Sunday, September 04, 2016
World of Warcraft Legion
However much I might have enjoyed dungeons and raids in the past, these days I play World of Warcraft as a casual solo player, mostly questing and crafting. And from that point of view I must say that Legion is a very good expansion: The storytelling is much improved, the questing is completely non-linear, and the crafting is better integrated in the leveling gameplay.
On the story side there are now much scenarios, events, and cut scenes amidst the old "kill ten foozles" questing. One big source of that is the stories surrounding your class hall, which replaces the garrison. And while the garrison quests were the same for all characters, which really got onto your nerves after a couple of alts, the class hall story and quest is completely different for each class, which provides much better replayability.
That has been made possible by new technology which automatically adjusts the level of quests and mobs to your level in most of the new zones. Which means that you don't need to look where the level-appropriate content is, you can play anywhere. And when I say anywhere, I mean anywhere (except the one fixed level 110 zone): Even the zones itself aren't linear any more; you can travel around until you find a spot you like, find the local "breadcrumb" quest that leads you to the local quest hub, and start questing. You aren't required to do quest hubs in a particular order any more, although if going out on your own is too scary for you the game will still lead you from one quest hub to the next.
The reason I was traveling around and quested in different zones instead of finishing one is the new crafting system: Most of the recipes are now earned from quests and rare mobs. You can't just sit in front of the AH, buy materials, and craft your way to the top any more. You need to play the questing / leveling game in order to craft. While that might annoy some people, on the plus side the crafted stuff is of better quality. My warrior is wearing the armor he crafted. Even the food buffs are good, I have a recipe for a food that gives 1000% faster out of combat regeneration, which is nice for questing.
Talking of my warrior, I went into Legion with the intention of playing my frost mage as my main. But Blizzard has once again redone all the powers and talents, and reduced the number of buttons you press. For my frost mage that resulted in much less possibility to kite mobs around. Polymorph doesn't work on most monsters any more. And the Legion zones have far more monsters coming at you in groups. So shortly after acquiring my artifact weapon (which included a boss fight I had to read up on after several failed attempts to manage it) I gave up on my frost mage and went back to my usual main, the fury warrior. That turned out to be an excellent idea, because while the frost mage sucks in Legion, the fury warrior has become much better than before. His whirlwind doesn't cost rage any more, so it is "free" (except for the global cooldown), and with the right talents it hits as hard as the single-target abilities. So my fury warrior has become an absolute AOE monster, surviving even large groups of enemies without problem. I haven't tried the other classes / specs yet, but I assume that shadow priests still suck, so maybe I'll play the balance druid after the warrior.
Overall I'm enjoying myself very much in Legion. Having said that, I don't think there is much more than 3 months of content in there, even with alts. I'm not interested in organised group play any more, and the old problem remains that without that the game more or less ends at the level cap. I'm sure there will be some way to grind better gear through daily quests or their equivalent later, but why should I? So right now I'm concentrating on having fun with leveling, and don't plan for the future.