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Now the initial excitement is over. We see how the Legion works and what there is to do. We've all fallen into some sort of routine of this or that. And we've had quite a bit of time to accomplish a lot of goals. So it's time for a review - on five months of expansion, Christmas Eve 2017.
Introduction - Pre-Launch Event
Everything about the pre-Legion month was amazing. You couldn't have been more motivated to head to the Broken Isles - no, please. Your beloved peaceful territories were under attack, and every citizen of Azeroth - even those who could barely hold a sharp stick or cast a few spells - could fend off the invasions. The Demon Hunters awoke from their imprisonment and the final introduction of the class took place: the history, the scenario design, the introduction of spells, everything. The Illidari were reluctantly welcomed into the Horde and Alliance, but they gave up 700-720 equip to prepare to attack the islands, and adventurers liked them for it (even if the avalanche of Illidan puns in nicknames was overwhelming). There was also a cool quest with Khadgar in which we participated in moving Dalaran - in the process we learned about where Ulduar and Karazhan are now, saw King Magni, and learned that Azeroth is Titan and is SHE. Still, I consider this more of an educational event. The real climax of excitement and danger came on the battlefront when we participated in the first assault on the islands.
Led by faction leaders, we thought a small elite force would drive the demons back into space, lol. Disaster came and we tragically lost the faction leaders and the surviving heads of the race were very, very mentally disturbed. Thrall never recovered. Jaina left Dalaran in a rage and is nowhere to be seen. Genn and Sylvanas would rather slit their own throats than fight demons...
With great regret and rage, we entered the Legion, ready to drive them back to the hells from which they came. Did we have a chance to do that?
It's interesting, but we didn't. The Legion presence in the Broken Isles is ridiculously small - if there is one at all. Only two zones have any Legion camps worth mentioning. There's a massive enclave in Suramar - but they don't dare show their noses outside their dump. And a couple of camps in Asun - quite effectively kept at bay by the Illidari. In Legion, we don't fight against... Legion.
Azsuna - it's a holding place for the invading naga tidewaves of Azshara. They just hunt the same thing we do, so our interests collide there. If that wasn't the case, we probably wouldn't have to fight them at all - because they wouldn't be leading forces into the Broken Isles in the first place. It also didn't feel like a race for the prize. Blizzard just unloaded a tank of fish in the Azsuna Ruins, and we had to dump everything back into the ocean, because it wouldn't have been possible otherwise.
Val'sharah - has its own story and is completely unrelated. Though Xavius was originally a servant of the Legion, he has long since forgotten them. He has his own agenda, and while dangerous, it's still the local druids' problem. And yet we knew Ysera and that alone made us want to go to Emerald Nightmare. Well played!
Highmountain - ooh, a plush tea party! Everyone is so sweet and nice, including the Dar'grul preschooler. Some local conflicts between tribes are resolved, a bully is defeated, a toy train is taken away, and peace and friendship reign on the mountain.
Stormheim - has almost nothing to do with Legion. We continue the Sylvanas/Genn conflict... for the first 15 minutes, and then we get completely lost in very boring viking stuff. The nemesis here is Helya. This is just a retelling of Norse mythology, so it has no connection to the agenda. Questing in Stormheim is probably the only failure in Legion: we didn't follow Sylvanas and Genna or our factions, we just forgot about them until the cinematic finally fell on us. And because of that, the cinematic was not moving at all. They hit each other and smashed the lamp. A cinematic worthy of a Friday night bar fight on the outskirts of town.
Suramar is a story of rebellion. Everyone likes stories about rebels and fighting evil aristocrats. But once again, the demons are just embellishments there - not the core of the story. If you don't forget the demons, the plot is perfect. You plot, you undermine, you hang slogans on the walls, you sleep on rags in the den - you live the life of a rebel. Precious!
Yes, I know the master plan. We need those pillars of creation - after all, we need to seal the portal to the Legion worlds. We make sure nothing hits us in the back as we concentrate our efforts on Gul'dan. We also make friends with the locals and help them - because we're heroes and good people. But... if you came here motivated to avenge Varian and Vol'jin, well, no.
It's important to note, though, that Blizzard doesn't fail at creating interesting stories. I usually really enjoy questing levels and Legion is no exception. You sympathize with the inhabitants, you want to help them, and you're interested to learn about what's going on. Only - you lose track of why the expansion is called Legion.
From a technical standpoint, leveling in Legion is uneven. Especially before the class tunings that came out during the month - and when the leveling was done. Some classes glided through zones like hawks, sweeping everything along the way. But some classes were full of blood, tears, and death. If a warrior cleared quest batches in the blink of an eye and didn't even have a scratch on him, my mage was dying and dying and dying and dying, earning his diabetes thanks to the conjured candy he ate after each mob.
The levels came at a perfect pace. Finishing questing in four zones, you're there at 109 or 110. There were fill-the-bar quests with excellent experience rewards upon completion. Order hall quests for experience also appeared. A second alt could do some levels with just follower missions.
The rewards for the quests were good. As it should be, for completing a zone you get a full armor recolor and your ilvl increases by 25 levels.
Another major introduction in Legion is scaling. Scaling would allow us to choose which zone to quest in - or you could even start questing in one zone, then do another, then come back to finish questing in the first. Rewards would also scale. Not only does this help with possibly questing with friends at lower or higher levels, but it also keeps all zones filled with players. The same scaling applies to dungeons, which reduced queues.
If there is one quality a JRPG player possesses, it is patience. Patience to wait your turn in...Read more