World of Warcraft’s newest expansion, Legion, promises it’s players a new class, a huge amount of content, and higher approachability for those coming back to the game or starting for the first time. The real questions I have are – is it fun, is it enough content, and is it worth staying for?
Before I dive into answering those questions, let’s talk a bit about this latest expansion. Legion is WoW’s 6th expansion, following Warlords of Draenor.
The story starts up where we left off in Draenor, after Archimonde was defeated, Gul’dan goes through a portal to Azeroth’s main timeline to open a doorway for the Burning Legion (remember Burning Crusade?) to invade. Gul’dan also finds Illidan’s corpse and takes it. Now, it’s our turn to band together with our newly found demon hunter friends to find the relics of the Titans, so that we can gather enough power to stop the Legion’s assault. For any lore fans, it’s pretty much a heavenly concoction of marrying the old and the new together. There’s really too much story and lore to get into without making this article longer than a Lord of the Rings marathon (kek), so if you’re interested in reading more about WoW lore, I would suggest both Blizzard’s site and Reddit, which has a number of threads devoted to it. I will say though, it’s exciting to at least know the basics of the storyline and plot, and they’ve done a really good job integrating the story and lore into the cinematics, new scenarios, and gameplay.
Speaking of gameplay, we have a lot of new changes to Legion that I’m really excited about. If you have played WoW previously, you’ll immediately see both combat options and spells in your character’s arsenal have changed drastically. Combat has been simplified a bit, with most classes having less spells overall to cast. This change makes it so that when you switch between the different class specializations, it feels like a bigger switch, and gives each specialization its own feel. At first I was not a fan of the idea of simplifying the combat, but after trying it out with a few different characters, I am at peace with it. I think it will help make raiding more challenging and fun, and if nothing else, it is a refreshing change. Talents have had an update as well, and now we have PVE and PVP talent trees. As you build up your honor rankings, you’ll start to gain abilities only available to use in PVP. These talents also seem to have more influence over your power than having the best honor/conquest gear, which switches the focus away from grinding honor points every week. Having those specialized gear sets will certainly still help, but this new system will help the casual pvp’er feel like they are able to stay in the fray. Characters can now climb to level 110, so no matter what end game content you prefer to play, there is plenty of content within the journey from 100-110.
Another huge addition is the Artifact Weapon system. We saw legendary/artifact gear and weapons in previous expansions (most recently the legendary rings of Draenor), and this Artifact Weapon plays of that tried and true idea. There are some notable additions, starting with the weapon being available to you almost immediately in the expansion, after the first few quests, your quest lines take you to your Class Hall (more on this in a moment) where you’re able to choose your first Artifact Weapon. Each Artifact Weapon correlates with the specialization you choose, but you are able to eventually get an Artifact Weapon for each class spec available to your character. These Artifact Weapons scale over time and with Artifact Weapon points, available to get from random drops, bosses, and quest rewards. There is also a point based talent tree of the weapon itself, allowing you to use up those points to upgrade your weapon and enhance your abilities. They even have more advanced transmog options, and are just generally badass. Like I mentioned before, you acquire this weapon in your Class Hall, which is a social gathering space for your particular class, and also acts like a hub for pertinent quests and vendors. There is also a Class Order table, which functions much like the Garrison Follower quests from the previous expansion; throughout your travels you will acquire followers, who will go off on missions for you and bring you back the spoils of war.
There is also a new character class, the Demon Hunter. Think of being your own little Illidan- sounds badass right? Right. It totally is. The Demon Hunter is a DPS/Tank class, which starts at level 98. In order to create a Demon Hunter, you must have a level 70 character on whatever server/realm you’re creating it on. Demon Hunters have two specs, Vengeance (Tanking) and Havoc (DPS). They wear leather and use Glaive weapons. True to lore, they are only available while playing an elven character, either Night Elves or Blood Elves. They have a few passives, but the most notable one is a double jump and glide combo, allowing them more height and the ability to glide long distances (essentially works like the engineering glider or the Goblin Glider Kit consumable). I have a feeling this will make PVP with them really fun and interesting, and possibly very annoying for other classes. I have had the chance to play for a decent amount of time with the Demon Hunter I created, and it’s really fun. Immediately when you create your DH, you will dive straight into the lore and the “why” behind how you came about as a character, and why you are now able to fight alongside the Horde/Alliance. Those story-heavy questlines will get your character pretty much to level 100, which then leaves you perfectly set up to enjoy the expansion. The actual style of fighting within the character is very fun, and the glide is absolutely clutch when questing. As someone who primarily PVEs, I’m really excited to see what this new class adds to the Raid environment.
And lastly for new things (although there are PLENTY more – I could seriously go on for AGES going over every change/addition) we have a new continent to explore, the Broken Isles. Every Zone scales to your current level (character level, not gear level) and this makes it so you can explore the entire continent at whatever starting point you want, which is really cool. Questing so far has been pretty fun on the way to level 110, and each part of the continent really has it’s own unique and cool feel to it. I won’t go too into describing all the different zones (it’s worth discovering them for the first time) but I will say that the ability to quest wherever without fear of being in a zone that is too high level really makes this expansion feel like a choose your own adventure, and has made me excited about leveling alts and not having it feel like the same journey over and over again. Some nice touches, and so far, exciting and diverse quests.
So back to the important questions at hand – is it great, is it enough content, and is it worth staying for?
These questions are difficult to make a blanket statement for because of all the factors going into it. As a WoW player, there are so many parts of the game that aren’t about just the content (see /Social). But the actual content is what sets you up for success or failure when determining whether there is substance and longevity to what you are playing. My answers to these questions is a solid yes, and here’s why:
First, the folks at Blizzard were SUPER smart about how they made their quest model and how quickly you get your artifact weapon. Coming back to the game felt so rewarding and getting your artifact weapon so early in the expansion felt really really good (as opposed to gathering materials for what felt like forever in previous expansions with legendaries). There’s a really good blend of instant gratification along with long term achievements, and this is a great example. That artifact weapon is pretty good when you get it, but it takes some skill, work, and luck to level it up to a weapon suitable for end game content. The quest model for actually leveling your characters is varied and much more exciting than previous expansions. Each continent can be done in any order, which I love so dearly. I can’t tell you how annoying it was to have to run through the same content in the same order when leveling your characters, and now you have quite a bit more freedom in when and where you go to level. Quest rewards and enemies scale with your level, letting you really feel immersed in the world no matter where you are. Questing is not my personal favorite thing to do in WOW, but I found it tolerable and at times enjoyable in this expansion. The storylines were also strong in each area of the map, and, though the lore isn’t something you have to pay attention to, I think the they did a great job setting up the player for the raid / end game content. Once you hit 110, you unlock world quests, which vary in type and are dispersed throughout the map. Doing these world quests will give you reputation with the faction that requested these jobs done, and after doing 4 for a select faction, will give you a chest filled with usually gold, order resources, and a chance at sweet loot.
Speaking of loot, here’s another thing I really like from this expansion. There’s a chance on nearly everything you loot that a specific piece of gear will upgrade itself. Also, nearly everything you loot has a chance of dropping an epic or legendary item, even if that drop chance is 0.0001%. I’ve only seen one legendary drop that I’ve been able to confirm in the game, one of my guildies got a ring that is INCREDIBLY POWERFUL. Having this randomized chance on nearly everything is exciting, and it feels super rewarding when an item upgrades itself. Sure, there is an argument for RNG not being in your favor, but I see this as a huge positive factor, especially when considering the longevity of the game.
In terms of content, Legion packs a solid amount of material in its first iteration. Of course, down the line we will see more content come in in the form of patches, but what we do have now is really an incredible amount of content. There are a large amount of quests in each part of the broken isles, world quests, and end game material. So far, I’ve easily put between 60-80 hours into this game and I am not even close to completing all the content of this expansion. They also have a new system in place for dungeons, which makes them continue to be a viable thing to do after getting a pretty high Item level, which is their mythic keystone dungeons. Essentially, a team of 5 people can use a keystone at the beginning of a mythic dungeon and that dungeon will grow in difficulty and have a time limit, designed like the keystone rifts in Diablo 3. So because of this, dungeons don’t just become a thing you only do for reputation, but also gear at higher levels, since your loot scales up with the difficulty. The raid so far has certainly seduced me, and, after completing 5/7 bosses on normal (heroics/mythical come out tomorrow), I am really impressed with this raid. The mechanics are varied and challenging and there are some fights that are just plain insane(ly fun). Of the PVP content, the honor tree is a complete game changer, giving you abilities strictly for pvp settings. Of the few pvp games I’ve joined at max level, they have all been exciting and enjoyable. I also want to mention the new profession system- it’s much more streamlined than before and gives you the option of leveling up recipes and how you gather. There are so many little changes in the way the content is given to you that really extends play time without making it feel slow paced or overwhelming. So really, this is probably their strongest day 1 content of any expansion, and definitely one of the most fun.
So, the game and the changes are great, the content will keep you coming back for more (not an annoying dailies way), but is worth staying for?
For me, the answer is absolutely yes.
There are a lot of different factors, but for me, this content delivers. It’s fun and makes me want to keep playing to make my characters as powerful as they can be. I would be lying if the WOW community didn’t factor into my decision though. At it’s best, WOW is a very social game, bringing friendship and amazing experiences you share with other people. Sure, there are assholes, children, and trolls; but at the core of the WOW community is a bunch of like-minded people who like to play together. I have friends that I’ve continued to play with for upwards of 8 years. With WOW being as good as it is this time around, the deal to get it and stay with it is made even better with the social network that I have there. Granted, some people may not have an established group of people they play WOW with, and that’s okay. Blizzard realizes this and has made it easy to get into a group of likeminded people with their looking for _____ search. Find an activity you want to do, and BOOM, search for other people looking for more. Send a request to join and more often than not you will get in and be able to roam the land with your new party. WOW is something you can play solo, but IMO – the experience is wayyyyyyyyy better with some other people around. The social experience does define the experience of the game for some, and although it differs from person to person, Blizzard has given you the tools in game to meet and talk to as many people as you’d like.
I get that WOW isn’t for everyone. But what Blizzard was able to do with this expansion only solidifies their spot at the pinnacle of MMO. If you’ve never played WOW before and are interested, there has never been a better time to join and enjoy Azeroth. If you’ve been on the fence about coming back, I would definitely recommend it.
TL;DR – The new WOW expansion has a great story, amazing new content, and has made heavy improvements to an already solid game. With palpable longevity and a great community, Legion is not something to miss out on.