Dearest Ion – Some Feedback on the 7.3 Q&A

Let’s talk a bit about the patch 7.3 Q&A that happened yesterday.

I see a lot of angry reactions, and I might share in a bit of that – at least on one issue. First, let’s talk about the good stuff.

-Krokul Flute will be hotfixed to be account-wide: Good! Similar to the Flight Master’s Whistle at launch for alts, it is a game changer, but unlike the whistle, the Flute is way harder to get even once, given the relative lack of Argussian Reach world quests and lacking static rep gain during the story quests. This is a solid change.

-Nazak the Fiend will hopefully spawn more, but this was left really ambiguous. It seems that with the star ranking system for profession recipes, the team is generally okay with people not getting everything to 3 stars. I have thoughts on that I’ll save for later, but to summarize – this isn’t flagrantly bad like some people are making it out to be in my opinion, but I do think that not having a clear path to get recipes ranked up is, frankly, bullshit and feels really bad. It’s not enjoyable or mystique-enhancing – it just means getting Potions of Prolonged Power costs more for most people.

-RNG is a part of WoW’s gameplay. No one is really arguing that, but there is a point where RNG feels bad and crosses a line, which you can read my thoughts on over here.

-The team is happy with class balance currently, and doesn’t have major balancing updates coming with 7.3.2 before Antorus opens. The team has indicated that they like balancing to live data and are trying to come up with ways to account for player perception. The PTR data has some interesting counterpoints to this, but a lot of it seems to be tooltip cleanup and neater formulas rather than actual changes. Discipline Priests T21 bonus is getting nerfed, but it’s not available now anyways, so it’s hard to tell where that will land. This feels like a non-answer, basically saying they’re not tweaking on current data, but they’ll probably end up changing based on live run in Antorus. Hopefully this works out okay!

-The easy, fluff answers that repeat or re-iterate prior Q&As: Artifact appearances save for Mage Tower and the Mythic +15 tints are going to be earnable post-Legion, Prestige is not going account-wide(but maybe!), the MDI was cool

-Some text here about the super conspiracy of the novel Tides of War, cover featuring JAINA PROUDMOORE, being added to the backdrop of the Q&A room. (!!!)

But now, let’s dive into the controversy, head-first.

Legendaries continue to be a sticking point among the WoW community, and rightly so. While effort has been made since launch to balance them and add new ones, there are still specs that perform tremendously better with certain legendaries. Blizzard again maintains that they like the system and feel like it works fine. There is a new wrinkle, though – the Legendary, BoA tokens that were found during 7.2 PTR are back on 7.3.2, and the Q&A addressed them. They will be in 7.3.2, and…

brace for impact…

they’ll drop for players who have all legendaries for their CLASS.

I’ll give you the kneejerk response first, which has remained mostly the refrain for the community at large – what the fuck is that good for? Firstly, that is not an equal measure among classes – Demon Hunters and (surprise!) rogues have only 20 legendaries for their class, while of course Druids clock in at a whopping 36 such items. These figures assume that the non-specific legendaries, like armor-type shared items and jewelry like Sephuz/Prydaz and the Triumvirate Trinkets are in there too (but not crafted or the Insignia of the Grand Army), but even if they aren’t – jeez. This is a “solution” for only people who play like it’s their job (or it actually is their job, if they’re streaming for a living).

However, I thought on it, and here’s the wrinkle to me – yeah, this isn’t really much of a fig leaf to anyone, especially since we don’t know if it’ll just pick a class at random or allow you to pick the class – but what it encourages is that you play the toons you want legendaries on. Absent in the hyperbole about how terrible this is, is the simple fact that if you want a legendary on a character in the first place, you just have to play that character.

Now, this does of course skirt around the fact that drop rates for Legendaries remain mostly abysmal and it’s nearly impossible to discern the best ways to earn them, short of just burst-running through content. That is legitimately frustrating and remains the biggest barrier to serious alt play. While I could feasibly see switching mains just for the hell of it, the truth remains only my Druid would be ready, with two legendaries. My priest, monk, and paladin each have 1, and the remaining 110’s I have don’t have any! And sure, you can target legendaries still with Relinquished Tokens, but while you’re catching up gear with them, that is less viable.

So overall, I don’t think this is altogether a stupid addition. It’s just a very minimally usable one, that only really appeals to a small subset of the playerbase with what we know at present, and even then, if the class selection on the token is random, the odds exist that maybe you’d get like a Shaman token and not have a Shaman to use it, at which point, great, who cares? I’d like to see it be an essence item, like you get a token you can turn in to a vendor who lets you pick the class you want to use it on. I’d also like to see it be implemented better, in a way that allows most players to get some mileage out of it. Maybe, dare I suggest, that everyone just gets a Legendary currency that can be traded in for a cache of your choice, so you can farm legendaries for any character you want on any character? I think that Blizzard has chosen this hill to die on, but if their goal is player engagement and active hours, then the easiest way to overcome the resistance this system has among the broad playerbase is to make it something like that. I don’t really need any more legendaries on my Demon Hunter, but I don’t have them all. It’d be nice to be able to get another for my Priest, and it can be a cache that turns into a random one, so sure, if it means I get bad boots or something, fine – at least I was able to do so on my terms by engaging with the game on the characters I want.

And while I get the broader point this communicates – play the alt if you want them to have legendaries – sometimes doing so can be a burden. I’d love to try and get some decent legendaries for my mage – but I have longer waits for dungeon groups and other activities that would give me access to them. If we aren’t going to have much in the way of content until 8.0, then maybe it’s time to just throw off the chains and start letting people get more legendaries and in a way that is friendly and rewarding to their gameplay. I’m not on the “legendaries are ruining Legion” train, but I do generally see the point – it’s not nearly as rewarding at Blizzard wanted it to be and I can tell they are sticking their fingers in their ears on this issue. I understand not allowing legendaries to be earned on other characters earlier on in the expansion – and that’s fine, but at this point in the expansion’s life-cycle? Just open the gates – you’ll get happier players playing more. At least in my view.

I can see that my take on this might be contentious – but I do see what Blizzard thinks they’re doing. I agree with the community sentiment that as announced, though, it’s not really doing much of anything for anyone. I hope any further details will change that.

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