Bye bye Legion

August 08 2018

A few weeks ago, Blizzard released an update 8.0 for World of Warcraft, which indicates the imminent start of the next addition Battle for Azeroth. This amazing update is not only full of changes, big and small, but also marks the end of Legion, the best addition since 2008, when Wrath of the Lich King came out. Now that Legion is coming to an end, I can only express my sadness. It was a significant two years for the 13-year-old World of Warcraft. Games with age rarely get better, but Legion will be the addition that people will remember for many years.: Cut:

And it is understandable why. After almost a mid-life crisis in the form of Cataclysm and Warlords of Draenor, World of Warcraft entered the age of assured maturity – still paying tribute to the past, but not tied to it. Legion made World of Warcraft more accessible, combining the magnificent rhythm of the release of updates and the dynamic content, always giving an excuse to enter the game. After years of worrying about the best years of World of Warcraft behind, Legion denied this view.

 

Legion is the sixth addition to World of Warcraft, launched 2 years ago on August 30, 2016. My first review spoke of the terrible burden of what needs to be corrected after the failure of Warlords of Draenor. Although Warlords of Draenor performed well at the start, its central plot was tied to the seclusion of players in its solitary confinement, and meaningless updates were too insignificant and rare. Soon after, Blizzard announced that the number of subscribers fell by 3 million. It simply did not make sense to play. Despite the fact that World of Warcraft was still the most popular MMO game with 6 million subscribers, the future did not bode well. And Legion had to be the addition that would change everything.

When Blizzard first announced Legion on Gamescom 2015, fans decided that the company accelerated the release of the add-on due to lack of content in Warlords of Draenor. But when Blizzcon made a survey a few months later, it became clear that Legion would not repeat the previous mistakes of Warcraft. Instead, Blizzard wanted to give players everything they asked for since Burning Crusade, released in 2006.

Left single garrisons, which tied the players to the base all the time when they did not do the job. Instead, Legion proposed class bastions, a place in which representatives of one class could take on new story assignments, assign responsibilities to associates and strengthen new artifact weapons. The demon hunters finally became available to the players class – one of the best ever created by Blizzard. They are not only good at fighting (I really like how tireless specialty is felt), but also their ability to soar and the overall mobility that makes World of Warcraft feel much more moving than before. My main character, the whole Legion was a demon hunter and I really liked him.

When I first entered Legion, I found the most detailed and elaborated locations and World of Warcraft. Split islands became the greatest success of the history of World of Warcraft, in each location one could feel the inspiration of Azeroth’s favorite corners. Valshara – a large slowly decaying forest due to rotten roots, and Azzuna – melancholic elven ruins. Each of the five locations was special in sensations, so the transition between them was very contrasting, but at the same time showed how good Blizzard is in serving the world. One of the big changes was the introduction of scaling by levels, which is now applied to old locations. In Legion, each of the four locations for pumping can be done in any order, and the creatures will adjust to your level, always challenging.

Legion also became an improvement in the system of tasks implemented in the Warlords of Draenor. Treasures, elite creatures and Easter eggs were scattered across all locations, forcing me to go around endless obstacles to achieve the goal. The tasks themselves were diverse and told an interesting story that helped understand the world and the creatures that inhabited it. In particular, I liked Suramar, the location for characters of level 110. This city of elves became a real breakthrough for Blizzard in the development of large urban locations. Each district was filled with life and interesting events. The whole story of the exiles of the Night-born who raised the rebellion in Suramar was interestingly submitted in two updates, though sometimes there were feelings that everything was slipping into grind.

And, although it seems to me that attention will also be paid to Battle for Azeroth, Legion looks more social, thanks to class strongholds and new local assignments. When players reached level 110, local assignments appeared on the Cleaved Isles, offering various rewards. This encouraged players to go out into the world, instead of sitting in Dalaran in anticipation of gathering in the dungeons or raids. This meant that in the world there are always a lot of players with whom you can perform different tasks together or who can be (on the mood) ganking.

If you recall two major innovations in Legion, then they will be mythic+ dungeons and the rate of release of updates. The first became a new look at the so necessary changes that the dungeons quickly became irrelevant in the list of those events that filled the lives of players at the maximum level. In previous additions, the dungeons were only a stepping stone to the real endgame-raids. But the problem was that after going through them several times, you did not have much motivation to go back.

Legion corrected this situation drastically. Inspired by the portals from Diablo III, mythic+ dungeons have become a new mode with a flexible setting of complexity, with a reward comparable to the raid. Each week, the player received a stone that opened a certain dungeon with a new mode, with creatures with increased damage and health. If you passed the dungeon for a certain time, you got better prey, and your stone got a higher level and you could visit another dungeon.

But the real test was modifiers, which gradually hampered your adventures as the level of the stone increased. Opponents could ignore the threat from tanks and break down on the healers, strengthen their allies at death, or invoke the exploding balls that must be destroyed. The most formidable affixes could punish the healers for over-active work or spread shock waves from players, inflicting damage and interrupting the abilities of the allies.

The mythic+ mode allowed the dungeons to become yet another endgame goal instead of the usual rung to the raids and coped with it very successfully. He allowed the groups to get to the limit of their abilities, rewarded with good equipment, freeing from unnecessary and sometimes inaccessible requirements of hardcore raiding. And, more importantly, this mode made the dungeons interesting for passing each week instead of becoming another kind of grind. It is not surprising that the mythic + regime will become one of the main ones in Battle for Azeroth.

But, more importantly in Legion and what many have appreciated – this is how persistently Blizzard released big updates. To make the comparison understandable, in the Warlords of Dreanor came out two big updates, when as in Legion there were five.

Update 7.1 came out just 2 months after the launch of Legion and introduced a new event “Return to Karazhan” – the raid that was popular with many became a huge dungeon, a complete passage that could take you to the clock for the first time. After 2.5 months, the update 7.1.5 with a new raid Citadel of the Night, as well as a new event in the system of Time Travel (in which players can go to the dungeons from old additions) and the updated Fighting Guild came out. Two months later, the update 7.2 was released, in which a new location, a dungeon and a raid appeared, as well as dynamic events of the invasion of demons into the Cleaved Islands. And in 5 months the biggest update to Legion was released, in which 3 mini-locations were added to the unknown Argus planet, a new raid and dungeon, 2 new factions and small events – invasion points.

In Legion, there was always something to do, Blizzard outperformed themselves, allowing players to become intergalactic travelers and explore Argus, the citadel of the Burning Legion. It was an exciting culmination of the supplement, which in itself consisted of exciting climaxes. Only at the beginning of this year, Blizzard slowed down the pace, focusing on Battle for Azeroth. The only unpleasant moment in the Legion storyline was the 11-week delay in the release of the raid in update 7.2, related to the stretched chain of tasks. But it’s hard to be angry with them for a long time, given the speedy release of other updates. It seems that after the failure of Warlords of Draenor Blizzard really succeeded in making everyone happy.

Not everything that was in the Legion, such a rainbow and is associated with the killing of demons. While Blizzard was fixing the system for obtaining the booty by players, Legion changed the prey itself. At the beginning of the addition of each class specialization, a unique artifact weapon was given – a powerful object such as the legendary Rock Thrall Hammer. The message was clear: players will take the most powerful weapons of the known and will fight against the Burning Legion.

At first artifact weapons were great. Unlike conventional equipment, he had his talents, which can be opened through obtaining the power of the artifact. In the beginning, there was a choice between what talent should be taken to enhance the effect, but later the artifacts simply turned into a grind. They no longer brought pleasure. Even worse, at the very beginning of Legion, artifact weapons turned the pumping of an additional character into a headache. The players needed to wait real time to study the “levels of artifact knowledge” in order to achieve equal conditions with the basic character of obtaining the power of the artifact, and this process was so terrible that Blizzard later completely removed it. Get the artifact was much more interesting than its pumping.

But even artifact weapons fade in comparison with the most egregious problem of Legion: the legendary outfit. In previous additions, the legendary items were a reward for outstanding achievements, such as an epic chain of assignments or a sweep of the most complex raid several times. They were a sign of a top player, and Legion brought this system to the simple will of the case.

As in Diablo III, legendary Legion items can be obtained from anywhere and anyhow. You can sneeze at a sick antelope and from it a legendary object falls out. This is not epic prey at all. Worse yet, the legendary items greatly changed their effectiveness in combat. But due to an accidental factor, it was not known who would get the necessary legendary object, and who did not, and this caused the players into a frenzy. By the end of the add-on, Blizzard tried to fix the system of legendary items, but damage had already been done.

The system of quenching objects with titans, which sometimes accidentally made the subject much higher in level, was also uncomfortable. As with the legendary objects, it depended on chance, giving extraordinary power without any effort on the part of the players. This should have been a small bonus, but without titanium-hardened items, equipment seemed inadequate. These are the elements of randomness that made Legion sludge. The players needed to fight not only because the bosses did not give the necessary items, but also because someone, just a little more lucky, had better equipment. In comparison with the successful moments of Legion, these disappointments may be noticeable, but not so great.

When I first did a review on Legion, I gave him 90 points out of 100. I was scared that Legion could repeat the fate of the Warlords of Draenor and lose its first charm a few months later. Instead, Legion grew much better with each update, adding a staggering amount of tasks and locations for research. At the same time, some changes, such as the epochal + regime, have advanced the 14-year MMO game ahead of competitors, updating the stale ideas and making amazing worthy improvements.

Despite the fact that I was dissatisfied with some things, Legion had everything I wanted from World of Warcraft. A huge world for study, tests for the group and a constant stream of innovations that can be practiced every week. And when it’s over, I can safely say that Legion is the two best years I’ve played in World of Warcraft since the first launch in 2004. Battle for Azeroth will be out in a few days, but Blizzard should do a good job if they hope to outperform Legion.

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