What to do until Legion hits

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So, Legion begins officially on August 30th, but that’s still a few weeks away.  What are you to do in the meantime?

Blizzard has you covered with a variety of pre-expansion events to keep you occupied until you can sail off to the Broken Isles, as well as some existing content you may want to run before then as well.  Here’s a rundown of what to do while you wait.

(Note:  I meant to get this article up earlier, but got delayed by various things.  Still posting it for posterity!)

Transmog collection

To the delight of transmog hoarders everywhere (myself included), patch 7.0 introduced the transmog tab to the collections window.  A la Diablo 3’s transmog system, no longer do you need to keep every last item you may ever wish to transmog to in your inventory, bank, or void storage.  Now, when you earn the item once, you’ll unlock its appearance permanently, and account-wide!  It’s yet another collection to fill up.

There are, of course, restrictions on how the system works.  First, you can only unlock appearances of your primary armor type.  This is to prevent plate-wearers from being the only logical choices for transmog hunting.  If plate-wearers could unlock any armor, why farm transmog on a clothie, for example?  Obviously, that means that shaman can only unlock mail appearances.

Next, you can unlock the appearance of any weapon you can wield, even if it wouldn’t have the proper stats for your class.  Shaman are thus pretty great choices for transmog hunting, as the only weapons we can’t wield are swords, ranged weapons, and wands.  Warriors are about the best for weapon unlocking, since they only can’t wield wands, but shaman hold their own pretty well.

You also have to have the item bound to you in order to unlock its appearance.  Thus, you’ll need to equip a BoE to add its appearance to your collection.  Also, if you trade a soulbound item whose appearance you just unlocked to someone else in your group within the two hours you’re able to do so, you will lose its appearance.  This is to prevent people from just passing around a single item to everyone in their group to unlock its appearance before giving it to the person who’s supposed to equip it.

Finally, if you complete a quest with multiple rewards you can wield (only of your primary armor type, of course), you will unlock all of their appearances in your wardrobe.  However, you will not unlock the items you can’t wield for other characters.  For example, if you complete a quest that rewards a sword on a shaman, you will not unlock that sword’s appearance for sword-wielders.  You will need to do the quest on a sword-wielder to unlock it.

The first thing you should do upon signing in in 7.0 is to log in to each of your characters once.  This will populate your wardrobe with all items in your inventory, bank, and void storage, as well as every reward you can wield from every quest you’ve completed.  This may severely cut down on how much you have left to unlock!

You can also go ahead and delete any transmog items you have collected to free up bag space.  My bags actually have enough room to hold everything I need with tons of room to spare, my bank is now more empty than it’s been in years, and I even have room in void storage for more stuff!  It’s truly wonderful.

Across the top of the wardrobe, there are buttons for each armor slot, as well as shirts and tabards (the tabard tab finally exists!  rejoice, tabard collectors who have been asking for years!).  The option to hide helms, cloaks, and now shoulders can be found in the wardrobe, no longer an interface option.  You can preview your unlocked transmogs and create outfits from within the wardrobe window, but you will still need to visit a transmog ethereal to apply a new transmog.  One strange limitation is that you can’t create an outfit with hidden helms/shoulders/cloaks unless you’re at an ethereal, but it’s not too big a deal.

Weapon enchant illusions are also now part of the system, so you no longer have to visit a player’s enchanting hut to apply illusions to your weapons.  You will start with a few unlocked, but the rest require you to go out and collect them.  Many are boss drops, a couple require reputation, and a number are crafted by enchanters using a variety of old-world ingredients.  Luckily, they’re all account-wide, so learn them on any character and you can apply them on all.  For shaman, we can even get illusions of all our old weapon imbues, so enhance can rock the Windfury/Flametongue combo of yesteryear, or perhaps double Frostbrand, or even Earthliving/Rockbiter if you’re a madman!  DKs can also get one of their runeforging appearances as well.

There’s another reason to collect transmog appearances, and that’s the Fashionista achievements.  These require you to obtain a number of appearance unlocks for every slot (15 tabards and shirts, 200 cloaks, 100 everything else).  Completing all 12 will grant the Fabulous meta-achievement, rewarding “the Fabulous” title as well!

Two side notes for specific items.  If you completed the Mists legendary questline and obtained a legendary cloak, all four cloaks are eligible for transmogrification, the only legendary items to be given this treatment.  If you vendored yours long ago (shame on you), you can easily head back and get it again, or collect all four if you desire.  Simply head back to the Blacktalon Quartermaster in the Veiled Stair, purchase an epic cloak for 8000 gold (if you can’t see all four styles, change the vendor settings to “All Classes” and you should see them) and a Timeless Essence of the Black Dragonflight for 100 gold, then use the essence on the cloak to unlock the legendary cloak you want.  The best part is that, since any class can wield any cloak, you can transmog legendary cloaks even on classes who never finished the questline!

Second, if you completed the Challenge Warlord: Gold meta-achievement by completing every Warlords challenge dungeon with a gold medal, swing by Challenger Savina (Alliance) or Challenger Sunforge (Horde) at your faction’s Ashran capital and purchase the Arsenal: Draenor Challenger’s Armaments for 10,000 gold.  This item will unlock all eighteen weapon transmogs that you previously had to buy separately, including those you can’t wield on the class that did the achievement!  If you want to look super flashy on all your characters, now you can!

There’s a lot to the transmog system, but I may save a guide about it for another post.  For now, go out there and get collecting!

Last-minute gearing

In the pre-patch, the health and damage of Hellfire Citadel and mythic dungeon bosses and trash mobs has been substantially nerfed, significantly lowering the bar for successful completion of these instances.  This means that, if you want to gear your characters up to make your transition into the Broken Isles easier, now’s the best time to do so.

Hellfire Citadel gear has also been updated to use the new warforged/titanforged system that we’ll be seeing in Legion.  Previously, warforged just meant a single +6 ilvl increase.  In Legion, gear from a variety of sources (anything that has a + at the end of its ilvl, for example 800+) can roll to be warforged one or more times, each roll giving a +5 ilvl increase.  Three or more upgrades (minimum +15) will be considered titanforged, which is really just a special indication that you got really lucky.  These can roll all the way up to the ilvl cap, which I believe is 745, but don’t quote me on that.  This means that, while rare, you could run normal HFC and get gear on par with heroic, or even mythic!  Naturally, higher difficulties will have a higher minimum ilvl rewarded, but it can be pretty nice to get a significant upgrade like that.

This might not be your highest priority considering the next expansion is only weeks away, but having a leg up in leveling is always good.

Tackle soon-to-be-removed content

The pre-patch has removed some Warlords content already, and the release of Legion will remove a few more things.  If you’ve been slacking on some of these tasks, you may want to get a move on!

First, here’s what’s already been removed:

  • The ability to acquire the feats of strength for defeating heroic and mythic Archimonde in Hellfire Citadel.  The raid nerfs basically invalidated any current attempts as they’re nowhere near the difficulty they used to be.
  • The Brawler’s Guild.  Removed mostly due to class changes.  This is not a permanent removal, only temporary until it is reworked for Legion.  Still, this means that you can’t rank up with the guild, complete achievements, or purchase rewards (if you haven’t already ranked up, that is).
  • Challenge modes.  Also removed due to class changes.  This will likely be the last time we see challenge modes of the Mists/Warlords variety, since they’re not making a comeback in Legion and are being replaced with the timer on mythic+ dungeons.  Thus, if you wanted “the Indomitable” title, the Challenger’s War Yeti mount, or the various weapon transmogs, you’re out of luck.
  • The ability to start the legendary ring questline.  I’m not sure why they decided to remove the ability to start, since even a chapter 2 or 3 ring is still kinda decent and easily doable in the time left until Legion, but eh.  Also, if you weren’t yet on chapter 2 (Highmaul), all associated quests were removed from your logs.

And here’s what will be removed on the 30th:

  • The ability to finish the legendary ring questline.  All quests will be removed from your logs, and Crystallized Fel will no longer be available for purchase or as a drop from Archimonde.  If you’re not already a good way into collecting Tomes of Chaos, you’re probably not going to finish.
  • The Grove Warden mount.  On the 30th, heroic Archimonde will no longer drop the Remnant of Chaos, the quest item that rewards you with the Grove Warden moose mount.  The item itself won’t go away if you already have it, so those who have one of these in their bags will still be able to get their moose after the 30th.  But if you haven’t gotten it at all, go find a group!  The raid nerfs have made HFC much simpler, and if nothing else you should be able to find a carry group willing to take you for a moderate sum of gold (the going rate on my server is ~20k).
  • The 100% droprate of the mythic BRF and HFC mounts.  The Ironhoof Destroyer from mythic Blackhand and the Felsteel Annihilator from mythic Archimonde are currently 100% drops, but after the 30th they will become rare drops instead.  Thus, you’ve only got a couple lockouts left to secure these guys in a guaranteed way.
  • The mythic dungeon heirloom trinkets.  Currently, any mythic dungeon boss has a chance to reward you with an heirloom trinket that scales from level 100 to 110.  There are five in total, one for each role in the game (tank, healer, agility/intellect/strength DPS), and they all have increased effect against demons, though they’re also generally good trinkets at the moment.  Come the 30th, these trinkets will no longer drop, much like Garrosh no longer drops 90-100 heirloom weapons.  If you haven’t finished collecting these, time’s running out!

On my own personal checklist, the only things I have left to do is get one last mythic dungeon trinket (I know I’m not getting the mythic raid mounts anytime soon) and get a couple more Crystallized Fel to finish upgrading my ring to 795.  Even so, best to get it done sooner rather than later! I finished both of these, so I’m officially ready for Legion!

Take advantage of the new tag system

One of the big QoL changes in Legion is that up to five players of the same faction can tag the same mob and get individual loot credit, regardless of if they’re in a party or not.  If you’re in a party of five, only one person has to tag a mob in order for everyone to get credit.  While this is mostly done to encourage players to cooperate instead of fight each other for resources, there have been some very nice side effects to the new system, and if some of these are unintended, you may wish to try them out sooner rather than later!

Some possibilities I’ve heard/done myself:

  • If you have a level 3 fishing shack (hit 700 fishing, catch 100 enormous fish of each Draenor species to complete the Draenor Angler achievement), join up with one of the many fishing raids in the group finder and head to the leader’s garrison to fish the day away.  Fishing in garrison waters with a level 3 shack will sometimes give you a Lunarfall Carp/Frostdeep Minnow, which you can throw back into the water to summon a Lunarfall/Frostdeep Cavedweller (deep sea murloc).  The new loot changes mean that everyone has individual loot credit, meaning everyone has a shot at all the rewards these guys have on offer, including the biggest prizes of the Sea Turtle and Riding Turtle mounts (and yes, getting the Sea Turtle in this way will reward you with the fishing achievement).  With 40 people fishing constantly, you’ll see one or more of these guys every minute, giving tons of chances for all kinds of loot!  Pro-tip:  if you haven’t already, either craft or buy a Findle’s Loot-a-Rang; you can use it to loot the cavedwellers without having to leave the shoreline, and it even AoE loots for you when there are multiples available!
  • Still need to farm up Blackfang Claws for the various Saberstalker rewards, or the “loot 5000 of these damn things” achievement?  Get with a group and head to Fang’rila, then farm to your heart’s content.  Everyone gets individual credit, drastically shortening the time it takes to grind claws for the pet and mounts.
  • In a similar vein, I’m fairly sure you can gather Giant Dinosaur Bones on the Isle of Giants much quicker in a group as well, though I haven’t tested it to confirm.  Assuming it works, if you haven’t taken the time to grind out the Bone White Primal Raptor yet, head to the island with a group and farm away!
  • Still need the Thundering Ruby Cloud Serpent mount from Alani in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms?  Get a group and start farming Skyshards.  Individual drops mean you’ll farm up to five times faster.  The best part is you can funnel these to a single person in your group, then have them drop Alani’s shield and attack it.  Since the mount’s a 100% drop, everyone in your group will get one!
  • While I haven’t tried myself, this should also apply to other rare mobs.  A group of five could, for example, efficiently scour the Storm Peaks for the Time-Lost Proto-Drake.  Once found, everyone could gather, attack (a single ping would probably kill it), and loot their own mount!
  • Gathering resources from mobs in general is much easier in a group.  I spent about an hour with a group farming water elementals in Swamp of Sorrows in order to get Essences of Water for my enchanting illusions, and everyone who I grouped up with got loads of essences and other items.  All it took was a single attack and the elementals were dead, and everyone could loot them for their own drops!

I’m sure there are other strategies that take advantage of this new loot system, just waiting to be discovered.

Cheaply and easily level cooking (and first aid)

As mentioned above, dozens of fishing raids are farming up cavedwellers and killing them by the hundreds (if not thousands).  Cavedwellers will always drop between 20 and 40 of one or two kinds of fish flesh, meaning it doesn’t take long before your inventory is full of meat.  Even if you don’t want to fish, you can still level your cooking quickly by buying the flesh that people have been dumping on the auction house.

On my server, fish flesh that can be used for cooking goes from 2-28 silver per flesh, though most are 2-8 silver.  A full stack of the cheaper fish, thus, will go between 4-16 gold.  However, you will need some Crescent Saberfish Flesh to get started, and that will be a little more expensive, since the cavedwellers don’t drop that.

If you’re starting from level 1 cooking, the total materials you’ll need are:

  • 50 Crescent Saberfish Flesh (you might only need 5, but better to be safe than sorry)
  • some combination of 1200 fish flesh (make sure you have multiples of 10, as that’s how much you’ll need per craft)
  • 100 of each kind of fish flesh except Crescent Saberfish and Blackwater Whiptail

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Learn Draenor Cooking, if you haven’t already.  You’ll need to pick up cooking training from any trainer, then head out and kill mobs until you find the item that teaches you Draenor Cooking, raising your skill cap all the way to 700.
  2. Cook 10 Grilled Saberfish or Saberfish Broth, it doesn’t matter which.  As you do, you’ll obtain recipes for other items; as long as one of these is for a fish dish, you’ll be set.  Your skill should be at 51 now.  If for some reason you didn’t get a fish recipe, get some more saberfish flesh and keep trying.
  3. Learn the recipes you’ve discovered, then start cooking any fish dish.  Each craft rewards 5 skillups all the way to 650 cooking, so cook 120 dishes.  Your skill will be at 651.  Make sure you’ve got 100 of each fish flesh for the final step!  If you use too much, however, it’s not like it’s costly to get more.
  4. Cook 10 Feasts of the Waters to finish the grind to 700.

You can also quickly and cheaply level first aid to 700, if you want to get prepared for doing first aid world quests in Legion.  Here’s what you’ll need, assuming you’re starting from level 1:

  • 1300 Blackwater Whiptail Flesh
  • either 50 Fire Ammonite Tentacles and 50 Sea Scorpion Segments or 100 Sea Scorpion Segments

And the steps are pretty similar:

  1. Learn Draenor First Aid, if you haven’t already.  Same as before, learn first aid from a trainer, then kill Draenor mobs until one drops the first aid manual.
  2. Create 130 Blackwater Anti-Venoms.  Your skill will be at 651, and this recipe will go yellow.
  3. Depending on your resources, either craft 5 Fire Ammonite Oil followed by 5 Healing Tonics (in that order), or craft 10 Healing Tonics.  You’ll be at 700 skill when you’re done.

Take advantage of dirt cheap resources and level your secondary professions quickly!

Doom!

The pre-expansion events kicked off with the launch of the pre-patch on July 19th, with the reintroduction of Doomsayers to Stormwind and Orgrimmar.  Last seen just before Cata, these guys are back once more to spread doom and gloom to everyone they meet.

This time around, when you talk to the placard-wearing crazies, you can ask them for a pamphlet.  This will give you a trash-quality item that can be read, some of which are chuckle-worthy.  There are twelve pamphlets in all, and if you collect all twelve, you’ll earn the feat of strength It All Makes Sense Now.

Since this is a feat, it’s a bit harder to track than a regular achievement.  Luckily, there’s a script you can run to track it.  Paste this into your chat bar and press enter (you may need to do it twice if you get a popup asking if you really want to run scripts):

/run AddTrackedAchievement(11065);

The difficult part of this achievement is that, upon collecting a pamphlet from any Doomsayer, you’ll activate a hidden fifteen-minute timer, making you unable to receive more pamphlets until the timer is up.  The timer also only depletes when you’re logged in.  And with no way to check how long until time’s up, it can be a bit of a pain to collect all the pamphlets.

Luckily, there is a solution, one that’s pretty fitting when you get right down to it:  suicide.

If you die, the timer resets.  And since death by falling is pretty easy, there’s a pretty easy strategy to do this quickly:

  1. Bank all your armor that has durability, including anything in your bags.  If you don’t have bank space, go delete some transmog already!  You don’t need the items anymore!
  2. Head to the closest Doomsayer to your capital city’s Spirit Healer.  For Alliance, the western-most Doomsayer in Cathedral Square is closest, while Horde should use the one in the Valley of Spirits, next to the various class trainers and the northern Drag entrance.
  3. Talk to them and collect a pamphlet.
  4. Mount up on your flying mount, fly straight up, and dismount.
  5. Die.
  6. Two options here:
    1. If you have a friend who doesn’t mind rezzing you over and over until you get the achievement, wait for the rez, then revive.
    2. If not, release your spirit, then rez at the Spirit Healer, taking the rez sickness.  Since all your gear is banked, no durability loss and no repair bills.
  7. Return to step 2, repeat until you get the achievement.

This feat is only available until Legion launches on August 30th, so you’ve got a couple more weeks to finish it off, if you don’t feel like grinding it all in one go.

Dark whispers

The doomsayers were right, of course.  Doom is coming, and you can be a part of it!

Random players will start hearing whispers in Stormwind and Orgrimmar, whispers of chaos and doom and other such things.  There seems to be no way to trigger this, it appears to happen entirely randomly.

If it happens to you, you’ll get a new action bar and nine stacks of Frail Mind.  Your goal is to clear those stacks by turning your allies hostile, making sure you don’t die along the way, and you have 30 minutes in which to do so.

First, if you don’t actually want to play, you don’t have to.  Right click the Dark Thoughts buff in your buff list and you’ll go back to normal, easy as can be.

If you do want to go along with it, you’ll have four main abilities:

  • Turn Ally:  A channeled ability that lasts 10 seconds.  Use this on a player and they’ll be turned hostile to the rest of your faction for a brief moment.  Doing so will also make NPCs able to attack you for 15 seconds, as well as players with PVP turned on (making this a lot harder on PVP servers!).  A successful cast will remove a stack of Frail Mind.
  • Hysteria:  Target an area with this spell to cause a group of players to be confused and fight with allies for 10 seconds, with a 1-minute cooldown.  As above, this will out you as an ally of the Legion for 15 seconds, so try to use it where guards are sparse.
  • Illusionary Guise:  Take on the appearance of a target, 1-minute cooldown.  This ability appears to be bugged, as I never noticed any difference when I used it.  Supposedly you’d use it to make detection harder, but it seems not to do anything.
  • Cloak of Darkness:  Disappear for 20 seconds, 5-minute cooldown.  Useful if you need to get away from guards.  You can also cast Turn Ally while invisible, so you can get off an easy cast with less fear of retribution.

Once you lose your stacks, you’ll be able to Give In To Darkness, letting you become a dreadlord for a minute and wreak havoc on your friends.  You get a cleave that restores health, a madness ability that makes friends go berserk and attack allies, a conical attack that reduces healing, and sleeping gas clouds.  You’ll die at the end of the minute, but it’s definitely fun to wreak some havoc for a short while!

Farm dreadlords for a toy

The doomsayers are hiding even more secrets, though.  Some are actually dreadlords in disguise, and if you reveal their true identities, you might get a special toy out of it!

First, you’ll need some sort of ability to track demons.  Any of these will work:

  • If you’re a demon hunter, Spectral Sight will work.  However, it has a short duration and long cooldown, meaning you’ll be doing a lot of waiting as you go from doomsayer to doomsayer.
  • If you’re a hunter, you can simply Track Demons on your minimap.
  • If you can wield leather (sorry clothies) and have farmed up the Cursed Vision of Sargeras from Illidan in the Black Temple, wear it and use it to activate demon tracking as well.
  • Finally, if you’re none of these (or an impatient demon hunter), you can get an Elixir of Detect Demon from an alchemist, or you can make them pretty easily on an alt.  It’s a low-level recipe from Classic WoW, and just requires some cheap herbs.  This will give you demon tracking for an hour.

Once you’ve got any of these active, start talking to doomsayers.  Eventually, you may notice that one has an additional “There’s something not quite right about you…” dialogue option.  Click it and the doomsayer will turn into a dreadlord, with 16 million health.  It’ll use the same abilities as the player-controlled version above, but with others around you helping out, it shouldn’t be hard to kill.

A recent hotfix allowed for 40-man raids to tackle these guys, and with a raid that size you should easily be able to cover all the spawn points, find dreadlords, and kill them.  Check the group finder for raids to join.

In addition to some Nethershards (described in the invasion section below), the dreadlords also have a chance to drop the Pocket Fel Spreader toy, which turns the area around you into fel green corruption.  The toy is BoE, so you can also purchase it on the auction house if you’re unlucky.  But since they’re only available during this time period, you may want to farm up a few and sell them off later when they’re no longer obtainable.

Assault on the Broken Shore

You can get a head start on Legion questing (and witness some major plot points) by playing through the Broken Shore scenario.  You and a whole raid group (half Alliance, half Horde) will be able to travel to the Broken Isles and attempt an assault on the Burning Legion.  No spoilers here, but things are going to get changed up quite a bit for both factions.

You don’t have to worry about finishing this before the pre-patch, as the scenario will remain available into Legion itself, just as the Iron Assault questline in Blasted Lands is still available today.  But doing it early will set the stage for the events in the Broken Isles, so if you want to be prepared (I’m channeling Illidan here), go ahead and run it now!

Here are some tips on things you won’t want to miss, as several rewards are only available before you start the scenario.

On the Alliance side, just before you get on the boat, take a quick stop by Lenny “Fingers” McCoy’s shop.  He’ll sell a couple good luck charms, channeling a bit of Griftah.  But even if you’d rather not buy those, definitely pick up the Lucky Shirt.  It’ll set you back 100 gold (less reputation discounts), but this shirt shares a model with the Fine Cloth Shirt, which was rewarded from a classic Alliance quest removed in Cata.  The shirt itself seems to be bugged at the moment; some people see it as an uncommon BoE, others see it as a common shirt with no bind restrictions.  When I bought it on my Alliance alt, it said I hadn’t learned the appearance, which was understandable since this was the first time I’d gotten it.  After putting it on, that message went away, but it doesn’t show up in the transmog collection.  It’s likely a bug that will be fixed soon, so pick it up and stash it away for later!

For Horde players, you can talk to Fo’rum the Postmaker just before you get on the boat to purchase Happy, Angry, and Thoughtful Posts, wooden poles with troll masks on them that you can place on the ground.  A tongue-in-cheek reference to those who dwell on the WoW forums, these things are also tradeable, so you can sell them to Alliance players for their own forum simulation use.  You can have up to 20 of each.

There’s another vendor for Horde that you’ll definitely want to talk to before you leave, especially if, like me, you didn’t purchase all the rewards from the Battlefield Barrens event all the way back in patch 5.3 (it’s not my fault I completely ran out of bag space!  I mean, maybe a little, but not entirely!).  Talk to Ravika just by the docks and you can purchase three of the four Battlefield Barrens toys, as well the cosmetic boots from the same patch.  The ability to earn these rewards was previously removed in patch 5.4, but now you can obtain them again with ease!

The rewards are:

  • Xan’tish’s Flute (5 gold):  Summons a few snakes to follow you for 1 minute.
  • Sen’jin Spirit Drum (10 gold):  Summons a set of drums that anyone can play.
  • Whole-Body Shrinka’ (25 gold):  Shrinks you to a VERY tiny size for a time, then stuns you for a few seconds when you grow back to normal.
  • Griftah’s Authentic Troll Shoes (50 gold):  Cosmetic shoes that are completely invisible, useful if you wish to create a barefoot transmog!

Strangely, Bom’bay’s Color-Seein’ Sauce, the other Battlefield Barrens toy, did not end up on this vendor.  Here’s hoping they’ll patch it in.

The questline is fairly simple:

  1. Upon logging in for the first time at level 98 or above, you’ll get the quest The Legion Returns, instructing you to report to the Stormwind or Orgrimmar docks.  Use the portal stone given to you to quickly teleport to your capital.
  2. You’ll then get the To Be Prepared followup quest, requiring you to interact with three different items for a set of buffs, as well as participate in a duel with an NPC.  Now’s the time you’ll want to interact with the vendors listed above, as you’ll be doing the scenario right after and they’ll be phased out when you get back.  Completing the quest will reward an ilvl 685 ring.
  3. The next quest, The Battle for Broken Shore, instructs you to head to the docks and talk to an NPC, which will queue you up for the scenario.  I won’t go into the details of what happens here because of spoilers.  Completing the quest after the scenario ends will reward you with a spec-appropriate ilvl 685 weapon.
  4. The subsequent quest will deal with the aftermath of the battle.  I won’t even list the names of the quests here due to spoilers you might get through inference.
  5. The followup to this, Demons Among Us, has you talk to one of the Illidari nearby, who will reveal that demons have infiltrated your capital.  For Alliance, you’ll need to kill five demons and close two portals.  Horde simply need to kill twelve demons.  Completing this quest rewards a spec-appropriate ilvl 685 trinket.
  6. The final quest, Illidari Allies (A)/Keep Your Friends Close (H), has you meet with the Illidari camp within your capital.  This will unlock the Nethershard vendors in your capital, as well as offer a followup quest to complete a demon invasion for some more gold.

One more important note for Alliance players.  During stage 6 of the scenario, you can loot the Charred Locket from the Ashes of a Fallen Crusader, located on top of a demonic altar.  After the scenario ends, travel to Eastvale Logging Camp in eastern Elwynn Forest and talk to Alaina Hearthsong inside one of the houses.  You’ll give her the locket, which she recognizes as that of her husband Cedric, whose ashes you pulled the locket from.  She doesn’t want to believe that he’s gone, breaking down in tears.  If you leave the area and come back, you’ll tragically find Alaina deceased on the bed, apparently having committed suicide after being unable to bear the loss.  Your reward for seeing the tragedy through to the end is that you can loot Alaina’s Bonnet from the chest at the foot of the bed, a cosmetic white hood suitable for transmog on any armor type.  The reward may be a bit jarring, but this certainly isn’t the first time you’ve been rewarded for doing something not all that sunshine and roses in the game, nor will it be the last.

Demon hunter early access

If you’ve pre-ordered Legion, you’ll get early access to the demon hunter class, letting you play through their starting experience and level to 100 before the expansion itself launches.  This is a smart move on Blizzard’s part, letting players who want to play demon hunters right away level right alongside their non-demonic friends on the Broken Isles, without the latter having to wait for the fledgling demon hunter to finish their starting zones.  As a demon hunter, you’ll go on a secret mission from Illidan himself to the former Legion prison world of Mardum, before you’re captured by the Wardens and imprisoned, only to be awakened years later as the Legion threatens Azeroth once more.

Upon finishing your starting experience, you’ll be dropped off right after where the Broken Shore scenario ends, so as a heads up, don’t level a demon hunter until you do the scenario at least once!  You’ll get spoiled on some major events otherwise.

Demon invasions

The biggest part of the pre-expansion event is the Legion’s invasion of Azeroth.  Legion warships will start appearing at random over six zones:  Azshara, Dun Morogh, Hillsbrad Foothills, Northern Barrens, Tanaris, and Westfall.  You can find out which zones are being invaded by looking at the Eastern Kingdoms/Kalimdor map, where currently invaded zones are marked with a green portal.

You can complete each invasion once every time it spawns.  An easy way to check your progress is to look at your map again.  If you don’t see any green portals, then you can’t play invasions until the next set spawns.  Currently, two zones are under invasion every four hours, but as we count down the days to Legion, the invasions will ramp up in frequency, until eventually every zone will be under constant siege three zones are under invasion every two hours all six zones are under invasion, resetting every two hours.

There are four stages to each invasion:

  1. Defend an invasion point, usually the major town in the zone.  You’ll need to kill smaller demons around the area until the progress bar fills to 100%.
  2. Kill a demon commander and lieutenants.  Two or three lieutenants will spawn in and start attacking, and players will have to cooperate to bring them down.  Afterwards, a commander will spawn, a little more powerful but not much.
  3. Kill demons across the zone.  You can fight groups of demons attacking various areas, destroy different-sized Legion structures (go for the crystals, always go for the crystals), or fight massive bosses.  Each group/structure/boss will raise the progress bar by 5%, and killing other demons will also aid in the progress.
  4. Kill a demon boss.  Get back to the original town and fight off the powerful boss to complete the invasion.

One of the best parts of the demon invasions is that they make use of Blizzard’s new level scaling and shard creation technology to provide a seamless experience for players of all levels.  The shard creation tech allows for the game to create multiple instanced versions of the zone as players from all servers head there, which means that, with few exceptions, you’ll always enter the zone during the first stage and should have no problems collecting all the rewards.  And the level scaling tech lets players from level 10 to 100 participate in the exact same invasion, tackling the same mobs but seeing them as level-appropriate (a level 10 would see level 10 mobs, while a level 100 would see the exact same mobs as being level 100), and getting reward armor from the chests that scales appropriately.  It’s a fantastic demonstration of the new technologies they’ve developed, and apart from some minor lag that’s probably my computer’s fault more than anything else, the whole experience has run smoothly.

Since these invasions can be completed on low-level characters, they also grant massive amounts of XP, to frankly hilarious levels.  If you’ve got alts you want to grind to 100 before the expansion ends so you can take them straight to the Broken Isles, now is the best time to do so.  You’ll earn substantial amounts of XP for every stage completed and monster/boss tagged and killed, making these a great alternative to dungeon-grinding for the umpteenth time.  Heirlooms, rested XP, XP-boosting potions, and refer-a-friend XP will all increase the XP you earn, making this already-quick leveling system even quicker!  As reference, when I took some fully-heirloomed level 90’s that I haven’t touched since Mists to do invasions, I was able to level them all the way to 100 in seven invasions, taking about two hours to complete.  90-100 in two hours is pretty insane, so get on it now while you have the chance!

Completing stages of the invasion past the first will reward you with Nethershards, a currency used to purchase items from Illidari vendors in the invasion zones and in your capital city,  The more stages you complete, the more shards you’ll earn.  You can also earn a few Nethershards for every boss you help defeat, minus the commander in stage 2 and the final boss in stage 4, and after another hotfix, you can earn a few for destroying the various buildings that spawn.

In addition, completing stages 2 and 4 will grant a Small and Large Legion Chest, respectively.  These chests will contain the Nethershards for those stages, as well as one guaranteed ilvl 700 fel-infused armor piece.  They also have a lower chance for a second armor piece; an ilvl 700 weapon (with unique models); or a Coalesced Fel, which can be used to upgrade the weapons 5 ilvls at a time, up to ilvl 725 (on par with mythic HFC!).  Transmog hunters will thus want to be doing invasions on multiple characters, including demon hunters!

There are ten weapons in total, and the weapon you’re rewarded with is based on your loot spec.  If you want to earn them all for transmog, here’s what classes/specs you’ll need to run invasions on:

  • Eredar Splitter:  1H agility axe; enhance shaman, windwalker monk, outlaw rogue, demon hunter
  • Fel Hacker:  1H strength axe; frost death knight, prot paladin, prot warrior
  • Corrupted Argus Gavel:  1H intellect mace; holy paladin, priest, balance/resto druid, ele/resto shaman, mistweaver monk
  • Eredar Battle Blade:  1H intellect sword; mage, warlock, holy paladin, mistweaver monk
  • Wyrmtongue Spiteblade:  agility dagger; assassination/subtlety rogue
  • Glaive of the Fallen:  warglaive; demon hunter (BoA, can be purchased from Nethershard vendors if you didn’t prepurchase Legion)
  • Fel Lord’s Warmace:  2H strength mace; blood/unholy death knight, ret paladin, arms/fury warrior
  • Fel Barbed Spear:  agility polearm; brewmaster monk, survival hunter, feral/guardian druid
  • Inquisitor’s Wand:  wand; mage, priest, warlock
  • Hellfury Longbow:  bow; marksman/beast mastery hunter

At a minimum, you’ll earn 25 Nethershards per invasion (5 for stage 2, 10 for stage 3, and 10 for stage 4).  You can also earn between 5 and 8 shards for every boss you participate in the kill of, even just tagging.  In addition, each crystal that you destroy to take down a building will give 1 or 2 shards, and defeating the mini-boss in the largest buildings will give a couple as well.  Thus, you can expect 1-2 shards for destroying the smallest buildings (one crystal inside), 2-4 shards for destroying the portal towers (two crystals), and 5-10 shards for destroying the largest buildings (four crystals outside, mini-boss inside).

Now, technically, you can earn rewards just by being in the zone, without even lifting a finger to help your fellow players.  However, if you actively participate in killing bosses and destroying structures, you can earn many more Nethershards than you would otherwise.  As a test, I ran an invasion in Northern Barrens.  I defeated seven bosses over the course of the invasion, and earned a total of 76 Nethershards by the end, meaning I got 51 shards from boss killing, tripling what I would have gotten if I’d idled.  If you want to get shards for the various rewards, be sure to get out there and kill stuff!

And while they’ve added Nethershard rewards to destroying buildings, fighting bosses is much more consistently rewarding.  If someone from the opposite faction attacks a crystal first, you won’t get shards for destroying it, limiting the amount you’ll be likely to earn.  Bosses will reward pretty much anyone who attacks them, and they’re also usually quicker than destroying the largest buildings.

Here’s what you can buy with Nethershards:

  • Various useful items can be purchased for small amounts of Nethershards.  Felstones (3 shards) give your attacks a chance to trigger additional fel effects.  Potions of Fel Protection (3 shards) reduce all damage taken by 10% for 10 minutes.  Battle Mender’s Dressings (1 shard) heals a target for 80% of their health over 8 seconds.
  • For 50 Nethershards, you can purchase ilvl 700 amulets, rings, trinkets, and a cloak.  These are great for giving alts a leg up in gear, on par with the high end of normal Hellfire Citadel gear.  If nothing else, be sure to purchase the cloak on at least one character, as it has a unique appearance!  As a note, the cloak’s appearance won’t unlock account-wide until the two-hour refund time limit expires; alternatively, use it for transmog on a character you buy it on or throw it into void storage to end the timer prematurely.
  • For 100 Nethershards, you can buy the Glaive of the Fallen, an ilvl 700 BoA warglaive.  This is mostly useful for those who won’t be playing a demon hunter until the 30th, and thus wouldn’t be able to obtain this unique model.  Demon hunters can still get the warglaives from invasion chests, but if you’re particularly unlucky, you can purchase one or two of these for your demon hunter.
  • 150 Nethershards allows you to buy the Felbat Pup, a unique flying pet only available during the event.  It’s BoE, so if you have spare shards, you can always buy a few more to sell later.
  • 150 Nethershards will also let you buy Coalesced Fel, if you happen to not be lucky enough to get enough from the invasion chests.  Particularly, dual-wielding specs will likely need to buy a few if you want to upgrade both weapons to 725.  Note that it’s really not necessary, as you’ll be replacing your weapon(s) with your artifact (ilvl 750) very shortly into starting Legion questing, but if you want to be a bit more powerful for a few weeks, go right ahead.
  • Finally, you can spend 200 Nethershards and purchase Ensembles of the different fel-themed armor sets (Fel-Infused Cloth, Felshroud Leather, Fel-Chain Mail, and Felforged Plate), which will unlock the full appearance of the set for transmog, even if you’ve never obtained the items.  These are gold and green recolors of the Warlords crafted sets, and once again these will only be available during the event, so it would behoove you to collect them now even if you’re not sure you’ll ever use them!  You can also check the tooltip to see if you need to purchase the ensembles, with either a blue message informing you that you know some of the appearances already, or a red “already known” message to show you know all the appearances for that ensemble.  You likely won’t need to purchase these at all, however; I did invasions on a few characters (one cloth, two leather, one mail, two plate) and was able to obtain the full appearances without any problem within the first couple days.  And as the invasions have become more frequent, it’s become even easier.  Just remember, you can do the invasions on any level character and still get armor drops, so don’t feel like you need a bunch of 100s to do these (although being 60 with flight is very helpful).

And for achievement addicts, there are two feats of strength associated with demon invasions.  Completing any invasion will give you the Stand Against the Legion feat, while completing each invasion zone at least once will reward the Defender of Azeroth: Legion Invasions feat.  If you need to keep track of which invasions you have yet to complete, run this script in your chatbox to track it:

/run AddTrackedAchievement(11201);

Quests

Finally, there’s a couple additional questlines to complete during the pre-expansion period.  These involve various events that occur in Dalaran, Karazhan, and Ulduar, setting the story for the expansion to come.

The first questline, dealing with Dalaran’s temporary movement to Karazhan, the debate of the Council of Six whether to allow the Horde to return, Magni Bronzebeard summoning you to Ulduar to learn more about the Legion’s invasion, and Khadgar’s travels to Karazhan to find out information on the Pillars of Creation, released on August 16th.  This questline rewards you with a pair of ilvl 700 gloves, which have a unique Arcane Blast proc effect.

One week later, on the 23rd, a second, shorter questline was added, involving preparing Dalaran for travel to the Broken Isles, as well as some brief interaction with the spirit of Alodi, the first Guardian.  No rewards here, unfortunately, but you can always run around killing demons for the hell of it, as well as take a look around what the new Dalaran looks like.

These quests will be available after Legion launches, but you’ll need to talk to an archivist in Dalaran to “travel back in time” and start the quests after the 30th.


I think it’s safe to say that this pre-patch has been the best since Wrath’s (perhaps better, but I won’t make that judgment call since I wasn’t playing then), but when you look back at the events since then, you kind of realize that it was no real contest.  Between Cata’s elemental invasions (that didn’t really do much of anything until the final city invasions later) and Darkspear/Gnomeregan events (which were admittely fun), Mists’s Theramore scenario (completely lackluster), and Warlords’ Iron Horde invasion questline (fun, but no replayability), Blizzard seemed to have forgotten that pre-expansion events, even though limited-time only, were a beloved part of the game’s history, but only if they were actually good.

Pretty sure this event will be remembered with the same fondness the Wrath event was, but for different reasons.  The Wrath event has people nostalgic over how much chaos they could cause as they succumbed to the plague and became Scourge, wreaking havoc on their fellow players for weeks.  In contrast, the Legion pre-patch evokes a spirit of cooperation, both in the actual invasion events themselves and the new tag system encouraging cooperation on a massive scale.  It helps that the events are actually fun to play, too!

There’s a lot to do, but not much time left to do it in.  Tuesday is right around the corner, when we’ll leave this all behind and head to the Broken Isles for real.

Are you prepared?

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