What is Legion like? How is my melee experience going? Here are my initial impressions of my first foray into the new league and its companion update.
I’ll get this out of the way up front: No, I can’t compare the new melee to the old. That’s because I never did play the old. From friends who have played quite a bit of melee over the years, though, I have heard things like It feels smoother as well as It feels slower. Smoother definitely sounds like good direction. Slower? That might be a matter of preference (though perhaps not as likely of one during leagues like Legion that are dictated by a timer).
I can, however, describe my beginner melee experience. I’ll admit that mostly I am still just trying to get used to jumping into the fray; I still attempt to attack from the fringe. There is a certain satisfaction to losing yourself in a pile of enemies only to emerge with all their carcasses at your feet when the dust settles. I am not sure I will be won over to melee, but I won’t let this Templar dictate that; I do want to check out a Duelist as well and get all stabbity stabby on mobs instead of righteous fury-y. I am just not sure I’ll do that this league.
I’ve also acquired at least one skill on my Templar that has a slight range to it, but I am trying hard to not turn him into a ranged caster. Why did I pick Templar? Well, it wasn’t because he was the best-looking character, that’s for sure. He’s like some Olympus reject, and I dislike his character model above all others. What I was sold on were some shiny ideas for how to play him, so I am giving him a go. Really, how can I — of all people — pass up shiny? It’s understandable that am gravitating toward golden skills, and so far I’m succeeding decently enough in groups with my friends. I do doubt my solo abilities with one, though, as I am still not comfortable with rushing in. I am hoping to really reserve judgement until after I’ve played a few Acts. Of course, different builds could also make a difference, but constant experimentation to find something I like when I already know I love playing other classes doesn’t really strike me as a choice use of my gaming time.
How is melee looking overall in this league? It’s too early to tell how it will all shake out, but as of Monday morning, the rankings for the top 20 players include only eight base melee Ascendancy classes (although any of the five Ascendants could be melee focused). The Occultist was the most represented class with six, then came Ascendant (5), Guardian (3), and Trickster (2), with Assassin, Deadeye, Inquisitor, and Berzerker all tying for last with one each. Compare that to only three typically melee classes making it into the top 20 of Synthesis (with seven Ascendants) — one inquisitor, one Guardian, and one Trickster. Bestiary also had six melees, and the next closest was Incursion with five. Like Synthesis, Delve had only three. Of course, folks could be playing any of the ranged classes as melee thanks to passives and skills, but there’s no way to account for that. Also, since this is just the very beginning of the league, comparing the ladder rankings to finished leagues is a bit skewed; we’ll have to see where they end up when legion ends. Perhaps more melee will dominate the rankings over the next three months.
As part of the big melee update, the early game was changed. Notable, the difficulty of the bosses and mobs were increased and all classes got access to movement skills. I can attest that the difficulty was upped: Things that had started to feel very cake-walky are definitely more challenging now. I must say that it felt weird to be playing my first melee but still needing to run away during the bosses’ big wind ups instead of standing my melee ground, but those hard hits when they landed were motivation to get out of Dodge with a dodge.
A look at Legion league
Obviously, I’ve not gotten to endgame over the weekend (trust me, some were there within the first day), but I have gotten a general feel of the league by experiencing it in each and every zone. If you are a big fan of the see-how-many-things-you-can-slaughter-before-the-timer-runs-out leagues, Legion will likely be pretty fun for you. You find the shard, race to smash all the frozen legion fighters you can, then smash them again once they are unfrozen. You also get to pick and choose which fighters (or things, as there are treasure chests) that you unfreeze. It’s all a race against time, and it’s unabashedly about the grind. So folks who love going fast, love seeing how much damage they can do in the shortest amount of time to the most mobs are really going to revel in here.
Personally, this league is not really for me. And I am totally OK with that! I am all for each play style getting leagues that cater more to them — Legion just doesn’t really fit mine. Hey, it gives me a good excuse to get back into Standard and finish up the story there! While I would love to see Legion in a mega-league run like we just had, I’m not overly fond of it on its own. I really enjoyed the puzzles, crusades, and various undertakings of the previous leagues like Bestiary, Incursion, Delve, Betrayal, and Synthesis. The timer-based grind is one I just can’t really get into. I tend to want to run through and see what I can see in this little moment of time, admiring the frozen warriors, then watch them continue their war once unfrozen. That, by the way, is not a very productive way to play Legion! Maybe my opinion will change a bit if I can finally find myself some of the incubation items. That gives me a pretty fun reason to grind, just to see what my shiny turns into.
I think Legion hits the mark for what it was aiming for, which was a return to those favored speed leagues of yore. If that is your cup of destruction, then jump right on in!
One of the really cool things I’ve enjoyed with Legion is watching the new names appear in the server-wide firsts announcements. While I never really like those incessant popups, I had also gotten used to seeing many of the same names pop up on the screen. Now, I am seeing ones I can’t even say: The Koreans have dived in with gusto, and many of those players are nabbing the firsts! Those names are appearing in the Korean alphabet, so while I can’t congratulate any individual, it is exciting to see how quickly this new market has embraced the game.