One of the most integral parts of World of Warcraft: Shadowlands is the Covenant system, wherein players pick one of the four main factions – Kyrian, Necrolord, Night Fae, and Venthyr – to align themselves with.
The choice comes with a variety of things to tempt a player in, but one of the most notable is the Covenant powers. Each Covenant has a power that all members get, as well as a class-specific power that only those fitting the class it’s meant for can access.
Since this was announced, many have been worried that it would lead to players being pushed towards accepting whatever’s best for their class. Because of this fear, an inherent discussion on balance has taken place.
This is primarily because players are worried that they’ll be punished for not taking the “right” Covenant, and it seems that there are times this is true. For example, many have found it subpar to be a tank and not go the Kyrian Covenant, as their Phial of Serenity is fantastic for tanks.
This power provides a removal of nearly all debuffs, as well as restoring 20% health. While one can only carry 3 at a time, they’re practically infinite due to just needing to have your Steward bring more. Furthermore, they don’t share a cooldown with other health consumables, so a tank can pop a potion, Phial, and healthstone to suddenly be right back near to full again.
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On the opposite end of the spectrum, many feel that the Necrolord power, Fleshcraft, is significantly weaker than the others. While Kyrians get their phial and the other Covenants get a solid movement ability, Necrolords are given a long-channeled shield that provides 20% maximum health, increasing up to 50% depending on nearby corpses.
This is powerful to start a fight, especially in mythics with a surplus of elite corpses around between pulls, but it’s not quite as effective in the middle of a fight due to the long time needed to channel it. It’s also interruptible by CCs and stuns, and if a player needs to move to avoid an AOE. the channel has to start again.
There’s a whole other question of balance when you look at class abilities. Many classes are taking a performance hit if they don’t go a specific Covenant – warriors benefit more from Venthyr than any other Covenant, mages from Night Fae, and so on.
Because of the imbalance between choices, many players feel forced to go to a specific Covenant to not be suboptimal. While not everyone is into min-maxing, it still feels bad to make a choice that makes you considerably weaker than others.
At the moment, as we wait for Blizzard to balance the Covenants, it comes down to personal preference. If players are interested in getting the most out of their class, they’ll likely want to go with their most powerful Covenant option.