Wot I Think: World of Warcraft: Legion

Some grudge matches are worth waiting for. Ever since World of Warcraft [official site] launched, one of the biggest threats hanging over its head has been the return of the interdimensional demon army The Burning Legion. A force of pure chaos. An army capable of conquering a multiverse. Undefeated, except on Azeroth, but with even those victories planting the seeds of great threats like the rise of the Lich King, Arthas, and the tormented Illidan Stormrage. Now, they’re back. Bigger. Stronger. Angrier.

And campaign-wise, this is the best expansion Blizzard has ever made.

As popular as World of Warcraft still is, it’s been cool to bash Blizzard in recent years. Many players don’t like the direction the game’s gone, especially when it comes to the hardcore content. There’s a certain ennui from going to brand new places now that just about every biome short of a zone based on a sherry trifle has been done somewhere. The engine and the nature of the questing is still rooted back in 2004, with variable levels of lampshade-hanging and shrugging. Certainly, mistakes have been made, audiences have changed. If it wasn’t your game any more in August, it probably isn’t going to be again now, regardless of how much content Blizzard churns out. (Warlords of Draenor admittedly having had far too little, and Blizzard being aware of it.)

But for all the kvetching, expansion pack to expansion pack, no other MMO developer in the world is as dedicated to playing with its systems, with refining ideas, with exploring new territory, and trying to keep the action fresh. To some extent, it’s so expected that we get inured to it, with the obvious cool factor of Stormheim, one of the new zones, being largely based on using grappling hooks to get around mountains and launch assaults on enemy camps just treated as another gimmick. On the one hand, yes, it is. On the other… you’ve got a map devoted to zooming around on grappling hooks!

Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Legion isn’t just a grab-bag of Cool Things to fill ten new levels with though. It’s a greatest-hits compilation of the series so far, taking ideas that maybe didn’t quite work and giving them another shot, and finding ways to give different elements another turn in the sun. When I heard the concept of it – the Legion reappearing in the Broken Isles, that being yet another part of Azeroth that’s conveniently split up into adventure zones but nobody’s bothered mentioning recently – it felt like the conflict was going to be… distant, I suppose. Technically a threat to Azeroth, but in the same way that the Scourge was stuck in Northrend, not really the apocalyptic, all-encompassing threat that it presented itself as. To some extent I still feel that. While there’s been plenty of action, what happens on the Isles is more the Legion’s attempt to gain a foothold than a full assault, with the goal of the expansion being to stick a plug up their fel-hole.

Things might heat up later in the expansion, as with Pandaria, or this could just be a preview for a future World of Warcraft: Invasion type sequel pack. I’m hoping for the former, but don’t want to guess. Either way, outside of a couple of areas and the intro, the presence of the Legion is talked up more than felt now that the pre-release events are over and they’re not all out actively attacking Azeroth proper any more.

However, while the quest to stop them is rooted in what fellow 80s kids can think of as T-Bag And The Pillars of Creation and anyone else can just treat as your regular old MacGuffin Hunt, it’s one that ends up stretching throughout both Azeroth and its history. Early on for instance comes a Scenario in the Exodar, the draenai city/crashed spaceship that literally nobody ever willingly goes to. Both worgen and tauren take starring roles in the new zones instead of being pushed to the back (trolls, sadly, continue to get the shaft, even after Vol’jin’s promotion to Warchief). The hunt for lost legendary weapons for each class takes place not in some random temple you’ve never heard of, but retreading famous World of Warcraft locations like Karazhan.

I really liked this, as one big issue with World of Warcraft both always spreading outwards and using distance as a measure of time is that so many great zones and dungeons have historically been totally underused. Going back to, say, the Lich King to retrieve a legendary Frost Mage weapon has so much more oomph, even if I was a little irked that he didn’t recognise me and threw up a load of nonsense challenges to prove I was worthy of it. You owe me, Bolvar Fordragon, and don’t you forget it.

None of this should suggest though that Legion only looks backwards. Far from it. It features one of the biggest shake-ups in the game’s levelling structure yet, allowing you to do four out of the five zones in any order that you want, and scaling the loot and enemies accordingly. The result feels more like a military campaign than a ladder, with your hero locked out of the last zone not because you’re not tough enough, but because uniting the Broken Isles is a key first step to fighting back against the Burning Legion. On that route, you also build up your Class Hall, which replaces the Garrison of Draenor with first a more interesting location (as a mage, mine was the former seat of an ancient magical order, complete with spooky paintings on the wall) and a second ongoing side story to dip into while you do your adventures in the Isles.

It being early days, I don’t know if later additions will spark the same problems as Draenor. At the moment though, Legion fixes most of the Garrison’s problems, with extra life from the other players running around, a far more scaled down and manageable series of quests that still leave you to do most of the interesting stuff, and an endgame that again focuses on getting you out into the world rather than grinding. Unique gear on offer in your Class Hall, for instance, is unlocked by specific challenges like beating bosses in a number of different dungeons or reaching Honored level with the elves of Suramar, the final zone that you head to at Level 110 after dealing with business in all of the others. The result, for now at least, lands comfortably between distraction and chore, and adding extra spice to your personal story.

It is a shame though that having lots of other people in your hall rather than simply NPCs doesn’t do much for the fiction that you, yes you, are the lord of the manor, which is a part of the story that I personally like and think has been earned over the different expansion packs, but I’m aware isn’t everyone’s plate of conjured mana fritters.

More dramatic still is what happens at the end of the campaign. Traditionally, this has been restricted to running dungeons and doing the same dailies over and over again. Legion instead introduces ‘World Quests’, which spawn in all of the Broken Isles zones. There are hundreds of these, only a few available at once and for specific durations, with the idea that every time you log in, there’ll be something new to go and keep progressing your character in PvE – to do something simple, like get wine and give it to some thirsty elves, or to team up with a group and fight a world boss. Players have already found and summoned one of those by near heroic acts of geekery. Every kind of play is covered, from PvP quests with bonus objectives to go and assassinate the other side’s leaders, to additional objectives and bonus rewards for slaying particular NPCs in the dungeons. It’s still functionally please-stay-subscribed busy-work, yes, but a hell of an improvement on past expansions’ post-story world content.

Speaking of the storyline, again, Blizzard excels itself. If you’re at all invested in the crazy soap-opera that is World of Warcraft lore, Legion is one hell of a trip. As if there’s any doubt about how powerful they are, especially backed up with recurring ‘kill this guy already’ warlock Gul’dan, they start the campaign by murdering both Alliance and Horde leaders, shoving Anduin and Sylvanas of all people into the top seats, along with offing Tirion Fordring for good measure. Soon, things get worse! And worse!

Legion is a story of Pyrrhic victories, some in the present day, some in the distant past. No canon character is safe, no good deed is guaranteed to go unpunished, and much of the lore is surprisingly depressing given Blizzard’s normal whimsy. There’s a society of ghosts in one zone for instance, who have spent literally thousands of years resenting, hating and spitting on their former prince for destroying them all. Arriving in what’s meant to be one of the most beautiful parts of Azeroth, you find that the Emerald Nightmare has already chewed it up and spat it out. Death. Death. Misery. Death. Drug abuse. Death. As one character points out, Legion members like Kil’jaeden the Deceiver have both well earned their nickname and see nothing wrong with spending 10,000 years casually plotting and preparing their revenge.

Of course, there’s plenty of cheerier stuff around that, like the aforementioned grappling-hooking around Stormheim, becoming a champion pit-fighter slave for the amusement of giants who don’t realise you’re powerful enough to just walk away any time you want, and plenty of wackiness in the middle of literal trips to Hel and whatever. Mechanically, Blizzard also takes things up several notches with the enemy encounters. Far more of them than before now have the kind of abilities normally reserved for dungeon encounters – swirling fireballs or turning the terrain dangerous, or becoming unattackable until you destroy something nearby. They’re still not usually that difficult, especially with the auto-levelling and other characters/players helping out. They can finally take some concentration and attention though, whereas before just about everything in the open world would just stand around and take its beating.

Not everything is a home-run, however. The first disappointment is the much talked about Artifact Weapon system. I like the concept of this a lot. Rather than trading up magic swords of legend every couple of levels, you get one at the start of the campaign that will be your primary, and then up to two more for your class’ variants if you decide to swap. As a Fire Mage, I wield the mighty sword of Felo’molorn, with the power to hurl extra destructive flames at all of my enemies. Each weapon has its own bonus skills, and a selection of skins that make your unique weapon of legend at least look a little different to everyone else’s unique weapon of legend. Personally, I’m not that bothered about that and can suspend disbelief just as much as when seeing someone else go by with the ‘Kingslayer’ title, despite everyone hopefully knowing that I did that.

Except for Bolvar, I mean. Bloody, bloody Bolvar…

The problem is that once you’ve got the weapons, they’re very boring. Years ago, the Warcraft talent system involved getting lots of points as you levelled and dropping them into skills that gave you 3% bonus to fire and 4% bonus armour and 1% extra accuracy and 6% reduced chance of farting loudly at an important gathering and all of that stuff. Blizzard dropped it in exchange for the current talent system, where you just straight-up choose cool new skills or passive abilities, at least in part because the old way was boring. The artifact weapon system though is just that again, with a couple of unlocks that give you a new ability or notably alter one that you’ve got (for the Mage for instance, adding a heal to the Blink spell), but mostly just offer the tiniest upgrades that you can never, ever see in practice. For this, you’re constantly collecting upgrades, returning to your hall, and never getting that big rush of a powerful upgrade.

Also, because you have to level up your weapons individually, you’re at a huge disadvantage if you decide to jump to another spec. Not only do you have to go and quest for that weapon as well, which takes about half an hour, you’ve got to start acquiring points to top it up. This does become easier at max level, when you can spend Order Resources (and an NPC’s time) to speed up the rate at which they develop. Still, a grind is a grind, and this should have felt much more awesome.

On top of that, while classes have seen reworking since Draenor launched, Levels 100-110 have no new talents to unlock, no new skills… no new anything really, except the occasional in-field gimmick like being able to summon dragon’s breath against a few enemies in front of you. With limited armour upgrades and the aforementioned enemy scaling, I never really felt like I was getting any more powerful. It’s a big campaign too. A lot of time to feel in a bit of a power rut.

One big aside to that though is that by having both the Class Hall and Artifact Weapons to power up, Blizzard has seized the opportunity to turn the Broken Isles into a huge scavenger hunt. Chests of Order Resources and Artifact Power giving items are absolutely everywhere, providing the first good reason in several expansion packs to go off the quest paths and see what you can find. Even if there’s not that much in it, it’s great to just be swimming around somewhere, spot a cave, duck in and emerge a little bit more powerful, or spot a chest and have to figure out how to get there. Eventually, you’ll be able to fly. For now though, everybody’s on foot throughout. It says a lot about how well designed the zones are that I didn’t care even a little bit, even once.

My second big annoyance, which I’m aware not everyone shares but which really hacks me off, is that after Draenor finally stopped doing it, Legion is back to ending big quest chains in group dungeons. Most zones end with one where you have to acquire the local Pillar of Creation, and I hated, hated, hated, hated that every time. No, before someone snarks up, it’s not that I have a problem with multiplayer in a multiplayer game or that it’s hard to find a group. It’s that I don’t much care for dungeons in the first place, and when I’ve just done several hours of story in solo PvE, often full of stuff like personally passing challenges of virtue to be the only one capable of facing the dungeon, it’s a real slap in the face to be told “And now you need a group of five to actually finish this.” Give the dungeons their own stories. Use the World Quests to encourage people back in. That’s fine. Great! But finish single-player driven PvE stories as single-player PvE, or don’t design them around the player as a singular hero.

As for the dungeons themselves, the ones I’ve done – including all four levelling dungeons – have been solid. Cool settings, especially the Valhalla-esque Hall of Heroes. Decent enough bosses. Fast runs. Not too much trash. Fairly typical in design though, with no real surprises yet except having a PUG where the tank wasn’t king of all douchebags and all of Team DPS actually knew their rotations. Amazing.

Finally, some extra additions to the mix. Though technically added just before Legion, the Transmogrification system is now far better, allowing you to reskin your gear with different looks. In a generous touch, Blizzard includes everything that you have or could have gotten through quests in your collection regardless of whether you still have it or sold it long ago. You can also combine items into outfits and see every possible transmog friendly item in the game. For truly hardcore players, which I am very much not, Blizzard has also added a new tier of difficulty to the top-tier Mythic dungeons, where new challenges are unlocked to make monsters harder and add handicaps like everyone taking constant health loss in exchange for better loot. I guarantee I will never personally set foot in one of these as long as the game runs, but in theory, cool.

Legion also introduces a new Demon Hunter class, which I haven’t played much of. Demon Hunters are fun though, albeit in a bit of a war against the engine when doing tricks like double-jumping and floating down from ledges. I reported on them a while ago when they went into the PTR, and enjoyed my time there. For playing through the expansion though, my character’s motto remains Mage 4 Lyfe (Lich 4 Deth) and I wasn’t tempted to roll a brand new one. Should you want a new character though, or be joining Warcraft for the first time, your copy of Legion includes a free bump for one character to Level 100, and the ability to try classes out before committing.

If you are brand new to World of Warcraft though, the same applies here as the last couple of expansions – this isn’t a great point to jump in. Blizzard’s continued evolution of what it can be and do is great, but its ancient roots show through more and more each year. As with Draenor, it doesn’t help that the story of this expansion requires a fair amount of background knowledge to appreciate, if not necessarily understand the importance of big events, why key deaths are genuinely gasp-worthy instead of just A Thing That Happens, and how this expansion’s specific quests about collecting 20 bear asses really are an improvement over past bear-ass gathering adventures.

With that history though, at least at the start of the expansion, this is a new high point for World of Warcraft. Proof that Blizzard still has plenty of juice to squeeze out of it. Proof that even when the Legion is relegated to farm status, there’ll be many more adventures to have, and that they’ll be worth the wait. And proof again that while Blizzard can’t hope to please everyone, it’s not going to stop trying its best.

World of Warcraft: Legion is out right now and is available direct from Blizzard.

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44 Comments

  1. -Spooky- says:

    I can agree here: For me it´s the best expansion since BC.

    • SaintAn says:

      It’s the worst xpac since BC. It is just all around horrible. Even WoD was better than this. And on top of all this the Chronicles book ruins the lore and has some midichlorian-level explaining of everything. It’s so bad that I can’t even force myself to log in anymore.

      • Blastaz says:

        It’s sucked me right back in and there is so much stuff to do.

        And most importantly everything is full. There is more community here than there has been since cataclysm.

        Legion is a triumph. I haven’t fanboyed for wow in a decade, but I’ve been up till two every morning and struggling into work the next day.

      • Asurmen says:

        Would you like to explain why?

  2. Kamahlk says:

    You mention that classes don’t get anything new over 100-110, yet fail to mention that the ENTIRETY of the classes were just reworked for this expansion, more so than any other expansion. And we do get new things from the artifact weapons, the main skill, and the larger talents in the weapons which are more than just +1% whatever. They are basically the equivalent to the Draenor perks we got as we leveled in WoD.

    I’d say your power rut feeling more stems from the fact that everything is scaling to a relative item level at your character’s level. Once you are 110 and start really getting better gear, the relative item level that the zone is scaled to will make things feel pretty easy, meaning you will feel much more powerful. The “power” feeling is just a bit more max level top heavy now since once you are 110, all the zones are 110.

    • Richard Cobbett says:

      The first part isn’t relevant to the point. The part about artifact weapons having a couple of bonus talents, I actually said, including specifically that Felo’melorn gives you a new skill up front.

      • Toadsmash says:

        One of the major complaints that people who have tried to leave the game and come back later have lodged about the game over the years (and honestly, I’m squarely in this category) is that people feel like they constantly have to learn how to play the game over again every time a new expansion comes out. So, it’s a bit of a catch-22 on the whole “giving new buttons to press” thing. You’ll notice that a large number of the talents were replaced with passive abilities now to cut down on the massive ability bloat the game used to give you. The number of abilities you had to keep track of — many of which were mechanically far too similar to warrant being separated to begin with — as recently as WoD was frankly absurd. I don’t expect MOBA levels of simplicity in WoW, but having nearly a dozen separate cooldown abilities (let alone the million and one situational buttons most classes had access to) to keep tabs on does NOT make for interesting gameplay and massively raised the learning curve of playing competitively for new and returning players alike.

        I’m happy about it, but I can see why some people might see it as being short changed.

        • Richard Cobbett says:

          You don’t necessarily need to add things like that though. For instance, Felo’melorn adding a heal to Blink or another strike to Flamestrike are distinct upgrades that feel like improvements.

        • Ericusson says:

          To be honest the most boring thing when you come down to the game after saying the pastime that this was your last …, for me, is re doing all your interface bars, cleaning up your inventories of useless accumulated stuff, I really wish they would offer an option to clean up all the bars and just put all the toys in the collection without clicking etc.

          But learning how to play again is done while levelling and is pretty fun I found.
          About the expansion itself, I found the story telling absolutely horrendous, I did not understand why I was doing any of the crap I was doing.

          The engine is getting really old, and quality control is meh, I never got stuck as much as in this expansion.
          But mostly, flying is now useless, all the fun toys are useless or unusable, and the removal gof glyphs (beside aesthetic), remove a lot of tricks of usability (extending the warrior charge range for example which is boringly short here).

          All in all, the game decided to go backwards in terms of fun, user-friendliness efforts in the gameplay, and pacing. The character really feels slow.

          Also, if you weren’t stuffed properly at high level with your character, be prepared to struggle through the first 2 levels of the extension and be underwhelmed and underpowered. But this soon goes away after slowly getting some new equipment.

          The gameplay has become simpler (dumber?) for sure, but I still enjoy the experience of levelling my protection warrior which is an unkillable beast of doom (less so my disc priest which has a pitifully low DPS and makes the experience a boring chore).

    • hennedo says:

      “while classes have seen reworking since Draenor launched”
      I think that’s the bit you wanted. Also, I forgot how salty people get about WoW. Not just you (and not you to a crazy extent), but this comment section has a salty vibe I’d forgotten about. Different than other salts. Tastes nostalgic.

      • Kamahlk says:

        I wasn’t being salty at all, just wanted to put some emphasis on the fact that classes were just heavily reworked. The author put very little emphasis on that and it’s a pretty big deal for this expansion I’d say.

  3. Mr. Perfect says:

    If you’re at all invested in the crazy soap-opera that is World of Warcraft lore

    Honestly, no. That is one of the things that bugs me the most about the game, the fact that it plays out like day-time television. The stories themselves are alright, but the writing and line delivery are just so cheesy. Is that part of the draw? Do others really enjoy that style of story telling? Maybe it’s just me.

    • -Spooky- says:

      Story? What story? I´m here for the sightseeing.

    • Premium User Badge

      Jekadu says:

      Contrary to all efforts, I have found myself actually invested in the storyline. It’s daft stuff, sure, but Blizzard is getting better and better at telling stories.

    • BloatedGuppy says:

      It’s a fun, pulpy story on par with comic books or populist genre television. This is not sophisticated storytelling, but they’ve finally reached a point of narrative coherency, which is worth applauding. That the in-game cinematics are now capable of meaningfully portraying events instead of looking like bad puppet shows also helps.

    • dr.denton says:

      I agree with you there. Frankly, one thing I liked about Vanilla was, that you just started off as a simple orc who had to find his place in the world.
      There were conflicts that acutally made sense, like territory, ressources, clashes of culture and not TEH BIG BAD. Yes, there was the end game with big threats, but to me it never felt like “Omg, omg, quick, Chosen One, only you (and millions of others) can defeat this totally arbitray EVIL THING that’s going to destroy the world because of “

      • dr.denton says:

        Obviously I meant Mr. Perfect’s post, sorry

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        Jekadu says:

        That was also vanilla’s biggest weakness, in my opinion: you were constantly treated like you didn’t matter. It became hard to care when people would ask you to do their chores constantly and not really notice when you did completed them.

        I’d rather the game try to justify how there is more than one person owning a Garrison, however.

      • LexW1 says:

        The trouble is, you became so powerful and theoretically important that, even by the end of Classic, there wasn’t much sense in your being treated as “just a simple Orc”. They tried that a bit in TBC and it just came across as weird. WotLK handled it decently, with you as important but one of many, then Cataclysm tried a whole different “You’re not a big deal compared to [RIDICULOUS NPC]”, and made you follow said NPC around – in one zone you basically follow Indiana Jones around and are repeatedly humiliated in stupid ways. Since MoP they’ve handled it fairly well though the whole garrison thing was a bit weird.

        Re: the soap opera though, WoD and Legion do a much better job conveying the soap opera in an actually fun way than any other expansions.

  4. Premium User Badge

    Jekadu says:

    I find that I have surprisingly little to add here. Good job on reading my mind and covering all the relevant points!

    Joking aside, let’s discuss artifact weapons a bit. There are two major issues at work here: first, I believe that artifact weapons were initially far more powerful. I could be wrong, but I am reasonably certain that each trait was several times stronger than it is now a year ago. It’s disappointing if they had to tone them down to this degree.

    Second, pretty much every specialization was revamped, with the primary focus being on removing ability bloat. In practice, this meant reducing each spec to the point where they felt largely incomplete without the artifact. I was personally expecting a vanilla to Burning Crusade or Burning Crusade to Lich King situation, where new abilities were added on top of old ones in what might be called an additive fashion, but instead we ended up having rotations trimmed back to vanilla levels, but this time without access to off-spec abilities.

    I get that the designers try to keep things managable, but when you make a big deal of introducing a new system like this, make sure you’re not, I dunno, using it as a crutch after breaking the players’ legs. Or something.

    Anyway, it’s a great expansion. Many of the failings of Warlords of Draenor make sense now that Legion is out — it is very clear now that WoD was supposed to be a sort of prologue to later expansions and not really supposed to stand on its own for very long. I still maintain it was the best thing to happen to WoW in a long time, but Legion really puts things into perspective.

    • Bremze says:

      (..) but instead we ended up having rotations trimmed back to vanilla levels, but this time without access to off-spec abilities.

      This is an complaint I don’t really understand. Sure, you generally have less buttons on your action bar but the rotations are more involving and less clunky even compared to WoD. There are plenty of procs, short cooldown buff windows and skill synergies. Only way you can compare that to Vanilla is a tick haze of nostalgia blocking out hunters running /dance macros while raiding.

  5. Premium User Badge

    Nauallis says:

    Cool. Thanks for the review! I’ve been thinking about resubscribing. Problem is justifying the time to myself now, what with the things that I’m still playing and what I’m looking forward to this autumn/winter. Maybe when the leaves finish turning and the snow starts… At this rate I’m never going to finish The Witcher 3… oh well.

    • freiform says:

      Oh, him. He’s waiting for me to puppeteer him through the last bits of his main story line for nearly a year. And then there’s this business of two additional Storylines. *sigh.

      Anyway, I stopped playing WOW (again) some 1 1/2 years ago, and really like Legion so far. Being a romantic nostalgic, it will never be like the Vanilla, BC or WotLK. Of course it won’t. But I was rather heavily invested back then and know I actually have to make time. Which I did until 110, an now I’m slacking off a bit. Which is fine.

  6. falcon2001 says:

    Some of the artifact traits are pretty damn powerful – Windwalker Monk, for instance – Strike of the Windlord does a cone attack in front of me and generally takes off like half of the enemy’s health on most normal mobs. It’s crazy good.

    On the other hand, my Disc Priest’s ability is…underwhelming. It’s a 2.5 second cast time ability that does as much damage as Penance, 50% more if I have my whole group buffed with atonement (which is not easy, btw), but even at 50% more doesn’t feel great when I can move during Penance and can’t move during this.

    • BloatedGuppy says:

      Light’s Wrath will occasionally proc an effect wherein it is “overflowing with energy” or something along those lines. When you cast Light’s Wrath at that point, it hits in excess of one million damage. Usually enough to one shot a normal mob.

      • Premium User Badge

        Jekadu says:

        As a Shadow Priest, I frequently find myself humbled by Discipline Priests.

        I blame the lack of Haste on gear. Getting into a good Voidform groove is tricky when your spells take forever to cast.

        • BloatedGuppy says:

          Shadow does way more damage over a prolonged period of time, but they take a while to “ramp up”. Seems like on anything other than dungeon bosses/raid bosses, Disc will typically match or out DPS Shadow, since they can frontload their DPS better.

          Realistically, though, Disc are not a functional DPS class. No AoE, poor sustain.

          • falcon2001 says:

            They are pretty much just a weird healing class, yeah. I like it because I like weird but still feels like my artifact ability should have more an impact than mostly the same as my 6second cooldown.

        • Blastaz says:

          Getting humbled by discipline priests is all part of the reason why you pay them…

  7. PancakeWizard says:

    “Legion instead introduces ‘World Quests’, which spawn in all of the Broken Isles zones. There are hundreds of these, only a few available at once and for specific durations, with the idea that every time you log in, there’ll be something new to go and keep progressing your character in PvE – to do something simple, like get wine and give it to some thirsty elves, or to team up with a group and fight a world boss.”

    Poor WAR. :(

    • LexW1 says:

      WAR was ahead of it’s time in many ways – and indeed a lot of the ideas from it came from another Mythic MMO, one that never even got finished – I forget it’s name but it was a sort of “Rome in Space” deal – and that was where that kind of idea came from.

      Unfortunately it wasn’t really implemented well enough and, the wankers at GW decided they wanted too much money for the license after the initial five years, so that was that…

  8. LexW1 says:

    Richard, about leveling multiple specs of weapons – it doesn’t actually set you back significantly!

    It seems, logically, like it would. But the way the maths actually work out, once you get your first weapon to 13 points, you might as well get your second weapon to 13 points, and generally you can then keep your second weapon a little behind the first (but not hugely so).

    I believe the chart I saw showed that on, like, day 30, someone who had focused solely on one weapon, would have it at X power, whereas someone who leveled two would have them at X-1 and X-3 respectively, so barely any weaker.

    • Xerophyte says:

      I think you’re thinking of this thing: link to blog.askmrrobot.com

      Short version: since the cost per trait increases exponentially you can keep secondary weapon at around 2/3:ds as many total traits as your primary at essentially no additional cost. Catching up to where your main spec was takes around 2 weeks if you switch and start from scratch, almost regardless of when in the process you switch. All this said: the last couple of points in any artifact are going to be pretty slow, but they’re also the least important by far.

      As a result it’s perfectly reasonable to have secondary specs that are maybe 90% of your main spec efficiency. Having alts at the same point is a whole lot dicier though, especially with the actual, honest to god attunement chain for Arcway and Court of Stars. That sure feels like a step back.

      It’s true that a lot of the traits boil down to “percent more power”, but it’s nice to put points into things and make incremental progress and I’ve rather missed that since the old talent trees were demolished after the cataclysm. It’s how the skinner box works and all.

    • Asurmen says:

      Depends on whether you need to level your other spec artifacts. There’s also the fact that research makes levelling an alt spec trivial for catching up.

  9. angrym0b says:

    Excuse my ignorance, but wtf is “kvetching”?

  10. HoboDragon says:

    Thanks for this summary. I don’t play Wow anymore in general, though with expansions I return for a short while. So currently it is fun, but I already know now that I won’t stay too long (time and other games…).
    What I don’t get is that in terms of getting people to explore more, that they don’t “copy” something like they have in Everquest II with collections where something shiny is blinking that you can pick up, collect and turn in for something. Independent of a profession or expansion or anything.

  11. GemFire81 says:

    I think everyone is going to enjoy this expansion more or less for their own personal reason depending on what they like to do. I have always enjoyed dungeons the most. I like to be challenged. For someone like me the last couple expansions have been horrible. Legion’s questing seems ok , bu still no where near as fun as the questing in vanilla or BC when there was actually a risk of dying. I know one thing for sure , leveling 1 – 98 is disgustingly easy. Seriously disgusting. If Blizz is going to make it that boring and basic to level from 1 – 98 they should just remove those levels from the game all together and make it so you just start on level 98 like the Demon Hunter except for all classes. Sorry but anything before level 98 is just completely horrible now.

  12. mickygor says:

    I tried my hardest to enjoy it. I really did. But Legion’s just confirmed for me that I massively prefer FFXIV. I’m not gonna spend any more money on other MMOs now I don’t think.

  13. 2helix4u says:

    This expansion is a lot better than WoD (which it would be hard not to be) and for anyone who takes an ironic or unironic interest in the story.

    However, they’ve added a lot of confusing timesink mechanics more suited to freemium phone games or grindy korean fare, for instance my shaman class quest involves multiple “questlines” where I send my garrison followers on multiple 8 hour missions.

    Artifact weapons suddenly spike in the resources required to level them up and the way to increase the amount of resources is to click on an NPC, give them some resources you’ve grinded then wait half a week of real time. Or you can grind the new daily quests for a few hours and get 1 out of 3 points in a talent you don’t want but must have. I want a talent that will moderately boost my main attack’s damage but its 3 talents away and I recognise that will take days of play.

    The new endgame quest hub is cool but NPCs there will need to be fed a resource that needs to be grinded every so often to keep them giving you quests which feels like a freemium mechanic only devoted to making you spend your time rather than money to play. On top of this much of the quest content is gated by Reputation grinds that are reasonably easy so far but don’t make me optimistic for the later quests.

    You can do the zones in any order but you need to do all the zones anyway so it doesn’t help your alts, you can pick your artifact talents but you need them all and there is an optimal path.

    I enjoy progressing in WoW through the story or player power and I usually quit when they throw arbitrary roadblocks and this expansion is determined to do so. It seems like it wants you to always be playing but simultaneously throws up “now wait 2 days” quests in your way, this would maybe encourage me to dick around on an alt if I hadn’t done 90% of the levelling content to get my first character to max level anyway.

    • Asurmen says:

      It seems like you’re exaggerating somewhat.

      It’s been out for just over a week. The amount of time for your so called grindy bits is actually barely anything.

      As for grinding garrison resources, sorry but that’s nonsense. You don’t grind those at all. You get thrown garrison resources. It’s pretty god damn hard (near enough impossible) to run out to the point you’re grinding for it.

      By fed resources, I assume you mean Ancient Mana. Again, you say grind, but the zone is absolutely covered in sources of Ancient Mana. No grinding required.

      You don’t NEED to do all zones, nor do you NEED to get all artefact talents, nor is there an optimum path.

      There is no waiting two days. There’s plenty to be doing while something is ticking over.

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