Legendaries in Shadowlands are yet another complex system which requires a bit of explanation.
How this works:
First of all, you need to unlock a special Runecarver prisoner room in Torghast – this is easy, as you just follow the general questline lead and eventually you will get an access to crafting legendaries. Note: it is the prisoner himself that will do them, so you will have to visit his room every time for crafting and later upgrades (to keep your legendary up-to-date with growing item level during the expansion).
You do not need a profession skill to craft a legendary! There will be a special interface for tinkering as you talk to the Runecarver:
Second: you will need 4 types of mats/resources to make a legendary.
1. Rune Vessel: this is the basic item with no stats at all (yet): armor slots, rings, necklaces. For example, Grim-Veiled Mittens or Grim-Veiled Spaulders. If your character can craft this (jewellery, tailoring etc.) – less bother for you, otherwise you can buy it at auction house.
2. Runecarving Legendary Power: this is an extra perk that you will insert in your legendary. It is spec-specific, each and every power comes from a very certain activity (a drop from a certain boss, PvP, reputation etc.). For example, Disciplinary Command perk drops from Mistcaller boss in Tirna Scythe:
You need to get this item and use it by Runecarver NPC to learn it forever (or rather, Runecarver “remembers” it and learns it forever).
3. Missives: extra stats – like crit, haste, versatility, mastery. You can pick any 2 of them you like for any legendary, and they come in form of crafted/auctioned items. For example, my mage wants crit and haste, so I buy 2 missives in auction house, as I have not leveled Inscription on an alt yet. Note: you cannot insert 2 same stats in one legendary: for example, two crits or two masteries, they have to be different.
4. Soul Ash: the currency you get from looting any Torghast final boss of Floor 6 in every layer (difficulty) and wing. There is a weekly cap for this, as you get Soul Ash only once for every layer. Completing a higher layer gives you all the Soul Ash from this wing’s current and previous layers: for example, doing layer 3 will give you Soul Ash for layers 1, 2, 3 at once.
You can craft as many legendaries as you see fit, but you can wear only 1 legendary at a time, and change it according to your activity (raids, dungeons, PvP etc.). For example, a Cold Front ability requires casting 60 frostbolts/flurries to proc a special benefit, so this is definitely designed for raids, not open world.
Good things about all this?
Player Agency. You can design your own stats, you can pick whichever power you want on your legendary. Also you can plan your activities in advance: unlike Legion, there is a certain source of where you get a certain power in dungeon journal (Powers tab).
If you hover on a perk, you will see its source. For example, I want Freezing Winds perk, and I know that I can get it from Sire Denathrius boss drop.
Relevant Easiness in Getting the Components. As you see from the list above, Vessels and Missives are easily crafted/bought for a small sum, it is not too hard to farm Soul Ash in Torghast, and Legendary Powers have a very certain source: boss drops, reputation, running Torghast and everything.
But then come my issues with this.
- First of all, sources. So far I have only 3 perks available – from dungeon bosses (great drop in heroics btw, 100% for me so far) – and they are irrelevant to my gameplay. One of the perks is for Fire spec, another requires casting different school spells in a row (fire, frost, arcane) to get this crit benefit (in other words, fuck your rotation) and the final one is Cold Front which could be useful only in raids. Technically if you need a BiS legendary you may be stuck with activities you don’t really want to do. Also, time-gating: several perks are hidden behind raid bosses (for me it’s February in LFR when Sire Denathrius can be first killed!), reputation, and completing harder levels of Torghast which depends on your character power.
- Second: perk placement. As you may see in the description, certain perks will work only with certain items. As in example above, you can only insert Freezing Winds perk in head or hands piece. And this is it! So, for example, I have a non-legendary head piece of 151 which I wanted to upgrade by a legendary head piece ilvl, but I cannot insert Cold Front perk into head piece, and I cannot craft it then.
As a semi-casual player though, I’m not hunting for BiS stuff. My approach at this stage of expansion is this:
- Get whatever powers come naturally
- Craft a legendary with at least Frost spec-related power
- Get benefit from legendary ilvl and stats
- Never care for legendary power now
- See what comes next
- No bother and have fun!