Friday, March 11, 2016

Legion Alpha Update

It's now sort of mid March, meaning the Alpha Test for Legion has been going for nearly four months. How far along is it?


I won't bother doing a checklist here, because the answer is "everyone except Destruction." Yes, you chaos-bolt-slinging Warlocks are the last guys picked for the team. Someone had to be. Well, actually, that's not technically true, as they might have brought you in the same time as Frost Mages and Assassination Rogues. But every other specialization has been unlocked and is up for testing. They've even been doing numbers passes on many of them, suggesting that most specs are mechanically where Blizzard wants them to be.

EDIT: Sorry, I left out Brewmaster Monks, which is surprising, as that's my favorite Monk spec (and possibly my second-favorite tanks spec. Though I obviously haven't tried out Vengeance yet.)

Progress Analysis: Slow but steady, and almost there.


Well, Stormheim, Highmountain, and Val'sharah have been available for quite a long time now, but we still have yet to see Azsuna, Suramar, or the Broken Shore. That last one is listed on the infographic, so I believe it must have some quest content, though whether that's daily quests or just the early intro remains to be seen.

Progress Analysis: Starting to worry me. At least open up Azsuna!


Nine dungeons have been opened up so far, and all of them are open for testing in heroic mode as well. The question I have is whether the second Suramar dungeon is still in the works, or if they're just sticking with these nine. The Arcway was what had previously been called Suramar Catacombs, but there was also talk of Suramar City (the Nighthold had been called "Suramar Palace" previously,) so I hope that it's still on the way. We haven't had dungeons in the double digits since Cataclysm, and we haven't had them at launch since Wrath of the Lich King. 10 at launch!

Progress Analysis: Actually very good, but let's get that 10th dungeon, please.


So right now it looks like mechanically things are getting locked down. Hopefully Destruction will be added in the next build (and soon,) but they seem to be at a good pace with the other specs.

In terms of content, they're a little behind. Granted, I'm not expecting the expansion until June, given the timing of the movie, which means that they've pretty much got until mid May to continue testing. But given how long ago they started this test, it'd be nice to see a bit more content up and ready, particularly the zones.

That said, I don't know Blizzard's motivations here. It may be that they want to control the publicity on this content, and don't want to have the whole expansion pretty much up and available for scrutiny so far ahead of the expansion's launch. That's a charitable interpretation, to be sure, but I don't think too radical either.

Of course, the frustrating thing about this presumed June launch is that it entirely invalidates the logic behind "smaller expansions." We only got two raid tiers in Warlords of Draenor, and Blizzard promised that this would mean faster turn-out of expansions. Yet 6.2 launched on June 23rd of last year, meaning that a June launch for Legion would still mean a full year without new content. It might technically be better than the 14 months of Siege of Orgrimmar, but A. those two months are pretty insignificant compared to the twelve we still have to wait and B. 14 months was not some baseline of length between expansions. It was an absurdly long time to go without content for a subscription-based game.

So even if it's a little disconcerting to see how they haven't unlocked new zones since one of the earliest Alpha patches, I still think the test is on-track for the likely release date. I only wish that that likely release date were closer to... well, now.

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