Friday, February 12, 2016

So Many Legendary Items, Only One Real Problem

Legion is just in the alpha stage still but a flurry of new legendary items have been added.  Some of them have amazingly powerful while some of them seem borderline useless or completely situational.  It would be wrong to assume this is how the legendary items will go live but I still wonder what impact they might have on game play.

You already see people saying "they will not be mandatory" but anyone that plays the game knows they absolutely will be mandatory, at least for anyone that actually wants to play their character to the best of their ability.  Sure you can clear mythic in 700 item level, but if you could get to 730 before you do, who wouldn't?  Everyone wants a boost.  Especially when they will be extremely powerful as these will be and even more so because anyone can get these, from the most casual of casual players to the most die hard progression raider.  So disregard anyone that says "they will not be mandatory", they do not understand how truly mandatory these will be.  And that is my own problem with them.

If you look over a list of some of these legendary items you will see how insanely powerful some of them are.  Even if they are toned down some before release you would have to believe they will still be something that will have an effect on raiding.  Enough so that people will indeed want them.

So lets look at the much bigger picture.  Whoever gets lucky enough to have them drop will have the advantage in progression.  Be it for world first, server first or even being just a normal guild pushing through normal.  You can't say that if they are that powerful it they will not help a raid team down bosses.  And going for a first, or even just normal kills and making them easier, will be helped a great deal by the power of these items.

With that in mind, the fact they really will have a huge impact on raids blizzard has two routes they can go.  They can either design and balance the raids around people not having the legendary items and the groups that get lucky enough to get them will over power them and make them trivial so fast or they can design the raids around needing the legendary items.

Which do you think blizzard will choose?  Seeing how they handled the cape and the ring I am 100% certain that they will design and balance the raids to require the legendary items.  Not only because the have shown a history already with of design with legendary items in mind but because they are not going to do anything to adversely effect the top 0.001% of the game that might be aiming for world first.  If they do not design the raids to require the legendary items then whichever guild was lucky enough to snag the most of them while leveling will steamroll their way to world first.  So they have to design the raid around the legendary items being needed to down them.

Now... if the raids are designed around the legendary items being needed to down the content guess what that means?  It means they are mandatory for raiding.  At least if you want to down stuff before you over gear it by other means of drops, upgrades or what have you.

That is my one real problem with so many legendary items and them being so damn powerful.  Raids will need to be designed around needing them which means we will be forced to farm for them if we want to be the best we can be.  But really, even if raids were not designed and balanced around needing them we would still want them to make our characters better, this is true.  But there is a huge difference between farming your butt of to try to get an upgrade you want and having to farm your butt off to get an upgrade that you need.  I would rather want the legendary than need the legendary.

But hey, it is just alpha, they might even remove the legendary items all together before they release legion, who knows.  But I would not count on it.  Blizzard has a habit of swinging the pendulum too far in one direction or another.  We went from staying in our garrison all expansion to swinging the other way where we will be out in the world mindlessly killing everything all day every day until we get that ultra rare legendary drop that is mandatory if we want to be considered a "good" raider.

What do you think of all these legendary items being so powerful?  What do you think it will impact?


  1. They might be mandatory for DPS because there is so much competition for those spots, but I don't think they will be for the other roles. Our tank doesn't have the legendary ring, but he does as many runs as he wants because he is a skilled tank and is in demand.

    1. So the tank one that brings you back to live with 100% health if you die would not be mandatory for a tank? The healer thing that gives you free casts or mirrors your casts for free or the one that returns mana on over heals would not be mandatory.

      Sorry, they would be mandatory for all. What raid, or what serious raid that actually wants to down things, will take a lock, mage or shadow priest that did not have the piece that allows them to cast while moving?

      They are just too damn powerful.

      And while I agree you always want the skilled tank it would become an issue of take the skilled tank that can revive himself or the skilled tank that can't? I'll take the one with the legendary thank you very much.

    2. Well, that assumes you will have that choice. These are going to be really rare. I'm sorry, but I don't see raids canceling for the night because they can't find a tank with a legendary. I guess we will see who is right in a year or so.

    3. Canceling? Most likely not.

      Getting stuff down? Most likely not.

      If the fights are designed around people having these items, and they will be, then without having these items only world first type guilds will be able to down the content. Your average guild, or better yet, the other 99% of the players that play the game, will need the legendary items to down the bosses that are tuned around people having them.

      So as time passes what do you see a more likely to happen.

      1) Cancel the raid because so-and-so has not got the legendary that trivializes this fight.


      2) Wipe for 2 straight hours for the 8th week in a row on the boss because we do not have the gear required to do it?

      If it came to that, people would cancel the raids. I know I would say to my raid team, lets grind mobs for those 2 hours to try and get so-and-so that legendary instead of wiping for 2 hours on a boss we can not beat because we are way to under geared without the legendary.

    4. Depends on the guild. If it's a slightly more involved one, they will probably keep pushing and, in time, make up for the lack of legendaries with better gear in other slots.
      If the guild is less involved and people are stuck, some will probably stop showing up and make the raid leader's life terrible.

      Tbh, I don't think lowest difficulties will be balanced around them. I think a guild who is intent on playing will not be hindered much.
      As with everything else, really. Funny enough, from my own experience, I've only seen silly requirements from groups with progression that doesn't really reflect the requirement (like asking for specific classes, specific items etc).

      I believe I tanked full heroic without even a two-set back in Cata (Dragon Soul). I felt a bit bad because I had really crappy gear, but the raid leader and the rest of the team trusted me.

      Sure, there's certain thresholds imposed by the game (like having 500k heatlth for Heroic Horridon), but mostly, the game doesn't enforce things that much.

      A good raid leader will try to improve the team wherever possible, but will also try to manage with what is available. As I'm pretty sure you already know.

    5. My guild could go either way. If the "A" team is around I would push through. They are good player all. But if we have a mixed group then I would rather farm for drops for 2 hours than wipe on a boss I know we have no chance of beating.

      There are always hard numbers, even more so on a DPS check boss, like 30K for buther mythic, or 500K health for heroic horridon as you said. Anything extra just makes it easier. For guilds like mine that have fallen off and are not longer in the server first like we were the last few expansions, those legendary items could very well make or break us. And that scares me.

  2. This legendary model concerns me greatly as well. Its a page ripped from Diablo with the grinding rifts and what not to get the dropped legendaries with the appropriate skill or effect. I believe their reasoning is, if we drop tons and tons of these awesome effects, it'll get ppl back out into the world farming and grinding for the legendaries.

    I think all your points about raiding and raiders needing them are spot on. I think your points about designing the raids to incorporate the effects and make sure a lucky team doesn't get a set of them and just ruin the learning curve of the fight.

    What concerns me more, is that I don't think the loot/reward design is transferrable to WoW. The fundamental design of the game is smash and grab. If you are playing diablo, you are smashing and grabbing, because that is what the game is. WoW is not this at all! You may play that game style, if you so choose, but there are tons of ways people play that minimizes or removes as much "smash and grab" as they can. They don't do reputation grinds, or legendary quest grinds etc. Add to this, the fact, that Diablo just keeps scaling up as you do more and more difficult rifts. WoW doesn't keep scaling up once at max level otherwise you'd invalidate the raiding tiers. Also look at raiding, strategic cooperative gameplay based on set difficulties at specific gearing levels, which, as you pointed out GE, either factors these new abilities in or doesn't. You have always been able to plan out how to get the gearing you need, be it valor to buy items, raiding for specific drops on specific bosses, or crafting to fill in missing gear slots. This is long term planned and strategic. A bunch of RNG super awesome drops don't fit into this paradigm, and will only frustrate other players who put in time and effort, but the half assed half their casual raider gets 2-3 lucky drops and suddenly, all of your work and effort and you are still relegated to bringing up to the rear to a lucky SOB.

    I just don't think this makes for fun game play. The more I read and look at the direction they are going, the more pessimistic I am. Wish it wasn't the case, but its the honest feeling I have.

    1. You are right that warcraft is not a smash and grab like diablo is. But some ideas from there can work in warcraft. Legendary items level is not one of those idea.

      The RNG and over powered nature of the legendary items, as you siad, does not make for fun game play.

      Maybe if I was the one that got it then it might. But really, having to take the "worst" player in the guild because he was the lucky one that got all the drops, really does kind of take away motivation to play. Mr lucky who sucks has everything, me who works my butt off grinding every free second of my say gets nothing? Sorry, there needs to be a effort = reward. Not RNG. It is not fun.

  3. I have a suspicion the legendary items will be available for huge amounts of gold, which (given tokens) will be a kind of P2W.

    1. I won't say that is not possible because anything is but I do believe that is extremely unlikely.

      We will have just spent 2 years sitting in our garrison explaining there is nothing to do outside. That is why they are adding this. They gave us something to do outside. Grind for hours, weeks, months to try and get that one rare drop we need. Outside. It is BPS (blizzard pendulum syndrome).

    2. One way or another, they will be available for money. As is full Mythic Gear nowadays. As are drop mounts nowadays. But then again, what is the point of gear?
      To do raids? Those will be buyable and probably cheaper than buying an actual legendary (if they're too rare).
      To show off legendaries? Meh. Guess only if they have specific effects, otherwise nobody would figure it out.
      To gain entry in a certain guild? Maybe. Though not sure many will do this.

      I really do wonder about the drop rate.

    3. But how would they sell them?

      Lets say I want to buy the hunter legendary items. I go with you and a your group and hang around with you for hours and hours, days and days, weeks and weeks, while you and your group grind hoping for a drop and then passing it to me?

      I don't really see it being possible to sell like that. Not if they are as low as drop rate as they say they plan for them to be.

      I do have a feeling they will increase the drop rate however.

  4. Correct way to do it: balance the raids ignoring legendaries. Add an achievement for clearing each difficulty without using legendaries. Announce that clears without that achievement do not count for the world-first race.

    Hey-presto! This way the mythic raids can be crazy hard for difficulty fetishists and have a built in way to substantially nerf the content for players without epic-leet self-concepts.

    What I expect to happen? Blizzard will hear complaints from the quasi-celebrity raiders who don't like any other part of the game and will make the legendaries available at a high drop rate inside mythic difficulty raids, thereby destroying the design objectives here and deepening the already very quick gearing gulf between cutting edge guilds and everyone else.

    I think Blizzard ought to make the top raid difficulty work like idealized challenge modes: standardized gear at a readily accessible item level, cosmetic gear and titles for rewards, and leaderboards. This enhances the e-sports vibe that Blizzard wants while completely insulating the needs of that small set of players from normal progression play.

    1. Oh, nice idea.

      So if people get lucky and over power it with legendary items, good for them but if they want achievements they can not be wearing them. I like that idea. Doubt blizzard is smart enough to use an idea like that, but it is a sweet idea.

      You are right that they will end up listening to the "celebrities" and make it rain legendary items on them only in mythic. They have been catering to the 0.01% for so long they do not know how to stop.

      I agree that if they really wanted to make a challenge it should be standardized gear so all "top" guilds are on equal level. But as much as they say they want competition they don't, they want to be able to over power it.

      I think mythic could stay as it. But not drop any gear what so ever. Have them clear mythic with BiS heroic gear if they really want the challenge. Now is how challenge is made. Dropping gear in mythic just nerfs mythic, by gear, over time. If they want to keep the prestige of mythic, it should not drop gear at all. Then and only then can you say "the best" did it.

  5. It will really boils down to the drop rate.

    If it is skyshard level rare drop or even lower, they won't be mandatory cause that would mean no one would raid

    1. The only comment I saw referencing drop rate said it would be lower than world drops.

      As someone who grinded all the reps, leveled many characters, killed many mobs, and only JUST got my first 665 world drop all expansion from a mob this weekend, that mean they are going to be rare. Rarer than rare.

      But they will still be mandatory in the sense that if two people signed up for your raid, same raiding history but the only thing that is separating them in one is a mage that has to stand still and the other is a mage that can cast while moving, you will always, 100% of the time, take the one that can cast while moving if they are equally, or hear equal skilled player.

      If it puts one person above another just by having it, to anyone that wants to raid, it is mandatory.

  6. This goes back to some argument I have with my partner once in a while. That requiring the best of the best even for crappy content is people's fault, it's flawed mentality and ruins things. If people would actually remember what it means to play a game, so many things would be different. But a lot of people don't find fun in playing, they find their fun in boasting with a title, showing off some mount, filling their collection at all costs and other random things like griefing that have never made sense to me. This is why people buy so many things nowadays that have even the smallest prestige or reward to it.
    So yes, legendaries will be mandatory. And spoiled immediately by being sold or runs for them being sold or farmers farming them for you or whatever.

    I don't know what Blizz is thinking tbh. They obviously want them farmable, which makes them mandatory out of principle. Will drops be high enough that they will be the new epics? Or will it be a frustrating grind where you'd rather pay for them than farm them.

    I don't like the idea out of principles. Because they're too many and I'm playing Diablo for the fun factor of farming oranges, not WoW.

    1. You are right. Things do not need to be "hard" to be entertaining. People forget that. As you said it seems people are more interested in gloating they did something someone else could not, or they have something someone else doesn't have, instead of actually playing just for the fun of killing stuff with others.

      I am seeing it as it will be a frustrating grind. We just spent an entire expansion complaining there was nothing to do outside. So they are adding these to assure we spend every second of every day out in the world killing mobs trying to get these things to drop. If they make the drop rate too high, anything higher than 0.1%, most people will have all their legendary items within the first month and be sitting around again. I think they are so intent on making sure that does not happen again that they will make the drop rate frustratingly low. Just to keep up out in the world grinding.

      They are trying to turn wow into diablo with this. They are adding rifts (challenge mode change), they are adding treasure goblins, they are adding so many diablo things. Maybe this will be like diablo, maybe legendary items will drop off nearly all dungeon bosses and raid bosses. If that is the case, then it would not be a bad thing if they are mandatory. Nothing wrong with making you have to do a dungeon to get gear, as long as getting that gear does not require 10,000 hours of grinding to do so.

  7. Anon, Grumpy's former Guild Leader:

    Geeze, legendaries as rare drops...something else I likely will be without but who knows. I have had probably well over 20 epic drops in the wild, likely closer to 30 or more. So if the drop rate is similar to that, well maybe I might find one or two.

    On the other hand it is Blizzard, and the cries of the unlucky, which initially will be almost everyone, well, they may prematurely up the drop rate so they rain from the skies like drops of water in a hurricane. BPS (Blizzard Pendulum Swing) in action is what I expect will be the results. Some patches the damn things will never drop and other patches they may well have to disable the drops for there being to many.

    At this point, it feels like the gear we get in Legion is supposed to be it. The artifact level weapon combined with legendary items possible and suddenly you have gear that is as good as it can get in the current system. Sure they can add more numbers in future expansions, but the gear itself sounds done.

    1. Maybe at release they will drop too often. Like when a new raid comes out the BoEs always drop like rain and then a week later they nerf it. If that is the case only the people that level on day one will benefit. Which means all the HC mythic raiders (and me of course as I am always max level a few hours after release) will get their stuff and then they will nerf it. Which solves their problems of the 0.01% complaining. I could see them doing that on purpose for them.