Lord of the Rings Online legendary item system has always rubbed me the wrong way. In most other MMOs, with work and people, I can plan out my character to the pixel. Then it becomes a budgeting process where I evaluate the estimated time per milestone accomplishment whereupon I reorder said milestones to constantly feed me some measure of accomplishment. Afterall, I am hardcore.
Give me a break, I am not that hardcore. I play for fun and as a hobby. If I went cold turkey on MMOs, I would be sad that I was not having fun with my hobby, but I don’t play MMOs to fill some netherling void in my life. Still, I do like some constant drip of achievement that does not seem to cohesively exist in the legendary item system.
Oh, says the advocate, there is plenty of achievement to be had in this particular sunspot for Achievers (with a capital A). There are item levels, inherent random attributes for zweihanders, randomly selected dual pooled legacies which buff skills, another system for tiered relics to slot for more buffs, and different tiers of weapons on top of it all. To reach the perfect Mount Katahdin at the end of a thousands-mile trail seems like a self-defeating journey with all various side trails, pit stops, and squealing locals.
The randomness is the true enemy of this journey.
Here’s how the legendary item system works in generalities. I get a new unidentified halberd. Some knowledgeable dwarf or elf checks it out and gives me 2 or 3 legacies out of Pool A. Pool A for Captain weapons consist of 8 legacies. Right there at identification, a brand new weapon can be absolutely flawed in a journey towards any menial perfection. If it has 2 legacies, well its going to be only 83% as good as one with 3 legacies. Then, which legacies did I get? The chance I will get the three I want on a 3 legacy item is 5%, and that’s with even odds for each legacy (which I am not sure exists).
Then every 10 levels for three times, which of course grow exponentially in their experience requirement, I get one more legacy. I get to choose between two legacies, which are mostly from Pool B but sometimes Pool A. There are 8 more legacies in the Captains weapon Pool B. I am too stupid to figure out the rough probability of getting the 6 legacies I want, but I imagine it would cause even the most hardcore Achiever to balk.
My first answer was a stupid one. I would become a creator of legendary weapons myself. I easily got to kindred supreme master weaponsmith, and I am happier than I was as a scholar. Yet, I stumbled upon a far better solution along the way: split my legendaries. It was so shockingly obvious that I cannot believe I was not doing this since the advent of the system. (Rather than chide me, please just put “duh” below and the words will speak for themselves.)
For my Captain, I would have a combat stick, filled with all sorts of damaging goodies, and a buff stick, for those half-hour long buffs we throw around like leaders of men. I went from planning, balancing, time budgeting, and hair-tearing to a Zen-like calm. I really only wanted four legacies per stick so the two extra I would get were just gravy. Now the probabilities of getting what I wanted did not seem so bad.
The solution was in hindsight obvious, but more importantly I came to accept the truth that my legendary item I had leveled, held, named, and cherished was impermanent. It feels like breaking an armor set buff for a single new shoulder piece, only worse because I created it. Hopefully as the system ever evolves the developers can find a balance between achievement and permanence. They are at least asking.
we are the wave