Mini Reviews, Uncategorized, Video Games

World of Warcraft: Legion Review

*This post contains some minor spoilers relating the Legion quest experience.*

It’s been almost 3 weeks since World of Warcraft’s latest expanion, Legion, was released. In that time I have logged 5 days, 2 hours and 6 minutes of max level play time. But that doesn’t even scratch the surface.

Legion gets a lot right. It clears the sour taste from the mouths of those who found Warlords of Draenor unsatisfying. It offers a plethora of choice from practically the moment you log in.

Having completed all of the pre-patch content offered, I began Legion’s launch in Dalaran, the revamped capital of the expansion, waiting with the crowd for the expansion to go live. I had braced myself for the crashes, the disconnects, the lag… and none of that came. Launches, launch week, notorious for all the issues players experience, seem to be a thing of the past with Blizzard compensating for the amount of pressure the servers would be under and devising a clever strategy to funnel players to various parts of the world. More on that in a bit.

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Players begin with a call from Khadgar to move Dalaran – an impressive feat – and are then funneled immediately into their class artifact questline. This is based on what specialisation you’d like to play, with each spec getting it’s own weapon and thus a (relatively) unique questline to achieve this. As I did not play in the beta, I chose my tanking weapons first unsure of how the actual artifact power system worked. My questline sent me to retrieve the claws of the bear god, Ursoc, with the blessing of his brother, Ursol. Without saying much more, I was thoroughly impressed and admittedly very moved with the entire experience. It was something unique, very personal (for someone attached to their class) and a lot of fun. Having done a few other artifact questlines since then, it’s a fun little system that tests you at the specialisation you’d like the weapon for but this feels less like a test and more like something you would innately do because you play that spec.

Additionally, each questline that I completed (and certainly with my initial “launch” decision) sent me off into the older parts of World of Warcraft, lessening the load on the servers and certainly smoothing out the questing experience by implementing a lot of new phasing tech and using single player scenarios to their advantage. Once you’ve acquired your new weapon, the questing experience begins.

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Blizzard chose to take leveling in a new direction with Legion. Normally, players begin new content in a pretty typical way – you’re given a new quest, go to the new area, and begin in the first zone – usually good for a couple levels, then on to the next one. This time, the zones scale with your level – and while this didn’t seem like a huge deal when it was first announced, playing the game with this new system was awesome. Being able to pick one of four leveling zones immediately worked to dissipate even more of the usual traffic. In addition, questlines were phased into stages – you’re not entirely cut off, but there’s not a huge amount of competition. Solving another typical launch day problem, mob “tapping”, Blizzard introduced a faction-tag system for everything on the Broken Isles. If your faction tagged it, you’re eligible for loot and kill confirmations.

While these things don’t necessarily seem like they’re a huge difference, it’s the little things and changes that are really making Legion stand apart from the previous expansions.  Removing the typical launch day woes was a great start in hooking people, the questlines in each zones were amazing, well thought, and peppered with cutscenes that tug at the heartstrings (looking at you, Val’Sharah).

The fun doesn’t end there, though. Hitting 110 (the new level cap) introduces a new zone, Suramar. Here we meet the Nightborne and their ancient city, Suramar (yes, zone Suramar & city Suramar). This gorgeous, twilight-ridden city is plagued by the Legion, let in by their Grand Magistrix. The Nightborne elite are living a life of luxury, while their civilian counterparts are suffering under their new regime. Did I mention they’re all addicted to mana? We ally up with a renegade faction of Nightborne determined to take their city back from the Legion and free up the ancient mana supplies they’re all craving, lest they succumb to the “withering”, becoming mindless, zombie-like withered without much shred of humanity (elfanity?) left.

World quests replace the typical dailies, going with the “pick your own adventure” feel of the expansion. These are quests activated by entering the area they’re in, rewarding anything from gold, to gear, order hall resources, or raw materials for your professions. They also award a small amount of rep toward their assigned faction. You’re given an emissary quest each day asking you to complete 4 world quests for the faction RNG gives you that day. If you wanted to complete all your world quests that day, you’d be there for a long while.

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With the plethora of content to work on – be it questlines, professions, PvP, or PvE progression, Legion looks incredibly promising in it’s early days. Patch 7.1 has been announced and while it also looks like it will deliver some really great content, I am happily sinking my teeth into all Legion currently has to offer with no signs of slowing down.

-Tenneiyl

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