Friday, 6 November 2015

World of Warcraft: Legion - My Thoughts So Far

I completely missed most of the Blizzcon intro because it starts so early here in West Australia, so I only got to catch the tail end of the Warcraft Panel. However, MMO-Champion had the key points detailed in a post as usual, and reading through it some things jumped out at me. Here's my thoughts on what we know about Legion at this stage.

First of all, I'm an Illidan fanboy. I've detailed this before, and seeing him come back, especially after the hints last year at a redemption story for him, is a massive draw for me to the game. I'm interested in the prospect of playing as a Demon Hunter too, but will definitely reserve my judgement until I can actually try them out (double jumps sound cool though). The lore explanation for why the demon hunters are only the elvish races makes sense to me too: you are an Illiadari, one of Illidans followers captured by Maiev Shadowsong at the end of the Burning Crusade and locked away.

Artifact weapons are a big part of the Legion as well, and I have mixed feelings about them. Each spec in the game will get a weapon that is unique to them. For example, a Beast Mastery Hunter will get a gun, while a Marksmanship Hunter will get a bow. While the prospect of using these legendary weapons is cool, I'm not sure how they will handle it in a lore sense. Weapons like Ashbringer (the weapon that shatters Frostmourne in ICC) are important in the lore, and Ashbringer is currently used by Tirion Fordring. So how paladin players will get an Ashbringer, or really how players get any of the other Artifact weapons, is a question that needs to be answered carefully. Blizzard have also said they intend to not have weapon drops at all this expansion, and that the artifact weapons will be upgraded in a similar style to how the last two legendary questlines have worked, including visual customisations. If you want to have a look at the artifact weapons for each spec, click here.

On to something I'm a lot more apprehensive about: scaling zones. They intend for you to be able to quest in the zones Azsuna, Val'Sharah, Highmountain and Stormheim in any order and at any level, with all zones eventually leading you to Suramar at level 110. Using what they have learned from flex raids, Blizzard want the zones to scale to your level, with the idea being "if it takes 12 seconds to kill a boar at level 102, it will take 12 seconds when at level 106". Before I really started playing WoW, I played Guild Wars 2 a lot. For those of you who didn't play GW2, they have the player scale down to the zones level. So when you enter a level 32 zone, your character is now level 32. It's fun for a while, but I never got the feeling of progression that WoW gives when you can breeze through mobs in a zone that gave you trouble before. Again, I'm reserving judgement until I can play with it, but I hope that at level 110 there is some kind of buff to damage you do via better gear.

Dungeon content is going to be getting an overhaul in Legion. Blizzard have announced 10 new dungeons (though if all 10 are in the final release remains to be seen), with 5 of them being leveling dungeons and 5 endgame. Blizzard are making some bigger promises regarding dungeon content, saying they want them to all of them be viable as endgame content, instead of just one or two as has happened in the past. They are also introducing a new way to run challenge mode dungeons: the Challenger's Keystone. This item can be leveled up to gain access to harder content with better rewards, as well as introducing some different mechanics like enrages, bigger packs, or the party taking constant damage. They are intending for this system to complement or even replace raiding based on how you play with it, being true endgame content.

The last thing I want to talk about is the release date. Blizzard have the release date as "On or Before 21 September 2016". There has been some unhappiness about how far away this date is, and I agree with it in theory. If Legion was to release in September, that would be too far away in my opinion. However, I think a lot of people have missed the part that says "before". Beta has been announced as "soon after Blizzcon", and most beta's have been around 4 months. It's my hope they release it a lot sooner than September, with my ideal time being May. Here's hoping they get to release it a lot sooner than we expect.

I'm looking forward to Legion. Like most people there are things I like and things I don't, but I'm still generally positive about the games future. While they have been bleeding subscribers, I still think WoW is doing ok, and people are just burnt out on the game from playing it for 10 plus years. I'd like to play the beta, but we'll have to see how they handle the invites. Here's hoping I get in.

As always,


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