World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, the latest expansion of Blizzard Entertainment's long-running MMORPG, is in beta now and launching this fall. The game's eighth major expansion takes players into the realm of the dead after the banshee and former Horde Warchief Sylvannas Windrunner tore down the barrier that separated it from the land of the living.
Players will explore four new zones, each controlled by a different Covenant with their own role in the afterlife. Upon reaching the new maximum level of 60, each character will be able to join a Covenant and gain plenty of benefits in exchange for working on their behalf.
This is a big choice that can be determined by your class, playstyle, and aesthetic preferences and will affect where you hang out and what you do in Shadowlands' endgame. To make the choice easier, we're putting together guides to everything we know about the four Covenants starting with the angelic beings known as the Kyrian.
Who are the Kyrian?
The Kyrian are the guardians of Azeroth's afterlife, responsible for bringing the souls of the dead to the Shadowlands where they are judged and sent to the realm they deserve. They're the first friendly faction you'll meet as they rescue you from the hellish realm of The Maw, the prison for the evilest souls in all the cosmos.
Selflessly dedicated to serving others, the Kyrian purify their souls by shedding mortal weakness in a process known as Ascension. They must battle physical manifestations of their darkest thoughts and memories or they will fail to complete the rite and become the lost souls known as the Forsworn. Unfortunately, fewer Kyrians have been able to earn their wings because their supplies of Anima, the resource used for Ascension, is dwindling and not as many souls are finding their way to the shining realm of Bastion.
Welcome to Bastion
The Kyrian zone is the first place your character will visit after being rescued from The Maw. You'll be something of a celebrity there, as it's been a while since the locals have seen a living mortal. Of course, things there aren't as perfect as they might look at first glance and there's plenty of problems for your hero to solve.
Bastion is filled with both natural beauty and immaculate sanctuaries tended to by Stewards, owl-like groundskeepers that collect mementos tracking the achievements of their favorite heroes. They also construct Anima-fueled automatons called Centurions. Goliath and Colossus Centurions protect Bastion from both internal and external threats, while the flying Praetors train the wingless aspirants on their path to Ascension.
Uther Lightbringer, the paladin who was killed by his pupil Prince Arthas, has made his home in Bastion as have other legendary heroes from Azeroth's long history. You'll meet them as you explore, but you'll also need to fight rogue memories and the Forsworn, who spread doubt in the hearts of the just.
Bastion is also home to Necrotic Wake, a leveling dungeon open to characters level 50 and higher. The Kyrian Temple of Courage has been invaded by agents of the Necrolords Covenant searching for anima who have filled it with reanimated monstrosities.
All characters who pledge themselves to the Kyrian will receive the ability to summon a Steward who will show up with a Phial of Serenity, which provides some healing and removes any curse, disease, poison and bleed effects on you. Whenever you visit Hero's Rest, you'll be able to swap between one of three stewards: the clarinet player Pico, the pugnacious hammer-wielding Farra, and the baker Bumos. Each will increase in power as you complete more of the Covenant Campaign, eventually gaining the ability to craft special items.
Additionally, each character will get a combat-focused ability based on their class:
- Death Knights gain Shackle the Unworthy, which punishes an enemy for their sins by dealing arcane damage over time and reducing the damage they do to you. Hitting the enemy with an attack that uses Runes will reduce the ability's cooldown.
- Demon Hunters' Elysian Decree allows you to place a sigil that deals Arcane damage when it activates.
- Druids receive Kindred Spirits, which lets you form a bond with an ally, giving you a cooldown ability that gives you both an effect based on your partner's role.
- Hunters can fire a Resonating Arrow that increases your likelihood of critically striking an enemy in the area and allows you to fire without line of sight.
- Mages can summon a Radiant Spark to do some instant Arcane damage and more over time while also stacking a debuff on the target that increases the effects of your direct damage spells.
- Monks get Weapons of Order, which increases your mastery by a percentage for a short duration and has a kicker effect based on your spec. Windwalkers have the cooldown of their Rising Sun Kick reset and will reduce the cost of their Chi abilities when they use the attack. Brewmasters will have their Keg Smash cooldown reset and will debuff all enemies hit by the attack so that they take more damage from you. Mistweavers will reset their Essence Font Cooldown and heal nearby allies when they start and stop channeling.
- Paladins receive Divine Toll, which will instantly cast Holy Shock, Avenger's Shield, or Judgment on several targets depending on your specialization.
- Priests can cast the Boon of the Ascended buff, which increases your movement speed and lets you build power that will explode in a burst of damage to your enemies and healing for your allies.
- Shamans can summon a Vesper Totem for 30 seconds, which will pulse with Arcane damage after you cast your next three damaging spells or heal up to six nearby allies when you cast your next three healing spells.
- Warlocks target an enemy with Scouring Tithe to do damage over time and instantly. The spell will give you additional Soul Shards if they die under the effect. If the enemy survives for the duration, the cooldown will immediately refresh.
- Warriors can throw the Spear of Bastion at an enemy to tether them to the location for the spell's duration while dealing damage over time and generating rage. It also deals some Arcane damage instantly.
Your base of operations
Characters who choice to join the Kyrian Covenant will be based out of Elysian Hold, which contains a set of Kyrian Gateways that allow you to transform into anima and fast travel to various locations within Bastion. You'll start by being able to instantly go between Elysian Hold, Hero's Rest, Aspirant's Rest, and the Temple of Courage. Upon arriving, you'll have the Unburden buff cast on you, which will significantly increase your movement speed.
You can level up the network by bringing Anima back to your sanctum. The second level expands the list of destinations to add Sagehaven, the Temple of Purity, and the Seat of Eternal Hymns, increases the duration of Unburden by 100%, and lets you use the network while exploring by summoning your Steward. The third level ads Temple of Humility and Exaltation Rise to the network, reduces the aggro radius for enemies while Unburden is active, and lets party members use your Steward to travel with you.
You can also spend Anima in various areas of Bastion to enable new content based on your priorities. Here are the benefits for restoring each location:
- Citadel of Loyalty lets you fight an elite enemy champion.
- Eonian Archives give you access to powerful Kyrian enhancements.
- Eternal Forge unlocks a set of daily quests for your Covenant.
- Purity's Pinnacle lets you find a unique treasure.
- Temple of Courage lets you battle an enemy champion.
- Temple of Humility unlocks a world quest.
Renown and Soulbinding
Completing quests for the Kyrian will increase your Renown, which is an updated version of the traditional Reputation system. You'll spend much of your time venturing into The Maw to bring souls back to Elysian Hold, where they might thank you by going on adventures for you.
Soon after joining a covenant and completing a few starting quests, you'll be able to Soulbind with a member of the group who will help you in your fight. As you increase your renown, they'll gain more powers. These are the three Kyrians you can Soulbind with and what they offer:
- Pelagos will slightly reduce the cooldown on your Steward's services, with the exception of Phial of Serenity, every time you defeat an enemy. He'll also slightly increase your Mastery for a moderate duration after you use your Kyrian class power.
- Kleia will provide you with a Phial of Serenity, which gives you a few second of immunity to curse, disease, poison, and bleed effects. When you or a nearby ally score a critical hit, you'll gain a stack of Valliant Strikes which will heal all your friends for 5% of their maximum health over 10 seconds when fully stacked.
- Forgelite Prime Mikanikos buffs the ability of Phial of Serenity so that it also knocks away nearby enemies. He will also give you a summon that attacks and heals your targets once you've used a significant number of spells and abilities.
Keep checking back for more information on the Kyrian and other Covenants and let us know who you plan on joining in Shadowlands!
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