Lots of excitement and interest bubbled up around World of Warcraft’s expansion reveal at Gamescom yesterday. I was at a Chinese restaurant eating lunch while keeping an eye on my Twitter feed, but that served to give me most of the salient details.
So. Legion. As many others have noted, once you digest the whole announcement you’re left with two primary impressions: It’s more of the same and it’s trying to piggy-back off of The Burning Crusade. Neither of which, I want to note, is a bad thing. Sequels and continuity can be great if done right, and WoW doesn’t have the greatest track record of shaking the boat and introducing radical new features (Cataclysm’s world revamp and Draenor’s garrisons both ended up flopping pretty hard).
Blizzard continues to sample neat ideas that have been proven elsewhere in the MMO industry, like WildStar’s (and Metroid’s) double-jumping or LOTRO’s legendary items. Both of which I’d steal if I was making an MMO, so there you go.
I do want to know what these class order halls are and what, exactly, Blizzard is doing with garrisons (abandoning them, I would think, as it did with Pandaria’s farm). A true housing system would have been a welcome addition, but I don’t think we’ll ever see that. Demon Hunter? Even if this wasn’t Elf-only, it’s just another melee tank… with horns.
I can’t help but be pretty underwhelmed by this whole announcement, even past the bias as an ex-player. WoW’s huge subscription dip needed something truly inspiring and exciting to counter it, and instead of knocking it out of the park Blizzard is settling for a triple play.
However, the biggest question of the announcement wasn’t answered yesterday, although I didn’t think it would be. And that’s the question of when it will be releasing. With beta promised this year, one can assume an early-to-mid spring 2016 release, which means that World of Warcraft has to weather the better part of a year without a major patch release, trusting in the excitement of an upcoming expansion to sustain player interest.
I’m sure we’ll be hearing more about Legion at BlizzCon and maybe there are a few curveballs not revealed yet. Maybe. And if it can’t be a major game-changer, a well-done expansion with tons of content to keep the population happy would be a welcome substitute in any case.