Friday, August 07, 2015

Initial Thoughts on Legion

WoW's next expansion is Legion. I think it looks pretty interesting. A number of bloggers seem to think that it lacks a "game-changer", but I don't think a game-changer is really necessary.

Demon Hunters

The most interesting thing about demon hunters is that it is elf-only. This is pretty radical. For a while now, WoW has trended towards fewer restrictions. Classes have opened up to more races. For example, pretty much every race could be a monk or death knight. Demon Hunters represent a significant departure from that philosophy. Only high elves and blood elves can apply.

It's perfectly justifiable lore-wise. I think it's a better philosophy than the "all races can be all classes" ideal that WoW seemed to be heading to before.

The other interesting thing is that the Demon Hunter only has 2 specializations: one tank, one dps. Blizzard seems to be trying to move towards more distinctive specializations, and it will be interesting to see how the specializations for the other class weapons change.

Artifact Weapons

Taking a page from LOTRO's Legendary weapons and FFXIV's Relic weapons, Legion will introduce an artifact weapon for each specialization. This weapon looks like it will level up and improve over the course of the expansion, including cosmetic options.

Retribution Paladins will get the Ashbringer. It will be interesting to see weapons the other classes get. One neat idea I've seen is that Holy Paladins can use 2H maces, and Uther the Lightbringer's hammer was a 2H mace. That would be an outstanding artifact weapon for Holy Paladins.

Class Orders

After years of shying away from class quests and class-specific content, Blizzard is also reversing that stance and re-emphasising classes with class orders. Basically, each class gets a shared location where they reform an organization from the lore. It looks to be somewhat like the garrison, with followers or champions that you can recruit as well.

I strongly approve of this direction. Class lore is one of the strengths of Warcraft, and embracing it again is a great idea. Having a special location you share with others of your class is also good, and it will be interesting to see what locations are chosen.

Whatever is chosen, I expect the druid area to be a 24/7 dance party.

Story / New Areas

The story seems pretty solid. The Legion is one of the great enemies in Warcraft, and is always fun. There seems to be less emphasis on orcs (other than Gul'dan) which is good. The new areas all look interesting.

Class Changes

Legion seems to be bringing some extensive class changes. Blizzard has hinted that they want to try and differentiate the specializations more, and make them more focused around the class "fantasy". For example, Survival hunters are apparently becoming melee with a pet, which is pretty crazy. Beastmaster will be ranged with a pet, and Marksmanship will be ranged without a pet.

It will be interesting to see what they do with the other specializations.


Overall, I think the expansion looks pretty good. While there are no "game-changers", there looks to be lots of meat to delve into. If Blizzard can get the expansion out in a timely fashion, say November or December, I think they have a winner on their hands.


  1. I expect the druid area will be Moonglade, since druids already have a place to themselves, just like death knights and monks do. They've told us about paladins, mages, and warlocks, which only makes me wonder more about what iconic areas they'll give to the others. Especially hunters. Are they just going to hang out in Nesingwary's camp?

    1. I'll be so happy to get to hang out with other rogues at Ravenholdt for once. Back in my raiding days, I organized a chat channel for all of my server's progression raiding rogues called Ravenholdt. Good times.

    2. Nessingwary's camp would actually be a pretty good location for hunters. It sort of makes sense that they're out in the field. There's also a lodge in Loch Modan which might work as well.

  2. The whole race/class thing always intrigues me. On one end of the spectrum we have FFXIV with "Everyone can be everything" and on the other we have WoW and its historically lore-restricted class/race pairings. Somewhere in the middle might be SWTOR that lets you unlock them after playing.

    I think it was partly a resources decision, as each demonhunter also has 2 alternate forms (DPS and Tank) that are based on the look of the base form. Restricting it to two races saves them a lot of time on that.

    1. I find FFXIV is a very interesting case. FFXIV is actually very like WoW in one sense, and very unlike WoW in another sense. FFXIV classes are explicitly tied to "culture". Marauders and Arcanists from Limsa, Conjurers and Lancers from Gridania, Dragoons from Ishgard, etc.

      However, unlike the west, race does not equal culture. In the west, culture and race usually go together. The humans have their own society, as do the orcs, as do the night elves, etc. And they're all sort of separate.

      However, in FFXIV, there are separate cultures, but the same races belong to all of them. A lalafell might come from Ul'dah, but could just as easily come from Limsa. There are majority races in each culture, but there's a lot more of a mix.

      I find the way FFXIV has separated race and culture to be very interesting.

  3. Although the expansion lacks the big "wow" factor, the sudden emphasis on class story and development may be enough to get me back again at least for a "play through expansion then unsub again" visit. If only they'd restore Shaman totems back to something a bit more meaningful than a few cooldowns!

    1. Yeah, hopefully, they can do something with totems. I've seen some chatter calling what Blizzard is doing "de-homogenizing" the classes. That will be great if they can pull it off.

  4. Class Changes: devs stated they wanted to make different class specs more varied. I wonder if they'll go further and differentiate healing specs too. (We know discipline priests are getting an overhaul.) How much differentiation is good?

    1. The really interesting classes to watch will be rogue and mage. The base "image" of rogues is iconic to the class, and I am not sure how you can differentiate them without causing a specialization to lose the feeling of being a rogue. Something similar is in play with mages.