A Short History Of Soul Shards

Few elements of the game in World of Warcraft have changed as much over the years as the Warlock’s Soul Shards. From inconvenient-but-characterful bag-fillers to single-spec-only UNholy Power equivalent, they’ve been through the wringer over WoW’s evolution.

And if you’re not a Warlock, or you haven’t been playing for that long, you’ve likely missed the entire dance. So, it was with considerable interest that I happened across Fel Concentration’s history post today, as Poneria takes us through the history of this particularly problematic game mechanic

“In Wrath, some things like summoning and soulwells still cost shards, and you had to farm for them when doing things — like summoning — that used up mass amounts of shards. Eight levels below is the lowest you can go before you grey out of experience or honor. I remember in Naxx 2.0 hopping down to the ground where level 72 mobs were to drain some souls so I could resummon the lazy raid members who couldn’t take the first summons I handed out. (Now my guildy readers will know why Pon is a Grumpy about summoning people after break.) The hilarious part was when my guildmates didn’t understand that I had to be channeling a spell while the mob died in order to get a shard, so they ran around just flat-out killing things, with the whole-hearted intention of helping me out, but before I could get the channel going.

Soon after, in Patch 3.0.3 (Wrath), the Glyph of Souls (minor glyph) was changed to reduce the mana cost instead of the shard requirement of Ritual of Souls (soulwell / cookie jar). Thus started the movement away from requiring shards for spells.”

Whilst Pon only briefly covers the history of Soul Shards before Wrath, this is nonethless a big, detailed post, and the merry-go-round of the Soul Shard is fascinating reading. Whether you want to read about the history of Warlocks, or you’re interested in game design in general, this is a great chance to see an overview of a massively problematic mechanic, and how WoW’s developers have tried, time and time again, to fix it for players.

Heartily recommended if you’re looking for a meaty MMO read today!

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