We are in that transition time. The World of Warcraft 8.0 patch lands today.
This heralds the start of the run up to the Battle for Azeroth expansion launch in the middle of next month.
With Blizzard planning a world-wide simultaneous launch, we’re actually going live mid-afternoon of August 13th here on the west coast of the US.
It is also the official end of the Legion expansion for the game.
It isn’t as though Legion is being purged from the game. If you have a character that levels up into the expansion’s range you can still get your artifact weapon and run through all the zones and dungeons and what not. If you haven’t purchased Battle for Azeroth you can hang around at level 110 and work on faction and unlock flying just like many of us did before today.
However, Legion will no longer be the focus of the game. The bulk of the player base will be moving on. Right now the pre-expansion events will start taking people away, and once the new expansion itself hits Argus and the Broken Isles will be much more quiet. Using LFG for dungeons may take some time, and LFR for the expansion raids will likely be untenable. Class changes coming with BfA will also alter the Legion experience. And, of course, some achievements and events will no longer be accessible. The Legion experience is over and the game is moving on.
So I am going to take a bit and reflect on Legion in its first moments of being part of WoW‘s past rather than present.
I liked the zones. Each of the initial four had their own flavor. I think I liked Stormheim the best. After that Suramar was an adventure in and of itself. The stealth/disguise game play could be a bit much after a while, but it gave the zone its own dimension. Moving beyond that, Broken Shore wasn’t anything special, but Argus was good, in its own no-flying sort of way.
I liked those, at least as a variation on the standard daily quest mechanic. The Emissary Quest aspect of it gave a nice, compact set of daily quests to do without burning yourself out griding. The Kirin-Tor quests were perhaps the most problematic. At least the ones where you had to teleport around, though they became incredibly easy once you unlocked flying. And I was happy to have pet battle world quests available.
Dungeons and Raids
I don’t have much to say on this really. Lacking a regular group with which to run the group content I had to rely on the Dungeon Finder. That tends to be an unsatisfying experience to me. Groups are focused on getting the dungeon done and moving on as fast as possible, while I like to stop as see what is going on. You can’t do that when you’re chasing a tank who is running at full speed to get to the last boss and get out. But I wouldn’t be able to do the dungeons at all without LFG, so there is that.
Raids I am less concerned about. I have never been a raider in WoW. They tend to be slower anyway, and I am only there in LFR in full on tourist mode, so things work out.
Still, I ended up not doing much group content during the expansion.
I was okay with the artifact weapon idea. As a player I am not very good at keeping my gear up to level, but my weapon is always the exception. I want the best I can get and will hunt down upgrades or stalk the auction house. The artifact weapon meant that I didn’t have to keep track of that even.
Some of the artifact weapons looked good… or would have if they hadn’t been literally everywhere. I transmoged my Ashbringer to a Mists of Pandaria model that looked about the same shape just to see if I could confuse anybody. Other weapons were pretty bland. I wasn’t keen on my hunter weapon. I had a pile of transmog options that looked better than any variation of Titanstrike.
Blizz is still firmly on the fence about flying. You can’t have it to start with. You have to run through the expansion without it. Then at some point they unock it and then you and your alts can fly, but not in every zone. This time around there was no flying in Argus.
However Blizz giving us that whistle that let us recall to the nearest flight point fixed a lot of the drudgery aspect of not being able to fly. You have to be on the ground to do the quest, fight the mob, collect the thingies, or whatever. It is just getting back to the nearest settlement or on to another one that concerns you most of the time. Especially when you’re doing world quests in order to unlock flying! This made the lack of flying much nicer.
I ended up with seven characters at 110 in Legion, so I guess I ought to have some opinions about classes. Paladin and Hunter remain my favorites, though the spec split for Hunters didn’t do much for me. I was excited about the split when they announced, then stayed with beast mastery the whole time because ranged weapons and pets are what the Hunter class is all about for me.
The Death Knight and Warrior classes also worked well for me. I am good at running up to things while wearing a pile of metal and beating on them.
I am not so good with squishy stuff. I leveled a combat Rogue from 1 to 100 during Warlords of Draenor, then struggled to play him during Legion. I boosted a mage to 100 and then died so much I leveled him to 110 via pet battles. I helped my druids, one Alliance and one Horde that way as well. The Alliance one still isn’t 110 yet.
And somehow I never quite got around to working on my Demon Hunter. I rolled him up early in the expansion, yet he is still in the starter story. Never finished it. No gliding about for me.
An attempt to fix/refine the problematic garrisons of Warlords of Draenor. It was tough to pretend you were anything special when you’re running around in an area with a lot of people all wielding the same “unique” weapon as you. How many Ashbringers are there?
Still, having only a few followers and missions available removed the follower management mania of garrisons. I never felt order resources were as critical as garrison resources. I did run down all my class quests for my Pally, but never felt the need to do it with alts.
I liked the Paladin order hall the best. It was likely the easiest one to get around. It was certainly the one I spent the most time in. But for travel to and fro, nothing beats the Warrior order hall. When I told my daughter that you simply jump into the sky to get there she thought I was kidding.
Again, after Warlords of Draenor pretty much made trade skills pointless by giving everybody access to everything in their garrison I know they had to do something. But I guess there was no going back to the harvest and grind. Instead they went forward with quests and multi-level recipes and what not. When I found I had to do dungeons in order to advance trade skills lost interest, even with my Paladin, who is an engineer and who I always max out.
Here is what I did for trade skills during Legion. I sat my tailor in his garrison after he hit 110 and had him make hexweave bags, so now all my characters are loaded up with 30 slot storage. And then I did Darkmoon Faire. I suspect I advanced more via the latter than I did in the Broken Isles.
A while back I tried to quantify which WoW expansions I enjoyed most based on factions as a metric. The theory was that the more time I spent doing something like grinding faction, the more likely it was that I enjoyed the expansion. It was probably as good a metric as any. In that list I worked the number so that Wrath of the Lich King, my gut favorite expansion, came out on top, with 8 of 11 major factions exalted, or 86%. Now it is time to look and see how I did with Legion.
I guess by that metric I have a new champion. Unless there was some major faction I missed, I am 9 for 9, which gives me 100%.
Now there were some special circumstances. I had to get revered with six of those in order to unlock flying in the expansion. And, later on, I had to get revered with four of them to unlock the four pre-BfA allied races. Still, I did do my bit for grinding, largely thanks to world quests and the emissary quest system, which put it all into daily bite size pieces.
By another measure, time spent playing, Legion is only average. I spent about a year playing Legion out of its near two year run. I played WotLK from its launch to the launch of Cataclysm, the only expansion I stay with for the full term. So, as it goes, Legion is likely mid-pack in my favorites; behind WotLK and Mists of Pandaria certainly.
Now a days for somebody like me who doesn’t have a regular group, who doesn’t raid, who doesn’t do any PvP… I know there must have been at least one new battleground introduced with Legion, but I couldn’t tell you the name…, who did a bit of Time Walking, but who mostly plays solo and does some pet battles and works on some alts, there is about a years worth of content in a WoW expansion.
Which is fine. Taking a break is good.
Anyway, tonight is probably the last night for the Legion login screen.
When I get home tomorrow it should be version 8.0.x and have the Battle for Azeroth logo. But what that brings is another story altogether.