Is Shadowlands’ Soulbinding system a strange romance or just power amplification? You decide
WoW: Shadowlands is introducing a new system for power amplification that has almost a Bioware flair — Soulbinds. In Shadowlands, any two characters can choose to bind their souls together, whether you find them utterly fascinating or you just want the power that they offer. It’s essentially a relationship-based power enhancement — the more your relationship increases, the more your power increases. Basically, it sounds like you’ll be grinding reputation or relationship with these characters, but you’re going to be rewarded in a really significant way as you go along.
Soulbinds have what look like talent trees, where you can pick and choose which rewards you’d like along the way. You aren’t locked into these choices: you can choose to change them whenever you feel like it or if tackling a situation demands a different kind of strategy. And you can pick whoever you like to soulbind with — it seems like that too will be able to be changed if you’d rather pick somebody else, although I suspect you’ll have to start that relationship grind all over again.
Unlike the bodyguard system, Soulbinds don’t need to be near you to be effective. They won’t follow you, and even if you’re far away, you’ll still get the benefits of that soulbind. No having to worry about followers randomly pulling mobs you can’t handle! And along the way, you’ll uncover your soulbind’s backstory — each has their own motives, goals, and history for you to explore.
Ultimately, this feels a little bit like the companion system of Mass Effect and Dragon Age, only with less kissing and more boosts to your power. Mass Effect 2 in particular was famous for its engaging companion system, and the sometimes funny, sometimes sad, but always touching stories that were revealed with each companion quest. I’m hoping we’ll see the same quality of storytelling with the Soulbinding system.
While we didn’t get piles and piles of details, Soulbinding sounds like a new and thoroughly entertaining twist on the old “make a friend and grind rep with them to build your friendship level” that we saw back in Pandaria with the Tillers. Except this time, you’re getting something better than some equipment for your farm out of the deal.
No, this isn’t going to be a romance — although if you’re a roleplayer, you could certainly frame it that way. But it is a really interesting twist on the old power amplification system, and promises to be an engaging — and hopefully story-filled — experience.
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