World of Warcraft: Legiondary Experience


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Luke Adelhoch, Staff Writer

World of Warcraft is known as one of the most successful and popular video games of all time. Despite this, the last expansion, Warlords of Draenor, caused the game to fall on hard times due to limited and uninspired content at launch and a lack of post-launch updates. This caused the game to sink to its lowest population since 2006. Many players lost faith in the game after the most costly expansion also proved to be the objective worst. Blizzard Entertainment had to step up their game if they wanted World of Warcraft to stay relevant. The latest expansion, Legion, has been out for almost two weeks as of this article’s writing. The new continent to explore may be called the Broken Isles, but as of now, the game is anything but broken. Right now, World of Warcraft may just be better than ever for veterans and newcomers alike.

Of course, the first job of Legion was to satisfy the game’s existing fanbase, including those who left during previous expansions. It did this job and it certainly did it well. After the dull, homogenous content that Warlords of Draenor offered for level 100 players, there had to be a major change. Rather than the poorly received “Apexis Dailies” that lacked any context, interesting gameplay, or story to be told, Blizzard has offered a new form of endgame content: World Quests. This new system is not as rigid and repetitive as the Daily Quests of old and not as pointless and uninspired as the Apexis Dailies that plagued the last expansion. A large pool of quests are offered every day with various forms of gameplay and rewards. There is no character to pick them up from, you only need to walk into the questing area to begin, making the process quick and smooth. However, the context and story are still delivered through a character that appears at the bottom of the screen to explain the situation and congratulate you for completing the quest, with the interface serving as a nostalgic reference to Warcraft III. And as an added delight, many of these explanations are fully voice acted.

However, single player content cannot make up the bulk of content in a multiplayer game. And the new multiplayer content offered is nothing short of amazing. Small group content in dungeons is more engaging and challenging than the dungeons of Warlords of Draenor, which ceased to be relevant as soon as larger group content unlocked. However, Legion offers greater difficulty and rewards through the timed Mythic+ Mode, serving as an alternative to large 10-25 player Raid groups for those who would rather play with a smaller, tighter group of five skilled players. While the aforementioned Raids have not unlocked yet, the first one will  be unlocking rather soon. Beta testers have generally agreed that this new raid, The Emerald Nightmare, continues the tradition of stellar large group content that Blizzard has delivered even in the darkest days of Warlords of Draenor. And player versus player (PvP) content has been improved as well after a criminal lack of support in recent years. A new system has been put in place to reduce to power gap and emphasize skill over the quality of gear worn by characters. A prestige system has also been added to reward frequent engaging in PvP. While not much true content has been created for PvP players, a small amount has been released. A new arena for two teams of two to three players has been implemented, as has a free-for-all area called the Underbelly, which rewards various non-combat pets and a unique giant rat mount.

If this was not already enough, returning players will be thrilled at the return to the classic locales and enemies of Warcraft. Mists of Pandaria, released in 2012, took place in a foreign setting. While this gave the game many new interesting cultures and enemies to interact with, many fan favorites did not appear at all. Warlords of Draenor was in another world and timeline entirely. However, Legion features a mix of fresh ideas and classics. Among returning, fan-favorite foes are the candle-obsessed Kobolds, seafloor-walking Sea Giants, serpentine Naga, and the fishlike Murlocs that have served as unofficial mascots for Blizzard Entertainment for years. Even slightly newer but still fan-favorite cultures like the giant viking-esque Vrykul and walrus-like Tuskarr make appearances. While this may all sound incomprehensible to those unacquainted with the series, longtime fans will certainly be interested to see these races return to the limelight after four years of absence.

It is also a great time to start playing the game as a newcomer. While the high level of 110 may seem daunting, leveling is actually rather quick, with many guides created by the community to help new players to learn how to play their characters to the best of their ability and pick the best spells and abilities to use. It is easy to learn how to play the 12 classes and 35 specializations, but it would not matter if they were not fun to play. While some playstyles are certainly more fun than others, the great majority are more polished and distinct than ever, with the developers putting a large focus on identity. One class, the Death Knight, starts at level 58 rather than level one. While the game previously required a player to have a level 60 character to play this class due to its high level and complex nature, but the class has now been streamlined to make each of the three specializations unique and strong in their own ways. Also, now any player can create one at any time, making it possible to skip a large amount of leveling if a new player wants to reach the endgame more quickly.

While the expansion is not without its faults, such as the low quantity of large group content for PvP and a new class made underwhelming by the radical changes made to others, I firmly believe that the game is both worth returning to and worth beginning for newcomers. This is true now more than ever, as the developers have already announced a sizable update with even more content, including a small raid for large groups, a giant, old-school dungeon for small groups, and plenty of single-player world and story quests. While Blizzard has made plenty of mistakes in recent times, Legion proves that they have taken their lessons to heart and World of Warcraft can began the process of healing.