How to prepare for Legion, WoW's next expansion

Even though Legion doesn't launch for another few weeks, the demon invasion of Azeroth is well underway. Whether you're a returning player or a veteran of WoW, knowing where to invest your time during the pre-launch festivities—if you can call an army of demons murdering thousands a festival—can be a tad bit overwhelming. When Legion arrives on August 30, there'll be that usual mad dash to level up your character and begin the long jog on the endgame treadmill, but until then, there's plenty of ways to spend your time in WoW. So get prepared, there's a malevolent, planet-devouring god to fight. 

Stop the demon invasions 

If you only have a few days to play, the biggest thing happening during the weeks leading up to the launch of Legion is the demon invasions all across Azeroth. Demon invasions are periodic world events that pop up in specific zones across Kalimdor and Azeroth and any character between level 10 and 100 can participate. And because the rewards are only available until the launch of Legion, demon slaying is without a doubt how you should be spending the bulk of your time.

Demon invasions happen frequently and they'll only increase in intensity as we get closer to Legion. The events themselves are fairly simple: When one is active, hustle over to the zone and your quest log will automatically update to provide you with the details of what objectives you need to complete. Each invasion has four stages that you'll work together with other players to complete, and nearby NPCs will also shout instructions if you're having a hard time keeping up. 

What’s in it for you? A lot.  Demons will drop chests that grant item level 700 gear that can be upgraded to become even more powerful—giving your level-100 characters a huge boost that they wouldn't otherwise receive unless you're running WoW's hardest raid. They also drop Nethershards, a currency which you can take to your capital city or special camps in invaded zones and exchange for item skins, pets, and mounts—all of which are very unique and worth getting. The experience gained with demon invasions was recently nerfed, but these events remain one of the easiest ways to level up new characters, and you can never have too many of those. Even better, the rewards will all scale down to your level and increase in power as you level up, reducing the need to constantly hunt for better gear as you level. 

Do the Broken Shore questline and start a Demon Hunter 

The other big feature of the pre-launch event is the Broken Shore scenario and, if you've decided to preorder, the ability to play the Demon Hunter story intro. Both of these events are fairly straightforward and will only take a few hours to complete. If you log into a character who is level 98 or above the news window will automatically contain a link to receive the Broken Shore quest appropriate to your faction. Head to either Orgrimmar or Stormwind to continue the quest and join Azeroth's heroes in their first excursion into Legion's new zones to beat back the Burning Legion and Gul'dan. Doing so will reward you with a powerful weapon appropriate to your class—making it well worth the time—but the group scenario and cutscenes for each faction are really epic and include important story info that you won't want to miss. 

If you've elected to pre-order (which we don’t recommend for any game), you can also roll a new Demon Hunter and complete the two hour story intro. This intro will take you from level 98 to 100 and add even more context to the events unfolding in Legion by exploring the motivations of Illidan and his Illidari that will stop at nothing to push back Sargeras and his demonic horde. Doing so will also gear your Demon Hunter reasonably well, preparing them to hop straight into Legion when it launches. 

Collect your Grove Warden moose 

Last week I interviewed one of the players behind #Friendshipmoose, a Twitter-hashtag-gone-guild dedicated to making sure every player has a chance to earn one of Warlords of Draenor's more sought-after items, a mystical flying moose. You’ll have to kill  Archimonde on heroic difficulty, a raid fight that is traditionally quite tough, but with FriendshipMoose and the other groups like it, they'll carry you through the raid for free as soon as you're level 100 regardless of how geared you are or whether you know how to beat Archimonde.

The Grove Warden is going away when Legion launches, so Zelse and the others at FriendshipMoose are frantically doing multiple runs just about every day of the week. You can head over to their website for information on how to participate. If demand is high, it could take some time to get a spot in a FriendshipMoose raid, but once you're in taking down Archimonde should take at-most an hour. 

Reconsider your class and specialization choices 

The Legion pre-patch brought a massive overhaul to every class and their specializations that determine what role they play in a party. While some of these changes tweak abilities and add more flavor to a class, others are sweeping rebuilds that rework that specialization from top to bottom. For example, Hunter's Survival spec has been completely revamped to focus purely on melee and traps to ensnare enemies.

While a lot of these changes have made classes even more unique and fun to play, not every class and spec has benefitted—like my poor Retribution Paladin who is now about as exciting as paying taxes. Because you get a free level 100 character boost with the purchase of Legion, now is a great time to reconsider which class you want to play as. YouTuber Preach Gaming has an excellent guide that can help you make that decision, especially if you're interested in top-tier mythic raiding. Above all else, he emphasizes choosing a class that you find satisfying over one that is useful to your party, which should always be your top priority. Preach Gaming also has videos that break down each class according to tanks, melee DPS, ranged DPS, and healing roles.  

Forget your garrison and other small tidbits 

Recently garrisons—your Farmville-style base from Warlords of Draenor—was heavily nerfed so that it no longer provides a steady stream of gold which means you should forget the whole thing even exists. You can still earn some useful materials from the missions provided through the garrison, but that's only necessary if you're big into crafting or wanting to play the market to earn some extra coin.

Beyond the major steps listed above, there's about a dozen or so smaller activities that might be worth your while depending on how much time you can invest in WoW on any given night. One activity that's worth considering if you're properly geared is running mythic five-man dungeons in order to earn up to five legendary trinkets that will scale with your level all the way up to 110. These trinkets are very powerful, and many will consider them worthwhile because of how they'll speed the leveling process to 110, but they will take a few evenings to get and could very well be replaced fairly quickly in the early stages of Legion.

Professions and crafting are also making a big comeback in Legion, so spending a weekend or two leveling those up will also be beneficial. Oddly enough, fishing is going to be very useful because it gives access to an artifact item with some great quality-of-life bonuses. And because fishing is a secondary profession, you won't have to give up one of your coveted primary professions to earn it.  

If you're a more casual player, however, the best thing you can do is enjoy the pre-launch invasions and acquaint yourself with the new changes to your class. Once Legion arrives, most of these chores will be swept away by the tide of new equipment and activities, so don't get sucked into the mentality that you need to complete everything. Above all else, have fun and enjoy that peaceful moment of quiet before the entire world is engulfed in the Burning Legion's flames. 

Steven Messner

With over 7 years of experience with in-depth feature reporting, Steven's mission is to chronicle the fascinating ways that games intersect our lives. Whether it's colossal in-game wars in an MMO, or long-haul truckers who turn to games to protect them from the loneliness of the open road, Steven tries to unearth PC gaming's greatest untold stories. His love of PC gaming started extremely early. Without money to spend, he spent an entire day watching the progress bar on a 25mb download of the Heroes of Might and Magic 2 demo that he then played for at least a hundred hours. It was a good demo.