It’s hard to believe that even after 10 years, World of Warcraft is still kicking ass. We’re talking about THE MMO tyrant that manages to make other (I’m looking at you Old Republic) to switch to Free-To-Play subjugation or worse. But it’s no secret that even after all these years, World of Warcraft has struggled to keep its dedicated community invested. Legion promises to bring that excitement back by shifting the narrative on the highly powerful Burning Legion—an army of doom that are half bent on destroying Azeroth (AKA the World of Warcraft). With this plot at center stage and the new Demon Hunter (Illidari) class, the World of Warcraft has never felt so alive.
While I’ve started a month before, Legion is the first expansion and entry into the World of Warcraft. It’s been hard avoiding the sheer popularity for so long and quite honestly never really cared much about its lore. But thanks to a bunch of friends who wouldn’t shut up about it, well, here I am. So to make this review interesting I’ve decided to talk about the World of Warcraft from someone who’s just starting. This should hopefully help add perspective to those seeking to join WoW.
To say the lore of Warcraft is massive would be understatement. There’s so much happening with characters from not just Azeroth but other worlds and dimensions that it honestly feels overwhelming. Even after a month of watching videos and reading up on Wiki I’m still wrapping my head around these characters. Which is why it’s important to focus on the core and worry about all the other stuff later. From a business point of view, Blizzard have created a gold mine as they’re able to touch (and naturally charge) on so many subjects in the Warcraft leaving each expansion feeling like its own game. Legion introducing two main elements: the Burning Legion (demons from another dimension) and The Demon Hunters (a proud race dedicated to stopping, you guessed it, demons). Demon Hunters are also called Illidari which fall under the command of Illidan who promises to seek revenge on the demons and stop them once and for all. Demon Hunters are transformed by embracing and trapping a demons essence within them. This gives them supernatural abilities making them strong enough to combat the Burning Legion.
Depending on the class you pick you will witness several different beginnings to this chapter. If you’re returning with your main you’ll most likely land on the Broken Isles fending off the Burning Legion invasion in a raid or start years before as a Demon Hunter putting a stop to them on their home turf. Regardless of which you pick both sides are exceptionally cinematic and serves as a great opening act. It’s also worth noting that the Broken Isles raid features both Alliance and Horde participation which is a first for the series. I hope the upcoming raids will also feature a similar style as well.
While there is no “right” choice in picking which banner to follow for this expansion it’s highly recommended to go with Alliance. King Varian, a major character in Warcraft, dies in the Broken Isles invasion which further fuels motivation for the Alliance to work with Demon Hunters and put an end to the Burning Legion. A lot more obviously happen such as Gul’dan taking Illidan as prisoner for God knows what, but the core of the plot is focused on standing together to stopping a demon invasion from destroying their planet.
Your choices will have an impact on the plot. One example is early in the Demon Hunter I was chosen to pick a new leader. One would follow the path Illidan originally set while the other wishes to change things. I’ve been told (not confirmed) that choices will lay the foundation for future WoW expansions depending on what players choice. That would be pretty awesome if true.
When starting WoW one of my biggest worries is that it will all feel dated. This was somewhat true as starting with a Warrior for instance gave me missions that were quite dull and lacked the punch that say the Demon Hunter had. But as soon as we landed on the Broken Isles, things changed. A lot. The quests were more robust and interesting, the level design felt more diverse and less barren, and the visuals actually looked good. Even on my 980ti I was getting FPS drops and that’s without ultra settings.
Questing involves going to each section of the Broken Isles and begin seeking the relics and artifacts necessary to stopping the Legion. Along the way you will also help the locals as well fend off any Legion forces. Around this period I did feel that things went a bit derivative as I was tasked with doing a lot of things that didn’t feel necessarily important to the major plot. I realize this is a common filler trope we see in a lot of RPG’s but it felt like it killed the momentum the opening acts were building up upon.
Artifacts are something I thoroughly enjoyed playing with. Each of these allow your weapon to be customized by specific artifacts to give it various attributes. As you unlock these attributes you help shape shift your weapon into something more personal and unique to you. From what I heard this used to be a feature in vanilla WoW but was later on dropped. It being back in is definitely a good thing as the level of customization helps add depth to your weapons as opposed to just being “things you equipped for stat boosts”. There are a total of 36 of these including the all-powerful/popular Ashbringer.
Aside from that there have been major tweaks here and there. The first and obvious one is the 110 level cap. Buying Legion would net you one free level boost to any character but you’re unsure there’s a level 100 trial mode which convinced me to go Monk. Several other classes such as the Hunter can now choose three specializations: Beastmaster (use more than one pet), Survival (equip melee weapons alongside their pet), and Marksmanship (use ranged weapons at the cost of losing your pet). Again it’s highly recommended you test the class using the free level 100 trial which includes a pretty basic yet useful tutorial.
My journey through the World of Warcraft has been somewhat a mixed experience. The beginning can feel a bit dated with dungeons that feel old. Legion however is the turning point, the expansion that embraces new ideas and brings the game to 2016. The only jarring aspect was the overflow of information. Aside from the expansive lore, WoW has a deep learning curve, especially if you’re picking a more technical class like Tanking (the game even suggest not to go for these classes unless you’re experienced). If you’re new I recommend trying out the Demon Hunter class as I felt it’s the easiest to get into and not to mention very stylish especially if you’re into hack and slash type games. WoW isn’t a game you finish, it’s an experience that needs to be taken at slowly. Doing so you will find yourself lost and absorbed in something that no other game in the market can offer.
Editor’s note: There’s more to come to Legion within the coming weeks including quests and some dungeons. Heck we don’t even know how will this end other than a raid that will take place in an astral plane known as The Emerald Nightmare—charming! Then of course there’s the Mythic difficulty for the elites looking for rare drops and a challenge. With that said it wouldn’t make sense to give the game a final score yet. Though if I had to give it a score now it would be the following: