There is no question that World of Warcraft has been in some turbulent, up-and-down times recently, with subscribers in a definite gradual decline. I personally haven't played WoW on a regular basis for many years. Legion will more than likely not change that; however, it is the sort of expansion a good friend of mine and I have been talking about for many years.
That has nothing really to do with the gameplay, mind you. There may be some neat changes coming to Legion about classes, new abilities—whatever. I'm just not all that interested anymore, as I've not regularly raided in a progression guild for a ridiculously long time.
However, as I have written before, Legion is pretty much a Warcraft lore nerd's dream in many respects. (The lore may not be great and it may be confusing, but it's one of those things I have been interested in for almost 20 years now, so I'll always be excited for it.) Questions that have been around for over a decade and more will finally start to get answered. The Burning Legion has returned, it being what many would consider the main villain of the Warcraft universe. The divisive cherry on top is that many a lore nerd's favorite hero/villain returns, Illidan Stormrage.
The idea of the Class Orders is interesting from both a gameplay and lore perspective. Class Orders seem to be addressing the issues players had with Garrisons gameplay-wise, as discussed in my previous post. For me, of course, the lore element is more interesting. Blizzard has said that the Alliance and Horde are at their throats again (sure looks like it), and if that is true, it could make for some interesting story elements in that conflict. The Class Orders appear to be this expansion's version of the Horde and Alliance teaming up. So instead of having the same lame "tension" between Horde and Alliance leaders, we'll have the various Class Orders striving for one goal.
That is neat in that it should be a good opportunity for Blizzard to develop and/or create interesting characters by giving them a reasonable amount of attention in the story. Surely certain characters will have bigger roles, but every class should be introduced to, or learn more about, certain characters and their relevancy to that class. There's likely a lot of information about those characters out there already—such as the novels, short stories, etc.—but this will be a great way to easily see them in-game. This is true for both characters in the Halls and the Champions (the follower replacement). Not only that, many of the Halls will be in a lore significant place.
Artifacts are another divisive area in both gameplay and lore. These artifact weapons will be persistent throughout your time in Legion and will be the only ones players will use for their characters. That strips away one significant area of player customization. However, one could argue the whole "best in slot" idea took that away already. Aside from that, artifacts will be customizable in appearance, and the Relic slots for each weapon—what you place in your artifact to upgrade it—will offer some variance. Until we get the inevitable "best in slot relic." At least people will get their talent points sorta back with the artifacts.
Gameplay aside, of course, each of these artifacts are massively significant lore objects. Many lore fans will be extremely divided on their addition to the game to be wielded by everyone. Things like The Ashbringer should, to some fans, probably stick with one lore-significant character. Bringing something like the Scythe of Elune into play may irk some, as well as The Doomhammer of course. The debate over what this means lorewise and that sorta thing will continue forever.
Regardless of that, I think it offers an interesting opportunity for many people to familiarize themselves with some cool stuff in the lore. We all will have the opportunity to learn more about where certain artifacts went—as we did not know where many were—so finding out the story about how players come upon them will be interesting. We also have the artifacts specifically created for Legion that nobody knew about before, so that will be a cool opportunity as well.
Of course, the greatest and most exciting thing for most is the return of the Burning Legion. Legion promises a worldwide invasion of Azeroth by the Burning Legion, but who knows if that will be implemented in the epic way that immediately springs to everyone's mind. However, the most likely scenario is some sort of pre-expansion event in which that may happen, and then the expansion itself will take place entirely on the new continent.
This invasion of the Burning Legion brings with it a ton of names and places lore nerds have been wanting to see more of forever in the Emerald Dream/Nightmare, Queen Azshara, titan stuff in the Pillars of Creation, and last but certainly not least, Turalyon and Alleria. Turalyon and Alleria had become a running gag for years with fans wondering about their status and whereabouts. We are now finally going to learn what happened to them and continue their story in a hopefully epic fashion.
The general story is more or less known as their are portals opened all over Azeroth with the Burning Legion invading and the players will have to find the pieces of the Pillars of Creation to close up the holes. That's the basis, and it will make make many lore fans happy in that it will be using a titan artifact to defeat the Burning Legion, all the while we are using lore significant artifacts ourselves as players. There is of course plenty of story to go around with Khadgar, Illidan, Xavius, the vyrkul, and more. The real interesting bit will be what significant Burning Legion members will be playing a role in the expansion.
This emphasis on lore is continuing outside of the expansion as well, with the World of Warcraft Chronicle: Volume 1 coming out next month. Attempts to further, and explicitly, explain the lore and its history is pretty cool. Legion is a great example of using lore to its fullest to create something neat and makes me hopeful for the future. Of course, Metzen will only mess up a bunch of it in my and many other lore nerds' eyes, as per usual, but we're used to that.
I have no idea about the gameplay, though.
What are your thoughts on Legion? Are you looking forward to it as a current or former player?