Legion did something previously unheard of since Burning Crusade: it mostly kept all raids semi-relevant throughout the expansion. How?
1) Artifact Power. Until 7.3.5 trivialized the AP grind, clearing all Legion raids was a neat way to fill up your AP bar and chase Concordance. It certainly provided a welcome break from spamming MoS endlessly.
2) Legendary BLP. We didn't get Wakening Essence until the final raid tier, so doing the raid world tour contributed to Blizzard's invisible BLP system for legendaries. It was not uncommon to see Pugs get a legendary drop during an Emerald Nightmare run regardless of when you ran it.
3) Set Bonuses. I'm not arguing in favor of keeping old gear as BiS (fu*k you, Bloodthirsty Instinct and Convergence of Fates), but there was a progression incentive to return to Nighthold or ToS for certain specs.
4) Titanforging. This is somewhat related to point 3, but it deserves its own mention since a +60 upgrade while running an old raid wasn't completely out of the question. Personally, I'm glad this is less of a factor in BfA.
5) Transmog. We can disagree on whether BfA delivers in its raid transmog, but Legion objectively offered more transmog options that fueled the class fantasy theme of the expansion. The beautiful sets from Trial of Valor ensured you could always find a group to run the raid.
6) Artifact Appearances. Several of the tints required a raid kill of some sort, and certain hidden appearances dropped from raid bosses. We can meme about the balance issues of the KJ fight, but at least gating an appearance behind a KJ kill kept the raid relevant. Also, Balance of Power.
7) Professions. Skinning had a quest that required a Nythendra kill. Blacksmiths received the Core Hound blueprint from Tichondrius. Most of the crafted legendaries required a raid kill of some sort. Even if progression or transmog junkies stopped raiding completely, goblins would carry the flag forward.
I'm sure I missed something, but the overall story is the same. Until BfA release, one had reasons to run every single Legion raid. Personally, I think this is a remarkable achievement, and Blizzard deserves praise for it.
Enter BfA. Artifact Power grinding is limited to Island Expeditions. Legendaries are gone. Set bonuses are gone, and Raid-specific Azerite traits are a woefully disappointing chase. Titanforging is nerfed. We went from 12 armor sets to 4, so transmog is less of a pull. We didn't get a suitable replacement for artifact appearances. Professions are dead. Every lever Blizzard pulled to keep us engaged in raids during Legion does not exist for Uldir, meaning everyone will forget about it once the new tier launches.
I hope Blizzard can think of a way to replicate their success from Legion with regards to raid relevancy. It is clear lots of work went into creating Uldir, from the aesthetics to the mechanics. I would hate for the community to discard Uldir for the next carrot when Blizzard already implemented several ways it could keep the raid in the conversation.
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