Crossing the line in Legion

Blizz’s announcement yesterday that they are effectively making full artifact trait progression not only pointless but impossible got me to thinking. In every expansion I reach a point where I put my main into a “maintenance” mode and move my game into end-of-expansion pursuits — going after achievements I want, playing around with my alts, finding isolated spots and just chilling, spending a lot of time gathering mats while listening to music. At such a point in an expansion, I still do some raiding and gear improvement on my main, but that no longer is the focus of my game.

Last night I realized I have hit that point in Legion. I reached Concordance on my main, and there is no cost benefit to further pursuit of artifact power. As I have no intention of playing any hunter spec except BM, I am not interested in developing any other hunter artifact weapons.

The only reason I have been doing world quests on my main for the last few weeks is for a chance at legendaries and for AP, but those rewards are no longer applicable. I have more legendaries than I can use, so the prospect of getting another no longer motivates me. Blizz’s coy little tricks with artifact traits have rendered AP valueless to me now. I am exalted with all factions, and the rewards for extended rep stink, so rep is not useful to me. I have about 200k order hall resources, over 300 Bloods of Sargeras, close to 3k leather, and way more gold than I can ever spend. Gear rewards from WQs have long since ceased to be of interest to me — I am relatively well geared at ilvl 908 (904 equipped, because of Blizz’s bizarre secondary stat mechanism that makes my 860 and 880 trinkets more useful than the 900+ ones I have). In short, I am done with world quests on my main, other than the odd one here or there. Even emissary quests hold no value for me now.

I will likely continue to pursue the hunter class mount, and I will raid with my team when the next raid tier comes along, likely getting some better gear in the process, but other than that, I am done with this expansion on my main. In a normal environment, I would try to max out my main’s professions, but Blizz has made that close to impossible with their dice-roll approach and their introduction of the tiered crafting system — the minimal additional benefit from level 3 recipes is not worth the time required to get lucky enough to get them. In any other expansion, this would be the point at which I start crafting high level items to sell on the auction house, but again Blizz has made that too painful to be a meaningful pursuit — the crafted legendaries, which are useless anyway except as stat sticks, require completion of an entire quest line, including certain mythic dungeons, for every legendary you wish to craft. Something in me rebels at that kind of blatant manipulation, and I just refuse to do it.

Even when we get 7.3, I do not anticipate significant changes in my feeling of being done with Legion. Yes, there will be some new quest lines and possibly some spacey stuff people will oooh and aah about, but I do not see the new planet zone in 7.3 as being significantly different from Broken Shore. In fact, my prediction is that it will be Broken Shore remastered — same daily grind, some temporary world bosses, some kind of new currency to grind for, some sort of random space ship bombardment, possibly a new dungeon and raid in the area, etc. I give Blizz credit that they do often come up with creative ideas, but unfortunately once they do, they drive them into the ground, using and reusing them for months or years regardless of how players receive them. Garrisons is a perfect example — players hated them, yet Blizz doubled down on them with patch after patch in WoD and even recycled them as class halls in Legion.

7.3 will be Broken Shore with a different artistic rendering. If I am wrong, I will happily eat my words. But I am not wrong.

The thought that strikes me about reaching my “the expansion is basically over” point is that we are still only 9 months into Legion, earlier by some months than I have reached that point in any other expansion. This seems ridiculous in an expansion widely touted as the “more content than you can handle” expansion, the one Blizz presented as “we heard you loud and clear in WoD and believe us we are not making that mistake again!”

But here’s the thing: I am done with Legion because there is no chance of achieving the normal game goals I set for my main each expansion. No, let me amend that statement: there is no point in pursuing my normal expansion goals any further because their completion relies on a lottery system, and in the case of my weapon, completion is simply not possible. There is almost nothing I can do to work towards those goals in a meaningful way.

Legion, for all its touted “content” and innovation, has revealed its dark side — players may only aspire to the goals Blizz sets for them, and they must pursue those goals in a strictly prescribed manner. Any deviation will almost certainly delay, if not prevent, their attainment. Anyone who does not like this is free to set their goals lower or abandon them altogether. Blizz seems to think quantifiable content is all that is needed to make a game great, and they have sacrificed player options in favor of it. They have lost sight of the fun players have when they can set a goal, work towards it in the way they find challenging or exhilarating, and achieve it. Content is fine, but from my worm’s eye view, being able to chase a dream is better.

As demoralizing as this is, it does not mean I am about to abandon the game. (Yeah, I know, that is sad.) As I have said before, I am someone who actually likes the latter part of expansions, because it is then that I permit myself to just be free to do whatever the heck I want to do, with no thought that I am letting others down because of failure to gear up a main or something. Normally, of course, I go into this end stage of an expansion feeling good because I have met my goals for my main and can now move on. In Legion, the feeling is more acceptance that such achievement is not possible, but move on anyway. Still, the end result is pretty much the same.

Like all metaphorical lines in life, you are usually not aware of the exact moment you step over them. But sooner or later you know for sure that you have crossed them. I have crossed my Legion line.

3 thoughts on “Crossing the line in Legion

  1. I don’t think they could or want to duplicate the amount of stuff we’ve seen in the first nine months all over again, duplicate the experience is what I mean. We were kept very busy, supposing 7.3 is near September, there is a potential for a “whole new game” with all new crafting, new plants to pick, rep, pets, mounts, toys, zone.
    As much as we’ve played, I agree with you, there is no real sense of accomplishment.

    1. There is definitely that potential. But take Legion’s crafting/profession mechanics for example. There could be new items to make, new plants to pick, and so forth, but I do not see Blizz abandoning designs like REQUIRING dungeons including mythics in order to max out these professions. I think they believe the crafted legendary method of REQUIRING completion of an entire quest line including running certain mythics every time you want to craft a legendary is good for their bottom line, so I do not expect this to change for any cool new crafted items. They might take a page from the eternal artifact trait table and add a fourth profession proficiency level, and guess what — you can get it randomly from certain raids or other enforced activity. Maybe. Rarely. But keep doing that thing because in a few months it will probably drop….

      I also expect them to triple down on the artifact chase, adding even more traits, setting up a slightly attainable chance of progressing your weapon a bit but not fully. They will make the illusion of weapon enhancement possible by some sort of AP gathering trick for a few weeks, then they will once again yank that football away like Lucy with Charlie Brown. In fact, I would not be surprised to see some sort of artifact progression besides AP held out to be granted only for certain raid and dungeon achievements. (You want that “final” gold trait like the current Concordance? Collect X number of gizmos from the next-to-final boss in the 7.3 raid tier. Or run X number of mythics.)

      In short, I fully expect 7.3 will bring us some new stuff to do, superficially. It will be fun for a while because it is new and different, and that’s a good thing. But I do not expect Blizz to change their centralized autocratic insistence on their version of how to play the end game: to progress in any area of the game, you must participate in raids and instances at a relatively high level, and you must run a series of daily quests EVERY DAY or risk losing any chance at progressing your character.

  2. Aww man you hit the nail on the head so many times, I’m surprised the devs don’t have migraines by now.

    My main gripe is with profs – they weren’t broken, so why mess with them?

    I’m putting my money on Blizz phasing profs out entirely over a few xpacs (if not by the very next xpac) – they’re getting cheaper and cheaper with content – almost as if they have no imagination or creativity anymore.

    Perhaps their best, most creative and talented devs walked out and told them where to shove it so that all they’re left with are idiots like that Ian Halitosis (or whatever its name is)?

    Just my two cents worth.

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