[WoW] So isn’t it time for legendaries to become more accessible?

Latest WoW news is that the Firelands, which is coincidentally the most recent raid, is due for a nerfing before the next patch comes out. And when I say ‘due for a nerfing,’ I mean next week. Also, said patch will include a new legendary weapon along with the next raid – a rogue dagger. (Well, it’s a melee dagger but rogues are the only ones who really use them.)

A more cynical person than myself might think that Blizzard was on a quest to use up all the news cycles up until the end of the year. Between Diablo 3, WoW patches, Blizzcon, and WoW watercooler discussions about how they decide who to nerf, it’s all go all of the time.

I think it’s generally agreed (among bloggers at least) that raid progression in Firelands has been slow. Maybe it’s because of the usual numbers dip due to Summer, maybe it’s down to raid difficulty, but fewer raids than ever have completed the instance on normal mode. Ilovebubbles comes out and says what a lot of people are thinking: that raid instance was overtuned. It’s never been a problem if heroic modes are hard, that’s what they are for. But an average guild of average competence would have been able to butt heads against the last boss a few times (if not down it) in Wrath by the time the next raid instance was released. If a lot of people in average guilds of average competence are saying that they’re struggling to even get 2-3 bosses down in normal, then something isn’t right.

I’m not using average as an insult, just a way to distinguish casual guilds who take their raiding seriously as opposed to what bubbles calls ‘stacks of failpancakes’.  Blizzard nerfing the normal raid hard pre-patch is pretty much an indication that they acknowledge the tuning issue.

All of which makes you wonder just how many people actually achieved the current tier legendary at all. Anecdotally, the one friend I have who is in a hardcore raid guild says that they have been finding it a heavy grind. These guys had no issues getting both the legendaries from Wrath and they’re downing the bosses.

So let’s talk about legendary weapons

Legendary weapons have tended to be rare and sought after in WoW. Shadowmourne, the two handed axe from Icecrown Citadel, was probably one of the more accessible variants – it didn’t require any heroic mode kills. Expensive and time consuming, but accessible to raiders who could clear ICC on normal mode.

The current tier legendary can also be obtained from normal mode raiding, but there’s a difference. Firstly due to the raid locks, each player can only clear Firelands once a week (rather than once in 25 man and once in 10 man) and secondly fewer raids than ever are clearing the raid in the first place. So it would take longer even if you were in a raid that got the place on farm quickly. And if you’re an average raid group that would normally take a few months to clear the place on a regular difficulty – you have pretty much no chance of being able to gather enough of the drops to make the legendary. And once the next patch drops, your players are likely to want to move on to the Deathwing raid and not keep farming Firelands so that one person can have a legendary weapon.

So there’s a point where I ask whether this matters. Legendaries are supposed to be rare, is there a problem if only the top raids can get them? And frankly, in an endgame where it’s harder and harder to get players to raid, I think it does matter. Would it have really mattered if the legendary had been accessible enough that a guild capable of clearing the raid would have a hope of getting one?

I find it hard to see people get their hopes up and then have them dashed by either bad luck with drops, or bad luck with Blizzard dropping a poorly tuned instance on their heads. I’d rather see a decent legendary with neat perks and questlines accrue to average guilds, and then let the hardcore guilds have a way to upgrade it somehow from heroic modes.

Anyhow, apparently the next patch will include a rogue legendary dagger. At which point everyone who doesn’t play a rogue mentally tunes out and stops caring about how accessible it might or might not be. But you have to feel for those players who do play and raid and love their rogues (I think least played class in raids at the moment), to have the offer of a legendary weapon wafted in front of them, but wonder if only the most hardcore raids will likely have a chance to get one.

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23 thoughts on “[WoW] So isn’t it time for legendaries to become more accessible?

  1. I never liked the “Legendary weapon for one player that the whole guild has to work on” design anyway. It seems to invite unnecessary drama.

    Then again, I’ve never worked on one, so maybe it all works just fine. Looking up from the leveling curve, though… they seem silly.

    • During the 40 man raid era of vanilla, getting a legendary weapon for your raid tank/s was kind of like a guild/ raid achievement. (Although yes, very drama prone if the one person with the legendary weapon left.) But now they seem more like individual things which happen to require a raid to get bits for it, mostly by doing what they would have been doing anyway (ie. killing raid bosses.)

      I was half expecting that they’d make legendary weapons guild bound (or somesuch) this expansion.

  2. The entire point of the existence of legendary weapons is that they are hard to get. The harder the better. That makes them more legendary, right?

    Legendary weapons are better than the pre-raid gear of the next expansion but then they are on par or sub par. So they are mostly collected for the prestige, not the stats.

    I totally agree with Tesh on the “all for one” (hehe) design. Guild Wars has boss loot chests, every player gets a chance to have the luck of the draw to get a rare item he wants – or he gets one to trade it for something else. Granted, no item is truly that “legendary” in this system. Still, hello SWTOR, hello loot containers. Things seem to go into that direction by now.

    It is no secret that I think the DIKU MUD simply has to go away and make place for new kinds of MMO. I believe the EQ/WoW/DIKU MUD (whatever!) formula of somewhat forced cooperation is something that is worth being preserved. But that this carrot gets delivered in form of an item for only one tied to enormous grind for all… dunno, rather give people a reason to play in the world together. Rather than feeling bored as mobs are already easy enough for an unequipped low level player who would feel rather XP-punished by a partymember/helper or being stolen the fun of combat. That’s the perversion of the system right now.

  3. I wonder why the legendaries don’t work like heirloom items, automatically upgraded every 5 levels rather than 10, equal to the middle tier of raiding each expansion but with an interesting or situational procs. The inevitable trashing of legendaries lowers their desirability, just one more thing to be consumed by the constant churn in the game.

  4. For some reason Atiesh never gets mentioned in current legendary debates; before TBC at least, a legendary was exactly that: rare and special, exclsuive to the top roster raiders. my own PVE server had a stunning amount of zero staves at the end of vanilla. Atiesh had a somewhat similar approach, but it was still a lot more common due to overall more accessible raids in WotLK.

    I’ve lost my enthusiasm for legendaries completely after seeing them end up in our guildmates’ banks rather quickly, never to return, thanks to some new epic introduced soon enough. that lost most of their meaning for me which is also why I don’t get people caring for them so much. so by all means, make them more popular, what does it matter lol..

      • Val’anyr was quite gutwrenching for us, because we were running the content regularly and were desperately unlucky with the drops.

        And they make people care more by attaching cool lore and interesting side effects (ie. the shapeshifting) which would honestly attract /anyone/ even if the thing had no stats at all.

        The thing with Atiesh also is that very very few guilds finished Naxxramas before the end of vanilla. I think the raid wasn’t really there for long enough for anyone except the hardcore to have gotten anywhere near that, so that was arguably another Blizzard error. But plenty of regular raiding guilds had at least one Thunderfury (I think we had two) which got used well into TBC, until they nerfed it.

  5. Oh yeah, I remember tanks with TF at the start of TBC! =) this got nerfed when it actually gave the weapon some significance. but then there’s a general question here: just how powerful should legendaries be, anyway. and if they’re not, what motivates the srs raiders to go for them?

    Good point about the cosmetics, I don’t know so much about many players caring for the lore side though. in terms of vanity it strikes me as an issue though that legendaries are excluded from Transmogrification. if you won’t use them for the stats and can’t mog them either, well…
    and I’d still go with my Anathema, the Grand Marshal or BT staff over any WoW legendary any day, hehe.

    • Actually, speaking of Benediction/ Anathema, Blizzard did say back then that they wouldn’t do any more class quests like that. But that’s pretty much exactly what a rogue legendary will be (if there is lore attached, which seems likely). And I dunno about you but I’d FAR FAR rather have a cool class item like Benediction which requires some normal mode raiding that a regular raiding guild is practically guaranteed to be able to do than a silly legendary that requires hardcore effort and luck and will go to someone else anyway.

      • Oh absolutely. I can’t say that I was beside myself with joy when our guild finished the 2 WotLK legendaries. it was such a drag towards the end. not that I minded who got them, but how gratifying is such a “collective achievement” really to the individual player? even for the guild as a whole?
        I’m not sure feeling of accomplishment (and hence meaning too) can be created on such a collective level in an MMO, it’s such an impersonal contribution the individual makes to the overall outcome. the whole drama level aside.

      • Also, don’t whisper this to Blizzard but a cool tanking item along those lines (ie. Benediction) would have kept me happily raid tanking until the new patch. I am bribable, just not with what they’ve been offering.

      • “I’m not sure feeling of accomplishment (and hence meaning too) can be created on such a collective level in an MMO, it’s such an impersonal contribution the individual makes to the overall outcome. the whole drama level aside.”

        In my experience it can be, but I think a key element is that the payoff has to be collective, not just the work involved. Hitting key points in guild levelling in EQ2, in my experience, certainly created a feeling of collective accomplishment, and I think a big part of that was that every member of the guild benefited from the extra perks, whether it was being able to move to a bigger guild hall, being able to equip our new hall with NPC harvesters, or being able to buy some of the neat items that required membership in a max-level guild.

  6. Legendaries have the capacity to introduce a whole new level of drama, when the person receiving it can change name/server and never be seen again.

  7. If a lot of people in average guilds of average competence are saying that they’re struggling to even get 2-3 bosses down in normal, then something isn’t right.

    I wonder if part of the reason for the overall lack of progress is due to the decline in subs. If the people who left were good enough in a casual guild format to be an asset in Firelands runs (for example, a guild’s #1 tank left WoW or left to join another guild whose member had left WoW), then that might help to explain the issues.

  8. If anything, I’d like them to be a lot more rare, something like the Phoenix flying mount from TK during TBC. If all the raiding guilds end up having 5,6 legendaries 6 months after a new expansion, it pretty much ruins the entire legendary feeling.

    It shouldn’t be something you can actually aim at and get it done in 4,5 weeks, like an ordinary meta achievement. It should be something that’s always in the back of your head when you’re raiding because you know it might happen.

    For example, I’d say keep all the quest chains and tasks currently needed to get an orange, but make them just necessary, not sufficient. After you’ve done them, you now stand the chance of getting a legendary drop ( you = a certain character or maybe even a guild as a whole). And make the chance very small, so after 1 year of playing an expansion, 2,3 people on the server have it and only if they or their guild have been been extremely active and successful in their raids.

    The only legendary I got to wield was the healing mace and while it was a pretty awesome weapon, especially with that sick proc, it never really felt Orange. Main reason for this was that there were many on the server that had it, some even being dpsers as mainspec. Not cool.

    • On the other hand, the example I gave earlier was Thunderfury and most 40 man raid guilds would have had at least one by the end of vanilla, unless they’d been very unlucky. Each raiding guild having 5-6 of them would be over the top, but would it really be that bad if a raid guild had 1?

  9. If there were 15 bosses in Firelands, I think a lot more guilds would have a higher percentage of the raid completed. Gear makes a huge difference, and more bosses mean that you’d have more ‘entry-level’ bosses to let you feel like you’re making some minor progress, and more places to go if you get stuck on one encounter.

    I have a friend whose guild has Shannox on farm but hasn’t gotten anything else down. She says their raids are quite depressing. They kill their one boss for the week, shard both pieces of loot, and go run heroics.

  10. Pingback: News reactions – rogue legendary, LFR Easy Mode, and more Firelands Nerf — MMO Melting Pot

  11. A legendary being “automatically upgraded every 5 levels” is good, but I’m not sure that it wont devalue it, as it feels more like a heirloom. Also I’d see that as good if the item was not obtainable after the expansion. eg. You better be good enough to get it in current content, or you’ll never have it.

    I dislike the idea of a Rogue only legendary, it feels like a nice shiny reward for a tiny amount of the population; and it probably wont fix the Rogue population. An average solution for the wrong problem.

  12. Pingback: “WoW Evolved” or “The Problem with Overtuning Content” « Are We New At This?

  13. Interesting post.

    I for one would like the status to remain as it is with legendaries. However I do see your points about the weapon being for ‘one person’ and the drama possibly involved.

    I could see the item being ‘guild soulbound’, could work right? Unless the guild agrees to let the player go WITH it.

    Not having been in a legendary farming guild, I cannot comment completely,

    – Jamin

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