World of Warcraft has supposedly died and come back to life that many times even my cat is starting to get jealous. Now it’s back with some new tricks and a fresh lick of paint (that’s WoW, not my cat), but most importantly the world of Azeroth feels alive again.
Here’s the need-to-know, story-wise: the demonic Burning Legion has returned, and the heroes of Azeroth must travel to the Broken Isles to stop them. Along the way you’ll wield powerful artefact weapons from Warcraft’s lore, establish an order hall for your class, and uncover the story behind Illidan Stormrage and his demon hunters, which are now playable as a hero class.
If you still think of WoW combat as standing still and pressing one button, demon hunters will quickly change your mind. They are a spectacle to behold as they leap, dash, and backflip across the battlefield, all while collecting the shattered souls of their enemies to power abilities.
For the other classes, combat has been reinvigorated with crisp new animations and sound effects that give attacks added oomph. It’s a solid upgrade, but not the total overhaul it probably needs.
One of Legion’s biggest changes is that enemies in the Broken Isles levelling zones now scale to your level. Had it with harpies in Highmountain? Nip over to naga-infested Azsuna instead. It also means the five new zones remain relevant at endgame, which the new world quest system takes advantage of.
Rather than the tried-and-tired dailies of yore, world quests offer players a selection of tasks from each zone. It puts the onus back on the player to choose their own adventure, which helps keep it from feeling like too much of a chore.
The other big newcomer at endgame is Mythic Plus, which allows players to increase the difficulty of their dungeon runs in exchange for increasingly snazzy loot. This isn’t just a gimmick; Blizzard has finally built a five-man endgame to rival raiding, something players have demanded for years. Raiding and PvP also return, but neither are available at time of writing.
Not everything is rainbows and kittens though. Many players are disappointed the mission table from Warlords of Draenor has returned with the class order hall. A question mark also hangs over how long players will tolerate the artefact weapon grind, which demands almost constant participation.
Will Legion succeed despite these issues? Blizzard hopes so. Despite the widespread praise for Warlords on release, subscriber numbers plunged to the game’s lowest since early 2006 – an unsustainable trend.
Blizzard has given Legion every conceivable chance to succeed, from the return of beloved characters like Illidan, to the updates of its archaic systems, and the addition of meaningful five-man dungeon content. There will always be sceptics, but right now is the best WoW has been for a long time.