October 4, 2016

World of Warcraft: Legion - Reviewed!

WoW's 6th expansion is here.
Almost 12 years after launch.
I started playing World of Warcraft back in 2010. I remember my first level 80, which was the max level back then, it was a Death Knight I created right after my Druid got to level 55, getting a character to level 55 was a requirement to create a DK. My whole reason to start with WoW back then was to kill the Lich King as one of his former DKs, I guess I needed some closure after Warcraft 3... WoW was already in the last content patch of it's 2nd expansion, it was already a 5 year old game. Today, I'm playing the first weeks of it's 6th expansion, it's been almost 12 years since launch date, enough to make anyone feel old, huh?

It's normal for a game this old, with some many content patches and expansions, to get to a point where its almost unrecognizable from what it started as. Updated character models, new classes, new races, updated zones, class overhauls, new content, and so on, this game is a completely different one than "vanilla" WoW, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. As the game moves on, nostalgia arises, so it's quite common to see old players (like me) complain about the changes, about how things are easier for everyone to accomplish. Sometimes I feel that way, but I've realized WoW had to change, to adapt, and it's been doing it so well that it's been almost 12 years and it's still the biggest subscription-based mmorpg in the world, they must be doing something right.

And now that Legion is here, and I've played a substancial amount of time during this launch month, I'd like to share my view on what's good and what's not so good about this expansion, let's get on with it!

The Good

There are many things right with Legion. For me, the best thing this expansion brought must be the Order Halls, more specifically, the class-only storylines tied to Order Halls. WoW used to have class-only quests back in the day, but those were removed little by little during expansions and/or class overhauls, to the point where there were none left. While those quests were not particularly long, or important to the storyline, they gave each class a unique feeling, and that's something most players were asking for.

When I played SWTOR, the one thing that kept me playing were the class-only storylines, and how they are the central part of the leveling experience, it's all too engaging, it makes you feel that what your specific class is doing actually influences the story. I know there are no decision-based quests in WoW, and I don't think there will ever be, simply because it's not that kind of game. Yet, it feels nice to know that it's not just anyone who does things, that at least each class plays it's part in the big picture. I don't hope Blizzard turns WoW into the online single-player SWTOR practically became, the focus must always be on the end-game multiplayer content, but those little details help make the game feel more personal. Let's hope Blizzard continues on doing such stories for next expansions, and making them more relevant as well.

Another good thing, and I think it's the best thing WoW has, and it's had it ever since it's launch date, is max level content. With the introduction of World Quests (aka, weirdly timed dailies), a whole max level area right off the bat (Suramar), 10 dungeons and more dungeon difficulties, a raid and a content patch introducing a huge new dungeon and a raid coming soon, max-level content can keep anyone busy for as long as they want to. If anything, it can be overwhelming when you hit 110 for the first time, with so many options to do.

The Bad

It's really hard to point out something in this expansion that is simply bad, some things can be improved, of course, but a plain old bad new thing is complicated. The one thing I dislike the most is the new PVP talent system, I'm not much of a pvper myself, but I feel it's just over complicating things, and making it harder for casual pvpers to be competent, which was already hard enough, with the top PVP gear being available only to top pvpers.

Also PVP-related, I terribly dislike the new Dalaran underbelly, it's laggy, it's weird and a PVP forced area so close to the main hub of the expansion feels a bit weird. I hope some day they decide to make world PVP simply a return to Wintergrasp/Tol Barad/Ashran, those zones ended up empty after their respective expansions were no longer current, and they're enjoyable only if they're filled with people, definitely something they should look into.

Oh, can't finish without pointing out something a lot of people didn't like, Blizzard's story writers must be watching too much Game of Thrones lately, as they unnecessarily killed off a ridiculous amount main characters. Not something we actually appreciate.

Verdict

I'd honestly say Legion is the best expansion I've seen so far. WoD brought Garrisons, nothing else worth saying. MoP's whole Asian theme quickly bored me, plus you had way too many dailies to do. Cataclysm was my favorite expansion until Legion, it was probably the biggest amount of work Blizzard ever did on an expansion, and while a lot of people didn't like it cause they were nostalgic about the old world, a lot of us loved it, and it brought some nice changes to the game.

So, if you are looking for a new game and you've never tried WoW, it might be a lot of work to start from scratch right now, but it's a huge game, with a huge community and it's not going away anytime soon, give it a chance, you'll have plenty of things to do. If you've played before and left for some reason, Legion is well worth your time, guaranteed.

Cya in game!

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