With u29, Turbine decided to not only add the much requested Legendary Shroud but also revamp the random loot system.
This included, but not limited too, not only a substantially addition of new effects but also a on where those effects could spawn. You could almost see it as a redux to the much more diverse loot system released with Menace of the Underdark and later refined in packs after it.
If you follow the timeline of changes of random loot you have the mostly vendor trash up until MotU, followed by an interesting combination of effects and diversification until Shadowfell and then a contraction of many popular effects until U29.
So what’s the big hub bub about this?
First, some of it can be really powerful. Particularly when compared to similar named gear. When you go back to the first ‘change’ of random loot in the MotU era the issue wasn’t so much that the random loot was more powerful than named. But that it was more diverse in effects. Shadowfell offered the great ghost baneing of gear (I’ll get back to that) but this was pretty much evident already in the pre MotU loot world. Most of the items outside named just weren’t all that good. And certainly couldn’t match named items.
This didn’t change in MotU – what happened was instead a diversification of items where rings, helmets and such could contain effects that you generally only found on say handheld items and mostly on named. Such as spell power. This was a great change since the spell power did reflect same or lower than say a named item, but it could spawn on items that usually didn’t come with it. Again, most effects were slightly below or on rare occasions the same as named items – but generally with fewer effects.
That changed in a major way with Shadowfell. First; the ghost baneing of loot is in reference to how particularly handhelds went from having a diverse amount of different special effects to mostly have ghost bane on it. after shadowfell the amount of effects didn’t just shrink dramatically (gone were spellpower on items for example) but what you often pulled was very powerful and not that diverse.
Such as plenty of items with deadly of accuracy – a rare effect reserved to only a few named items and at a much lower amount and ghost bane on almost all weapons. Killing off the many added and cool combinations that came onto the scene after MotU.
There are reasons for this of course – something I won’t spend much time with here – but it’s safe to say that the legacy of Shadowfeel – not only as a subpar expansion, really killed off not only random item diversity but also named items in one swell swoop.
But if we go back to the featured image – finding +10 strength gloves at level 21 sorta kills off a lot of named items that lack diversity in themselves. Another problem that first started with Shadowfell (believe it or not) and now have accelerated with random loot.
Let me explain; if we set aside power creep – a favorite subject for some – most of the items in circulation (up until Shadowfell and particularly now) were old Epic items.
The old Epic system ranges from named raid gear to that of regular quest packs. This used to form the foundation of the level cap at 20 – where people running with Green steel would eventually craft the more sought after Epic items. Epic items for example were the only things with augment slots before that system was altered under the great Epic Gianthold pack (and subsequently killed almost right after with Shadowfell).
This was also the foundation gear for the Epic reincarnation runs after MotU expanded the level cap. This has certainly changed somewhat, but before Shadowfell most epic reincarnation would include the vaunted Abashai set for the ones who had the luxury of grind or the many other times from different Epic pacs to the more rare items like Epic Sword of Shadow (which thankfully have not found a similar equal yet).
Now – there are still items with some value – Epic Abashai set included (because of sacred +3 bonus to strength and con) but for almost all other items both Shadowfell and now this system spells death. And while Shadowfell with autogranted sage and such gear ended most of the old Epic, this new system have definitely also tanked some of the mid Epic stuff – with +10 strength level 21 item that’ll is better than almost all named gear (save some with more effects) than anything up until level 28 named gear and raid gear.
And this plus 10 isn’t even the best you can find. There are items with even better effects that you can find in this level gap – making old epic gear all but useless.
But believe me or not; this is actually not about ‘dooom’. Quite the opposite; while this might be the side effect of a new gear convention and further fuel the discussion about power creep – I find the new gear very useful and I love the diversity.
Take this outfit. Seemingly useless for most part and certainly not the best example. But it illustrates a significant change in how we view items. This used to be reserved for named items only. Spell power on items used to be reserved for sticks (and briefly on helmets and rings) and on armor only named. Now you can find it on all type of armor – not only providing more diversity in all levels (if you have a hard time combining spell power in specific level gabs and where armor isn’t much of a consideration).
This is especially important when you look at the (what was used to) hard to slot impulse and kinetic lore.
There were precisely 1 armor or item with impulse prior to this change. Sure, you could find kinetic lore on say the sage bracers, but most impulse items were either sticks (and that can be an issue for an Arti) or 1 armor and one orb.
Now you can find it on armor, handhelds, gloves, rings etc – making it increasingly easy to find ways to find your needs in classes with many restrictions.
That is also true with the much harder to slot enhancement to tactical DC. For the longest time you could only find this on rare named items, some very rare old epic items and recently on some significantly needed named items such as the boots out of Epic Macabre. Since the addition of additional tactical feats for fighters, we’ve also seen more named items with it and now on random gen loot. Not only on handhelds, but here as docent and many other types of things. Such as specific stunning for helmets, to the more encompassing Combat Mastery on this docent.
Again – making it easier for people to fit their needs in many type of items, but also making some of the more rare named items useless (the level 21 drow rings comes to mind).
But there are also interesting spawns and outright fails (still – I have a rare reminder of that on one of my mules. an item with 3 clicks of feather falling of featherfalling).
I’m fairly sure this does not stack. I haven’t tried and I probably sold it already.
Then we have interesting things like this. A vorpal mace with tendon slicing in what looks like a completely round mace.
I like this one. Would love to find a use for it and I can only imagine the backstory.
So is there anything bad outside power creep and making named items redundant?
First, there’s still an issue of items with +0 effects. Particularly on lower levels but it is a shrinking list since most of them are being fixed. And then there is the spell powering of sticks. It’s increasingly rare to find hand held items without spell power effects. This might seem like a small problem when dealing with daggers and scepters, but it gets a little goofy when you find it on a majority of 2 handed items and things like bows and repeaters. That in itself lowers the usability of hand held items if you find an item with say improved vorpal but comes with a spell power effect that is entirely useless for you.