Legion Praise

As Shintar pointed out in the comments last time around, almost all of my coverage of Legion thus far has been either AH or complaint-related. And that’s fair – it has. I suppose we all just sort of take it for granted that WoW’s general gameplay is genre-defining and spectacular in most every way. Indeed, that engaging gameplay is precisely why we complain: if only X or Y could be fixed, we’d feel better about getting lost in the oblivion of killing mobs for hours.

Well, for this post, I won’t take it for granted. Legion is vastly improved in almost every way.

For one thing, all mobs everywhere are multi-tap capable. You know, that thing that Guild Wars 2 (and presumably others) have been doing for 4+ years already? Between the multi-tap mobs and the multi-tap resources nodes, the very fabric of open-world social dynamics has changed in Legion. Members of my own faction are no longer competition. Demon Hunter zipping around and collecting all the quest mobs in the area? Cool, let me just toss a Sunfire into that pack and get credit and looting rights to everything.

Granted, I might be more miffed if I were a spec without easy AoE.

There have been a lot of concern over the Great Ability Prune this expansion, but I have largely enjoyed having action bars back. More conditional and/or specialized buttons raises the skill cap, sure. At the same time, what is actually important is the feeling one gets pressing what buttons one has. If you only enjoy pressing 1-2 buttons of your 12 button rotation, what good is that?

In this regard, Legion is a massive, massive leap forward in most of the specs I have played. I smile every time I cast Full Moon on the Balance druid. Grappling Hook on the Outlaw rogue is fucking magical. You never quite realize how beaten down you have gotten over the years in regards to terrain until you gain the freedom to actually “teleport” up a hill you would otherwise have to traverse around. And speaking of Outlook rogues, Pistol Shot as an ability just feels so good. The sound, the action, the proc, the utility of having a ranged, technically spammable attack is perfect.

I have not spent much, non-Invasion time with the other alts, for reasons I kinda already got into with my complaint posts. What I will say though, is that the simple existence of class-specific content is an extremely good motivating factor in getting said classes leveled up and/or at least played some to see it. I didn’t like Unholy DK gameplay during Invasions, for example, but when I heard that the Lich King is involved in the artifact quests? Sign me up. It might only be an hour or two of specific content (and some locations are shared), but it is more than has existed for quite some time.

Leveling zones have been spectacular this expansion as well. It normally goes without saying, but I really do appreciate how much care Blizzard takes in not being as predictable in the art design department. Remember Wrath of the Lich King and the Northrend continent? Everyone expected every zone to just be all snow and zombies all the time. And while there was a lot of snow and zombies, you also had Grizzly Hills and Sholazar Basin and so on. In a similar vein, there is kind of a expectation in Legion for… well, Legion everywhere. Demons and green fire and Chronicles of Riddick-esque architecture. Not so much, actually. I started out leveling in Highmountain, and things have pretty much been up (har har) from there.

While I have not hit level cap just quite yet, I have high praise for the scaling leveling tech. There is more content than necessary for reaching 110 – which is good – but would typically present an issue within the zones themselves once you outlevel them. “Do I see the conclusion of this quest chain now, or come back later when it’s trivial?” I remember that being a major issue in Wrath in Grizzly Hills, as that was a zone I wanted to spend more time in, but outpaced the content available. Between the scaling mobs and scaling rewards, this is not an issue anymore.

I will admit though that there feels like a bit of a loss in the tangible feeling of level progression department, insofar as mobs are almost always the same level of difficulty. Sometimes it feels liberating coming back to older zones and having the run of the place, you know?

Quest-wise… this is WoW. People often complain about having to kill 10 whatevers in MMO quests, but that’s kind of why we’re playing a game with 10 million hostile whatevers, right? Besides, those sort of quests are filler and/or padding for the actual story/plot quests, which have been fantastically meaty from a lore standpoint. So much so, in fact, that I suspect the quest writers have been reading a bit too much Game of Thrones. Gods, demigods, Aspects… no one is safe. I legitimately wonder what Blizzard is going to follow this expansion up with – the old (figurative and literal) pantheon seems to have swept away, so they’re either wrapping things up or making room for new guys.

In any case, there it is. Legion is a lot of fun. I have complaints for days and days about all manners of things, but it comes from a place of frustration with wasted potential. That AH business, for example, would easily keep me entertained for 3 months if they fixed the throttling.

Alas, it is what it is. Which is 90% good, even if the 10% gets all the attention.

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Posted on September 16, 2016, in WoW and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. > or making room for new guys.

    The Void Lords

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  2. I legitimately wonder what Blizzard is going to follow this expansion up with – the old (figurative and literal) pantheon seems to have swept away, so they’re either wrapping things up or making room for new guys.

    One can only hope. One thing that turns me off these days about WoW is that we’re still going on with Sargeras and the Burning Legion and Gul’Dan and Illidan and so on. Even when they die they aren’t dead. It makes me appreciate Pandaria more just for doing something original, even if it didn’t always work.

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  3. Warning, might be actual rant and not pure praise! :)
    Legion feels like a good expansion, or have felt the past weeks since launch. But the more I think about it I realize that most other expansions I also liked at least thing much when the they were only this old. even WoD was still an ok expansion after three weeks so I feel its too early to give a real judgement.
    Besides, as I started running into more and more artificial gating in the linear(on rails) progression and longing of using my flying mounts, things are already starting to feel all too familiar with what has been. :(

    Trying to grasp whats wrong with it would be that the expansion is overly ambitious with creating goal based linear consumable content while not giving the players the freedom that used to be in the game.
    And after reaching the timed gates, anything that remains for now is to log in and check if there are any world quest that has rewards big enough to motivate the travel there else log off again while waiting for the days long research work orders to finish up in the class hall.

    Conclusion.
    In MoP when it was this old, I still had more stuff to do and the freedom to fly around and explore every inch of the world. Legion might have a good feeling at the first few weeks but I still put Mist of Pandaria well over it as a much better expansion already now.

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    • I’m absolutely not happy with the flying situation, in this expansion and in WoD. I get why that they’re doing it, but I still don’t like it. At least Blizzard has admitted that flying is coming eventually; we didn’t know until halfway through WoD whether flying was ever coming back.

      You also have a legit point about the gating and general endgame. I just hit level cap last night, so I haven’t done anything in the WQ department. We’ll see how I feel about those after a few days/weeks.

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  4. I have to say, combat wise, at first I wasn’t sold – but after getting more into Balance and working out that Full/Half Moon and Starsurge are essentially the two things you’re playing around it became a lot more fun. Granted I think Solar Wrath is a shit spell in every way aesthetically, and it doesn’t help that my meatball drops (you can tell they’ve been playing Dota with some of these abilities) seem to not load in half the time, but once you get into the rhythm of it, WoW really does suck you in. They’re closing in on Guild Wars 2 and AoC for raw combat feel and ability impact now, but with the added bonus of not having completely shit all over the entire trinity because…..some reason we’ll never fathom.

    I wish I’d realised quite how quickly you get XP as well. I’ve been putting in small stints because “I’ll eventually get to the cap” mentality has taken over, but if I’d just no-lifed it for a couple of days I think I’d easily be within touching distance of 110.

    “People often complain about having to kill 10 whatevers in MMO quests, but that’s kind of why we’re playing a game with 10 million hostile whatevers, right?”

    I feel like the complaints really are stupid now, though. The killing fields are significantly more interesting in this xpac than MoP (the last time I played, didn’t even reach the cap) and the number of quests being reduced has really helped the game flow, I think. The quests you do do seem more impactful (even without phasing, remember that?) and lore-wise I think they’ve managed to really nail it. I’m glad they sacked the bunch of useless wankers who wrote the “meme-too!” drivel of the Cata-WoD era and have gone back to the roots of the lore whilst bringing out some new characters. The overarching plot and some cinematics are still a bit too Fantasy 101 With CoD for my liking, but can’t have everything.

    All in all I feel like this could be a turning point for the game in the same way Cata was, if they can keep up this level of development and support the expac properly. It feels like the last 3 xpacs have all been experiments that’ve failed to various degrees, and now they’ve really hit their stride again both thematically and mechanically.

    ” I have high praise for the scaling leveling tech”

    It really is incredible. That I can be killing something with a 109, 106 and a 101 and still feel like the fight is going as expected is really cool. Massive praise.

    In fact, in many ways I think the implicit comparison in a lot of these mechanics is GW2, and it seems Blizz have managed to get ahead of ANet in almost every way at this point. The game is competing really healthily now in the wider MMO market again, whereas 4-6 years ago you would’ve thought it was nothing but downhill.

    Never underestimate Blizz I guess.

    I suppose the question is, will you keep playing after the first month?

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