Blizzard Entertainment is poised to launch the last major patch to World of Warcraft: Legion on Tuesday, August 29th, almost precisely one year since the expansion launched. With no new expansion announcement at Gamescom this past week, players are speculating feverishly about what lies next for our adventures with the denizens of Azeroth and beyond. With Jaina Proudmoore (who had better not be a dreadlord because that would be boring at this point) front and center upon the BlizzCon 2017 key art representing WoW, it hints at a Kul Tiras-themed expansion next.
However, for now, we have perhaps a year to go before that next expansion, as it’s likely that it will be announced at BlizzCon once again. MMO Central will be there to bring you all the juicy details. In the meantime, let’s take a quick look at what players can expect next week as those at level cap venture forth to the homeworld of the Draenei in the Shadows of Argus patch. Players have been seeing Argus looming in Azerothian skies for a few weeks now regardless of their status in clearing out the Tomb of Sargeras raid in any format, reminding Doctor Who fans of a particular pair of episodes at the end of David Tennant’s run as the Doctor. Argus seems to be a hellish world, green and reeking with fel disruption, shattered by the Burning Legion’s ravaging of the place. I suspect any astrophysicists and astrogeologists amongst the playerbase promptly had a heart attack and had to set aside their scientific knowledge to firmly institute suspension of disbelief because fractured planets can’t just hang together like that without a strong application of the arcane. See also: Outland.
Argus has three primary zones to quest in, although there is no increased level cap. Players first arrive at Korkuun and will proceed to the Antoran Wastes and Mac’Aree. The story unfolds over the course of three weeks, where content unlocks to add things such as new World Quests and Emissaries, Invasion Points, and finally culminating in the new dungeon the Seat of the Triumvirate. The patch will also add new mechanics for increasing one’s artifact weapon’s power via the Netherlight Crucible and also some catchup mechanics for those of us who actually don’t have all day to play and would like to play our alts once in awhile. We’ll also see the return of Khadgar’s old friends Turalyon and Alleria Windrunner, missing since the Second War and the destruction of Draenor and its conversion into Outland. Their return was mentioned at BlizzCon back in the Warlords of Draenor era, hinted that they’d be a late entry in that dev cycle, but that was a promise that hasn’t been kept until now. We’ll finally see the payoff for Arator the Redeemer’s wistful commentary about his parents in Honor Hold (if you’re Alliance) from Burning Crusade and get to see that family reunion.
The biggest concerns right now involve whether this means there will be a content drought until the next expansion, which would presumably launch around this time or BlizzCon-time next year. On the one hand, Legion has had just so much content already, so much so that I’ve heard a lot more complaints about there being too much to do and feeling overwhelmed than people already being bored because there’s ‘nothing to do’. Game Director Ion Hazzikostas said at Gamescom that he expects players to be working through Tomb of Sargeras for quite some time, so it seems as if Blizzard understands how players felt like they got deluged for the past year. It’s often feast or famine with this game and its expansions, so perhaps they want to give players a bit of a breather, but a whole year with just this patch to tide people over seems perhaps a swing too far in the other direction. Time will tell.
For now, players will finally be able to attack the Burning Legion at its very heart, with the promise in the trailer that demons who die on Argus will die their final deaths, so it seems as if Blizzard wants to tie the Legion storyline into a neat bow. On the one hand, it’s a nice heroic storyline to have mere mortals possibly have the power to stop an eons-old crusade against all life in the universe. Bear in mind that Azeroth is one of the few remaining planets in all of creation that has managed to foil the Legion and prevent its razing. It’s also important to remember that while Sargeras the Dark Titan has been painted as the big bad of the Warcraft universe for the past 20 years, he was corrupted by the Old Gods. He’s not the source of evil, and there are more stories to tell even if we players manage to utterly defeat and overthrow his Burning Legion.
For myself as a Draenei main since 2007, I’m looking forward to the patch. Unlike Warlords of Draenor, which took us to my character’s former home but spent all its time focusing on the Orcs story-wise and abandoned the one breakout Draenei character to the past, this has more of a chance to seem fulfilling to Draenei players. The devastated Argus is unlikely to be salvaged and made whole again, but it will feel good destroying the Burning Legion, if Blizzard actually gives us that ability in the story. Having someone escape to come back in the future is a known trope that many franchises use, but I have to admit that I hope Blizzard actually has the courage to let players eliminate the Legion once and for all and then move on to other content.
What’s your take on 7.3: Shadows of Argus?