Legendary Heartache

As I wrote last week, I recently finished my legendary, Kudzu. I am glad I did it. I love my pretty flowerbow.

However.

I have some bones to pick with some of what it takes to create a legendary weapon. Namely, the precursors.

Part of what you need to craft a legendary – and this is the part I really didn’t mention in my previous post – is a weapon that gets forged along with the various gifts you’ve crafted. It is a weapon that, unless you buy yours early on in the crafting process, you are going to keep in your hands for however long it takes to run from the trading post to the bank to the mystic forge.

And it is, by far, the worst part of making a legendary. I hated getting the mystic clovers. I hated slogging through World vs. World for badges of honor. But more than anything else…I was not happy at all with that damned precursor.

As of right now, there are three ways of getting a precursor. The first is to hope you get supremely lucky and one drops for you – they can be gotten out of meta-event chests, dungeon chests, and drops from champions. The second is to throw weapons into the mystic forge and hope for the best. The third is to save up money, on top of all you’ve already spent, to purchase one on the trading post.

How much money are we talking about? Well, let’s take a look.

precursorprices

Pardon my language…but what the hell. Those prices are disgusting. And there is zero reason why they should be that high. Someone crafting a legendary is already going to be pouring hundreds of gold into their weapon – why is it necessary to throw up to another 700g at it?

With the most recent patch, the chests for meta-events were updated to guarantee at least one rare or better as a reward, and could be gotten once a day per character (this is going to be updated to where the rare or better reward is account-bound, not character bound, with the March update). One side effect of this is the staff Final Rest, which had never before been actually seen in game (personally I do not believe it was actually in the game until this update), has become common enough that it currently sits around 12 gold. Ecto dropped in price from close to 40s down to around 27-28s (it’s now back up to about 30s). One would think that, with the introduction of of more rares and exotics into the system, precursors would become slightly more common, and prices would go down on them.

That, however, has very much proven to not be the case. Prices on precursors have instead mostly gone up in the meantime. Some of them have spikes to ridiculously high prices. Look at the Lover, for example – nearly 700 gold! How on earth is that even remotely reasonable? It was 400 gold two months ago. Sure, it did get an update, and prices spiked after that. But they dropped quickly…and then started climbing again to what it is now.

AJ pointed out that prices going up may be because people have more money due to the update to the meta-event chests, which is causing them to put in higher buy orders, so people are putting the sell listings higher than they otherwise would. This may well be true. However, since theoretically the number of precursors available on the market should also have increased with this change, that should have evened out, and it hasn’t.

This is one of those things where I really wonder how it was released in this way. ArenaNet has said that they want to include a scavenger hunt for obtaining precursors; this shows that they know that this is an issue. They did an infusion of the market with them with the Lost Shores chest. However, the scavenger hunt was also said to be something they weren’t actively working on. There’s been no other noticeable increase other than Lost Shores.

Optimus said the other day that he would like to see another Lost Shores-type chest at the end of Flame and Frost. I both agree with this and disagree. I agree because there’s no two ways about it, they really do need to get more precursors out into availability. It’s not right that someone should have to, after spending all of the time and effort and money that a legendary costs, be stuck then waiting while they save up another several hundred gold to get that one last piece. However, at the same time, I disagree, because unless it’s something that happens regularly, it will be a repeat of what happened after Lost Shores; there were so many precursors suddenly flooding the market that people were selling them for next to nothing, believing that they were going to remain not impossible to obtain, and then the prices promptly shot back up after a couple of weeks had passed. Many people – myself included – wound up being burned hard by this.

The other option, which I would prefer, is to simply increase the drop rate on the precursors. Take that .001% chance of them dropping (or whatever it is), and turn it into a .01% chance. Or something similar. They’d still be rare – very much so. But they wouldn’t be so rare that if you get one, you’ve got the kind of luck where you need to be off in Vegas making yourself rich in real life.

I am very curious to see what sort of shape the scavenger hunt is going to take. I hope that it becomes a thing in that not too distant future – I want to make Bifrost, after all. But I know what I don’t want to do is buy another precursor.

Some simply shiny sentences showing skritt sentiment.

Dak here, with an in-depth look into one of my surprise favorite elements of the game.

So I briefly mentioned the skritt in my last post talking about the asura.  Now, I’ll be… not so brief.

The skritt are a ratlike race who, along with the asura, were originally living in the depths of Tyria but were driven upward by Primordus and the Destroyers.  They are opportunists, but not scavengers – rather than dig through your garbage, they’ll mooch off you instead; doing their best to convince you you don’t really need that neat shoulderpad, or if your backpack is really heavy they’ll be happy to relieve you of any unnecessary items.  They’re also exceptionally curious, so if they get their paws on an unknown device, they’ll eventually sort out how it works and why.

Now, what makes the skritt so interesting?  They communicate in a high-pitched, almost inaudible chittering, through which they can relay a vast amount of information in a very short time.  While a single skritt is only capable of basic tasks and survival skills, through this chittering a group of skritt can work together to solve a problem.  The larger the group, the more complex the tasks it can tackle.  While a single skritt is rather dim, a big enough group could potentially rival an asura in intelligence.

Over the beta weekend, the skritt were available for interaction at last.  I first encountered them in a fort just south of Artergon Woods: a pair who had been trained for the simple task of guarding supplies.  I was instantly enchanted when I heard them concentrating so hard on guarding that they were, in fact, saying “Guarding.  Guarding guarding!” back and forth to one another.  My amusement was interrupted by a sudden hylek attack on the fort, which a group of players and I managed to repel. (one thing to point out, I love how whenever an event begins, a group of players seem to materialize from nowhere to join in and make the event more… eventful).  The invaders successfully routed, the Lionguard commander in charge of the fort decided it was high time to take the fight to the hylek and regain their stolen items, and sent a single skritt named Rikkiti to a Lionguard assault force near the hylek village.  The event is then to escort her as she runs the message to attack.

Rikkiti started out dutifully enough, but soon was distracted by the much more interesting moa nests by the side of the road. “Stuff stuff stuff!” came her shrill cry, until an angry moa (which we swiftly subdued) scared her off and she fled back to the path.

Imagine, if you will, the sight of some 20 people of all races chasing after an eager, innocent skritt as she quite accidentally attracts the ire of a giant grubs, a golem, disgruntled krewemembers, hungry raptors, and a full pack of apparently teleporting jaguars, with shouts of “Ooh, shi-hi-hinyyy!” and “What’s that!” It was quite the unexpected quest, and a ton of fun centered on a surprisingly endearing individual.

“Sheriff want shinies back. Rikkiti get shinies!  Teach hyleks stealing bad.”
“And did our ineffectual sheriff offer any thought on how precisely we might accomplish that?”
“Yes… no… what?”
“(sigh)Sheriff say how we get shinies back?”
“Oooh.  Deputy talk like Rikkiti stupid! Rikkiti not stupid!”

All the more surprising was when we reached her destination, and it flowed smoothly into a more traditional event: Destroy the hylek village and essentially burn -everything-.

Rikkiti joined us for that, too, and soon she had gathered all the “shinies” from the decimated village and returned to the fort while we taught the hylek chieftain that stealing was bad.

That event chain left a great effect on me, and I was delighted when I moved north into the Brisban Wildlands and found that there was, in fact, a massive skritt city called Skrittsburgh dug deep into a mountain.  While none of the skritt there were as singularly endearing as Rikkiti, it was interesting in another way: With so many in close proximity, these skritt were, in fact, more intelligent.  They were able to speak about more complex ideas and offer rewards for tasks, and as I delved deeper I found among their piles of hoarded items full, working tailoring and smithing stations.  Only a short way away there were even shops run by entrepreneurial skritt.  In the deepest reaches of Skrittsburgh, skritt soldiers held back encroaching Destroyers from underground.  It was a full, living city, and the race isn’t even a main one!  Kudos to Anet for this sort of dedication and the masterful way in which they fully realized this concept.

While I’m looking forward to the entirety of the game, when we hit launch I’ll be putting aside time to spend with the skritt, whether it’s helping them defend what they’ve rightfully stolen, or just chuckling at their more innocent antics.

Gotta give credit, that is pretty accurate.
…hey! – V