Article By: Tamsin Skye Heineman
Another panel today at Blizzcon previewed some of the world and content of the upcoming World of Warcraft expansion, Legion.
Here are the notes directly from Blizzard. Pictures of the slides are at the bottom of the post.
The Broken Shore
- The cinematic ties directly in to the main story of Legion, a first for the cinematics.
- Legion is an opportunity to take storytelling to a new level.
- Broken Shore will have a 40 person scenario for the Horde and Alliance, kicking off the expansion and changing the world. It starts right after the cinematic.
- The level 100 boost is it’s own separate adventure, so Broken Shore tuning will be more challenging and fun.
- The Broken Shore scenario is 20 Alliance and 20 Horde fighting towards the Tomb of Sargeras.
- The Demon Hunter intro is the story bridge from Burning Crusade to Legion, answering what Illidan was doing in the Black Temple.
- There will be a cinematic at the start of the Demon Hunter intro.
- Illidan was not prepared!
- Mardum was a prison world for demons a long time ago, but it was shattered by Sargeras. You are there to get the Keystone that held the demons in for a long time.
- The Burning Legion has more powerful versions of older demons, along with new more terrifying demons.
- The Legion has giant Constructs as well.
- You will turn the Legion’s devices against them, bringing in your own army, listening in on their communication, and stealing power from their crystals, reducing some of your cooldowns to 0 for a short time.
- You will gain your abilities by taking them from the powerful demons that you slay during the intro.
- Illidan creates a Felsaber epic mount for you.
- Maiev Shadowsong takes you prisoner at the end of the intro, putting you in the Vault of the Wardens for a long time.
- The second half takes place in Vault of the Wardens, coming in Beta.
- After the intro you join the Horde / Alliance who need your help to take the fight to the Burning Legion.
- You then return to Mardum to establish your class Order hall.
- Finally, you quest for your own artifact warglaives.
The Broken Isles
- We are looking for the Titan relics, The Pillars of Creation.
- The Broken Isles were a tiny part of a vast region of Azeroth known as Suramar.
- Suramar was devastated in the Shattering, leaving only The Broken Isles.
- Val’sharah is being consumed by the Emerald Nightmare.
- Malfurion was trained as a druid here.
- Shaladrassil was a gateway to the Emerald Dream, but it has been twisted and tainted.
- You are going to meet three of the key archdruids in Val’sharah.
- There are new satyrs in the zone.
- Lots of new models for druid related NPCs, including new Moonkin and Sea Lion models!
- Many of the structures are inspired by trees
- After the intro, you go to Stormheim and meet the Vrykul, competing against the God King.
- We will learn more about the Kvaldir and Valkyr.
- Mystic Vrykul are religious zealtots
- There are Ascendant Valkyr in the Halls of Valor
- New Dragonflight – The Storm Dragons. Found in Stormheim and Suramar
- Azshara’s Vengeance devastated this zone before the Sundering. Mystery of why she killed and cursed thousands of her own people.
- The max view distance in Legion is increased 3x
- We meet the remnants of the Blue Dragonflight
- Warden’s Isle is an island in the zone, home to the Vault of the Wardens
- The specter is the male counterpart to the banshee
- There is a new huge type of Naga.
- Naga have new high res models, armor, and weapons.
- There is a local sea giant kingdom that Azshara has allied with.
- The Wrath of Azshara is a creature that is huge.
- Wardens have Owl companions.
- Greek island concept art for this zone
- Lots of new columns and domes for the Night Elf architecture in the zone.
- 80+ artists and 60+ designers on the team.
- One of the largest mountains in Azeroth.
- There are three ancient Tauren clans who have lived in peace for generations.
- The Drogbar stole an artifact, fracturing the Tauren clans.
- The Drogbar are a shamanistic race, cave dwelling, were enslaved for some time.
- Drogbar chieftain is in Neltharion’s lair.
- There are new creatures like Alpine harpies and new moose models!
- Tauren decorate their horns to show clan and rank.
- Swiss alps and Yosemite are inspirations for this zone.
- Suramar City is still intact thanks to a defensive spell from the city’s mages. They harnessed the power of the Nightwell, keeping it up for 10,000 years.
- The elves became dependent on the energies of the well, relying on it for living energy.
- The elves in the city are a new type, The Nightborne.
- The gates of the city were opened to the Legion. The city is kept in darkness.
- Crimes are punished by exile of the city. Physical withdrawal makes them into The Nightfallen.
- If a Nightfallen can’t get arcane sustenance, they become permanently Withered.
- Ancient Night Elves are arcane based, not nature based.
- Suramar City is one of the most ambitious projects the team has ever done. A giant playable Night Elf metropolis.
Gameplay and Systems
- Originally the plan was to work your way through the Broken Isles zones in a clockwise manner.
- The team learned from flex and scaling in Warlords.
- The Broken Isles will let you do the four leveling zones in any order you want, as all of the zones scale.
- All roads lead to Suramar, which is a max level zone.
- You can play with your friends, as the zones scale. Level 105 and 102 players can go to a zone and quest together.
- Players aren’t being scaled, the world is.
- If it takes 12 seconds to kill a boar at level 102, it will take 12 seconds when at level 106.
- Ideally players won’t even notice the scaling.
- There will still be enemies that won’t scale for you to come back and tackle at max level.
- In the past you would go to a zone, do some daily quests for some reason and then never go back.
- In Legion, the goal is to have the best of Warlords and Mists of Pandaria. The freedom to choose which quest you want on a given day, but there is still a purpose and story.
- There will be some structure to the endgame quests, but it should feel less like required content.
- The endgame content can make use of all of the Broken Isles thanks to the scaling.
- Legion will have ongoing world quests that are constantly changing. Varied reasons, gameplay, and rewards.
- Objectives will last from hours to an entire week depending on how important it is.
- The team wants to overwhelm you with variety and choices.
- Rather than choosing what missions to send followers on, you can go on your own missions!
- Some of the objectives are reputation specific.
- Some of the objectives are PvP related, such as assaulting an Alliance tower as Horde.
- World Bosses can be an objective that cycles through.
- Gatherers will have special objectives for them only.
- This can bring back some minigame gameplay, such as the rolling on the wall quest in Vale.
- All of the region will have the same objectives at the same time so that you can play with friends on other servers.
- Emissaries will send you on a quest to do some objectives for their faction. You can pick from the available ones. These aren’t daily quests, they will hang around for a couple days.
- If you don’t log in for a while, there may be more emissaries waiting for you, similar to Hearthstone.
- Legion will have two raids initially.
- The Emerald Nightmare is a 7 boss raid in Val’sharah, essentially the Emerald Dream.
- You get there by climbing the World Tree, crossing over from our reality to the Dream.
- The first raid boss is a dragon! Pestilence Worm was a green dragon, now is withered away.
- Cenarius is the next boss, corrupted by the Nightmare. He may or may not die, but is a boss.
- Xavius is the third boss.
- Suramar Palace is a 10 boss raid that is Gul’dan’s base of operations. It is the center of the Nightborne and home to the Eye of Aman’thul.
- Suramar Palace isn’t a dark zone, it is a light city.
- There will be a Dreadlord ambassador that you fight.
- Grand Magistrix of the Nightborn.
- Gul’dan final boss.
There are 10 dungeons in Legion.
Level up dungeons – Eye of Azshara, Neltharion’s Lair, Halls of Valor, Darkheart Thicket, Violet Hold
The dungeons will be integrated into the story of the zones more than they have been previously.
The dungeons can also be done in any order, as they scale with your level.
At max level, there are five more dungeons – Vault of the Wardens, Black Rook Hold, Helheim, Suramar Noble District, Suramar Catacombs.
Suramar Noble District has some new gameplay that is different than any gameplay they have done before.
Darkheart Thicket – Level up dungeon in Val’sharah in the heart of the forest’s corruption, part of the story of the zone to rescue an ally trapped there.
Halls of Valor – Level up dungeon in Stormheim that is inspired by Valhalla. You will prove your worth to Odyn. You are racing the God King to claim the Aegis of Aggramar. One of the best looking dungeons the art team has ever made.
Helheim – The counterpart of the Halls of Valor. This is a max level dungeon where you start on the dock to board the cursed ship of the damned. Much of the dungeon takes place on a ship.
Black Rook Hold – Max level dungeon. Ancient elven stronhold against the Legion, militaristic elves. Lord Ravencrest.
The goal for Legion is to keep dungeons relevant for the entire expansion, both in terms of rewards and difficulty.
Dungeons also need some variation to avoid the “Mechanar problem”, picking the most efficient, even if it isn’t your favorite.
Legion Challenge Mode will keep dungeons relevant.
Challenger’s Keystone is used to start the Challenge Mode dungeon. It may come from world objectives. The keystone has a power level that determines the difficulty and reward. Higher levels of it will have some additional modifiers. There is now a single timer, roughly around where Silver is now. If you beat the timer, you upgrade your stone and can take on more challenging. If you fail, you lose the stone but still get loot.
You get a jackpot at the end of the week based on your best run.
There will be new modifiers to master each week to keep things fresh.
As good as you are, there will always be more of a challenge for you in dungeons.
You will have to focus on the combat experience, not just time.
Higher level keystones give more health and damage to enemies, but also can give them things like Enrage.
Extra enemies, corpses explode and leave fire behind, constant DoT for the entire dungeon.
The system will start slightly above Heroic Dungeon difficulty.
This system will complement raiding or even replace it for you entirely depending on what you choose.