Following Wednesday’s livestream developer event for World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, Blizzard gave many content creators around the globe special limited access to its alpha build. Creators are able try out various end-game content, which leads us to our first look at joining a Covenant, the Venthyr of Revendreth.
Warning, obviously major Shadowlands spoilers are ahead.
At the moment, only the first chapter of the Venthyr Covenant storyline is available. However, it’s just enough to give a proper taste of what to expect with this faction. Predictably, you begin with learning your special Covenant abilities and forging your bond with your very first Soulbind: an NPC your character whom you form a personal bond. This connection gives you access to a special talent tree, which changes according to the Soulbind you choose.
The idea is great, though the execution is still worrying many as far as balance goes. To be fair, we are still in the alpha stage, and have a long way to go until we have an idea of what the final numbers will be.
The Venthyr are, to all intents and purposes, vampires, so Revendreth carries with it a glorious, gothic, posh but bloody feel. The faction is lacking power and influence, and it’s your job to help increase both. You approach various members of the Court, trying to build new bridges and elevate the influence of your biggest ally in Revendreth, Prince Renathal.
We know that, as you build up your Covenant’s influence and power, the zone of Revendreth itself will change to reflect the influence you’ve had on the world. The idea is that this zone, the home of your chosen Covenant, should feel the most like your own home. By the end, you should feel completely comfortable and happy here.
But that will only come later. For now, there’s still so much to do for the Venthyr. For a start, there’s the new mission table — something I was very keen on, as it sounded a lot more involved than previous mission tables (sort of like an RPG minigame). To be honest I might have been a bit prematurely excited about this. The extra strategy involved seems minimal, and it’s still uncertain how they will balance the rewards in a way that makes the mission table worth using, but not have it be ridiculously overpowered, or turned into a money press.
Partying it up
Far more satisfying is the Ember Court. This special Venthyr-unique minigame is where you host delightful parties like a proper Vampire noble. The intention is obviously to gain reputation and influence, and of course, vampires are not easily charmed, so everything has to be perfect — or at least perfect enough.
All good parties need three things: Refreshment, entertainment, and a guest list stuffed with social elites. Here, you can get really creative, and I went with a cake and exotic wild animals part. I even got to have a food fight with the cake.
It did not please the more decorum-loving Vampires, and basically I failed my first real Ember Court experience, but I had a good time, and that’s the main thing.