Ahh Syndrome. Poor misunderstood, appropriately-ginger, Syndrome.
Whilst the Incredibles is one of my favourite films of all time, it was Syndrome that really made that film for me. He managed to leave a lasting impression as a villain on me, with a simple, single line of dialogue:
And when everyone’s super, no-one will be…
So, right about now you’re probably asking yourself why I’m waffling on about an 11 year old Pixar classic, when I could be making a point. Well I am.
Once upon a time, Blizzard were very frugal. Downright stingy in fact. So damn stingy as it happens that they used to only give out very special treats to maybe one or two classes or specs every expansion.
In Wrath it was melee DPS and some tanks. In Cataclysm it was the turn of the casters and rogues. In Mists, well, as much as I loved Mists, that was the point where Syndrome…er…syndrome started kicking in.
Welfare Legendaries. Not my term, but it’s one that’s been bandied about by the special snowflake department of the WoW community care system since Mists beta, and again in Warlords with items of legendary quality that could be attained and used by everyone, regardless of Spec, Class, or indeed luck or ability as they’d have it.
Personally I’m a fan of this model of legendary item. Yes, it does of course mean a lot of mindless grinding, and baby-jebus-lord have mercy if you decide to switch mains mid to late-expansion (oh wait, been there done that), where you’ll have to restart that expansion-consuming grind over afresh.
But it means long-term effort equals substantial reward; You don’t have to be part of a top 10 raiding guild on your server in order to have a crack at getting your shiny orange item(s).
There is a counter-argument of course that if you’re not in a top 10 raiding guild on your server, then why the hell do you need a legendary cloak/ring/weapon/nipple ring/ or whatever?
The counter-counter-argument to that of course would be, well patently, no-one really needs a legendary in order to complete any content, including the hardest content the game has to offer in Mythic Raiding. If there were no legendary items, then Blizzard would simply tune the content accordingly and everyone would once again be on a level playing field.
Legendary items are merely there to make the player feel special, like they’ve achieved some measure of success and reward for effort expended. Even simply just for bragging rights, or as a measure of perseverance.
So, to get back to the statement posited in the title: Legion signals WoW entering its endgame: Here’s Why.
Whilst legendary items in the past were either very rare, or indeed low in number, or required a huge amount of effort put in doing busy work over the course of an expansion, Legion signals a significant shift in attitude by Blizzard.
At Blizzcon this year during the panels, it was mentioned that there would be a chance for some items to drop from world bosses, and that these items would have a chance to be legendary in quality. Not only that, but the reason they were Legendary in quality to begin with was due to the sometimes quite astonishing, bordering on OP, on-use or equip effects bestowed upon the player as a result of their use.
This to me seemed like a nice twist, where maybe a handful of items would have a chance at dropping in this manner, then I saw the still-incomplete list of orange items today on MMO-C, and frankly I was shocked:
[su_spoiler title=”Click for details…”]
Above table courtesy of MMO-C – check out dem bonus effects!
That’s a pretty significant step up in numbers of different legendaries being offered to players. Heavily significant in fact.
In addition, consider the fact that our weapons will be artifact weapons, which will themselves carry substantial power and level-ups right across the entirety of Legion’s duration, as well as the fact that we will once again have an expansion-long legendary of some description to work towards, as per Blizzard statements at Gamescom earlier this year.
It’s actually conceivable that by the end of Legion, the luckiest and hardest working players will be decked out in quite a number of legendary items.
And, if we recall & paraphrase our opening paragraph, when everything’s Legendary…?
Where else do you go in terms of power creep?
This process happened in Vanilla with epic items, where the luckiest players would have a few purples mixed in amongst all their blues. Time went ever on and into the following expansions, purples became the new blues, and raiders would expect (or in some cases demand) epic items for each and every slot, otherwise they would feel “left out”.
Snowflakes, they’re so very delicate dahling. Didn’t you know?
Now, with some of the lore-spoilers I’m seeing coming from Legion (again, no spoilers printed here), I can see Sargeras on the very distant horizon for the very first time in the history of WoW.
Hell he may even make an appearance either in person or via his Avatar in Legion itself. We are, after all, still awaiting news on this coming expansion’s Big Bad. We know it won’t be Gul’dan, he’ll be dispatched pretty early on in Legion, albeit with a bit more player agency over his demise. Certainly in comparison to that of Garrosh in Warlords. Feckin’ Thrall, in my base, stealin’ my kills *grumble*.
So with Blizzard now starting to shower everyone with items of a quality that was once long-ago, a once in an expansion treat for certain classes, from the get-go…
With players taking up the weapons and mantles of the heroes that we’ve fought under and alongside for over a decade…
With the expansion’s Lore starting to align with long-foretold prophecies…
Could it be the beginning of the end of the World of Warcraft?
The future’s bright, the future’s orange…