As with every shiny new raiding tier, Cataclysm has brought with it a shiny new Legendary. There are currently 8 Legendary weapons in World of Warcraft. (A few other flavor items, but no armor. Weapons are Legendary and so all Legendaries are Weapons..)
Legendaries are amazing things. Having one, even from old tiers of content, is a way of showing how amazing, persistent, and dedicated you are. At tier, they show that not only are you a hard core raider, but also that your guild is amazing and supports your awesomeness. And of course, with each new Legendary, guild leaders groan, knowing that the mere possibility of such an item will cause strife, anger, and likely a few losses, if not entirely destroying a raiding group. See, the thing with Legendaries are, they take a great deal of time, effort, and gold. And generally, it takes a few MONTHS to get ONE. That one Legendary, goes to ONE player. Not to the guild or raiding team that helped farm up the shards. Not to the crafters that help farm up the mats. The one player who was lucky enough to start the quest. In most guilds I have been in, this is usually an officer, if not the guild leader them self. Lower ranked raiders are likely to feel left out, passed over, or un-welcome.
It’s a sad state of affairs. I understand the logic. Legendaries are supposed to be Legendary. It’s not quite as cool if every player has one. But there are so many problems with them, I am to the point where I have to say, there needs to be a change.
1. Only 1. It’s sad really, that generally only one player in a raid group gets one. Despite the fact that it takes an intense amount of work from all the players in the raid group. I don’t know how to solve this. I really don’t. Part of me says make it as such that if you always run with the same 10 people, then after 3 months, you *should* have had sufficient time to earn the legendary for every person in your raid that it is specifically itemized for. To explain that and example.
I am a Warlock. That means, spellcaster DPS. I look for Intelligence, Stamina, Spellpower, Critical Hit, Haste, Mastery, and the most godly of all, Hit. A well itemized weapon for me would be +Int, +Stam, +SP, +Haste, and +Hit. Sharing with me perfectly would be any Mages. Now… having said that, if the caster item chosen were a staff (they usually are) a staff, itemized towards me would logically also be appropriate for Shadow Priests, Balance Druids, and Elemental Shaman. Now, let’s go out on the limb and say these classes don’t count. So that gives us two classes. Now in a 10 man raid, generally it is a fairly good idea to only have one of each class. It is also common to have 2 tanks, 2-3 healers, and 5-6 dps. It’s also a good idea to have dps split fairly evenly between melee and ranged. This puts us at chance of having the “correct” class for the Legendary pretty high. Even, probably, that there would be two in the raid. It’s possible to have 3 or more, but more likely that the raid would have two, provided it is a pure dps ranged staff. Let’s just say for simplicity that there is one mage and me. The staff is exceptional for both of us. We are both exceptional and consistent raiders. We are both likely to continue playing with said guild for years. Which of us gets the staff? My answer is that after 3 months, consistent clearing of the entire instance (beginning to end boss, each week), and assuming that the person with the steps is on the ball and immediately works at completing the step they are on so as not to lose any time, then a consistent raid group should be able to complete two staff Legendaries. Likely one much earlier than the other.
To round this up to 25 man, where there are 2 tanks, 5-6 healers, and 17-18 dps, then likely, a raid would have 4-5 of the proper class to take the staff. (My current 25 man has exactly 5. While my former 10 man had exactly 1. The math works out for the most part in my casual experience.)
What if it were a caster staff, but didn’t have hit or spirit? So suddenly it was viable for all 5 classes? Personally, I think this would be irresponsible design. Itemize to Caster DPS and create a second Weapon for Healing. Someone might say, well what about all the Hybrids? Do they not deserve a Legendary? Well, yes, but the assumption would that a Legendary should be created that appeals to that hybrid class more than the pure classes. So anything with spirit, but with a proc off damage.
Now obviously this means more Legendaries running about, but this also assumes a consistent group, clearing the entire instance, over 3 months. Not a simple feat.
2. Legendaries get replaced.
This is the saddest truth about Legendaries. Thunderfurys sitting in banks. Warglavies trotted out for showing off. Valynrs only pulled out to play around in old raids. After all that time, effort, gold, and destruction of guilds to have the item cease being useful is just sad.
A possible, and the one I like best, solution, is to have all Legendaries have the potential to upgrade. Let’s take Thunderfury, for example. Run Molten Core until eyes bleed? Check. Gather the exceptionally rare and expensive mats? Check. Made weapon. Yay! Now. Level to 70. Start a new quest, that includes running all the new raids. Collecting even more crap. Gather more materials. Do more bosses until eyes resume bleeding. And at the end, turn in the level 60 Thunderfury, for the now level appropriate, and amazing, Thunderfury, Level 70. Yay! Now level to 80. Rinse, repeat, and once more, Thunderfury, level 80. And for the final trip, again, eyes bleeding, pockets to let, bosses on every tier downed… Level 85 Thunderfury. A Legendary for someone with Legendary patience and perseverance. Of course, at each stage the weapon gets a bit more ornate, adding a proc, and making it a truly Legendary item.
This would also fix the third big issue.
3. With only 2 Legendaries per expansion, how does Blizzard decide which class it is intended for?
Two melee dps legendaries. A caster dps staff (now removed from the game). A bow. Two swords (for melee dps). An Axe (could be tank for DK, but really more melee dps). And a mace, specifically designed for healers. The newest is a caster dps staff. Seem unbalanced? It is.
But if the old weapons could be “upgraded” then with the addition of two tanking Legendaries, the removal of the class limitations on the Warglaives, and bam… every class, with each spec, would have a decent viable Legendary.
It would make the quality of life for everyone a bit better. There is an argument to be made that they should be super super rare, and maybe they should be so insanely difficult even hard core guilds only get one. But really, where’s the fun in that?