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With World of Warcraft going strong for nearly twelve years now, Blizzard has released yet another expansion: Legion. After travelling new lands and new world in Mists of Pandaria and Warlords of Draenor, we finally come back home only to see an army of demons at our doorstep.
That’s right, boys and girls, Blizzard released its newest expansion pack, and it looks like this time they pulled out all the stops. Blizzard has absolutely packed just about everything that I’ve seen fans asking for over the years.
The first exciting addition Legion brought up is the Demon Hunter character class. Along with classes like the Dark Hunter (like Sylvanas or maybe even Vol’jin), the Demon Hunter is probably the class most fans have been asking for. That’s especially true after The Burning Crusade expansion became a thing.
And the Demon Hunter lives up to its hype. From spreading wings and gliding, to double-jumps, to cool dash-attacks, to freaking laser beams coming from their eyes, the demon hunter is definitely one of the flashiest characters in the game. The class has one dps spec and one tank spec, and both of them can turn into giant flaming demon forms. From an aesthetic perspective, demon hunters are one of the coolest characters so far. They’re fun as hell to play too. Double-jumping, gliding, and dashing your way around World of Warcraft is fast-paced fun, and once you get some damage under your belt, you’ll be laying waste to waves of demons like crazy.
The other major addition in Legion is the artifact weapon system. From the very beginning of the expansion, everyone gets an artifact weapon specific to their class spec. These weapons sort of grow as you go and come with a talent tree that you build up by collecting artifact power. One of the biggest draws to World of Warcraft is its progression system, so having a weapon that grows as you do is kinda neat.
Even the player-versus-player side of World of Warcraft gets special treatment. Fans have wanted separate balancing systems for PvP and PvE for a while now, and now they’re getting it. PvP gets its own talent tree and even its own progression in the form of honor points. It may be too early yet to see how these changes affect the game as a whole, but it should open up some design space.
All of the artifact weapons have some sort of stake in the overall history of the game’s world. That makes your weapon feel powerful and important, which makes its growth that much more fun to watch.
One problem with the artifacts, though, is that everybody in your spec has the same one. Customizing your character to feel unique is one of the most fun things about MMOs, so seeing many people with your weapon is lame, not to mention immersion-breaking.
Finally, the setting is exactly what fans have been wanting since Wrath of the Lich King. This time, we are facing the Burning Legion directly, and this time it is on our main world – Azeroth. We’re not in some alternate timeline. We’re not on another planet. We’re not even in some distant panda land. We’re smack dab in the middle of our own home world. And we’re under attack by demons. The location and the enemy are finally fit to give this expansion the kind of apocalyptic setting that World of Warcraft has needed for a long time.
World of Warcraft: Legion is feeling pretty epic right out the gate. Finally, the world events going on right now have a high-stakes feel – like shit is getting real. The Burning Legion – a massive army of alien demons – has been the main antagonizing force for Warcraft as a whole since its inception. Now, for the first time in the 12-year history of World of Warcraft, they are attacking our home world.
At least that’s the overall feel of the expansion as a whole. The actual areas that you quest in between levels 100 and 110 feel oddly peaceful and secluded sometimes. The overall feeling of expansion’s story is immediate and apocalyptic, but questing in areas like Stormheim, Highmountain, and parts of Val’Sharah feels oddly disconnected from that. They are beautiful and fun places to quest, to be sure, but the way they don’t match the story as a whole is just odd.
Questing in the new Broken Isles zones has been great, and with the new addition of World Quests (which are basically part of a system of dailies borrowed from Guild Wars 2), there is plenty of incentive to go back out into those questing areas. Dungeons have been fun too. Some of the bosses have some neat mechanics thrown in them that keep fights feeling fresh.
World of Warcraft’s Legion expansion is off to an extremely strong start. Warlords of Draenor was like that too and ended up one of the weakest expansions yet, so some skepticism is to be expected. That said, Blizzard seems to have taken some lessons from the last expansion’s failures, so I think it will be worth sticking around to see how this one goes.