Commanding close to six million subscribers World of Warcraft is without a doubt the largest MMORPG in the world, and is one of the most well known franchises to both gamers and non-gamers. Despite this resounding popularity, their previous expansion to the series ‘Warlords of Draenor’ was met by a lot of their fans with less-than-enthusiastic responses. Promising to do right by the fans this time, ‘Legion’ seems to have nailed it so far. Let’s take a look at some of its early features, as well as what is in store.
A staple of the series has been its ‘Legendary’ class items. Some have eluded most players even to this day, while others, such as the ‘Warlords of Draenor’s’ legendary ring, have been a commonplace staple of end-game content. Blizzard have opted for the latter approach in the latest expansion, with each player receiving an ‘Artifact Weapon’ very early into the storyline.
This Artifact Weapon is like every player’s personal Legendary weapon. What makes them even more exciting is that each come with an, albeit basic, talent tree. This shows Blizzard addressing the requests of much older players to bring back the old system for customising their character’s abilities. While the Weapon Tree will eventually be filled out completely for the early days of ‘Legion’, it will be interesting to see how players optimise them for the best performance.
On top of the Artifact Weapon there will be a selection of Legendary items that each class can collect, further adding to the possible optimisation available to players. It waits to be seen how players will creatively make use of these items, but it’s guaranteed to be awesome.
Grinding out leveling and questing can feel like a tedious task, especially when the only thing on your mind is hitting max level to get to that exciting end game content. Blizzard have done a fantastic job with leveling in ‘Legion’, with each leveling zone having plenty of life to it. Not only that, but there are plenty of familiar faces in Warcraft’s expansive story lore that fans of the series will be excited to see. The leveling zone of Val’Sharah features plenty of recognisable names, while Azsuna recounts the history of Warcraft that preceded the game. The other two zones, Stormheim and Highmountain, introduce a new cast of characters with a unique charm and flavour to them.
On top of the fantastic lore, the leveling itself is extremely smooth. There is very little downtime in travel between areas, and the quests progress smoothly from one to the next. This streamlined experience has been delivered fantastically by Blizzard to ensure that players can easily make their way to the end game content, while managing to enjoy what is generally considered a tedious experience along the way.
Like previous content from World of Warcraft, end-game features of ‘Legion’ will be wheeled out periodically. Along with the often anticipated end-game ‘Raids’ is a new addition to the MMO: Mythic+ Dungeons. Traditionally Mythic is the hardest difficulty for Dungeons in WoW, but the rewards in armor and weapons earned from them are soon out scaled and made redundant by the rewards from Raids.
Mythic+ Dungeons will allow players who meet the requirement, beating the dungeon in a specific time frame, to earn a key which will increase the difficulty of the next dungeon. Being continuously successful means an increase in difficulty, constantly challenge players to optimise their play until they can’t progress further.
This model is a blend of a traditional MMO Dungeon with a genre known as Action Role Playing Games (ARPGs). The model of Mythic+ Dungeons is based off one of Blizzard’s other titles, Diablo III, where players go solo or work in groups of up to four players to progress through dungeons fast enough to upgrade the difficulty.
This is a fresh breath of air into not only WoW, but the MMO scene in general. For groups of friends or players who don’t have enough numbers to enter Raids, and don’t want to subject themselves to the often heated and hostile public raiding parties, should find it easy to get a group of five together to run Mythic+. Blizzard’s new dungeon system ensures that players won’t fall behind on gear score just because they can’t get the numbers to enter Raids.
World of Warcraft: Legion has been live as of August 30! If you’re planning on grinding out some all-nighters, why not pick up some Shine+ for the energy and focus you’ll definitely need?
WORDS BY HAYDEN FITZGERALD
Image: Blizzard Entertainment