You’ve probably seen the banners on every website this side of the Milky Way — with Illidan Stormrage’s cringing face signalling the return of the long-since vanquished, but ever-looming threat of the Burning Legion.
The primary antagonists in World of Warcraft: Legion are not new to the Warcraft franchise, having had the same role in Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne, and returning in other expansion packs although to a much lesser extent.
This time, however, they’re back in full force, ready to take on the heroes of Azeroth to stake their claim of supremacy and plunge the world into chaos.
With this burning ensemble of terrible foes, though, comes a whole bundle of new features that have even World of Warcraft retirees returning for another taste.
Let’s take a look at some of the newest and most outstanding features in this iteration of Blizzard Entertainment’s MMO titan.
1 The Demon Hunter
The employing of Illidan as this expansion’s poster-boy gives us more than just an indication of the returning threat of the Legion, but also signals the introduction of a new playable class: the Demon Hunter.
These agile warriors use fel energy to empower themselves with the strength of the demons they seek to kill.
Following their lord Illidan on a quest for vengeance on the Burning Legion, the Demon Hunter class has a great amount of background story to it. On top of that the gameplay of the class really breathes life into the game.
With the ability to double jump and even glide on demonic wings, the Demon Hunter class offers a lot of mobility that really hasn’t been seen in World of Warcraft before.
Couple that with some flashy iconic abilities and you’ve got a class that’s worth getting excited about!
2 Artifact Weapons
For those that have opted out of the Demon Hunter class and chosen to play as one of the classic classes, Blizzard still has something exciting to offer.
These are the artifact weapons: iconic items from Warcraft lore that have traditionally been wielded by the main characters of the franchise. Weapons such as the ever popular Ashbringer now enter the realm of “equippable”.
These new weapons not only add exciting new visual appearances, but also a new dynamic levelling process where you progressively increase their power over the course of the expansion.
Each class and specialization has a different artifact weapon and each artifact weapon has its own unique set of customizable perks.
This adds a dynamic leveling aspect to the end of the game where level capped players are seeking to power up their artifacts in order to continuously become stronger.
3 Class Overhauls
For better or for worse, with every new expansion Blizzard always revamps all their classes. By changing many abilities and specializations, they actually manage to keep things fresh and feeling quite new.
This effect is even more pronounced than ever before in Legion. Every single specialization has received a heavy change, making them much more unique than they were before.
New abilities and mechanics are just the beginning of this, as some classes have even changed the way they fight!
Hunters for example, a class that has commonly been known to carry a bow and fight from far away, now have a close combat specialization.
The complete rework of all the classes comes with a new mission statement from Blizzard about maintaining class “fantasy”.
What they mean by “fantasy” is the feeling of uniqueness and stark differences from one specialization to the next.
This new emphasis really helps you to connect to your character much more in this expansion than previous ones.
4 Class Halls
From overhauls to regular halls, the classes of World of Warcraft really got a lot of attention in this expansion.
Class halls are a new class-specific area in the main city of the expansion: Dalaran. These class-specific areas have several different aspects to them which further add to the class fantasy.
Collect followers and send them on missions across the Broken Isles, upgrade your hall in order to unlock special bonuses, and even complete a lore-driven campaign that really brings you into the story behind your class.
They’re also a great place to hang out and meet others who play the same class and discuss different play mechanics.
All the while the backdrop of your class hall really helps cement the foundation that is class fantasy.
5 Level Scaling
In a world fragmented into various different zones that each have different level requirements, World of Warcraft can come across as having a very linear adventuring system.
Unlike games such as Skyrim where you can travel anywhere you please whenever you’d like, World of Warcraft has always put you on a set trajectory through specific zones in a specific order which gradually become more and more difficult.
All this ends with Legion however, as the entirety of the new continent actually scales to your level. This means you can start and finish the expansion wherever you’d like.
It also means that once you reach level cap, the entire continent is levelled to provide a challenge to you, which in turn provides the groundwork for some interesting dynamic content.
6 World Quests
Doing daily quests is something that every World of Warcraft player is familiar with.
Once you reach the level cap, doing these repeatable missions provides you with set rewards that compound and become vital over time.
This has always been the case; with every expansion comes a new set of daily quests. Legion however, is quite different.
Due to the way the content scales in level with you, Blizzard is now able to create a more dynamic system of repeatable quests.
They call these new missions world quests. Essentially the same concept as daily quests, world quests pop up on the map once you’ve reached level 110.
They change constantly, always offering different rewards for doing different things. There are over 100 different world quests around the entire new continent, with each one taking place in different landscapes and asking you to do different things.
These new quests will actually take you on an adventure across the entire new continent, allowing you to experience everything the new expansion has to offer.
A little RNG never hurt anyone, well aside from the truly unlucky. Although World of Warcraft has seen some RNG before in the form of randomized secondary stats and war forged items, Legion takes this to a whole new level with the titanforged items.
With each item having a chance to roll increasingly powerful stats, getting gear has never been more exciting. You never know when a piece of otherwise okay gear can become extremely powerful.
This sort of randomization helps to keep the game exciting while at the same time offering rewards for players who invest a significant amount of time collecting gear.
With a little bit of luck, though, almost anyone can get extremely powerful items in this expansion pack and that makes things a lot more interesting.
8 PvP Rebalance
One of the biggest problems that has plagued World of Warcraft in the past is the separation of the community into two distinct groups: the PvE players and the PvP players.
PvE players play the game to complete the content, doing quests, dungeons and raids to progress their character.
PvP players on the other hand play the game for the competitive aspect, seeking to do battle directly against other players on the front lines.
While both aspects of the game are highly entertaining, they also operate extremely differently. That means what’s powerful in PvP may be weak in PvE and so on.
This makes things extremely difficult for Blizzard to keep balanced. By changing something for PvP purposes they affect the PvE players who perhaps didn’t need a change, or vice versa.
In Legion however, they’ve figured out a fix to this. By making each player have a PvP stat template based on their class, they can easily balance the game for PvP without affecting the PvE aspect and again, vice versa.
This also allows them to make the whole PvP experience more balanced and reduce the impact of gear, making victory more reliant on skill instead.
Don’t fret though, your gear will still provide a small buff to your character, although nowhere near as much as it did before.
9 Honor Talents
Now we couldn’t talk about PvP without mentioning the new honor talents. Blizzard understands that even PvP players want to have some customization in their character, and by removing a large amount of the benefits from gear in PvP they needed to create a system which compensated for that while keeping the balance that they worked so hard to achieve.
This is where the honor talents come in. A new talent tree specifically designed for PvP has been added which boasts new skills that are not typically attainable, as well as all kinds of PvP exclusive buffs.
You unlock these talents through honor points which you gain through getting kills or winning matches in PvP.
These new talents offer some great flexibility for PvP players to create their own custom strategies and have some power to customize their characters.
10 The Wardrobe
When it comes to customizing your outfit, World of Warcraft has perhaps the largest selection of different appearances of any game out there.
This means there’s a lot of people who spend a considerable amount of time just gathering all these different appearances.
However, the old transmogrification system was cumbersome, forcing you to store all your different appearances in your bank.
With the wardrobe feature, all the appearances you collect go into a collection much like your mounts and pets.
This collection can be accessed from the same transmogrification vendor as before, but now you don’t need to physically have the item to get the appearance.
Once you’ve collected an appearance you can actually just get rid of the item!
This can save you on a considerable amount of bag space and allow you to have an even larger collection of outfits than ever before.
World of Warcraft: Legion – Start Exploring
Many people would argue that Legion is the first expansion pack in a long time that actually changes World of Warcraft significantly.
While the previous expansions have focused on simply providing new content, this expansion focuses on revamping the entire framework of the game in order to provide a more refined experience.
It also seems to focus more on exploration and adventure, rewarding you for exploring the new areas and engaging in the world than ever before.
All these changes add up to give us a newly defined World of Warcraft which is dynamic and deep, yet still offers all the charm it did before.
So whether you’re LFR or just looking to smash some baddies in the open world, Legion is definitely the one World of Warcraft expansion that no one should miss!