It is time to look back at the past expansion and review its aspects. I think i would make a quick list of pros and cons because full-scale text will be impossibly long to read :)
Pre-Patch, Introduction and Launch
- Pre-patch brought danger to our doorstep and introduced new demon types.
- Pre-patch allowed quick gear up for 100s and leveling for 20+.
- Cinematic and scenario were motivating, heart-ripping and filling our hearts with revenge.
- Several quests prepared us for Dalaran travel beforehand.
- Epic Dalaran teleport scene.
- Absolutely none technical issues on the launch hour and following days.
- Exciting and flawless new feature of zone / gear scaling
- Excellent pace of leveling.
- Just a couple of hours per full zone on alts.
- Bonus leveling options: profession quests, order hall quests, order hall missions, Heart of Light quests, side quests (fill-the-bar) – and later, assaults.
- Interesting storylines, new characters and storytelling.
- Incorporating dungeons into leveling and story experience.
- Pillars story arc which binds all the zones.
- Comic relief storylines.
- Patch 7.3.5 which brought an ability to finish the older zone storylines, a wider choice of leveling zones/dungeons and even allowed to skip the whole expansions if you don’t like them. Also killing mobs became a bit harder and a lot more interesting, allowing to learn how to play your class.
- Little to none Legion presence in an expansion named Legion.
- Endless elves: warden elves, illidari elves, ghost elves, crazy ghost elves, junkie elves, nazi elves, rebel elves, druid elves, spider elves. 3/5 zones are all about elves.
- Incorporating dungeons into leveling and story experience – it is obligatory to run dungeons to finish the story arc.
- Variety and number.
- Storylines leading players right to the dungeon entrance where they end.
- Cool dungeon lore.
- Interesting boss mechanics.
- Mythic modes as endgame content (not for me though)
- Mythic-only Karazhan and Suramar dungeons upon their launch.
- Forcing players into endless dungeon re-runs for story arcs, professions, order hall campaigns and gear from mythics.
- Inventive boss mechanics and most inventive boss range within one raid.
- Excellent open world lead-ins to the raids.
- Interesting on re-runs.
- Fun to run for every role: either tank, healer, or dps.
- Little to none Legion presence in Tomb of Sargeras (5 – FIVE demons in the Tomb itself).
- Ridiculously hard Kil’Jaeden difficulty – that makes it a single wing of all to me avoided in raid finder on alts.
Class Order Halls and Class Campaigns
- Unique, engaging and fun class campaigns.
- Unique class mounts and artifact weapons with storylines of their own.
- Paying attention to class content way after ending major class campaigns (new follower questlines, class mounts and class trials in Mage Tower).
- Excellent work on mistakes of the mission table: few customizable followers, enhancing reward list with current useful items along with patches. It appeared to be very helpful and yet skippable apart from few quest missions.
- Reputation tokens and extra reputation tokens were especially helpful.
- Garrisons are not self-sustained now, so you can’t sit in it – you have to earn resources for missions elsewhere in the open world.
- You see lots of other people in your order hall at all times – unlike the Draenor’s hermitage garrisons.
- Several order halls are just unpleasant to hangout in.
- Class campaigns require missions and world quests to complete which is now an artificial time delay.
- Class campaigns required dungeon re-runs.
- Class order hall bonuses are not equal: free gear token or instant world quest completion are not available to half of classes.
- Due to the variety of class perception from players, Blizzard did not please everyone or even most of them as they had to choose one option of depicting an order hall. For example, rogues can be ninjas, political assassins, highwaymen, street rascals, pickpockets, pirates, spies. The worst one I think were warriors – they got a god-like golden Valhalla while most of the warriors would prefer a lot more down-to-earth option, blood stained, dirty and brutal. Different stylized quarters within an order hall like in Ashran could have solved the problem – that did not happen.
- A joy upon the flashy item acquiring.
- Total random of drops which required grind for those who cared (I did not).
- Unability to obtain the wanted specific item (for hardcore players).
- Unability to work for them and total dependence on random drops (until later patches).
- ‘Gratz’! in guild chats upon every legendary drop throughout expansion.
- Having a legiondary was often an ilvl barrier to reach even LFR requirements.
- The whole system sucked so much.
- Excellent artifact stories.
- Exciting process of opening artifact tech trees.
- Attention to artifacts development throughout the whole expansion, up to and through the upcoming BfA pre-patch.
- Excellent catch-up mechanics: if specs were to be switched, you could catch up on another weapon in an evening or two.
- Lots of customization options which also indicate your game progress in different aspects. And these will stay in further expansions.
- Druid artifact forms.
- An ability to transmog artifact weapons.
- Restrictions to wielding a weapon: for example, Ferals can’t wear staves, Frost Death Knights can’t wield two-handed swords etc. Some of the core rotation abilities demand a specific type of weapon now, or they cannot be used.
- Many people complained about AP grind, but it’s never been an issue to me. I’ve never grinded AP on purpose, it came naturally. And I didn’t feel underpowered or obliged to grind it.
- Significant rewards for engaging into endgame activities.
- World quest system – everything about them is perfect, no flaws to be mentioned.
- Introducing speaking portraits and WQ briefings – even if the context is quite clear and based on leveling stories.
- Lots of fun world bosses with cool rewards.
- A super developed, engaging and complex Suramar campaign.
- Many new storylines and things to do with every next patch.
- Quite a logical patch lore path: Nighthold -> Broken Shore -> Argus, all steps towards the final victory over the Legion.
- Excellent patch pace: it was manageable, but tense to keep up with all my many alts.
- Upon reaching 110 fighting common enemies felt too brutal – up to specs change.
- Paragon mounts – it’s the expansion curse. Rewards like that must be straighforward and non-random: for example, the mount is awarded with your 5th paragon chest from the faction.
- Depressing and uneasy sandboxes of the last patches: Broken Shore and Argus. Not fun to play there – at all.
- Quests which gave an insight how items are created (not just banging a piece of ore with a hammer).
- Quest storylines.
- Many fun toys and pets were crafted.
- Quests appear at random.
- Dungeon re-runs required for every profession.
- Earning 3 stars is not an easy and almost an impossible task.
- Too many mats for creating items.
Travel, Flights and Zone Design
- An achieved balance between ground travel and flight travel which fits both players and developers.
- Quite a sensible flight achievement.
- Rares and treasure hunt.
- Great zone ground travel design – once you learn the terrain, it’s easy.
- Flightmaster whistle!
- Zones are an eyecandy.
- Zones are very small.
- Almost no safe spaces where you can ride freely – every inch of the zones is tightly packed with enemies. We definitely need some air (think Valley of Four Winds).
- Almost no open spaces – slopes, slopes and slopes in every zone including Val’sharah and Azsuna (think Tanaris, Uldum, Valley of Four Winds).
Fun Side Things to Do
- Multiple side questlines to discover and explore – murloc love story in Azsuna/Suramar – quests without a single word, Highmountain goblin hunting party and kobolds, Val’sharah tree spirits, Stormheim vam…pirates etc etc.
- Underbelly playground right in the major hub both for PvE and PvP players.
- Withered scenario.
- Mage Tower challenge.
- Chromie questline.
- Postmaster questline.
- Allied races with stories to learn and new toons to level.
- Searching for secret mounts.
PvP, Pet Battles
I haven’t participated in these activities, but PvP world quests seemed fun and pet battle dungeons is the most crazy and fun thing to do and definitely want to try.
The expansion was definitely a work on Draenor’s mistakes.
We were given an active and meaningful endgame. The mission table and flight systems were polished to an extent of being just what they were meant to be.
We were given such great chunks of content that we nearly choked on them. And the patches were frequent and filled with quite a different stuff to do apart from the main story.
While some of the newly introduced features were an overwhelming success like mythic dungeons, world quests, flightmaster whistle etc, the others were tried and failed – like legiondaries and profession complex questing. Blizzard tried to address the issues and succeeded to an extent.
Lorewise, Blizzard managed to solve the problem of a cosmic evil in a way that didn’t feel too unrealistic or illogical. Entering Silithus, you can’t deny it was epic AF. Many would be thankful for not meeting the sickly fel green in any nearest future. Old and new storylines, from side minor arcs to major epic events all came to their logical end, leaving no loose ends unattended.
Our classes got so much attention that we never had before, and probably won’t have a long time after – which is swell, as our class is one of the two major things defining our precious toon (along with the race).
Overall, Legion will stay in our memory as a tense, vibrant and eventful expansion. But personally, I will keep no desire to re-visit the Isles. For some reason, it has no chance to be as homely as Pandaria and even the alternate Draenor.