Friday, June 25, 2010

Legendary Items Suck

In my my most recent post regarding 10man vs 25man formats, one of the common arguments used by commenters is that it would be unfair for 10man raiders not to have access to legendary weapons. Though I don't really see that as a problem, I do have an easy solution. Remove legendary items from 25man raids as well. In my opinion legendary items are one of the most poorly implemented features of WoW, and in the end cause more drama then they are worth.

Reason 1: They're Overrated.

Don't get me wrong. Legendary's are great weapons for their ilevel and even beyond their ilevel. If there was a caster DPS Legendary I would love to have it I'm sure, but the legend of the Legendary items is bigger then the reality. Lets look at a couple of examples.

[Val'anyr, Hammer of Ancient Kings] vs [Heartcrusher]

If you do a quick comparison of the stats you will notice that Val'anyr has 17 more stamina and 14 more crit rating. Heartcrusher on the other hand has 1 more int, 5 more haste rating, and a red socket that is likely to result at least 17 more spell power. If you are comparing pure stats Heartcrusher is the clear winner. Obviously the proc makes Val'anyr the better weapon, but it's important to note that the proc is really the only difference.

[Val'anyr, Hammer of Ancient Kings] vs [Royal Scepter of Terenas II]

I realize that the Royal Scepter is not an easy to obtain item, but if you are in a guild that allows you to get Val'anyr in a reasonable amount of time, then you are likely in a guild that has a reasonable shot at the Heroic Lich King at some point.

If you are able to pick up the Royal Scepter over Val'anyr you gain 24 int, 26 stamina, 5 crit rating, 22 haste rating, a red socket, and 272 spell power.

I tried looking for some theorycrafting on the Val'anyr proc but didn't find anything conclusive. I don't know what the value of the proc is but one thing is clear to me. If you upgrade to the Royal Scepter you gain a lot of stats, and at the very least all those additional stats erode the value of the Val'anyr proc, and the legendary mace will be replaced sooner then most people think.

Acting Like Idoits: Lodur's Experiences

While writing this post I remembered a post made by Lodur on World of Matticus. In it he talks about the Val'anyr curse and his experiences healing random heroics with the mace. In his post he talks about two experiences he had using the mace in a pug. The first was when a tank saw the mace an thought it meant he could pull several trash packs and a boss. The second involved a druid that insisted the only way a shaman could heal the ICC 5man heroics was if they had the mace.

In my opinion, if someone has Val'anyr it shows that they are very likely to be a very good healer. For a guild to go to all of that work of obtaining a mace they are definitely going to give it to when of their top raid members. So, the fact that Lodur was able to handle both of the situations is not a surprise, but the fact that his groups attributed his success to the mace is laughable. Both groups treated the Val'anyr as a heroic I.W.I.N. button when in reality it was the healer behind the mace that saved their butts.

Reason 2: Poor Distribution

Obviously, for a legendary to truly be legendary it has to be rare. If everyone is walking around with a [Shadowmourne] the it lose some of the mystique that makes it special. Blizzard has primarily used two methods (or a combination of the two) to make these items rare.

Random Drop: This method was used to its fullest extent in The Burning Crusade expansion since both the [Warglaives of Azzinoth] and [Thori'dal, the Stars' Fury] were random drops off of the end bosses in Black Temple and Sunwell respectively. However, random drops have been a part of every legendary in the game to some extent.

The problem with the purely random drop was made famous by Nihilum in TBC. They were the first guild to clear the Black Temple and proceeded to run Black Temple multiple times a week for almost a year without a single Warglaive drop. Other guilds were able to complete several sets with only 2 or 3 months of clears on the instance. It is clear that with a low drop rate these legendarys were not a reward for effort, but were just regular loot.

Guild Effort for Single Drop: The part that probably bugs me the most about legendary items is that it is a guild effort to reward a single member. The best example of this is [Thunderfury, Blessed Blade of the Windseeker]. Not only did the entire guild of 40 people have to farm an instance for months to get the mats to craft a quest item, once that was complete the entire guild had to kill a special raid boss to get the weapon to drop.

To make matters worse, since then all the quest items needed to form legendary weapons are Bind on Pickup. So, you have to choose who will receive the time months before one will actually be created. This can create a huge problem for a guild and cause their efforts to be wasted. For example, my guild never crafted a Val'anyr mace despite clearing Ulduar so many times that I cannot count. The first person who was to receive the mace was a very dedicated raider, but got burned out a bit and took a break when she had 28 [Fragments of Val'anyr]. At this point ToC wasn't far off, and we didn't have as much time in Ulduar as we did before, but we had another healer got 28 fragments as well. Unfortunately due to a variety of issues she was demoted and eventually left the guild. And this doesn't include 5 or 6 fragments that we gave to other people do to the first two being absent when when the fragments dropped. We had more then enough to make two maces, but the guilds efforts were wasted because of the actions of a few.

My Conclusion:

I realize that some of my issues could be fixed by creating a new Bind on Guild item type, but even after the item is created it would suck if the person who was given the legendary changed guilds. I would hate to be the person to just complete a Legendary item for the guild and then realize this wasn't the guild for me anymore. To some extent I think I would feel obligated to continue to participate in the unhappy situation or continue playing a game I no longer enjoyed. I would think having a Legendary would be a lot more pressure then I would want to handle.

In the end I just don't think Legendary's are worth the trouble. First off, it's clear they are not required for success in this game since any boss can be killed without one. Second the drama potential on these items is huge. Not only do you have to deal with picking someone to get the item, but you have to deal with what happens if they leave or have to reduce their schedule.

While legendarys are cool and I would love to have one personal, the relatively minor benefit we receive is not that significant when compared to the effort exerted by the guild that created it and the potential drama it can cause. Blizzard should just remove legendary's from the game.


SirFWALGMan said...

wouldn't bind to guild work though? As long as you are in the guild you can use the mace once you leave it reverts back to the guild vault. Anyone in the guild could use it at any given time and then put it back in the vault for others to use.

Jay said...

Val'anyr is BIS for Resto all the way through this expansion. It may even be BIS for the first tier or so of the next expansion, depending on how they do itemization, and on whether there happens to be anything as good as Trauma thrown in. (Heroic Trauma is currently the only thing in the same ballpark as Val'anyr).

I don't see the problem with the "collect shards" methods of legendary acquisition. No matter how loot of any kind is distributed, sometimes people who have it will leave the guild. It's part of the flow of things--when your guild churns members, you lose some gear as well. It shouldn't mean that we can't have nice things.

It was more of an issue when Legendaries were seriously overpowered (Thunderfury is really the only example). But part of the problem back then was that was a random-drop acquisition (you mention collecting the Elementium and killing the Windseeker, but those were mere formalities--the only difficulty in obtained TF was lucking into the Binding drops). With a fragment-based system, that's not an issue, another can be obtained in a predictable amount of time. Also, they've simply been made less rare: guilds were lucky to get one TF drop in a reasonable amount of time, but many guilds have 4 or 5 Val'anyrs.

Graylo said...


I don't think having the actual Legendary be BoG would be a good idea.

First, That would prompt some sort of rotation. People would want to try it out, and ultimately would probably cause a lot of stress for the guild leaders over something that isn't that significant.

Second, that means everyone would need to have two weapons. I would hate to be the person who spent a year in a guild, get a legendary, have to change guilds for what ever reason and try and explain why my main hand is from 2 or 3 tiers below content.

Redhawks said...

I actually think they should go the other way with Legendary Items. They should make them more like Heirloom items and get better as new tiers and new levels open up. That way, it can make it more of an investment to get it in the first place.

In addition, with Shadowmourne, once you build one, everybody in the guild does get rewards with a random drop after each LK kill with the new weekly Shadowmourne quest. This encourages guilds to get Shadowmourne for somebody and rewards all the players for staying with the guild after they get Shadowmourne.

I think Blizzard is moving in the right direction with Legendarys. Not perfect, but getting there.

Tsuki said...

Val'anyr may be a BiS because of its proc (OMG EXTRA EH!!11), but it's really bland for something that's supposed to be legendary. Look at shadowmourne and how brutally OP it is; you can't even look at another weapon and think "hm, it might be better", because you're wrong.

On obtaining it, I think they almost got it right with Shadowmourne. It's not a guild-wide effort like TF, but it still requires cooperation. It's not hard to obtain, but it's not cheap or quick either. They just need, badly, to bind the tokens/shards/fragments to the guild, so you don't have your efforts wasted. I agree with you on not binding the weapon itself to the guild; binding the quest items is just a way to ensure a legendary will be "born" before someone bails out for a reason or another. Having a legendary sitting in your gbank after a couple years makes little sense.

Backthief said...

You´ve made the wrong comparasion. You have to compare a legendary item with a item available on the same timeframe. therefore [Val'anyr, Hammer of Ancient Kings] should be compared with Constellus and similar drops from Ulduar.

Adgamorix said...

When I started building my Val'anyr we handled it like this.

First night of 25m raiding everyone who was interested in obtaining the weapon did a /roll - high roll got the fragments. The caveat was that they gave up the right to /roll-DKP whatever any other loot unless it would go to offspec/rot.

Given the proc, it's BIS for Holy Paladins as well - even against the H-LK25m weapons.

As for Shadowmourne - ask any guild who wiped on bosses while the next 'recipient' tried to get attuned. It's a guild effort for sure.

Graylo said...


I don't have a huge problem with the collecting shards method, btu I wish that they weren't bound to the player. It always sucks for someone to miss a couple of shards because they have to go on vacation or something, or leaves before the item is completed.

I've also never seen a big problem with a guild losing gear, but I think a legendary is a little different since they generally take a month or more to create.

As for having 4 or 5, most of the guilds I know that crated 4 or 5 did so because they were running multiple Ulduar IDs each week to gear alts for the limited attempts instances. Therefore, it is easy to get more of them when you have multiple people working on it.


Legendary's are likely never to work like Heirlooms. Blizzard wants you to upgrade your gear, and they don't want people to go farm an old legedary from Vanilla wow to use in Cataclysm.

As for the extra Shadowmourn rewards I don't think it works that way. You only get those items the first time you kill him with a particular Shadowmourn. So you do get a little extra reward but it still only affects a few people and all of the rewards are largely cosmetic.


I disagree. There is no doubt that Val'anyr was BIS when it first came out, and several of the other commentors are saying it is still BIS.

The point of my comparison was to show that the only difference between a legedary item and an Epic item is the proc. Any other difference is due to ilevel. Since Ulduar was not the end of WotLK understanding the difference is important.

Anonymous said...

My experience is that getting a Legendary is the best thing to spur someone to leave the game.

GamingLifer said...

As a one time guild leader and raid, leader, I agree, legendaries are fucking stupid because they cause too much drama.

We should have given the first Valanyr to Kasim.

Niki - Syni said...

I do need to correct Graylo just a bit on the Val'anyr situation that his guild faced. The mace came down to two individuals who were constant, dedicated raiders. The person that was chosen to receive the first left from burn out and then eventually caused enough drama in the guild to warrant a gkick. The second person lined up to receive it was myself. Yes, I was demoted and eventually left the guild to just get away.

What you failed to mention and understand is why LoE really never finished a mace, Graylo. It wasn't because of how Sid and I left. It came down to the fact that the guild interest and desire to finish off those last few fragments was gone. Hell I remember receiving a tell from yourself saying "I really don't want to come, but I can if you need me." Ulduar was obsolete content when I left. Those who were constantly there to help me pug Ulduar were not enough to even dent the bosses in there. It came down to killing a few bosses a week with a handful of guildies and a crapton of pugs who had no clue about the instance. That alone was a hurdle in even getting to the final 30 fragments.

It was no longer a guild effort to finish the mace at that point, it was the drive of the person with the fragments. Yes there were times when we'd finished content and went into Ulduar but I could hear the groans of unrest across the country. In the end it was left up to me to organize the pugs and the handful of guildies to get the final fragments and I did that till I just couldn't take it any more.

LoE was unlucky in the number of fragments we got during our time in Ulduar but in the end that wasn't the sole reason it never had a Val'anyr to call its own. Next time you want to make past guildies your punching bag, make sure you have your facts straight before they come and bite you in the ass.

TyphoonAndrew said...

I like having them in the game, but think they need abilities that extend their appeal beyond the stats. ie. Make the stats on par with the gear at its expansion, but make the on-use or alternate powers handy for a very long time.

Firstly the item models should always be totally unique. That way the item is always visually identifiable as a status symbol; which folks love.

Secondly don't make them special by adding powers that will date with combat encounters, add powers that make the special for ever.

Transformations of toon, teleports, summoning portals, conversation based RP affects, free health-stones, Imp blood buff, or specific buffs, etc.

All the stuff that we like having in runs, but recognise that the item raw affect may be outdated eventually.

This might help with the overall demand and drama, but keep the cool factor.

Kim said...

I'd think Graylo after the reaction from previous posts, you were going to give up controversial post headings like "Legendary Items Suck." If you'd proven your point, maybe it'd be fine (if still a questionable choice) but you hadn't even done the basic research on the proc.

All I did is look up the Val'anyr on wowhead ( and reviewed the comments. One of the earliest posts gives the official description of how the proc works. On page 2 comments, I saw someone claim the proc accounts for 10-20% of healing. That seemed really high so I decided to check out a WOL of a guild that's killing Lich King heroic (there's what, like 50 guilds in the world that have done it?) to see if that was true of a guild capable of getting their healers the best weapon in ICC. I chose the top ranked dps WOL for H LK ( and found they had 3 healers with the legendary (you can tell from Protection of Ancient Kings as a heal) and it accounted for 10%, 12% and 16% of their heals respectably. Anyone healing H LK must be wearing a fair amount of 277 level gear so it's impressive that the proc still accounts for 10-20% of their heals. That's a fair amount of healing from what's basically a damage shield, and it's all at zero mana cost.

So from cursory research, I don't see how the difference in stats to any weapon in WOTLK compares to the proc. In fact, from what I've seen from the Val'anyr and Shadowmourne, both truly are remarkable and will last well past their ilvl.

Kae said...

"So, the fact that Lodur was able to handle both of the situations is not a surprise, but the fact that his groups attributed his success to the mace is laughable."

*sarcasm alert*
Because Gear > Skill.
*/end sarcasm*

That's what I expect those players to be thinking, anyway. There is one big benefit to tree form: I look look no different than a fresh 80, so unless they take the time to inspect me and my Loremaster title (I learned quick to not run Kingslayer) before they run off down the dungeon halls, most pugs can't glance at my gear and assume that they can slack off and get themselves killed by dancing in fire or pulling the whole instance at once.

Graylo said...


If you feel like a punching bag, I'm sorry. That was not my intent. My point was that stuff happens and people leave. It's not your fault that LoE didn't craft a mace, and I don't think it's really Sids either eventhough she did quit just before having enough. The point was giving all the frags from a guild effort to one person is a bad idea.

All that said, I want to make a couple of other points. Your version of the story isn't really inaccruate, but I think it is a little bias. I also want to point out that I did not identify you or Sid in my post. That was you.

I give you a lot of credit for the work you did to try and "pug" the remaining fragments. That said a good portion of your Frags came from guild runs. On your pugs you also had several guildies come and help. So, while you did do a lot of the work yourself, your frags still represented a guild effort to some extent.

And yes, I did say "I really don't want to come, but I can if you need me." Meaning I could bring Graylo. I also said I could bring an alt who according to web sites and such was geared enough to help. You turned me down on both accounts, so it didn't sound like to me that you needed the help.

Honestly could you really blame anyone for not wanting to go to Ulduar. We are a 9hour a week guild for a reason. Many of us don't have the time that we can commit to doing more then that, and we've been our face against those encounters long enough. While having LoE craft a mace would have been cool. For me, it was really hard to justify the wife aggro and such so that some else could get a new weapon that wouldn't matter in the long run.

Artofficial said...

I think legendary weapons are great ideas. They're still the items on players that make you go "Wow!," unlike all the other epics in the game. Sure, I guess if you're competing for the top dps in the world as a rogue or hunter having thoridral or wg of azz not drop would really suck, but then again not EVERYONE is suppose to have one. I came from a guild where people were tight nit and we all for the most part got along. Loot was handled by the officers fairly and nobody complained. Having to do special things for a legendary puts a new twist into the game sometimes, like Thunderfury did.

I can think of much worse loot ideas (Can you say the Lich King?). Seriously, you get your weapon and why even bother doing him again?

Seleria said...

What if instead of making the item Bind on Guild, the FRAGMENTS were BoG. That way the guild can collect say all 50 fragments and THEN decide based on the entirety of the collection process who the best candidate for the weapon is. Because you would get to choose at the END, you would also have a good idea of the burnout situation, real life things, etc. In addition, you'd have more flexibility with raid comp (having to have the same person in every single raid and them never ever being able to even be late to raid is a bit crazy...).

You wouldn't end up with 14 half-finished legendaries, or people who get the legendary only to be burnt out a week later. Finally, there's no one person who feels obligated to stay with a guild. The guild is in control of the legendary's progress, not the individual.

I like legendaries because it's nice to have something out of the ordinary. As a healer, weapons are just another stat stick. It's fun when they actually contribute something more. That being said, Trauma is a nice step in the right direction. I especially like the jump in throughput between the normal & heroic version. It went from contributing ~1% total effective healing as a holy priest to ~4% while playing disc (much fewer procs because of playstyle).

Lespaul said...

tbh, make both the fragments and the resulting weapons BoG. That way the guild gets a tool that they can give to anyone they choose from the members that turn up on any given night. Given that guild > individual, the guild always benefits.

Having said that, I do believe that individual players should be able to pick up legendary items without having to be helped by others should they choose to. It would be nice to be able to complete a lengthy solo quest chain and have a nice functional item to show off at the end of it to mark your achievement, rather than maybe a unique mount or such.

Woodlum said...

Hi Gray, long time old friend. I liked your post over all as you brought up many good points and supporting facts. I like that you mentioned BoG Legendaries to be honest. You made some arguments against that after it was recommended but I think it was an awesome way to avoid the waste you mentioned. Your ending argument was Legendaries should be dissolved because there is potentially drama attached (and in part because they are worthless in a tier or two). To be frank, though, all those arguments you made are life, and this is a social game. Folks tend to go out when they are on top. Priorities just change when they have everything they want. How many people do you know would quit their jobs the minute they won the lottery? Unfortunately, that is most people bro. And maybe they should just design the items better, I have ALWAYS had problems with the Lead Item Designer in WoW, what else is new man, you know this and I know this having both played Druid a long time, love that cloth gear right? I don't like when Blizzard tries to control the social aspect of an MMO because people are going to be people and the decisions should be each individual's to participate in an environment that rises above if they so wish, people are in - Hyjal because of the reputation and environment we have after all. To be honest, I would LOVE to have the deciding factor in a Legendary as a part of a BoG type of thing, where the guild earns it and it stays with the guild whether the player stays or goes. And maybe the whole Legendary thing could be a guild achievement as it truly is. Icing on the cake. Blizzard could do a lot with this model, hit me up anytime if you are reading. I've hunted down devs at previous cons to give you guys a good earful on what to improve before. Cheers Graylo on a wonderful blog man, glad to see you are still around!