… it currently takes the same amount of luck/effort to get your third Legendary as it takes to get your eighth.
I read this blue post yesterday, I must admit, with a heavy heart. The last time I looked, this is NOT Diablo I’m playing, where orange loot drops like expensive chocolate. No, you can’t get fat, but there’s a feeling you’re like Charlie Bucket in an alleyway, gorging on illicit gains until lucky enough to snag the next one. It feels to me some days like an exploitation of addiction to keep players fuelled and keen to just keep grinding, and shows no sign of stopping. Orange loot is now, like it or not, the new top end desirable. What’s more interesting however are the indicators that even more Diablo-style seduction is incoming and instead of reducing the numbers of Orange items, they’re just going to add more.
In fact, if this discussion from Icy Veins is anywhere approaching truth, if you don’t need a Legendary you can send it to an alt, presumably as yet another Carrot/Stick combo to level them and spend more time in game. This will undoubtedly please a great many raiders who are running large numbers of competitive alts at the sharp end, but I doubt it will do anything to encourage me to make an effort, especially when so little actual thought seems to be involved to obtain one now. I can hear the frustrated cries of those who clearly don’t have enough Legendaries if any and remind you that if you’re a crafter, you’ll be able to make the bloody things in 7.2 anyway.
I think now I’d like ActiBlizz to change what we call these items: this isn’t Legendary like it used to be, and still rings hollow in my mind that this manner of obtaining loot isn’t anything except a reward for staying active. The problem is, of course, that by telling us this is now the case, it is apparent that RNG has been, at least in part negated, and that’s more significant long term. The websites that claim to be able to predict when your next Legendary would drop are, by the Company’s own admission in their blue post ‘extremely inaccurate’ and based on older speculative data. The fact people have tried isn’t a fiction or a fairytale: if any kid of ‘protection’ is built into what was previously considered a system based on luck it is, by very definition, no longer that. If you can guarantee the next five Legendaries will drop at the same rate, which is what is stated above?
You’ll get more Legendary loot by playing the game long term.
However, because you cannot predict right now that all the other bits of loot you need will drop, the RNG frustration remains just that… but hey, at least that now excludes your weapon. All that needs too is time online playing, and eventually you’ll have an item that makes you unique only in the manner by which you choose spec and talents. As I look forward and try and wonder what will be the next Expansion’s artifact weapon (in terms of a ‘cool feature’ to keep people engaged) I find myself grasping that if the way to obtain armour continues to be so fraught, and yet now we’re being reassured that Legendaries will drop, you just have to be patient: something has to give. We are skirting perilously close to a situation where what you wear won’t matter at all, it will just be about skill and the best computer to defeat lag and render pixels the fastest, which will mean that, for those people who are only here to gain what they can as fast as possible, there is no longer a point in playing.
Rewards however are becoming academic for those prepared to put in the effort.
It has, like it or not, always been this way. Do the work, pick up the cheque. Do the extra and a bonus can be yours, but at cost to yourself: there’s only so many hours in a day, after all. If you can’t do them all? Then, there’s always someone else around to pick up the slack. When I was writing my ‘End Game Raiding is killing World First‘ article for MMO Games in the week it occurred to me that there’s a flipside to this argument that deserves an airing, and it is now wrapped around the guarantees that are being provided to players that yes, if you stay online, we will reward you. If the UI is being increasingly tailored to benefit those that remain through the entire lifespan of the game and only help players when close to an Expansion launch? That means Legendary drops should be increased as we head towards a new game ‘concept’ that will effectively negate their usefulness.
Effectively, the reward system is now even more customisable by designers to suit the type people playing the game, and when they choose to log on, which is a revelation it may take my brain some time to fully grasp. I still wish however they weren’t as easy to obtain, and that we’d stuck with a means where not everybody even got one, because then there would be the notion of true attainment and significance in the action of equipping one. For now, Orange is simply the new Purple and there needs to be other ways to attract the attention of those for whom this game will never be a job, and therefore won’t play the ‘play and gain’ game we’re now all a part of. There’s also a small and nagging voice that’s telling me that if we keep heading in this direction, one day the rewards won’t be gear at all.
In modern Azeroth, it appears, random is no longer good for purpose.