Ah, the beauty of the orange item socked away in the bank -- memories filled with the epic quest to obtain Shadowmourne or Dragonwrath, Tarecgosa’s Rest or Fangs of the Father. The bing of an achievement for completing the journey both for guild and self -- all things never to be forgotten even by those who have since left World of Warcraft.
Where legendaries during Burning Crusade once were randomly dropped items, they were so rare as to be unusual and unique on one’s server, a proud reminder of great luck, if not skill. Then in The Wrath of the Lich King and Cataclysm, legendary quests became available only to those classes that could wield the weapons swaddled in deep game lore. Mists of Pandaria and Warlords of Draenor opened up the legendary acquisition system to anyone willing to spend the time and effort to complete the often long and tedious quests. Yet still there was that feeling of accomplishment at the end, that moment of “I DID IT” and perhaps a celebratory “WHOOT” when all was said and done.
In all the years since WotLK, players needed to do something in order to obtain these powerful relics while in Legion, they simply are. There is no force at play, no amount of “work” at playing the game that causes the bright orange to manifest. Someone who grinds away at world quests every day for weeks and week or the player who practically lives in Mythic + dungeons or the avid raider all have the same chance to score a legendary item as Joe Casual who logs in for two or three hours a week.
A secondary issue is that these items are, as most of the major game play systems in the current expansion, locked behind the LEGIONdary RNG. There is no skill required, no amount of grind, no defeating of a mighty boss that will improve one’s odds at getting the item best suited to class and spec. They just drop similar to the way they did in Burning Crusade but at an alarming rate rather than as something, well, truly legendary.
Blizzard devs have said since the announcement of the expansion that they wanted players to have those moments of exhilaration, those electric seconds of such joy and surprise as to make them feel as if something special and rewarding had happened. What they have missed, however, is that legendaries cease to be legendary when everyone has two, three, four or more. It’s all based on luck. It’s the lottery, though one where more “winners” than “losers”, the latter growing increasingly frustrated as the long days without set in while those with multiple items simply look on with mild interest when the next one drops.
Legion is just over three months old and more players than not have “legendaries” -- whether good ones or not remains to be seen which brings up a second point: There is the RNG nature to even receive an orange item and then there is more RNG on whether it’s appropriate for your spec and more RNG whether it has the right stats on it to enhance your spec. RNG inside RNG inside RNG.
Legion’s “legendary” item system is like a nesting doll filled with RNG and it’s as frustrating as hell.
Each class has between ten and seventeen legendary items available divided among each spec, plus six “general” legendaries that all classes and specs can use for a total of 160 legendary items. If one is lucky enough to have scored a first, second, third, or more legendary, the “thrill” of “discovery” quickly turns to “ho hum” unless and until the perfect game-altering legendary drops.
This brings us to the final problem with legendaries in Legion: The exclusion or inclusion of a player in group content based on whether or not they possess the “best” legendaries that provide the highest combat enhancements (for instance, Toravon’s Whiteout Bindings for Frost DKs) or the best utility. A Beast Mastery Hunter with Call of the Wild (reduces the cooldown of all Aspects by 50%) might win a raid spot over a Marksmanship Hunter with Magnetized Blasting Cap Launcher (increases Bursting Shot damage by 800%) simply due to better damage of the former over the utility of the latter. A player with a single legendary of any type may be passed over in favor of someone with two (the maximum that can be equipped at any one time).
In the end, the legendary system in World of Warcraft: Legion has taken the player out of the equation and it is utterly lacking, casting far too wide a net. The momentary thrill of seeing orange text pop is quickly replaced by despair over getting the “wrong” legendary or by one with lackluster stats or one that is simply bad. Obviously, this isn’t going to change during this expansion, but one can hope that Blizzard realizes the missteps of the current system and replaces it with something more satisfying in the next expansion.
What do you think of the Legion legendary system? Do you like it or not? Leave us your thoughts in the comments.