About a week after launch, I finally reached level 110 on my shadow priest. In all fairness I did have other things going on. It’s strange for me to say that my shadow priest is the first character to reach level 110. My poor paladin is still sitting at 100. This is the first time since 2005 that I did not level my paladin first. I’ll admit it feels a bit strange but I did it for the raid team. Obviously I will immediately began leveling my paladin. At any rate, I’m not writing to lament about my paladin, this is about the Legion leveling experience.
In a previous post I talked about reading War of the Ancients in preparation for this expansion. Blizzard exceeded my expectations. My biggest lamentation (other than my paladin) is not having finished the other two books before the expansion. Beyond a doubt I am convinced that my leveling experience was enhanced by those books. It’s the same feeling I had when I was leveling in Wrath of the Lich King.
It Feels Like Wrath of the Lich King
Speaking of Wrath of the Lich King, Legion feels a lot like that expansion. Unlike Warlords of Draenor the quests in Legion actually have context in the dungeons and raids. Wrath of the Lich King used the same mechanic with its quests and dungeons. The thing that made leveling fun in Lich King was the story that carried you through each zone and to the final encounter with Arthas. Legion is also off to a good start using a similar leveling experience. I think what helps me enjoy this expansion is the connection I feel with the lore. I shared a similar connection in Lich King. It’s amazing how a little bit of lore can change your entire perception.
It’s strange never receiving a new weapon as a drop or quest reward. You receive your artifact weapon at the very beginning and another weapon never drops. You will receive items for every other slot on your character but the only thing that will change on your weapon are the artifact runes and artifact points. While some people (trolls) might see that as lackadaisical of Blizzard, I think it adds a new level of mystery and excitement to your character’s story. If that isn’t enough then I have two words for you: “Ashbringer” and “Doomhammer”!
Legion Leveling: Order Halls and Zone Scaling
As part of your quest to acquire your artifact weapon you will also unlock your Class Order Hall. The Order Hall is the next evolution of the Garrison from the previous expansion. However, at the Order Hall you will see other players of the same class instead of just your toon. It’s your base of operations against the Burning Legion and each Order Hall is located in different parts of Azeroth (depending on the class).
Ironically Khadgar referred to your garrison as a base of operations but I don’t think it ever really felt like that. The Order Hall has that wartime feel with generals standing around massive scouting maps, NPCs and players running around, it feels more alive. Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy the concept of the garrison but once you are done leveling it doesn’t feel connected to the story anymore.
The zone scaling is brilliant as it is scary. When you begin leveling in Legion you actually get to choose which, of 4 zones, you want to start in (with the exception of Suramar). You will ultimately quest in all 4 zones before you reach 110 (unless you dungeon crawl the entire way). I don’t know how Blizzard pulled it off but the mobs are just as difficult for someone of level 110 as they are for someone of level 103 in the same zone.
The scary thing you have to get used to is, for example, if you begin in Val’Sharah and return there when you are 110 you may think they will be easy pickins. No, they are the same level as you and they can kill you just as easily at 110. The algorithm to pull off that kind of scaling, to me, is genius and mind-numbing. I will get lost in thought just trying to figure it out on my own; but I like it.
All right, this post is bordering on long-winded. I’m going to stop here. Obviously I am enjoying my Legion leveling experience and I could talk more about the things that I like about it. Perhaps I will write a “Part II” or follow-up post after I spend more time leveling other characters and hitting the first raid – Emerald Nightmare, how cool is that!