Legion: Expansion Review

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

Pros:

  • 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.

Cons: 

  • None.

Leveling

Pros:

  • 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.

Cons:

  • 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.

Addie

Dungeons

Pros: 

  • 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)

Cons:

  • 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.

Raids

Pros: 

  • 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.

Cons: 

  • 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.

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Class Order Halls and Class Campaigns

Pros:

  • 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.

Cons: 

  • 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.

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Legiondaries

Pros:

  • A joy upon the flashy item acquiring.

Cons:

  • 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.

Artifact Weapons

Pros: 

  • 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.

Cons: 

  • 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.

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Endgame

Pros:

  • 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.

Cons: 

  • 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.

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Professions

Pros: 

  • 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.

Cons: 

  • 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.
  • Nomi.

Wurk-Wurk

Travel, Flights and Zone Design

Pros: 

  • 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.

Cons: 

  • 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).

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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.

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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.

Conclusion

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.

Anibell-Paladin-Aggramar

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.

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Two More Sets Collected!

With Anibell the Paladin’s run, she didn’t win a single piece for herself, but she effectively covered the missing helms for Warrior and Death Knight!

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Death-Knight-LFR-Set-Antorus

Of course I’m missing the wrists for the Death Knight, but I won’t be hunting them. They drop from trash only, and Tomb experience shows that it’s futile to farm on purpose. So I consider the set complete.

Backston and Oulu will try to win the belt from Hasabel in return this week – they owe Anibell a favor :)

By the way, the warrior helm came from Imonar kill quest, out of order hall mission. And it’s not even at his loot table. So if you’re hunting for tmogs, these quest items may help.

Anyways, Mage, Priest, Warlock, Hunter, Shaman, Warrior and Death Knight are covered. It’s 7/12 and a little more to go :)

Zandalari Druid Forms

It’s just overwhelming.

You’ve probably seen the travel forms before:

Flying Zandalari Druid Form

Zandatroll

Ground Zandalari Druid Form

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Now just get ready to be knocked from your feet.

Moonkin Zandalari

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Bear Zandalari

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The only words I have for this is ‘Holy fuck!’

These are amazing. These are beyond amazing. You ever wanted to tank with a turtle – well here you go, and a badass one.

Too bad I already have two druids which I never want to abandon :) And I plan my Zandalari to be either a hunter or a warrior. But it’s such an awesome option for other players, and this would definitely drive troll character numbers to the top.

Cant’ wait to see the cat form… and I keep wondering if Blizzard would add more distinctive racial options for basic races. Because what I see with Zandalari it’s beyond imagination.

Beggars in My LFR

Shoulders

I know that most of my readers are full-time raiders, which rarely use LFR, and yet this is a major problem to me that I’d like to talk about.

Leading my 12-toon roster via LFR means facing the trouble of beggars. After any loot item you get, you’ll receive a shower of whispers asking – and sometimes demanding! you for your drop.

I can’t specify strong enough how this pisses me off. According to my observations, the beggars of this sort are 99% inadequate people. There’s no “hello”, there’s no looking up my gear profile to see if the item would be an improvement to myself (and sometimes it’s so obvious, me running with an 860 or 880, when the drop is 915), there’s poking me with whispers even if there’s a boss fight rolling, and I’m healing/tanking like mad. And there’s a single reply-short way to direct insults.

Hell, they sometimes even try to prove me that I don’t need an item – although it could be better for my stats, or I need it to swap legendary gear. I would never explain it to them.

Normally I’m putting an item on a roll if I don’t need it – and this is the only way anyone could get it from me. Whispering beggars have no chance, even if they roll afterwards. I’d better vendor a piece than give it to a beggar.

I have grown to either ignore the beggars or reply in a very harsh manner. Beggars deserve no explanation, no replies, no nothing. Not on my watch.  And they could bathe in their frustration as much as they want.

But you know, sometimes you just want to give an item for a beggar. Because he spent his time to write a polite and nice request – you actually see that’s a nice person talking, so you just want to do a favor. Happens in 1% of cases. And even so, it’s gonna be a roll first.

Like I said, 99% of “need shoulders?” – go to hell.

Trivia: A Streak of Achievements

It was quite a week of my vacation devoted to WoW mostly. And I’ve advanced significantly on my way in different directions. Let’s talk one by one.

Holidays

No mount this year – again. 13 tries daily, and no result. People advise to just quit trying any holiday mount! Not my thing, it provides some distraction from routines, so I’ll be running it and Halloween nevertheless.

For the Lunar Festival, there are 3 new toys which allow you to make a chinese festival dragon with your friends, and four awesome wreaths as a holiday attire.

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I’m not sure I’ll be farming them all, but at least I did one wreath :)

Raids and Mogging

I had some free time to drive all my classes through Antorus. I’m glad to report that mogging slots get gradually covered. This is just awesome how every next earned item means less runs and less bosses every next week.

And lo! I’ve collected the missing two items for my priest:

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This means that all my cloth toons are now officially on standby mode! Their job in raids of Legion is done. Faari, Micromantica, Faerella and Aurinko are enjoying their well deserved rest from the hard campaign.

Myde, the new leveling mage, will still run Antorus when she gets there, but merely for ilvl sakes. I think I would drive her to 915-925, and this is gonna be it. I just want her to be on the same level as my other toons for pre-patch.

Long Term Achievements

Of course my cloth girls happen to have another goals to do. There’s Archaeology and Fishing acheievements to complete for Micromantica. There’s 20000 eyes to farm in Underbelly for Faerella (she has 8500 on her now).

Yet I devoted a pair of hours to farming goals already. 5000 Argus demons were slain, and 5000 saberon claws collected in Tanaan. The thing is that you don’t acquire them little by little, no. One great effort, and you close the achievement which would not loom over your head ever since.

Now I have a scarlet butt Pumbaa:

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Leveling

And of course, there is leveling of my four new Allied Races. I happen to push them forward equally: they are now at 37-39. If it were just one toon, it would already be mid-Draenor.

It’s dungeon queueing while questing, and it’s pretty fast if you are really into it. For example, Kalaari the Paladin, upon finishing a quest hub in the morning without dungeon runs, is up by 2 levels.

I’m totally enjoying the leveling pace and variety, along with mob scaling. An option to return to Loch Modan after Arathi is awesome. By 40th level, I will have another gorgeous choice of zones, and neither of my 4 toons will have to re-run the same zones on their way to the top. And at 60, they will split to Outland and Northrend!

My toons have just entered their new zones, and their leveling rolls as such:

Myde, 38: Duskwood – Redridge – Northern Stranglethorn, entered Southern Stranglethorn

Kalaari, 39: Wetlands – Arathi – Loch Modan, entered Eastern Plaguelands

Arkeona, 38: Hillsbrad – Arathi – Hinterlands, entered Western Plaguelands

Jammu, 37: Ashenvale – Desolace, entered Feralas

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I presume there should be a couple of zones for each of my toons until 58-60, and they will be chosen due to character lore attunement:

Arkeona, as an assassin and a spyblade, will solve Western Plaguelands and most probably issues in Burning Steppes. Then she continues to Outland, craving to go to Terokkar and Nether.

Jammu will continue enjoying the wonders of Kalimdor and learning about Tauren druids. Her plan are the lush grounds of Feralas and Un’Goro, then she will go and see Taunka in Borean Tundra!

Kalaari will do the paladin cause in Eastern Plaguelands, then she travels to Blasted Lands and continue to Outland to see her draenei homeland.

Myde will explore the troll civilizations in Stranglethorn, then it’s most probably Swamp of Sorrows, followed by Northrend (most likely, Howling Fjord).

I’m having lots of fun at this point of expansion, and I foresee quite relaxed months of enjoyable gameplay :)

P.S.: the yak won’t pass under certain bridges :) You’ll need a detour.

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Allied Races: Horde

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…this is what I saw when I came back from my band’s rehearsal yesterday.

Guys, it was better than New Year or expansion release day :) The highly anticipated pre-order/allied race release was 95% to happen, and yet this 5% of uncertainty made the hype. The overall enthusiasm resulted in ultimate queues. I was wise to go to bed at 11 p.m. (it’s probably the earliest I ever did in my grown-up life), and bought the expansion in the morning with no queues or reported bank troubles.

Not everything was fixed by the morning. Blizzard is still working on adding extra 4 slots as we speak, so if your toon roster on your main realm is full, you won’t be able to add extra toons there, lol :) Nevertheless, I did introductory quests which open up allied races (you may do it on any 110 toon of the faction), and created a testing pair at another realm.

For reasons unknown, I went with the Horde first, so I opened Highmountain Tauren and Nightborne. I won’t spoil questlines, but they both involved traveling to Broken Isles and one of the Horde capitals, as well as they both were linked with the Void.

I must tell that I absolutely hated Sylvanas talking, although there was nothing too brutal. I realized that she’ll be a Garrosh-type of warchief: respected by some, disliked and hated by many – even within her faction.

Upon completing them, you get achievements:

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…and also mounts. Manasaber seemed dull, but I liked the Highmountain moose very much, it’s probably the best looking moose of all:

Highmountain-Moose-Mount

Obviously achievements grant you Allied Races, and I created two toons – just created them. Most probably I will restart them at my main realm when Blizzard fixes the slots problem.

Options are not rich for Nightborne: barely 3 skin colors and a poor choice of haircuts for an elf. With Highmountain Tauren, it’s much better, a wide range of customization.

As planned, I’ve created a Nightborne Rogue (most probably Outlaw, but then I think of pistols, and I think of Subtlety) and a Highmountain Druid – she will be a bestial one, exploring cat/bear, because my other druid Helu is Balance/Restoration.

Nightborne-Rogue-Toon

You start at your faction capital (Suramar/Thunder Totem), and, after a quick talk to Thalyssra/Mayla, you just walk in a teleport to Orgrimmar. There, you have your faction tabard, you’re level 20, and you’re free to go leveling.

Highmountain-Tauren-Druid-Toon

The background of my Horde toons is this. The Nightborne Rogue was a ranked nazi during Elisande’s rule, she was a spy and a blade master helping to investigate the criminal rebel activity. After Elisande was defeated, the leopard actually changed her spots. She asked to be forgiven, and that she was mistaken, and they believed her. She kneels to the power, and power only. For now, she needs to carve her success and win recognition among Horde ranks – as far from the Nightborne as possible for the moment. She won’t tolerate frowns and whispers behind her back, which cannot be avoided in Suramar. That is why Horde’s errands on another continent feel like a gulp of fresh air to her.

The Highmountain Druid is actually a very young girl, and playful as such. She’s in her teens, or barely a couple of years up. The main reason she opted to be a cat druid… is because she likes how cats are cuddly and funny. She’s eager to learn from and get acquianted with amusing cow-druids of Kalimdor.

I’m hyped to see Alliance now and go leveling with the new toons :)

Postmaster

It’s the new questline in Patch 7.3.5., and it appeared to be just wonderful!

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The questline itself is very easy. First, you need to find a randomly spawned lost letter by one of the mailboxes in Dalaran or buy one in Auction House. I wanted to do this asap, so I paid 60k and got the quest.

The quest sends you to Black Market boss in Underbelly, and you witness how a dwarf recieves his armor. Then you get a mail which wants you to the postmaster’s office. It was tricky to find, but for those who have difficulties, there: you need to follow the lane to petmaster, and you will discover a postmaster tube by the cemetery. Click it, and you’re in the office.

Like all other shops in Dalaran, the office is just gorgeous. So many details that I’ll be touring there for at least half an hour! Anyways, your questline continues,and you need to visit Feralas and Eastern Kingdoms to deliver stuff (it’s very funny), then you get access to the minigame.

The minigame offers you 6 continent tubes.

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A name of the place with a name of a continent zone pops up, and you click the corresponding tube to send the letter. You need to be real quick with it. The first achievement is sending 30 letters in 60 seconds, so you have just 2 seconds per letter. The second achievement is sending the same 30 letters in 60 seconds, but addresses are not full! So you will have to quickly define which town is in which continent.

It’s just the achievement for me: difficulty is at the level, but not ridiculous, and it requires knowldge of Azeroth geography :) And you get a mailbox toy and a pet as a reward.

I have not yet tried the second achievement, but I’l be doing it with eager.

Lorewise, the questline is important to see how your mail is sorted and sent out. It appears that they send it to certain towns and villages, but don’t bother about the receiver’s name :)

Well done, Blizzard. I strongly advise everyone to do this questline, even if it means spending 60k :) Totally worth it.