Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My MoP Wish List - Part 4: A Better Legendary Solution

This is part four in a now five part series I'm writing about my hopes for Mists of Pandaria. In part one I talked about a gem overhaul, part two focused on Moonkin issues, and part three looked at 10man vs 25man raids.

I hate the existence legendary weapons.

Don't get me wrong, I would love to have a Legendary staff on my moonkin, or the daggers on my rogue, but even if I had either of those I would still hate the concept of legendary weapons or at least the ways that Blizzard has chosen to implement them over the past 7 years. The problems are already well documented, but let me go over them again.

The Problems:

  • Group Effort/Individual Reward: Every legendary implemented so far has required a group effort to acquire it. Even the random drops of TBC required a group to clear the instance. There are literally thousands of tales of players getting their legendary and then quitting the game a month later or leaving to join another guild. So, the guild works for something over an extended period of time but loses it because the individual has to make an individual decision rightly or wrongly.

  • Lopsided Results: When I first joined my current guild we were working on Yor'shaj and I was whispered by another player that I was doing significantly less then the WoL ranked logs. My response back was that I didn't have top 200 gear. There were other issues with my DPS strategy at the time, but a significant part of the difference is that I don't have a legendary staff. Legendarys are such a performance boost that players without them are penalized because they can't get one. How many recruiting posts have you seen where it says "1 ranged DPS (with Legendary)?"

    The fact of the matter is that Legendary weapons create lopsided results that are based more on the gear a player has then the skill of the individual. Given Blizzards mantra of "Bring the Player, Not the Class," this doesn't really seem to fair.

  • Unfair Distribution: Every time Blizzard announces a new legendary, there is always some argument of "why does class X get the legendary instead of class Z". But to be honest, much of the time the complainers have a point. Blizzard has implemented nine legendarys in WoW's seven year history. So far, five of the nine have been melee focused, three are caster focused, and one was a ranged weapon. There has been a melee legendary in every stage/expansion of this game and four of them have been usable by Warriors. I would also point out that there has been only one healing legendary, one of the caster legendarys was only available for a few months before the content was obsolete, and that feral druids after seven years still haven't gotten a legendary.

    I don't think there is some Blizzard conspiracy that loves melee and more specifically warriors, but hates ferals. However, it's clear that their decision making process is more dominated by lore which favors pointy metal sticks than fair distribution.

    For example, why is there a rogue specific Legendary in Dragon Soul? Yes, it's a very cool quest line that allows rogues to use infrequently used abilities like pick pocket and distract, but if you're going to make a class specific legendary why not make it feral the spec that has yet to have a legendary? I'm sure the creative people over at blizzard could have made a similar story centered around a feral druid instead, where they use abilities like Soothe, Hibernate, and Seacow form.

  • Individual Effort is Irrelevant: Finally, I have never taken a break from this game in 5 years. I ran Firelands almost every week from when 4.2 was released until 4.3 was released. I have the gold to buy the expensive vendor mats needed to create the Legendary. Yet, I do not have a legendary because I was in four different guilds during the Firelands progression cycle. I have done everything I can to get a legendary, but it's extremely hard to find nine other people that want to go to FL now that it's old news even though it would take me just 9 weeks to get the legendary and other people could get mounts.
Potential Solutions:

The proposed solutions to the legendary issues are just as numerous as the issues themselves. If you look around the official forums and blogosphere you will find a lot of suggestions. Let me take a look at a few of the most common and suggest a couple of my own.

  • Bind On Guild Legendarys: This is probably the most common proposed solution, and it fixes the "guild effort, individual reward" problem I've described above. A player can't leave the guild with a legendary because it's the guilds legendary. However, this solution raises other questions and creates some additional issues. For example, is there only one legendary per guild or is it something everyone could buy from the guild rep vendor? If a guild has only one, many guilds will feel forced to trade it around so that every one gets a turn which seems a little silly and confusing. If everyone can get one, then it would be to common which Blizzard clearly sees as an issue. Finally, what happens to the player that need to transfer guilds for legitimate reasons who has a legendary? It's hard to expect the person with a legendary to have back up weapon, because the guild is likely to give those to players with out a legendary, yet you also can't expect them to be tied to one guild forever. Many guilds die or become unworkable for many legitimate reasons. Ultimately, I think this solution crates more problems then it fixes.

  • Reward Individual Effort: Another idea, is to make the legendary process a completely individual process, that players can complete at the same time as other players. For example, if the FL legendary had all the same steps but allowed players to do them a the same time, you would see a lot less complaining about losing a legendary, because any caster who raided FL for three months would likely have one. However, this would make them extremely common, which I said above was not something Blizzard would like and it also would seem silly to give every caster the last weapon they would use in the expansion half way through.

  • Get Rid of Legendarys: There's two things that make Legendarys great. First, most of the time they have come with a cool story. If you look at the last three, they were a major part of defeating the Lich King, naming a new aspect of magic, and helping the last pure black dragon. The second thing is someone gets an extremely powerful item that will likely last them the rest of the expansion. Both are very cool, but I Blizzard has proven that you don't need a legendary to tell a good story, and Blizzard has argued before that it's not always a good thing to have a player get an item they will not replace.

    So, why not get rid of legendarys. Yes, Blizzard would be getting rid of a cool element of the game, but it could easily be argued that this "cool" element has caused more problems and anguish then the reverse. I doubt a whole lot of people would miss them if they were discontinued because in reality, very few people have a realistic chance of getting them anyway.
My Ideal Solution:

The general design principle for legendarys is create a normal weapon, but add special proc that is powerful and somewhat unique. Currently, those proc have only helped the individual with the legendary, but what if the benefits were raid wide?

I think a legendary could be designed in such a way that, it is slight benefit for the individual to use a legendary, but a big benefit to the raid if someone in the raid has a legendary.For example, the proc on Dragonwrath is "When you deal damage, you have a chance to gain the Wrath of Tarecgosa, duplicating the harmful spell." That same buff could be applied to all the casters in the raid if someone in the raid has the staff. If done correctly this could fix most of the problems people complain about today, without big balancing issues.

  • Individual players wouldn't be penalized severely for not having a legendary since the primary benefit to a legendary (the proc) would be raid wide.

  • After multiple people get a legendary in a tier, losing one of them to real life or a guild transfer is less significant because the buff is covered by multiple players.

  • Guilds aren't encouraged to recruit legendary users if they already have one in the guild.

  • Also, the proc doesn't have to benefit just one type of player in the raid. It could be truly raid wide where a caster weapon could buff melee or a tank legendary could buff DPS.
I like this solution because it's the only one I've heard that truly rewards a group for a group effort without holding an individual hostage to a guild and keeping the legendarys in the game in a fair way.


Rohan said...

Consider the tier after the legendary tier (i.e. T13 after Dragonwrath). With your solution, you have two issues:

1. One player does less dps because she acts as a buff bot for the raid, while wielding an inferior personal weapon.

2. Other players have to use a better epic instead of their legendary.

In my view, neither of these is particularly good outcome. My preference is to remove Legendaries entirely, but still have some epic quest weapons. If it's good enough for Benediction and Rhok'delar, I think it's good enough for future weapons.

Plus, we could have questline shields or tank weapons. Blizz has been against this in the past, on the grounds that Legendary tank weapons are greatly unbalancing.

Heezashee said...

I really like the solution you mentioned, an individual buff and a raid wide buff. It's kind of like the Ti'tahk staff from Deathwing, while by no means a legendary, it give a haste buff proc to the weilder and a smaller haste buff to three other people in the group/raid. This apparently can stack with others that weild the weapon. Very nice in my opinion.

I do think that they got Dragonwrath right in one way, making the weilder turn into a flying mount. It's not overpowered but is very unique and cool. I'd like to see more of that type of thing on weapons and gear overall, and definitely on legedaries.

I too agree that either they should just do away with legendaries, or go to the other extreme, make more of them. Why should legendaries only be weapons? That's kinda dumb in my opinion. Why aren't there any armor, trinkets, rings for every slot that are legendary?

The way I see it, every class should have a chance at a legendary item that they can use per expansion. make it epic and long quest chain, whatever, just let everyone get something. And since they only are good for one expansion, it's not like people will keep wearing them forever, they'll get replaced anyway.

I definitely overall agree that something needs to be done about legendaries in any case. They aren't implemented very well currently.

Graylo said...


My assumption was that the legendary from an iLevel standpoint will still be a little bit superior to the other items in the tier, to get around the two points you made. Blizzard could also up its ilevel like they did for Val'anyr. It may be a little tricky but I think blizzard could balance around those issues.

Arielle said...

My personal favourite is just to turn Legendary items into some sort of awesome looking xmog item, maybe with a character model proc or change like Fangs of the Father or Fire Kitty staff.

Jabari said...

Just scrap them.

They've got way more important things to be doing right now than something only 1% of the players in the game would think about.

Yes, they may be cool. Think about bringing them back once all the other problems are taken care of.

Jabari said...

As an addition to the "scrap them" bit:

I really like what they did with the Madness weapons - they are plenty cool by themselves, have neat procs, and are plentiful enough to go around. (Especially with them dropping in LFR, albeit lower powered).

Keep that philosophy.

(Or if you want to make them more "epic", do something like for Benediction - you got a single drop from MC, then had to run a solo or small-group questline to transform the "bit" into the cool weapon)

Berdache said...

I do like the idea of a group buff ie group effort leading to group benefit.

If you get a legendary in an earlier tier (like Dragonwrath) then added a further upgrade stage (via raiding or quests) would keep it relevent and usable.

Sorry to hear you are having trouble completing DW. As soon as I saw the new instances dropped the same ilevel as FL and LFR higher it was obvious it was going to be hard finding people to complete the staffs. Can you try organising a pug runs on normal?

Stommped said...

I really like your solution for the raid wide buff. Like you said Blizzard would just have to buff the item level when Dragon Soul was released if they did with DWTR. Your guild can continue to make Legendarys for the bit of upgrade of spellpower for the caster, plus the mount and Feat of Strength; but there is no need to feel like you can't compete with out 12 staffs in your raid.

The only problem I foresee is of course PvP. People really dislike insane burst in Arena and queuing up against one Dragonwrath user was frustrating enough for pure PvPers. Now with your solution, their entire team would have the Legendary buff and would just provide a clear advantage vs. a team without one.

The easy solution, and they needed to do this a long time ago, is to NOT allow the effects of Legendary items AND PvE trinkets to work in Arena/RBGs. Who knows whether or not they will ever realize that though.

Udds said...

Your Idea is AMAZING coming from someone who almost exclusively PVP's these days - both the staff and the daggers are HORRID in arena - they create such incredible imbalance when a spriest hits you for 2 60k mind blasts in a global or a mage shatters you for 130k cause his frostbolt dubplicated. This raid wide buff would make it so the weapon wasn't any more powerful in pvp than any other pve item (though it could have rated bg implications, and that could be solved by just removing the buff the same way they removed vengeance from pvp)