I like the delineation about what went into their process for picking locations for the order halls (and yeah I’m going to stick with order halls because it just sounds cooler). The Fray Island example is perfect because for a certain set of warriors, the place has got nostalgic significance, but for the total set of players, it doesn’t really have any visual significance.
What’s interesting about the Dreamgrove is that we didn’t really see enough of it to really get the sense of how it’ll be different from other druid hotspots, like Moonglade specifically, or the Emerald Dragonshrine, in terms of places that are intended to be close to the Dream. It serves as a good model, though, and what Craig communicated about how it’ll be much more centered around accentuating the class feels like it could really pop. We’ll have to see, though.
Class-specific content is a great addition, and it really feels like that’s a guiding force in this expansion. Class-specific content in the order halls, spec-specific artifacts with their own narratives… this expansion appears to be all about putting the focus on the character, and that’s a cool follow-up to the Garrison Commander story we got in Warlords of Draenor that was pretty cool, even if it was generic for all of the players in the game. The isolation that was inherent with that story is completely absent with the order halls, because even if you as a specific class can’t go to another class’ order hall, there’s still a sense that they’re in the world, and it’s really twelve orders of heroes all aligning against the Legion rather than you, a singular commander with fort full of soldiers and followers fighting against all the threats on Draenor.
The Scouting Map, combined with the World Quests system, gateways into a broader discussion of the impact of Diablo III on LEGION‘s changes for endgame content, so I think I’ll get back into that one later, but as an advancement over the quest hooks you got from your garrison in WoD, it feels like a solid way to go.
Every class getting a Death Gate feels like a great addition, if for no other reason than this: it was always something that was AWESOME about Death Knights, Druids, and Monks, and if this expansion delivers on the concept of world-spanning orders for all of the classes, I think it’s a great way to tie into that.
Something that Craig didn’t really delve into was how the order halls will be different from Garrisons, but a lot of that seems to be subtly communicated in other ways. Professions won’t be in play, because they appear to be going back to Dalaran (more on profession stuff later). While we still don’t have a lot of specifics on how class champions will work, Craig is quick to point out that they’re going to be different from followers because they’ll be more prominent characters and act as a gateway to content rather than robots you send out to do content for you. At the same time, it also feels like “Garrisons” has become a dirty word with a lot of negative connotations to it, because it was clearly a huge focal point of WoD and it just didn’t end up gelling with the playerbase. So I think we can expect a LOT of elements in Order Halls to be a different beast from Garrisons if for no other reason than the say “look, we know it didn’t work out, let’s try something else.”
Personally? My dream scenario is having a system like the Garrison that exists throughout the game, but that’s another post entirely. Let’s move on.