone story for a desired Covenant, and then go and join that Covenant. For example, could my Warlock choose the linear narrative, play through Bastion and Maldraxxus, then join the Necrolords and finish her leveling by the alternative pathways? Now that the feature is available to test on the beta realms, Wowhead is reporting that it will indeed be possible to do exactly that. Hooray! and Phew!

So here’s how I’m currently imagining my Shadowlands leveling unfolding: Kaelinda will go first, complete the main storyline narrative quests of all the zones, and join the Venthyr. Revendreth is last in the linear narrative, which is why she has to go first. Kaurinka will go second, quest through Bastion and Maldraxxus and Ardenweald, then join the Night Fae. Kalaneia will quest through Bastion and Maldraxxus, then join the Necrolords. Keliora will quest through Bastion, then join the Kyrian. Kaelyla may level through Bastion, Maldraxxus, and Ardenweald before joining the Night Fae — or she might choose to join the Night Fae immediately because maybe I will be sick and tired of Bastion by then! By the time I get to Kaylynda — let alone Kamalia or Karaelia or any other alts — I might just jump straight into a Covenant with the Threads of Fate.

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I watched the Afterlives: Ardenweald short and my heart just broke.

The hard choices, the sacrifice, the existential horror of the idea that souls can cease to exist…. Death-after-death, permadeath, oblivion — we’ve seen these concepts before in WoW, and it’s always horrifying, but somehow the combination with the formerly serene environment of Ardenweald made it even more staggering, more awful to contemplate.

With what little I already know of what Revendreth and the Venthyr are about, I anticipate that their short next week will continue the theme of devastating loss that has run through the other three.

Although I have been extremely fortunate to have not been severely affected by the various real world catastrophes of 2020, I can’t help but feel that this theme of loss is uncannily timely, and wonder to what extent it will make WoW no longer a pleasant pasttime for players who have suffered.

As for my characters, Kerisa — or, rather, Kaurinka, the Alter-Ego who will make her debut as soon as the new customization options go live in 9.0.1 — will still definitely choose the Night Fae, and do her best to help restore that primal forest and save as many of its current crop of hibernating souls as possible. Kamalia, whenever she goes to the Shadowlands, will feel the same. Of my cloth-wearers, I assigned Kaelyla to the Night Fae based on aesthetics; I haven’t learned much about her personality yet, but perhaps eventually she will tell me why choosing the Night Fae would “just feel right” to her internally as well as externally.

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Draka is my favorite character in Warlords. Sorry, Yrel, I play Horde much, much more than Alliance — so as cool as Yrel’s story is, I spent a lot more time with Draka. After watching the new Afterlives: Maldraxxus short, I like Draka even more.

After watching that story, I find myself re-considering the Necrolords as a possible Covenant for my Human Mage. When Shadowlands was first announced and I started thinking about which characters I’d want to assign to which Covenant, I thought I’d do four Mages and tentatively assigned my yet-to-be-created Kul Tiran Mage to Necrolords because Blood Elf would be Venthyr because “duh, Kael’thas” and Void Elf would be Night Fae because blue & purple aesthetics and Human would be Kyrian because Stormwind-like aesthetics. Then the Covenant set previews came out and all my Mages said “nope nope nope” to the Maldraxxus aesthetics, and my Warlock stepped in and said “Hey that fits my style and also I can do Necrolords because I know strong and fight. I did what it took to survive after the Sunwell fell, learning how to draw on fel sources to supply my need for mana, and I’m not ashamed of it.” I still had my Human Mage tentatively assigned to Kyrian, but then my Blood Elf Priest happened. So then I thought my Human Mage might choose Night Fae or Venthyr instead, but oh no, not Necrolords. The ethos of fighting to survive and protect that Draka conveys in the Afterlives short, however, would also appeal to Kinevra, who is a survivor of Theramore and has helped the Kaldorei in their efforts to reclaim Darkshore. And due to their Afterlives short, the Kyrians would seem less appealing to Kinevra because she is not the type who would be relieved to let go of their traumatic memory of the destruction of Theramore, but would rather say “I am my scars” about it.

I wonder how the remaining Aferlives shorts will change my perspectives on the Night Fae and the Venthyr…?


Meanwhile, it is the beginning of the semester, which is often a time when I experience insomnia fueled by a combination of anxiety and going into creative overdrive to try to distract myself from the anxiety. I had a bout of insomnia a few nights ago because I was thinking about my Characters roster — which, after the addition of Keliora, is now 48 alts and therefore almost completely full — and cataloging how their appearances will change with the new customizations coming in Shadowlands — oh yes, I will be one of those who will spend all of the first and possibly the second nights of the pre-patch at the Barbershop just updating my characters’ appearances — and I began thinking that it might be time to dismiss some of my minor alts and convert their appearances into Alter-Egos of major alts.
* Do I really need two female Tauren Hunters? Kawneiha could easily be an Alter-Ego appearance for Ketura and still represent Kamalia (and Ketura)’s mother.
* Do I really need two female Tauren Monks? Kaobeka’s name is an anagram tribute to Akabeko of Red Cow Rise (whom I still dearly miss, after all these years), but she could continue being that as an Alter-Ego appearance of Katewatha — and I haven’t used Kaobeka’s skills as a Professions mule for some years now.
* Do I really need two female Tauren Death Knights? It’s been quite awhile now since I decided that the “Underpowered Death Knight” playstyle experiment had run its course. And if I used the “Kaumaleia” appearance as an Alter-Ego for Kregga, I could still file her clothes as “Things the Underpowered Death Knight Wears” rather than beginning to mix them in with Kregga’s outfits…
* Do I really need two female Tauren Shamans? Even if I’ve race-changed one of them to be Highmountain Tauren? Maybe I don’t really need Highmountain Tauren alts for all their available armor classes. Maybe just Kasheena the Druid will do for having a Highmountain Tauren on my roster. As much as I thought I wanted that Heritage Armor, I’ve certainly been struggling to find interest in spending playtime on leveling her…
But it’s hard to let go of alts I’ve had on my roster for a long time, and so thinking about dismissing these alts — even if I kept their appearances as new Alter-Egos of other characters — was stressful and kept me awake.

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Shadowlands goes live in the evening on Monday 26 October!
What’s my school schedule like that week? Ah, good, I’ll be in the middle of a unit for all my classes — no Exams to be writing or grading. Could I get away with cancelling my 9:30 – 10:30 pm Zoom student help sessions that week?

These are the characters who will be going:

Archmage Kaelinda: Blood Elf Mage, Fire, Scryer/Venthyr
Firelord Kalaneia: Blood Elf Warlock, Destruction, Scryer/Necrolords
Crusader Keliora: Blood Elf Priest, Discipline, Aldor/Kyrian
Archmage Kaelyla: Void Elf Mage, Frost, Scryer/Night Fae

Archmage Kaylynda: Human Mage, Arcane, Scryer/undecided
Archdruid Kerisa: Tauren Druid, Balance, Aldor/Night Fae
Farseer Kamalia: Tauren Shaman, Elemental, Aldor/Night Fae
Highlord Karaelia: Tauren Paladin, Protection, Aldor/Kyrian

At the moment, I am planning on having Kerisa go first. It would feel odd to not lead out with a Tauren. From what little I know about the Night Fae Covenant story (having studiously avoided spoilers), Kerisa is the character who will be most personally invested in that story, so she should go through it first. Kaelinda will probably be next, then the rest of the Eversong Elves, and then Kaylynda — after I’ve seen enough of the Covenants with other characters to figure out which one would be the best fit for her. Kamalia and Karaelia will probably not travel to the Shadowlands until the latter half of the expansion, when I’ve done most of what I want to do with the other characters and have learned how to navigate the zones, questchains, and gameplay systems — and there are starting to be catch-up mechanics for alts in place!

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I was telling BTH about Shadowlands and how I was leveling a relatively new character (Kaelyla) to play in it. Talking to BTH about the characters I had been actively playing, I realized that while I enjoy my Boomkin and my Mages and my Destro-Lock, I missed my Elemental Shaman.

I recalled Kamalia from Thunder Bluff and sent her off to acquire her Shroud of Resolve.

I looked at the Covenant armor sets again and began to consider recalling Karaelia (Tauren Paladin) from the Sanctum of Light to get her Shroud of Resolve, too, because dangit if that Kyrian plate set doesn’t look pretty (though she’d wear it with alternate helm and shoulders).

Still, neither Kamalia nor Karaelia will be in the first group of characters to go to the Shadowlands — unless BTH decides to give Shadowlands a look and I bring Kam out to play with him.

Looking at the Kyrian sets again, I thought how Priestly the cloth set looks. I hadn’t yet used the level 120 Boost that came with purchasing Shadowlands (something I did shortly after Kaelyla dinged 120), partly because I couldn’t decide which existing character to give it to. I thought, I have a Blood Elf Mage and a Blood Elf Warlock, so why not have a Blood Elf Priest, too, to go Kyrian? Golden-eyed and golden-haired, of course…

So, um, yeah.
Four Eversong Elves for four Shadowlands Covenants.

Kaylynda will still go to the Shadowlands, but now she doesn’t have to choose Kyrian if she decides that she’d be a better fit with the Night Fae or the Venthyr…

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As you might have already seen, Wowhead has previews up for the Covenant-specific armor sets: Kyrian/Bastion, Night Fae/Ardenweald, Venthyr/Revendreth, Necrolords/Maldraxxus.Update: this WoWhead post on April 28 is a hub for all the colors of all the armor types of all the Covenants — 4 armor types x 4 colors x 4 Covenants = 64 Covenant sets in all

Of the cloth sets, I think my favorite is the Night Fae. It will be beautiful on my Void Elf Mage! The Venthyr cloth set has turned out to be the least exciting of the Venthyr sets to me; it doesn’t look like it will play mix-and-match with the Sin’dorei Heritage Armor as well as the plate and leather sets will. I do like that it has both robe and tunic options, though… and I am already imagining how I could use its pieces to play mix-and-match with various items of existing gear. So my Blood Elf Mage will get it. The Kyrian set looks very Priestly, which isn’t really all that surprising. I’m finding myself wondering if might look more awesome on a Kul Tiran rather than my Eastern Kingdoms Human Mage. And my Warlock is thinking, yeah, there might could be some mix-and-match things she could do with the Necrolords set (and all my Mages are still going nope-nope-nope about it).

My Druid — whichever one of the three it ends up being — will go Night Fae, of course, so it’s a good thing that I like the set (especially the glowy acorn-shaped flasks on the belt). The Venthyr leather sets have my Rogue and Demon Hunter clamoring to be leveled to go to the Shadowlands. My Monk would be the one to choose Kyrian. As for the Necrolords set… nope, Nope, NOPE.

Only the Night Fae and Maldraxxus collections currently have mail sets available. I definitely like the Night Fae set (minus the silly shoulders), so that’s good because that’s almost certainly the Covenant that Kamalia would choose from an RP perspective. That would leave it to one of my Hunters or other Shaman to pick up the Kyrian or Venthyr sets. While T13 did do feathers for Shaman successfully, the metallic nature of the Kyrian mail set makes it seem more suited to a Hunter to me.

In plate, the Kyrian set is the choice of my Tauren Paladin, and the Venthyr set is the choice of my Blood Elf Paladin. My Warrior isn’t excited about any of them, and even my Death Knight is saying “meh, I guess, maybe?” about the Necrolords set.

Looking at the backpieces, I like all three of the Kyrian backpieces and all three of the Night Fae backpieces. I like the first two of the Venthyr backpieces; I’d probably only use the first one (with the lanterns) for a Mage and I’d use the second one (with the knives) for a Paladin, a Rogue, or a Demon Hunter. Of the Necrolords backpieces, the only one my Warlock wants is the third one, but my Death Knight admits that the second one would be kind of a neat look for her Wardrobe.

All this analysis is really just pie-in-the-sky daydreaming, though, considering that I’ve already decided to restrict my adventures in Shadowlands to four cloth-wearers + a Druid, and that even getting those five through will probably end up being a challenge, given the way Battle for Azeroth has gone for me due to RL circumstances.

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Something that’s been bothering me about the Kyrians of Bastion ever since the initial previews at Blizzcon is how they all look like humans. My characters of other races won’t want to turn into humans in the afterlife, they’ll want to stay themselves.

I’d love to see some more skilled artist than myself create a set of images depicting each of the other player character races with the stance, clothes, blue & white coloration, and angelic wings of the Kyrian, but with the proportions and features unique to each race. #KyrianButStillMe

Looking at the Oribos and Bastion quest sets, Covenant cloak replacements, miscellaneous armor bits, and weapon models — and the various NPC and creature models, though I’m not going to link those Wowhead datamining posts — I’m definitely finding myself drawn most strongly to the aesthetics of Bastion/Kyrian and Ardenweald/Night Fae.
* Kaelinda will still be pursuing Revendreth/Venthyr (because Kael’thas), and my Demon Hunter and Rogue are getting all googly-eyed over what has been shown so far of the Revendreth/Venthyr leather gear.
* All of my other Mages are going nope-nope-nope about the Maldraxxus/Netherlords gear. Yes, even my Forsaken Mage. Kivrinne says, “I’m not that kind of Forsaken! When I eventually go to the Shadowlands for real, I’m going to want to be Kyrian!”
* My Warlock, however, is looking at the Maldraxxus/Netherlords stuff and rubbing her chin saying, “hmmmm, I could maybe go for that cloak replacement with the green floaty stones…”

I haven’t yet pre-purchased Shadowlands because I decided to hold off on doing that until I’d gotten a character of each armor type to level 120 in BfA. So I’ve still got to get Kerisa to level 120 before I’ll buy Shadowlands — but when I do, Kerithian and Kalaneia are now bickering over who will get the level 120 Boost.
* Kalaneia says that she should get it so that she can go be my ambassador to Maldraxxus/Netherlords, since all the Mages are too wimpy to do it.
* Kerithian says that she should get it so that she can be the Druid who will go to Ardenweald/Night Fae, because now that I’ve written two small children into Kerisa’s RP story, how can I possibly put Kerisa’s family through the trauma of sending her to the Shadowlands? and it is uncertain if I’ll manage to get Kasheena leveled to 120 in time for Shadowlands.

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“By the way,” said Kaelyla, “It’s fine that you want to send the Druid to Covenant with the Night Fae first — but you know that eventually you’ll want a Mage to Covenant with them, too, so you can have all four cloth Covenant Mog sets. That Mage should be me, because my aesthetic and the Ardenweald aesthetic are harmonious.”

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The story concept of Shadowlands isn’t hooking me any more than the story concepts of Warlords of Draenor or Battle for Azeroth originally appealed to me. Warlords had some great characters & character moments (I love Draka in Warlords!), though, and the Alliance-side leveling story story, being unified by the meteoric trajectory of Yrel, felt more cohesive than the Horde-side leveling story. I’ve also found myself much more engaged by the stories of Battle for Azeroth than I initially expected to be. So I am tentatively optimistic that Shadowlands will also have characters, moments, and locations that I will discover that I like very much indeed.

With four different endgame campaign stories to play in Shadowlands, I’ll want to have at least four characters at level 120 by the end of Battle for Azeroth. Three of those four characters will be Kaylynda, Kaelinda, and Kerisa; who the fourth will be, I’m not sure yet. Kerisa will of course Covenant with the Night Fae of Ardenweald. Kaylynda will probably choose the Kyrian of Bastion. Kaelinda is the most likely candidate to choose the Venthyr of Revendreth because the concept art for that faction suggests that their gear will coordinate nicely with the Sin’dorei Heritage Armor for Mogging mix-and-match and also because Kaelinda would like another chance to poke Kael’thas in the eye. That leaves the Necrolords of Maldraxxus… If I want to send a clothie there, the most logical choice from an RP-standpoint would be my Warlock, Kalaneia. The Vulpera Mage that I’ll be creating as soon as Patch 8.3 goes live could also be a good alt to team up with the Necrolords — the Vulpera have that scrappy fight-for-survival attitude and, thinking of Nisha and her maps and battle plans, could work with the “spy” angle of the Necrolords.

Kamalia will be retiring for Shadowlands. During Legion and again in Battle for Azeroth, I was more interested in doing end-game activities — specifically LFR for Transmogrification shinies — with my cloth-wearing Mages and leather-wearing Druid than with my mail-wearing Shaman. Because Kamalia had leveled first, however, she had a huge lead on story and reputation progress toward the Pathfinder achievements, so I felt like it would be better to keep going on those things with her than to play catch-up with another character. In Shadowlands, I want to have the character(s) who I’ll actually want to do end-game activities with be the first one(s) to level.

In-character, Kamalia finally met her match in Haitou Rivermane (one of Jale Rivermane’s sons) and will be getting married and settling down to attempt to give her parents some grandcalves before she gets any older. Kerisa, meanwhile, spent the latter part of Legion and the first year of Battle for Azeroth being pregnant with her second child, then nursing the infant. She weaned her son, allowing her to return to active service with the Cenarion Circle, just in time for her to help with repelling the Void assaults on Nordrassil and the Emerald Dream.

I’m most likely going to purchase the Heroic Edition because of the special armor set — and the level 120 boost will go to Karaelia so that I can have a character of each of the four armor classes prepared to move into Shadowlands. However, I will most likely not level Kamalia and Karaelia in Shadowlands until the end-of-expansion lull.

I am relieved that there isn’t a new Class. That would be another alt that I’d definitely want to play, but considering that I haven’t even got a second character to 120 in Battle for Azeroth yet, when would I find the time and energy for it?

I’m excited for more character customization options! Kjerstin will be getting herself some Wildhammer tattoos. I wonder what new customization options Tauren and Blood Elves will get?

I’ll probably roll up a Pandaren (or maybe a Void Elf) Death Knight to check out the Bolvar Needs More Minions starting zone, but that character won’t be a permanent addition to my roster. I’ll need another temporary toon to explore the new 1-10 tutorial zone, as well.

I’ll continue to work on leveling my Allied Races characters (Highmountain Tauren Druid, Void Elf Mage, Kul Tiran Mage, Vulpera Mage) for their Heritage Armor. The level squish and ability to level from 10 – 50 in any previous expansion’s content (Wowhead, Blizzard Watch) will help a lot with that, I hope!

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