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World of Warcraft: Legion Launch Impressions

Cowritten by Jason Parker (Ragachak) and Remko Molenaar (Proxzor)

Ragachak writes. . .

Okay, I’ll admit it: I thought Legion was going to be absolute trash. Sure, everything’s not perfect [RE: Retribution Paladins]. I was 100% certain it was just going to be demons and green fire as far as the eye could see, in a bland but bright portrait of destruction on this beautiful land of Azeroth. I was worried I’d have to do the stupid intro quests on every character, but that’s not the case. You need only do the introduction once, and then it’ll just kick you ahead, give you the fancy new Hearthstone and send you forward into the world to find the Pillars of Creation. We have another “undiscovered” and humongous new area, the Broken Isles. Dalaran floats overhead as it has before, a beacon of higher learning where both factions can gather without trying to murder each other.

That’s the other big worry I’ve had. Since the end of Burning Crusade I’ve been on PVP servers and ever since, the beginnings of expansions are just rife with overcrowding and ganking. People just struggling to get a quest monster or item to move forward die dozens of times. It’s really fucking disheartening to have to deal with if you’re on the receiving end. However. . . that’s not happening now. I’ve worked on four characters and have a pile of Artifacts to show for it, and each character is in a different area. How is that even possible though?

Blizzard learned from past mistakes! It may have taken a few years, but they did it. Once you’ve completed your Artifact mission, which varies by spec/class, you get to your Class Hall from which you’ll plan your next step.

Here are your choices:

Highmountain: We have another type of damn Tauren! This time they’re Moose Tauren, because the Buffalo Tauren weren’t odd enough. It’s a mountainous zone that’s very picturesque, though there’s plenty there ready to kill you. It’s what I always pictured rural mountainous Canada or the northern United States to look like. You know, before people got there and mucked it all up. Nesingwary also makes his return in this zone, though you won’t feel quite as bad slaughtering the wildlife as you have in past expansions.

World of Warcraft: Legion Launch Impressions

Don't let the small space of this map fool you - the Broken Isles are huge.

Stormheim: Another rocky area, but this one isn’t covered in snow. The Vrykul who left Northrend behind are here, and the quests will pit you against the God-King of the Vrykul. It all ties up nice and neat at the foot of the dungeons, but you don’t have to do the quest chain to unlock them [thank God]. This area features probably my favorite item so far, the Stormpowered Grappling Hook! Yes, those treasure puzzles are back, with lots to be found by launching from hook to hook.

Val’sharah: Malfurion first became a Druid here! If you want to explore the gorgeous nature lore that consists of Cenarius, Ysera, Druids, and the Night Elves, this is the area you want to make a stop in. I hear there is an enormous army of Satyr here, but I haven’t gotten there yet. It’s not high on my priorities. My lore interests lie elsewhere.

Azsuna: Azsuna is the home of the old cultural center of the former Broken Isles. Well, it sort of is. It’s a pile of ruins, occupied by ghosts of Night Elves, the Blue Dragonflight, and the Nightfallen. There’s an incredible amount of lore in this area as all of them are, but in this zone we actively race against the clock versus a very annoyed Queen Azshara to get to the Pillars of Creation .

Suramar: This is the area you can only get to when you hit 110. There’s another race of Night Elves here though, and they are cattle to the Burning Legion because why not? Abuse of magic is dangerous, just ask the Blood Elves. What Gul’dan seeks is here, so what is our answer? To brutally murder as many Elves as we can! #logic

There’s an elephant in the room though and I’ve waited long enough to address it: Artifacts. This was one of the big things I thought was going to be absolutely fucking awful. HAY YOU CAN HAZ AN ARTIFACT, BETTER THAN A LEGENDARY!!!11 And while yes, that’s true, and it grows in strength as you put work into it, the more I thought about it, the more I like it! One of the hardest parts of raiding for me [and doing dungeons] was getting a new, cool, powerful weapon. I’ve seen people go most of an expansion without a serious upgrade to what they got when they hit level cap, and that’s wrong. Personally my favorite one right now is Apocalypse [Unholy Death Knight].

I’m very disappointed in you though, Blizzard. This was your chance to make up Vanilla to me. I wanted a staff like Atiesh, but nooooo. We had to get goofy looking swords and staves that really don’t cut the mustard to me. Most of the Artifacts are cool looking, and the quests for them make sense. The idea behind the Mission you undertake is that it will require you to know how your class functions. If you’re a healer, you’ll probably be keeping things alive/intact. It all comes together nicely. It promotes exploring, since the Treasure Boxes tend to have items that increase your Artifact power. As you complete quests in zones you’ll also unlock abilities for your Artifact, though they will ultimately become obsolete as you get deeper and deeper into the world. So if you go into a dungeon and see the healer isn’t packing their 750+ weapon? That means they haven’t bothered to do the mission, likely don’t get their class, and you should bail, quick-fast-and-in-a-hurry.

World of Warcraft: Legion Launch Impressions

I'm getting a Legend of Zelda vibe.

Speaking of which though, that brings me to the next thing I love. Zones are not restricted to level. Zones are not restricted to level. I cannot say this enough times! As you level, the areas grow with you so that you don’t have to feel rushed in and out of areas, missing the climax of the stories in order to keep experience maximized. I feel like the story takes the front seat finally too. Each Class HQ has its own goals and plots. The Death Knight area is trying to resurrect the Four Horsemen, and you learn more about each of them as you go. And speaking of Class HQs, I’m so glad we have these instead of Garrisons. That’s not even realistic! There are millions of people playing! So you have millions, more thanks to alts, of Garrisons for all the Special Snowflakes that are the heroes of this story. It’s absolutely damned absurd. But at least in Class Headquarters, everyone of that class can go there and work together. You can’t talk to the opposing faction, but you can be in the same place peacefully.

The long and short of it is, I’ve never been this happy with an expansion of World of Warcraft. Never. That’s with BC/Lich King on the table. It’s story-driven, it promotes unity towards a greater cause, and people seem to actually be buying into it! I’ve only been ganked once so far. But there are always going to be jerks, and world PVP’s gonna happen. But so far it has gone off without a hitch. I’m interested, I’m intrigued. I am captivated by the gorgeous landscape, the story has me curious to learn more about the Warcraft lore than I ever did before. This is what could have been, if they had learned some of these lessons years and years before hand. Were they worried that this could be their swan song, their Final Fantasy, if sales weren’t great? Possibly. All I know is that a lot of love and heart went into Legion, and I have yet to be disappointed.


Proxzor writes. . .

Endgame! Although we still have to wait a couple of weeks until we can try and have our go in the new raids, we still have to prepare for them and get our gear up to par for the difficulties we will face. When you hit the max level of 110 you get to go to the last zone in the Broken Isles, Suramar. Here you will find the Nightfallen, a group of exiles that were once part of the Nightborne in Suramar City. Expelled from the city, the Nightfallen need Arcwine to survive. Like a bunch of drug addicts they cannot live without this drug, or else they will go crazy and turn into the withered. The withered are members of the Nightfallen that have gone too long without any arcane substance. They are past recovery and you will see them plenty walking through Suramar.

Instead of daily quests, you will help the Nightfallen get a new base of operations and get them back on their feet. Even though you do have to follow a questline, after a week you will run out and have to farm the remaining reputation through the world quests and the withered army training. The world quests are also important to do daily. Instead of going back to the same zone every single day, talking with the same people so you can do the same daily quest, you now travel all over the Broken Isles, doing random quests for the different factions, and you will gain both reputation and items for your character. The world quests are a nice change of pace instead of the previous dailies, and its great having to kill different bosses all around the Broken Isles, or repeating some of the fun quests you encountered leveling up.

World of Warcraft: Legion Launch Impressions

Suramar is a beautiful place.

Training the withered is also a fun thing you can do a few times per week. Once every few days, or every day if you’re lucky, you get the option to train an army of withered. Here you will delve into a dungeon with an army of withered equal to the amount of mana you give them, and slowly have to work your way towards the end. In this dungeon styled area you will encounter mini bosses and other challenges that will test you and your army in a few ways. The trick here is that you need as many withered you can find, and even though you do encounter random withered that you can take with you, if you find a strong monster they might also run away or die. Scattered in this dungeon (which I personally haven’t seen the end of yet) you will also find chests. The bigger chest can be brought back to the entrance, but you do have to ‘offer’ some of your withered to bring it back – at the cost of losing progress and a chance to get further in the dungeon. It’s a really fun challenge to do, that will also earn you a lot of reputation with the Nightfallen. But why exactly do you need the reputation with the Nightfallen? Well, once you’ve gained enough reputation you also unlock two more mythic dungeons that will definitely help you prepare for the upcoming raids.

When you get to level 110, you have to gear yourself to eventually tackle the heroic versions of the dungeons. And even though you can do gear up by playing in the normal dungeons, you can do so better by following the different questlines and world quests. In the heroic dungeons you will be able to prepare yourself for the mythic dungeons, and the mythic dungeons drop the right gear so you can eventually get the right gear for the raids. This will keep us busy until the 20th of September when the raids and the rest of the content will arrive.

I personally liked the leveling, and although there are a lot of different storylines in each zones that confused me with what the goal was overall, one thing is obvious: we’re not doing a good job, and we’re still losing people all over the place, both dragons and other important characters that can turn the tide. Once you get to max level, the reputation grind and gearing can feel a little tedious, but its always been like this, except its done in a different style in Legion. While I do enjoy the expansion so far, I am already ready for the raids with the luck I’ve had this week, and I personally cannot wait until the 20th of September. Legion looks like it has brought the justified charm back into World of Warcraft, and although a lot of people said the same during Warlords of Draenor, I feel like there is still enough content and lore waiting for us in the next few days. Lets hope they don’t ruin Illidan’s character and story though, for that will ruin the last chance that World of Warcraft has found in Legion.

World of Warcraft: Legion Launch Impressions Screenshots



Next Article
Has Blizzard finally learned from past mistakes? Proxzor and Ragachak report in on World of Warcraft: Legion.