This is quite a lengthy review of the game as it is now, but I wanted to get as much of my thoughts on it as possible. Some spoilers lurk within.
It’s difficult to review an MMORPG expansion when it hasn’t been fully released. The problem with reviewing it at launch is that it’s too early and even during the middle of the expansion, you never know how it’ll turn out in its final patch. but right now is the best time to review the expansion.
Last time I had written a review for World of Warcraft was during the last major patch in Warlords of Draenor. But now here we are at the last patch for Legion.
Legion World Content in 2018
Content pacing throughout Legion has been by far, the best in any expansion. Patches (including 7.x.5 patches) have typically gone live roughly every 77 days, which is a massive improvement. It’s something they’re likely to go ahead with in Battle for Azeroth as it does address droughts between patches.
The game as it stands offers a vast amount of content if you just started before patch 7.3.5 launched. There’s a lot of stuff you can do, sure. There are world quests, profession quests, zone exploration, which has some fascinating scenery, the Nightfallen story line (the best story telling they’ve done in the entire game) and more. You probably won’t run out of things to do if you choose not to ignore all pre-Argus content, which is a bit of a design flaw if previous content within the same expansion becomes pointless to do, apart from gaining transmogrification and visual rewards.
If you want the biggest bang for your buck, you’re going to want to do a lot of the Broken Isles content. If you want to go straight into the Argus story, then you can easily do so without doing everything else before that. However, I don’t think this is healthy for the game.
A small problem with going through the Broken Isles then onto Argus is that what you can do on the Broken Isles, is essentially copy and pasted on Argus, just with stronger enemies and less annoying world quests. There isn’t particularly anything different beside Invasion Portals, which are essentially demon invasions anyway. What makes these Invasion Portals interesting however, is how you venture into a portal to another world, which quite possibly may give Blizzard some ideas for future content!
Argus is still the best Legion zone
While Argus is unfortunately is just another place with world quests and stronger enemies, it’s the visuals and tie-in to the story that highlights it. Many players, including me had always been eager to visit Argus, the home world of my Draenei Shaman. As soon as you first step onto the planet, all you see is desecration. Desecration caused by the Legion. As soon as it arrived, I had spent a fair amount of time taking screenshots of Argus from Azeroth! It was truly an immersive (there’s that buzzword!) moment.
Despite there being a lot of green, as we’ve been used to for a very long time, the visuals, especially the sky box, bring the planet to life. It’s not all green though. Mac’Aree shows glimmers of what Argus once was. The elegant planet of the Eredar. If you’re big into your lore, this will appeal to you big time.
There’s also a neat meta-achievement which grants the title of ‘, the Lightbringer’, awarded from completing ‘Paragon of Argus‘. It takes a bit of dedication, but it’s worth it, especially as a Paladin with the Tabard of the Lightbriner. Just imagine what it’s like with these on role-playing realms!
Let’s not forget the reason for going to this forsaken planet. Antorus, the Burning Throne really is one of World of Warcraft’s best raids. I mean, it does suffer from the same thing most raids do, which is random bosses we’ve never heard of, but it’s the combination of the incredible designs, music and the bosses who we do know of. For example, the fights against Aggramar, Argus and the end cinematic are worth playing to see. It’s different watching the cinematic in-game and seeing it on YouTube. If you’re into your raids, you’ll love Legion.
There isn’t really much left to say about Argus. It wraps up the Legion story line for now, something that we’ve needed for a long time now. It’ll be great moving onto far more interesting enemies instead of demons. And please, no more green for a long time!
World Quests are a Quality of Life Improvement
World Quests aren’t really a problem and are a significant improvement over dailies, while they are essentially the same thing, the biggest quality of life improvement is the fact that you don’t need to hand quests in. While this is nice, world quests suffer from the same thing every expansion. It’s either collect x or kill y, or fill up the bar to get your reward. But not all of them are like this. For example, the Kirin Tor quests are a fantastic change and breaks up the ‘attack everything’ game play.
The ‘Boring’ Shore
The title says it all really. The Broken Shore is a let down in terms of its incredibly boring story progression and unfortunately, the only reason you’d go there is to get your class mount, beat Kil’jaeden in the Tomb of Sargeras (which you now only want gear for transmogrification) or perhaps one of the best additions to the expansion, the Mage Tower challenges. Other than that, don’t expect to return often.
Speaking of the Mage Tower challenges, they are something you need to try at least once. At launch, they were challenging because they were tuned for characters in roughly item level 900-910 gear. While some class specialization challenges were much more difficult than others, generally, it required a lot of skill and timing to beat. Nerfs were only given when things were broken and I’m glad there weren’t any adjustments to make them easier. Doing them in item level 930-950 gear makes these challenges far easier, but even then you still need to pay attention to some mechanics. We need more of these.
Legendaries have been Horrid
By now this topic has been beaten too many times. But it has left a sour taste, and not just with me, with many others too. Legendaries in Legion are just a big no no. There are no positives that have come from it and has only lead to a general feeling of dissatisfaction. Hell I had only just gotten the ‘Smoldering Heart’ gloves at the start of February, an Elemental/Enhancement Shaman’s best in slot legendary item.
It’s much better in terms of how often you gain your first 2-3 legendary items, however you have no way of targeting which ones you get. But hey, at least we can now buy legendary gear in the form of tokens when the expansion is at the point where no one cares anymore! Even then, you’re still at the mercy of RNG.
Luckily for us Warcraft geeks, the legendary system is being shafted in Battle for Azeroth. So we don’t have much longer to go.
The Expansion of Repetitiveness and Mythic+
Mythic+ has brought life back into dungeons, where they’ve previously been left in the dust. Sure they’re repetitive but playing with different group compositions and affixes is what keeps it fresh. It also offers an alternative to those who don’t like raiding or PvP, but prefer playing in 5-player groups. The weekly reward being on par with mythic Antorus gear, and the actually end of dungeon loot similar to heroic Antorus. Mind you, it’s far easier to deck yourself out in mythic quality gear without stepping foot in mythic, or even heroic Antorus. If you like playing in smaller groups, mythic+ is a fine recommendation, as long as you play with people you can rely on.
Titanforging is a problem. While it is a rare occurrence to see a piece of loot titanforge from 920 to 965, it doesn’t make the players who play the more challenging content feel good. It also makes balancing much more difficult and the power difference between each tier becomes too large, which is a problem in itself. If gear increased by 5-10 item levels at the most, there wouldn’t be such an increase in power. There are times where players are progressing in for example, heroic Antorus, only to disenchant loot because they’ve gotten a better piece of gear from normal. That’s not particularly heartening is it? We don’t need titanforging.
Scaling Breathed Life into the Old World
7.3.5, while being labelled as a ‘minor’ patch, had actually brought in a lot of content. Scaling old world zones is perhaps the best change they’ve added in a long time, making leveling a far better experience than before. It is also noticeably slower, mainly from not being able to one-shot enemies anymore, which was horrible.
This time, you can complete every quest in a zone before moving onto another one, whereas before 7.3.5, you would spam queue for dungeons and out level a zone before you know it. Allied Race or not, it’s definitely worth playing through again.
Allied Races have been a bit of a touchy subject recently due to the requirements needed to unlock them. While I do agree that a requirement to unlock them is a good thing, as they are advertised with Battle for Azeroth, it’s a lot of work to reach exalted with one of the four factions in the previous expansion. There’s just no reason to require exalted. It’s not friendly at all to new or returning players.
World of Warcraft is slowly transitioning into the Battle for Azeroth story, with a small (15 minute) quest line recently added, which is great, but is unfortunately entirely forgettable once you’ve done it. At the time of writing this review, I was wondering when the Seething Shore battleground would be released, low and behold it was opened just last week, a mere 1 and a half months after it’s announcement as being part of patch 7.3.5. The time gating is just out of place with this, and with such a focus on the faction war, you’d think a PvP feature should be a priority.
Class Design is…Complicated
How each class and spec plays is a complicated matter. What one player will find boring, another won’t. There’s a lot of specs that play like this, with some being a lot of fun. For example, Enhancement Shaman is in its best state since Mists of Pandaria. The same goes for Shadow Priests and other classes to some extent.
There are however, some specializations that stick out like a sore thumb and have suffered from either an overly aggressive prune or an overwork that hasn’t worked out. Demonology Warlock and Survival Hunter are two specializations that haven’t really worked out. Demonology is too ‘spammy’ and not ‘epic’ enough. Imp and felhunter summoning isn’t exciting. Survival Hunter takes far more effort to get than other, easier specializations. Plus if you’re playing a Hunter, you’re going to want to play ranged, which Survival is not.
Arms Warrior and Marksmanship Hunter are two specializations that feel empty and are shells of their former selves. While these are current issues, they are being addressed in Battle for Azeroth. At least, that’s what it looks like from the Battle for Azeroth alpha.
Hey, what about PvP?
The title again, says it all. PvP hasn’t been very exciting in this expansion. While the PvP talents and Prestige system were good additions for the first few months of the expansion, they each have big flaws. For new level 110 characters, you have to unlock PvP talents, just as you would your normal talents, which is a real pain as you’re already at such a huge disadvantage against other players, even more so than when gear wasn’t restricted in instanced PvP.
The Prestige system is good for the first 5 or so levels, but after that, the rewards are recolours of the rewards you’ve already gained. For the amount of time you have to invest into the system, it’s just not worth it. I do however recommend getting to Prestige level 1, rank 50 just to unlock the artifact skin!
To sum up PvP, I would wait until Battle for Azeroth, as it seems there is more focus on it.
A Final Few Lines Before
Legion is a solid expansion overall, with some parts being on par with Mists of Pandaria and the Wrath of the Lich King. But it all comes down to what you’re looking for. If you’re looking to progress in Legion’s raids or to reach the highest mythic+ level you can, you’ll enjoy the game. There’s even enough world and alt character content (including collecting gear for (transmogrification) to do if you’re not into playing with others all the time.
Interested in PvP? I’ll reiterate and say it would be better to wait until the Battle for Azeroth expansion. Or you could play as one of the flavour of the month classes!
Whatever you decide, my one piece of advice to you is to take your time. There are no more tiers or major patches coming until the Battle for Azeroth pre-expansion patch, and definitely nothing to gain from rushing (apart from gearing faster). Play at your own pace and you’ll enjoy it a hell of a lot more.