World of Warcraft: Legion

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World of Warcraft: Legion
Legion cover.jpg
Developer(s) Blizzard Entertainment
Publisher(s) Blizzard Entertainment
Director(s) Tom Chilton
Ion Hazzikostas
Alex Afrasiabi
Designer(s) Cory Stockton
Jonathan LeCraft
Jeremy Feasel
Brian Holinka
Chadd Nervig
Composer(s) Russell Brower
Neal Acree
Clint Bajakian
Series Warcraft
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows, macOS
Release August 30, 2016
Genre(s) Massively multiplayer online role-playing game
Mode(s) Multiplayer

World of Warcraft: Legion is the sixth expansion set in the massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) World of Warcraft, following Warlords of Draenor. It was announced on August 6, 2015 at Gamescom 2015.[1] The expansion was released on August 30, 2016.[2]

The expansion raises the existing level cap from 100 to 110, features artifact weapons for each class's specializations, includes a new area on Azeroth called the Broken Isles and introduces the demon hunter hero class that starts at level 98. It initially included ten 5-man dungeons and two raids.[3]

Gameplay[edit]

The expansion allows players to level up to 110 in the Broken Isles, an increase from the cap of 100 in the previous expansion Warlords of Draenor. Initially, there were ten dungeons in 7.0 with patch 7.1 adding the revamped Karazhan dungeon, patch 7.2 adding Cathedral of the Eternal Night and patch 7.3 adding the Seat of the Triumvirate on the planet Argus - the headquarters of the Burning Legion and the former home of the Draenei.[4]. There are four raid tiers in Legion, with the first tier being The Emerald Nightmare that opened three weeks after Legion's release along with the small raid Trial of Valor that opened in patch 7.1, the second raid tier The Nighthold in patch 7.1.5, the third raid tier Tomb of Sargeras in patch 7.2.5 and the final raid tier is Antorus, the Burning Throne on Argus in patch 7.3.2.[5] After Emerald Nightmare was opened, Mythic Plus dungeons and Legion's first player versus player (PvP) season began. PvP seasons usually follow raid tiers or major patches, with Season 6 beginning after Antorus opened.

The development team made a number of changes to the PvP aspects of the game. There is a PvP honor system that unlocks PvP honor talents and there are separate abilities for use only in PvP that are not available in regular gameplay. Honor talents are abilities earned through increased levels in PvP and are activated while players engage in PvP. Once players hit maximum honor level, they can choose to earn a prestige level that resets the honor talents earned and gives cosmetic bonuses. In PvP combat, gear will be nullified and all bonuses related to gear will be deactivated, with the exception of artifact weapons and their related powers. Instead, the game will predetermine a set of stats configured to a player's specialization that can be modified for class balance purposes. However, a player's average item level will still factor in PvP; every point above item level 800 results in a 0.1% increase to a player's PvP stats.[6][7]

Artifact Weapons[edit]

Artifact weapons are powerful items that were wielded by legends of the Warcraft universe, and only available to player characters in Legion. There are 36 unique weapons specific for every class and specialization combination, which include the Ashbringer (the sword wielded by the Mograine family, and later Tirion Fordring) for retribution paladins, the Doomhammer (the warhammer wielded by Thrall) for enhancement shamans, the Icebringer and Frostreaper (twin blades together known as the 'Blades of the Fallen Prince' that are forged from the Frostmourne wielded by the Lich King) for frost death knights, and other powerful weapons from the Warcraft lore. In addition, there is a fishing artifact called the Underlight Angler for those dedicated to fishing.[8] Players complete quests to obtain these weapons, and the weapons will gain power alongside the player as they level in the Broken Isles, complete world quests, and defeat bosses. The appearance of each artifact can be customized and artifact-specific appearances are unlocked after completing certain tasks.[9] At level 102, quests are available to acquire the other artifact weapons from a player's class that were not initially earned at level 100.

Demon Hunters[edit]

Demon hunters are the second "hero class" in World of Warcraft, joining death knights that were introduced in Wrath of the Lich King. Demon hunters begin as members of the Illidari, the elite guard of Illidan Stormrage during his rule of Outland in The Burning Crusade. Demon hunters operate on the concept of "fighting fire with fire", wielding demonic fel magic to fuel their attacks and harnessing the powers of demons they kill to fight against the Burning Legion. To become demon hunters, an initiate must consume the heart of a demon that results in most initiates dying due to being overwhelmed by the demonic energy or going insane; the survivors become part demon, taking on demonic aspects including horns, wings, claws and hooves.[10] Demon hunters ritually blind themselves to gain 'spectral sight', allowing them to detect demonic energy from demons and to see stealthed enemies.[11]

Similar to death knights, demon hunters are able to fill the tank or damage dealer (DPS) role, but only have two specializations: vengeance for tanking and havoc for DPS. They wear leather armor and wield a pair of warglaives, a weapon that is a curved two-bladed short sword that is similar to the Blades of Azzinoth wielded by Illidan.[3] Unlike death knights, which are available to all races except for Pandaren, demon hunters are only playable by the two elvish races - Night Elves and Blood Elves.[12] While any race has the potential to become a demon hunter, Illidan only trained elves in the Black Temple. A player is only allowed one demon hunter per realm and must already have a level 70 on that realm in order to create one.

As a hero class, a demon hunter does not start at level 1 but instead starts at level 98.[13] Demon hunters have a unique starting experience, similar to death knights; their story begins ten years before Legion (shortly before Illidan's death in the Black Temple raid, as depicted in The Burning Crusade) on the shattered Burning Legion world of Mardum, where they have been sent by Illidan to obtain a demonic artifact, the Sargerite Keystone, used to gain access to the Legion-controlled planets. Upon returning to Outland, the demon hunters find Illidan slain by the Wardens, and are captured and imprisoned in the Vault of the Wardens on Azeroth. Ten years later, demon hunters are freed in order to fight against the Burning Legion after the Horde and Alliance losses at the Broken Shore.[12] As a base of operations, the class's order hall is the captured Legion ship Fel Hammer located on Mardum.[11]

Mythic Plus[edit]

Mythic Plus (stylized as Mythic+ or M+) dungeons are a new dungeon difficulty introduced that adds increasing difficulty level from the regular Mythic dungeons based on the activation of a "mythic keystone", similar to the Greater Rift Keystone in Diablo III: Reaper of Souls. Completing a dungeon that has been activated with a keystone within the time limit awards a higher level keystone, and a chance to receive character items proportionate to the difficulty.

Order Halls[edit]

Each class has an "order hall" - a place of great power linked closely to a character's class, such as Acherus (the hub for death knights introduced in Wrath of the Lich King) or the Temple of Five Dawns (the hub for monks introduced in Mists of Pandaria), where only members of that class can congregate. Player characters can upgrade the look and abilities of their artifact weapons in their class's order hall and engage in missions in the Broken Isles. The player character, for lore purposes, is the leader of the class's organization in question (e.g. a paladin character is the Highlord of the Order of the Silver Hand), similar to being the commander of Alliance or Horde forces in Warlords of Draenor. The order hall locations include the sanctuary beneath Light's Hope Chapel for paladins, a cave overlooking the Maelstrom for shamans, and an enclave on the Burning Legion portal world of Dreadscar Rift for warlocks.[14] The order halls do not include access to the auction house or banks and only the druid and mage order halls include a mailbox.

Changes to existing classes[edit]

Some existing classes experienced major changes. For example, hunters, who are predominantly ranged and rely on pet damage, had their three specializations changed: Survival allows them to wield melee weapons while fighting alongside their pet, Beastmaster can use multiple pets at once and Marksmanship has the option to forgo their pet in exchange for stronger ranged abilities.[15] Warlocks' demonology specialization no longer has the metamorphosis ability because the ability was given to demon hunters; this warlock specialization is refocused around using multiple summoned demon minions at once.[3] Other removals from the game included the Gladiator Stance talent for Protection Warriors, which helped that specialization do more damage at the expense of tanking ability, and the Fistweaving talent that allowed Mistweaver Monks to heal allies by dealing melee damage.[16] All of the class changes are explained in each of Blizzard's "Legion Class Preview Series".[17]

Transmogrify 2.0[edit]

The transmogrification system, which allows players to remodel their items' appearances, was expanded with Transmogrify 2.0. All soulbound item appearances players have in their inventory and bank are added to the wardrobe's user interface, similar to the transmogrification system used in Diablo III: Reaper of Souls. Additionally, all applicable gear rewards (such as mail armor for Shaman/Hunters but not leather) from every quest completed and treasure found are added to the player's wardrobe.[18] The wardrobe can be used to create outfits that can be saved to a list and set to change automatically with specialization changes. After items have been added to the wardrobe, the player does not need to keep them in their bank or inventory in order to retain the appearances in the wardrobe.

In addition to the existing options to hide helms and cloaks from appearing on a player character, an option to hide shoulder armor was added to the transmogrify system in patch 7.0. In patch 7.1, options to hide belts, tabards and shirts were added.

Plot[edit]

Following the defeat of Archimonde at Hellfire Citadel in an alternate timeline Draenor, the orc warlock Gul'dan was transported to the main timeline Azeroth. Gul'dan ventured upon the Vault of the Wardens, a prison used to contain dangerous beings in the Broken Isles. With the aid of the Warden-turned-traitor Cordana Felsong, Gul'dan was able to breach the vault's defenses. Inside, he came across the body of the demon hunter Illidan Stormrage, slain during the events of The Burning Crusade.[19] Sensing immense power within the remains, Gul'dan seized the crystal prison and made his escape. In the ensuing chaos, the wardens released Illidan's "Illidari"; his personally trained demon hunters that use demonic power, to help fight against the Burning Legion. Maiev Shadowsong, leader of the Wardens and someone with a personal vendetta against Illidan, pursues Gul'dan. Gul'dan traveled to the Tomb of Sargeras, a former temple housing the demonic power of the Dark Titan Sargeras' avatar. Flushed with demonic energy, Gul'dan was able to open a massive portal, and thereby allowing the Burning Legion to invade Azeroth.

The massive spike of energy created by the arrival of the Legion alerts Archmage Khadgar to the invasion. He travels to the throne room of Stormwind to inform King Varian Wrynn of the invasion.[20] Demonic invasions spawn throughout Azeroth, with both the Alliance and Horde fighting to defend their lands. Khadgar begins researching ways to sever the Legion from their source of power at the Tomb of Sargeras, consulting with the newly awoken Magni Bronzebeard. Magni declares that his innate connection with the land during his slumber has allowed him to communicate with the nascent Titan slumbering within Azeroth. Only by using the five Pillars of Creation, incredibly powerful Titan artifacts, can the forces of Azeroth drive back the Legion. Khadgar teleports the Kirin Tor capital city of Dalaran to the tower of Karahzan to further his research.

Faced with an increasing number of demonic attacks, the Alliance, Horde, and Argent Crusade prepare to launch an invasion with naval, air, and ground forces to the Tomb of Sargeras on the Broken Isles. The demons mislead the Alliance and Horde as to the size of the demonic army present at the Tomb, manipulating them into far underestimating the size of the demonic host. Tricked into seeing a faux opportunity to end the invasion before it truly begins, the two factions launch an assault on the Broken Shore. With initial headway against the demons, the heroes of Azeroth are able to secure the beach and come across remnants of the Argent Crusade, who have been annihilated (a survivor describes this event as "The greatest army in the world, destroyed in an instant.") Gul'dan mortally wounds Tirion Fordring by summoning a massive demon to attack him, which the combined forces of the Horde and Alliance are later able to defeat. The Alliance and Horde forces separated at this point, with Varian leading the Alliance forces to the base of the temple and Sylvanas Windrunner of the Forsaken leading the Horde to a ridge-line overlooking the battlefield. Upon seeing the Alliance reach the base of the portal, Gul'dan unveiled a multitude of powerful Legion commanders, many of whom have killed in the past. At the same time, a massive force of demons is summoned that attacks the Horde position. Warchief Vol'jin is grievously wounded; seeing that the battle was lost, Sylvanas and her Val'kyr evacuated the remaining Horde forces. Varian and the Alliance, unaware of the dire situation, believe that the Horde had abandoned them, and not that the battle was already lost. Varian ordered an evacuation of the surviving forces, but Gul'dan summoned a fel reaver to impede the escape. Varian leaves the ship and destroys the reaver but is crippled after the fight, and then dragged before Gul'dan who kills him. Having taken heavy casualties, the Alliance and Horde forces retreat to their respective capitals. Mortally wounded, Vol'jin passes the mantle of Warchief to Sylvanas before succumbing. Sylvanas rallies the Horde around her, asking who of those gathered will help her avenge Vol'jin.

With both the Alliance and Horde devastated by the battle at the Broken Shore, a new source of power is required to defeat the Legion. The player, together with the shunned demon hunters, must learn to master artifact weapons and find the Pillars Of Creation that hold the power to stop the Legion's invasion.

The player characters cleanse the Emerald Dream of the Nightmare, ending the corruption of the world tree by Xavius and further empowering their artifact weapons. During the events of Legion, two characters that were thought to have been lost, Alleria and Turalyon make an appearance in a message from the Army of The Light, showing that another group is fighting against the Legion. The players enter into Helheim to kill Helya, to free Odyn from her curse and to free Illidan's soul from her control. In Suramar, the players aid the Nightfallen, a sect of Nightborne who were been cast out from the Nightwell and are sick due to suffering from magic addiction. The players satiate these addictions by planting the arcan'dor, a tree that produces a fruit that negates the addiction. The Nightfallen help the players invade the Nighthold and stop the Nightborne from further helping the Legion. The players fight their way to the Nightwell to put Illidan's soul back in his body and to kill Gul'dan before he could put Sargeras' soul in Illidan.

While the Alliance and Horde celebrate their victory, the Burning Legion invades the Broken Shore to begin its full invasion of Azeroth. The class hall orders establish a foothold on the Broken Shore while facing heavy resistance. After fighting back the invasion forces, the players enter the Tomb of Sargeras to end the Legion's presence on Azeroth. The players find Kil'jaeden and slay him on his ship flying over Argus, home of the Burning Legion, that causes the ship to explode. Illidan uses the Sargerite Keystone to open a rift between Argus and Azeroth in order to escape the ship, which ends up leaving Argus nearby Azeroth, setting the stage for the players to invade Argus.

Velen summons the Alliance and Horde to travel aboard The Vindicaar. The players travel to the surface meet the Krokuun, the surviving Broken Draenei that were left on Argus, and the surviving Army of the Light, including Turalyon and Alleria. Together, the player gains ground on Argus and rescues the dormant prime Naaru, Xe'ra. However, she is destroyed by Illidan after she attempts to force her prophecy on him. Magni arrives and is able to communicate with the world soul of Argus and learns that Aggramar, one of the Titans, has been corrupted and serves Sargeras. He also discovers the other Titans are alive but are being tortured in Antorus, the Burning Throne. Eonar, the only free Titan, reveals to Magni that she is hiding from Sargaras since he needs her powers. The players make their way to Antorus and begin the final fight against the Legion.

The players invade Antorus, defeat the Legion’s champions, save Eonar and free Aggramar. The remaining Titans are freed and attempt to purify the world soul of Argus, however, it is too corrupted so the players are forced to kill the new titan, Argus the Unmaker. The players see that Sargeras is at Azeroth and prepared to destroy it. Sargeras is able to barely stab his sword into Azeroth but is pulled away by the Titans before finishing the destruction. The players return home, with Illidan staying behind to face Sargeras inside his prison.

Anduin Wrynn praises the victory over the Burning Legion while acting like a King in front of his people. Mathias Shaw informs Anduin that the Horde sent goblins to Silithus, where Sargaras' blade is located, and have been mining strange crystals. Anduin sends the Alliance players to investigate. Meanwhile, the Horde gathers for a celebratory feast. As victory speeches are given, Gallywix approches Sylvanas and reveals the crystals that the goblins have been mining. The Horde players are sent to aid the goblins mining. As the two factions clash in Silithus, Magni discovers that the crystals are the crystallized blood of Azeroth herself, but the Alliance and Horde want to claim all of the Azerite crystals. Thus begins Battle for Azeroth.

Setting[edit]

The expansion begins approximately two years after the events of Warlords of Draenor and takes place in the Broken Isles, an island chain near the Maelstrom in the middle of the Great Sea. Originally part of the former supercontinent of Kalimdor, the isles were sent to the bottom of the Great Sea after the Sundering ten thousand years earlier, and used by Aegwynn, the Guardian of Tirisfal, to imprison the corpse of the avatar of Sargeras, the dark titan and leader of the Burning Legion. During the events of Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness, the warlock Gul'dan raised the islands from the sea floor in search of the tomb; Illidan later explored the tomb in Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. The Demon Hunter's first experiences are portrayed in the novel World of Warcraft: Illidan.

Broken Isles[edit]

There are six zones in the Broken Isles: Azsuna, the Broken Shore, Highmountain, Stormheim, Suramar and Val'sharah. The city of Dalaran, which served as the neutral capital city in Northrend during Wrath of the Lich King, is relocated to the southern part of the Broken Isles to provide a base for the Alliance and Horde forces to fight against the Legion and its other enemies.

Argus[edit]

In patch 7.3, the players invade Argus that is the homeworld of the Burning Legion. It has three zones: Krokuun, Antoran Wastes and Mac'Aree. Antorus, the Burning Throne is the fifth Legion raid that was added in patch 7.3.2 and it is located in the Antoran Wastes of Argus.[21].

Development[edit]

Legion entered alpha testing in late November 2015.[22] The beta test for the game began on May 12, 2016.[23] The game was released for Microsoft Windows and OS X on August 30, 2016.[24] Legion has the most voice acting of any Warcraft expansion to date.[25]

Players who purchase the game will receive one level 100 boost to apply to a character and players who pre-ordered the game receive early access starting on August 9 to the demon hunter class before the official release.[26] On July 19, 2016, patch 7.0.3 introduced all the game system changes, which included the class, transmogrify and item stat changes.[27]

On August 9, 2016 (August 10 in the EU) in the weeks before Legion's release, the Burning Legion began its invasion of Azeroth, allowing all player adventurers to defend their world and includes the Broken Shore event—the epicenter of the demonic invasion.[28]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate score
AggregatorScore
Metacritic88/100[29]
Review scores
PublicationScore
GameSpot9/10[30]
IGN9.1/10[31]
PC Gamer (US)90/100[32]
Polygon9.5/10[33]

Legion was acclaimed, scoring a 88 on Metacritic.[29] During the first week of the game's launch, the number of concurrent players reached its highest point since the 2010 launch of the Cataclysm expansion.[34] IGN praised the expansion stating that, "Legion shows World of Warcraft finding its footing again and asserting its relevance after more than a decade."[31] Gamespot praised the new zones, world quests, dungeon design, and closed by stating, "Blizzard has proven it can still craft an MMO experience as well as--if not better--than anyone else."[30] Polygon praised the quality of life enhancements the expansion brought to the game, as well as stating that the classic questing and raiding system "is as good as it's ever been."[33]

Sales[edit]

The expansion set sold 3.3 million copies by its official release date of August 30, 2016, matching the previous expansion sales record held by Cataclysm.[34]

Accolades[edit]

Year Award Category Result Ref
2016 The Game Awards 2016 Best Role Playing Game Nominated [35]
Game Informer Best of 2016 Awards Best PC Exclusive Won [36]
Best MMO Won
2016 Hollywood Music in Media Awards Best Original Score - Video Game Nominated [37]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Karmali, Luke (August 6, 2015). "Gamescom 2015: World of Warcraft: Legion Announced". IGN. Retrieved August 6, 2015. 
  2. ^ "The Legion Returns August 30 - World of Warcraft". April 19, 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c "WoW: Legion details at Gamescom: Interview with Tom Chilton & Ion Hazzikostas - Icy Veins Forums". Icy Veins. August 6, 2015. Retrieved August 10, 2015. 
  4. ^ World of Warcraft patch 7.3 will take players to Argus Blizzard Watch, November 4, 2017.
  5. ^ "Legion Summit - Dev Interviews". MMO-Champion. June 10, 2016. Retrieved June 14, 2016. 
  6. ^ "Gearing up for Legion PvP". Blizzard. May 23, 2016. 
  7. ^ "Blizzard Details World of Warcraft: Legion PvP Overhaul". December 18, 2015. 
  8. ^ "List of Artifact Traits and Possible Fishing Artifact". Wowhead. November 27, 2015. 
  9. ^ Perculia (July 28, 2015). "Legion Artifacts: What We Know - Wowhead News". Wowhead. Retrieved August 10, 2015. 
  10. ^ King, William (April 12, 2016). Illidan: World of Warcraft. Del Rey Books. ISBN 9780399177569. 
  11. ^ a b "Demon Hunter - Game Guide - World of Warcraft". Blizzard. November 28, 2012. Retrieved August 10, 2015. 
  12. ^ a b Perculia. "Demon Hunters: What We Know - Wowhead News". Wowhead.com. Retrieved August 10, 2015. 
  13. ^ "MMO-Champion - Timewalking Reward Costs, Accolade Trinkets and PvP Gearing, Tweets, Wildstar F2P". Retrieved September 4, 2015. 
  14. ^ "'World of Warcraft: Legion' First Impressions – AiPT!". Adventuresinpoortaste.com. Retrieved August 10, 2015. 
  15. ^ "Legion MM Hunter to get pet back as baseline - Forums - World of Warcraft". March 17, 2016. 
  16. ^ "RIP Fistweaving & Gladiator Stance - Forums - World of Warcraft". 
  17. ^ "Legion Class Preview Series – Overview - WoW". Blizzard. 
  18. ^ "BlizzCon 2015: New Legion Transmog System, Wardrobe, Outfits, New Transmog Slots". November 18, 2015. 
  19. ^ "World of Warcraft Cinematic Teaser". YouTube. August 6, 2015. Retrieved August 10, 2015. 
  20. ^ "World of Warcraft: Legion – Feature Overview". YouTube. August 6, 2015. Retrieved August 10, 2015. 
  21. ^ "Antorus Raid Preview & Unlock Schedule - MMORPG.com News". MMORPG.com. Retrieved 2017-11-21. 
  22. ^ "World of Warcraft's Legion alpha is now live". Blizzard Watch. November 23, 2015. Retrieved December 1, 2015. 
  23. ^ "Legion Dev Update Liveblog with Jesse Cox and Ion Hazzikostas - Beta Starts May 12th!". Wowhead. Retrieved May 10, 2016. 
  24. ^ Chalk, Andy (April 19, 2016). "World of Warcraft: Legion will arrive in August". PC Gamer. Retrieved April 19, 2016. 
  25. ^ BlizzCon 2015 Legion Q&A Blizzard at timestamp 55:15.
  26. ^ "World of Warcraft: Legion Revealed - MMO-Champion BlueTracker". Blue.mmo-champion.com. August 6, 2015. Retrieved September 2, 2015. 
  27. ^ Legion pre-expansion patch 7.0 arrives on Tuesday, July 19th Blizzard Watch. Retrieved July 15, 2016
  28. ^ The Legion Pre-Expansion Patch Is Nearly Here Blizzard. Retrieved July 8, 2016.
  29. ^ a b "World of Warcraft: Legion for PC reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved September 8, 2016. 
  30. ^ a b "World of Warcraft: Legion Review". 
  31. ^ a b Johnson, Leif (September 8, 2016). "World of Warcraft: Legion Review". 
  32. ^ "World of Warcraft: Legion review". 
  33. ^ a b Kollar, Philip (October 28, 2016). "World of Warcraft: Legion review". 
  34. ^ a b Chaud (September 8, 2016). "Legion - 3.3 Million Copies Sold, Patch 7.0.3 Hotfixes - September 7, Blue Tweets". MMO-Champion. Retrieved September 8, 2016. 
  35. ^ Makuch, Eddie (November 16, 2016). "All the 2016 Game Awards Nominees". GameSpot. Retrieved November 16, 2016. 
  36. ^ "Game Informer Best of 2016 Awards". Retrieved January 6, 2017. 
  37. ^ "2016 HMMA Music in Visual Media nominations". Retrieved January 6, 2017. 

External links[edit]