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The Returning Warcrafter: A Legion Shortlist

World of Warcraft Editorials - By Gareth Harmer on July 29, 2016

The Returning Warcrafter: A Legion Shortlist

This time last week, I was panicking. It’s roughly a month before World of Warcraft: Legion comes out, and I felt woefully unprepared for the expansion. There were so many changes, so many updates, since I’d last played the live version of Warcraft, that I was struggling to work out how to pull my characters into shape, even with Suzie Ford’s excellent bullet-list of ideas.

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Like many people, I’d unsubscribed during Warcraft’s great content droughts. Warlords of Draenor hit a flat note for me, and I ended up logging out a few weeks after level cap. But, after playing (and thoroughly enjoying) Legion for the last few months, I’ve grown eager to dust off my account and jump back into the fray. As someone who ranks The Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King as some of the best moments in the series, there’s an awful lot for me to love about Blizzard’s latest instalment.

If (like me) you’re looking to return to the World of Warcraft for Legion, now’s the time to start getting ready. I might be staring down the barrel of an expansion-shaped felcannon but, with a little bit of planning and research, everything is starting to fall into place. I’ve been gathering my army of Azerothian minions to prepare them for an adventure on the Broken Isles. And, while it’s been straightforward in some areas, some of my choices might surprise you. Throw in some great friends, and it’s all beginning to feel like good times again.

1) Dust Off Your Account

Legion launches on August 30. You grab the expansion, resubscribe, get patched up and log in. Ahead of you lies a dazzling array of fresh content, glistening like a jewel in the Azerothian sun. Snag is, you’re still back in Stormwind or Orggrimmar, sorting through your bags and cleaning up your quest log. Or worse still, you’re swearing at the account management page after it’s refused your credit card for the fifth time. Everyone around you is having a great time exploring the Broken Isles and racking up their demon kill count, and you’re sitting there with a cloud of anger and rage over you.

Which is why I’ve chosen to skip the nightmare chorus this time around and get started early this time around. I’ve picked up a three-month subscription, as it works out a little cheaper and gives me plenty of time to get through the new expansion with at least one character.  And, if I’m ready early, I get a few weeks to work on an alt before Legion hits. If you’ve left your account in limbo for a while, it also gives you a chance to make sure it’s not been hacked or similar while you’ve been gone (and plenty of time to get it fixed).

Although I’m a sucker for the Collector’s Edition, I was also considering buying the digital edition instead, as it meant I wouldn’t have to enter in the serial key and could avoid account management completely at launch. Unless you’ve been able to snag a discount on the box (such as the Amazon Prime US preorder discount), this could be the best way of buying your ticket to the Broken Isles.

2) Cap Out a Main

One thing I’ve learned from playing the Legion beta is that professions have had some serious love. There are new profession quests that encourage exploration of the new zones, and introduce new NPCs that will guide and train. But, to take advantage of that, I needed to get my character’s professions in a fit state.

All the materials that I’d been saving for a rainy day, I instead used to finish the grind to 700. I also spent some time pushing Fishing and Cooking up to the new cap, using what I caught to feed the fire. First Aid also got some work, although Archaeology remains stubbornly on my to-do list. Because most people are having end-of-expansion clearout sales, I was able to buy any shortfall in materials for a relatively cheap price.

3) An Alterrific Idea

Gnome Hunters might be the big addition in Legion, along with a new range of mechanical combat pets, but I’ve decided to roll a new Warlock instead and help a friend with their short sharpshooter. The sheer number of heirlooms makes levelling incredibly quick, especially if you’ve got a character in a guild that has unlocked all the extras. Just add them to the heirloom collections and any minion can use them.

I’ve also found the Adventure Guide helpful this time around, as I’ve not explored old Azeroth content since it was reshaped in Cataclysm. Many of the zones and dungeons have been radically revamped in the intervening years, and my experience has felt remarkably fresh as a result. This isn’t content that’s new in Legion, but it’s definitely new to me. It’s an experience our own Bill Murphy talked about last week, with his own thoughts on the expansion.

 4) The Felfire Sale

With my main character capped out and my alts on a path to the Broken Isles, it was time to have a big inventory cleanout. Transmogrification changes meant that I didn’t need to clutch onto masses of gear, allowing me to spend quality time with a nearby vendor. Incidentally, unlocking all those gear appearances also earned me the ‘Fabulous’ title – one which I’ll be wearing with pride during the expansion.

All spare crafting reagents were sent down the chain to alts that could use them, or sold off on the auction house. While Draenor materials seemed to be fairly cheap, I found that levelling stuff fetched a fairly good price – definitely better than a vendor. All this, plus a few new Hexweave bags, means that my inventory space is now maximised for when the expansion hits. I also purged my quest log or finished things up, just to make space for all the new missions I’ll be picking up in Legion.

5) Better Together

Last, but by no means least, there’s the social aspect of playing WoW. Yes, tools like LFG and LFR have reduced the need to team up, but almost any MMO is a better experience when you’re playing with others. Luckily, my old guild welcomed me back with open arms despite being inactive for over a year, and many of my old in-game friends are still playing. It’s been great to catch up and plan our journey through Legion together.

Unfortunately, I know that not everyone is as lucky, especially after such a long break. Guilds clear out inactive members, old ones disband and new ones form all the time. If you have aspirations of raiding in Legion, tackling some of the harder challenges, or even just finding a new group to hang with, now is also a great time to find a new crew. You’ll beat the post-expansion rush, and probably get help with preparing to boot!

While there’s a lot on this list, there’s also a ton you can skip. Building up a garrison, getting Draenor flying, and finishing the legendary ring are all tasks you can bin if you’re not worried about them. There’s no sense in burning yourself out chasing these, as they won’t benefit you once Legion hits. Take care of the big stuff, ease yourself in gradually, and don’t sweat the small stuff. With that, you’ll be cracking Legion skulls in no time.

Gareth Harmer / When he's not blasting or fireballing his way through a virtual world, Gareth "Gazimoff" Harmer can be found dissecting the mechanics of online games. Chua at heart, he's also our resident columnist for all things WildStar.