So, we’re well into Legion’s release now, a full 3 months into the expansion and midway through the first tier of raiding with Nighthold to release in January 2017 as the final instance of the first tier.
Of course since the last post (oops, didn’t mean to leave it so long), we’ve had a Blizzcon to let us know exactly where we’re going in patch 7.2 (The Tomb of Sargeras with Kil’Jaeden as the final boss!) and some big hints about what lies after that in 7.3 (Argus!).
Does that mean we’ll actually be doing the unthinkable, and taking on Sargeras himself in the seat of his power on Argus? Probably not. I imagine we’ll probably try to take him on, and it’ll be another Gul’dan in HFC situation where he’s using a pawn in the fight, we beat that pawn and he runs off to the nether to live to fight another day/expansion.
That said, it’ll be fun to see him in-game finally, after all these years, even if he’s not the ultimate bad guy in Warcraft lore any longer – that’s the Void Lords who Sargeras is fighting against.
Anyhow, we’re knee deep in Legion now, and have had plenty of time to get our teeth into the copious amounts of content. Too much content some might say, but that would be typical Blizzard yet again failing to learn from previous experience. In WoD we had a complete lack of content, so of course Blizz go completely 180 and throw more content than is strictly needed.
Those who played in Warlords will remember we had to wait about 6 months for 6.1, and that brought with it only 2 things of note: Heirloom Tab & Blood Elf model updates.
7.1 on the other hand brings a new 5 man “raid” in the Karazhan revamp, a new proper raid with Trial of Valor, and the eventual release of the Nighthold raid instance in early 2017 among many other things!
And this is a minor patch folks…
The biggest criticisms of Warlords?
- Lack of general endgame non-raid content.
- Lack of raid content.
- On rails levelling experience.
- Dungeons became easy and pointless and irrelevant far too quickly.
- Professions were pointless and uninvolved.
So for Legion?
- TONNES of endgame non-raid content including World Quests.
- 3 staggered raids before 7.2.
- A “choose your own route” level-scaled levelling experience with much more content than needed to level up.
- Mythic+ Dungeons that actually remain relevant for the entire expansion by scaling in difficulty even beyond heroic raids.
- Professions having their own quest-heavy experience involving mythic dungeons, World Quests, recipe rank ups and more.
So what to make of this absolute glut of content from a player’s perspective? Where do you fall on the line between love and hate for Legion?
Personally I both love and hate it at the moment.
World Quests – a great method of keeping players out in the game world of the Broken Isles past hitting the level cap, and stays relevant until late into the Artifact Weapon levelling process.
Mythic+ Dungeons – Superb evolution of the Challenge Mode dungeons of previous expansions. Take the time constraints of challenge modes, add in higher health mobs that do more damage, plus random affixes and you’ve got content that players will be plugging away at for the life of the expansion pack as higher level gear lets them push higher and further.
Artifact Traits – Take the talent system of ye olde days back in Wrath, put that onto artifact weapons, and you’ve something to look forward to every time you gain enough artifact power to pick up a new trait!
Emerald Nightmare Raid Difficulty – Pitched just right for Thunder, we cleared the “friends and family” difficulty of Normal mode in 2-3 nights, then proceeded to clear up Heroic mode in about 5 weeks, which for a smaller raid of 7 bosses is pretty much in the sweet spot.
Lore – The lore of Legion with Illidan, the Legion, smidges of the Old Gods here and there, character progression, big deaths and new characters is hitting on all fronts. Sure, some things may be considered retcons, such as Illidan’s story, but if it pushes the story forwards and brings back an audience favourite character in the process? Count me in.
Art Teams – These guys nearly saved Warlords, but sadly couldn’t solo the Un-subscribe Boss, but put in sterling work regardless, not least on the new character models. In Legion this quality of output has continued apace, and the Environmental Art, Cinematics (both CG and in-game) and character art teams have all smacked it out of the park on this one. Outstanding work all round.
Hate Dislike Strongly:
Trial of Valor – An instance with 3 bosses, harder on normal mode than anything in Emerald Nightmare on Heroic mode? If you are a normal mode only guild, you had no chance of clearing this place on normal. Badly overtuned and feels like busy work to keep raiders who cleared EN quickly busy until Nighthold.
The grind is real – Artifact Power grinding on your main character means that there’s very little time left to devote to alts. The gating of Artifact Knowledge upgrades which increase the amount of AP you can get per drop only strings the process out even further. Thankfully this is seeing some good changes in 7.1.5, and you can quickly up your AK level to 15-20 if you have enough
garrison Order Hall resources.
Professions are only for those with good enough gear – Yep, you read that right. If you have an alt with a profession that you used to support your main in Warlords, then that character had better get themselves geared beyond heroic dungeon level, because profession quests take you into many, many Mythic dungeons. And if you’re unlucky with your guild, and relying on the LFG tool, then you’d better be fully raid geared to be in with a hope of getting into one, because we all know what LFG is like (LFM for normal mode Onyxia, must have 890+ ilevel). That you realistically need to be raid geared just to level up your professions? Madness beyond words, and just goes balls deep into iLevel is God territory. Speaking of which…
iLevel is Everything – People feel such pressure to improve that big lonely figure at the top of their character sheet, that it leads to many players lumping themselves with gear that is less than optimal. No more so evident than in relics for the artifact weapons, where you can lose DPS in order to gain 30+ item levels on your weapon, thereby raising your overall ilevel by that little bit more.
Altoholics are screwed – Because of the enormous time sink all of the above has become, those, like me, who like to both raid and play alts are finding it more difficult than ever to do so. In fact it was only 2 weeks ago, nearly three months into the expansion, where I felt I was “done” enough with AP grinding (3rd gold trait!) on my druid to start gearing up my gnome Hunter. I’ve got her up to 860 now after a couple of Emerald Nightmare runs (in both normal and heroic, vs 870 on my druid) with my Alliance guild, Treehugging Hippies. I’ve also begun levelling both a Vengeance Demon Hunter and my long-term lover, my Paladin. But it’s taken a full 3 months of the expansion until we’ve got to the point where I feel comfortable doing that.
I think a fair few are starting to feel the same now, as, given purely anecdotal evidence from a few people I’ve spoken to, there is such a thing as content fatigue.
I know, it’s the opposite side of the coin to the type of fatigue that drove many millions away in Warlords, but I’m starting to see it.
In fact, I’ve still not had time to get attuned for Karazhan, because, predictably, it involves doing yet more mythic dungeons that can’t be queued for…
Warning, massive ranty rant incoming. Look away now, those of a more sensitive disposition…
But the thing that really got my goat last week was Unleashed Monstrosities. This is an achievement, the completion of which rewards one of your artifact weapon appearances, or if you’re a Guardian Druid like me, one of the best looking Bear Forms in the entire game:
It’s beautiful isn’t it? Amazing looking, and the main reason (shallow, I know) I chose to play a bear in Legion rather than go Main Spec Restoration (again, on the druid).
It’s this EXACT form that I wanted to get more than anything else in Legion, and it’s unlocked by killing 8 different World Bosses for the Unleashed Monstrosities achievement.
Except it’s not though, is it Blizzard…?
24 hours before Unleashed Monstrosities was actually able to be earned, @BlizzardCS dropped this little gem:
[#Warcraft] To use the Unleashed Monstrosities tint, you need to unlock the base Valorous artifact appearance via Improving on History first
— BlizzardCS (@BlizzardCS) November 22, 2016
And for those that don’t know, “Improving on History” is the continuation of the Balance of Power quest-line that requires you to get 30 Corrupted Essences for Essence of Power from random bosses in Emerald Nightmare. And, just in case you weren’t already aware, the drop rate for these is fucking horrific.
After 46 boss kills across Normal and Heroic modes? 46!
Bane of my life right now. pic.twitter.com/4nsGVaJCgW
— Sar (@nerdrooted) November 22, 2016
Yep, that’s right, 6.
Just working that out, it equates to 33 full raid clears of EN for me.
That's beyond mad tbh.
— Sar (@nerdrooted) November 23, 2016
Yet Blizzard see fit to lock skin unlocks achieved by:
- Clearing a Mythic +15 Dungeon within the time limit
- Killing 8 World Bosses
- Doing the usual Dungeon Achievements (oh, you guessed it, Mythic only again!)
…behind requirements only achievable in a normal+ raid environment?
If I’d worked my balls off and done a +15 Mythic dungeon, killed that last World Boss or got that last Legion Dungeon Hero achievement, then ran all the way to the Order Hall just to find out my reward was still locked, and that I had to do completely unrelated work in order to get the reward I’ve already earnt?
I’d have quit on the spot, honestly. That would’ve been it for me. Blizzard said they learnt from their mistakes in MoP where they gated reputation grind rewards behind other reputation grinds, yet their actions clearly state that they’ve not learnt a damn thing.
I’m so very disappointed in Blizzard at the moment, but I still hold some weak hope that they’ll reconsider. Because I may never be able to get those other 24 essences given the apparent 13% drop rate on these things. Trial of Valor is already out, and Nighthold comes in January, which will render EN, heroic or not, obsolete, meaning my chances of running EN every week diminish greatly.
There’s so much more I could write about this, and how very deeply disappointed I was to have something I wanted so much, and thought I’d earned, just to have it arbitrarily taken away at the last minute and locked behind other work that can’t be completed for several months yet…
Anyway, still upset over the whole thing (as if you couldn’t tell), and just another crack in the Legion facade.
But it’s just about holding up so far and I’m still playing and still enjoying it (albeit a bit tainted) so far.
My Gnome Hunter and Alliance alts are getting me through atm, as it’s just nice to have what for me is an entirely new set of race/class combos to play about with. It’s a novelty and one I’m glad for, as it’s breathed a bit of new life into the game as a whole for me.
I just hope we can get a bit of respite from the content grind in 7.1.5.
And there’s something I didn’t think I’d ever be saying again this time last year!
Be careful what you wish for, cos you might just get it…