At Gamescom today (August 6th), Blizzard Entertainment announced the next expansion for World of Warcraft. Called “Legion”, the expansion appears, at least from the presentation, to be a return to story packed together with several key fundamental alterations to the game as it is today and some new additions, most notably the Demon Hunter Hero class and a level cap increase to 110.
Here’s what we know so far.
Locations & Story
The story in Legion will take place in The Broken Isles, a new continent for WoW, previously a heart of Night Elven civilization, now reduced to a ‘graveyard’ of sorts. The location features six zones: Highmountain, Val’sharah, Stormheim, Suramar, Azsuna, Dalaran, Broken Shores and Thal’Dranath. Players will be working to find the Pillars of Creation, Titan relics that shaped the world of Azeroth when it was young and are now required to close the gateway opened by Gul’dan at the Tomb of Sargeras.
During the prelude to Legion, players will follow Gul’dan after the final events in Warlords of Draenor as he opens the gateway for the largest invading army of demons ever, even more than those brought to Azeroth during the War of the Ancients. The battle taking place at the Tomb of Sargeras will be the beginning of the story.
One of the more interesting pieces of the story that was mentioned is the relocation of Dalaran to the Broken Isles, now lead by Khadgar. It was not said what has happened to Jaina, however, she is said to be “pissed off”.
The last and most intriguing part of the story is that we will finally learn what has happened to Turalyon and Alleria. To quote, “Their time is here”.
Artifacts & Class Orders
In their attempt to bring peace to the world at the brink of annihilation, the brave adventurers will require the most powerful weapons, called Artifacts. There will be total of 36 of them, one for every available specialization within each class. Some examples:
- Icebringer and Soulreaper: the twin runeblades forged by Frost Death Knights from the remaining shards of Frostmourne
- Felo’melorn: sword previously worn by Kael’thas Sunstrider that had been shattered in a fight against the Lich King
The artifact system will allow players to gain access to some of the game’s most iconic weapons and to be able to upgrade them to unlock new abilities and cosmetic appearances. One of the examples shown during the presentation was Ashbringer. Check out the progression tree interface on the weapon itself, as well as the cosmetic looks to which players can gain access.
Among others, these artifacts had been highlighted at the presentation. You can find out the details about others at the official site.
Artifacts are also tied to the new Class Order, something akin to a class specific hall only accessible to members of that class. Each Class Order has its own Order Hall, thematically appropriate and located for said class (shamans: overlooking Maelstrom, paladins: under Light’s Hope Chapel, etc.) It will be possible, we were told, to see other players of each class in the Order Hall, a place said to be less “solitary” than garrisons.
The player is the leader of the Order and will work with a smaller group of companions than those found in WoD’s garrison. In addition, companion quests will yield benefits to the player that require activity within the world. For instance, we were told, companions may unlock a cave that players will need to go explore for themselves, etc.
Dungeons & Raids
Dungeons are the heart of what the MMO experience is according to Blizzard. There will be more dungeons, more replayability and more of a long-term reason to keep coming back. Some of the dungeons mentioned are Eye of Azshara, Darkheart Thicket, Neltharion's Lair, Helheim (will shed light on the origins of the Val’kyr), Suramar City, Violet Hold (new secrets were unlocked as Dalaran was moved to a new location, telling us of origins of Dalaran, its mages and the whole world of Azeroth), and Vault of the Wardens (the place where Illidan was encased in ice and the starting point for Demon Hunters).
As for raiding, two were mentioned: The Emerald Nightmare and Suramar Palace. In the former, we were told that it will feature seven bosses, including Xavius, while the latter will feature ten and will allow players to face off against Gul’Dan.
Blizzard said that they liked the raid progression in Warlords of Draenor and want to keep it virtually the same in Legion.
Demon Hunter Hero Class
Players have long asked for the Demon Hunter class and Blizzard has come through in Legion. Demon Hunters, from a lore perspective, are Illidan’s followers and were sent on a suicide mission to a demonic prison world created by Sargeras right before players stormed Black Temple in The Burning Crusade. After the events at Black Temple, little or nothing was heard from them until now. According to Blizzard, Demon Hunters will “learn the true meaning of sacrifice”.
Demon Hunters are a “Hero” class, the first added since Death Knights in Wrath of the Lich King. Only Night Elves and Blood Elves will have access to the class that will feature high mobility and speed. Two specs will be available (rather than three for other classes): Havoc as DPS and Vengeance as Tank.
Demon Hunters will have several interesting customization options including a variety of horns (or lack of), tattoos and eyewear (blindfold, mask, etc.).
PvP Honor System Version 3
PvP will be undergoing a massive change in an effort, according to devs, to bring differentiation not only in classes, but also between PvP specs and PvE specs. Calling it Honor System v3.0, players will progress along a skill tree that will alter “normal” PvE skills with special PvP-specific perks or unlock new passive buffs that are only active when participating in PvP.
After progressing through all 50 Honor bonus levels to fully open available talents, players can reset the levels and gain a Prestige rank. By doing so, special cosmetic bonuses will be unlocked, including unique PvP appearances for Artifacts, special mounts and portrait badges.
Beta & Beyond
Beta is expected to begin “later this year”, and we speculate that this will probably result in a release in Q2 2016 which coincides with the release of the Warcraft movie.
What do you think of Legion? Is there something particular that catches your eye? Let us know in the comments.
Be sure to come back on Sunday for more when we report on the special World of Warcraft Legion panel hosted by the developers and later next week for our analysis of the expansion features announced so far.