World of Warcraft: Legion is a fun game. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have flaws.
Growing up playing World of Warcraft, I never imagined a time when I wouldn’t play the game, or that it wouldn’t be around. Since realizing that being an adult comes with responsibilities, there have been times in my life where I have unsubscribed from Blizzard’s MMORPG. But something always calls me back, and this time it may have just been rose coloured glasses.
For the past week, I have invested over 24 hours into exploring all of the content I could manage(and believe me, that is not a lot for most WoW players). I haven’t seen Heroics, Mythics, or any of the raids that have yet to be released. I have leveled my orc warrior to 110, taken my priest to 103, and began dipping my toes into the world of demon hunters. And with all of that accomplished, I feel like I still have so much more to do in this expansion.
I will admit that I was suspicious when they first announced Legion. Described as a type of lore bridge between Draenor and the next ‘big’ expansion, Legion felt like a money grab more than anything. After seeing the amount of content, I understand the different direction that Blizzard is trying to take the game, but that doesn’t mean I like all aspects of it.
With the launch of the Legion companion app, it looks like Blizzard is fully invested into making this the most successful expansion yet. Due to the fact that the companion app is not technically a part of the game, it will not be reflected on in this review.
The leveling in Legion is a piece of cake. Rather than having to hunt the monsters yourself, you could run around the zone tagging everyone else’s kills and get just as much credit as they did. Bonus objectives are the only slightly frustrating areas, with a particular zone in Highmountain having a certain lost giant on a tight patrol, and only allowing you time to kill a few harpies before hightailing it out of there each time he walks around. A lot of players also thought it’d be hilarious to ‘add dump’ him, which is the process of running by on a mount so that he aggros onto the closest target(or resets to his walking path if no one is around).
Being able to pick and choose your order of the four different zones, Val’sharah, Highmountain, Stormheim, and Azsuna is refreshing. All of the zones scale to your level, so you shouldn’t worry about picking them in the ‘right’ order to max out on experience(although I’m sure someone out there has already figured out the fastest way to make your way up to 110).
All of the zones are a nice break for the horde, as the garrison’s location of a frosty wasteland was getting old to look at. Although towards the end of Stormheim I felt eager to get out, I enjoyed my time within all of the different zones. The zone that made the heaviest impression was Highmountain, home to the tauren on the Broken Isles. Highmountain doesn’t follow a major lore character, but rather feels like a much older time in World of Warcraft where each NPC appeared to have a specially crafted story. I’m looking at you, Mankrik.
The last zone you end up in is Suramar, but what deserves a bit more attention is the class halls. Replacing the garrisons and bringing back a small amount of community, you have the option to hang out in your class hall(which can be accessed in different ways, depending on your class). For the warriors, you are welcomed into the halls of Vallhalla by Odyn himself. But, just to clarify, you aren’t dead.
Although the class hall certainly looks impressive, it feels a little weird that Blizzard decided to force norse mythology into the game so suddenly. Although zones like Ulduar has hailed from norse mythos in the past, it feels a bit more extreme in Legion. In fact, multiple quest lines, and a dungeon, are all based around Valhalla, Odyn, and Vrykul. (All of which have heavy norse influences, or are blatantly taken from norse mythos.)
The class hall, again, cements the idea that you are the hero of the story. It feels awkward running around Azeorth, Dalaran, and The Broken Isles, being considered almost a … colleague, to characters like Archmage Khadgar, Warchief Sylvanas Windrunner, or King Anduin Wrynn.
Looking to it’s future, World of Warcraft: Legion doesn’t appear to have a lot going for it, unless you’re into 5 man dungeons. With that in mind, raid groups will most likely find themselves a little bored with only two raids to explore. Gone are the days of content until the next expansion, and I expect our ‘dry period’ to be much larger with Legion then it was with Warlords of Draenor.
Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of Legion is how easy the dungeons are. In Draenor you could expect a few wipes whenever someone said they ‘hadn’t been in the dungeon before’. With Legion, it’s laughable. Healers almost never run out of mana, tanks can hold aggro with their eyes closed, and a random pull has to be from someone blatantly walking the wrong way.
Hailing back to when Legion details were first coming out, Blizzard mentioned that they wanted to make dungeons more a part of the story, and would be focusing on 5 man groups over large raids(hence why Legion has only 2 raids). And yet, disappointingly, the dungeons appear to be the easiest aspect of the game, at least when on normal difficulty.
Mechanics in all of the dungeons are pretty straightforward, with little to nothing new for veteran World of Warcraft players. Many of the mechanics target specific players, forcing melee to run away from the fight so the bomb doesn’t explode on everyone, or ranged to step away from the other ranged momentarily. In my groups, failure to notice these mechanics would often cause a toxicity unseen in party members up until that point, berating one another for making a simple mistake. Dungeons can be made as easy as Blizzard would like, but unfortunately they will never eliminate the toxic players all together.
Legion has also brought changes to your specialization. Gone are the days of purchasing that expensive dual spec, you can now flip between all three however many times you’d like. By keeping your artifact weapons and extra gear in your bag, you have the opportunity to switch between them with ease.
If you happen to have different pieces of gear for different specs, fret not, the game has it under control and will be sure to equip your different armour.
I’d like to say that Blizzard’s current interface for World of Warcraft is playable. However, if you prefer to move with your mouse(which I highly recommend) and use keyboard macros, you’re in a bit of trouble. Due to the ease of installing addons Blizzard’s current layout won’t affect the overall score drastically, but it still has a heavy impact on the game for those that don’t want to have the hassle of installing addons.
My time with the Demon Hunters has not been as in depth as other players, that I know. But the basic concept is pretty easy to grasp when it comes to how they play: You’re Illidan now, congratulations.
The new classes released since Vanilla (Death Knight, Monk, Demon Hunter) have felt a little out of place in the Warcraft universe. Perhaps the one that I was most willing to embrace was the monk, for it starts at level 1, and on even playing ground with everyone else. The heroic classes on the other hand, due to the short amount of time players will have with the class, always feel like they are tailored to be much easier to play.
We don’t have a lot of stats yet on how classes will react or play in the raids, but we do know from 5 man groups that demon hunters sort of have an obsession with jumping around. That isn’t wrong in of itself, but I have to wonder if the rotation for the tank demon hunter will remain the same when raids launch and you have a massive boss to control. Or perhaps the tank spec will be reserved specifically for off tanking.
Unlike Uther Lightbringer, who helped bring in a well fitting paladin class, Illidan didn’t have a class of his own in World of Warcraft until he had been MIA for a few years. Bringing Illidan back to help with the burning legion, the amount of content that he is brought back for feels a little too much in his favour. Blizzard has been killing multiple characters off this expansion, and although Illidan is a fan favourite, his treatment in the past has been anything but respectful to those involved with the lore. Much similar to Kael’thas Sunstrider, and Magni Bronzebeard.
Transmog and Artifact weapons
The best change found within Legion, that based itself on a pre-existing feature, has to be the transmog wardrobes. Stealing the feature directly from Diablo III, it’s refreshing to dump the items out of your void storage, banks, bags, and into a wardrobe where you can easily find them. Once you’ve collected the appearance for the item (by equipping it once) you can feel free to vendor the item off and earn a bit of extra gold.
For the fashionistas it’s nice to no longer worry about transmog during questing, dungeons, and eventually raids. You don’t have to keep your Tier 5 Priest vestments in the back of your bags, you can simply get on your Grand Expedition Yak and transmog with whatever you please.
That said, my favourite feature all around is the new artifact weapons. For those unfamiliar with the addition to the game, artifact weapons replace the need to constantly upgrade weapons. Instead, you complete a quest line and are given a weapon that you must collect artifact power for and upgrade over time. You are also given relics to help increase the power of your weapon. There are 36 different weapons in the game, with each specialization of every class having a different weapon.
You start off with one specialization weapon, but within a few levels you can complete the quests and round off your collection for all specializations. The quest lines don’t take long to complete, however are easiest to manage when in the proper specializations.
Collecting the power and buffing up your shiny new blades is fun, over having to replace them every time you turn around. What I don’t like about the feature relates more to the story, and immersion, found in World of Warcraft. Blizzard are giving out (formerly) legendary weapons, such as ‘Doomhammer’, ‘T’uure, Beacon of the Naaru’ and ‘Icebringer and Frostreaper (Blades of the Fallen Prince)’. This creates an awkward bridging for specializations that have no legendary weapons to rely on, and almost creates a lesser feeling for those players. Not to mention there is only one Doomhammer, not however many Shamans are currently playing.
I understand the RPG elements of “You are the Hero!” but there was a point in time where playing World of Warcraft felt like you were just some random guy. The storyline for any MMORPG would run much smoother with a just some random guy plot over being the hero. Both Draenor and Legion have felt a little frustrating, with Blizzard trying to force you into the spotlight. Over 5 million other players are experiencing the same thing, Blizzard, it isn’t unique. The reality is you aren’t the hero in World of Warcraft, and you never will be. Khadgar, Thrall, Sylvanas, King Varian Wrynn, among others, are the heroes of Azeroth. And rightfully so.
Legion’s story is pushed forward by unnecessary deaths and frustrating sequences featuring main characters. Blizzard, rather than attempting to keep their characters alive and show a respect to the fans that have followed the lore closely for years, has taken a more Game of Thrones approach to the storytelling.
If a character’s death only pushes a minor plot along, and was easily avoidable, then it doesn’t make sense to kill that character. Perhaps Blizzard has a large scheme in mind, one that will blow away anyone even remotely into the lore, but for the time being it’s just left me feeling pissed off for picking up the novels this past summer and investing my time into this fictional world.
World of Warcraft has the most in depth lore of any high fantasy universe ever created. As much as I respect J.R.R. Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings, he didn’t have the time that a team of creative individuals have to create such an extended universe. This gives World of Warcraft one leg up as far as content goes, and creates a much more in depth universe. I would never claim that World of Warcraft is better than The Lord of the Rings, but it’s certainly close to the caliber of Tolkien.
And, with the creation of Legion, I feel like a majority of that has all been thrown away. Comics, novels, games, even a movie, has all been for naught if Blizzard continues down the path they currently created.
World of Warcraft: Legion is still World of Warcraft at it’s core, and will most likely entertain the masses that have followed the game for years. There isn’t a lot to be frustrated by, besides the lore itself, and perhaps a too easy experience. If you don’t mind a more casual MMORPG, maybe Legion is the perfect expansion for you.