Thursday, February 28, 2013

What does Legendary mean to you?

Tzufit, in her usual engaging manner, stirred my sluggish mind with her post When Everyone's Legendary.  And when you read what she's writing, I bet there are a lot of people who think the same.

Remember when something was "legendary"?  It was orange, it was ultra rare, it was amazing to see it, people would stop and stare at it. Back in the old days it was a rare drop + a hell of a lot of work - something only raiding guilds would see, not the ordinary player.  Those MC drops - Thunderfury, Blessed Blade of the Windseeker and Sulfuras, Hand of Ragnaros, which requires a bit of crafting as well (BLAH to Elementium ore!) - I have to say I saw a lot more of these when MC became more farmable in BC/WotLK.  But they were still hard to get.

Then we had the rare drops, the Warglaives of Azzinoth and Thori'dal, The Stars' Fury, which drop from Illidan in Black Temple and Kil'Jaeden in Sunwell Plateau.  These days, also farmable if you want to go there every week.  But they were cool and rare AT THE TIME.  More commonplace now, but they were a badge of pride back in those days, showing hard work and dedication.  But still a bit of RNG to get.


Then came Ulduar and Icecrown Citadel, and their legendaries, Val'anyr, Hammer of Ancient Kings and Shadowmourne, both of which required 25 mans - which tends to imply a guild raid. Shadowmourne had a series of quests and was the first where it required you to do certain parts of each boss to progress through a series of quests.  Moo said it was quite hard.  That was quite interesting, and fun to watch at the end.


Then we come to the Cataclysm Legendaries - Dragonwrath, Tarecgosa's Rest, which is the Firelands caster staff, which involved multiple steps of a fascinating quest chain and story, which added to the whole Legendary part of it.  Then there was Fangs of the Father, the rogue daggers from Dragon Soul - also with its own epic legendary quest chain.


The beauty of the last 4 legendaries is that they were not only personal achievements, but there was a sense of guild achievement too - we got to see the final part of the quest chains when the legendary weapons were handed over (well, not for the rogue one) and feel like we were all part of something, part of the Legendary chain itself.  There was a great sense of guild pride, and it was a great honour to be selected to be the person to chosen to receive the legendary that the whole guild was going to help you work towards.  Of course, Blizzard helped a lot with Dragonwrath - offering a pet as a reward for all guild members.  Fangs of the Father was more solo, I guess because it's rogues and rogues do things in the shadows and on their own.  (Hmmm.  That sounded a bit dirty.)

(I have not mentioned Atiesh, Greatstaff of the Guardian because I have never seen it and that was TRULY an exclusive high end raider item.  That was from old Naxx and doesn't exist anymore!  It has passed from being legendary into the realm of legend.... a TRUE legendary)


The Legendary quest chain in Pandaria is different to all of these - and I can see why when you look at the why WoW is evolving.  Blizzard is moving away from the guild/friend group focus for doing things - raiding, dungeons, battlegrounds - and more delving into playing with a group of strangers.  It would only be natural progression that the Legendary chain would be like that too.  Also, with LFR and LFD, EVERYONE can participate in raiding now, not just those who are are in guilds and groups of friends.

Me, personally, I have been a bit meh about the whole legendary chain, since I read about it on MMO Melting Pot.  I am up to the collecting valour points part, and I have been lazy with capping valour every week  (though, if I cap Valour this week, I will have completed this part of the legendary chain).  Tzufit put a video of Syndrome from The Incredibles (what a great movie that is!) and that has triggered a whole heap of analogies in my post...
"...I did it without your precious gifts, your oh-so-special powers. I'll give them heroics. I'll give them the most spectacular heroics the world has ever seen! And when I'm old and I've had my fun, I'll sell my inventions so that EVERYONE can have powers. EVERYONE can be super! And when everyone's super... no one will be..."
- Syndrome, The Incredibles (2004)
But that movie touched upon that what our society is leaning towards today - where there is a general feeling of unfairness and inequality, and wanting everyone to be rewarded for their efforts.  Like kids running in a race - everyone gets a ribbon, not just the winners, so that the losers don't feel like it's unfair.
"But Dad always said our powers were nothing to be ashamed of, our powers made us special."
"Everyone's special, Dash."
"Which is another way of saying no one is."

- Helen talking to her son Dash, The Incredibles (2004)
But the question here is: ARE we celebrating mediocrity with everyone getting a Legendary weapon at the end of this quest chain?  It's all about gems that upgrade your weapons and there are titbit gem upgrades along the way (as long as you have a Sha-Touched weapon, which seems to be the bottleneck for a lot of people!  RNG!!!) There is still a fair bit of effort required to get it, the quest chain is long.  That still requires a lot of effort, and not necessarily mediocre effort.  And it has a storyline... wait, what is the storyline??  Something to do with Wrathion...

This, perhaps is the clincher, the bit that makes it not feel so legendary for me.  I am sure, for most others who did Legendary quest chains (Dragonwrath, Fangs of the Father, Shadowmourne) they can recall the story that went with it.  The moment of epicness, of BEING legendary, so that every moment of the legendary was exciting.  Am I the only one who feels like the new legendary chain is somehow just an upgraded quest where you can just skim the text to get to the reward?

Or maybe, its because I already have a Legendary weapon.  Having another will never be as exciting as my first Legendary - the feeling of having something that very few people will have, and all the hard work and runs I had to get my weapon.  Of the immense feeling of gratitude to my friends who helped me get it, and who were there run after run after run.

But what about those who don't have a Legendary already?  Perhaps they are very excited to get theirs.  Maybe they are hanging onto every part of the quest chain and reading and memorising the text and the story - just because I'm not really into it, doesn't mean everyone is like me.

Perhaps, what bothers me about it, is that though the grinding of it is done on an individual basis, you still require a group to do a lot of it.  You need to do LFR to get your sigils.  You need at least 3 people to defeat what's-his-face commander.  You need to run the 2 new Pandarian battlegrounds.  And you can actually sit back and let others do the work for you for these legendaries (ie join a big group and do no heals/DPS etc), and I still feel you should use some sort of personal skill to be worthy of these legendaries.  In addition, each part of the legendary is being released with each patch, so you can see that it's going to require you to stick Pandaria out to the end to see the legendary gem that upgrades your weapon to the covetted orange.   If I look at it from Blizzard's point of view, this legendary is allowing you to see ALL of the content they have to offer - the raids, the battlegrounds, the dailies and the factions - AND stay for the entire expansion.  However, once you get your legendary, it will be YAY ME!  And not that feeling of guild pride (Unless the guild has some pact and they all get their legendaries together).

I don't begrudge everyone their legendary.  I think perhaps I am just wishing that the legendary FEELING of belonging and group effort would come with it.  But there is no point in wishing for things of the past, or of things as they once were.  The world is moving forward.  World of Warcraft is moving forward.  I should not be one of those people talking about the good old days.  This is the WoW we play now.

Edit: See what Legendary means to other people on Anne Stickney's article in WoWInsider "What does legendary really mean?"  And she even linked my humble post!

10 comments:

  1. I certainly agree that it just feels like another kind of epic so far when everyone and their cat can get it with zero challenge required. Making the weapon 100% a matter of luck is the real stinker for this section of it, doubly so because we now know that the weapon is essentially a throw-away for now even if we do get lucky on the drop.

    I have hope that the subsequent portions will become less generic, with a little more personal & guild challenge involved. We've seen it move a little towards group involvement with the post-6000 valour boss, so fingers crossed we see more of that but on a meaningful level.

    What I would have liked to see happen is that normal mode added 1-2 extra steps to the chain, & then heroic adds 1-2 more beyond that. That way everyone gets to work towards it, but the traditional road to a legendary has that little bit extra to reflect the hard work those people put in. For now the only difference is the ilvl of the weapon your throw your gem into (if you get one at all), which seems kinda lazy.

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    1. I too like those extra steps Fue. Perhaps Blizz will look upon this as an experiment snd not do it this way again.

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  2. The quest chain seems to me to exemplify MoP's big push to get everyone gear, so long as they have the time to play consistently for weeks. There is a challenge to it, but the challenge revolves around tenacity and availability rather than player skill - just like you said, you can sort of sit back and let a group of strangers do it for you.

    Which... might even stop it from being a case of "yay me!" actually. I've never picked up a legendary during the relevant expansion, and I'm still not excited about getting one in this quest chain. I'm just looking forward to getting it done. No yays involved. :/

    I think the legendary feeling you write about could fix that. I think there were solo elements to the dagger legendary chain (and Dragonwrath? this is an area of the game I'm only 65% clued in to!) that could have been brought over, if Blizzard wanted to make legendaries less of a raider exclusive. Maybe a skill test like the old hunter trials for Rhok'delar. If there was actual challenge to the tasks we have to do, rather than basing it all on the time we have to sink into the chain, maybe then it would feel like an accomplishment, rather than simply an end of the drudgery.

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    1. Perhaps in the later part of this quest chain there can be a solo part that requires a bit of skill, or maybe a lot of skill, as a player - and completing that will make you feel like you truly EARNED your legendary? That would be good, I think. It would be hard when you make a legendary for EVERY player though - I mean if it was a DPS weapon like a bow or gun, having some special hunter ability would be ideal test of your skills, if it was a healer weapon like Val'anyr, then perhaps you healing a target or multiple targets could be part of your special test. Either way, that would make the whole thing more legendary, from my point of view.

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  3. I agree that it doesn't feel as legendary as some of the others which came before it, especially when I helped several of you get your beloved weapons. Unfortunately, I have yet to finish one for myself that required group effort so for me, I will be excited to have one that is still a relevant weapon. The mace just has to drop first. The only difference is, there won't be that appreciation that others help me achieve that effort since most of them are strangers.

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    1. I do recall you came to help with a few runs, and I also got you a few shards for your start on Val'anyr. I know you ran with Aza a lot to help him with his legendary, and he returned the kindness with transferring that toon into your guild and levelling his guild rep there so you would get the achievement for it. It is exciting to have a relevant weapon - I certainly didn't for mine, but that didn't detract from the excitement of it, especially since I waited 1.5 years or more for mine to come to fruition. I read your frustrations with the sha-touched weapon drop, and I hope it drops for you soon. GL.

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  4. Despite liking the fact that I can go back to old content and farm a legendary with a bit of elbow grease, I think legendaries should pass into legend once a new expac comes out.

    This being said, and on a different subject, I really, truly fear for the direction Blizz is encouraging people to go: playing with strangers. Every time I set foot in an LFR--and I'm either very unlucky, or people how have the opposite experience are very, very lucky--it's all about foul-mouthed, impatient jerks, people spending their time looking at what everyone else is doing rather than stepping out of crap, criticism, complaining, swearing, finger-pointing, rudeness... The list goes on. I go in there, put half the people on ignore, do my work, please and thank you, and GTFO. :(

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    1. I do like that thinking too - though that would not have netted me my legendary LOL. But, that said, if Blizz decided to change the rules and take away my legendary, at least I had the memories and the posts to prove I had it once! LOL!
      About the direction Blizz is going... I think part of it is to entice people to come out and be more MULTIPLAYER in this game than solo player, but somehow it only seems to show us the uglier side of human nature more often than not.

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  5. Blizzard may be moving away from guild/friend group focus, but it is allowing me to stay with my guild of RL friends versus being a part of a guild of strangers just to attain a legendary. In previous expansions, I would have had to been part of a guild of people I did not know, hoping to gain enough credibility or reputation with the guild members that they MIGHT just pick me to get the legendary, if one dropped, or if enough materials had been farmed. Does being “liked” equal legendary and more deserve access to the item than individual merit, effort or tenacity? In your most cutting edge guilds, the selection of who received the legendary would have been based on what it brought to the guilds efforts to move forward. In many of the semi-hardcore or casual guilds the selection is, seemingly, more based on whim or popularity. I understand there will be many GMs or RLs that still put the best interests of raid progression into their decision but, to me, this seems to be the exception and not the rule.

    Personally, I am enjoying knowing that what I get in this expansion will be exactly what “I” put into it. It is allowing me to be a part of a legendary quest chain while still sticking with my group of personal friends. Where in past expansions I would be punished for staying loyal to friends and not jumping ship to a raiding guild for the next epic/legendary weapons, now I can still see the content, experience the story, feel “legendary”. Will it be “yay, me!”? No, not for me, my guild has been there and will be supporting me the entire way, verbally, if not actively, with grinding heroics for the VP, Change of Command, etc. If I do end up receiving a legendary at the end, my guild will most assuredly be celebrating with me, even while many of them have not looked to attain their own at the same time.

    To steal your words, “I don’t begrudge everyone their legendary”. Those that received them previously with guilds through old methods deserve them, just as I feel that I will if/when receiving mine.

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    1. Jaxara, thank you for your really well written passionate comment! After reading your reply, I feel happy seeing someone else's point of view about the Pandarian legendary, and what you've written really makes your progress with your legendary SOUND legendary. I hope that you will remember your legendary with Pandaria with some really fond memories because all of my guildies who have gotten theirs have said it was one of the best experiences in this game.

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