Now that the BlizzCon hype is well and truly over, as well as getting time to breathe from work, I’ll admit I’ve strayed too far into the realms of MMO-Champion forums thanks to their datamining of the Legion beta. As such, doubts and salt are starting to creep in, and while I’m still totally hyped and can’t wait for Legion to come out I can’t shake some feelings I’m beginning to get as we get more and more information.
One of these doubts is with the artifact system that’s hot on everyone’s lips right now, especially with the recent datamining of the talent trees that are associated with them. I know that everything is subject to change between now and release, but I want to touch on the underlying problems with the concept of artifacts in general.
Firstly, we’re getting what’s supposedly the most powerful weapons our specs can wield this expansion (heck, there’s even an artifact fishing rod), and as such there are no weapon drops in Legion. That’s all very well and good, but what about the following expansions? Do we just toss aside weapons such as Doomhammer, the Ashbringer or Felo’melorn at level 113 for a “Choppy Waraxe of the Peerless”? I know we’ve had to retire legendaries such as Sulfuras or Dragonwrath in the past, but in my eyes those weapons are a shadow in comparison to wielding weapons such as the staff wielded by the first Guardian, or the greatsword wielded by the first Human King of Arathor.
If we kept hold of them up to 8.0 and beyond, what happens to those latecomers that decided to skip Legion, or those that switch mains on an expansion basis? We spent an entire expansion building up these weapons and gathering artifact power for them, it would be unfair to have that expansion reset to not quite be a reset for the weapons if we ended up just sticking on a few more traits in 8.0. Not to mention the fact I’m sure people will complain that there’s no new weapons to wield (even if we end up getting a bunch more skins for them, people will still complain).
The touchy subject with the artifacts is that we’re given these immensely powerful items in order to fight against the biggest threat Azeroth has ever seen, but once that’s been sorted and we move onto the next biggest threat Azeroth has ever seen, we have this new class of items that I don’t particularly want to retire, but can see the problem in having them continue to following expansions.
One concept that could be taken forward could be that the weapons act as a secondary leveling system anyway, similar to how we are leveling to 110, 120 and so on, the artifacts can level up to 1000, 2000, etc. With regards to latecomers and rerollers and so on, Blizzard could have their end-of-expansion catch-up mechanics that they always implement to get our alts up to scratch implemented for getting all of the traits unlocked for our artifacts.
Then when 8.0 comes around, we get another set of traits to improve our weapons even further with tricks we learn in whatever expansion follows, in addition to even more relics. To avoid having to do previous expansion content to gain artifact power, there could be a quest series only available to those below a certain threshold of artifact power, and disable any power gains from Legion content once that following expansion releases.
The final mention for this first point is what happens to any new classes that get introduced after Legion? Do they get artifact weapons too to level up in Legion content or do they have to either survive with either a boost through WoD raids/an heirloom weapon capped at level 100/a questing weapon from 90-100? Or will all new classes just be hero classes that start at the previous expansion’s level cap?
The second main thing I’m apprehensive about with regards to the artifacts system is the amount of work going into them. People have asked for class-specific content for years, yes, but according to Blizzard the resources that were required could lose us a questing zone. Think about it, for even just 3 quests each that’s 108 quests in total for each of our 36 specs we’re getting in Legion. Is that why we lost Farahlon? Illuminati and Half Life 3 confirmed.
Not only are we getting more than just 3 quests per spec it seems, we’re also getting our own scenario to complete. Some are set in the same area, such as Arms Warriors, Holy Paladins and Shadow Priests all going to Tyr’s final resting place in Tirisfal Glades, but I can’t imagine those three specs having to do the exact same thing as each other. There’s been no leaked scenarios that all share the same location yet, so we could still see mirrored scenarios where the only difference is the X weapon in “pick up X weapon from the floor and use its powers permanently kill the C’Thraxxi general.”
In addition, every profession is also getting unique quests and storylines – they sound very similar to the profession quests we received in WoD on getting a scroll to learn our 700 skill cap, but if they’re more involved that’s more quests that have resources allocated outside of the main storyline.
Blizzard stated back in MoP that their design team was bigger than ever, and all we got as a result was the king of cut content in WoD. Fingers crossed that the rumour of the WoW teams working on every other expansion is valid here, and that this big design team is working on Legion to help bring this massive questing experience to a decent standard. It will certainly help replayability for alts to get a new experience every time you level – the lore nerd in me is tempted to actually level every single class to 110 at this rate (or more likely just enough to see all the specs’ artifact scenarios) as well as level every profession to see how that questing experience pans out. Not to mention if the class halls’ objectives end up being class-specific too!
Following on from my final point in the previous section, what about any new classes added after Legion? Will Blizzard have to go back and create a questing experience and scenario for them to complete at 100 or will any new classes just be hero classes and start at a post 110 level?
Time will tell, but for now I’m a little apprehensive at Blizzard hyping us up only to let us down – both in terms of a lackluster questing experience from 100-110 to make way for these scenarios and experiences that we’ll only see 10% of if we’re a hardcore single-character player, as well as future-proofing the artifact concept.