Hole protocol

When you want to get out of a hole, so the conventional wisdom goes, the first step is to stop digging! Someone needs to tape that to every monitor at Blizz HQ, because they seem incapable of figuring it out for themselves.

There is no more obvious example of this than the Legion legendary debacle. Blizz began digging this hole way back when Legion was just a gleam in a developer’s eye, when someone had the bright idea that, since Legion would already feature a central all-consuming piece of gear in the form of an artifact weapon, there would have to be a significant change to the role of legendary gear. This was the first point at which they could have stopped digging, because they could have opted to have no legendaries in Legion. As far as I know, the legendary police would not have descended on Blizz had they gone this route. I doubt if even we admittedly cranky player base would have blinked an eye — we would have pretty much assumed the artifact was Legion’s legendary interpretation, and gone on to be annoyed about a lot of other things.

But they continued to dig. They decided that the new legendaries would be awarded randomly and rarely. They decided each would have a unique bonus, and that some of these bonuses would be extremely powerful to certain specs and others would be generically nice but not all that powerful. Here, too were opportunities to stop digging. They could have made the gear something to be earned, either through a quest line or by in-game earned currency of some kind. Instead of the vast range of bonuses, they could have made the gear a stat stick.

Instead, when there was player pushback on this, when it was “discovered” that certain legendaries gave the lucky lottery winner something akin to super powers, they continued to apply the shovel, first implementing a series of “bad luck insurance” moves. These were toothless, as the lucky ones continued to be overpowered under certain competitive conditions, since the “insurance” was for being awarded a legendary and not necessarily one of the “good” ones. To get out of this hole, Blizz continued to dig by nerfing many of the spec-specific legendaries. However, they did not really nerf them sufficiently to preclude certain ones being considered best in slot.

In 7.2, Blizz got a bigger shovel by attempting to fix the random nature of legendaries by adding a complex, prohibitively expensive path to crafting what will likely be inferior gear.

As an added complication similar to getting a couple more guys to help you dig, Blizz decided to imbue some legendaries with powers that actually fixed some of their other horrible class balance and game play decisions for Legion. The example that comes to mind are the BM hunter shoulders. By all accounts (I wouldn’t know personally since of course I have not been lucky enough to score them), these added the whoopie factor back into BM game play, making the rotation fun again and less like something you do to distract yourself while clipping your toenails. Of course, the way to have stopped digging here would have been to actually fix the broken specs and not applied the sloppy bandage of ill-conceived legendaries.

And now, in what seems to be Blizz’s move to bring in a scoop loader, we have this contorted set of changes for 7.2.5:

In 7.2.5, we are changing Wild Call from a cooldown reset mechanic to a cooldown reduction mechanic.

The base proc chance will be doubled and the cooldown reduction per proc will be 3.0 sec (affected by haste), roughly half the average expected value of current live Wild Call procs. Baseline, the amount of total Dire Beast casts and Dire Beast uptime should be roughly the same as on live, except the changes should result in smoother Focus regeneration from more well-paced Dire Beast casts.

Additionally, these changes have the desired side effect of bringing the power level of The Mantle of Command more in line with other legendaries.

I cannot honestly comment of whether or not this is a horrible fix or a decent one, since I have no experience with the shoulders. It will be an incremental plus for us shoulderless hunters, I suppose, although still not to the level of the shoulders bonus which absolutely should have been baseline. For a good discussion of the pros and cons (mostly cons) of this move insofar as we know any of the details, check out Bendak’s post today.

But the point is, this is just digging the hole deeper. There should have never been a symbiotic relationship between baseline BM hunter play and a particular luck-based legendary. And the fix for it should be to sever the relationship completely, not tweak it with a half-assed baseline change and a similarly half-assed legendary nerf.

To summarize, Blizz has had multiple points at which they could have stopped digging the legendary hole they started:

  • Leave then out of Legion completely.
  • Design them to be something to be earned, not awarded like a raffle winner.
  • Have only 3 or 4 of them, not the dozens we now have that include spec-specific as well as generic ones. Have the few remaining just be stat and gear level increasers, not bonus awarders.
  • Resist the temptation to use them to fix existing problems in class design.

They have steadfastly refused to stop excavation in the matter of Legion legendaries. And now we are all in the hole with them.

However, luckily, today is National Beer Day in the United States. To my way of thinking, if you are stuck in a hole, a lot of beer can’t hurt. Plus, I can’t think of a better way to start a weekend. Enjoy yours.

About Fiannor
I have a day job but escape by playing WoW. I love playing a hunter, and my Lake Wobegonian goal is to become "above average" at it.

4 Responses to Hole protocol

  1. Marathal says:

    When I read the forum post on how to complete the appearance quest and saw an overall consensus. To do it, you needed a certain Legendary. I don’t have, I did for a time have the better boots until they adjusted things.

    The hole gets even deeper when you consider now they need to balance fights off the overpowered ones, assuming all raiders are in BiS gear. The rest of us suffer.

    • Fiannor says:

      For sure. The Legion legendary hole impacts a lot of game activities, and as you point out rather than trying to get out of it, Blizz keeps making it worse by actually tuning these activities to possession of certain legendaries. It’s nutty. Almost as if they are doubling down on what even they have admitted was a mistake. I really don’t get it.

      • Marathal says:

        It’s the “if we dig sideways, we can get out”. All they do is fill the hole behind them and continue in the dark. All we can do is try our best to use logical observations and hope someone sees the light and thinks to look up.

  2. gnomecore says:

    I like the moment when an orange shiny ‘dings’ from the chest. And that’s where my excitement stops.

    I realize I cannot put it on because I haven’t farmed enough resources for the order hall research to wear two. So I feel obliged to grind them. If I have a Sephuz ring and I got a better trinket, I can’t put on trinket because I don’t have a ring to replace Sephuz, and so on. If I get a very cool item for my warlock – guess what? Only one spec benefits from it. And there’s also an awesome case: like you put AP points in NEVER-played Sheilun, monk’s healing staff, forget to change a spec, and open the emissary chest, so you get a legendary for the non-played healer instead of played dps or tank. It happened three times on my alts.

    Legendaries are merely trouble for me. I would just like to have their models in my mogging list, and be done with it. They really don’t feel earned or precious, they’re annoying. I’m disgusted with people’s obsession, with all the ‘gratz with legendary’ – to which I only answer ‘whatever’.

    The Ring quests in WoD were awesome and it was well earned. Artifact Weapon is nice although not without drawbacks. Other legendaries? They’re not.

    The worst thing is that people will take legendary shower for granted ever since. All the good feelings of how it dropped, and how their guild was happy for them, and there was a party, and a cake, and strip dancers around their legendary thingie. Will Blizzard listen to the players?