On GamesCom 2105 Blizzard announced the new expansion, Legion. The main takeaway points from the announcement are the following:
- New continent: The Broken Isles
- Level cap raised to 110
- New class: Demon Hunter
- New honor system
- Artifact weapon system
- New dungeons and raids
- Class Order Halls
There is, of course, more, such as improved transmog system, level boost to 100 and so on, but the above mentioned are the most important ones, I’d say.
WoW, my eternal mistress
Now, before I start, I’d like to clarify a couple of things. First, having played WoW since 2005, I must admit that I love this game. I have never spend more time in any other game as much as I have spent in WoW and have never drawn more satisfaction and enjoyment from any other digital for of entertainment as I have from playing WoW. This, of course, includes gaining a lot of friends and even a romance or two along the line, all of it rooted and derived from WoW. Yes, I love the time I’ve spent in it and I love the game.
But that does not make me a fanboy. I am also not one of those ranting guys who keep saying “now, I LOVE World of Warcraft, BUT…” (insert here a a vast litany of complaints of which most are, actually, merely their opinions) and who, in fact, are sick of WoW but are only still playing it either because a) they have found no alternatives or b) they’ve built up a gang of followers playing WoW and are a bit afraid that people will stop following their YouTube antics them if they switch to another game. I love the game. At times when I feel it has nothing to offer to me, I switch up to something else, either another game or – hey, would you believe this! – real life stuff.
Now, to the Legion!
Everything we do in life depends far more on execution than the idea or plan. People are concerned about finding the right idea, all the time, and worry far less about execution, performance, delivery. I recall Stephen King talking about his books, saying how it is not about ideas as it is about how to translate them into action. Consider some of his most famous books and you’ll realize how right he is. A mad dog terrorizes a mother and her baby. What if a modern plague would be released and it would wipe out 99,9% of humanity? What if a car became alive and sentient?
According to these rules, I will say that so far I feel about the Legion expansion in the manner that it could go either way; become a very solid expansion, ranging above Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria and Warlords of Draenor (but not exceeding the quality of a Wrath of the Lich King or The Burning Crusade) or simply be mediocre.
I am currently leaning and hoping towards the first option.
There is also a sensation that the folks at Blizzard realized that they have messed up big time with WoD, under-delivering on an expansion that was once heralded as “the return to the true origins of WoW” deciding now to go the extra mile with the Legion. It seemed to me at least, at the very reveal of the next expansion, that the devs went something like: “Ok, what do WoW fans want to see the most? New class? Demon hunters? Put them in? They liked that thing, that sword, Ashbringer? Get it in there! Illidan? Hell yeah!”
I have a feeling that their attempt at redemption will work out well.
Speaking of redemption, I am betting my 2cents that Illidan will not be the main villain, but that he will, in fact, come to redeem himself. Blizzard loves a good redemption story. So do we.
All n all, Legion is filled with decent baits that should get folks back to playing the game. Will WoW once again hit 12 million subscribers? I don’t know, I don’t believe it, but it doesn’t even matter. Just make a darn good expansion for the players to enjoy it, and let everything sort itself out afterwards.
The most desired new features with the Legion…
…(at least according to me) are the new Demon Hunter class and the newly revamped honor system.
The Demon Hunter Class
Essentially, we will see high DPS agility leather-clad Demon Hunters as well as Demon Hunter tanks. They will all use glaives as weapons, as impractical they may be in reality (don’t play with those, kids, you’ll be cutting off bits you might need) and will have one nifty ability – double jump. Seriously, I am already seeing both the DH’s climbing all over the building in WSG and Arathi Basin as well as haring the QQ from other players that they want the double jump, too! One other fancy ability of Demon Hunter class is their perception skill that enables them to see all invisible and stealthed players. OP much? I’ll let you know.
Honor system 3.0
As it goes, the initial World of Warcraft with its Honor system 1.0 was extremely hard core. Not because of the skill that was required (unless you consider the ability to sit in front of the PC for 18 hours a day, without any other obligations in the world, as a skill) to reach the heights of the top honor system, but because it demanded that so much damn time be invested. There are very few people who managed to get their toons to the maximum honor level without account sharing or botting, and I am pretty sure they had to go to some sort of rehab afterwards. Decaying honor points? Insane amount of time one had to spend grinding the battlegrounds? It was madness.
Then came The Burning Crusade and the Honor system 2.0, where one would grind the battlegrounds once again, but without honor decay this time around, and replace earned tokens for specific gear. Yet once again, grind reigned supreme. It was all about the gear. A fully PvP geared toon would do 80% more DPS than a freshly started PvP toon. It was once again not so much about the skill, as it was about the time one could spare for grinding gear. And, oh the shock, the new players would leave the BG’s once they were one-shotted by fully geared toons to either never return or to return using bots to grind enough tokens and buy better PvP gear.
I am hoping that the new honor system, the one replacing the 2.0 that lasted from The Burning Crusade until Warlords of Draenor will make a difference. This one is all about investing into specific PvP skills, not gear, and thus leveling the playing (killing) field. I am very much looking forward to this one, and hoping that it will finally put skill first, and gear will lose its meaning. As many old WoW players, I don’t have as much time as I used to some ten years ago to grind battlegrounds endlessly.
I think there is a lot of potential in the expansion. It is awesome to hear the beta being so casually announced for the end of this year – they are probably far into this already, which should explain why WoD got so little love in patch 6.2. But Blizzard has a lot to redeem themselves for, and if they fail this time around, it could irrevocably damage this MMORPG titan that is now ruling and redefining the genre for the past decade.
I guess I’ll be an optimist and say that I have a good feeling about this one.