For the last couple weeks, Blizzard has been teasing today as the announcement of their next expansion. There's been a lot of speculation leading up, but we finally have a name, as well as a slew of information about the game. The next expansion will be titled Legion!
After the events of Warlords of Draenor, Gul'dan's fate is unknown. It turns out that he's heralding a massive invasion of Azeroth by the Burning Legion. How he returned to Azeroth, it hasn't been said, but because of him, Azeroth faces the largest invasion of the Legion in history.
I'll give a short summation of the announcement trailer before going into much more detail farther down. First, we'll be getting a new class, the Demon Hunter. Level cap will be raised to 110, and we'll fight across a new continent: The Broken Isles. We'll have a new honor system, artifact weapons, and class order halls.
The Broken Isles is a lost continent on Azeroth. Here, we'll find the Tomb of Sargeras, which is an active gateway to many Legion worlds. Even more fascinating, the expansion begins with the invasion and actually, that world event will be happening before the expansion actually drops. After the events of the Broken Shores (where the Tomb resides) we'll wake up to "a world on fire". It's possible this means the world will be catastrophically changed again. Because of this, we will take up the Artifact weapons to return hope to life, as well as founding Class Orders to help reshape the world.
Through the story of the Demon Hunters, we'll finally see the story of the Illidari. We'll travel to the prison world of Mordoom and learn what it means to be a Demon Hunter. We'll be searching the Broken Isles for the Pillars of Creation, the Titan Relics used to shape Azeroth, to close the wound left by the Burning Legion portal in the Tomb of Sargeras. The Kirin Tor, now led by Khadgar, will move Dalaran to the Broken Isles to help.
How about some information about Zones?! Yea! First up, is Val'Sharah, the forgotten druid refuge where Malfurion became a druid. We will fight Xavius and his satyr army to keep him from unleashing the Emerald Nightmare on Azeroth. As such, we'll finally see the Emerald Dream. Next up is Stormheim, the home of the Vrykul. We will learn the origins of both them and the Val'kyr. In Azsuna, we'll meet a dying breed of the blue dragonflight while racing Azshara for control of the Pillar in this zone.
Highmountain is the highest point of the Broken Tauren and home of the Highmountain Tauren. This is also where the Earthwarden's Lair resides. Further, Nesingwary returns, which isn't really a surprise. Finally, we have Suramar. We will meet the Nightborn, a race of elves that has become pawns of the Burning Legion. They also possess the Nightwell, a corruption of one of the Pillars we are searching for. Lastly, the zone presentation ended with a comment that Alleria and Turalyon will be making an appearance in this expansion, which is welcome news indeed.
As previously mentioned, Artifact weapons will be added to the game; to fight the Legion, we need the strongest weapons known to Azeroth. Each specialization will have their own artifacts. As you play the expansion, you'll earn Artifact Power, which will be used to upgrade the traits of your artifact, as well as visual customization.
A list of weapons we've been given names to: Ashbringer will be wielded by Retribution Paladins; Felo'melorn for Fire Mages; The Eagle Spear for Survival Hunters; Icebringer and Soulreaper for Frost Death Knights, forged from the lost shards of Frostmourne; Doomhammer for Enhancement Shamans; Sheilun, Staff of the Mists for Mistweaver Monks; and the Fangs of the First Nightsaber for Feral Druids, which modify the model for your shapeshift. Each artifact will have their own story behind them, so there's a lot not to say aside from knowing the names of a couple.
After we retrieve our artifact, our character founds an Order for their class. We'll recruit Champions, which will be similar to the Followers from Warlords, but much more meaningful. They'll be much more integrated into the world and as such will feel more useful (an example Champion given was Lady Liadrin). Each class Order will have a location meaningful to the class; for instance, Paladins will have a hidden sanctum below Light's Hope Chapel, Shamans overlook the Maelstrom, and Warlocks have a enclave on a legion portal world.
Blizzard admits that they 'did dungeons a bit of a disservice' and that they are essential. As such, there will be more dungeons in Legion. They have announced a total of nine thus far: the Halls of Valor (A Stormheim dungeon that is inspired by Valhalla and the origin of the Val'kyr), Black Rook Hold (A Val'Sharah dungeon that is home to Kur'talos Ravencrest), the Vault of the Wardens (The prison of the Demon Hunters, and we will being the hunt for Illidan), Eye of Azshara (In Azsuna, contending against the minions of Azshara), Darkheart Thicket (In Val'Sharah at the base of the world tree Seladrassil and the heart of the nightmare corruption), Helheim (Ghost Ship of the Damned in Stormheim), Suramar City, Neltharion's Lair (The lair of the Earthwarden in Highmountain. The Draugbar citadel resides here now) and the Violet Hold (The proximity of Dalaran to the Tomb of Sargeras activates hidden secrets within the Hold. We're going to learn more about Dalaran, the mages of Dalaran and the world itself).
As for raids, we have two announced thus far. The first is the Emerald Nightmare. It will have seven bosses, and we will be travelling through the Emerald Dream, twisted and shadowed. We'll be pursuing Cenarius and ultimately face Xavius at the heart of the Nightmare and cleanse the Dream. The second is Suramar Palace. With 10 bosses, it is the home of the Nightwell, a corruption of the Pillar of Creation and the center of Suramar's Power. We will finally defeat Gul'dan here.
Next up we are finally covering the Demon Hunter! As a Hero Class, it enters the story line after being awoken in the Vault of the Wardens. However, the story experience will begin during the Siege of the Black Temple, when Illidan sends his best Illidari on a secret mission, and will progress to Mordoom, Sargeras's prison world. Demonic Fury will be the resource for the class, and it will only have two specs: Havoc DPS, and Vengeance Tanking. They didn't explain much about the gameplay of the class, but the class is the first to possess a double jump. It seems very fascinating, and I can't wait to see how this class fits into the metagame.
Finally, they are revamping the PvP Honor System. Dubbed Version 3, they will be transitioning to a Talent System that only works within PvP. There will be 50 ranks, and the higher your rank the more modification you have for those talent. Once you hit max rank, you are able to reset your talents and gain a Prestige rank. In doing so, you have to relevel your Talents, but it allows you to unlock varied items, such as portrait badges, as well as unique mounts and pvp artifact visuals.
Beta will be beginning later this year so we'll probably be hearing more about that closer to Blizzcon, as well as hopefully a release date. All in all, I'm excited for what they're bringing, but I'm also afraid. It all sounds amazing, but it could be too much content. We're taking out Gul'dan, possibly crippling Azshara, as well as doing severe damage to the Burning Legion. Not even mentioning the Emerald Dream. There's a lot of enemies that we'll be taking out so I'm not sure where they can go from here..
To opt into the beta, you can do so on your battle.net account - and here is the b.net page that gives further breakdown of the expansion, including better exposition on things that I may not have explained well.