The long wait is almost over. The most awaited update to World of Warcraft: Shadowlands is finally coming tomorrow, June 29, in the form of a new patch called Chains of Domination.
We got the opportunity to catch up with assistant lead quest designer Johnny Cash (not to be confused with the American rock singer) and technical director Frank Kowalkowski and talk about the most awaited features and updates in Patch 9.1. Will Sylvannas be redeemed? Are professions going to be more relevant again? When will patch 9.2 come out? What’s waiting for the players in Korthia and the Sanctum of Domination?
Find out below.
Johnny Cash: Chains of Domination is more focused on the covenants coming together and uniting against the threat of the Jailer poses. So that’s really the story we’re focusing on telling right now. We’ve spent all this time building up our covenant’s strength but the Jailer is also building up his strength as well.
And now we return to the Maw and the new zone Korthia which is pulled into the side of Maw, what was once us as players venturing into the Jailer’s territory, sneaking underneath his gaze, is now an open, all-out conflict. In terms of the conflict we’re focusing on, that’s what we really want to pay off and you can see that in the covenant assaults where you can join your covenant and help defend or attack key points from the Jailer’s forces all the way up to the Sanctum of Domination raid.
If you’re a PVP person, you can always journey through Korthia in War Mode. There will be a new PVP season and as part of the new season, we did new PVP talents that I think are really cool. While narratively it’s not the focus, there are some really cool stuff that players can do with it.
JC: We’re always looking at different aspects of the game and trying to evaluate on how we can make this cooler and that goes all the way from dungeon/raid mechanics to new stories we can tell, new characters we create, and that certainly true for professions too. We’re always looking at new things we can have players craft, new ways that they can integrate with the system. Sometimes, we try new things and sometimes they’re for particular expansion like the Scrapper back in BfA, and sometimes we do things we rely on things we’ve done before.
In terms of Chains of Domination, I think the new professions stuff, there’s certainly professions need to chase within the content release. But in terms of major changes [in] the way professions work, we’re not planning anything right now but we certainly always appreciate the feedback there and the ideas people have.
One thing that is kind of the similar vein to that as far as customizing your character and gear, is on the systemic side. For your covenant, we have some new soulbind rows, 4 new rows that players can unlock as you proceed to the new renown models with a couple of new traits and conduit slots, some of which are actually empowered conduit slots, so you can actually put an existing conduit in there and have it be more powerful than it would have been otherwise.
Also on the customization front, there are these new domination sockets. They are specially themed around the Sanctum of Domination raid. They’re kind of Death Knight-themed, so you can get these frost, unholy, or blood gem type of things, runes that you can slot into your gear. And if you can get three of the same type, you unlock a really powerful set bonus that is especially useful within the Sanctum of Domination raid.
Those are not explicitly professions, but they have some of the same feel as what you might see from like jewelcrafting and other professions which allow you to customize your character a bit more.
Frank Kowalkowski: We’re already working on the next content update for World of Warcraft and we do actually know internally where we’re going with the story after Chains of Domination. Players are going to see where we’re going with the key elements of the story after Chains of Domination.
In terms of a pipeline, yes, we know what’s next and the team is actively working not only get Chains of Domination out the door, but also to break ground and do the work pretty far along on the next [patch].
JC: While we’re all fuzzy on the details since there’s so much in this patch but I know that we do have ways to get more Soul Ash so you can catch up and craft things more quickly. In terms of different balances of what piece of gear or what slot is the best for the particular build you want to run or the soulbind you have with you. It’s not exactly my expertise but I know it’s something we have been looking at and discussing a bunch, making sure that it’s an easy process, that players are relatively having a smooth time.
I think one area worth talking about is Torghast. Players have given us tons and tons of feedback, whether you’ve ran Torghast a bunch or maybe you’ve tried it once and thought it wasn’t for you, we’ve heard feedback from both groups.
[Torghast] runs are a little bit shorter. Instead of the six floors, there’s actually only five for you to get that base level run in for the day. And also, there’s this progression system we’ve added on top of it. There’s actually a score now as you go through the run and depending on how well you do, you’ll be able to progress through the box of many things, which is an ethereal cube which gives you sorts of bonuses.
And if you do really really well in a run, you can actually unlock bonus floors at the end that are extra challenging and have even more rewards on them. It’s one of those things for those who really like to run Torghast or find yourself running a lot of Torghast [runs].
I think it’s a better experience, there’s more things to do, and even within the given floor, you’re building this anima empowerment bar. After you fill it up, you can use that to activate almost a super mode, kinda when you [cast] Bloodlust, where you’re just over-the-top strong for a short period of time. That can help players when they’re struggling with a certain boss or a certain layer, you can work towards that too. It’s a really good time to hop back into Torghast. If you need to craft another legendary in order to round out your gearset, I think you’ll have a better time and it’ll be enjoyable.
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