Leveling in Legion

September 5, 2016 - Esports

Since World of Warcraft came out, leveling was one of the most annoying things about the game, at least to those who played the game for the endgame content. After you’ve went through the experience once, as fast as possible, you were loath to do it again. While leveling in Legion might be a little boring when you’ve done it before, the whole mindset with which you approach the experience should be entirely different.

Since the release of Vanilla WoW, different zones of new content had their intended level you were supposed to go through them at. For example, the two starting zones for Cataclysm were Mount Hyjal and Vashj’ir. Once you completed the zone, you were supposed to be at a level, which would allow you to move to the next zone.

This created a situation, where a critical mass of players went through the same place on release, causing some server stability and general player experience issues. Unless you abandoned questing altogether and just spent your time spamming dungeons. Many hardcore players, seeking to get to the level cap and go raiding as fast as possible, skipped the laggy starting zones by going through dungeons. This is not how it’s going to work in Legion.

Blizzard’s most recent attempt at reducing lag at release involves removing the intended level requirement from all zones, making them scale to your level instead. What does that mean? Well, the four “leveling” zones of Val’sharah, Stormheim, Azsuna, and Highmountain will scale to your level, giving more XP and having higher health mobs the higher your level, duh. This should distribute players through four zones on release, hopefully reducing lag issues.

Another thing to go away in Legion, should be the whole “Let’s level as fast as possible” mentality. To access the endgame zone, Suramar, you will need to at least be Friendly with all four factions of the Broken Isles, without even saying anything about World Quests, one of the most exciting endgame features, which will make you go out into the world and play through the zones instead of AFK’ing in Dalaran, waiting for a dungeon to pop. You will also need to complete the zones to get the ability to fly around. Using ground mounts is annoying, so I think we can all agree that most people will try to do it. Coupled with the reduction of experience gained in Dungeons, this makes it counterproductive to use any level-fast schemes that might pop up. You will still need to complete the content anyway and the first raid of the expansion, Emerald Dream, won’t be released until three weeks after the expansion goes live.

It remains to be seen whether Blizzard Entertainment will manage to have a smooth release of a World of Warcraft expansion for the first time ever, however, even if they don’t, the changes implemented in this expansion look to be a breath of fresh air after an expansion of staying in your Garrison or Tanaan Jungle for ever. While it remains to be seen how it turns out in the end, I’m optimistic because it seems like Blizzard learned from their mistakes with Warlords of Draenor and are trying to get it right this time. Who knows, they might actually succeed.