Legendary Grind

I continue to play Guild Wars 2.

One of the ancillary goals I have within the game is unlocking a Legendary weapon. These weapons are not actually more powerful than Ascended weapons (stats are the same), but they feature some nice quality of life features. Specifically, their stats can be switched any time outside of combat and they are basically unlocked on all your characters at the same time. Regular Ascended weapons can have their stats switched by sacrificing some items, and they are not soulbound, so technically they can be swapped around on your characters as well. So it’s really about the ultimate convenience.

Legendary weapons in GW2 are part of a monstrously insane grind, however.

I was looking at “Gen-3” Legendary weapons tonight, which are those introduced in the End of Dragons expansion. When you purchase the expansion, you get a free “precursor” weapon, which is the first hit of crack to start you on the downward spiral. I originally chose the Axe, so let’s look at that path. To create the Legendary, you need the following:

Oh, hey, only three items! That should be easy, right?! No. Not at all.

Starting from the top, Gift of Aurene’s Rending:

Aside from Mystic Runestones, which are purchased at 1g apiece from a vendor, the other three items have, you guessed it, four additional components each. The Poem on Axes requires 10 Tales of Adventure, 10 Lamplighter Badges, and two other minor items of no particular consequence. Completing the expansion storyline gives you 14 Tales of Adventure, so technically that’s not a stretch until you want to make another Gen-3 Legendary. The Lamplighter Badges though, require you to achieve map completion on Cantha maps, e.g. explore the entire map and unlocking all the points of interest, Vistas, and so on. You can get 1 per map, so you technically either have to do complete map exploration on more than one character, or repeat an achievement that has you lighting lamps all over the place. All of this is not technically difficult, especially if you have a Skyscale mount so you can fly around, but it is time-consuming.

The Gift of Research… sorry, did you think we were onto a different step? The Gift of Research is straightforward in that you need 3.75g of vendor mats, 250 Essence of Luck, and 500 Hydrocatalytic Reagents which themselves requires 2500 Research Note currency. The Essence of Luck comes from disenchanting gear which you accumulate in abundance; training one character as an Artificer will allow you to combine lower-level Luck into the needed type pretty easily. Research Notes comes from disenchanting crafted items in a way that doesn’t produce Luck, so this step is really all about destroying stuff. There are websites out there that will give you up-to-date info on the cheapest items to craft/buy and destroy for Notes.

Gift of the Mist. This one is where I start shaking my head a bit. This one requires Gift of Glory, Gift of Battle, Gift of War, and Cube of Stabilized Dark Energy. Glory requires 250 currency from PvP, Battle comes from the very end of a WvW Reward Track, War comes in small amounts from WvW Reward Tracks, and the Cube is crafted from two materials gained from salvaging Ascended gear (most efficiently from Fractal content). So, basically, this is the “go do all the other bits of game” step.

Hey, since we already have the precursor, we’re halfway (?) there!

Gift of Jade Mastery has four components.

The Bloodstone Shard costs 200 Spirit Shards, which is one of those currencies you either have thousands of or are starved for, depending on how long you’ve (passively) played GW2. Suffice it to say, you cannot directly purchase them, and must earn them via gaining XP at max level, doing three daily quests, and so on. Gift of Cantha is no big deal, as it requires four items you get from map completion, which you were doing anyway. Antique Summoning Stones, aka ASS, is a currency you can purchase 5 of each week, and earn from doing meta events. Realistically, you are probably buying 3-4 a week unless you are running Strike Missions.

Gift of the Dragon Empire. Oh boy. First is 100 Jade Runestones, which come from special chests in the expansion maps. There used to be an exploit of sorts that allowed you to get one per character parked at the end of a jumping puzzle, but that was recently nerfed and the price has skyrocketed as a result. I have toons parked around the other easiest chests, and I can get 5/day for about 20 seconds of work. Next is 200 Chunks of Pure Jade, which you are technically time-gated on, but it’s as easy as mining ore nodes in one of the maps over the course of three days. Next is 100 Chunks of Ancient Ambergris and this comes from fishing. You can get 1/day from turning in a specific fish, 5/day from turning in Flawless Fish Fillets, and occasionally get them from the fish themselves. Last is Blessing of the Jade Empress x5, which is an item that costs 500 Imperial Favor apiece, a currency you get from completing Events and such around the expansion. This technically isn’t hard to accumulate, but cannot be fast-tracked and requires time on the ground.

Alright, we’re in the final stretch! Draconic Tribute requires:

For the most part, this is the “random bullshit, go!” step. Mystic Clovers are typically acquired 7 at a time at the end of a 28-day daily login reward cycle. You can gamble for them too, or use some more expense currencies to purchase them in limited quantities each week. Gen-1 and Gen-2 Legendaries require 77 of them instead, so Gen-3 is a bit more forgiving in that. Amalgamated Draconic Lodestone can randomly be acquired from a variety of sources, or crafted from components that are randomly acquired. It can also be purchased directly (3/week) using Super Adventure Box currency, which is a once per year festival currently going on. It takes me about 30ish minutes each day to earn about half the required amount of currency. Finally, you have Condensed Might and Magic, which are themselves made up of four Gifts which correspond to the generic loot you may have been accumulating your entire GW2 career, e.g. Fangs, Totems, Scales, etc.

After all of that grind, throw everything into the Mystic Forge and you get your Legendary!

…or just straight-up buy the Legendary from the AH. The Axe is currently being sold for 2550g. The price conversion of gems to gold changes daily, but right now it’s approximately 35g per 100 gems. So that’s 7285 gems or roughly… $91. Yep. $91.

Granted, you can also farm 2550g through the course of the game and just buy it that way without even playing the expansion or doing anything special. Or you can purchase the majority of the necessary crafting items and skip certain sections of the grind. Indeed, it is the only way some of those 5/week limited items are at all reasonable. Plus, this site is showing how you can technically make almost 802g profit by crafting the Legendary Axe with materials you purchased from the AH. Options!

Nevertheless, I find it difficult to get over the $91 thing. Guild Wars 2 is about finding your own goals, as the Exotic Gear you got 10 years ago is still good enough for raiding today. Crafting Legendaries certainly feels like one of those things you can steadily chip away at as a form of content that gets you out in the world playing with other people.

Or you can just open your wallet.

Posted on April 17, 2023, in Guild Wars 2 and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. I’m not playing GW2 at the moment but from memory, aren’t only some of the Legendaries tradeable? The first generation all are, I think, but I seem to remember only about a quarter of the second generation were. I stopped even looking at it before the 3rd gen so I have no idea about those.

    Since I first heard about Legendaries, though, before the game even launched back in 2012, I thought they were an insane waste of time. Not only did I have no interest in doing things I wouldn’t otherwise be doing (I played GW2 pretty much every day for almost a decade and I’ve never done global map completion on a single one of my 20+ characters, for example) but if I ever was going to be lured into it, it would take something a hell of a sight more significant in terms of gameplay advantage than the convenience you describe . Then again, I consider changing my stats as a penance not a utility and tend to lose interest in playing any game that encourages me to do it.

    When I was still playing a while back I considered either buying a Legendary – I have about 15k in gold and at least half that again in stuff I could sell. I also considered making a first-gen Legendary, for which I have all the necessary ingredients bar that map completion thing already stashed away. After thinking about it I decided that even if I got one for zero effort and time, I still would never use it. I wouldn’t use the functionality for the reasons I’ve said and I wouldn’t even use most of the Legendaries for looks because I think they’re unattractive in themselves or they don’t fit with the looks I’ve devised for my characters.

    There are a handful of 2nd Gen Legendaries I might use for appearance but from memory those were not tradeable ones. As I say , I haven’t looked at the 3rd Gen. Maybe there is something there I’d spend some gold on. If so, I would certainly consider that to be a positive thing about the way the game’s set up. Expecting people to do all the actual stuff required to make the damn things is where the design falls down.


    • Christ almighty, 15k gold? That’s easily 5 Legendaries if you wanted. Or convert them to gems to purchase whatever outfits, shared inventory space, or anything else your heart desired.

      Yeah, ultimately the QoL features of a Legendary are probably not the reason anyone should be aiming for one. For one thing, how often is someone really switching between Berserker stats and Viper? There might be an edge case if someone is DPS vs boon support or whatever, but in most cases Ascended Weapons cost like 30g-50g to craft and provide the exact same stats.


  2. It looks like GW2 players are on the korean grind bandwagon, more power to them. I found the grind for ascended to be annoying enough and never even though about legendaries…. then the last expansion hit and it was bad enough to make me stop in a couple of months. From my point of view GW2 is dead, maybe I’ll be back one day, but for the moment I prefer to spend my time playing other games.


    • I remember hearing about Black Desert and its endgame gear progression and thinking “that’s ridiculous,” and here I am taking GW2’s a bit more seriously. Although in Black Desert’s case, I do consider gambling and potentially losing the very item you were trying to upgrade to be the ultimate slap in the face. A cursory Google indicates there may be more safeguards these days though.

      For me, I currently have no other game that fits the MMO hole in my brain, so GW2 it is.


      • Yes, they removed that from BDO, but it was like as you say in the beginning. Which is why I played BDO by exploring around, toying with the knowledge system, and being very careful not to step on the leveling/gearing up treadmill, which is full korean-grind mode, with a good sprinkle of pay-to-win on top. Which is unfortunate, because BDO has a lot of good things which are not in other MMOs.


  3. Lol next click and I’m on the Psychology of Video Games blog which has an episode on grinding :P


  4. I do agree that it sounds worse if you can actually buy the final product but taking a step back and analyzing most crafting in most games (ignoring pure drops)… is it ever different than you just buying all the base materials like 3 levels below your convoluted 7-step process and then still assembling the easy 100 things and forgoing assembling the slow-grind 1000 other things?

    So yeah, buying one feels cheap but if you technically already had 1500g and no where to spend, would you feel different if you somehow went to grind 1000 more and buy it? I dunno, I can’t even answer that for myself.


    • I’m actually 100% fine with the Legendaries being tradable on the AH. Especially in regards to Gen-1 Legendaries that require map completion, which can be a big (mental) block for the average player. I know people who absolutely just log in and redo map completion on extra characters for fun, and them being able to essentially monetize this activity allows them to experience some form of character progression in terms of buying new outfits in the store, etc. Options are generally better.

      The problem I have is when all this game activity ends up (inadvertently) having real-world dollar amounts attached. Last year, I wrote about the dailies I do in GW2, and the conclusion was that I spent 30-40 minutes earning $0.20. That just makes me feel dumb. I’ve never bought gems with the intention of converting them to gold – that feels like a Pay-2-Skip Content situation – but is it very different from me purchasing gems for cash shop items instead of just converting my gold to gems? I don’t know. Meanwhile, I’m over here wrestling with philosophical questions instead of being immersed in the game.


      • Oh right, excellent point. I think I’m I’m just good at pushing that thought aside, because with how much I spend in EVE I’d usually say I work many hours for 15$ – but then again it’s a bit – I know I could just pay, but I don’t WANT to, I’d rather be poor ingame or waste some time doing not-so-fun things in order to have ingame currency to spend on fun things. Also funny how – for me – it totally changes per game. In GW2 I usually have enough to gold to buy everything I need and I mostly buy Gems (rarely) to support the game, in WoW I have so much more than I could ever spend on things I value enough to actually spend it on.. and in EVE I could put 200$ in every month just to have more fun…


      • To add a little more philosophy, how is that different from spending 30-40 minutes in a game where you’ve just bought the box and there’s no explicit real world money exchange rate? Instead of earning any sum, are you not effectively losing some money due to opportunity cost?

        Or is the dilemma more due to the temptation of wanting to pay 2 skip? Resolving that pressure is up to each person. I’ve only converted gems to gold a few times, mostly out of vanity buying Black Lion weapon skin collections off the auction house, and the rationalization there was a monetary reward to myself for getting some irl stuff done.

        For Legendaries, I never had any temptation to skip ahead with gem to gold conversion. The total sum was too rich for my blood; part of the fun was the run up to and steady incrementation of the multiple goals and specifically chasing particular activities for a particular Legendary.

        I did, however, skip ahead with gold into auction house purchases. Especially for activities I hated, like fractals. And farming T6 mats all on your own is a herculean task, despite me enjoying the odd hour just blitzing through fish or cycling through map events – so there was a decent amount of supplementation with the auction house aka paying for other players to share some of the farming load.

        For someone else who feels that $91 isn’t a huge deal to insta-buy a skin, does it really matter? It’s their choice. People shortcut all the time in various games. Some of those shortcuts are worth it to them, some end up feeling like ash because they’re at the end without the journey. I think it boils down to what they wanted out of it. Did they want the shiny skin to just wave around and show off? Or did they want the experience of working towards and finally obtaining the shiny skin?


      • @Jeromai

        The box cost is sunk at time of purchase (or past the refund window) and isn’t really relevant anymore. A cash shop though, especially one that pops up by default every time, is a much more in-your-face daily reminder of the exact worth of your in-game activity. If there isn’t a cash shop at all, the “worth” of your activity is essentially equal to your fun. With a cash shop, it is equal to your fun or $X, and I have to constantly calm the dissonance to maintain immersion.

        There is no scenario in which I actual pay $91 for a Legendary. But I have purchased, say, the top-tier EoD expansion package specifically for the extra gems and character slot, with the understanding that I’d rather purchase things like Shared Inventory Slots with gems from direct cash rather than spend gold to convert to gems. For one, the conversion rate is awful. For two, by keeping the gold “pure” in that I farmed the gold to purchase AH things for gold, I internally justify the in-game farming (despite it being 20 cents/day of economic activity).

        The logic is goofy as shit and contradictory besides, but as you say, each person has to resolve the dissonance in their own way.


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