During Gamescom earlier today Blizzard launched their Legion Cafe which is styled after the Demon Hunter class hall, the Fel Hammer. You can check out tons of photos on the Official World of Warcraft Facebook page. During the events they announced their first content patch for Legion as captured by user Slootbag on Twitch during his live stream. Just click the link for the replay.
Patch 7.1 is titled “Return to Karazhan”. It will feature a 5 man epic dungeon and a mini-raid that will be central to the story of Legion and will contain at LEAST 9 different instances. Additionally there will be new Suramar content in the mix as well as some world content, and there is a new small raid between Nightmare and Nighthold which finishes the Stormheim quest chain. It will be in the PTR by the time Legion hits the public. You can check out the trailer from Wowhead below!
Alright, before we get to my analysis let me make something super clear—I went into playing the new World of Warcraft Hero class, the Demon Hunter, with the expectations and excitement of a girl who grew up playing the game since Vanilla (The years of the game between its debut in 2004 to the advent of its first expansion, The Burning Crusade, for those not necessarily super WoW-savvy) and its prior games, Warcraft: Orcs and Humans, Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal, Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos/Frozen Throne, rendering me something of a Lore Queen, if you will.
In simpler terms, I had VERY high expectations from Blizzard Entertainment’s development team to treat the perspective and lore of the Illidari, Illidan Stormrage’s clan of Demon Hunters who have harnessed the fel energies of the Twisting Nether with delicate, respectful care. These are heroes who sacrificed everything they hold dear to harness the power of the Fallen Titan Sargeras’ army – the Burning Legion – with the express intent to destroy their forces. As such, Demon Hunters deserve to be treated with the grace, fire, determination, and noble sense of sacrifice for the greater good that they have demonstrated countless times.
Exposition aside, I have decided to outline the tone I got from WoW’s upcoming expansion, Legion, seen from the eyes (well, not really—look up Demon Hunters. You’ll see what I mean) with the noble attempt of preventing as many spoilers as conceivably possible. That said, I am going to put a mild spoiler warning for this article. If you want to preserve the many surprises and shocks this content contains, thank you for your time, but this article is not for you.
For those of you big on the nitty gritty of its functionality, you are in for a treat. The Demon Hunter is a fantastic class—it is a robust tank/melee-DPS hybrid class with oodles of health but a fast-paced, frenetic style of gameplay. It is very much a class that demands quick reaction and prioritization skills as the rotation itself can be demanding and with little “wiggle room”.
Those of you used to playing Rogues and Warriors will feel right at home with the Demon Hunter with the up-front-and-personal style of attacks and some devastating AoE damage as the grand finale. The class is a surprisingly good introduction to melee DPS and tanking, for those of us who prefer the “squishier” classes, namely the spellcasters who are often referred to as “glass cannons” that require a more composed, distant strategy of combat. Personally, I have always played a Warlock as my main, so it was definitely a culture shock, so to speak. At first, I felt it was fresh and new but it seemed eerily familiar. After a little raid into my memory banks, if you would pardon the awful in-joke, I realized that the Demon Hunter, with a few tweaks, is just like the Fury spec Warrior from times long past with a certain Rogue-ish flair that leads to a relentless kind of agility (fitting as it is the DH’s primary stat) which will bring a smile to the faces of gamers who want a more League of Legends-styled pace in their rotation.
Perhaps the hallmark of the Demon Hunter is the mobility—the DH is officially THE most mobile class in the game, outstripping the vaunted Warriors by a fair margin on all fronts. It introduces an age-old game mechanic those of us raised in the 90’s fondly remember: the double jump. Because of the demon wings, this class is able to make an easily-controlled second jump and even glide without any external assistance for quite some time. This alone fundamentally alters how you play a character in World of Warcraft; where you once had to frustratedly attack your space bar to inch your way up Azeroth’s many slopes, you are now easily able to scale virtually any surface. It felt to me much like the first time using a flying mount during The Burning Crusade in that the world truly opens up. Side-note—take care where you decide to glide, lest you float lazily and inexorably toward a World Boss or an instant-kill off the map. Many embarrassing treks to my corpse came from comprehensively exploring the new mobility.
Furthermore, part of your rotation involves rushing in and dashing away in a hit-and-run style, never sticking to one enemy for very long. This makes Demon Hunters invaluable to add-heavy situations within the dungeons and raids for crowd-control and damage mitigation to the tank and the casters. I often referred to Demon Hunters as the guardian angels of the squishy classes because of the wealth of interrupts and counters you wield and the ability to save them at the last second. Many healers have praised me quite vocally for saving their hides with a quick intervention. Veterans, take note—The Shrine of the Fallen Warrior is now easy as pie to get to should you wish to make a pilgrimage to this hidden gem in the Barrens.
Owing to my limited experience with melee DPS classes, I had a tiny learning curve which was soon resolved by the excellent pacing of the starter zone; a miserable, shattered world called Mardum, which holds a certain artifact essential to Illidan’s greater plans. You are one of his most trusted lieutenants charged with the recovery of this artifact while Illidan himself dealt with the “pests” storming his stronghold, the Black Temple. Without revealing too much, you will rethink the noble stand against Illidan heroes made back in 2007 and question its repercussions. The mood alone of the area is bleak, desperate and full of adrenaline, mixed with slack-jawed wonder at the gorgeous vistas of this broken world. Once again, it is definitely a throwback to The Burning Crusade in giving players expansive, alien worlds to just observe and get lost in. With the exception of the first hour of breaking in the character, there will be very few unnecessary trips to the Spirit Healer as the difficulty scaling is spot-on in the entire starting zone. You will feel pulled along with the plot and will feel like you just blinked and you were already thrust into the Broken Isles while simultaneously feeling confident in your abilities for the more difficult content ahead. Bravo, Blizzard—you finally made a “just right” intro zone for a class and race.
Screenshot by Tamsin Skye Heineman on Legion Beta Server 1
In this vein, I feel that the Demon Hunter is a symbol for the overall theme of the expansion—relentlessness in the face of an infinite enemy and impossible odds—with an additional, far subtler message to its legion (pardon the pun) of roughly 11 million subscribers worldwide. That message is this—Blizzard has heard the cries from its veteran, hardcore players for a return to the more complex, nuanced gameplay that had a much stiffer difficulty curve. At the same time, however, they also acknowledge the many newcomers to the world of Azeroth in the wake of Lionsgate Entertainment’s feature film, Warcraft, based on the events of the First War in Azeroth’s past (telling the events of Blizzard’s first installment, Warcraft: Orcs and Humans).
They heavily streamlined the once-clunky and cluttered interface and simplified the skills, talents, and general gameplay to improve its accessibility. Hardcore players seeking a challenge, fret not. In the vein of the classic board game, Stratego, it is easy to learn, but difficult to master. You will find surprisingly nuanced rotations and stat work that will keep you experimenting to maximize your effectiveness against Azeroth’s many challenging enemies. In that same topic, the many dungeons and raids in this expansion WILL test your mettle. Veterans will find the return of crowd control, interrupts, area denial, and many more classic elements that we all missed a welcome addition. Newcomers, worry not—it is a very accessible, easy to pick up the game now. You will be sucked in and challenged at every turn, but believe me, you’ll be too busy having a blast to care.
Returning to the Demon Hunters, you will find many nods to the rich history in game and out of the gold standard for Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs or MMO’s for short) rewarding and a distinct sense of nostalgia and they will still be surprised at the many twists that will revisit some old assumptions that may not necessarily be all correct. The Demon Hunters, much like the previous Hero Class, the Death Knight, are treated at arm’s length at first, but their perspective and skills quickly prove the Illidari’s worth in surplus as hidden threats are revealed and dealt with. Looking to the past for lessons becomes the Illidari’s first mission as they seek to gain the good will of the rest of Azeroth during the Burning Legion’s massive assault on the Broken Isles. From there, unlike with the Death Knights, these fel-infused warriors are granted a surprisingly warm reception by the general Azerothian populace. This means fewer nasty stares and emotes over the course of the expansion and an altogether better integration into the overarching plot. This was something that was only made just right in the last patch of Wrath of the Lich King as far as making the DK’s key players in the plot.
Keeping with the continued theme of revisiting the past to secure the future, the entire path of the core plots (Yes, multiple major plots go down simultaneously in this expansion.) is a constant revisit to areas of the past with keys to saving Azeroth. The Broken Isles—the last remnants of the vast Highborne civilization after the Sundering, which broke Azeroth from a Pangaea-like continent named Kalimdor into the familiar continents of today—offer keys to the true destruction of the infinite Legion and a lasting security of the peoples of Azeroth. As a Demon Hunter, you become intimately immersed in the rich lore of the starkly different regions of the Isles and serve as the lynchpin and the silent protectors of the other forces seeking Azeroth’s deliverance. While helping all the different people suffering under the thumb of the Legion, your true aim never wavers—the destruction of the Legion and the rescue of the Illidari’s leader and namesake, Illidan Stormrage. I will not spoil any of the details but I will leave it at this: the Illidari’s quest against the Legion will expand your view of Blizzard’s Warcraft universe beyond anything you imagined.
Many of the characters long left behind will get new life (and death) as they return with their unique talents and experiences. Iconic characters such as Thrall, Malfurion Stormrage, the Demigod Cenarius, and indeed the remnants of the legendary Highborne will demonstrate just how insidious their enemy is and how their experience is our only real hope. As they clung to life after the Sundering, the Highborne now serve the Legion under the new name the Nightborne. Whether or not their service to the Legion is authentic or not remains to be seen, but their society bears the last of the mysterious Titan artifacts the Shards of Creation which we are told bear the key to victory against the Legion. We will delve into the bloody history of Azeroth and face the lessons learned as we stand valiantly before an unending, sickly green inferno.
Perhaps my single favorite part of my investigation into the beta of Legion is the music. For the longest time, players have agreed that the gold standard for the expansion score has been its most successful expansion, The Wrath of the Lich King, for its soulful, dark, emotional score that near-perfectly captured the diverse continent of Northrend. That said, Lich King just got outdone—Legion has far and away the best soundtrack Blizzard Entertainment has EVER made. Better than Starcraft and Diablo and virtually all of the prior scores. I will admit, tears flowed at some of the pieces (in particular “Anduin” part 1 and 2) and I could not find a piece I didn’t adore and put on replay at least a few times. Back in Lich King, I would often fly up to the top of a peak in Dragonblight and sit there listening to the score because I loved it so much and the same thing has happened in several of the areas, particularly Suramar (once again, resisting the temptation to spoil things) and it reinforces the overall theme of the expansion. Going back to my original argument, it recycles some general themes from the previous several expansions (not to mention a healthy dose of Vanilla) and makes them brand new and engaging. To paraphrase one Jeff Lebowski, it ties the whole expansion together.
Legion is demonstrating just how rich, diverse and organic the lore of the Warcraft universe really is and telling the 11-million strong citizens of Azeroth that only by going back to the future can we secure a future for our world and indeed many more. My final judgment on the expansion from my experiences in the beta? Whether you are a newcomer or a hardcore veteran, you NEED to buy Legion and immediately roll a Demon Hunter. Trust me, you won’t regret it for a moment.
Earlier this week Blizzard Entertainment released a Pre-Launch patch to prepare its players for the imminent launch of their newest expansion World of Warcraft: Legion. Since then I’ve had a bit of time to check out the content they’ve rolled out.
The first bit I’d love to talk about are invasions. Since the theme of the expansion is The Burning Legion invading Azeroth, they’ve gone full force and brought some of the Legion’s toughest demons to familiar zones back in the main lands; Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor. The Kirin Tor have even brought Dalaran from the icy peaks of Northrend to float above Kharazan as they prepare for the coming invasion (though there’s nothing but inconsequential NPCs to be found there). The only zones that are being invaded at this time (and are the ones included in the Defender of Azeroth: Legion Invasions Achievement) are Westfall, The Northern Barrens, Hillsbrad Foothills, Tanaris, Azshara and Dun Morogh.
While the invasions themselves boil down to “gather up and ‘Zerg Rush’ their bases in those zones”, it does offer a bit of a challenge in that the mechanics are unforgiving and if you’re not paying a good amount of attention you’ll wind up crispy and dead. If any of you have played games like Rift or Elder Scrolls Online in the past the invasions are almost identical to Rifts and Dark Anchors respectively.
The biggest difference between this and others games is that tons of them spawn all at once. It’s up to the players of the Alliance and the Horde to help defend each other side by side to take them down and repel the invaders. Siege engines are also available for whichever faction the zone belongs. Completing the first two stages rewards you with a uncommon chest of items and Nethershards. The fourth and final stage of these invasions is a Burning Legion commander in the largest settlement of the zone which awards a rare quality chest of items and Nethershards.
The benefit to hitting these invasions would the current event currency, Nethershards, as well as the iLevel 700 gear that drops from completing stages of the invasions. The weapons are upgradable with Coalesced Fel which you can buy for 150 Nethershards. It is of note that there are a few rings, cloaks and other items available from the same vendor. For those that love pets be sure to grab the Felbat Pup available for another 150 Nethershards. One last thing to mention before moving on is that lower level toons may struggle to attend these so bringing your level 100 is highly recommended.
Moving onto the Demon Hunters about which I won’t go into a ton of detail. The starting zone that I got to experience for the Demon Hunters was a lot of fun and steadily paced. The storyline was engaging and even hooked to some of the previous content back in World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade expansion that some of us remember fondly. I won’t spoil it for you here but it was super satisfying to see history from another angle.
You first start in Mardum as one of your factions’ elves and later progress to the inside of the Vault of the Wardens in one of the expansion zone Azsuna. The new mobility options introduced with the Demon Hunters, namely the double jump and glide were a much welcomed addition which brought a fresh and fun way to traverse the zones.
The last thing worth mentioning is the scenario of your first trip to the Broken Shore. For spoiler reasons I won’t go into detail but before it’s over you’ll be hitting a heavy dose of feels. What follows sets the tone for the expansion and gives you a good idea just why you should be very afraid of the Burning Legion. Once again as it seems to be the theme this expansion, you will team up with the opposite faction to take down a common enemy and no one ends up coming out on top.
The Pre-Launch patch has me at the edge of my seat and absolutely excited about the upcoming playable content from Legion. Seeing the kind of care and quality that has gone into keeping and bringing this game up to date with modern standards, in both terms of gameplay and visuals has me extremely optimistic for the future of this game. At this point only time will tell of its success or failure as the fans sink their teeth into the meat of the game.
On this week’s Episode of BrokenCast Rae Michelle Richards, Andrea Ritsu and Dee sit down to talk about the Resident Evil franchise. They discuss in-depth what made the original Resident Evil and Resident Evil 2 so great as well as speculate about what CapCom may do with the recently revealed Resident Evil 2 Remake and how fans may have beaten them to the punch. In the second segment of the podcast the BrokenCast crew discuss the recently announce World of Warcraft: Legion expansion that was announced a few weeks back at GamesCom. If you missed the announcements we’ve got all your bases covered along with some opinions about how spikey the Blood Elves are about to become. You can find our crew on twitter: Andrea Ritsu – https://twitter.com/andrearitsu Dee –https://twitter.com/bardings Rae Michelle Richards – https://twitter.com/Kitsune86 If you have any questions for the cast please email Rae.Michelle.pr[at]Gmail.com Our new release schedule will have brand new episodes – of about 30 to 40 minutes in length- going live every Sunday. You can get it on iTunes by clicking the following button. or listen on SoundCloud here: