12 years is a long time, especially in the virtual world, where technology and games are aging at an alarming rate. This did not stop Activision Blizzard in late August this year to release the sixth addition to its most famous game - World of Warcraft.
World of Warcraft Legion. Review of the expansion, which all fans have been waiting forFoto: Komputer Świat
World of Warcraft Legion. Review of the expansion pack all fans have been waiting for
When Blizzard in 2001, on the 10th anniversary of Warcraft, announced to the world the imminent arrival of its new child, all gamers knew that it would be something great. But no one expected that it would give birth to a new genre of games - MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online) and 12 years after its release in 2004, it will still be played, paying a monthly subscription, by millions of people around the world.
Before you embark on your journey...
I'd like you to imagine 12 million people playing the same game simultaneously, in one day. Add to this the fact that each of these people must not only own an original copy of the program, but also pay about 50 zloty a month just to be able to play. The description sounds like a game developer's dream, but it was for real. This is a record, which World of Warcraft reached in October 2010 and since then no other game has not even come close to this level.
That's why it's more common to talk about WoW as a phenomenon rather than a game as such. Add to that the fact that this year also saw the release of several books and a feature film set in the reality of the game, and you get the full picture. WoW is a phenomenon worth taking a closer look at, especially in the context of the game's newest installment.
For the first time in the history of expansions to World of Warcraft Blizzard offers us a companion app available on smartphones and tablets with Android and iOS. With it, we can manage our own enclave, the actions of our henchmen or research projects conducted at a given time. It's a very cool solution, because it saves some time waiting between the next expeditions of our champions for the treasure.
Legion is the sixth paid expansion to World of Warcraft, available on the market for a little over a month. Its structure is very similar to the second addition, Wrath of the Lich King. Once again, we get the opportunity to explore a new continent (this time it's the Shattered Isles located off the coast of the Eastern Kingdoms), gain another ten levels of experience and become a member of a new heroic class (this time it's demon hunters).
The similarities do not end there. Just like in the aforementioned second expansion, the main plotline is the story of a well-known and popular character from the WoW universe. Arthas from WotLK was replaced by Illidan, who returns after a nearly 9-year absence due to the defeat at the Black Temple to save the world from demonic destruction. So we have a familiar hero, a huge conflict and a new weapon in the form of another character class made available to players. Sounds familiar, right?
Now I'm complete
Fortunately, that's where the similarities end. I have a feeling that Blizzard learned their lesson after the failure of the previous expansion, Warlords of Draenor. The aforementioned expansion promised to be great (as confirmed by expert reviews around the world), and ended up as the biggest disappointment in the history of World of Warcraft. WoD contributed to the suspension of subscriptions by more than 4 million (almost half) of the people playing at that time.
The authors did their homework and with the release of Legion, they provided us with a lot of new features. I'm not just talking about the seamless launch (for the first time in the history of Blizzard games, the servers were able to handle it), but above all the new solutions in terms of storytelling, mechanics and graphics, which we haven't seen before, and which bring a breath of fresh air to this 12-year-old game.
Let's start at the beginning, and actually with one of the 12 different, unique sequences that open the add-on. Yes, you read that right - each class gets their own unique series of quests introducing them to the main Legion storyline. For example, I can mention druids struggling with an emerald nightmare or shamans fighting to maintain balance in the elemental world. That's not all the surprises though - at the end of the first chapter of the class campaign, we get a gift which is probably the most important point of the add-on - a unique, legendary weapon which grows with us in strength and which we can adjust to our own style of play.
As if that wasn't enough, the new artifacts are equivalents of well-known weapons wielded by the greatest heroes of World of Warcraft: Doomhammer, Ashbringer or Thas'dorah (the Windrunner legacy bow). In addition, they have their own talent trees, which we can develop at will. For many players this is a dream come true, while for others it means losing the "uniqueness" of legendary items. After all, if everyone can be the owner of a legendary weapon, where is the place for pride? Time will tell which will be more.
Azeroth or Westeros?
To further emphasize the unique role of the player in the WoW universe, the scriptwriters of Legion created a story that George R. R. Martin himself, an author known primarily for the brutal killing of his characters in Game of Thrones, wouldn't be ashamed of. In order not to spoil the fun, I'll just say that what we experience in the opening mission of Legion is just the beginning. As the story unfolds, we'll have to say goodbye to a few more well-known characters. Thanks to such a structure of the story, the player has an impression that he is actually someone important and only on his effort and self-denial depends on whether the demonic invasion will be repulsed. It's a nice breath of fresh air, because until now we were "only" champions - the elite of the Horde or Covenant troops, who participated in the events rather as a background or tools of the leaders.
In Legion it's the other way around - we often replace the heroes known from the story cards or previous supplements. This procedure is probably to convince people who no longer have time to play together with friends or strangers during raids. Individually gaining new levels of experience has become a real adventure.