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WoWDec 1, 2020 2:00 pm CT

How does Threads of Fate work to level alts in Shadowlands? Should you use it?

Your first character has entered the Shadowlands, completed the Campaign, chose their Covenant, and started progressing the Covenant Campaign. Now your alt has a choice — replay the Campaign, or go with the Threads of Fate? Threads of Fate allows you to skip the whole story, choose your Covenant from the very start, and it gives you access to your Covenant abilities from the get go.

How does Threads of Fate compare to replaying the Campaign? After escaping from The Maw, I talked to Fatescribe Roh-Tahl, who sent me over to Tal-Inara, Honored Voice. I chose my Covenant, then I was on my way.

What will you be doing in Threads of Fate?

Do you like filling bars? If so then this is the style for you. Tal-Inara asks you to pick one of the four realms, then gives you a bar to fill. Side quests you may have breezed past in the Campaign style of leveling contribute about 2% to your bar. World Quests are usually 4%. Bonus Areas vary by realm — Maldraxxus was giving closer to 4%, Revendreth 7%, and both Ardenweald and Bastion were 10% per Bonus Area, making those areas quicker to complete. Dungeon bosses gave 4%, but not every boss. Also, while leveling, there is only one dungeon available to you per realm. There was a quest to do the dungeon, and that gave an additional 10%.

Every Bonus Area is the same — reach the area, a bar appears at the side of your screen, each kill is worth about 1%, clicking on something is another 1% to 3%. You’ll do this over and over. Sometimes a Bonus Area will overlap with a World Quest that is also a fill bar. You can fill two bars to help fill the bar for the zone. When you close your eyes, you can see an after image of the fill bars. There are not enough Bonus Areas to complete the zone, and you will need to mix it up with World Quests and other nearby quests.

It is repetitive. At first it might seem nice when quests or Bonus Areas are near each other on the map. However, when you have just killed one hundred mobs to complete one, and then walk over to kill the exact same type of mob again, it does make you question this process.

What are the benefits of Threads of Fate?

First of all, the choice of how to level is yours. There is no progression path telling you where to go, in what order. Bastion -> Maldraxxus -> Ardenweald -> Revendreth? Not if you don’t want to. You can go straight into Ardenweald. It’s more like Legion and Battle for Azeroth like that, where players chose their zone.

If you want to focus on quests and quest givers, the yellow exclamation marks are on the map, and the starting point is always right next to quests. Jump in and get going. However, if you don’t like doing those quests, and if you want to grind mobs, there are plenty of Bonus Areas. Quests and World Quests also tend to overlap, so grab them, and double up on completing the zone, and earning extra XP and rewards.

Rewards are plentiful. Bonus Areas and World Quests all provide gear, and the Threads of Fate quests for each realm reward a weapon. By the end, I had upgraded everything except for my Heart of Azerite neck and legendary cloak. While doing World Quests, you can earn Anima, which you do not receive while doing the storyline. This will help fill up the reserve once level 60 is reached and the actual Covenant activities are unlocked.

There are no cutscenes or NPCs talking. Sometimes there’s nothing worse than knowing the quest is right there, the exclamation mark is on the minimap, but the NPCs are chitchatting and nothing is happening. That doesn’t happen in Threads of Fate. All the quests are side quests — there’s no heavy story making you cool your heels. Grab them, move on, don’t worry about lore, or what the NPCs have going on.

What are the issues with Threads of Fate?

The biggest issue is the XP. I finished the quests to fill that bar in all four realms, and was only level 58. It’s nice I have my freedom to do what I want, but I have a lot of freedom to figure out what I should be doing. The quest for each realm only gives about five bars, or 1/4 of a level. If they each gave 1/2 a level, then that would be one more level in total, and be a lot closer to the goal of leveling to cap.

A Bonus Area gives between 4% and 10% towards the realm’s total completion, but rewards about 17,000 XP. A quest gives 2% towards completion, and can reward 12,000 XP. If I focused more on the quests, I would have been much closer to level 60. I believe Blizzard was expecting players to spend more time doing the quests and not the World Quests and Bonus Areas. Which begs the question — why offer the alternative to questing, if that alternative was meant to be questing?

Between Bonus Areas taking a while to kill everything, the lower XP for completing them, and the Threads of Fate quests not rewarding as much XP as I think they should, this method feels like it is taking longer to reach maximum level than the storyline method took me. Granted, I don’t have to do the Torghast portion at the end, and 60 will mean I’m ready to go. But for the time investment, Threads of Fate is not faster than the Campaign — it may be slower.

While I’m receiving a lot of gear, very little of it is upgrading. Maybe there are just fewer pieces of it, so less to upgrade. The end of the storyline rewarded some great gear, especially the final weapon. It would take some great gear offered by World Quests at level 59 to be comparable.

How well and fast you can knock out Bonus Areas and World Quests will depend on class and spec. Range, AOE, and survivability will matter greatly. When needing to kill a hundred mobs — usually there is something to offset this and it’s not actually one hundred — being able to hit many at a time is important. Right now, with a lot of players leveling and doing quests, that means hitting them quickly, from far away, or reaching them fast enough to get a tap on them is important. However, that might also mean picking up a lot of aggro, and graveyards never seem to be near any of the quests.

How do Threads of Fate and Campaign leveling experiences compare?

One of the biggest differences between the two is Covenant abilities. With Threads of Fate, you are given your Covenant abilities at the start, you have them while leveling, and start getting used to the two you’ll be using for the rest of the expansion — unless you decide to swap, of course. However, if you don’t know which Covenant to choose, and seeing the Covenant abilities on your character will help you choose, I’d suggest going with the Campaign. This will give you a chance to play with each one while leveling, and let you see your character in each realm, to get a sense how they look there.

Beyond that, these are two very different playstyles. One is freeform, with very little guidance. The other is on rails, doing the same story in the same order over and over. Either one can get repetitious, depending on how many alts you have and how many times you are going to see these zones. Is your stomach going to turn when you think, “I have to do the Venthyr story again?” Or is that Bonus Area popping up on the screen, making you kill one hundred Forsworn — 2% less for every Anima Core you loot — enough to make you want to out of the zone and switch characters?

Both paths have merit, and the best advice is to mix it up. One very important thing to note is, if you choose Threads of Fate you are then locked in to that choice permanently. If you hate the experience, that’s just too bad. However, if you choose the Campaign, you can go back and choose Threads of Fate instead later — as long as you’re not level 60. As soon as you hit level 60, the choice is taken away and you’ll have to finish the entire Campaign before you can join your Covenant. Unless you’re very invested in the story, it’s a good idea to swap to Threads of Fate just before you level to cap as a result.

As always, choose wisely. But whatever you do, don’t try to level just by doing dungeons. The experience gain is far worse and you won’t get much gear out of it, if any.

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