Author Topic: WoW - A Legion for everyone  (Read 359 times)

Darkness

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WoW - A Legion for everyone
« on: October 05, 2016, 02:36:34 AM »
I quit playing WoW in Mists of Pandaria. That was an incredibly polished expansion and the gameplay had continued to evolve in a very positive way. But, I was burned out from raiding and didn't really engaged with the raid content. Plus real life went all sorts of topsy turvy.

But, MoP was lovely. An improvement on its predecessors in every way and importantly, I thought, delivering a more fulfilling and involved questing experience for the solo players not fussed for rushing through the game to do raids or not wanting to do much other than quest and potter around.

I returned to WoW for Warlord?s of Draenor in its final weeks and immediately regretted at not having returned sooner. WoD was even more polished than MoP for the solo player looking to do quests but, also providing opportunities to get involved with the wider playerbase in a low impact way. Blizz had realised that its 5million plus playerbase didn?t consist of extremes of playstyle ?raider vs casual? but was more subtle and graduate than that. The way content worked in WoD was a recognition of that.

Legion is even more subtle and varied in how it enables players to access content and ensure that, at max level, there is progression for all types of player, rather than just those committed to raiding. Not just gear progression but, story progression and the feel that you?re moving through the games content, rather than chewing through the remaining levelling content quests and then cycling through dailies. Maybe I?ll feel differently in a few months but, right now having just dinged level 110, it looks like I have weeks of world questlines to do (all the zones for levelling in, level to your current level, so you can?t outlevel the content and it never becomes trivial), before I start looking at the max level zone and also all my Class Order questlines.
For someone who is pretty ?casual? as a WoW player these days, there is a whole mess of stuff to do that looks really interesting to me.

The biggest change though is finally instilling a sense of ?we?re all on the same side? for members of the same faction. You?re no longer competing with your fellow Alliance/Horde members for quest mob credits. If you?re fighting a monster and a member of your faction comes to help, you both get credit for the kill because?.well, why not? You?re on the same damn side. No more frustrating  running around trying to tag mobs to kill because that prick of a Warlock/Shadow Priest is dotting everything in sight. Finally a system that actually encourages people on the same side to cooperate and help each other. No more having to form a group to kill a certain monster if you all want credit, everyone can pitch it.

Unless they?re of the opposite faction, they?re not on your side. And as Blizzard?s story adeptly sets out, through a sequence of missing information, high emotions, and tragic misunderstandings, you?ve every reason not to be on the same side. If you?re a PvP player, the mechanics and story are helping facilitate your bloodlust. Go you.

On the matter of gear, at max level, Blizzard have opened up a number of different routes by which you can progress your gear, again building on what Draenor achieved in this area. It is entirely possible to get the highest level gear or legendary items without stepping foot in a raid of any sort. Obviously raiding gets you that gear faster (because it?s a mean to an end) but, if you?re in no rush and just like the idea of potentially getting an epic reward from doing quests, then you?re sorted. As long as your gear isn?t already at max ilvl, you are not going to be left thinking ?this is as good as I can get? just because you don?t want to raid. And this is on top of WoW retaining all the other classics options for obtaining gear like rep grinding to buy faction rewards, crafting, pvp or just plain getting lucky via random drops. If you like doing dungeons, the content is more varied and has a higher mode of difficulty (mythic ? introduced in WoD) and yes, you can get the raid ilvl gear from that route as well with a little patience.

In addition, for the non-raiding folk who love 5-man dungeon content, in the next patch Blizz are redoing the old 10man lvl 70 raid of Karazhan (bestest raid) and turning it into a sprawling 5 man dungeon that will take quite some time investment to clear. Basically a 5man dungeon that?s raid length. This harkens back a bit to the dungeons of Blackrock Depths and Blackrock Spire in vanilla WoW, only with all the polish and user friendliness of modern WoW applied.

Visually, the game is still stunning. The WoW graphics engine has developed gradually over the last decade, matching pace of the tech inside the PC?s used by the majority of its playerbase so the game specs never became inaccessible to all but a few with high-end rigs. But, despite catering to the majority, Blizz have managed to work in all sorts of graphical improvements and tweaks, whilst retaining the WoW visual aesthetic. It would be impossible to describe what all these changes are. The only way I can think of doing it is to look at your old WoW screenshots (if you have them) and compare with what you have now. The lighting effects, the graphics effects that improve the ambience and allow you to differentiate between indoors and outdoors in very subtle ways. All this stuff that original WoW didn?t have, is here now.

The music is the same high quality, evocative, orchestral score that we?ve come to expect from Blizzard. New motifs that are interwoven with the old, so the experience of the new content feels both fresh and yet firmly tied to a very well established world. In places, the background score is remastered versions of music that goes back through the earlier expansions or right back to the start. This works as it immediately provides an aural context to an area in its familiarity and association, that really helps underscore what a new zone or new quest line is all about.

Finally, the hilarious faux-scandawegian accents aside, I?ve really enjoyed seeing the Vyrkul, Valkyr, norse inspired races from Wrath make a return and getting quest content and background that really fleshes them out. They were a very atmosphere addition to Wrath of the Lich King that, to me, felt underused and ultimately just tacked on to that expansion. They really didn?t go anywhere much storywise. The subsequent expansions, evolution of the games story content at all levels and the new content of Legion, finally feels like these strange people matter.

If you've never played WoW or played it back in vanilla and jacked it in because it sucked for a single player, now is a good time to revisit the game right from the start. Almost all the content has been redesigned and restructured to guide the player through the story of the game. There is an awful lot of content for a solo player to explore. If you don't fancy repeating all of Vanilla or Burning Crusade, then playing a Death Knight allows you to plunge into the game from Wrath onwards? Don't fancy that, then the new Demon Hunter class starts at level 98 and you can dive into Legion from there? Just want to get an old character straight into the Legion content? Each account gets a free level 100 boost to a character of your choosing.
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