It may be premature to be posting about this today since the conference is still on but there’s a lot to process coming out of it. We sat watching the hour+ opening ceremony stream and short of the excellent new League of Explorers content for Hearthstone, it was very boring for a World of Warcraft player. Even the Warcraft film trailer didn’t excite me much, it’s the game’s prehistory afterall since it’s based on the the first RTS game.
Back briefly to Hearthstone; I wasn’t that interested in the game when it launched but the style of this new Explorers content looks really intriguing (pulp style?) and it seems they are expanding the PVE side of what began as as PVP online card game.
So then we got, finally, to the World of Warcraft: Legion trailer:
Now that’s what I’m talking about! Both the husband and I were very impressed by this trailer – personally I’d rather they’d made an animated feature-length film like this! We only had access to the opening ceremony so the rest of my information for the post is coming from summaries of session – MMO Champion has lots of detailed posts up.
It’s a deluge of info so I’m going to cherry pick the parts that most interest me:
Open tapping expansion
They’re going to look at expanding open tapping to non-boss mobs in the open world. No details if this will be everything, just quest mobs or other types. Any expansion of this will be welcome in my book; we’ve had open tapping for boss monsters since late in Mists and it works well so let’s dial-down the “mob-stealing” opportunities!
Legion will allow you to use all the specs
So dual-spec will no longer be the limit, all classes will be able to switch to any role. That’s an interesting idea although I can’t see myself really wanting to chop and change that much. Dual-spec was useful of course when we were mostly running heroic dungeons as end-game since the guild liked to swap and change teams to ensure the tank and healer roles weren’t always lumbered on the same individuals. But with the artifact weapon system there’s going to be some grind and effort in being able to play extra specs effectively (they note in the Warcraft Q&A panel that there will be catchup mechanisms of some kind for off-spec weapons)
“The team doesn’t like account wide things”
An interesting but slightly ominous quote regarding account wide items or unlocks perhaps? As a long-time altoholic in the game I’ll agree that actually making lots of über-powered account-bound gear available really takes the shine off leveling and gearing alts – it’s too easy! For the same reason I don’t like using the heirloom gear, not just because of the XP boosts but also because it means gear drops lose their potential use! The same quote mentions catchup mechanisms to make it easier/quicker for a 2nd or 3rd time without flat-out negating the effort involved. I’ll want to hear more about this.
“Karazahn will be relevant in Legion”
“The secrets we need to beat the Burning Legion are in Karazhan. Karazhan could be a 5 player dungeon in Patch 7.1.” Darn the Blizzard devs, they know my weakness! This has the potential to be extremely cool or a massive blow to nostalgia. Please hear me Blizz devs, do not butcher this place like you did with the revamp of Sunken Temple! There’s so much they could do with Karazhan as a 5 man but if they nerf it into a series of linear corridor dungeons or dungeon wings I’ll be really, really upset!
Class Halls and quests
This feature intrigues me a lot, it has the potential to be great since it will finally provide a quantity of unique content for alt-leveling. How they’ll mix Alliance and Horde together I don’t know although I’m happy with that in general. I’ve never cared for the faction war in the game and always thought the best content was the shared storylines. I may have quite a dilemma on who to play first though, the new druid home of Dreamgrove sounds interesting and I’ll certainly want to level my shaman in the expansion as well. I’ll also want to come back to survival hunter for this expansion as I once played one back when hunters had both melee and ranged weapons and abilities. There’s also some class-spec flavour tweaks coming; they mention wanting to get away from shadow priests feeling like the “poor cousin of Affliction warlock[s]”.
It sounds like they’re putting a lot of effort into giving professions more to do in Legion; hopefully undoing the damage the Draenor expansion did to them. There’ll be questlines for each profession which again adds more unique content for alt-leveling. Sounds like they’ve taken a leaf out of Everquest 2’s book there! Another big change is the adoption of a Guild Wars 2 style of gathering node – all nodes are shared so no node-stealing in the open world! That’s a very, very welcome change.
That’s all I have for the currently available info. It’s enough to already get me rather excited for the expansion. Of course the downer of a spoiler just before Blizzcon was the launch date of the expansion on or before 21st September. That’s very sad news to be honest, I think World of Warcraft needs to move beyond the Draenor era as soon a possible. There’ll be a pre-expansion event, the Legion invasion build-up, sometime before then but that still leaves more dedicated players stuck for content for 9 months or so. I have a couple more characters to level to 100 and then I’ll be taking a break from the game again until the expansion hits.