With Legion coming to a close, let’s take a look back.
Relatively pain free as launches go. Zones and dungeons were all working well. There were a lot of good changes at launch for quality of life.
- Transmog:Appearances to help people sort out their looks
- Up to 5 players can tap an open mob, making world quests a lot more pleasant
- A simplification of stats (spirit, armor, multistrike, spell power were removed)
- Re-specing out in the wild for free
- Removal of glyphs
- Max gold increased to 9,999,999
- Max characters per realm upped to 12
The scaled content was well balanced in Legion zones, and made each area fairly similar in terms of challenge. The loss (for some) of flying for leveling was offset with the flightmaster’s whistle. The emissary quests were a good way to compensate for dailies, and there was always something to do when you logged on. Small shout to the hookshot ability. I found that to be a super tool.
The dungeons provided were all quite good, though Maw of Souls, Eye of Azshara, Vault of Wardens, and Halls of Valor were the ones that worked best for me.
We got Karazhan, Trial of Valor, Suramar Part 2 (Nighthold), more world quests – and Falcosaurs. For a small patch, it did delivery some nice things. It was nice to revisit Kara…and the nightmares of TBC.
This was a big one. Broken Shores was launched, which brought new dungeons and a raid, demon assaults, class mounts, flying (!!), class hall upgrades (and followers), and pet battle dungeons. It was a surprising amount of content for a patch.
Argus. Which I would argue is a refinement of the Timeless Isle mechanics and lessons learned from the Broken Shore. Invasion points worked for me. 99% of Argus as a quest / lore location worked for me. The closure of the Burning Legion saga was really nice to see through. The downside I have for Argus is that flying was removed for that zone. The teleporters certainly helped, and trash was well spread out, so not too bad in the end. Plus, it rained purples.
Giving players weapons of supreme lore/power was neat. A bit jumping the shark, as there’s nowhere but down to go from here. The customization of passive talents was fun for the first bit. The Artifact Knowledge gating mechanic (to make the weapons stronger) was broken, and dramatically rewarded grinding. When class power is measured in Maw of Soul runs… there’s a problem. It also made off-spec work a real pain in the butt to manage. It also made alts a whole lot less fun.
The appearances of each artifact worked for me. Collecting them was a fun challenge. For most classes at least. Some were gated behind weekly bosses, which was pretty dumb. Still, the concept of power and bonding to a weapon worked, and clearly the Azurite system is a reflection of that.
I will say that it’s going to be funny to be replacing something like Ashbringer with a green sword that drops from a spider.
I liked the ranked concept of crafting. I didn’t mind the quest gating too much, but some of it was annoying when forced to do high level dungeons on an alt. You needed to gear them, then boost their artifact, then quest, then do more quests. It was too long, and provided minimal value for most.
I’m not surprised that First Aid is gone the way of the dodo. I am surprised that Inscription has not been merged with Enchanting.
This was generally better than garrisons, as it wasn’t about micro-managing. It was thematic, and provided a reason for class fantasy. The follower quests were not fun. I further dislikes quests/dungeons/raids being behind these gates. It was a lot of busywork.
But if you ignore the followers, then the rest of the class halls worked. The people within the halls, the various quests, or even just the hall itself – lore-nuts were ecstatic.
This entire zone worked for me, end to end. Parts were open, the city felt like a city, there were tough areas, the questing was solid… it just worked. The central quest to restore the tree was fun. The pet zombie scenario was fun. The costume worked.
Mythic + Dungeons
I ran a few of the lower level ones. I had some fun. The additional constraints changed the thinking of how those were run, though in 90% of cases it was better to run with a pre-made group. I am in the camp that thinks that this type of content will replace raids as the top tier activity.
It was bad in WoD, as the garrison work was character specific. Once you put in the time, then it was a crazy amount of busy work to manage it, but provided an insane amount of gold-making opportunity.
Legion seemed to double down on that theory. As mentioned, artefacts were a serious grind for one spec, let alone one character. Throw in the legendary (with 4 item cap) that had a dramatic impact on playstyle and it compounded the frustration. Suramar dungeons were also gated per character.
I get the concept, Blizz wants people to be invested in a single character. Well, it’s 2018 and that mindset needs to be tweaked. Put in roadbumps for alts… fine. Bigger ones for optional branches, but the main power line should be streamlined. I don’t think we’ll ever see FF14s system here, but there’s a middle ground to be had… something like Rift’s core classes, or SWTOR’s Legacy system. At least something given that they want people to re-roll their characters for a new skin of the same class.
Aside from the penalties to alts, I think Legion delivered an amazing package. The timing of content release was good, the content was relatively bug-free, the lore was solid, the flows inside each zone worked…it was all rather seamless.
And there seemed to always be something to do, a reason to log back on and achieve something. At least for a good long while. I’d guess retention here was much better than in previous expansions because of it.