Let’s put it simple: Blizzard absolutely failed at their Special covenant buildings.
The complexity and the amount of grind to get covenant armor recolors – the main reason behind the Special “mini-games” – varies drastically from covenant to covenant. The most prominent examples would be Night Fae, which only requires their building at level 5 and a big chunk of anima to get the target transmog set – to Kyrian, whose Path of Ascension is not just vehicle fight, but a vehicle fight which requires insane amount of open world grind for prep (to craft items for mere attempts), while being buggy and insanely hard fights on their own.
Kyrian experience is so ridiculous that it earned itself an excellent player’s recent post (was it Reddit or Wowhead?), which explains point by point how awful it is, and also provides statistics. Less than 0,05% of Kyrian players managed to play it through till the end – and thus got the final reward set. The post also breaks the whole Path step by step, statistically, where players lose interest to Kyrian “mini-game” whatsoever – and most players drop it for good too early.
Ember Court has also quickly lost its attractiveness – at least for me. Sure, it’s fine to travel the world and deliver an invitation personally, while helping the locals with their tasks so they got time to attend. Attunement activity is ok. But doing this on weekly basis, wasting about an hour for a 5-minute scenario? No thanks.
Abomination Stitching in Maldraxxus is nothing but a severe rep grind, doing tedious and boring daily and weekly quests all over the zone – which makes you remember a similar rep grind for Pandaria factions. It wears thin almost too fast.
Irony is, the target reward are merely set and mount recolors, and not even too beautiful to bother.
So, the failure is this:
What was meant to be a fun flavor mini-game, to spare your time, like 5 minutes while in queues, or to have a rest in the end of your activities session, or to warm up before going into the fray – turned out to be a grind of its own, with zero balance in difficulty and interest among covenants, and tedious at best, impossible to complete at worst.
Blizzard is attempting some minor changes in 9.1.5. – like in Ember Court, you can transfer guest rep items to your alts if you got Exalted/Best Friends with them already on your venthyr main, but it’s not even close to save the day.
What would I do if I were the developers?
Attunement questline is fine, but it’s got to be a one-time activity. From the moment you’ve completed the attunement, you’re stuck in your Special building and don’t have to go anywhere for your daily activities.
In Queen’s garden, you buy seeds for gold, collect and plant seeds on your patch like Halfhill, and play with arranging the enhancements to get awards.
In Ember Court, once you got RSVP for a guest, he/she gets premanently into your guest rotation, and once you get all guests, you never have to leave Ember Court grounds. Your activity is a 3-min prep while talking to npcs and arranging entertainment and such, and Ember Court itself – a total of 15 minutes.
In Abominable Stitching, you must be doing quests of well, stitching – again, right on spot. No grind, no gathering mats. Think of Mechagon intro quest: adjust cables, chase a rogue crawling hand, pick eyes from a barrel, add ingredients and such activities – all done in the stitching ground, period.
In Path of Ascension – you might collect items for crafting enhancements, yes, as a prep, but enhancement then must be permanent, available on click. The fights themselves, as vehicle fights, should not resemble Mage Tower, but rather a world quest: possible to fail, yes, but almost guaranteed victory if you have at least a couple of fingers and a half of brain functioning.
Sad thing is, Blizzard is unlikely to rework these activities drastically if at all. Practically this means: I’m skipping all of the buildings except for Night Fae (which is a question of anima currency, period), and these set recolors may rot in hell, as a monument to a failed system – a great idea on paper but with the worst execution I’ve ever seen in this game.