There’s a very good reason I never touched World of Warcraft in my ten odd years of gaming. Every time I mentioned it I was warned, “It will suck you in, and you will never get out.” With that in mind, I could not wait to jump back into the latest World of Warcraft expansion – Legion. If you thought World of Warcraft would consume your life in the previous expansions, it’s probably best to stay away from this one.

From our time travel back in Warlords of Draenor, Gul’dan decides it’s his duty to bring back the Legion, and bosses of old, to wreak havoc on Azeroth once more. This is exactly where you find yourself, where it all began in Dalaran. Only this time you’re met with odd decisions, and the feeling that something is not quite right. It’s important to note that the last time the Burning Legion led their assault on Azeroth, the Alliance and Horde banded together to put an end to it. This time, things are a bit… different.

Raise your weapon

Sitting around on Monday evening, awaiting the launch, the only thing keeping me awake (on top of praying that servers held) was the quest for my Artifact Weapon. Each Artifact Weapon is dependent on your class, and yes you can own a weapon for each one of your specialisations. The Class Order Campaign begins with accepting the responsibility of wielding this Artifact, and aiding your allies in retrieving it from the clutches of some or other demon.

If you’ve ever felt like you’re just a gun for hire in the World of Warcraft, the Artifact weapon does away with those unguided feelings – as you now have an ancient Artifact equipped, along with a greater sense of responsibility. And it packs a punch. Part of the now endless grind that is Legion is slowly upgrading this Artifact by increasing its Power from quests and instances. My bow, as a Hunter, was perhaps not as famous as Ashbringer or Doomhammer, but the bow of Alleria Windrunner would more than suffice.

Better Artifact Weapon

The biggest realisation as to why you’d need this weapon becomes clear as the story goes on. You begin to understand that no mere forged weapon can defeat the Legion. The need to continuously grind and upgrade your Artifact becomes of utmost importance as the story progresses.
With that in mind, I feel this is the best place to begin. It’s well known that I have my opinions about Blizzard, but one thing I can never fault them on is their ability to tell a damned good story, and Legion is no exception.

Stay awhile and listen

The curve ball Blizzard threw in Warlord’s of Draenor left a lot of die-hard lore fans scratching their heads as they tried to figure out what direction Blizzard had in mind for the last few instalments of World of Warcraft. The pre-expansion story tied up beautifully with the ending of Warlords, where the Alliance and Horde would once again band together. Only this time a bit of a misunderstanding between both factions left equal feelings of betrayal. It kicks off an incredible journey as you prepare yourself to fight off the Legion.

Unsure whether you will have the aid of your sworn enemies, the first phase of questing gives you the option of four separate zones. In each zone, a crucial part of the main story is revealed, coupled with amazing cinematics featuring your favourite heroes. I, of course, play as part of the Horde, so speaking of the natural progression through the story, I can honestly tell you it’s one hell of a roller coaster. To avoid all spoilers, let me just say everything begins to make sense, at the same time nothing makes sense – but there is an eerie feeling of distrust and skepticism, making way for euphoria as you complete each zone.

Thunder Totem

While terrain and detail felt lacking in Warlord’s of Draenor, Blizzard pulled out all the stops for Legion as each zone complimented the story as you progressed. I found myself spending far too much time wondering around aimlessly through specific zones, not because I was horribly lost (which I was at times), but because every now and then I was treated to a nostalgic, scenic display of a crucial part of the lore.

My favourite zone? Of the four starting zones (Stormheim, Val’Shara, Aszuna and Higmountain) my favourite had to be Highmountain. The rocky terrain split viciously by rivers and waterfalls left me speechless as I aided Mayla Highmountain, once again banding together to take on the demonic Legion. There were just so many nostalgic throwbacks to older content, so many questions answered, coupled with by far the best story out of all four starting zones.

Highmountain

In terms of the unfolding story at hand, Legion makes the levelling process enjoyable as the experience can be best described as inclusive. Your presence in each specific zone is tied to the main quest at hand – stopping the Legion attack.

A sense of belonging

The levelling process in Legion was by far one of the best I had ever experienced. Since this was only my second ever expansion, I took to asking around to see if there was a difference of opinion. Surprisingly, everyone I spoke to agreed that the levelling process in Legion was near perfect. Much of this can be accredited to the story, but the quests themselves felt unique – unlike any I’d experienced before.

Often with expansions the storyline unfolds at a pace which might fall short of the maximum level. In Warlords of Draenor, I reached level 98 upon completing the quests – which meant I had two aimless levels to grind before reaching level 100. In Legion, I hit level 110 as I completed the last chapter of Highmountain, which happened to be my last zone.
Since I missed out on previous expansions, the greatest achievement was defeating each zone’s boss in the Dungeon which followed after chapter completion. Here you received a crucial piece of the Pillars of Creation. Tools used by the Titans themselves to forge Azeroth. It’s unclear what their purpose is, but I have my theories.

Neltharions Laire
Neltharion’s Lair – The Dungeon instance for the last chapter of Highmountain where you take down Dragul to get one of the Pillars of Creation

Everything seemed to tie in perfectly, and a lot of this is due to the Class Hall Missions and Blizzard’s emphasis on Professions in Legion. Your Class Order Hall differs greatly between classes, but each one is created to complement your choice. For Hunters you’re sitting high above Highmountain at the Trueshot Lodge, while Mages take rest in Dalaran.

Trueshot Lodge
Trueshot Lodge in Highmountain, home of the Hunters.

The missions tie closely with your class, and once again you feel as if you really have a purpose in the defence of Azeroth as you train up your followers and send them out on missions as well. Every little piece of the levelling up and questing has a significance, and I cannot stress how incredible this experience is.
Pillars of Creation
The Pillar’s of Creation in the center of Dalaran. What is Khadgar plotting?

You might think that’s about it? But this is only the beginning.

The real grind begins

Where Warlords of Draenor fell short on end-game content, Legion more than makes up for it. Expecting some end game cinematic of the Legion fleeing into the Nether, I was let down when I completed all four starting zones and the story was still not complete.

Once you hit level 110 you unlock Suramar, the most infuriatingly rewarding place in the entire World of Warcraft. Here your chapters are dictated by your reputation with the controlling faction – The Nighfallen. Your first seven chapters send you all around an ancient place; once peaceful but now lost to some person who became corrupted by the promise of power (a recurring theme in World of Warcraft). Every mob hits like a truck, and Suramar is what MMO players call a “gear check.” This was the roughest experience for me in Legion as questing felt tedious, but the story once again pulled me through it all. Once you’ve completed the seven chapters, you need to up your reputation which involves grinding your heart out. Mostly by farming reputation which is strenuous and time-consuming.

Mana Tree
The Mana Tree, which is revived throughout the first chapters of Suramar.

Suramar, visually, is an incredible place. It’s always somewhat upsetting when you see a beautiful place turned upside down because one person just had to accept insurmountable power from some demonic being. Don’t you just hate it when that happens? Aesthetics aside, Suramar is the last zone where your story plays out, but it’s going to take me a few more weeks of mind-numbingly grinding out reputation to finally see what happens.

This is one of my primary gripes with Legion. While the level quests and first zones tied perfectly, Suramar’s importance will soon fade as the die-hard raiders (which I consider myself to be) will focus heavily on gearing up for the raids, as opposed to chasing a storyline. It’s clear that Blizzard wanted you to complete the story, but the one drawing point is the Artifact Power you gain from quests, and that’s easily one of the most important rewards as you move on.

Surmar City
Suramar city, the most rage inducing area in the entire expansion.

Again, this is only half of the grind. Next up is World Quests, Blizzard’s second answer to end-game content. Each day you are given World Quests where you need to complete four quests in a certain zone for a reward.

Supposedly, Legendary Items are hidden in these reward caches but I’ve yet to see one. The World Quests range through varying types of missions, but each one has the recurring aim of defeating the Legion. This is the main reputation grind as completing these quests in specific zones earns you reputation with that faction.
Each World Quest has a time limit and specific rewards from gear, Artifact Power, gold, or Class Hall resources. This is an incredible addition as they keep you busy for hours on end and act as a great way to improve on your gear, upgrade your Artifact, and make sure your Class Hall gets improved on. I’ve already done over 70 World Quests and while typing this, all I can think of is the ones I am now missing out on.

Legion will consume my life for the next several months, I’ve come to accept that. The game offers too much. From grinding dungeons, reputation, and World Quests to preparing for Raids, which only release on the 20th of September. This is part one of my review of Legion, as next I plan to tackle Player vs. Player, which also received significant changes in Legion. In the meantime I’ll continue devoting endless hours to World of Warcraft while enjoying what could be the best soundtrack since Wrath of the Lich King.

Last Updated: September 6, 2016

World of Warcraft: Legion
Summary
World of Warcraft Legion makes up for Warlords of Draenor’s transgressions by fulfilling its promises; rewarding end game content and a compelling, inclusive story.
8.5
World of Warcraft: Legion was reviewed on PC

Kyle Wolmarans

Critical Hit's esports guy. I talk about esports and drink whiskey. I also write and cast for elsewhere - but my work here is independent of that.

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