The launch of a World of Warcraft expansion usually means massive queue times, DDoS attacks, and forums full of people screaming bloody murder. This isn’t anything new. WoW had a notoriously rocky launch in 2004, with players suffering from a month full of latency issues and what Ten Ton Hammer described as the lovely “kneel and loot stuff for half an hour” problem and the charming “disconnect because Internet was really sketchy back then compared to now” issue.
The release of World of Warcraft: Legion, however, has so far gone off without any major hitches.
Apart from a bugged quest here and there (I’m looking at you “Signal Boost” in Stormheim), Blizzard has been inundated with praise for Legion’s smooth launch.
In-depth reviews for the expansion are generally forthcoming, but so far the initial response has been positive.
Developers have laid out a two-month schedule for dungeons and raids. Instead of class halls being the new garrisons, they are largely unique, and layered, scaled content gives players a lot to do right off the bat. Storylines that go with artifact quests feel – gasp! – fun. Of course we’re in the honeymoon stage right now, but it’s nice to be able to log on (this achievement should not be understated) and find something different than people fighting over profession nodes and mobs.
That doesn’t mean it’s not still out there. Griefers from the opposing faction are still camping quest givers and killing them over and over.
But doesn’t it feel just a teeny bit rarer? Especially if you’ve been playing WoW a long time.
Isn’t it nice to find the swell of the crowd has died down, if only a little?
And although WoW has seen a significant drop in subscription numbers over the years, credit must be given to Blizzard for organizing the expansion in such a way that players are spread over zones rather than clumped up into a swarm. It’s not simply that the masses are gone – it’s that they’ve been divided up on purpose so as to give everybody breathing room. Making the leveling experience non-linear and having mobs and zones scale with the player was a very smart move by Blizzard.
Hopefully Legion’s smooth launch is a sign of things to come. For the moment, we can at least play the game without too many interruptions.
Update at 20:31 GMT+2: Aaaand now EU servers are crippled with people unable to log on. It finally feels like launch day.