World of Warcraft: Legion had a killer launch and packs a great early game flow


Super smooth

I've been playing World of Warcraft since the beta, and I had yet to see an incredibly smooth launch for an expansion -- until Legion, that is.

Players were able to log in basically at midnight at launch (a little earlier, actually), with little to no issues, lengthy queues, DDoS attacks, or crashes. I waltzed right in, started the intro quest, and was on my way.

Legion doesn't spend any time messing around.

Right after logging in you're given a quest to head to Dalaran in the Eastern Continent, at which point it'll teleport to the Broken Isles (the new zone). Within five minutes or less, you're in. There's no lengthy cutscene intro, no super long busywork questline, you're just there in record time.

And much like the Demon Hunter intro quest, it's much more story-based this time around. Major players from the narrative are front and center, making use of the phasing mechanic to give each person their own custom story, void of the shackles of hundreds of other avatars mucking it up. The best part? You get your own personal story too very early on, tying directly into the "artifact weapon" mechanic introduced in Legion. In short, you're basically picking a specialization to commit to in exchange for access to a lore-based weapon, which you'll get in roughly an hour. Plus, you guessed it -- it has its own epic questline.

I really took to this idea more than I thought I would. There's a real connection to the weapon that's forged right away, most notably because you're actually going to get it yourself. There's also less junk to sort through in terms of loot throughout the adventure, and the upgrade tree is a much more engaging way to bond with equipment than grinding out the same dungeon 20 times to unlock something. Adding bonus weapon experience to random dungeon roulettes is a nice touch too.

Building on the concept of choice, Legion lets you decide your first starting zone, with a level scaling system that takes care of the details. I chose the inviting Stormheim, and since everyone else was offered that same choice, it wasn't heavily populated to the point of feeling packed. It really is a natural evolution of some of the principles put forth in Wrath, and it's extended to scaled dungeons. So if you hated that stringent, linear way of inching from level to level and dungeon to dungeon in past games, this mostly fixes all that.

The quests and dungeons, even in the early game, are more varied too. There are more esoteric lore-based activities to do, hidden or otherwise limited named elite mobs to fight on the world map, and more interesting boss fights, some of which have light puzzles sprinkled in. Seeing that a lot of other games are churning out tank and spank encounters by a different name, it's a refreshing change of pace for a company that basically patented the idea so many years ago.

Blizzard vows that it'll be supporting Legion more than Warlords, which saw a dismal level of major content patches after its strong launch. Right now that's just a promise, but I don't see it repeating the same mistakes again given how drastically the userbase dropped. Expect a full review once I've touched all that Legion has to offer.

[These impressions are based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]

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Chris Carter
Chris CarterReviews Director, Co-EIC   gamer profile

Chris has been enjoying Destructoid avidly since 2008. He finally decided to take the next step, make an account, and start blogging in January of 2009. Now, he's staff! ------------------- T... more + disclosures



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