During the events of Warlords of Draenor, and even before that, something distant in the Great Dark was stirring… Relentlessly intent on payback for the events of The Burning Crusade expansion. The Burning Legion of Mardum and Argus have returned… And Illidan was right; You are not prepared.
Legion is the 6th Expansion to Blizzard Entertainment’s widely successful franchise: World of Warcraft, and is possibly even it’s biggest success since The Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King. Following the events of Warlords of Draenor, Gul’dan – having been banished to present day Azeroth – has succeeded in bringing the Burning Legion to invade Azeroth once again. Finding himself on the Broken Isles, he made his way to the Vault of the Wardens, to capture and steal away Illidan, who was thought to be dead, but was clinging to life with the last of his very existence. Now the only way to combat the Burning Legion is for the factions of Azeroth to put aside their discrepancies to find the Pillars of Creation and retrieve Illidan Stormrage.
The new expansion comes with a new hero class to be able to complete these goals. Say hello to the Demon Hunters, the very same class as Illidan. As you start your adventures as a Demon Hunter, you get thrown back 10 years to the events of the raid of Black Temple, where Illidan, knowing the plans of the Burning Legion, sends you and your fellow Illidari Demon Hunters to Mardum to destroy the plans of the Burning Legion. But having returned triumphantly from Mardum, you get captured by the Wardens and discover Illidan has been defeated, and are imprisoned in the Vault of the Wardens. You later get awoken by your desperate jailors to help combat the Legion’s invasion. It would seem to me that Illidan was not so much a Betrayer, but more a chaotic good-guy whose only true intent was to destroy the Legion. Him saying that “You are not prepared” had nothing to do with your arrival to Outland, but rather, a hint towards saying that you are not prepared for the Burning Legion’s plans of onslaught.
We are also given new lands to explore and quest on, with the level cap being raised to 110, the lands of The Broken Isles provide story-rich quests that leaves you wanting more. I found it difficult not gathering all of the Pillars of Creations, because the journey to each of them is absolutely captivating. You’re able to learn about some old lore in each region, and for the old-school, long-time Warcraft fans, this will be an absolute treat being able to run around the lands where it all started. There are 6 regions; Aszuna – Home of the once proud Highborne and Queen Azshara before the Sundering, Val’sharah – Home and refuge to the Druids, Highmountain – Serving as the highest point in The Broken Isles and also home to the Highmountain Tauren and Drogbar, Stormheim – Home of the Vrykul and two warring Titan keepers, Suramar – previous home of the ancient Kal’dorei city, Suramar City, which even Tyrande, Illidan, and Malfurion used to call home, and the Broken Shore – Ground Zero for the Legion’s invasion and the location of the Tomb of Sargeras. The Main city/sanctuary for the Horde and Alliance to work from is once again the gorgeous flying city, Dalaran, my favourite of all the places to call Home in Warcraft. And if that still isn’t enough and you want to go somewhere a bit more private like the Garrison’s in Warlords of Draenor (but not as deafenlingly lonely), Blizzard has introduced Class Order Halls into the mix where you are able to recruit Lore important champions so they can go out and do missions on your behalf to gather items and gold and whatnot… In other words, similar to a Garrison, but also not. This is also where you will be able to manage your Class Artifact and do Order Hall quests which are also crucial to the game’s overall story, and you can “research” bonus buffs for your Order Hall to help out with these Order Hall missions.
A lot of changes have come to the game once again, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it has made playing more comfortable and allowing more freedom again. A lot of changes specifically when it comes to Class Specializations (yes, I know…), and whereas I never approved of the ways they changed it before, I now really enjoy the freedom that have been provided now. You are able to freely change between any of your specs at any given moment. Dual-Specialization is now a thing of the past, and I guess you can sort of call it Multi-Specialization now? Many classes have seen either a remastering of a certain specialization or a complete change. An example of the latter being with Rogues, where the Combat Specialization has been done away with and now replaced with the Outlaw specialization, where you are essentially a Pirate, acting “outside the law” and bending rules, fighting dirty when they see fit, by bringing a gun to a sword-fight, by concealing a pistol for a surprise quick-shot in the eyes during a duel. The former case being with Balance Druids, where certain annoying mechanics have been done away with such as the Lunar/Solar cycle, and bringing in a bit of a buff to each type of spell to allow more freedom in rotations. Many changes have been made, with Hunters, a revamp in Survival, making it a melee-focused class, with Warlocks, being able to now call and control hordes of demon minions to do your bidding instead only one, and also new types of minions. Holy Paladins have been doing well again from what I can hear, though I have never played with one before, and Discipline Priests have been getting a lot of attention too, bringing in a fantastic balance between Healing and DPS. There is a lot more that I can mention regarding the specializations, but it may be better if I post a link to the article on the WoW website where you can see a more in-depth coverage already done here.
Not only have Specializations, Talents and Abilities/Spells seen it’s share of changes, PvP has been revamped too to allow for a much more comfortable experience. Once you reach Level 110, you unlock Honor Talents, and you unlock more of these talents by reaching certain Prestige levels through gaining more honor points. There are also no longer PvP-specific sets, and thus, gear no longer has a major impact on PvP battles. But don’t worry, you are still able to find previous PvP Season gear at vendors. However, past a certain item level, you get majorly diminished returns from said item level. The higher the item level, the slighter the advantage is over a fresh Level 110, for example, but this still depends on your overall skill and mastery over your character’s class. The more times that you “Prestige”, the more other rewards you unlock, such as Portrait Badges and PvP Artifact Variants.
I’ve mentioned Artifacts before, and here is where I will explain it. Artifacts are class-specific weapons that have made an impact in Warcraft Lore, such as Orgrim’s Doomhammer, the famous Windrunner’s bow; Thas’dorah, and also a popular favourite, Ashbringer for Paladins. You can even wield Garona’s daggers, the Kingslayers. These weapons are infused with power and grants it’s wielder an advantage on the field of battle, especially now against the Burning Legion. Artifacts have sockets in which you can set Relics, that will boost the item level, thereby boosting it’s stats, and grant an extra point into a Trait. Traits strengthen certain abilities or can unlock a new and very useful addition to an ability, like for instance, the Hunter’s Aimed Shot ability will have a chance of during it’s cast to shoot six powerful arrows in succession before the Aimed Shot cast has finished. There are a lot of traits that need to be unlocked in order to utilise the artifact’s full potential. To do this, you need to find items in the lands of Broken Isles that gives you Artifact Power, and this serves as “currency” to unlock the traits. This can be done in your class’s Order Hall. The more traits you unlock though, the more expensive the next trait will be and will require more Artifact Power. There are many ways to find items that boost Artifact Power after you’ve reached Level 110, mostly through Order Hall missions and dungeons, raids and battlegrounds, Rare Spawns, and even World Quests. You can also boost Artifact Power gains by using Artifact Knowledge, which applies to all your Artifact weapons on a single character each.
There is a bigger focus on Professions now, especially after Garrisons replaced much of the functionality by cheating players out of being able to sell their services. And to make up for the change, Legion-level Professions each have questlines, and they’re not simple, boring gathering quests; the developer’s have made the quests interesting by adding really fun storylines to it, like a Titan destroying your Head Alchemist’s work table, or discovering a thief in the Jewelcrafter’s trade. The Professions system itself has received changes, by getting an improved UI and new functionality where expertise plays a role in the recipes of your craftables, by using a 3-star system, 1 star being the entry-level craftable and 3-stars meaning that you’ve mastered the recipe and has better stats than the 1/2 starred recipes. The profession bonus buffs (Like Toughness that allowed Miners to permanently gain a certain amount of Stamina points) have been removed however, which is a little sad to say goodbye to, but the improvements do overshadow this unfortunate removal.
What else comes standard to a new expansion release in terms of PvE? New dungeons and raids of course, of which we are given a large variety from the start already! Travel into Neltharion’s Lair before he became Deathwing, or help the Wardens clear out their home in Vault of the Wardens, unless you prefer fighting back a prison break in the revival of the Dalaran dungeon: Violet Hold. There are many more dungeons, 9 in total to be exact. You are forced to progress through the Normal difficulty dungeons first for a while even after reaching Level 110 to loot gear until you reach an average item level of 810, which is quite a jump in comparison to previous expansions! That being said, it’s been very positively by all players, myself included, because it makes you work a little bit harder towards getting strong enough for the more difficult modes before eventually being able to take on the amazing new Raid instances, and you can have a sense of pride in your character’s progress. So far there are only 2 Raid Instance; journey into the Emerald Nightmare and purge the corruption from the Emerald Dream, and Suramar Palace, where you will finally be able to face off against Gul’dan. I fully intend on making him take an arrow to the knee…
You’d think that’s it, but no, there is a lot more to everything that I have mentioned but cannot fully explain in an article. Blizzard has included an “exciting visual upgrade”, as they put it, by implementing an extended draw distance and updated textures, removing the old Graphic Settings of “Low, Fair, Good, High, and Ultra” and replacing it with a number system ranging from 1 to 10. The highest draw distance has been more than doubled, and smoothed for a more visually pleasing experience.
To those of you who are not aware of the sad news, Chris Metzen, the man who was in charge of Warcraft’s Lore up until now, has hung up his cloak and retired after 23 years of story and franchise development. To some, this is good news, but to people like me who have been fans of the franchise for a long time it is sad news. All we can hope for is that whoever he has put in charge of the title “Lorelord” will be able to live up to his legacy and continue to give us amazing story-related content. Chris has not disappointed me in the creative flow he has provided, and Legion might just be his best work so far with the direction it has been going, focusing a bit more on Illidan once again, bringing forth the possibility that he could even be the hero of this expansion, and will finally be able to fulfill the destiny he was meant for. If you are not familiar with Illidan’s past, I would encourage you to read about it here.
To quote many people who have played the game, my brother included, “Legion has fixed WoW”, and I fully agree. The new systems that have been put in place not only revives a few of the old mechanics, but have given it a completely fresh spin. I would highly recommend that those of you who have not resubscribed yet, to do so as soon as possible.
Take a look at the launch trailer here:
Reviewed on: PC (Microsoft Windows)
Available on: PC (Microsoft Windows, MAC OS X)
Genre: MMORPG, Fantasy
Age Rating: Teen
Publisher/Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
Estimated RRP: R700.00
Release Date: 30 August 2016
- The new Demon Hunter class is impressive
- The Graphics Overhaul is amazing
- Profession quest storylines
- The Order Halls are an improvement from Garrisons
- This list is going to be too big… Refer to my above comments in the review!
- Profession buffs and advantages have been removed
- Gul’dan is an annoying old coot…
- Not being able to have enough gold to buy the amazing SPIDER mount!