I have two traits in my personality that many people might find amusing. The first is odd numbers; I simply cannot stand them. I had to stop playing Final Fantasy 8 shortly after its release because of the magic draw system and the fact I would obtain random quantities from enemies, that upset my equal figures. The second is randomness and how it infuriates me in video games. I’ve therefore come to the conclusion over the last few days that I hate the Mystic Forge.
Luckily for me, the Mystic Forge uses 4 components (a lovely even number) and so I can breathe a mild sigh of relief that ArenaNet at least had the curtsey to keep things balanced. However, the fact that finding recipes is a game of luck rather than one of calculation can be infuriating.
What I find most frustrating is not only the infinite possibilities but the seemingly illogical approach to obtaining or discovery items. For example, I don’t believe there is a single recipe in existence for Superior Runes of Divinity, with the only viable method being salvaging it from existing items, finding it in loot drops, buying it on the Trading Post (and paying through the nose) or forging it. As the chances of finding it on an item or as a drop are ridiculously slim and the Trading Post will cost you a fortune, it’s perhaps logical to think that the Mystic Forge might be a viable solution where a little risk, might yield reward (in the form of a guaranteed method of obtaining one). However, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
With a total of 55 runes (and although my maths could be off) that is a possible 341,055 permutations to try to discover a single consistent recipe, if the order doesn’t matter and if the items can’t repeat, for just one Rune. Having already thrown 80 random major runes into the Mystic Forge I can categorically state I never once received even a single Superior Rune of any value. The issue then becomes whether you continue to throw money at it (and hope for the best) believing that it will be the next attempt that sees you secure a rare item.
You could argue that I’m simply not approaching it logically- that perhaps there is a set of 4 Runes out there which when placed into the Mystic Forge result in a Superior Rune of Divinity. Perhaps there is. However, for the cost versus reward it absolutely isn’t worth your time or your investment unless by an absolute miracle you discover it within the first few attempts, which again boils down to complete luck.
On the subject of Legendary Weapons, the precursors fall into the same trap. Legendary items are designed to be an achievement of hard work, dedication and time and yet the fundamental item that all the gifts revolve around has become nothing more than a glorified slot machine.
As someone who does intend to have a Legendary Weapon at some stage, it’s relatively apparent that unless I grind down the astronomical sums of money to purchase at the Trading Post, the only alternative is to re-approach the Mystic Forge, which has a divine ability to sap your confidence and your wallet in a matter of moments. I could theoretically spend over 200g on the Mystic Forge combining 4 rare or exotic items (above level 75) in the hopes of obtaining a precursor and yet having seen and spoken to individuals who have and failed, it too seems a grand waste of time and money. Some might state that that is the purpose of the Legendary Items, to make them difficult to obtain, but I don’t believe difficulty is equal to luck.
There is every possibility that an individual might throw in 4 items and obtain the Legendary precursor weapon on their first attempt and yet another might never in a life time obtain it through the Mystic Forge; surely that is a fundamentally flawed system. Similarly to what I suggested about Superior Runes, there could be a logical and guaranteed method of obtaining legendary precursors. I would like to think this is the case, but even then this would boil down to luck and it's something I’m simply not willing to support.
To make matters worse, those who landed lucky (it can only be described as that) or used Alpha experience and obtained precursors early, now have the wealth to control the market (and thus buy up those listed) guaranteeing more wealth and more bullish behaviour. As the documentation of those finding bugs in the Mystic Forge to obtain vast quantities of precursors are well known and as I’ve no doubt gold sellers are also playing their part in controlling these items, the prospect of ever obtaining a Legendary Item feels like a headache, rather than an adventure.