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A legendary for all, courtesy of Wrathion

A legendary for all, courtesy of Wrathion
Anne Stickney
Anne Stickney|June 30, 2013 4:00 PM
A legendary for all
It's confirmed -- everyone does indeed get a legendary, if they manage to finish Wrathion's expansion-long chain of requests. However, unlike any prior legendary to date, Wrathion's offering won't be a new set of weapons to wield ... and that's making some players a little irritated. Rather than the usual arming with weapons, Wrathion has instead chosen to give everyone legendary-quality cloaks, enhancing the cloaks received in patch 5.3 with some extra power -- and a little orange text -- in patch 5.4.

Yes, some may have been expecting weapons -- but really, Wrathion's offering makes a lot more sense in terms of gameplay, balance, and possibly Wrathion's true motives in this little endeavor as well. In fact, the legendary offered in Mists of Pandaria manages to break every single perception we had about what a legendary is to date.

A legendary for all, courtesy of Wrathion
What is a legendary? Over the years, the means of obtaining one may have changed a little, but the general gist of it remained the same: an incredibly powerful item, not easily obtained, that provided the wielder with way more power than an epic-quality item. In expansions past, that item has always been a weapon, with one exception -- the Talisman of Binding Shard, a legendary necklace that was obtained by one person in vanilla and then promptly removed from the game. Because of this, the expectation has always been that a legendary must always be a weapon -- even if that's not necessarily the case.

So the big innovation number one? No weapon this time -- instead, we have a cloak with some amazing procs. By making the legendary a cloak, the class restriction for that item has automatically vanished --- and the stats for a cloak can be far more easily balanced across all classes. And for those that aren't a fan of the graphics, a cloak can be turned off so it isn't seen. While most legendary weapons are wielded with pride, let's face it -- during Cataclysm, I was terribly disappointed I couldn't transmog my daggers to be something a little less ... clashy with everything else I had on my character. Now I can show my cloak, or I can hide it.

Big innovation number two: Putting the legendary in the hands of players rather than a guild. Originally, legendaries were drops from raid content. This evolved into the collection of pieces that began with Atiesh in vanilla and picked up again with Val'anyr in Ulduar. There were several problems with this -- first, you absolutely had to raid if you wanted the item. Second, only one person could be on the quest and picking up the items at a time. Third, you had to cross your fingers and hope that your guild liked you well enough to allow you to get that item first -- or hope that your turn for the item would come up before the content was outdated and no longer run.

A legendary for all, courtesy of Wrathion
The legendary quest chain in Mists breaks all of those barriers down by simply putting the onus of obtaining all the pieces in the hands of the individual player. You don't even need a guild anymore -- you can obtain all the pieces in LFR, if you can't commit to a raiding guild. Yes, it does take time, particularly if you're hopping in on the chain midway through the expansion, but it's still possible to catch up and obtain it. Whether or not you get the legendary is entirely in your hands -- it's a test not only of your individual skill as a player, but your patience as you wait (albeit not-so-patiently sometimes, in my case) for the RNG gods to smile upon you and give you what you need.

But perhaps the largest innovation is in how this whole quest was handled. This wasn't a legendary obtained in a particular tier of content -- this was a sprawling chain that stretched the entire length of an expansion. Each leg offered different legendary quality rewards, whether a socket, a gem, or a cloak -- none of which were the traditionally expected weapon, but all of which offered a means for players to enhance their power in suitably ridiculous, legendary fashion.

In a way, Pandaria's story has been playing all along in its different chapters, but Wrathion's tale has been flawlessly woven into the whole of it, decidedly behind the scenes. And the fact that we're getting a cloak rather than a weapon is almost a telling nod to Wrathion's motives. He's giving us powerful items, but that last item isn't a weapon of destruction, although it certainly augments our power. It's an item commonly used for protection -- an additional shield against whatever the horrors of Azeroth fling our way.

A legendary for all, courtesy of Wrathion
This could be taken several different ways. Perhaps Wrathion, in all of his infinite wisdom, just wants to make sure that his heroes are well guarded against whatever it is he's seen in his visions. Perhaps he's just making sure we never have anything in our hands that could potentially be used to kill him, like the daggers that killed his father. Or perhaps he's trying to give us a hidden message -- that in some cases, defense is really the best offense you can have.

Regardless of his motives, the addition of legendary armor to the game has officially broken the last of the long-standing expectations players have had surrounding legendary items. What did you think of Wrathion's quest chain? Are you looking forward to your cloak? Have you been patient enough to pass Wrathion's tests, or did you give up on obtaining a legendary of your own? What do you think of Wrathion's final reward?

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A legendary for all, courtesy of Wrathion