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Are common quality items rare to find?

Anne Stickney

Common may not be quite so common anymore. While working on an article about a legendary quest chain, I recalled the days of class quests -- specifically, the days of Molten Core and The Eye of Divinity, along with the Ancient Petrified Leaf that started the class quests for epic weapons. Epic anything was rare to see in the early days of vanilla, and even when Molten Core first came out, it was rare to see people decked out in purple gear. But these days, it seems everyone is wearing epics, as it's dropping from dungeons with alarming frequency.

When you look at gear labels, each color of gear is assigned a different label. Common quality items are white, uncommon are green, rare are blue, and purple of course are epic. But as the game has evolved over time, each expansion offered more raids and more epic gear, which led me to the question -- just how common is common gear? How rare is rare? Is uncommon gear really that uncommon? I hit Wowhead just for a quick look at these items to compare numbers, and the results were actually pretty surprising.

According to an oh-so-brief glimpse at Wowhead's database using its filter, there are 12,492 common-quality items in the game's database at this point. That's a lot of common junk, all right -- but there are 12,442 uncommon-quality items. That's just a few less than common quality. Rare is actually suitably rare in comparison, with only 9,404 items in Wowhead's database. Epic, on the other hand -- that's a different story altogether.

That brief glimpse at Wowhead turned up 13,971 epic-quality items in game. Again, this is after the most cursory of searches, and that number may be a little high or a little low. But that's almost 2,000 more items than your average common-quality item. Sure, I could just be arguing semantics at this point, but the point is still there -- epic items are not at all scarce in supply, even though they're rated far, far higher than their supposedly common cousins. It can be safely assumed that as we progress even further into WoW's expansions to come, this number will only get larger.

All this makes me wonder if we've outgrown the days where common items are ... well, common. As we level and particularly with the leveling revamp, our quest rewards -- even at the lowest of levels -- are still of green quality, and many of the end quest chains in those shiny new zones even offer rare-quality items as rewards. With the new transmogrification feature, it is impossible to transmogrify armor that is common quality, no matter how nice it may look. In fact, it seems as if common-quality items are slowly on the way to being phased out altogether, since they serve no real purpose.

Are we slowly approaching a day where common-quality items, weapons and armor become as rare and elusive to find as legendaries? What do you think?

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