The world of the MMORPG has entered some tough times lately, with the genre no longer drawing the huge crowds it once had. However, the genre is far from dead, and nothing is more of a testament to that than the longest running MMO, World of Warcraft, which is getting ready to roll out its sixth expansion – World of Warcraft: Legion.
Expected to launch in Summer 2016, Legion adds yet another tale to Azeroth’s continuously threatened existence as the Burning Legion return to the world in the Tomb of Sargeras, that was thought to be destroyed after the event of World of Warcraft’s second expansion The Burning Crusade.
Even for WoW players that quit subscribing after the shiny veneer of Warlords of Draenor wore off, the hype is always real for a new expansion. With Blizzard learning from their mistakes after lonely, but novel garrisons, a player desire to wield weapons from the lore that aren’t complete crap, and marching towards what might be World of Warcraft’s endgame in terms of story, here’s what WoW players old and new should be excited for in the upcoming expansion.
With players leaping back in time in Warlord’s of Draenor, it kind of felt like a cop out just to keep WoW’s dwindling number of subscribers on the hook. However, in Legion, the game will finally be returning to the present, and things are not good.
After the defeat of Archimonde in the alternate timeline, Gul’dan returned to the main timeline in order to once again open the way for the Burning Legion to invade Azeroth in greater numbers than ever before. Horde and Alliance players gather on the Broken Isle that is not only home to the tomb of Illidan Stormrage, the main villain of The Burning Crusade expansion, but of the dark titan Sargeras as well.
Exploring the Broken Isles
The Broken Isles is the new zone for World of Warcraft: Legion. Located south of the Maelstrom and previously dwelling at the bottom of the sea before being brought to the surface by Gul’dan.
This new zone features four areas for leveling including Highmountain, Val’sharah, Azsuna, and Stormheim as well as the new max level area of Suramar, an area where elven heroes Tyrande Whisperwind and Malfurion Stormrage spent their formative years.
New Hero Class – The Demon Hunter
With each expansion comes a new class. With Legion, the new class is the Demon Hunter, an announcement that sent players everywhere scrambling to reserve Illidan-centric usernames on every server.
- Level: Demon Hunters start at Level 98 in order to jump right into Legion content.
- Starting Zone: Mardum, the Shattered Abyss (Its location in the world is still unknown)
- Available Races: Night Elf (Alliance), Blood Elf (Horde)
- Armor Type: Cloth, Leather
- Weapon Type: Two-handed Glaive
- Specs: Havoc (DPS), Vengeance (Tank)
The story of Demon Hunters takes place 10 years prior to Legion when Illidan opened a portal and brought his elite Demon Hunters to Mardum prior to his defeat. After the fall of Illidan, players are captured by the Wardens and imprisoned, only to be awoken during the events of Legion with the Wardens in need of their help.
Unlike other classes, the Demon Hunter only has two specs that focus on high mobility and demonic attacks similar to those of a warlock.
New Level Cap: 110
Just like a new hero character, like with previous expansions, Legion comes with a new level cap of 110 which can be reached by exploring the various regions in the Broken Isles. One unique levelling feature new to the game with the expansion is leveling scaling in the Broken Isle zones.
This means that while your no-lifer WoW buddy levels while you are at work, you can still level with them in the new zones with each mob scaling to fit each other’s level.
Existing Class Changes
So some of the changes made to the existing classes may not be something to get excited over so much as they are something to completely rage out over, but none-the-less they will change how certain classes will be played dramatically, with Blizzard stating they wanted each spec to feel more unique.
While some class changes are still unknown, here is what we do know:
- Hunters – The Survival spec will now be a melee class with a pet while the Marksmenship spec will be ranged with no pet. Beast Mastery will remain the same.
- Warlocks – Affliction will now be primarily DOT-oriented, Destruction features strong burst damage, and Demonology will focus more on pet use instead of transforming into a demon with Metamorphosis.
- Death Knights – Frost DKs will now be dual wield instead of two-handed.
- Priests – There will be a larger focus on Discipline Priests becoming more of an offensive healer. Smite healing, Smite healing everywhere.
- Rogues – Assassination spec is becoming more themed around poisons, Subtlety features more stealth/ninja combat, and Combat spec is gaining more of a swashbuckler feel.
9 New Dungeons
Unlike with Warlords of Draenor, where dungeons were done and quickly forgotten, with Legion, Blizzard wants to keep players more interested in dungeon content throughout the expansion. They started by releasing nine of them available at launch.
- Halls of Valor – Located in Stormheim, the lore of the Halls of Valor focuses around the Val’kyr, but not the undead versions that players grew familiar with in the Wrath of the Lich King in Northrend, but rather the pure versions.
- Black Rook Hold – Ancestral home of Lord Ravencrest. Black Rook hold is an elven structure, but is now cloaked in mysterious shadow.
- Vault of the Wardens – The starting area for Demon Hunters later becomes a dungeon. It is a place of great evil now, but was always the holding place some of Azeroth’s greatest threats.
- Eye of Azshara – Located in Azsuna, players will be faced with the Naga minions of Queen Azshara.
- Darkheart Thicket – Located at the base of the world tree where the heart of the Nightmare Corruption lies, players must cut their way through the brush to rescue Malfurion from becoming corrupted.
- Neltharion’s Lair – Before becoming Deathwing, this is where the Earth Warden lived. It has since become the home of fierce Highmountain warriors.
- Helheim – Similar to the Grimrail Depot in Warlords, Helheim features players travelling on a ship to the cursed city of Helhiem.
- Suramar City – Once a prospering Kaldorei city, now the city of night. The Nightborne rule here now and players must uncover this dungeon’s mysteries to unravel Legion’s plot.
- Violet Hold – Located in the city of Dalaran, the Violet Hold has awakened new powers with its proximity to the Tomb of Sargeras.
Blizzard is doing something pretty unique in terms of weapons with the new expansion. Instead of choosing between a different variety, players must collect artifact weapons, which will be the only weapons in Legion. Each spec gets a unique artifact weapon, meaning there are 36 in total, which are intended to be your ultimate weapon to face the Burning Legion.
Each weapon will reflect the flavor of the spec, such as Retribution Paladins will receive Ashbringer while Death Knights will receive shards of Frostmourne.
After receiving the weapon early on, your focus will be gaining Artifact Power to unlock traits to make the weapon more powerful. This can be done by leveling up and doing other activities such as quests, dungeons, and defeating raid bosses.
For added power, new items called Relics will drop that work like gems that you can socket into your artifact weapon.
Venturing into the Emerald Nightmare
Oft-talked about in the lore, players finally get to take a peek into the Emerald Nightmare, the corrupted area of the Emerald Dream. The Emerald Nightmare will be one of two raids, and the first raid that will be released.
The Emerald Nightmare will feature seven bosses, while the second raid that will be released later, Suramar Palace, will have ten bosses to tackle. Aside from Gul’dan being the final raid boss in Suramar Palace, little else has been said on the raids.
In Wrath of the Lich King, Dalaran was a central hub for both Alliance and Horde players to casually stare and insult each other’s PvP abilities, but after Cataclysm (when they removed all the portals) players retreated to their faction-specific capitals and Dalaran all but died.
The floating city is coming with us to the Broken Isles and will once again become a faction neutral hub. Whether the portals have returned has not been mentioned, but seems likely.
Class Orders and Order Halls
The most prominent new feature in World of Warcraft: Legion is the establishment of Order Halls and Class Orders. Order Halls are meant to be a common gathering place for players of a specific class that is in tune with their lore where players can gather and not only interact, but fight the threats against their class. They are meant to be similar to garrisons, but without the personal space.
Class Orders and Order Halls are not specific to Alliance or Horde, but may have subsections for different factions.
Within Order Halls, you collect members of your class from the lore in which players can send out on missions as well as Champions that can accompany you into the world. The Order Halls are also a place where you can upgrade your artifact.
Now is a good time to stock up on Game Time!
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