In less than twenty four hours from the time of writing this, World of Warcraft: Legion will come to a close, and Battle for Azeroth will go live all around the world. I want to use this time to reflect on the last two years of WoW, and talk about how much of a blast it has been.
Blizzard learned from many of their mistakes made during Warlords of Draenor, the expansion before Legion. WoD had a notoriously bad expansion launch due to the new Garrisons feature, where players would disconnect from the game every time they tried to go to their Garrison. On top of that, the Garrison mission table system, while exciting at first, quickly became dull and encouraged players to spend most of their time sending followers on missions to get rare items instead of actually leaving their Garrison to get them themselves. Needless to say, the Warcraft team at Blizzard had an idea for WoD that everyone was excited about at first, but did not work as well in practice.
All these things led to why Legion was so awesome. After WoD came to a close, we were promised more content and faster content, as well as a revamped follower system (the order hall). Blizzard acknowledged the mistakes made during WoD and delivered on their promise for more content so as to not make the game feel stagnant. In Legion we got class Order Halls and Order Campaigns, World Emissary Quests, cool new zones (pictures featured in this post), random legendaries, the awesome Suramar max-level questline, to finally travel to Argus, and so much more. While no expansion is perfect and there are things about Legion I did not like, I have had so much fun playing Warcraft these past two years, and, to me, Blizzard really nailed it.
There was so much content in Legion that I, and many others, were left feeling overwhelmed with the amount of things to do! Once I quested through each zone’s story-line and completed my Order Hall campaign I started the Suramar story, which was a beast in and of itself. The plight of the Nightborne and my journey with them to help liberate their city from the influence of Demons was one of the most important feeling quest-lines I have ever done. Additionally, I could complete World Quests and get my Emissary Cache, which gives me a chance at legendaries and other rare loot. Micro-Holidays were peppered into the mix, something I have only recently started exploring. The story of Legion was compelling because we were fighting The Burning Legion, and we knew that most likely we would get a glimpse of Sargeras, one of the biggest baddies since forever.
The Alliance faced the death of their king and, likewise, the Horde faced the death of their Warchief. We stopped the Legion from regenerating eternally and put a stop to their leader, with Illidan becoming jailer to Sargeras. And, most importantly, Khadgar was a major character! Seriously, we got a lot to play through in Legion and I hope that this level of content and quality carries over to BFA. That being said, there are some elements to Legion that I did not necessarily like…
While Legion is regarded by most as a huge success, I believe some things fell a little short. In particular I did not like the changes made to Professions, because in order to max out skill level, players had to run dungeons and complete a quest-line that to me was annoying. Because of the amount of stuff to do, leveling Professions was always on my lowest list of priorities and I never completed the quests. Mostly I was annoyed that Professions tied into dungeons and that, if you never do the dungeon, you can’t max out your skill. With the changes to Professions for BFA having already been implemented, I can only hope that a new system for skilling up has been found.
As I quested and finished the Suramar quest-line on my main, I did not feel compelled to go through that several more times on alts. While the quest-line was amazing because it was a new story unfolding around me, I knew it would not hold the same sway over me a second time. Getting my Nightfallen reputation to exalted multiple times just made me feel tired, and, at the time, so did thinking about running through the quests a second time. Thinking back on it now, it would have probably been a fun thing to do on alts while waiting for BFA, but I was too busy being in awe of Argus and shiny new Allied Races.
My last major point is a small one: green. So much green! After two consecutive expansions with loads of Demons and fel magic, I think I have had just about enough green to last a lifetime. I loved that Legion revisited old topics like Illidan, Sargeras, and Suramar, but after two years of that I think I’m ready to move on. Even after the controversy that BFA has caused within the community thus far, I find myself excited for a clean slate. With the Burning Legion out of the way we can focus on what’s really important: war! Seriously, I am excited to see where that whole story goes and how many patches it will take Blizzard to give us N’Zoth and Azshara.
After such an enjoyable expansion with many high points and significantly less low points, I am anxious to see how Battle for Azeroth will compare. I hope Blizzard continues to give us awesome content and learn from the mistakes of the past. I’m nervous because after any big character arc comes to a close, there is typically a lull while writers build up the next big important plot-line. After imprisoning Sargeras, it feels as though a big part of Warcraft lore has come to a close, at least for now. I’m also nervous for the release tomorrow because I believe it’s WoW’s first ever global release, and that might be a disaster. While it is very possible that there might be awkward points in the story for the next couple of years, I hope that Warfronts, Island Expeditions, and the War Campaign will help to bridge that gap.
That being said, I am still very excited to start brand-new quests on two new continents tomorrow. If I wasn’t excited about new stuff in Warcraft, I wouldn’t have played it as long as I have. Every launch to me feels like Chistmas morning as a little kid, where I run downstairs and unwrap some gifts that are a total mystery as to what they contain. The most important and exciting part of Warcraft to me has always been the stories told, which is good news for me since Blizzard has said that BFA is going to be a very story-driven expansion. I have been very good at avoiding spoilers so I can’t wait to see what happens tomorrow!