As things stand now, precursors are quite likely my least favorite part of the process because there's just no fun way of getting them. You can either gamble on the Mystic Forge, trust your luck to the RNG gods for a drop with an infinitesimal chance, or buy one from someone luckier than you. I was fortunate enough to buy The Chosen outright for about 210 gold (right after it dropped from 250 gold and right before it jumped up to its current price of about 330g), but not before I'd chucked about 60 shields (a small number, by most accounts) into the Forge and run more high-end dragon-type events than I could mark on my notepad.
If you're smart or lucky enough to be going after Kraitkin or another legendary with a cheap precursor, your way forward should be incredibly obvious. If you are cursed with a desire for Twilight or one of the other legendaries whose precursors are in the 500-700 range, well, it can be a little more intimidating to think about shelling out for 'em. That said, my personal advice would still be to plan on buying your precursor. For every freak story of someone getting Dusk after a single flush of the Mystic Toilet, there are about 10 YouTube videos of someone flushing hundreds or thousands of greatswords with no return.
The Gift of the Flameseeker Prophecies
Right up until I remembered that this Gift required 100 onyx lodestones (as part of the sub-Gift of History), I was ready to declare this to be the least demanding component of the four main parts of the legendary.
I should count myself lucky, I know. It could have been charged lodestones, but that's relatively small comfort. I scrimped. I saved. I put up magic find gear and ran the Jade Maw fractal and Twilight Arbor and slaughtered Earth Elementals in Orr for hours and days and weeks. I begged. I bought. I converted shards into cores and cores into lodestones. Nothing pleased me more than the sight of a lump of rock in my loot window.
The rest of this one was easy by comparison. Before the dragon chest changes, I left my Necromancer parked near the icy runestone vendor, played the bejeebus out of the Claw of Jormag event chain, and bought a runestone every other day or so to save up. I ran alts through gathering rotations to stock up on orichalcum, then used spare orichalcum to fund everything else that could be bought. I was lucky that I needed tokens from Ascalonian Catacombs for this Gift in that I love running that dungeon; I was less lucky in that I could have totally bought like two more weapons with those 500 tokens.
But those damn lodestones, man. You don't even know.
The Gift of Mastery
This is easily my favorite part of the legendary largely because it had the least to do with proving that I could endure the foibles of the RNG god and cough up globs of cash on demand and the most to do with actually having fun and doing cool stuff in the game.
I saved up about half of the Badges of Honor the old-fashioned way (read: by tearing them, bloody, from the still-warm corpses of my badly mangled foes) before I went for the cleaner but ultimately less fulfilling route of running through the Obsidian Sanctum jumping puzzle regularly. To every Sanctum of Rall Mesmer who has ever hung around offering ports: I thank you.
The Gift of Exploration was actually the first thing I really did for this legendary (I got it in late December) and was possibly the most "yeah I totally earned this" part of the whole process. I knew what I had to do and precisely what I had to do to get it. Filling out the map took time and effort, but it felt way better to get the reward at the end than any of the RNG shenanigans that were part of the whole deal.
The Gift of Fortune
Alternatively known as the Sacrifice to the RNG God or the Gift of Ectos? What Else Could You Possibly Need Those For, this Gift was the longest slog and possibly the most draining of the four main components.
Not to go off-message, but I do have to admit that the 10x mystic clover recipe may well be my favorite gamble in the game (at least, one that remains a real gamble -- the laurel vendor's heavy crafting bags are great because you know for sure that each laurel will buy you three T6 mats, but while that's RNG-related, I don't count it a real gamble). Except for when you roll a natural one and end up with 10 hidden treasures for your trouble, you're almost guaranteed to get something useful and valuable, even if you don't actually get the thing you wanted.
The Gifts of Might and Magic are just another money check. Others have put their vote behind Heavy Moldy Bags as a cost-efficient way to fill out your T6 stacks. As these were the very last things I completed, I was pretty much done with RNGs and couldn't stand the thought of looking at yet another thick leather section, so I just posted a pile of purchase orders on the trading post.
Setting out on this, I was really keen on two points: I didn't want my characters to go broke in pursuit of the legendary, and I didn't want to earn it by doing things I didn't enjoy. Looking back on the last three months of effort, I can handily say that I succeeded in the second bit, while I kind of more or less maybe a bit stuck to the first part.
The nice thing about the numerous money sinks is that you can accumulate money however you like. If playing the TP is your cup of tea, do that; if it's open world events, run those. I do a bit of everything, including really inefficient things. That might have made it a longer journey, but I place a much higher value on the fact that I've never felt burned out or like I wasn't enjoying the process.
The greatest asset on your legendary hunt will be your friends. Whether they're running dungeons with you, helping you run yet another alt through skill point challenges for crystals and philosopher's stones, selling you lodestones on the cheap, or simply listening as you yammer on about how you only have 720 materials to go, they'll make all the difference.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to go bash some centaur's face in with the transcribed ravings of a three-hundred-years-dead lunatic.
Elisabeth Cardy is a longtime Guild Wars player, wielder of the Flameseeker Prophecies, and the writer of Flameseeker Chronicles here at Massively. The column updates on Tuesdays and keeps a close eye on Guild Wars, Guild Wars 2, and anything bridging the two. Email Elisabeth at firstname.lastname@example.org.