Initial Reactions to WoW Legion

Posted: Sep 14 2016

A couple of weeks after the release of the latest World of Warcraft expansion, we've played enough to get a good handle on how this expansion will play out and how well Blizzard implemented the latest change to the video game equivalent of deep-fried chocolate crack.

This expansion, Legion, seems to be an attempt to call back to the former days of WoW with a few modern enhancements. There have been major philosophical changes with regards to class balance, professions, itemization, and basically every facet of the game. And like any major expansion, Legion has its ups and downs for all those people who are on their 4th failure to quit this fucking game.

Pro's (AKA Justifications for Continuing to Play Despite Insisting that You're Done with Wow)

1) The Artifact system is a fun grind

The Artifact Weapon system has achieved two major things: Introduced a fun and interactive itemization grind and put an end to punishment for not being lucky enough to get your weapons to drop. Weapons have long been the biggest upgrade for most specs and the source of much ire and voice-chat whining. Removing the need to get weapon drops is a relief for most players since the major benefits of your weapon slot now are achieved at an early stage and improved at a rate mostly of your own choosing. I like that I can grind Artifact Power all day to quickly improve my weapon traits or simply chill out and let it happen eventually. 

The quests to attain the weapons were also quite well done. I normally have no love for quests and lore (NERDS) but you can tell that the development team put a lot of work into making the Artifact quest lines memorable and epic. 

Being able to level-up your Artifact also feels great - it's a grind at the end of the day but one where it feels worthwhile, and in some cases gives you a very tangible benefit, like a new ability or vastly improved current ability.

2) Profession Levelling 

Blizzard decided that players buying a billion mats on the Auction House to level from 1-Max in a few hours wasn't exactly how the system was supposed to exist. On top of that, professions used to also just be fancy way to represent X% DPS increase for a large number of players, myself included. The shift to quest based levelling and powering up was a great idea...Again, this is coming from someone who hates questing. But the alternative being spending all your gold on a boring numbers grind is way, way worse, and felt really bad when one profession was a DPS increase over another forcing you into it.

This is one of the changes that has the most potential, as professions previously never kept players interested in the game beyond pretending to be some kind of digital Gordon Gecko at the Auction House. On top of that, switching professions is now much easier since you just pay a thousand gold and get to relearn all the new recipes.

3) Mythic+  

As a replacement for Challenge Modes that nobody ever did, Blizzard introduced Mythic+ which is essentially a scalable Mythic that allows you to tune the difficulty of dungeons to your liking. This is a great way to keep people redoing content with new challenges, and also keeping 5-mans relevant once the raid tiers are released. The fact that you can technically tune the dungeon so high that you can get raid-equivalent gear is also quite attractive, though at that point it's probably much easier just to get the gear from a raid. Still, Mythic+ is basically a way to make Challenge Modes that people actually care about and aren't simply "What potion can I buy to make me skip trash mobs."

Con's (AKA Reasons I'll be 'Quitting' Again)

1) Rep Grinds

Reputation grinding has never been fun, so I'm not certain what Blizzard had in mind when they decided to make Suramar rep an integral grind to the expansion. While removing an unfun grind in virtually every aspect of the game, they decided to keep Suramar rep as one of the most important things to do after hitting 110. The World Quests make this more manageable but surely Blizzard could've found a better way to introduce a gate into the Suramar dungeons.

2) Terrain is as bad as ever

I don't understand what kind of sick, twisted game Blizzard is trying to pull by making the terrain, particularly in Highmountain, an absolute pain in the ass to navigate. Nothing screams fun and epic to me like being led to a map location and then realizing too late that I was supposed to climb up a mountain on the other side of the zone. Also, the amount of terrain that's 1mm too tall to jump or climb over is mind boggling. It's like someone's watching me struggle to jump over a tiny hill, laughing maniacally and twirling their mustache.

Ultimately, those are some minor gripes because the expansion has, for the being being, delivered an overall interesting, fun, and fresh experience. On a scale of 1-10 so far I'd have to give Legion an 8, and would be a 9 if they didn't abandon the Garrison idea and then immediately implement a less interesting version of it. 

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