Yesterday, Blizzard released Patch 8.0 for World of Warcraft, signaling the beginning of the next expansion, Battle for Azeroth. It's an exciting update full of big and small changes, but 8.0 also heralds the end of Legion, the best expansion since Wrath of the Lich King of 2008. Now that it's over, I can not help but feel sad. It was a great two-year life of World of Warcraft, now 1
And it's easy to see why. After what has ultimately led to a midlife crisis with Cataclysm and Warlords of Draenor, World of Warcraft has evolved to a self-assured maturity – a bold vision that pays homage to the past without being chained to it. Legion made World of Warcraft more accessible than ever, while finding a wealth of updates and dynamic content that made sure I always had a reason to sign me up. After years of worry when the best years of World of Warcraft lie behind it, Legion is strong
The Broken Isles
Legion, Warcraft's sixth expansion, was launched nearly two years ago on August 30, 2016. When I reviewed for the first time I said it was "a terrible weight," having to catch up with the flop, the Warlords of Draenor. Warlords of Draenor started off promisingly, but its core consisted of isolated players in single-player instances of the world and meaningful updates were too few and far away. Soon after, Blizzard revealed that World of Warcraft had lost more than 3 million subscribers since the launch of the Warlords. There was no reason to play. While World of Warcraft was still the most popular MMO with over 6 million subscribers, it was not promising news for the future of the game. And Legion had to be the extension that turned these pathological omens.
When Blizzard Legion first announced at Gamescom 2015, fans were worried that it might be a rash extension to shore up continued dissatisfaction with the Warlords of Draenor. But when Blizzard made a detailed revelation with Blizzcon a few months later, it was already clear that Legion Warca's past mistakes did not recur. Instead, Blizzard wanted to give the players everything they had demanded since The Burning Crusade in 2006.
Gone, for example, was the single-player Garrison, who limited the players to their own small base They were not looking. Instead, Legion would introduce class-specific order halls in which everyone would lurk in the same class to pick up new story quests, transfer tasks to NPC supporters, and propel new artifact weapons. And finally, Demon Hunters became a playable class – one of the best Blizzard has ever developed. Not only are they great at fighting (I particularly like the indisputable Vengeance specialization), but their ability to fly and their general agility have made World of Warcraft feel as kinetically as it has never been before. I held a demon hunter throughout the Legion and loved him.
When I played Legion for the first time, I found one of the most detailed of World of Warcraft and designed Zones to this day. The Broken Isles were one of the greatest hits in World of Warcraft history, with each zone inspired by a beloved corner of Azeroth. Val & # 39; Sharah was a rich forest that was slowly succumbing to a festering rottenness, while Azsuna was a melancholy elven ruin. Each of the five zones was so different that it felt a bit silly to go from one to the next, but they also illustrated how well Blizzard is under construction. A subtle yet significant improvement was the level scaling that is now applied to all old zones . In Legion, each of the four leveling zones could be attacked in the order you requested, and monsters would always scale to your level to meet the challenge.
Legion improved and repeated the already great quest design of Warlords of Draenor. Treasures, elite monsters and Easter eggs were scattered everywhere, encouraging me to make countless detours to my next destination. And the tasks themselves were very different and told interesting stories that helped to deepen my understanding of the world and its inhabitants. I especially loved Suramar, the endgame zone restricted to level 110 characters. This Elven city was a big step forward in the way Blizzard designed urban areas. Each district was full of activities and interesting things to see and do. The overarching story of the exile night-born who started a revolution in Suramar told over the course of two updates was funny, though he sometimes felt like a grind.
While I would still like to improve Battle for Azeroth, Legion felt sociable thanks to public order halls and new world quests. Once the players hit the 110 level limit, World Quests dynamically spawned across the Broken Isles, which offered all kinds of loot. It encouraged players to go there and exist in the world instead of hiding in Dalaran, waiting for them to get into predefined dungeons and raids. It meant that the world itself was constantly full of players who banded together and (if the mood hit me) gasped.
If there are two main features that will ensure that Legion will be remembered, it is undoubtedly Mythic + Dungeons and the pace of updates. The first was a much-needed redefinition of how dungeons fit into the growing list of activities a player has once he reaches the level cap. In previous expansions, dungeons were often treated as a springboard to the ultimate endgame: raiding. But the problem was that once you used them enough to get the equipment you needed, there were some reasons to go back.
Legion repaired that in a big way. Mythic + was a new, flexible difficulty mode that rewarded the equipment that was as good as anything you could find in raids with a nod from Diablo 3's Rifts. Each week, players were given a Mythical Keystone, which unlocked a certain Mythic + version of a dungeon with opponents who had more health and damage compared to their regular Mythic versions. Defeating the dungeon will give you a stronger loot and your capstone will be upgraded to a more difficult level of Mythic + and put you in another dungeon.
But the real challenge came from the affixes that are slowly being superimposed as yours. Mythical Keystone reached higher levels. Enemies can ignore tanks and seek healers, strengthen their allies when they die, or create explosive bullets that must be destroyed. More sinister affixes would punish healers for overboarding or sending shock waves to players who damage and disrupt their allies.
Mythic + turned dungeons into an endgame activity instead of a springboard and it was a challenge to hell. It brought the teams to their limits and rewarded them with incredible equipment, but renounced the sometimes unnecessary and unattainable requirements of hardcore raid games. More importantly, it has made dungeons fun every week and not just another fun factor. It's no surprise that Mythic + will remain a key pillar in Battle for Azeroth's Dungeons.
But the best thing about Legion everyone appreciates is how aggressively Blizzard has released important updates. To put it in perspective, Warlords of Draenor had only two major updates while Legion had a whopping five.
Update 7.1 came just two months after Legion's launch, introducing Return to Karazhan, a fan favorite raid turned into a mega-dungeon that could take hours to fully complete the first couple of times. Two and a half months later, Patch 7.1.5 released a new raid, The Nighthold, and also brought a new timewalking dungeon event (where players can jump for rewards in dungeons from older upgrades) and the frantic Brawler's Guild Boss Rush -Mode. In another two months, 7.2 was released, adding a mini-zone, a new dungeon and a raid, as well as dynamic demon invasions over the Broken Isles. And five months later, Legion received its biggest update when Blizzard added three mini-zones on the never-before-seen planet Argus, a new raid and dungeon, two new factions, and minor features such as invasion points.
There was always something to do in Legion and Blizzard surpassing even 7.3 when players became intergalactic travelers and explored Argus, the headquarters of the Burning Legion. It was a dramatic climax of an expansion full of dramatic climaxes. It was only earlier this year that things slowed a little as Blizzard focused on developing the fight for Azeroth. The only massively annoying part of Legion was the way [7.2.17] time-lapsed went through much of its history to soak players for 11 weeks until the new raid was opened. But in retrospect, it's hard to think bitterly about how big Legion's other post-launch updates were. It finally felt like Blizzard took a step after the drought of Warlords of Draenor that made everyone happy.
On the subject of artifact
Not everything about Legion was sunshine and demon battles. While Blizzard recorded how players got new loot, Legion dropped the ball on which was this new loot. At the beginning of the expansion, each class specialization was given a unique artifact weapon – a powerful weapon of war like Thrall's fabled Doomhammer. The message was clear: players would use the most powerful weapons in the known world against the Burning Legion.
At first, artifact weapons were great. Unlike normal equipment, they had inherent properties that were unlocked and leveled by Artifact Power. First, the choice of properties to compare made a significant impact, but later artifact weapons felt like a linear grinder for a marginal improvement. They were just not exciting anymore. Worse, Artifact Weapons made alternate characters a real pain at the beginning of the Legion. Players had to wait in real-time for annoying "research levels" to get their new artifact weapons on par with their other characters. This process became so terrible that Blizzard completely removed it in a later update. In hindsight, Artifact Weapons were fun to play, but they were just not that interesting to get on.
But even artifact weapons pale in comparison to Legion's grandiose problem: Legendary Gear. Legendary items for Herculean exploits, such as completing epic quest lines or repeatedly trampling the toughest raids, have been added in previous enhancements. It was a sign of your status as a top-notch player, and the Legion threw it all away for a system that favored RNG in particular.
Like Diablo 3, Legendaries in the Legion could be obtained from everywhere and everywhere. You could sneeze on a sick antelope and a Legendary object might pop out. It was not worthwhile at all. What's worse, these legends had a dramatic effect on your combat performance. But because it was all RNG, it was completely random who had the best legends and who did not – and that made the players angry. Throughout the expansion, Blizzard tried to update Legendaries and make them less terrible, but the damage was done.
An equally annoying system was the Titan Forging, which sometimes took down dropped equipment and for no reason made them all stronger for no reason. As with Legendaries, it was a complete RNG that gave the players exorbitant powerful equipment without the need for anything extra from them. It should be a nice little bonus, but those without Titan Forged equipment felt excluded. It was these random elements of the legion that really felt the prey like a crapshoot. Players have welcomed that monsters do not always hand out the equipment they want, but it was extremely frustrating that someone else gets a much stronger piece of equipment for no real reason out of luck. But compared to where Legion succeeded, these frustrations are a small (but very noticeable) spot.
When I checked Legion for the first time and gave it 90 out of 100, I was startled like Warlord Draenor, it would make a good first impression but drop the ball months down the road. Instead, with each new update, Legion significantly improved by adding an incredible amount of quests and areas to explore. At the same time, clever innovations like Mythic + have brought the 14-year-old MMO ahead of its competitors, refreshing a stale formula and making it an exciting and rewarding investment.
Although it sometimes stumbled, Legion was all I wanted. World of Warcraft: A vast world to explore, fierce group content, and a steady stream of new things to do every week. Now that it's over, I can say for sure that Legion is the best two years since World of Warcraft since launching in 2004. The battle for Azeroth is only a month away from the start, but Blizzard has done her job, hoping to top Legion.