State of the Anima Conductor - Rewards and Upgrade Recommendations
Six weeks ago, the Shadowlands expansion released. This has given players time to advance their characters and begin the real testing of Covenant Sanctum systems.
In Beta, when Anima was available in limitless quantities from a test resource NPC, we didn't really see some of the issues and shortcomings with developing the Covenant Sanctums, nor what the impact of limited Anima resources would have on the use and development of the Sanctum. Now that we're six weeks in and many players have at least developed their Sanctums to Tier 2 improvements, the flaws and disparities are revealing themselves. This article will examine how the Anima Conductor has been working, what discoveries have been made about using it, and what imbalances and potential improvements exist.
Anima Conductors Guide
Anima Conductor: Concept
The purpose of Anima Conductors is to control and direct streams of Anima throughout your home zone. Tapping into ancient pathways of Anima, the Conductors can be used to open treasures, access to special monsters, daily quests, World Quests, and special Covenant powers.
By the descriptions of the Anima Conductors, it seems that the purpose of these Anima Conductors
also be to help generate extra Anima for your various goals. Most Anima-fueled goals in Shadowlands require massive amounts of Anima, not just to upgrade your Sanctum (which costs a whopping 91,000 Anima to upgrade completely), but also for many other perks, including mounts, pets, transmogs, Soulshapes, and armor.
Until Jan 4th, when Blizzard hotfixed it out, Necrolords enjoyed a huge advantage. Their Tier 2 Anima Conductor awarded 250-anima items instead of the usual 35-anima items. This was grossly unfair (and I say that as a Necrolord rogue main who profited greatly from this). However, my belief at the time was, and remains, that the Anima Conductor should have been awarding these levels of rewards to everyone. The problem should have been fixed by increasing the amount of Anima given to everyone via the daily quests -- perhaps not quite as much as Necrolords were getting, but something commensurate with the idea that Anima Conductors probably should be doing something to produce more Anima than, say, opening an average treasure or killing a level 61 rare.
State of Anima Conductor Rewards
Most direct rewards of the Anima Conductor mostly fall into the "nice to have" categories -- a few mounts, blue and green armor bits, Conduits and Conduit upgrades, and Anima (more on Anima later and the imbalance that exists within the Tier 2 upgrade).
However, there's an important currency generator other than Anima at stake: the
Opening these resources provide players with the ability to earn
, a new currency that's used with Anima to purchase pets, mounts, transmogs, and Soulshapes -- indeed, nearly all the perks sold by the Renown vendors require at least a small amount of Grateful Offerings, along with anima and pet tokens. Nearly everything the Court of Night vendor sells requires Grateful Offerings -- and the only way to get it it directly or indirectly through the Anima Conductors.
Grateful Offerings can also be turned in by themselves for one special item;
, a catch-up mechanism to acquire Legendary powers for your class that you don't already have -- as long as you also have four Anima Conductor streams fully reinforced, a process that takes a minimum of 40 days to complete.
and can be purchased from vendors within each of the four Covenants:
<Renown Quartermaster>, Elysian Hold
<Covenant Armor>, Seat of the Primus
<Court of Night Quartermaster>, Hibernal Hollow (requires no faction with Court of Night to purchase from him)
<Renown Quartermaster>, Sinfall
The ability to use
can contribute directly to player power. Nearly everything else the various Sanctum upgrades offer (with a few exceptions) fall into the categories of "cosmetic" and "convenience" .
Anima Conductor Tier 1 - Treasures and Enemy Champions (Somewhat Balanced)
So far, the first two conductor perks, the ability to open Treasures and Enemy Champions, have been well-used and can provide a good start to gathering
(these give you 2 each daily).
One important thing to note: you can gather Grateful Offerings from each of the four Enemy Champions once per day (a total of 8
daily) by making the rounds of killing all four.
You don't have to have summoned the mob yourself.
You don't need even to be a member of that Covenant.
You don't even need to be level 60 or have an Anima Conductor built.
I tagged the Night Fae Star Lake Amphitheater mob with a 52 Venthyr paladin and got 2
. You can't even build the Anima Conductor until you're level 60 (just be careful if you're doing this; the Enemy Champions are all level 61 and do not scale down!)
Here is a quick breakdown by Covenant:
The Purity's Pinnacle
2-minute timed puzzle is a little annoying, but easy enough to do. The major issue is that it's out of the way, without easy access either by flight path or the Kyrian transport network, and deep in a hostile location. There is a low chance for a mount drop, the
, which is nice and worth putting on your regular rotation.
at Xandria's Vigil is easy to get to if you have your Tier 1 transport network open, as the Temple of Courage teleporter is right near the
. Fairly easy if you pull him up onto the platform near the horn; you'll get plenty of help. Drops are unimpressive; there's a cool single use toy,
, but that's about it.
in House of Constructs is an absolute pain if you're not a stealthing class or an AOE specialist, as it's a tightly-packed room and you have to retrieve 3 Runes in the adjoining area to open the chest. No known special drops.
is comparatively easy to access inside the House of Constructs, with minor clearing needed to get to him and clear the platform. Since
only drops for Necrolords (though any Covenant can loot and ride), definitely worth the investment.
is offered up on a silver plate, right across from the Glitterfall Basin flight point. There are five
pods in the immediate area with no hostile mobs anywhere nearby; just run over these and the pod will open. No special drops, but by far the easiest of the four treasures. The ability to spawn the daily mob at the Star Lake Amphitheater sets you up to be able to purchase all kinds of stuff from
. Oh, and both the treasure and mob give you 500
reputation each, which gives you better access to this cosmetics-dealing faction than any other Covenant. Sweet deal.
gives you a
in an area north of the Halls of Atonement flight point (positions change slightly), but to loot it, you have to complete a climbing puzzle within 60 seconds before the chest disappears and you have to try again. Even the Kyrian get 2 minutes to do theirs. It's not the worst of the treasures, but I found it harder than the Kyrian puzzle. On top of it, there are no known special rewards. On the other hand,
was changed that only Venthyr could spawn and loot it. You'll get plenty of help if you announce it to the zone because the
is one of the coolest mounts in the game. Of course, it's only a 2~5% drop rate, so that's not as fun.
: Minor imbalances here. Puzzle treasure worst for non-stealthing Necrolords. Easiest for Night Fae, best potential reward for Kyrian. Enemy mob difficulties well balanced, but two can drop mounts (Necrolords and Venthyr), and one is needed both for the
achievement and to earn the right to buy items from
. The Kyrian mob isn't nearly so interesting, but you can use him to farm currency. And everyone can kill those mobs, so win.
Anima Conductor Tier 2 - Daily Quests and World Quests (Recently Balanced)
Necrolords have a huge advantage over other Covenants with the rewards of the daily quests opened by the Tier 2 Anima Conductor.
All four Covenants receive 3
per Daily Quest and extra World Quest (total of 9 possible per day), as well as a chance at some assorted gear items, based on your WQ item level cap. Night Fae get the additional perk of 750 reputation with the Court of Night for each Daily Quest and World Quest completed.
All four Covenants get two Tier 2 Daily Quests with the potential to earn small amounts of Anima in the usual 1-4 35
bits, such as
, along with assorted vendor greys, blue and green gear items, and Conduits.
As noted previously, until the recent hotfix, Necrolords could earn as much as 1000 anima for a single daily quest. That's out of balance, but the ridiculously small pile of Anima you earn now is kind of a joke.
II would like to see all four Covenants get more Anima rewards for their Tier 2 anima dailies.
My interpretation of the Anima Conductor is that it taps previously undiscovered sources of Anima. So let the players benefit from this. I'd rather see the daily quests' difficulty increase a bit and have all four Covenants enjoy the thrill of finding whether they get a big Anima day today or not. Let the Anima Conductor conduct -- something useful. It makes more sense to have it conduct more Anima than conduct a new weapon, and it would be of far more direct benefit to players, particularly those who do not care to do Mythic+ or raiding.
Anima Conductor Tier 3 - Covenant Enhancements and Powerful Foe (Data Forthcoming)
Not enough Tier 3 Anima Conductors have been opened yet to gauge the popular reaction to these abilities, or to sim the Covenant Enhancements properly. The Covenant Enhancements only work in your home zone, but these are still useful for doing other activities (and can be combined with tackling the Powerful Foes, once these become available).
Out of the four Sanctum upgrades, my opinion is that building and upgrading your Anima Conductor will have the greatest impact on gameplay. The Anima Conductor contributes directly to player power in the following ways:
Activities allow you to generate
, which are used to purchase
(with four Reinforced streams)
The Covenant Enhancements give a valuable 24-hour buff that improves your performance in your home zone
The Anima Conductor also gives access to other types of cosmetic rewards, such as mounts, transmogs, or (for the Night Fae in particular) access to factions that also give primarily cosmetic rewards. But what makes the Anima Conductor stand higher in importance is its ability to contribute resources that can affect gameplay and player power.
But for now, with the system we have, here are my recommendations vis-à-vis the Anima Conductors.
Tip: If you are leveling your character through Threads of Fate and prioritize doing Anima world quests as you level, you should have at least 2000-3000 anima to start. That's enough to buy either two Tier 1 upgrades or one Tier 1 with a good deal saved toward Tier 2.
In all cases, a major reason to build the Anima Conductor Tier 1 first is to begin powering Streams every day to build toward Reinforcement. Each Reinforced stream requires 10 days to charge. Not only do you need 4 Reinforced streams to earn the ability to purchase
, but every Reinforced streams saves Anima from having to pay for daily Reinforcement.
Make the Tier 1 Anima Conductor your first build, with Transport Network second. Having your Transport Network in place will make doing the Tier 1 Anima Conductor Enemy Champion a snap because of easy access to Xandria's Vigil, so make this the second choice.
Kyrian Anima Conductor Rewards
Build the Tier 1 and Tier 2 Anima Conductors first -- possibly start the Abomination Factory between these two. The other improvements are underwhelming, particularly the seriously underdeveloped Transport Network. That said, the next thing to build after your Tier 2 Anima Conductor should be the Tier 1 Transport Network, as the Nurakiir, House of Eyes portal takes you directly to your Tier 2 Daily Quest hub.
Necrolord Anima Conductor Rewards
The Tier 1 Anima Conductor should be your priority build over your Tier 1 Transport Network (even though the Mushroom Network is more fun), particularly since both the treasure and Enemy Champion are so easy compared to those of the other Covenants. The treasure is an easy access no-brainer, no-fighting daily gift, and you can always get plenty of help at Star Lake Amphitheater (if the
world quest is on, chances are likely you won't even have to summon the monster yourself because others will be summoning it all day).
Night Fae Anima Conductor Rewards
Venthyr have gotten the short end of the stick with almost all of their Sanctum improvements. In their case, however, I'd recommend investing in the Anima Conductors 1 and 2 before bothering to put much into the Mirror Network. You can at least being earning
and have a chance at
, since this mount can only drop for Venthyr players. And if you're good at jump-jump puzzles, the treasure shouldn't be much of a bother for you. Besides, most of the Mirror Network's nodes are very close to existing flight points, so all it saves is a little time getting from Point A to Point B. At level 3, the Mirror Network does have some other cool rewards such as a new armor transmog and "other rewards" (not entirely fleshed out yet).
Venthyr Anima Conductor Rewards
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