What makes a successful massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG)? For years, World of Warcraft has led the market and shows no signs of stopping. While some might gripe about having to pay the USD 15 a month to play the game, the lack of content, and other gameplay issues, it has stood the test of time—a staggering 12 years have passed since the first game (known to many players as Vanilla) and the current expansion. Many have come to challenge the game’s dominance on the MMORPG market, such as Star Wars: The Old Republic, Final Fantasy XIV, AION, Rift, Tera, and more. While some MMORPGs have managed to catch the long-standing franchise off-guard and siphon away some of its users, many keep returning to the game because of the brand and new content offerings.
World of Warcraft: Legion has sought to address several complaints from the player base regarding content and gameplay. Announced at last year’s Gamescom, a video game trade fair held in Cologne, Germany, the new setting of the expansion is the Broken Isles, which the Legion seeks to invade to establish their dominance over Azeroth. The new level cap is 110 and features five new zones: Azsuna, Val’sharah, Highmountain, Stormheim, and Suramar. Players will also be able to play as Demon Hunters, the new hero class in the game, if they have at least one level 70 character on the server they wish to play on. The Demon Hunter class only has two specializations: Havoc (DPS) and Vengeance (Tank), and has their own starting quest line in Mardum, The Shattered Abyss, where you start off at level 98. Dalaran is (once again) the main city.
As with previous expansions, many of the classes have been overhauled. One of my favorite changes to the game is that there are no more buffs, which players had to cast on the entire party to enhance their statistics. Previously, in a large group (over 20+ people), there was a lot of confusion as to who should cast which buffs. These have been baked into the character’s passive abilities instead. Another welcome addition to the game is that you can level in any zone you want and the enemies will scale with your level. There are also world quests that one can complete for gold, gear, and more.
There is a new feature for Mythic dungeons—the ability to take on Mythic+ dungeons. After the completion of a Mythic+0 (Level 1) dungeon, players can access the Mythic+1 difficulty. With each level, the health and damage of the bosses increases by 9 percent starting with the Mythic+1 difficulty. At Mythic+4, an Affix will be added, giving your party an additional disadvantage or the enemies an additional advantage. At Mythic+7, they will come in pairs, which means it is possible for the enemies to be given two advantages or your party to be given two disadvantages; at Mythic+10, all enemies will do significantly more damage and have significantly more health. If you complete a Mythic dungeon in time, you will get gear corresponding to their difficulty. If you fail to complete the Mythic dungeon on time, you will not only not get gear, but also have the keystone for that dungeon depleted. Although the highest known is Mythic+10, there is an achievement that requires the completion of Mythic+15; however, the highest possible limit has yet to be confirmed.
One of the major changes to the game is to the weapon system. Each class and specialization has their own weapon called an artifact weapon. One can gather currency to level this weapon, although it will take longer the further you progress into the weapon. To fully complete an artifact weapon will take three to four months according to some estimates, so unlocking the full powers of said weapon will require a lot of time spent. Artifact Power (AP) is gathered from completing quests, dungeons, raids, and looting items in the world. Each artifact weapon is unique to that specialization; you can get another artifact weapon as you are leveling for a different specialization for that class. For instance, if you want to be a healer and a tank, you will have to distribute AP to each artifact weapon separately. This forces the player to commit to a specialization, which is useful in raiding environments because one has to commit to playing that specialization well to defeat powerful bosses and acquire powerful gear.
Another major change is that each class has their own order hall. You can choose to develop this order hall to your own liking, and each is located in a different area. This is a greatly scaled down version of the garrison from Warlords of Draenor. It retains the ability to send followers on missions for rewards. Additionally, you can research new technologies for your class a la Civilization. You can even recruit NPCs to assist your followers on quests. If the success chance on a quest exceeds 100 percent, each percent over 100 percent gives you a chance to gain an additional reward. For instance, if you have a follower mission with a 130 percent success rate, you have an additional 30 percent chance to loot something extra, whether it is gold or AP.
For fans of transmogrification—that is, making your gear look like other gear you have acquired before—it has been revamped greatly. Upon acquisition of a piece of gear (and even gear you have acquired on that character before), you learn its transmogrification for later use. It is much like a dressing room, so you can mix and match your appearance to your own liking.
Player versus player (PvP) has also been massively revamped. Getting gear—a lengthy and painful process in previous expansions—is no longer required. Instead, it has been replaced with a “prestige” system that mirrors Call of Duty. PvP now has its own talent tree, with additional PvP abilities unlocking as you level up. Upon reaching Level 50, one gains a prestige level and gain rewards such as a title, a badge based on your prestige level, a faction pennant, a new appearance for your artifact weapon, and a mount and pet. New arenas have also been announced for those who seek glory in battling other players.
So far, it looks like Legion may be the most complex expansion of the World of Warcraft franchise,
allowing players to do practically anything while bored and fixing the mistakes that previous expansions have made. If anything, it signals the return of glory for the aging
Also published in GADGETS MAGAZINE September 2016 Issue
Words by Jose Alvarez
Developer: Blizzard Entertainment | Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment | Platform(s): PC