Precursors: The Phattest of Lootz

With the inclusion of new legendary weapons in Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns confirmed, fortune seekers and avid gold farming junkies around the world are no doubt chomping at the bit for a crack at the new goodies. However, it has also been revealed that obtaining these new legendaries will not be as simple as hurling fistfuls of gold coins at the Trading Post. New legendaries mean new precursors, and this time around, said precursors might not be as readily available on the Trading Post or waiting patiently in the bowels of the Mystic Forge.

Concept art for Predator, the legendary rifle.

Concept art for the legendary rifle, The Predator.

But how will I get my precursor if I can’t buy it outright or relentlessly bang my head against the Mystic Forge? Not to worry. Heart of Thorns comes fully equipped with all of your precursor-getting needs and accessories. That is to say, a Mastery system and the already present collections system. In a recent interview with MMORPG.com, Colin Johanson stated that players will be able to unlock precursor collections by spending mastery points. This means that players will first have to accumulate mastery points by playing a variety of game content before they can begin collecting materials for their precursor (for more information on the Mastery system, be sure to check out Kriss Watt’s overview here). There will be four tiers of precursor collections to unlock through the Mastery system:

  • Revered Antiquarian – 1 point
  • Magister of Legends – 4 points
  • Historian of the Armaments – 5 points
  • Scholar of Maguuma’s Secrets – 10 points

The first three sets of collections will reward players with the original, pre-expansion precursors. The fourth and final set of collections, Scholar of Maguuma’s Secrets, will enable players to earn brand new precursors for the new set of legendary weapons that will come with Heart of Thorns. The good news is that players will earn mastery points retroactively for content they have already completed. However, it is currently unclear what game content will unlock what precursors.

Concept art for the legendary shield, The Flameseeker Prophecies

Concept art for the legendary shield, The Flameseeker Prophecies

Yes, yes, the Mastery system, blah blah blah, just tell me what items I need to craft my precursor. Well, it’s not that simple. We don’t have any information on what each collection will require. If we look at how collections currently work, we can assume that the items required to complete these collections will be a mixture of preexisting items and new items added to the game specifically for these collections. These items will likely be obtained through a combination of gameplay, random drops, crafting, and Trading Post purchases. All that being said, one does not simply “get their precursor.” ArenaNet wants owning a legendary weapon to be just that: legendary. These precursor collections, while guaranteeing a precursor upon completion, will, by no means, make obtaining a precursor a walk in the park. If they’re smart, and they are, ArenaNet will make these collections incredibly arduous affairs to complete, to the point that many players will be wishing they could simply buy theirs on the Trading Post for 1,000 gold. If you’ve been pining for this fabled “precursor scavenger hunt” for years now, be careful, you might get exactly what you asked for.

Concept art for the legendary staff, The Bifrost.

Concept art for the legendary staff, The Bifrost.

With precursors now being earnable through a guaranteed means, potential economic ramifications come into play. The idea that the new precursor crafting system could possibly end up being restrictive to some players’ interests was mentioned on episode 19 of the GuildMag Podcast, and it is a very legitimate concern. With that potential issue in mind, the most pertinent question is whether or not precursors earned via collections will be account bound. Though many people beg to differ, I believe it would be in ArenaNet’s best interests to make these precursors fully tradable. Why? It gives players more options; the more options, the merrier. There will always be players who want to complete that precursor collection to turn a profit, and likewise there will always be those players who’d rather forgo the collection entirely and spend their hard earned cash on the precursor instead. Furthermore, players would not be able to break the economy by making precursors for profit over and over and over because players will be limited to earning one of each precursor per account via collections. In essence, if precursors earned via collections are made fully tradable, everybody wins. In theory, anyway.

Concept art for the legendary dagger, Incinerator.

Concept art for the legendary dagger, Incinerator.

Everything I just stated is heavily dependent on how easy it will be to obtain precursors through collections. As long as the collection is difficult and challenging enough, the price of these precursors on the Trading Post should remain fairly stable. While a drop in price for the current precursors is inevitable (they’re already falling significantly), the new precursors need only sit somewhere in the 400-800 gold range to hold the same economic clout as the old precursors. Supply and demand will undoubtedly affect these prices as well (precursors for more widely sought legendaries would be more expensive), but barring serious economic oversight by ArenaNet, tradable collection based precursors should not be a serious economic problem.

Undoubtedly, ArenaNet will need to tread carefully if they want their player base to be entirely happy with these changes to precursors and legendaries. However, we must also keep in mind that the percentage of players who own legendaries and have the means to make them is very small, relative the overall player base. If you do intend on questing after a legendary any time soon, be sure to keep an eye out for updates on how these new precursors will be implemented, and be prepared for a long, arduous journey toward one.

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