We’re just over a year into Legion so I decided to give it the review treatment, focusing on three big aspects: Environment & Story, Leveling & Questing as well as Gear & Artifacts.
As of patch 7.3 Legion has two extremely lore rich and varied zones, namely The Broken Isle and Argus. The two are so massive that it wouldn’t do them justice to do a single sweeping review, so I’ve broken them up, Isle style.
The Broken Isle
Site of the once great city of Suramar, sunk by the former Guardian of Tirisfal, Aegwynn, and risen again by Gul’dan. This mythical island is home to the Tomb of Sargeras and landing point of maybe the last Legion invasion of Azeroth.
It’s safe to say that the Broken Isles have had a storied history in the Warcraft universe: they featured in Warcraft II & III as well as many of the books.
The Isle is split into six drastically different zones: Val’sharah, Azsuna, Highmountain, Stormheim, Suramar and The Broken Shore.
Each zone boasts a distinct aesthetic and cast of characters. From Highmountain’s unique Tauren to Azsuna’s spectral ancient elves and some of the remaining Blue Dragonflight.
Legion’s early story sees you gathering the Pillars of Creation, powerful artifacts used by the Titan Pantheon to kickstart life on Azeroth, in order to oppose the Legion invasion and take down that blasted Gul’dan once and for all.
The larger overarching plot has you storming The Nighthold in order to stop Gul’dan using the soulless body of Illidan Stormrage as a vessel for the Dark Titan, Sargeras. Ofcourse we thwart that plan and Illidan puts an end to Gul’dan before leading us back to The Broken Shore, to storm a different place.
The Broken Shore is probably the most boring place in Legion. It’s got that typical green and jagged look that is so familiar in an area ruined by Fel energy but also the zone just feels dead, and not in a good atmospheric way. The moving parts that made the other zones of The Broken Isle so interesting and engaging are almost completely absent, leaving a very empty feeling zone which you have to spend a lot of time in.
Storywise I think the pacing and quality on The Broken Shore is Blizzard’s only misstep this expansion so far. The Broken Shore’s “plot” is nothing more than a lead up to the Tomb of Sargeras opening.
The Tomb of Sargeras sees us face off against the best that the Legion on Azeroth has to offer including the Avatar of Sargeras and Kil’jaeden The Deceiver himself.
Ultimately, killing Kil’jaeden isn’t the biggest event which takes place in The Tomb: Illidan, that naughty boy, uses the Sargerite Keystone to open a portal between Azeroth and Argus, making the Legion homeworld visible in the sky and only a short hyperspace jump away.
Originally the homeworld of the Draenei and the current HQ of the Burning Legion, Argus represents our first experience with space travel (aside from portals) and really opens up the universe in a way that we haven’t seen before: although we’ve been to other planets, it’s never felt quite like this.
It’s also the place where the story starts to get a bit more interesting. Up until now we’ve been under the guiding hand of Xe’ra, the Prime Naaru, a being of pure Light: she named Illidan as the chosen one who would put an end to the age of demons.
We get a few tasty cutscenes with 7.3. Featuring Illidan being mean to Velen, pre-corruption Archimonde and Kil’jaeden, Velen with a brown beard and a slightly uncomfortable scene between Illidan and Xe’ra.
The last scene is the most interesting and has some potentially wide reaching consequences. We see Xe’ra attempting to force The Light upon Illidan. Being his typical emo self Illidan rejects it, destroying Xe’ra and crapping all over her prophecy (maybe).
The important detail is how forceful Xe’ra is being. She constrains Illidan, binding him with The Light and ignoring his protests, all the while spouting about how he will be remade through the power of The Light.
It’s a difficult scene to watch in a way and raises the question: is The Light “good”? It’s very natural to see light and bright sparkly things as good, while seeing dark and shadowy things as bad. However we see Xe’ra essentially trying to “corrupt” Illidan with The Light and transform him into an instrument of the Burning Legion’s destruction.
Her motive is clearly a good one but when it’s performed against Illidan’s will the line between good and evil becomes blurred.
Does this throw into question everything that we think we know? After all WoW is a game that flies in the face of some traditional ideas of good vs. evil: Orcs and trolls are generally villains and The Horde’s iconography is all spikes and horns, all traditional hallmarks of the baddies in fantasy, but humans and elves have done some pretty shitty things in the name of The Alliance.
My point is that no faction is wholly good or evil, so why should The Light and The Void be any different? This is touched on in Blizzard’s latest audio drama, A Thousand Years of War, which I highly recommend and won’t spoil.
Speaking of The Void, perhaps the coolest thing about Argus is getting our first glimpse of new/updated Void creatures. Ethereals have never looked so good and some of their other voidy brethren look excellent, plus purple is a delightful change of pace from green.
What do you think of The Broken Isles and Argus? How about the storyline? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter.