After an unprecedented decadeplus run of unbelievable subscription numbers, World of Warcraft has seen some dramatic drops in its player base in recent months. Blizzard no doubt hopes to plug that leak with the announcement of Legion, the sixth full-scale expansion, and the initial reveal provides ample reason to get excited.
For many players, the most compelling addition is the new class. The demon hunter’s return as a playable class is a thrill for both Horde and Alliance players, with a look modeled after Illidan’s blindfolded incarnation from Warcraft III. The storyline for these new characters focuses on a group of elite demon hunters sent to confront the Burning Legion over a decade ago, but they are now being reawakened to battle the resurgent threat. The opportunity to wield one of those two-bladed warglaives is a potent incentive to check out the class for longtime Warcraft enthusiasts. In addition to high mobility, the demon hunter class also has the ability morph into other forms.
The looming threat of this expansion is the other exciting story component; after confronting the mystical land of Pandaria and the bizarre alternatehistory vibe of Draenor, Legion takes us back to a confrontation against the demonic forces of the Burning Legion – as close to a fundamental Big Bad as this fictional universe has. To stand a chance against this menace, the expansion introduces class-specific customizable Artifact weapons, allowing you to hold on to powerful weapons and continue to develop them over time via ability trees that offer increased spell and ability options. Making changes to your weapon also affects its appearance. Even transforming feral druids can get in on the action, with artifacts that change how they look when in alternate shapes.
In addition to an expected batch of new dungeons and raids, Legion also introduces a new continent called the Broken Isles, a place that was once the beating heart of the Night Elf civilization. Players can look forward to a new honor system, as well as class-specific Order Halls, from which you can send out NPCs to tackle missions. Players also get to advance up to level 110. New and old players alike can boost one character up to level 100 immediately, and dive into the action with friends.
As a lapsed World of Warcraft player, I can attest that Blizzard has chosen several features for Legion that already have me itching to dive back in. However, I’m withholding judgment until we’re closer to launch. Loyal players had a long wait between Mists of Pandaria and Warlords of Draenor. If the wait is anywhere as long for Legion’s final release, I worry that the enthusiasm from this admittedly thrilling reveal might fade. With an announced beta for “later this year,” I’m hoping my concerns are unwarranted