|...aaaand the arguments in Guild have already started... :D|
Behold this hastily-screencapped portion of today's MMO Champion website. I already know what you're thinking... ^^
Gone are the days when it took three years to grind a Legendary Weapon (looks at husband's Thunderfury) By the number of people grabbing the Firelands Legendary over the last six months, its a fair deal easier to snag one than it ever was. However, if this potentially Legendary Questline can reward ANYONE with an orange at the end, I think we MIGHT have a bit of a problem...
The state of LFR should be enough to set alarm bells ringing in everyone's heads right now: the shallow end of the Player Pool's going to go mental over this possibility, and trust me when I say THEY WILL ALL WANT LEGENDARIES. Intentional caps, because they will, and that means this questline needs to be fulfilling a fairly strict set of criteria:
- You have to log in every day for a year. WITHOUT FAIL. Miss a day and you have to do the 'You Failed at Consistency' Questline which requires you to kill 100 mobs in 15 minutes to spell out the word 'I R NOOB' with the bodies.
- You'll need to fill in FOUR Fit and Proper Person questionnaires on Blizzard.Net before you're even allowed to commence Wrathion's quest line. Expect to have to provide a blood sample too, plus references.
- GM's will have to option to permanently tie you to their Guilds for the duration of the quest. Fail to log to grind for a week and all your gear will de DE'd and all your belongings will be equally divided amongst your Guildmates as restitution...
You may think my rules a tad Draconian, but you know what? This is how it should be. Take away the random drop chance of the Thunderfury, but if you offer the quests to everybody, the colour of the item loses some integrity. Legendary does not mean everyone has one, even if everyone wants the chance to own one. It means sacrifice, and it also means selflessness.
What we really need to know now is just what Blizzard is planning in terms of endeavour.
This development in terms of gameplay isn't actually that much of a surprise, if I'm honest. This could be seen as effectively eschewing the collective aspect of the game (which has been losing significance since TBC, if I'm honest) in favour of focussing on the solo play aspect. Blizzard's change to loot rules this time around also indicates that it understands that an environment like LFR requires the removal of individual decision making in terms of gear rolls. Does this mean that Blizzard is pushing people away from LFR and demanding that they be part of a Guild in order to take part in the Legendary quest-lines so they can loot items from 10/25 man normal content?
If they are, this could be a masterstroke to re-energise raiding. However, as a GM for the last 6 years, I know deep down this plan is doomed to failure. They can't make generic items to collect part of a /roll, it will NOT WORK. That move has the potential to split many, many guilds wide open, and trust me it would. Anyone without a Legendary will want an equal chance to snag one, and the onus therefore must move off the collective decision completely, and move totally onto the individual's desire to own the item, and the time they are prepared to put in to do so.
Time must be the key.
That means the only other realistic method of obtaining a Legendary is a MASSIVE solo grind, which might just work, if the conditions are correct:
- It should take months to get your Legendary. In fact, you shouldn't have it until the last boss of the Expansion. You should need to defeat the last boss of each Raid Patch in a normal group to even qualify to wield it. You can do it in a PuG if you're not in a Guild, but you will be forced to complete every raid instance on Normal difficulty somewhere.
- When the new Expansion launches, you should start a questline that updates your Legendary stats and skin to match the new Expansion's baseline ones. Make your Legendaries scalable, and while you're at it allow a special level of customisation to maintain its unique allure.
- If you already own a Legendary, you should be allowed to update that to new stats, whilst keeping an original copy. If you're lucky to snag a Legendary drop whilst doing classic raids, there should be a way to enter the grind too.
- Put all the responsibility on the individual to complete the item. Don't make it that you can buy anything, take gold totally and completely out of the equation and push towards rep-based, daily-restrictive grinds that force the individual to log for a specific number of times in order to complete the elements.
My overriding concern at this stage is how the kudos of owning a Legendary has been gradually eroded since Vanilla. If Blizzard can introduce a questline SO EPIC that it returns the Orange item to its rightful place as the thing you really had to work for to own, then Pandaria will be even bigger a success as it already has the potential to be...