During a livestream from Gamescom in Cologne, Germany, Blizzard Entertainment Inc announced the next World of Warcraft expansion: Legion. The expansion will take players to the Broken Isles where they will fight off a full scale invasion by the Burning Legion, one of the primary antagonists of the Warcraft franchise.
The hour-long presentation was packed with details on what players can expect to see, including:
- Demon Hunter hero class
- Artifact weapons with their own levelling system and skill trees
- Level cap raised to 110
- New continent: Broken Isles
- Class-based “Order Halls”
- Revamped honor system with unlockable PVP abilities
- and of course, new Dungeons, Raids, and more
The Demon Hunter class storyline will begin with events that occurred at the end of Burning Crusade, the first ever WoW expansion. Fan favorite pseudo villain Illidan sends his Demon Hunters on a suicide mission, which players will get to experience.
Demon Hunters are a new hero class, meaning they will start at a high level with better than average gear right off the bat. This will allow new Demon Hunter players to jump straight into the Legion content rather than having the play through the last 10 years of WoW content.This will be the first time Blizzard has introduced a new class to WoW since adding Monks in Mists of Pandaria in 2012, and Demon Hunters will be the first hero class that has been introduced since Death Knights were added in Wrath of the Lich King in 2008.
So far Blizzard has only given us a brief glimpse of the Demon Hunter playstyle, but we know that it is a melee class with only two possible specs: the DPS-focused Havoc spec, and the tanking-focused Vengeance spec. Interestingly, the other WoW hero class, Death Knights, are also a melee class that can play as either DPS or tanks.
What we have seen so far implies that Demon Hunters have a highly mobile playstyle, both with its standard attack that involves charging through enemies as well as with its unique double jump ability. Demon Hunters also share similarities to Warriors with their class resource, Fury, which is generated with some abilities and spent with others.
More endgame Content
While fans are already excited about the announcement, Blizzard will be facing an uphill battle with subscription numbers currently at their lowest level in nearly a decade. Fans have voiced many complaints over the last few months about the direction of the game in its latest expansion, Warlords of Draenor, which many fans felt lacked compelling content that could keep them playing long-term.
Several of the new features in Legion seem to be addressing these issues, however, with a greater focus on endgame levelling through the new artifact weapon and PVP honor systems.
Both systems require to players to earn experience that is separate or in addition to their normal levelling experience, adding incentives to continue playing non-Raid content much longer than normal. Blizzard also plans on placing more focus on the standard 5-man dungeons, giving players a reason to continue playing through them well into the expansion.
“We feel like we’ve done dungeons a bit of a disservice,” said Lead Game Designer Ian Hazzikostas.”Dungeons are essential. They are at the heart of what makes the MMO experience awesome.”
He added, “We don’t want dungeons to be something that you just do for a month at the start and then forget once you start doing raids.”
Focusing on classes
Over its lifespan, some of the most popular content on WoW included class-specific quests and items that stood out from the standard “Kill X furbolgs” quests. For example, Warlocks were originally given a long, difficult quest chain that they had to complete in order to unlock their epic mount. Rogues also had an arduous (and mostly useless) reputation grind with the Ravenholdt faction, and Druids had to earn each of their animal forms.
The new Legion expansion seems to recognize this fact and will have a heavy focus on class-specific features, including both unique artifact weapons and clubhouse-like Order Halls.
These Order Halls will replace garrisons as players’ main hangouts, and rather than being empty ghost towns full of NPCs, they will be standard locations filled with other players of the same class. There will be new quests for each Order Hall location, all focusing on the unique feel of the classes they belong to.
There is no release date set for the upcoming expansion, but the beta testing phase will begin later this year, and it seems likely that the expansion release will be timed to coincide closely with the release of Legendary Pictures’ Warcraft film, which will be arriving on June 10, 2016
In case you missed it, you can watch the full video of the World of Warcraft: Legion announcement below.