Tobold's Blog
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.

I'd love to hear more about your fury warrior because mine is a bit weak in comparison with my hunter. I even had to switch to arms to finish the initial artifact quests because I was losing so much health. Afterwards I did notice the talent that gives 300% more HP from bloodthirst after a charge but still my warrior is quite weak. Item level 700 after all those good invasions!
This "mobs are scaled to you" removed the last remnant of "World" from World of Warcraft. There is nothing except you. Everything is created for you, around you and disappear when you aren't there.
@AlexF: I pretty much use the talents and rotation from the Icy Veins website.

@Gevlon: Not sure anybody but you noticed, it is so much part of the ongoing trend. You trade a practical advantage of going everywhere for a philosophical disadvantage of less "worldliness". Seems like a good deal to me.
The mob scaling is actually a lot more advanced than it seems. It almost looks like there's no mob level anymore internally and things are just scaled to your level on the display side, so that people that think that leveling is fun can enjoy it.
Try this: go in a dungeon with some friends of different levels: the initial dungeons are 98-100, so you can cover 12 levels with a party in there. The ask your different-level friends to tell you how many HPs the mobs have, and what their recount says for the last pack you just did.
You'll notice that everyone sees the mobs and the group's DPS as if all was of their own level....
> This "mobs are scaled to you" removed the last remnant of "World" from World of Warcraft.

I don't get what you mean. Scaling mobs makes the world meaningful even if you visit "old" zones. Which makes it interesting and more challenging.
I don't think Gevlon's observation holds true except in conjunction with a pre-existing gameplay trope. A "world" isn't usually defined by "things getting progressively more dangerous the further you travel from where you were born". The way mobs got more an more hit points and hit harder and harder as the level number beside their name increased surely made Azeroth less of a "world" than a version in which strong things are always strong and weak things always weak regardless of how many levels you may have.

A lot of things have happened in MMOs over the past few years that have gone towards "removing the World" from virtual worlds but having zones and mobs that are level-neutral isn't one of them.

I've noticed that in the dungeons I've done, especially in the two I did last night with guild members, as we weren't trying to steamroll through it... rather taking our time with each pull of trash mobs. Our group was anywhere from level 101 to level 110 (Me as healer at 105) Level 110 was not a huge advantage, neither was level 101 a deficit we needed to "carry." What I noticed was each person essentially performed as they historically have... if someone was strong and barely needed to be healed in WoD, they were strong and barely needed to be healed here. Leveling wise? This works.

Now, if you wander into Suramar, the level 110 zone, you will get your ass handed to you by the level 110 mobs there without remorse.

One thing I notice on the boards is that PvP servers are now gank fests in leveling zones as level 100 players are derping around leveling right next to level 110 players... so the level 110 can gank you and keep on questing without having to go out of his way to find "lowbies." I think this is great! It will chase the non-gankers (People that think PvP should be a "fair fight.") away from PvP servers. On servers with a huge population disparity, it will be extremely difficult for the "underdogs" to level their alts.
Mob scaling is the best new mechanic Blizzard did for questing in a long while (last good invention were scenarios). The ability to do whatever quest on the whole continent ist great. I hope they introduce that system to old continents as well. Only one small gripe with scaling, when you ding 110 the mobs instantly hit much harder. Nothing game breaking but it's a pretty sudden difference you have to get used to. If you don't care about farming max level content asap it might be worth it to do Exp stop at 109 until all leveling zones are completed.

As for the artifact quest: those have to be done by everyone which means there must be something obvious you missed. Gear doesn't matter because the szenarios scale. I don't have a mage so can't try but... everyone...

I like the new profession quests. Not only the part of going out into the world to get some shit but also the mini games. Not very Alt friendly. On the other hand we'll have 2 years of Legion so it should be enough time to get all professions maxed.
Playing casually, Suramar alone can last you for months. Don't underestimate it, as your reputation with the Nightfallen increases, the content that is unlocked is bordering on the extreme.
@Tobold: the "World" means "there are objective things out there and you must overcome the challenge they present". What we have instead is "everything is scaled to you and you are guaranteed to succeed no matter what you're doing". Why play when you can't possibly fail?
@Gevlon: You don't need fixed levels for that. You can fail perfectly fine in Legion by pulling too many mobs or by not preparing right for one of the many, many open world boss mobs.

But you know what? I *can* fail in Legion, but I *can't* fail in any of the previous expansion zones any more. Even if there would be stories I'd still love to explore, I'm not doing it, because it is too boring at level 104+. So I'd really love all those zones to be adjusted to my current level!
You have picked the classes which have typically been the weakest at solo questing, so it is nice that they sort of "pulled a fast one" on you and made one of your classes strong at soloing. You should know that shadow priests are much improved, and while I can't say they are top tier now, they should at least be stronger than a mage.

The stand-apart top tier solo questing classes right now are (to no one's surprise) DKs, hunters, and demon hunters. DKs and hunters give a sense of "I'm not sure what could realistically happen that I would die," and demon hunters kill everything twice as fast as any other class. Warlocks might be in this tier as well, but mine isn't max level so I can't make the comparison myself. I only know that right now Drain Soul heals me for more than my entire health bar over 6 seconds, when I already have a pet to tank for me.

Have you actually played around with it? Because "guaranteed to succeed no matter what" is definitely not how I would describe the mob scaling at all, at least not any moreso than normal. The challenge of each mob or group of mobs is scaled to your level, not their difficulty. There are still massive elites and packs of mobs that will destroy you, especially while leveling. If anything, it's MORE difficult than what we saw in the more recent expansions.
@Gevlon It plays more like "Blizz impossibly anticipated what path you would take to level" rather than e.g. the way Bethesda type level scaling. That's what I feared when they announced it, but it's nothing like Bethesda's level scaling.
I actually enjoy the level scaling as well. You really have think about it as a removal of levels at which point it becomes more worldly than ever!

You should give it a try, I am sure the expansion price isn't a big deal for a greedy goblin like you ;-). Blizzard nailed it, this time around. Legion looks and plays great, with an insane amount of content. It's not "perfect", obviously, but it really changed the gameplay in a good way.
I am sure the expansion price isn't a big deal for a greedy goblin like you ;-)

I'm sure that Gevlon has enough gold stored to pay for a subscription for years in WoW tokens. But I'm not sure that "greedy goblin" status translates into real world wealth, and the €40 for the expansion can't be paid in virtual gold.

Note that while paying gold for the subscription means that WoW is cheaper to play for me than ever, the €40 price tag is "expensive" compared to the cheap prices for games on Steam or the iPad. But then it is cheap again compared to buying your way to success in a Free2Play / Pay2Win game.

Maybe it is time for Gevlon to change back from EVE to WoW, now that EVE has joined the Free2Play / Pay2Win group of games where free players evolve skills slower than paying players. But then, the EVE subscription can be paid in ISK, so Gevlon is presumably playing for free anyway.
@Gevlon and everyone else still levelling

The difficulty gradually increases as you get closer to 110, since the stat scaling is pretty generous at level 100 and drops off as you get closer to the cap. This is why things just drop dead from 2 abilities when you start playing, and kill times get much longer at 110.

And then you get to Suramar, and the difficulty spikes even more. Navigating the city under a disguise is dangerous as it is, and then you have escort quests and kill quests in there that drop your disguise at very difficult times (i.e. Doomguard patrol coming up, or in the proximity of multiple guards). I think I died in there around 10 times yesterday, and it was both frustrating and amazing. It's no wonder everyone I know praises the questing, and then they get to Suramar and their brain melts (in a good way!).

The scaling is genious, imo. Usually at endgame players are funneled into 1, maybe 2 areas after a few content patches, and that's it with open world content, as everything else is underleveled and irrelevant. Now they can just introduce level-cap content that can occur anywhere in the world, making even the random murloc-infested hole relevant - and dangerous.

Also, some of the best quests are hidden (no breadcrumb) and you will come upon them as you travel to get to world quests (which, I'm guessing, is why flying is disabled at launch). I did one of those quest lines yesterday, which turned me into the temporaty kobold king, resulting in becoming a quest giver for the local kobolds (hilarious candle/wax dialogue included).
Legion has a LOT to offer in terms of lore, quests, and adventuring. That's where this expansion shines, in my opinion, and I am not even a "lore guy" (I often skip long quest intros, cutscenes, etc). But still, I see the great amount of things to do/read/enjoy.

This is not the expansion to rush, in my opinion. It's meant to be enjoyed like few other expansions did before. I am playing a LOT these days, maybe too much I can't deny it. But if I get bored next week I will not blame Blizzard. €40 is an extremely good price for the amount of fun that I've already experienced so far.

Different class halls for each class mean a LOT. The amount of content to enjoy is insane.
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