Thursday, January 14, 2016

Legion: Dread, Doom and Gloom

The next expansion is supposed to instill in us, the heroes of Azeroth, a overwhelming feeling of dread.  We are to feel covered in a cloud of doom and gloom because at any given moment our world as we know it could be over.

We do not only fight the forces of the legion once again but we do so on our very doorstep.  Not only do we have to face them but we face them while they have control of territory on our very planet.  An entire area is under their control.  They are bringing in forces, building armies, in their stronghold having taken over a piece of land on our very world.

We face them not trying to stop a summoning, not trying to repel an invasion, not trying to disrupt them.  They have already been summoned, they already have a sizable and seemingly insurmountable invasion force, and we are not on the offense to disrupt them, we are on the defense to keep them from taking even more control of our world.

The expansion most definitely is set up with that doom and gloom feeling that this is it, we have met our match.  This is the last battle we will ever have, the demons of the legion have control of part of our world and are pressing for more and we can not advance on them as we are too busy trying to make sure we do not lose any more real estate to them.  We have to stop the advance, we can not let them have more land to build more portals, to summon more demons.  There is no going and closing what they already have when we are too busy trying to keep them from building more.

The set up is perfect.  For the first time ever we, the heroes of Azeroth, are on the losing end.  This is not the burning crusade were we took the fight to them and we overwhelmed them.  This is not wrath where the lich king made the error of toying with us instead of killing us and allowed us to eventually beat him.  This is not cataclysm were there was some corrupted dragon that seemed no different than the dozens of other dragons we killed before.  This is not mists were we created the threat by bring war to the shores of pandaira and then squashed the threat we created, or when we allowed a tyrannical warmonger to take a seat of power and removed him from it, with ease.  This is not warlords were everyone we faced from the iron horde and their associates we could have, lets be honest here, been able taken out solo, any single one of us heroes.  Even when warlords ended we faced a bunch of threats that seemed non-menacing, or were threats we had beaten before many years ago with much less experience and not as the heroes we are now, so they were never any real threat.

Legion bring about something no expansion ever brought with it.  A feeling a dread, an air of doom and gloom, knowing that this could very well be it.  The end, the last battle, or at least our biggest one to date.

Perhaps for older players looking at it as it really is, which should be something to be feared, greatly, we don't get that feeling that this treat is any different from all the others we have faced from beating a horrible godzilla knockoff in deathwing to beating, again, archimonde whom we had already beaten when he was stronger (as in didn't just rematerialize) and we were much less experienced and presumably weaker but for a new player this is an excellent jump in point where they get to feel read dread and feel the stifling pressure of the doom and gloom of the situation.

As I see it, this is the first expansion were we are not on the offense.  That alone makes the presentation different, in my opinion at least.  We are fighting for our lives, we are on defense, we are in a position we have never had to be in before.

Do you feel it, the dread, the doom, the gloom, of the coming legion invasion on our very own soil?  Do you think this is the best representation of a real threat that blizzard has offered us thus far, at least what we know of it?  How do you think the send up seems compared to others? 


  1. Anon, Grumpy's former Guild Leader:

    This expansion coming has everything in it, likely including the kitchen sink (though I can't recall to many if any sinks in the game). The hype seems to definitely be heading in the direction you mention. After all, that is the whole reason behind the "idea" of class leaders. Things have gotten so bad that the governments of Azeroth are basically crippled and or gone. To my current knowledge they have not made it clear which is the case.

    I know a number of the current crop of leaders are doomed in the early days of the expansion. That is another part of the planning to make things dreadful, gloomy and doomed right from the beginning.

    Yet it doesn't. Sorry Blizzard but your story telling has been done so poorly to my taste over the years, I just don't feel it this time. I really didn't feel it last time with WoD. Going into it, the story felt odd combining time travel and alternate dimensions. At least this time, the story is back on track with the legion finally making a real attack on Azeroth again, this time in the MMORPG and not in a RTS game.

    This really is not a new plot device by any means, not even for Blizzard. It is very much what happened in Warcraft II and its expansion, Through the Dark Portal, replacing Orcs with Demons being the only real difference. They come in big, nearly win and then...the tide is turned, we drive them back through their own portals, with new leaders rising up (NPCs, not players) to manage the wreck of the Horde/Alliance, and then in the expansion after Legion, we go through the portal against the Demons.

    So no, I am not really anticipating any really dramatic plot shifts or departures in either Legion or the next expansion. The Legion winning and the servers going down would be a real plot twist to end WoW on.

    1. I agree with you, and I believe you and I have talked about it before, but the writers for blizzard are pretty much hacks.

      They have their moments, even a poor writer has a few of them, but like you I do not have faith in them to pull off the story I know this expansion could be.

      I believe in the right hands this expansion could be fantastic, story wise, as we already see game play wise it will be crap.

  2. Dread, is it? I feel it not.

    Even the new continent is not within Legion's grasp. From what is leaking in different previews, we have emerald nightmares, vrykul, some rogue elves, aszara's minions and what not to get busy with until the very end. How's that a Legion threat?

    Moreover, fighting with Legion in HFC, beating its 2 most notorious generals leaves us with boredom thoughts like: Legion again? Bah, we killed them before and will do it when needed. They are leaking to Azeroth time by time, but this "invasion" couldn't even touch more than a small piece of Broken Isles. They have no plans, they have no goal like going to World Tree, it's just a vacant party waiting to be beaten - again.

    Maybe my attitude will change when I start playing, as Blizzard is generally very good with immersement when you're actually there. But let's see: BC and Lich offered us dealing with the two pillars of W lore (Illidan and Arthas). Cata made me return to WoW to punish the dragon for Loch Modan destruction. I was eager to explore the magical, mysterious Pandaria. But... orcs again? Legion again?.. not really fearsome or motivating, although I want to read and see the next chapter of course.

    1. I think part of the reason we do not feel dread is that we have "been there, done that" all before. Blizzard has created a system were we never lose and we know that. So there is no real dread involved.

      I do not feel the dread either. I was just stating that it seemed like that is what they are trying for, and for new players it might work. It is one of those times where I think being a new player right now would be a much more enjoyable experience.

    2. When you starting to watch almost every modern movie, you never think that villains will win. But what is exciting is the process.

      Dread comes from the enormous threat. When villains seem unbeatable and/or have huge plans that ALMOST work (Archimonde was actually clawing the World Tree in Third War, orcs, humans and NE lost their camps). When villains actually lay waste to settlements or peaceful environment - I remember how much I HATED Deathwing for Loch Modan destruction, it made me start a WoW account after a big break. Dread comes from conspiracy and plots when there's something wrong going and you never know what stabs you in your back (Cult of the Damned & Scourge).

      I don't see that in Legion yet. Some faraway small piece of land - and the demons couldn't even grab a hold of it.

    3. As of WoD, The Iron Horde was just pushed from portal to their deepest dungeons and was beaten. Was never a threat after we finished our staring locations at Frostfire/Shadowmoon. We kept pushing further and there was no fighting back.

      Revived Mannoroth didn't even have a chance to yawn before he was beaten to pulp. Archimonde barely stuck his nose out of Twisting Nether to be dead forever. Seriously, corrupted Garrosh and Sha seemed much a bigger threat than the biggest Legion generals.

    4. I had written a post before warlords came out, before the story was fully known, where I had an outline of how I wanted it to turn out.

      In my outline, we lost. We got pushed off dreanor and back to azeroth where the legion was waiting for us. It was the first expansion we "lost". The idea of the last fight would have been to escape in time before the planet was destroyed. So I personally, as I said in that post, would love to see a story were we lose. Winning is only fun when it feels as if there is a chance to lose. Blizzard has made sure we never even have a chance to lose which is sad.

      I think that would have made things feel more dreadful. If we returned home, beaten, chased from dreanor, having it destroyed under our feet and there was nothing we could do about it. Beaten, tired, we return come to find ourselves at the feet of the legion that invaded while we were gone. Now that could have worked.

  3. Anon, Grumpy's former Guild Leader:

    Another reason for me to not be looking forward to WoW:L is the upcoming death of Varian, King of Stormwind and the de facto emperor of Azeroth. I know Thrall is Blizzard's Green Jesus, but Varian has had a far more successful career as a political leader and is a better war leader to boot. Losing Varian is going to hurt the story to my way of thinking.

    The business of the class leaders being us, the individual players, sits poorly with me for numerous reasons, but one of the primary reasons is there is no way to communicate such a story. I am certain that no PC is going to be giving me quests that gain experience and gold, so no orders from any other PC will be affecting my game play. In other words, no player character can become my leader/boss/ruler because there is no game mechanic possible within the scope of WoW to make me accept them as such. By the same token, no other player will be looking to me or anyone else to be the overall class leader.

    Another problem with the whole concept is who runs the war above the level of class leaders? Is there some yet unknown council of class leaders who are setting policy and planning the overall effort? If the individual class leaders are supposed to be preparing the defense of Azeroth with no consultation or inter-dependency between classes; well, then to put it mildly we are all F..... and Blizzard does plan on having the Legion win and the servers going down.

    So in consideration of that, yeah, I am getting a sense of dread, doom and gloom for WoW:Legion, but just not the one I think Blizzard is trying to sell.

    1. Varian dying is the most appealing part of Legion! Ever since getting to kill garrosh (even though I'd already killed him many times in org), I wanted a shot at killing varian (even if I've not only killed varian, but solo'ed him), who's by far a worse tyrant than garrosh ever was.

    2. @Anon

      I agree and it is why I objected to the class leader thing the second I heard it. Works for a single player game, not for an MMO. We, all of us, are rank soldiers, nothing more. Maybe the best soldiers, sure, but nothing more than subordinates.


      It is just sad that as soon as they give Varian some character development and start to make him more of a leader than a tyrant, they kill him. As soon as they give him a heart they cut it out. It is piss poor writing on blizzards part. There is so much more story to be told with him in charge, a hell of a lot more than there will be with that annoying bleeding heart Anduin in charge. Now if there is a leader that deserves to die, that is him right there.

  4. yeah, I can't really say I feel much dread for the legion. Killed Mannoroth, killed Archimonde, killed Azgalor, killed Kazzak, killed Kil'jaeden; that's everyone but Sargeras.

    If WoW were a typical RPG (non-mmo), and there were perhaps generations between each xpac, I could see being scared of these big bads over and over, but I've been the same character for too long to dread anything. My main, the "me" in game, has gone to outland to face the burning legion before, not to mention everyone who has crossed his path, from hogger to the mother f***ing lich king.

    However, as was mentioned above, I do feel some dread/excitement that this might be the end of the game. Some of the decisions they're making feel like "it's almost over, we can try whatever we feel like" or possibley"we need to make WoW 2, let's try some of our crazier ideas to see if they'd work in a new game". It'll definitely be interesting to play the final xpac of WoW, if we're nearing that point.

    1. As I said to someone above, I meant more that they were trying to instill the feeling of dread to people that have not "been there, done that" like us older players have.

      The dread that is could all be over however, is real for us older player. Legion is without a doubt one massive fan service. They are giving us everything we asked for and more. They are throwing everything they can think of at the expansion and seeing what sticks.

      Kinds of leaves the impression that there will be noting left to explore and this is the end.

      But why end what is still a very good money maker, even losing more than half the subs. That is the real question.

      Do you really believe WoW 2.0 could be coming?

    2. oh I have no idea. If there is a WoW 2 in the works, then they've done an amazing job of hiding it, and getting the devs to talk about plans for future expansions, etc.

      It's just the fan service things that make it feel like the end is near. As many have pointed out, how do you replace ashbringer, or a sword forged from part of frostmourne, with a green next xpac? the idea that there's something more powerful out there to find is silly.

      And all of these legendary random drops. I heard this idea on some Bellular Gaming (hunter youtube channel) video, where he was talking about the new random legendaries when they were first mentioned, that maybe blizzard just said "screw balance, lets make something interesting". Which, i mean, a lot of specs have had very boring mechanics, because interesting things tend to be really hard to balance. I have no idea if that's really what they're thinking with the legendaries or if they're just oblivious to the problems they'll be creating, but if so, that seems like the type of attitude you might have at the end of a game, not a game you plan on keeping going for another decade.

      Also, I'm still not in the alpha, but I watched some friends do the ursoc encounter. Looks like we're back to beyond SoO levels of stat inflation. Really, how long can the go on with a stat squish every other xpac to accommodate the older game engine?

      anyhow, I really have no idea what their plans are. just some thoughts...

    3. I think oblivious to the problems is the most likely scenario. These are the same people that ignored people complaining about no content to do at 100 while it was on beta, and they thought it would be fine for release. These are the same people that saw garrisons crashing left and right when maybe as many as 10K people were on yet they released it thinking it would be fine with 10M. Blizzard may be good at a lot of things, but hiring people with any decrease of forethought is not one of them. So I am sure the legendaries they think will be "just fine" and do not understand the can of worms they are opening.

      We should be getting a stat squish right now. We are in the worst shape stat wise than we have ever been and it will only get worse. Not sure why they squished at all if they were going to go all hog wild crazy with numbers right away again. Goes back to no one with forethought working at the company.

      My take on legion is this. They lost over half of their player base in less than 2 quarters, probably a lot more by now. The fan service we are getting is not an end of the game thing, it is them screaming for everyone to come back, please come back, here we will give you everything you wanted. They are in panic mode, which in turn, will cause the game to die sooner than it should have. We all knew it would not last forever, they are just rushing it to the grave because they are panicking.

      I do see a WoW 2.0 in our future, but would not expect it this soon. It would have made more sense to have legion be 2.0. As we just got to a nice solid 100. So start new. But maybe that is just because I like nice round numbers like that. :P

  5. I've been reading Warcraft novels lately so, after going through War of the Ancients I've gotten a bit excited about Legion. I must admit it adds quite a lot to immersion if you know recognize places and characters.
    The Legion itself seems much more of a threat to me now, but I still don't feel dread. Probably because I know we'll beat them, but I'm looking forward to being surprised. Also, I think the Legion isn't a very interesting enemy, even with all the history. Simply because it wants pure destruction for the sake of it, it's not like we'll see Sargeras change his mind.

    I recall when I played Wrath and did the quests, I was still hoping we would be able to save Arthas. And then I did the quest about him and his removed heart and I was so sad.

    One thing I have to add. I had no idea who Deathwing was before Cataclysm. I didn't like him as an end boss, it didn't feel epic to me because I had no real desire to defeat him other than 'he's some baddie we have to stop or he'll destroy the world, meh'. I now wish I would have read the novels before, I think I would have liked that expansion much much more. From the novels, he's such an interesting character. There was one moment I even wanted him to succeed, at times I felt sorry for him.

    Too bad you have to go out of your way to make a cohesive story out of all the random characters thrown at you. I recently made a new character, an orc and played to about level 30 without skipping a quest. At the start they just use random names, you don't even know who the leaders are and then there's lots of random quests like escorting a caravan, killing some beasts that stole the money meant to pay the orc soldiers and so on. Not very compelling.

    1. The game has been like that for as long as I know. The heart of the story never takes place under the watchful eyes of the player. All the meat of the story takes place in novels.

      It is one of the reasons I loved the idea of scenarios so much. It would have allowed them to tell so much more of the story in game. For those that wished to "read" it out while playing it then it would be there and for those that just wanted to random content to fill the time it served that purpose as well. Blizzard really missed the ball by not keeping up with the scenarios. It was the single greatest addition, or could have been, to adding story into the game.

      The problem they made with deathwing was there was not much, if any, of him in his humanoid form. It would have served them well to have had him as more a part of the story, like they did with arthas, so people could get to know him. Hate to sound like a broken record, but scenarios through time of his life could have done that if they wanted to.

      It has always been a major fault of blizzards that you needed to go out of your way to really experience the full story. I think partly one of the reason wrath was the best expansions was even though I did not play the RTS or read the books before it, I really got into it. Wrath had, in my mind, the best story telling of any expansion.

  6. Man, I hope that thing at the beginning of a certain comment was just speculation, but I'm fairly certain it was actually a damn massive spoiler... Good grief. Well that was a bummer, and it seems like I better not read comments here anymore, until after Legion's release.

    That brings me to the question; will main posts remain spoiler-free / will there be warnings about them?

    1. Sorry if you ran across a spoiler. I try to keep things spoiler free but sometimes in comments things come out.

      As for my main posts, yes, as I said I try to keep them spoiler free. If I "need" to talk about something I would be extremely vague about it. Such as, "someone dies that I do not agree with" but you will see me say things like hunters are losing kill shot. I do not consider changes to spoilers, in fact I believe those are things we should know.

    2. Ok, thank you.

      I definitely agree we should know about class changes and stuff like that and I don't consider them spoilers either. I see story events as spoilers and would rather avoid knowing about them beforehand, it makes playing through the story much more enjoyable for me.

      (Of course, if you use the internet to look at sites that relate to the subject at all - and sometimes even unrelated - you can't completely avoid such things, but I've managed fairly well so far. Only like, half a year to go! *Crosses fingers.*)

    3. I used to not want to know too but being I want all the other data, like class changes, spec changes, profession changes, raid changes and so on, I just read it all.

      More so, even if I know, it is the trip seeing how we get there that is the most interesting.

      I will just guess the spoiler you read and leave it with this, non spoiler.

      Neither horde nor alliance is going to be happy at the start, but remember, there is a lot of time for things to change and anything that has been released was not released in context. It could be completely different from what we all believe it to be now.

  7. Anon, Grumpy's former Guild Leader:

    I will say that the current plans reek of desperation when you begin to think of what all is being promised. Azeroth is going to be in political and probably social as well as physical ruins due to the invasion.

    With the deaths reported, and the initial failure to repulse the legion, the governments of Azeroth are going to be badly damaged at a minimum. More likely, the effective governments that currently rule the Horde/Alliance are going to cease to exist, hence the class orders becoming the effective resistance to the invasion.

    Yet what does that do to the leveling process for the first 1-60 trip or for Death Knights in their own isolated enclave for 55-58 and then the larger world of Azeroth afterwards, especially Northrend.

    I assume this means extensive and massive use of phasing for the world beyond the Broken Isles. Otherwise much of what they propose makes no sense. The two versions of the Blasted Lands may well become the model for a lot of the terrain of Azeroth.

    Pure speculation, but I suspect that the massive use of phasing is the only way they have of being able to show the effect of the Legion invasion. Otherwise it becomes a very limited event thing tucked away in corners of Azeroth and out of the way of leveling. That would be disappointing.

    1. I think that is the reason for class halls. With the governing body falling apart the heroes need to look elsewhere, so they look to the people they respect in their class. I think that is the reason they were added, story wise at least.

      I think they are testing the scaling this expansion and we could very well see a complete redesign one day where it fits everything in the world. So if you go to kill a boar in goldshire at level 110, it will be a level 110 boar.

      It could make leveling interesting, but it would also making the phasing for old stuff make stuff smoother. Maybe even negate the need for phasing at all. Just have areas where only higher levels have access, which they use flight to cut off most of the time, but the entire area would be of max level instead of just the added stuff. So phasing might not be needed.

      Or perhaps, this is just a test for how WoW 2.0 will be from the beginning. In truth, I think that is the best thing that could happen to the game right now. A complete reset button.

      The way it is now the story leveling is all over the place. The skills you learn while leveling have no rhyme or reason to them, and with more skill changes coming and less skills total, the leveling experience, and when you get skills, will be 10 times worse next expansion. Yeah, they need a complete reset and they need to stop trying to reinvent the wheel every single expansion with sweeping changes.

  8. Anon, Grumpy's former Guild Leader:

    Amen to the need for Blizzard to learn the art of restraint. As you said, constantly reinventing the wheel each expansion is tiresome. It is also a waste of money and time and developer talents. Seriously, the hunter/marksman that was established after the first great wave of year one class revamps was basically a sound class. The Shadow Priest, post Priest Patch, was a rock solid class, good solo and good for a group in small numbers (say 1 out of 10 for smaller raids).

    Sometimes changes work well but Blizzard frequently (no, damn near always) goes overboard with changes to this class and that class. One of the side effects of so many changes is that more changes are needed to counter act the unintended consequences of prior changes. Now does that make one heck of a lot of sense...the answer for the sarcasm impaired is no.

    Quite a bit less effort in redesigning classes constantly would be nice. Maybe they could spend some time designing quests that recognized characters know how to fly instead of bitching about how hard it is to design for flight. Or alternately they could spend development time bringing new things into the game; anything from transmog to Looking For to flight serves as examples of new additions that have benefited the game to some extent or another.

    Another portion of development is the story itself, and while Legion has the promise of being a glorious story, can Blizzard writers and developers make a game that actually pulls off a planetary invasion of Azeroth? A story told in the game world that actually makes it seem like the Legion is a real threat, or will it be done much like the Iron Horde, a tiny molehill turned into a false mountain. I know what I am hoping but I also know where the smart money would be betting on the likelihood of Blizzard actually pulling it off well.

    1. The main story will be told in a book most likely, like always. They removed scenarios, which means they removed their best vechile for story telling in game so do not expect some deep impacting story. Even more so that there is no set quest progression, which will make it harder to tell over arching story lines.

      Changing classes is the cheapest way to add "content". Tweaking numbers is not really content and they are using these sweeping changes to make it seem like they are doing a lot when all they are doing is making busy work for themselves by playing with numbers. Work on adding more stuff to the game instead of changing what is there all the time, and you will have a better game.

  9. They didn't remove scenarios. They used them for the final battles in each zone in WoD. They're not repeatable on the same char, aye, but should they be?

    1. They removed them, somewhat. Meaning you can not queue for them, you can not make a group and do them, you can not waste some time and get some valor from them, you can not just go in and have some fun with friends.

      They used the idea of scenarios for story telling at the end of the zones, but they always had end of zone quests before. But scenarios, at least as they were in mists, were removed from the game.