Wowhead's Chains of Domination Interview - No New Soulbinds, New Ve'nari Rewards, Megadungeon Hard Mode
The Wowhead team sat down with Principal Game Designer Jeremy Feasel and Technical Director Frank Kowalkowski to discuss the upcoming features of Patch 9.1 Chains of Domination! We discuss new activities and rewards in the Maw, a new Maw currency for Ve'nari, tier sets, updated Soulbinds, Covenant swapping restrictions, the possibility of equipping multiple Legendaries, and much more!
Any timeline for when 9.1 releases with 9.0.5 in March?
You can certainly expect to see the 9.1 PTR show up shortly after 9.0.5.
Any updates for Tier Sets in Patch 9.1?
Still a concept that we really like, and we think is super cool. For the sets in the Sanctum of Domination, these are going to be Domination themed. You've already seen some of them with the Legendary transmogs that are available in the game right now. We'll be adding weapon sets to those and make them available in all their colors as collectable armor sets finally. You'll be able to have a full Domination set. But expect to hear more about tier sets as we move into the future. Not for 9.1, but potentially for future patches.
Are there any plans to allow players to wear two Legendaries at once in Shadowlands?
We like the Legendary system. It's something we want to continue to expand on. We have some really exciting ideas for what we want to do for it. Nothing to announce today, but expect some news on that in the near future.
Any plans to address the faction imbalance at the high end?
It's something we're actively discussing. It's a big discussion. There is fundamental elements to being a member of the Alliance and Horde in World of Warcraft. There's a lot of faction identities, there's racial identity, there's choices that I made 15 years ago on my character that I want to feel cool and interesting for having that particular identity. So I think it's something that we need to be careful about but at the same time we recognize that this isn't an ideal situation and it's something that we need to keep discussing.
Customizations & Heritage Armor
In past X.0.5 patches, we've seen Heritage Armor added. Any plans to include Heritage Armor in 9.0.5 or future patches?
Heritage Armor is an idea that we still really like. We have taken a bit of an art look at some of the initial ideas of future Heritage Armor and we're starting to sus out some of the ideas that we like. We don't have anything to announce today, but would eventually like to give everyone a Heritage Armor set.
Any plans for more Customizations?
Nothing in the short term but we're always looking for ideas from players, so please continue to submit your ideas for things that you'd like to see.
The Maw - Ve'nari, Stygia, Dailies
What's going on with Stygia and Ve'nari in Season 2?
As new content is unlocking in the Maw, both over in Korthia and in the main Maw space itself as the Covenants are making their attacks and we've got these very Legion Assault-like Covenant Strikes where the Covenants are taking the fight there and you've got a bunch of mini objectives and then it all culminates in a big finale. That's one of the big new things happening in the Maw space.
We've also got some new Ve'nari content, as the Jailer is sending his forces back out after us. He's sending out some of the forces directly from Torghast. This is our Tormenters of Torghast event and that's going to make extra hard areas of the zone show up periodically.
That Ve'nari content and a lot of the other things you're going to be doing in the Maw in Chains of Domination will contribute to a new Ve'nari currency. Ve'nari is looking for something else now, so players that have a whole lot of Stygia, go ahead and spend it. You will be able to continue using it on Season 1 things when Chains of Domination comes out but Ve'nari will be looking for new things to unlock the new that we'll also see on Ve'nari -- new Conduits, new powers and all those kinds of things.
players that are returning, we're also going to be taking a look at how easy it is to get Stygia, the Stygia economy and some of the things that Ve'nari has that players should get relatively quickly as soon as they're integrated back into the experience so that you can catch up with your friends, and make that easier to acquire.
What do you envision the Maw gameplay loop looking like in Chains of Domination?
With the renewed presence of the Covenants down in the space, we're going to be going off on some questlines that involve us empowering our hub. We're going to be pushing back the influence of the Jailer that will allow you to call your mount once again, and it will also reduce the influence of the Eye of the Jailer. There's going to be a whole side questline associated with the Eye of the Jailer and what its lore and story is, and what it's doing and we'll learn to poke it out and cleanse the eye off of ourselves and that's really going to open up the Maw as a general playable space in the endgame. It's going feel like a much less oppressive space now that all of your Covenant allies are there as well.
The allies themselves are going to making assaults against the Jailer's forces. This includes a whole bunch of different Covenant specific activities. You'll see Maldraxxus bring in a whole Necropolis and blast the Jailer's forces with Necromatic energy, and drop like 20 Abominations and then Marileth is going to show up there and turn the nearby plague pools into friendly slime pools with Kevin and then a whole bunch of Kyrians are going to come down as well so that you're going to get to see them fighting sort of back to back against the Jailer's forces. That's the vibe we want to get across. It's like the Covenants are coming together and you're doing really cool Covenant stuff that intermeshes in a way that felt really separate out in the Shadowlands because all the zones are so separated but here they get to come together and work together and you get to do Kyrian things, and Maldraxxus things, and Venthyr things and Night Fae things. That's just one chunk, that's the sort of big rewarding daily thing down there.
On top of that there's also going to be brand new Ve'nari content. The Jailer will be sending his forces out of Torghast, these Tormenters of Torghast. Ve'nari will have a new currency and new loot obtainable on her as well that you can get from doing various activities. And then we've got this whole loop of activities that you can do over in the landmass of Korthia that the Jailer pulled in. So this space was a wholly different space and it was once inhabited by some of the ancient caretakers of the Shadowlands, like the attendants and the protectors, and it contains some of the Ancient secrets that get to really the underpinnings of how the Shadowlands works, or who the First Ones were, and where all this stuff came from. All these things that the Jailer is looking for but also I think we and all of our Covenant allies have some interest about how does the Shadowlands really work underneath it all, and we'll be delving into some of these storylines. So a lot of the Korthia stuff is going to be really centered around these mysteries and digging into that space and preventing the Jailer from doing so. Over in that hub, we're going to be looking back at our Mechagon Visitor system about having a small group of dailies show up that are very heavily themed whether or not that's Covenant friends asking us to go do things against the Jailer or asking us to get some secrets from Korthia.
Covenant Swapping Restrictions
With all the Covenants working together to defeat the Jailer, does that mean that players could see relaxed Covenant swapping restrictions?
I think especially with the large Covenant changes to power levels that we're looking at for both 9.0.5 but especially a larger content update for 9.1, one of things that we're going to see because this is where
we're going to be helping to increase the power levels of Covenant and class combinations that we don't see super often to higher levels. We feel like the appropriate time to do that is in a larger patch where we can really message it to players and not throw a wrench in your rating games or in the middle of a raiding tier.
I think that in both of these content updates, we're going to be seeing more frequent Covenant swapping and it's something that we need to be sensitive to. We need to be listening to player feedback about how it feels to try out some of these new things now that we're increasing their power levels and make that not feel like it's bad. We're going to look at what it feels to transfer a max renown character through a couple of different Covenants to try a couple of different things. So it's definitely something we're going to looking to be very sensitive to player feedback on this Please let us know what you think as you're playtesting that because I think that moreso than ever before, we will be seeing players hit those swaps and feeling sort of the pressure of what happens when you do those swaps at max level and we want this to not feel really bad for players.
Will the Covenant Campaign continue into Patch 9.1?
Yeah, the story structure for 9.1 is actually pretty interesting. Not only are you going to be having the Covenants sort of come together and taking the fight against the Jailer within the first couple of chapters, but we're also going to be returning to each of the Covenant storylines and sort of wrapping things up a little bit. Everybody will be able to do these because the Covenants have come together and you want to kind of get across that vibe.
If you're a Venthyr, you can join on the Bastion chapter and you can help the Kyrians sort of wrap up the storyline of the Forsworn and Uther and in that way not only do we get across the feeling that Covenants are coming together but everybody gets to experience the finale of all 4 of the Covenant questlines, at least as far as the finale goes in Chains of Domination. Certainly this is not the end of the story for most of our Covenants in the Shadowlands or the Shadowlands itself, but you'll at least be able to sort of get caught up on what's been going on on all the groups you haven't seen up until now, see what happens next and then of course, if you're a member of one of those Covenants and you're on one of those questlines, we want you to feel extra cool. So if you're Kyrian and you're doing the Bastion section of that questline, you'll have extra little quest elements, you'll have extra little lore tidbits that are specific to you so you still feel like Kyrian.
Is this specific to Patch 9.1's Campaign or also 9.0's Campaign?
This is specific to the Chains of Domination's quests but we will be providing a "Story So Far" for each of those, so if you haven't done them, you get to see what happened up until that point.
Can we expect to see Arthas in Chains of Domination?
No comments on Arthas.
Will the Covenant minigames be getting updates in Patch 9.1?
With the theme of the Chains of Domination storyline of the Covenants coming together, we're pretty heavily focused on content that everyone can enjoy down in the Maw and trying to add as much stuff there as possible and also additional content that can unlock over the weeks and tons of awesome story chapters. That's going to be the real meat of the content there.
Will the Mission Table be evolving in Patch 9.1?
Expect us to continue to evolve the mission table system with all of our content updates for the Shadowlands.
Are you able to share more information about the mysterious Brokers or will we find that out in Patch 9.1 with the Megadungeon?
You are going to find out in game. You're going to have a little questline that's going to lead up to the Megadungeon and then inside of there you're going to get to meet the various factions, you're going to get to peek into what Broker life is like inside the In-Between and this giant floating city and then you're going to get a taste of what it's like to chase one of them as they've stolen an artifact through the last half of that dungeon.
It allows us to go deeper into Broker culture and where do the Brokers go to get a meal at the end of the day and what kind of music they listen to and we're going to be delving into a lot of that fun stuff. We have a lot of fun with Megadungeons -- our art teams and our sound teams and our design teams -- so expect to see some really cool Broker seedy floating trade city vibe there.
Are there any plans to have a Hard Mode for the Broker Megadungeon?
There are. we have no specifics to announce today other than we like how that worked out and we think that Hard Modes are a good spot for Megadungeons.
Mythic+ Rewards and Valor Points
Are the achievement requirements to upgrade gear with Valor Points account-wide or will alts need to complete the achievement as well?
You know, I'm not exactly sure. We'd have to double check with the item guys on that. I know that, definitely, this is an early iteration of the Valor Points system, it's something that we're looking for player feedback on. The PTR is up now, they're on Callings and a bunch of other systems, please hop in there and let us know how the system feels and what else you want to see out of Valor Points.
Can we expect to see a change to the current Valor Point system to allow players to upgrade their gear to 226?
Something that we want to continue obtaining player feedback on but we don't have anything to announce today. I think that player feedback on the 9.0.5 system is going to help us continue to evolve the system in Chains of Domination. So please hit us up and let us know what you think, but expect this system to continue and evolve in the next patch.
Are there any plans to update the Mythic Keystone system for Mythic+ where it feels awkward to drop a Keystone?
Nothing to announced on that front, but that is awesome feedback.
Can we expect more reasons to push higher Mythic+ in Chains of Domination? There's a new Seasonal affix but the cosmetic rewards stop at +15 right now.
So this is something that we've been actively discussing and we don't have anything to announce today but it's something that we would like to be able to further support in the future for sure. We want there to be some concept of interest for pushing high keys and really that sense of community competition that occurs around that is awesome.
So along the same line as Gladiator Mounts for PvP?
Something. We'll announce it when it's ready. Some kind of interesting meta reward system that lets you show off for being a high key player.
PvP: Solo Queue
Are there any technical limitations preventing Solo Queue for Rated PvP or is it a design decision?
We're talked about the design previously, the general intent being that the gameplay experience is intended to be for groups that form prior to queueing together. That said, I think that something that the community feels really passionate about is something that we want to continue hearing from people about and it's something that we should continue having a discussion on.
Are there any plans to update the LFG tool to make it easier to find groups or avoid boosting services?
Yeah. The answer to that is we would love to. We're taking a look at the Looking For Group stuff. We want to hear from the community about what they like, what they don't. You've obviously mentioned some of those things right there. Probably not something in the Chains of Domination time frame but it is something that we are looking for beyond.
Various Shadowlands Systems
What kind of updated soulbinds are we getting in Patch 9.1?
We're going to be extending the Soulbind trees and adding new Conduits, so rather than throwing new Soulbinds in, we're going to give you the opportunity to take the Soulbinds that you've already bonded with and grown to love, and give them a few more rows.
Are these Soulbind trees going to be going wider such as adding in a fourth path on the side or just longer?
We'll figure that out but mostly just adding more depth to the tree. You're going to get additional power and with the additional conduits, you'll get a little more choice in how you want that power to progress.
Torghast and Soul Ash
Will Patch 9.1 include any catch-up mechanisms for Soul Ash?
One of the things that's currently in discussion is, what is the ultimate progression system of Torghast? How can we give players that really enjoy Torghast some additional stuff to do there? What does some meta-progression system look like? So, nothing concrete to announce today but that's kind of where our head is at, we're looking at additional ways to make it feel like not even completing a run can still be rewarding for players.
Will the Twisting Corridors be updated in Patch 9.1 with new layers or rewards?
Something we're looking at, but we don't have anything to announce today. We have a lot of ideas, so expect to see some announcement about that in the near future as we start to hammer some things down. A lot of really cool ideas there about different ways to give players different experiences.
Are Weapon Tokens continuing in Patch 9.1 and possibly expanded into other forms of content ?
I think it worked out pretty well, however we are still working on Raid itemization so we don't have anything definitive to announce today.
Anything to share about loot acquisition in Patch 9.1?
Our current goal is to look and see what these most recent changes look like as well as the 9.0.5 changes and then go from there.
Flying and Mounting
Will flying be unlocked with Renown in Patch 9.1?
Right now, we are sort of looking at whether or not would work better as a Renown track feature or as part of the Covenant chapter quest feature, it kind of depends a little bit on the storyline. Ultimately, the goal there either way is to unlock it very early on in your time with Chains of Domination, so you can get right out flying in the zones. It's not intended to be a rep grind like similar expansion, you should be able to pick it up relatively quickly.
with Ion Hazzikostas indicates that Flying is awarded when you complete the 9.1 campaign.
Will flying be unlocked in the Maw as well once Pathfinder is unlocked?
Just ground mounts in the Maw.
Any plans to expand Threads of Fate to Legion or BFA content?
The system has a whole lot of potential. We don't have anything to announce in the short term other than that we really do like the system, we want to continue the Threads of Fate system, we want to look into different ways to improve it, so expect to see some announcements about future improvements to come up in the future.
How do you feel like the AoE cap has gone and can we expect any changes to that?
I think it is accomplishing it's goal. I think that as with all class design changes like that, it's something where we need to continue to be sensitive to player feedback and we'll continue listening. Also, it depends a little on what the difficult fight of the raid tier is but generally, I think that we're pretty happy with where it's at and have no changes to announce today at least.
Anima and Callings
What's the purpose of Anima in Patch 9.1 and can we expect increased Anima drops?
Similarly with Shadowlands, Anima will continue to be a currency for important elements within the game. Every time we add a bunch of new content and a bunch of new currencies, we generally take a look at the existing currency and its influx and outflux to make sure that everything is still along the same lines of where we want it to be. But also often times there are catch-up mechanisms that we want to incorporate in there, there's new content we want to be able to have as a new faucet that you can have that adds additional Anima to the pool. So we're going to be looking at ways to increase the influx there with the new content that we're adding to the pool but also looking at all our currencies as a whole like every time when we do a big content update and looking at their relative inflows and outflows and making adjustments.
Any plans to make Callings more lucrative?
One of the things that we just recently updated in the 9.0.5 PTR was applying Valor Points to callings. We do want to make that system feel like it continues to contribute to your end game progression.
Mounts and Secrets
What's going on with the Stygia Crafting and the Tower Shadehound?
The secrets of the Tower Shadehound are for the community to discover.
Could we ever see an Infinite Pirate Dragon Mount?
It is a fun concept for a boss, but I think that particular Pirate Dragon has other stories to tell and will not be joining you today.
Players have been stuck on the Slime Serpent. Any tips for these secret finders?
Thanks so much for your time, is there anything that you want to say to the community?
There's a lot of great stuff coming, a lot of really big story elements. I think one of the most interesting things here is seeing the evolution of the Jailer's storyline. We're really happy with how the Covenant storylines came out, they tell some really big time stories. Looking forward to see people go through all these story quests and then get a glimpse into what's coming next for the Shadowlands, we got a lot more stories still to tell.
A big thank you to the community as always, it's why we do this and I think there's a lot for everybody no matter how they like to enjoy World of Warcraft coming in Chains of Domination.
BlizzConline News & Highlights
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Warcraft Cooking Workshop
Community Showcase Cosplay & Talent Show
Critical Role Diablo Campaign
Blizzard Art Studio - Learn to Draw Shadowlands Characters
BlizzConline Day 1 Recap
BlizzConline Collages - Classic, TBC, Hogger, & Barrens Art Prints
Musical Guest MAMAMOO
Musical Guest Metallica
Blizzard Arcade Collection - Classic 90's Games on PC & Console
Coca-Cola Scavenger Hunt
BlizzConline Downloads - Badges & Backgrounds
BlizzConline 2021 Opening Ceremony Liveblog & Recap
World of Warcraft: Shadowlands Day 2
Dreadlords in Korthia
Level 50 Flying in Shadowlands
Thrall & Draka Reunion Hinted
Covenant Pepes & 40 More Renown Levels
Free Wandering Ancient in 9.0.5
No Current Plans to Address Faction Imbalance
No Additional Character Customization Planned in Shadowlands
WoW Q&A Recap
PC Gamer - Raid Loot & Torghast Improvements
Wowhead Interview - No New Soulbinds, New Ve'nari Rewards
Spend Stygia for Season 1 Items Only
No Tier Sets, Sanctum Uses Legendary Models
World of Warcraft: Shadowlands Day 1
Season 2 Rewards - Vicious, Gladiator, & Keystone Master Mounts
Korthia Rewards - Spectral Steed & Severed Hand Mounts
Cosmetic Covenant Armor Sets
Covenant Flying Mounts
Making of the Wandering Ancient Mount
All Mounts Will Work in the Maw
Sanctum of Dominion Raid featuring Sylvanas Windrunner
8 Boss Broker Megadungeon
Shadowlands: What's Next? Liveblog & Recap
Patch 9.1: Chains of Domination Cinematic
Patch 9.1 is Chains of Domination
Doctors Without Boarders Charity Pets
Wandering Ancient Mount First Look
World of Warcraft: Classic
Modern Conveniences for Burning Crusade Classic LFG Tool
Letherworking Drums Likely to Change
Patch 2.4.3 Experience Curve & Level 30 Mounts
Netherwhelp Pet for TBC Collectors Edition Owners
Patch 2.4.3 Balance - No Tuning Over Time
WoW Q&A Recap
TBC Classic Beta Opt-In
Five Phases of TBC Classic
Seals of Blood & Vengeance for Both Factions
Classic TBC Will Have Pre-Nerf Bosses
TBC: Deep Dive Panel Recap
No Gold Cap on Transfers
TBC Classic Characters & Realms Bluepost
Copy Classic Characters to TBC Realms
Level 58 Boosts for TBC Classic Launch
The Burning Crusade Classic Announcement
Diablo 2: Resurrected and Classic Will Remain Separate
Diablo Q&A Recap
Diablo 2: Resurrected Tech Alpha & Pre-Order
Diablo 2: Resurrected Deep Dive Recap
Diablo 4: What's Next? Liveblog & Recap
Rogue Class Coming to Diablo 4
Diablo 2: Resurrected - HD Remaster on PC & Console in 2021
Diablo Immortal: Alpha & Beyond Panel Recap
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