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Legendary “Bad Luck” Soft Cap Drop Rate Removed

by - 10 months ago

The “bad luck” soft cap on legendary loot was apparently lifted a week ago, according to Watcher. Previously, players would become a little more likely to receive a new legendary each time they failed to get one. After each legendary, it would be reset, and once players got their fourth one, it would stop applying completely.

The legendary system has been one of the few areas for somewhat consistent Legion criticism. The complex mix of many issues, including DPS/HPS vs. utility, drop rate, and player value based on who has them has sparked numerous conversations, including a recent statement by Exorsus.

In short:

  • The legendary reward system was designed to provide an infrequent, surprise bonus to most max-level activities
  • Its randomness was a contrast to the “transparent and omnipresent” Artifact power and gearing rewards
  • The legendary drop rate was designed to be stingy at first, so as to avoid lucky people having too many
  • The drop rate could be adjusted down the road, and it would be easier to adjust the drop rate than take away legendaries players already have
  • To reduce the gap between the lucky and the unlucky, they added a “bad luck protection” system to the drop rate, where players would become increasingly likely to acquire a legendary until they reached four legendaries
  • This system wasn’t explicitly announced, but many players began to suspect that it existed
  • Blizzard found that many of the hardcore players (by their counts, in the hundreds vs. millions of players) had four legendaries within the first couple months of play
  • The soft cap has since been removed, and all players will benefit from increasing odds to receive a legendary each time

 

Originally Posted by Watcher (Official Post)

From the beginning of Legion, we’ve deliberately been pretty tight-lipped about how obtaining them works, because the best thing you can do to get them really does just boil down to “play the game and do the max-level activities you enjoy most.” It was meant to be a background universal reward that would occasionally offer a surge of power to complement the transparent and omnipresent Artifact and normal itemization systems. Obviously, as we sit here reading posts speculating whether it’s better to delete unwanted legendaries to improve your chances of getting more, there’s a lesson for us to learn from how that approach has played out. (PS: Don’t delete your legendaries. The system looks at what you’ve gotten, not what you have.)

We’ve also been pretty conservative in our design, with the intent of loosening the reins as time went on. With a system of this scale that spans all max-level activities, we couldn’t be certain that we’d tuned it correctly based on data from thousands of people playing our beta for a few hours a week; it’d inevitably be different in the live game with millions of people playing in far more focused ways. And we knew that if we erred on the side of legendaries being too common, we could easily end up in a situation where some people (whether lucky people, or those who played the most) were flooded with them. If that happened, it’d have been a mess – a chunk of the playerbase would’ve had bags full of legendary items and no more to look forward to for months to come, and if we’d tried to “fix” it after the fact, then everyone who hadn’t taken advantage of the generous period would have felt forever behind.

So we started out stingy, since if we erred in that direction it would be far more fixable. (We’ve since increased legendary drop rates in general, in patch 7.1). We also put some measures in place to reduce the gap between the very luckiest player and the unluckiest player. Luck is inevitably a factor in games like this, but with millions of people playing the game, if we allowed pure randomness to go unchecked, there would inevitably be some players who played hours every week and literally never saw a single legendary item. Thus, the so-called “bad luck protection” that improves your chances a bit each time you could have gotten a legendary but failed to do so.

As its name suggests, the “bad luck protection” system exists to protect the unluckiest players from the cruel fate of the dice. Those who were on the other end of the spectrum in terms of good fortune, we figured, didn’t need a system to help put them even farther ahead of the rest of the world. And we drew that line at 4 legendaries, initially, planning to raise it as time went on. Once you’d gotten 4, you could absolutely get more, but the invisible hand of “bad luck protection” would no longer help you. Almost by definition, if you had 4 legendaries in, say, early October, you were super-lucky. You didn’t need help getting more.

What we genuinely did not anticipate was just how much some of the very most dedicated players would play, mainly in pursuit of Artifact Power. By mid-November, we started to hear questions about whether there was some sort of 4-legendary limit, and we realized that there existed a group of players that had done so much content that they actually had an expected legendary count of around 4. They hadn’t needed to be unusually lucky to get there. (Note that this is a very small group. They’re overrepresented in these discussions, because this issue concerns them, but we’re talking about hundreds of people out of millions.)

So we removed that soft cap just over a week ago. “Bad luck protection” now applies indefinitely. Most of the players in this category have probably been focusing on Mythic Trial of Valor for the past week, and since wiping repeatedly to raid bosses during progress sadly can’t award legendaries, they haven’t had a chance to see the effects of the change just yet. If/when some players get to a point when they have every legendary available for their spec, then so be it. They certainly will have earned it, and there will be more coming in future patches. The Unique-Equipped limit keeps the power gap between the haves and have-nots reasonable, and we’ll continue to adjust the effectiveness of the outlier legendaries (coming up in patch 7.1.5) with the goal of keeping them exciting but not gamebreaking.


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Seth Harkins

PC gamer and lover of (most) things Blizzard. Penn State graduate from the college of Professional Writing with a minor in English.