So I have many thoughts about today’s Blizzcon reveals. I decided to creep out of the darkness and post my impressions of Legion. I had the virtual ticket but what they actually showed on that was pretty limited.
First off, it seemed pretty apparent from the opening ceremonies that WoW is no longer a priority for Blizzard. Looks like Heroes of the Storm, Overwatch, and Hearthstone will be their big hitters going forward. I guess that whole e-sports thing (which doesn’t interest me) is where all the money and future gaming market is.
WoW was relegated to the last ten minutes of the presentation and over four of those minutes were the Legion trailer. It wasn’t even next to the Warcraft movie trailer reveal. Chris Metzen (dressed in Overwatch gear) introduced it, but he seemed unenthusiastic. I think his passion for the game is gone and it showed.
That said, I enjoyed the Legion trailer. Go watch it if you haven’t yet. It has a nice callback to Wrath. I suspect that was deliberate.
Varian’s narration to his son really reminded me of the Wrath trailer. They could be setting Anduin up as the exact opposite of Arthas…or maybe he will be tempted to share the same fate? Who knows. It was a good trailer. I liked seeing the Horde – specifically Sylvanas – working with the Alliance to fight demons.
It does make make me wonder if Varian and Sylvanas will die during the course of Legion. It certainly looks like that could happen. I hope not.
The WoW Legion World and Content Overview panel was very scripted and awkward to start. They showed a lot of cool art though and added in bits about the story here and there. Ion Hazzikostas had more energy than anyone else on the panel. He seemed really pumped about Legion.
(Perhaps they were ordered to stick to the script to prevent unintended leaks. Maybe that is also why Chris Metzen wasn’t on this panel.)
It looks like Legion will be a beautiful expansion. The Broken Isles are very pretty. The zones that are still mostly incomplete still look good. It sounded like one zone is too unfinished for them to show. It was mentioned that it was coming later on like Tanaan did. New demons, harpies, critters, elves etc. all look pretty cool.
The dungeons and raids are also pretty this time around. I’m looking forward to seeing unbroken Night Elf architecture. Raids look more like Ulduar than anything we have seen for a while.
While leveling to 110, you will be able to jump around and level in whatever zone you want so there is not a distinct progression path. The zones will scale according to your level. Suramar is the max level zone. They sold this flexible leveling as being able to play with your friends, but I see it more as a break when leveling alts because I prefer to level solo.
Demon Hunters still look badass. Mardun is feltastic and I expect their starting experience will be as much fun as the Death Knight starting zone is.
End game looks like it is borrowing a lot from Diablo’s bounty system. That might be fun or it might not. It depends on how they translate it to WoW. The fill the bar apexis dailies were also similar to Diablo’s rifts and I don’t really like that gameplay near as much in WoW. It does look like Blizzard is trying to make end game more than just raiding though.
These end game quests are not designed to be necessary every day. Some of them will stick around for a while so if you only log in every few days you won’t fall behind. They are planning to add some world bosses into this and also fun mini-game type quests.
To be honest, this is probably an acknowledgement of how a lot of people play more casually now. I think the days of playing several hours every day are gone for most people because the player base has aged and gotten busier. It’s nice that Blizzard isn’t designing WoW for that type of game play now.
They really want everyone to do dungeons. The new dungeons are also borrowing from Diablo’s greater rifts and will require keys and be timed like challenge mode dungeons currently are. In theory, this means that dungeons will never become obsolete because there will always be a level higher than the last one you completed. Each level will be harder and will drop higher level gear if you complete it in time. Completing each level successfully will also upgrade your key to the next level. Essentially these are five person raids at higher levels.
Ion also said that if you can do heroic dungeons now, then these new dungeons are for you. They start at a doable level and work up from there. It sounds like you can pick the level you do up to your cap so if it gets too hard you can drop down a level or two (also like Diablo.) This should accommodate a wide variety of skill levels.
There wasn’t much said about the story of Legion other than the basics; the Burning Legion is invading again and the Horde and Alliance are working together to save Azeroth. There are new Tauren who had something stolen from them by new critters and I suppose we help them get it back? Their story wasn’t really clear to me. Azshara and the Naga are doing bad things too and there is a new race of Elves.
The Nightborne sound tragic to me. Their back story is similar to the Blood Elves and they have their own version of Wretched except they look more like zombies. I hope we don’t commit
Drow Nightborne genocide blindly. I would prefer to help these people instead.
Beta is supposedly starting a few weeks after Blizzcon and Legion itself is scheduled for Summer 2016. That fits with the out by September 21st 2016 date.
All in all, I’m pretty excited. Even if Blizzard is easing down on WoW as a main focus, it seems like Legion is still going to be fun. I’ll post part two after the Q&A panel tomorrow.