What ‘Legion' Means for ‘World of Warcraft’

Blizzard's latest expansion is shaping up to be a return to the good days.

World of Warcraft has steadily been declining in popularity over the years – while continuously working to entice players with new game concepts and various cross promotions with Blizzard’s other projects. For the last year, players have been endlessly grinding Hellfire Citadel awaiting the next expansion. And it’s almost here. Now that we’re just a few weeks away, what exactly does Legion’s arrival mean for the game?

Set after the final siege on Hellfire Citadel, which took place at the end of Warlords of Draenor, Legion ushers in the third invasion of the Burning Legion — Warcraft’s vast, endless army of demons, infernos, and corrupted beings who seek to destroy order throughout the entire universe. In order to stop them from destroying Azeroth once again, players will have to retrace the steps of the legendary Maiev Shadowsong back to the Broken Isles, where she and Illidan Stormrage dueled atop the Tomb of Sargeras. Essentially, we’re going to be exploring one of the most iconic locations in the entire Warcraft universe, which is something players haven’t really had the chance to do since WoW’s third expansion, Wraith of the Lich King.

In the new expansion, players will get a chance to revisit some of the most important history in the Warcraft universe for the first time in-game. Previously limited to books such as Stormrage and Warcraft: War of the Ancients Archive alongside the original real-time strategy (RTS) games, the new zone in Legion is going to open up a plethora of new information about the ancient Highborn and how they used the Pillars of Creation to rebuild Azeroth.

Since World of Warcraft first released back in 2004, lore has been one of the driving forces behind its continued success. Almost every character and event in the game holds weight and drives the universe forward, with consistently evolving stories that are altering some of the most complex characters across the video game industry. Naturally, since these characters are expressed through text and cinematic though, they don’t often get the credit they might deserve.

While lore is certainly going to become one of the driving forces behind Legion at launch, Blizzard is bringing a plethora of mechanical content changes along with it that supports the game moving forward. One of the biggest changes is the introduction of the Demon Hunter hero class, which will expand the lore behind Illidan Stormrage and his Illidari while providing a much needed boost to the current variety of character classes. We’ll also get access to Class Order Halls in Legion, allowing us to unite some of the most respected characters in the Warcraft universe together in order to fend off the Burning Legion while seeking (Artifact Weapons]( for our own characters.

Like they have with every previous expansion to World of Warcraft, Blizzard is hoping to recapture the Warcraft audience with Legion again and hopefully keep them in with consistent patches that provide fresh content. Essentially, they’re trying to direct combat the major issues with Warlords of Draenor while introducing the next step in WoW’s evolution too, and things are looking good so far.

Patch 7.0.3, which launched last week is the first true step towards Legion. The patch introduces all of the new class changes alongside the upgraded transmogrification system. With the new class mechanics, Blizzard is working to flesh out specific player fantasies, meaning that they want to push forward what it means to be a Blood Death Knight, for example. So far, it feels like they’ve pulled that off too — with many of the Blood DK’s abilities revolving around sustainability and active management by the player. Now? WoWs character classes manage to feel great even without their artifact weapons, though a little fine tuning is certainly coming as we near Legion’s release.

For the first time in a long time, World of Warcraft feels alive again, and it looks like Blizzard is only getting started.

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