World of Warcraft: Legion releases on August 30, but those lucky enough to have snagged a beta key have been adventuring on the Broken Isles for weeks. The expansion’s 7.0 patch has also been released, giving the rest of us a pretty extensive preview of what to expect in the months ahead.
As players have poked around on the beta, a number of interesting things about the upcoming expansion have been revealed. While Blizzard has done a good job of building hype for major Legion features like Demon Hunters and the Artifact Weapon system, the average casual player might not have heard about some of the more in-depth changes coming to World of Warcraft this August.
Luckily, Den of Geek has your back. Here are 10 surprising things you might not know about World of Warcraft: Legion:
Class Order Halls Have A Better Story Than You Think
When Blizzard first announced Class Order Halls for Legion, the immediate reaction was “Oh great, it’s just gonna be Garrison 2.0.” It’s true that Warlords of Draenor‘s Garrisons never really lived up to their potential, but everything we’ve seen so far from Class Order Halls on the Legion beta indicates that players are in for a pleasant surprise.
We won’t spoil anything, but suffice it to say that each class has a significant story that will play out over the course of the entire expansion. Each storyline will feature multiple in-game cinematics, and from what we’ve seen, some of them are pretty lengthy. This won’t be just a quick pat on the back like when players fully upgraded their Garrison in Draenor. Major lore characters will make appearances throughout, and it’s likely you’ll care deeply about what happens to them by the time everything is said and done.
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Blizzard Is Serious This Time About Allowing Players to Gear Up Anywhere They Want
Yes, yes, we’ve all heard this one before. Every expansion, Blizzard promises that there will be alternate progression paths to raiding, and every expansion, most of the non-raiders end up feeling like they got left behind.
But World of Warcraft designer Ion Hazzikostas recently took to the Battle.net forums to explain how end-game rewards will work this time around, and it really does sound like it might actually work. Long story short, every time you get a piece of gear from an end-game activity, whether a dungeon, a raid, PVP, and so on, that gear has a chance to automatically upgrade itself. Obviously, raiders will get gear with better starting stats, but it will be possible to run dungeons and roll raid-quality loot if you’re lucky enough. This is similar to what Blizzard is doing with Mythic Dungeons right now in Draenor, only they built all of Legion from the ground up with this concept in mind.
The Third Raid Tier Is Back
Warlords of Draenor had a lot of problems, but one of the biggest ones was the lack of content. The expansion only featured one major patch with the addition of Hellfire Citadel and Tanaan Jungle in 6.2. That patch hit last summer, which means the “current” raid in WoW will have been out for well over a year before Legion arrives.
Blizzard has said that they only planned two raid tiers for Warlords because they expected to get Legion out sooner. We know how that turned out. Thankfully, Blizzard has confirmed in several interviews that they won’t make this mistake again. Legion will have three different raid tiers, putting it on par with most other expansions before Warlords. The first tier will include two raids at launch, The Emerald Nightmare followed by Suramar Palace.
You’ll Be Able To Stream Your Raid on Facebook
Twitch is the go-to platform for those who want to stream their favorite MMOs, but that could change in Legion, thanks to a new partnership between Blizzard and Facebook. Players will be able to log in to the game using just their Facebook account, and Blizzard is also currently working on implementing Facebook Live into its games.
This service clearly won’t be as feature-rich as Twitch, but it will still be pretty cool to just hit a button and immediately send a notification to everyone on your Facebook. There’s no exact timetable for when the streaming feature will go live, but expect to hear more about this later on in Legion.
World Quests Will Remain Relevant Throughout Legion
One of the biggest knocks on WoW since the advent of Dungeon Finder and Raid Finder is that there is very little reason to go out into the actual world. Blizzard hopes to fix this with the introduction of world quests that are similar to the Bounty system in Diablo 3.
Most fans following Legion news were likely already aware of this, but here’s the surprising part: the rewards from the world quests will continue to scale throughout the expansion, meaning the content will never become obsolete. If you are a big, bad powerful raider, the quest rewards you can receive will be on par with the content you are currently completing. If Blizzard pulls this off, players might actually have the best reason since Tarren Mill vs. Southshore to stay out in the open world.
Fun Mini Games Are Back
Longtime players may recall a quest in Blade’s Edge Mountains during The Burning Crusade where players were asked to play a game similar to Simon Says. Blizzard has implemented other fun side quests like this over the years, like Peacebloom vs. Ghouls (Think Plants vs. Zombies) in Pandaria.
Those who like playing a game within their game will be happy to know that Blizzard has done it again for Legion, only this time, there are multiple fun games available through special World Quest puzzles. Players might be tasked with completing a series of patterns or asked to take part in a mini racing game. Because these are all available through the World Quest system, it’s possible that even more mini games could be added in a later patch.
Leveling Up Will Take Longer Than It Used To
Wait, what? Blizzard has spent years lowering XP requirements in an effort to get players to the endgame as quickly as possible, but now they’ve changed their minds? The quick answer is yes, but they actually have a really good reason for making your leveling experience more difficult.
It’s no secret that leveling up just doesn’t feel as epic as it used to. Players can go from level 1 to 100 in just a few hours if they really want to. That’s not fun, that’s just broken, and it’s something Blizzard is hoping to fix. In fact, Blizzard has already made some changes to the amount of experience awarded at low levels and from leveling dungeons. More changes are expected in the run up to Legion. To paraphrase lead designer Ion Hazzikostas, the point of the nerf is not to inconvenience players, the idea is to make sure that all of World of Warcraft feels like an epic experience.
And hey, if you don’t like it, you can always just buy a Level 110 boost from the in-game shop.
All Zones Scale to Your Level
Speaking of leveling, a quality of life improvement was also made to how players will go through content while leveling from 100 to 110 in Legion. In short, every zone in the expansion will scale to the player’s current level.
This means instead of having to take each new character through the same zones in the same order, you can mix it up however you want. There is still one zone designed only for max level characters, but other than that, you’re free to level however you like. This will also make it easier to level with friends, even if they’re technically a couple levels above or below you.
Legendary Items Can Drop Almost Anywhere in the World
Did someone say Thunderfury, Blessed Blade of the Windseeker? Well, no, but there will be all kinds of orange shinies to link in trade chat as soon as Legion hits. Unlike past expansions, there won’t be just one legendary item for players to go after. Each class will have a chance of finding multiple unique legendaries while out killing mobs in the world.
There’s a limit to how many you can equip of course, but each of these items will have unique effects that could end up changing how you play your character. If that sounds familiar, this is yet another page ripped straight from Diablo 3‘s playbook. We’re not complaining though. This should theoretically give even the most geared player a reason to continue adventuring through the Broken Isles for the duration of the expansion.
Your Artifact Is Even More Powerful than You Thought
The fact that every single player is going to use a legendary weapon called an Artifact for the entirety of Legion is well-known. What some of you may not have heard about, however, is that each Artifact will have one or more hidden abilities for players to unlock.
Some of these have already been datamined, of course, because that’s the way things work in 2016, but there’s at least a chance that players might not discover the full might of their legendary weapons until they actually start using them on August 30.
Want more WoW content to hold you over until Legion gets here? Check out Den of Geek’s Top 25 Moments in World of Warcraft history.
Jason Gallagher is a staff writer.