Now that a week or two have passed since Blizzard’s Gamescom announcement of the World of Warcraft expansion, Legion, it’s time to turn the eye to the things that, at this early stage of information, cause the heart to flutter in both good and worrisome ways. Obviously, Legion is either going to breathe new life into what is perceived by some as a struggling WoW, or it will further exacerbate the decrease in revenue due to players abandoning the game as over 4M have since the launch of Warlords of Draenor.
See what we believe are some of the high points of the Legion expansion and some points of concern according to the information we have heard so far.
For Hearing Fans Who Want More Lore
Clearly Blizzard is making a big commitment to lore with Legion and bringing out the big guns. The community has long wished for the return, or the furtherance, of some of the biggest stories from the past: The Burning Legion, Val’kyr, Titans, Naga, Azshara’s inner circle, the Highborne, the Emerald Dream, and more.
But, hey. At least we’re back in the ‘real’ Azeroth with the lone exception of Gul’Dan.
For the New Hero Class, Demon Hunters
World of Warcraft has need another Hero Class as the only other one is the Death Knight introduced in Wrath of the Lich King, three expansions ago. Additionally, DHs fit perfectly with the announced storyline and the Illidan - Legion connection.
For Finally Separating PvP & PvE
The community has asked for this feature for years. Blizzard has plans to make a complete overhaul of the PvP system by removing PvP gear thereby allowing PvE players to take part. A talent progression tree will alter certain skills that will be only available in PvP.
For Reviving Legendaries in a New Form Called Artifacts
Players will have the ability to access the weapons of World of Warcraft legend with the addition of the Artifact system. Each spec within any given class will earn its own Artifact that can then be leveled through adventuring through the expansion and with the addition of runes to earn new cosmetic looks and to increase the power of the weapon itself. Shamans will earn Doomhammer; Frost Death Knights will put together shards of Frostmourne to create two one-handed swords, etc.
For Class Order Halls
Players will become the de facto leader of their class and gain access to the Order Hall and champion companions of that same class. After the widespread criticism of the Warlords garrison system, Blizzard decided to go with a slightly altered system that makes the interaction with the Order Hall more meaningful by virtue of fewer companions who are class-specific and who engage with the content in ways that also involves the player. For instance, it was mentioned, that champions might discover a cave that players then go to explore, thus tying the two systems together.
Is It Too Much Lore?
The biggest concern many in the community have expressed is that Blizzard has ‘bitten off more than it can chew’ by throwing nearly every story’s loose end into the lore pot and that the story will be “the Jack of all trades, master of none”. In addition, bringing back characters thought to be dead and gone for good (i.e. Illidan) never seems to be a good idea.
Are Demon Hunters Just Another Melee Spec?
As the fourth leather wearing class that can take on both tanking and DPS roles, the fight over raid drops will become even more pronounced. In addition, without a third spec for range, the melee imbalance in raid groups becomes even more apparent (let’s not forget the addition of a melee Hunter as well).
Is the PvP Overhaul Too Much, Too Fast?
PvP players have expressed some concerns about the new talent system. While cautiously optimistic, the complete overhaul of the feature is worrisome from a balance perspective.
Do We Really Want Artifacts & What About the Guys / Gals Who Use Them Now?
While it’s cool to consider owning one of the so-called ‘weapons of legend’ (what is the Death Knight’s Maw of the Damned axe after all?), it creates a disconnect with immersion to understand that every single player of the your class and spec also owns the exact same weapon. These aren’t acquired through a Feat of Strength such as completing Shadowmourne’s quest or Fangs of the Father or Tarecgosa's Rest. It feels more like, “Hey! I found this Ashbringer laying around. Want it!?”
In addition, players are forced to choose between a weapon they’ve always wanted and the class spec they prefer to play. For instance, Beast Master Hunters will be given a gun (as yet unnamed) rather than Thas'dorah, Legacy of the Windrunners that is given to Marksmanship Hunters. While the item can be transmogged, it simply is another break in immersion. Frost Death Knights will be forced to use two one-handed swords when they might perhaps rather use a single two-handed sword. And it goes on.
Are Order Halls Just Garrisons v2.0?
A large portion of the people who regularly post on Battle.net have expressed dismay at the idea of becoming the focal point of the expansion. Characters in WoW have moved from being Random Adventurer #619 to Random Hero #254 to Leader of Draenor Forces and, in Legion, Leader of ALL in their class. Never mind that Player #109,942 who is of the same class as your character is also the Order’s leader. Just try not to notice.
Additionally, developers have told us that “Horde & Alliance are once again at each other’s throats” while facing a demonic invasion than ever before. In Class Halls, it is assumed that players of both factions will have access, sort of a sanctuary location (even on PvP servers) similar to...er… Dalaran in Northrend (that’s now moving AGAIN to the Broken Isles). It just seems to be a disconnect with the idea that faction war is alive and well, yet here everyone is singing Kumbaya in the Order Hall.
Oh...and rogues in the Dalaran sewers? We feel for you.
Why Has the Team Had So Many Unknowns & “We Don't Know” Answers in Interviews?
In all interviews conducted during Gamescom and in the days thereafter, Blizzard has stated over and over the fact that some things are still “in discussion”, “under review”, that they’re “not sure yet” or they’re “not ready to speak about” features coming in Legion. Of course, these statements are often couched with the mea culpa that too much was revealed about Warlords that ultimately did not make it into the expansion when it was released.
While it’s actually a good thing to keep some topics under wraps, there seems to be much that is still in development. Given the tumbling subscription numbers, it seems that Legion should be closer to the polishing stage than the development stage.
When Will Beta Hit & How Long Until Release?
With subscriptions falling drastically in the last ten months, it is imperative that Blizzard get the beta started as soon as possible. The beta needs to be kept short with release soon after. Of course there will be a bump in subscriptions with Legion’s deployment, but Blizzard is dealing with an increasingly skeptical audience after the relative debacle of the Warlords of Draenor expansion. They will have to re-earn the trust of their community by ensuring that Legion captivates and holds the attention of its audience.
Over the coming weeks and months, Blizzard will be releasing much, much more information about Legion and there is no doubt that some of the concerns above will be relieved, some new amazing features will be added that will give us a great reason to revisit the topic.
What about you? What are the things you are most looking forward to in Legion? What, if anything, worries you? What sorts of things do you expect Blizzard to reveal about Legion? Let us know in the comments!