Legion – the good stuff

In my last post, I said I would eventually publish something about the good aspects of Legion. As I am at a loss for anything else to write about today, and as things seem to be moving rather quickly with the pre-expansion patch now on the downloader, I suppose today is as good a day as any. So here goes.

New content rollouts. I think Blizz did a commendable job with the pace at which they rolled out new content in Legion. I may think some of the content stunk (Argus, for example, and the class patches that consistently failed to address significant problems for some specs/classes), but I can’t fault them on their almost-lockstep timing on rolling it out. At times, I felt almost overwhelmed by the pace, but they really did set a schedule and stick with it.  Except for the last patch, 7.3.5, major patches (I include the “dot 5’s” in this) came out almost exactly every 11 weeks. This may be a reflection of how badly Blizz was burned by the charge of “no content” in WoD, and thus they set content release as their primary objective for Legion — but whatever the reason, Legion gave us a lot of new content on a regular basis.

Emissary quests. In Legion, Blizz bundled up a bunch of dailies world quests in a zone, and gave out a bonus for doing 4 of them (3 for Kirin Tor, but the less said about those the better). I did like this mechanism, probably because it gave the illusion of being able to log in every 3 days if you wanted, and still not feel like you were getting behind. In that sense, it was Blizz giving a tiny bit of notice to the fact that most of their players are casual and do not have the time to play the game every day.

That said, there were plenty of flaws. For one thing, emissary quests really did nothing to help players still grinding AP — if you wanted AP you were pretty much required to crank out every world quest that offered AP every day, as well as do some raids and dungeons for it. Also, rewards from the emissary quests — except for holding out the ever-dangling carrot of a legendary drop — were pretty yawn-inspiring most of the time. It says something, I think, that Blizz used them as the vehicle for accumulating the tokens for upgrading legendaries — likely it was about the only way to keep players even mildly interested in doing them.

Still, overall I think emissary quests were a decent innovation.

Zone scaling. This was not new in Legion — it was introduced in WoD — but I was glad to see it reappear, signaling that it is now almost certainly a constant feature of the game. During the leveling process, it is nice to be able to vary your path, especially if you are leveling some number of alts. The process does eventually still get pretty boring and stale, but zone scaling helps a little. Also, I do give Blizz props for realizing that players want to feel they are getting more powerful as their gear increases, and for scaling back the scaling so that at some point mobs all become quite trivial.

I was not, however, a fan of the 7.3.5 spread of zone scaling (along with the big xp nerf) to every area in Azeroth. To me, this was Blizz once again taking a good thing and jamming it down your throat, taking something you kind of liked and rubbing your nose in it enough to make you hate it. I leveled a void elf from 20-110 under this new system, and it was one of the most miserable experiences I have had in the game.

Mythic+ dungeons. As a matter of personal taste, I do not like these and tended to run them only enough to get the max weekly chest for them each week. But I still think they were a creative and positive mechanism for the game. There is no denying that they kept some players active in the game far longer than they would have otherwise been. More importantly for Blizz, M+ competitions almost certainly increased player interest in WoW-related esports. They have clearly been a winner for Blizz. Let us hope Blizz will leave well enough alone and not take their usual path of overdoing a good thing and forcing them upon us.

Class mounts. I thought the ones I did the quests for were fun little diversions. They were not especially tedious to do, and each of the final scenarios did seem designed to fit the individual class. Of course, some of the mounts were, well, “hideous” comes to mind, and druids really did get a bit screwed over (not to mention the unfortunate Wilford Brimley resemblance). But still, I liked the idea of class mounts and had some fun with the ones I did. And I love my mage platform, especially the fire mage version!

The whistle. Genius quality of life improvement. ‘Nuff said.

Raid tiers. In general, I think Blizz did a decent job hitting the sweet spot with each tier. One or two bosses (Kil’Jaeden and Mistress Sassz’Ine are examples) were a bit overtuned at the Heroic level in my opinion, but they were not insurmountable. (Yes, I know a couple were almost impossible for a while on Mythic, but I don’t raid at that level.)

And in hindsight, raid tiers were released at about the right points in the expansion. I did feel like sometimes I was burned out on one before the new one came out, but that really is a personal situation, and honestly it gave me an excuse to take a raid break every few weeks. I also remember feeling Antorus was a little rushed, but it was the last tier and we have had a ton of time to finish it and get bored with it. All in all, the release pace has seemed decent.

Extra hearth stones. Again, this idea was not new with Legion, but I was glad to see Blizz carry it through. Giving us the extra Dal hearth stone was a good idea, and I hope we will see more of these special stones in future expansions. The thing I did not like, though, was that certain classes also got a class hall hearth stone of sorts, while other classes did not. And since every class hall has a portal back to Dal (and some even to other locations), this meant that some classes were favored with two special hearth stones, while other classes were in effect made to pound sand. If Blizz is no longer going to keep mages as the only class with instant portal ability, then they need to give all classes equal abilities for travel.

Okay, that is pretty much it. I suppose if I really wracked my brain I could come up with one or two more positive thoughts on legion, but the ones I listed are the main ones. On balance, I think for me Legion had about an equal number of significantly good and significantly bad design features. I am still too close to it to be completely objective or to have a decent perspective, but I am willing to give this expansion something like a B-minus final grade. There is no question but what it has been better than WoD, but in my opinion it does not come close to the high level set by Mists of Pandaria. Legion, though, has started some major design threads that seem to be taking the game in a new direction. I like some of these and hate some. We will see how they develop in Battle for Azeroth.


5 thoughts on “Legion – the good stuff

  1. I wish emissaries had been more like Hearthstone that you could re-roll them if it was one you didn’t want or need. I didn’t do them that much, and I felt that they gave you no real tie to the rep you were earning. Hey I just did four random world quests but I got my emissary done because they were in this zone. As much as people complained about dailies in Pandaria they were good in that you helped at the farm you got Tiller’s rep. You fished and you got Nat Pagle rep. You generally had a story for the rep along the way. The further along with the bug people you learned their story. The further with the cloud serpants the more you trained your cloud serpant. I think the only part people hated was having the gating, both valor gear and other reps being locked behind them made them feel required. I still think most of Pandaria was extremely well done especially the Isle of Thunder and the scenarios unlocking parts of the island. But that was when they were finally responding to the dailies protest and went the Timeless Isle route of kill lots of stuff. I still feel that was missing the point and a bad decision.

    I often felt overwhelmed with things to do during Legion, but I generally enjoyed the expansion. I wish they would learn their lesson finally and make things account wide better. I’ll just be in Silithus repeatedly killing the same things and talking to Magni for the next week across different characters.

    1. I am definitely not looking forward to repeating that Silithus line over and over again. I haven’t done it yet on any character, but there is no doubt in my mind that after the first time it will be boring as heck, and nothing more than a chore to get through. It definitely should be an account wide thing, and as you point out there are quite a few quest line like this. I felt that way about the various Argus quest lines, too. Not to mention for professions, once you have done the extremely long quest lines and dungeons and raids and such to max out a profession, you should not have to max it out on another character in the same account.

      I am definitely with you on Mists — though the rep gating was not fun, still like you say it did serve to further the stories for each of the faction. Mists still remains my favorite expansion.

      1. Any idea what happens if you don’t do the Silithus quests on alts? Are they handicapped in anyway come BFA? I’m just not sure I can stand to do them even a second time…

      2. Yeah, I don’t know. My hunch is that you will have to retire your artifact on all characters that have one at some point, so I would guess that the Silithus line would be your first set of quests when you log in on an alt, even if you wait until BfA. But that is pure speculation. The alternative — which I hope is the case — is that the artifact automatically is retired as soon as BfA goes live, and that the Silithus stuff really is only to serve as a transition while Legion is still active. It’s probably worth waiting to see, at least on lesser-played alts.

        I did it for 9 characters last night, and it is a real PITA. 😣

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