Diablo III Legendary Helms… Are They Really That Bad?

A reader named Set sent in the image you see to the right. It’s the millionth “D3 uniques suck” argument made this week since release, but as I looked over the image I found some points worth debating. I agree on the general issue, which is that D3’s legendary items are lacking. This is most obvious with the weapons, which are grotesquely underpowered, compared to good (much less great) rares, and this becomes all the more true in the end game. D3’s legendary armor isn’t that bad though… is it? Not as bad as the Stealskull vs. Giant Skull image would imply, at least.

Obviously the two helms in that image aren’t comparable in value, but comparing just one D2 helm (one of the better ones) vs. just one D3 helm (one of the not-better ones) is pretty uneven. Even the helm in the picture isn’t a fair comparison, since Giant Skull has 2 random affixes, and in the pictured example they came up snake eyes, granting Poison Resistance and Attacker Takes Damage on hit — which are two of the least useful mods you’re every likely to see. Imagine that same helm with 90 Vitality and 40 Res All… that would make for quite a different valuation, eh?

There are several other contributing factors I want to discuss, before I turn to an analysis of every unique helm in the game. Yes, I said all of them.

1) D2X’s unique and set helms are generally very overpowered, compared to the stats on comparable other armor types. (Basically, if you didn’t have a great hat in D2, your gear sucked. This wasn’t necessarily true of your belt, boots, gloves, etc.) I always liked the Stealskull myself, since the IAS was a nice boost from the hat slot, but it’s got relatively low leech values, no resistance, no +skills, and no hit points, which leaves a lot of room for improvement.

Just to name a few off the top of my head (hah!) compare that to Tal Rasha’s Horadric Crest, the Harlequin Crest (SHAKO!), the Vampire Gaze, Andariel’s Visage, Kira’s Guardian, Griffin’s Eye, or pretty much any of the Barb or Druid helms, or runewords. And that’s not even mentioning rare circlets that could spawn with dual leech and numerous other great stats, and were quite affordable to gamble repeatedly.

In other words, Stealskull was not the best helm, largely since there were a crazy number of other helms with even more outrageously-great stats. A fairer comparison would be to select one of the better (but not the best) of D2’s unique belts, boots, body armor, etc, which would almost certainly give you something much less desirable to all classes than the Stealskull.

2) Ironically, Stealskull is *not* an example of the other big problem with D3 uniques; their blandness and lack of flavor. This is because Stealskull has very good stats, but they’re very generic and thus useful to all of the classes, though much less so to the Sorc and Necro who get nothing from the leech. Stealskull is equivalent to a very good rare circlet, but one of the main complaints about D3’s legendaries is that… they’re only equivalent to very good Rares, and that’s boring. Many of us want the D3 uniques to be better quality, but also specialized and flavorful. Like this D2X unique Druid helm:

– +120-150% Enhanced Defense
– All Resistances +15-25
– +3 to Elemental Skills (Druid Only)
– 20-30 to Energy
– 10-20% to Enemy Fire Resistance
– 7 to Raven (Druid Only)

Not the best hat in the game, and most Druids would take a SHAKO or several of the others I mentioned previously over a Ravenlore, but it’s pretty good, and it does some interesting things you can’t get easily (if at all) from other items, and not at all from Rares. Which is exactly what most of us liked so much about D2’s uniques/sets/runewords.

3) Inferno Says No! Diablo III’s Inferno difficulty and the integrated Auction House exacerbate all of the D3 Legendary item problems in a variety of ways. Inferno’s high difficulty functions as a “gear check” on Acts 2-4, which makes players VERY aware of the lacking quality of their gear. The AH makes that great gear very visible and drives home the fact that A) you can’t find it in game and B) you can’t afford it in the AH. The biggest problem though, is one I’ve only come to realize over time. Their scarcity, which is directly related to the D3 economy, which is directly related to the Auction House.

D2 didn’t attempt to create a balanced long term economy. In that game top quality gear dropped MUCH more often than it does in D3, which was the item slot machine that kept so many of us addicted for years. The downside was that all those great items dropping led to rapid inflation and required regular ladder wipes and new seasons with a fresh economy. D3 aimed to change that dynamic and to create a long term stable economy, and so far it seems to be doing pretty well at that. But, and this is a bigger butt than yo momma’s, to make D3’s economy work and to keep the GAH and RMAH viable, the game must drop top quality items much less frequently than D2 did. Which leads directly to the much less common and much lower quality uniques and sets.

It’s funny how unintended consequences work, eh? We all complained about D2’s economy and lack of viable currency, and D3 comes along and correct most of D2’s problems in those areas, and it turns out that the cure is much worse than the disease.

Read on for coverage of every single legendary helm in Diablo III, some of which actually aren’t that bad. (Unlike the jokes…)

Diablo III Legendary Helm Analysis

All the above was a short intro that grew overlong. My whole point here was just to skim over the unique helms in D3 and see if their stats really were all that awful. So here goes.

(You should be able to hover on all of the linked names and load a tooltip popup style box that shows the full item name and stats. If you don’t see this, you’ve probably got some script blockers working on your browser and you need to enable this site and IncGamers and DiabloNut to see the full content. And turn make IncGamers an exception to your ad blocker while you’re at it; what do you think, the Internet Fairy pays for our hosting and operational costs?)

All the following comments are based on a character using the item at or around the minimum level. One of the most obviously changes in uniques from D2 to D3 is that nothing in D3 is ever meant to be useful for very long after it’s found. In D2 there were any number of normal difficulty uniques and sets that were still quite useful, even in the end game. Mostly these were Magic Find items like Tarnhelm, Goldwrap, Chance Guards, and others, but even things like Sigon’s gloves, Bladebuckle, Frost Burns, Stone of Jordan, and Ume’s Lament were all findable and equippable by level 25, and remained viable in Act 5/Hell. You could do better with higher level gear, but you could certainly do worse.

I suppose one could argue that this was a flaw in D2’s item system, and that it didn’t properly reward higher levels and character improvement, and that it was lame to find or equip an item at level level 15 and then never upgrade it again… but oddly enough, no one seemed to make that claim while actually playing the game.

See No Evil
– Increases Spirit Regeneration by (1.00-1.17) per Second
– +(6-11) Vitality
– Monster kills grant +(7-8) experience.
– 3 Random Magic Affixes
– Item level 13
– Required level 10

This is a Monk-only hat, and well… maybe. With decent mods this would be far better than 95% of rares you might find at that level, but due to the way low that only low level affixes spawn on low level gear, there’s no way this item could have useful stats past about level 20.

That’s an interesting thought, though. What if low level uniques still dropped later in the game in D3, and were upgraded in their item level to possibly get high level affixes? Say this item could drop as a level 60 item, and it spawned with +100 to a pair of stats, and was socketed? Yeah, you’re right, it would still suck…

Split Tusk
– Monster kills grant +(7-8) experience.
– Regenerates 1 Life per Second
– +(20-29) Maximum Mana
– +3 Random Magic Affixes
– Item level 13
– Required level 10

This one holds a special place in my heart, since it was the first legendary I ever found, and I actually found it while playing a Witch Doctor, in early Act Two, and my WD wasn’t twinked… and it was still useless!

Also, I misspelled “colon” in the first sentence of the last paragraph.

Broken Crown
– Monster kills grant +(9-10) experience.
– +(18-23) Vitality
– Attack Speed Increased by (3-4)%
– +3 Random Magic Affixes
– Item Level: 19
– Required Level: 16

Much like the first unique helm… maybe. At the level. Depending on the random affixes. That said, it’s the same problem with most of the legendaries in D3… it’s basically a Rare. Nothing to make it stand out or do anything different.

One possible fix to the D3 legendaries is to hugely upgrade the stats on low level items. Say this helm had +15% faster attack speed, instead of the piddling 3-4%. A helm with that much IAS for the end game would probably be IMBA, but since this item can’t get any big bonuses to anything else, it wouldn’t be viable to wear in Inferno just for that IAS. But it would be awesome in Normal and probably into Nightmare.

(Yes, this directly contradicts my suggestion for rolling higher ilvl affixes on low level uniques if they could drop later in the game. I never promised you consistency.)

Gyana Na Kashu
– +(3-4)% Life
– (7-8)% Better Chance of Finding Magical Items
– Gain (0.5-0.6) Life per Spirit Spent
– +3 Random Magic Affixes
– Item Level: 21
– Required Level: 18

Another class-specific, this is a Monk helm and it’s not awful. Another issue with D3’s legendaries is the junior versions of end game bonuses. So you get .5% life per Spirit spent, and 3-4% life. Which sounds fine, until you realize a character at this level has like 400 hit points and is spending 10 or 20 Spirit. Which works out to a whopping +12 to total life and a massive 5 hit point heal every time you use say, DiabloWikiBlinding Flash. Woowoo!

Leoric’s Crown
– Critical Hit Chance Increased by 1.5%
– +(64-72) Armor
– +(3-4)% Life
– +3 Random Magic Affixes
– Item Level: 25
– Required Level: 22

In a better world, this item would have 1) a really good chance to drop from King Leoric, and 2) stats that had some relevance to King Leoric. A bonus to damage against the undead? Bonus damage to Cleave? Some % chance to spawn a skeleton minion? +1 to annoying laughter and +2 to Metconned sons?

– Increases Mana Regeneration by 4 per Second
– +(42-47) Intelligence
– Attack Speed Increased by (3-4)%
– +3 Random Magic Affixes
– Item Level: 29
– Required Level: 26

Another class-specific helm. Do you realize you’ve got to go all the way to level 45 to find the second unique helm that’s not only for WDs or Monks? As for this one… eh. At least they gave it a pair of WD-specific mods.

The Mind’s Eye
– Attack Speed Increased by (4-5)%
– +(48-53) Dexterity
One of the following:
— Reduces resource cost of Cyclone Strike by 1-2 Spirit.
— Increases Way of the Hundred Fists Damage by 5-6%
— Increases Sweeping Wind Damage by 5-6%
— Increases Exploding Palm Damage by 5-6%
— Increases Crippling Wave Damage by 5-6%
— Increases Deadly Reach Damage by 5-6%
— Increases Fists of Thunder Damage by 5-6%
– +3 Random Magic Affixes
– Item Level: 35
– Required Level: 33

Another Monk-only hat, and lookie there, some bonuses to specific to a Monk skills! The damage increases are pretty tiny, but my favorite is the reduced cost to cast DiabloWikiCyclone Strike. A mildly-useful utility attack skill that costs fifty Spirit to cast. So clearly, cutting 2-4% off the casting cost is precisely what legendary items were created for.

Tiklandian Visage
– Regenerates (8-11) Life per Second
– +(48-53) Intelligence
– +(11-15) Poison Resistance
– Monster kills grant +(17-18) experience.
– Health Globes Grant +(295-459) Life.
– +1 Random Magic Affixes
– Item Level: 35
– Required Level: 33

Another WD hat, and another grab bag of “good but not great” rare mods. At least it’s colorful and sure to enhance all of your dog bone and coconut shell clothing.

The Swami
– +(11-12)% Extra Gold from Monsters
– +(54-59) Vitality
– +(11-20) Resistance to All Elements
– +3 Random Magic Affixes
– Item Level: 41
– Required Level: 39

Adding some variety to our headgear, this one’s a Wizard-only helm. Nice to see a third class get nothing in particular from a unique helm.

Blind Faith
– Regenerates (29-35) Life per Second
– Melee attackers take (41-69) damage per hit
– (1.0-2.0)% Chance to Blind on Hit
– +3 Random Magic Affixes
– Item Level: 47
– Required Level: 45

One of the cooler looking helms, with a blank face covered in spikes, like an inside out Iron Maiden. (Or some sort of really odd kitchen tool worn like a gas mask.) And it’s even got two themed stats; attackers take damage on hit and chance to blind. Happily, both are low enough that you’ll never really notice them.

It would be nice if D3 had some sort of headbutt attack that this one greatly enhanced the damage of, the way spiked shields had higher Smite damage in D2. Alas, not even the Monk rolls martial arts in that style.

Erlang Shen
– Reduces duration of control impairing effects by (7-8)%
– Increases Spirit Regeneration by (1.00-1.83) per Second
– +(16-62) Dexterity
– +(16-62) Vitality
– +3 Random Magic Affixes
– Item Level: 47
– Required Level: 45

A Monk-only hat, and I’d have guessed that Erlang Shen was the Jeweler’s long lost son/brother/evil twin, but alas that lore implication seems to have been overlooked. The stats are nice, and would make for a great legendary Monk helm… at about level 15.

Giant Skull
– +(60-65) Strength
– +(127-217) Armor
– (1.0-3.5)% Chance to Knockback on Hit
– Empty Socket
– +2 Random Magic Affixes
– Item Level: 53
– Required Level: 52

At last we’re to the hat that prompted this whole article, and it was certainly worth the wait! The +str pretty much sends this purely to Barbarians, and like the last hat, it would be quite nice with about 1/3 the level requirement. Even level 30ish, this could still be pretty good. At 52, though? Seriously? At least it’s got a socket, which is more than most of the legendary helms can say.

Bezoar Stone
– +3% Life
– Melee attackers take (132-208) damage per hit
– (10.0-30.0)% chance to inflict Bleed for (73-147)-(74-294) damage over 5 seconds.
One of the following:
— Reduces resource cost of Cyclone Strike by 1-3 Spirit.
— Increases Way of the Hundred Fists Damage by 5-8%
— Increases Sweeping Wind Damage by 5-8%
— Increases Exploding Palm Damage by 5-8%
— Increases Crippling Wave Damage by 5-8%
— Increases Deadly Reach Damage by 5-8%
— Increases Fists of Thunder Damage by 5-8%
– +2 Random Magic Affixes
– Item Level: 54
– Required Level: 53

Bezoar stones are actual things; objects a bit like human pearls which are found in the intestines and stomach. In the medieval days they were believed to cure any poison, and they’re commonly used in fantasy stories. One made an appearance in Harry Potter, when Ron was poisoned while being cured of a love potion, and Harry saved his life by stuffing a bezoar stone down his throat.

Naturally, this being a Diablo III legendary item, every thematic opportunity is missed, and there’s absolutely nothing in the item stats that has any connection to poison resistance, or even poison damage. So did they get the name from a random word generator? Or just the stats?

The Eye of the Storm
– +(31-40) Resistance to All Elements
– +(66-71) Dexterity
– Adds 4% to Lightning Damage
– Increases Spirit Regeneration by (1.00-2.00) per Second
+2 Random Magic Affixes
Item Level: 57
Required Level: 56

Yet another Monk helm, and now we’re getting high enough level to start fairly evaluating gear vs. end game stuff. In this case it’s not a terrible comparison, since this hat can actually have some pretty decent stats. Decent Dex, nice Res All, and even a slightly-interesting bonus to lightning damage. With good random affixes this could be comparable to a good (but not great) rare.

Yes, I just said something positive about one of the items. Sorry, it just slipped out.

The Grin Reaper
– +(11-20) Resistance to All Elements
– +(327-569) Life after Each Kill
– (9-10)% Better Chance of Finding Magical Items
– +(90-104) Maximum Mana
– +3 Random Magic Affixes
– Item Level: 58
– Required Level: 57

Decent stats, but at level 57 you’d need to strike gold on all 3 random mods to make this one viable. Note also that it’s a reaper of the “grin” not “grim.” What that means, I’m not sure. Sounds like something to do with making someone laugh before chopping off their head. Naturally, nothing in the stats gives any hint towards what the name means.

(There is a DiabloWikiGrim Reaper in Diablo III, but it’s nothing to do with the legendary scythes, as you might expect. Instead, it’s a rune effect in the Demon Hunter’s DiabloWikiMarked for Death. The rune effect has nothing to do with the name, but it’s at least associated with the name of the base skill.)

Dark Mage’s Shade
– Critical Hit Chance Increased by 3.0%
– Reduces duration of control impairing effects by (9-10)%
One of the following:
— +(22-75) Intelligence
— +(22-75) Vitality
One of the following:
— Reduces resource cost of Hydra by 1-6 Arcane Power.
— Reduces resource cost of Arcane Torrent by 1-3 Arcane Power.
— Increases Critical Hit Chance of Ray of Frost by 2-5%
— Increases Critical Hit Chance of Explosive Blast by 2-5%
— Reduces resource cost of Disintegrate by 1-3 Arcane Power.
— Increases Electrocute Damage by 5-9%
– +2 Random Magic Affixes
– Item Level: 58
– Required Level: 57

This one is potentially viable with good luck on the random affixes. Critical hit chance is nice, and it’s got Int and Vit, though not very much. The bonuses to specific Wizard skills are kind of cool, though much too paltry.

Andariel’s Visage
– Critical Hit Chance Increased by 3.0%
One of 3 Magic Properties (varies):
— +(112-129) Dexterity
— +(112-129) Intelligence
— +(112-129) Strength
– +(31-35) Poison Resistance
– Attack Speed Increased by (5-6)%
– Regenerates (81-99) Life per Second
– +1 Random Magic Affixes
– Item Level: 59
– Required Level: 58

Since we’re up to level 58 now, how about 2 of the 3 magical properties? Or even 3 of the 3? It’s nice that they at least threw in some mention of poison to go with Andariel, though I think poison damage would be more appropriate. But since putting damage on a hat would have been weird and different and interesting… close call, there.

Mempo of Twilight
– +(6-7)% Life
– Attack Speed Increased by (5-6)%
– Reduces duration of control impairing effects by (11-12)%
– +(11-20) Resistance to All Elements
– +2 Random Magic Affixes
– Item Level: 61
– Required Level: 60

Item level 61, so we’re into the end game, should be kick ass stuff, and yet… where’s the beef? They should have called it Meh-po of Twilight, cause that’s the sound you make when you see it. You’d need 2 fantastic random affixes to make this one end game viable.

Just out of curiosity, I just checked the GAH on this one and through 10 pages, the highest auction price was 3.2m for one that rolled random mods for 135 Str and 56 Dex. Which is about 3m more than I’d pay for it. The majority with buyouts were in the 150-200k range, also known as the “because buying Fiery Brimstone directly is boring” price point.

Tzo Krin’s Gaze
– +3% Life
– +(60-65) Vitality
– Gain (15.1-29.8) Life per Spirit Spent
– Attack Speed Increased by (5-6)%
– +2 Random Magic Affixes
– Item Level: 61
– Required Level: 60

Another Monk hat, and a perfect example of the “this is a Rare with orange letters” school of D3 legendary design.

The Helm of Command
– +8% Chance to Block
– +(84-89) Vitality
– +4 Random Magic Affixes
– Item Level: 62
– Required Level: 60

This one is created from a Blacksmith recipe that you’ll never find, hence the high degree or randomness. This could actually be turned into a viable Legendary pretty easily, just by adding another good preset mod or two, while retaining the unpredictability of 4 random affixes.

As you’d expect, the prices on this one vary wildly. In the first ten pages of the GAH check I just did, I saw them ranging from 200k to 98m, though that one was laughably overpriced. There were quite a few in the 6-10m range though, and they were more or less in line with market realities.

– Regenerates (161-234) Life per Second
One of 2 Magic Properties (varies)
— +(84-89) Dexterity
— +(11-20) Resistance to All Elements
– Increases Spirit Regeneration by (1.00-2.33) per Second
One of 7 Magic Properties (varies)
— Reduces resource cost of Cyclone Strike by 1-5 Spirit.
— Increases Way of the Hundred Fists Damage by 5-12%
— Increases Sweeping Wind Damage by 5-12%
— Increases Exploding Palm Damage by 5-12%
— Increases Crippling Wave Damage by 5-12%
— Increases Deadly Reach Damage by 5-12%
— Increases Fists of Thunder Damage by 5-12%
– +1 Random Magic Affixes
– Item Level: 62
Required Level: 60

Visage of Giyua
– +3% Life
One of 2 Magic Properties (varies)
— +150-169 Intelligence
— +84-89 Intelligence
One of 4 Magic Properties (varies)
— Reduces cooldown of Summon Zombie Dogs by 1-8 seconds.
— Increases Critical Hit Chance of Acid Cloud by 2-7%
— Increases Locust Swarm Damage by 5-12%
— Reduces resource cost of Firebats by 4-10 Mana.
– Increases Mana Regeneration by (10-11) per Second
– +2 Random Magic Affixes
– Item Level: 62
– Required Level: 60

I’m naturally predisposed to like any item with “visage” in the name, because it’s a cool word and because the grim visage was an item type with a superb unique in D2. (Actually, when I got the link I realized that the awesome D2 unique hat was the grim helm, and the elite item type was the bone visage. But close enough for 10 year old memories.)

That said, I don’t get the variable properties on some items, where they’re the same bonus, but one is much bigger than the other. This just seems mean; so you find this damn thing on your 1 in 50,000,000,000 drop, and then you get 87 Int, instead of 165 Int. Why such a big range, when the lower one is enough to basically doom the item to junk status?

Also, why are the reduces cooldowm time and reduces resource cost bonuses on all of these helms so utterly irrelevant? It’s like the devs set all those stats for Normal difficulty, and then just never raised them for higher levels.

Storm Crow
– Critical Hits grant (9-10) Arcane Power
– +(84-89) Intelligence
– +(84-89) Strength
– +(84-89) Dexterity
– +(84-89) Vitality
– Each Hit Adds +(55-94) Life
– Adds (5-6)% to Lightning Damage
– Increases Damage Against Elites by (3-4)%
– +2 Random Magic Affixes
– Item Level: 62
– Required Level: 60

Well, it’s certainly a well-rounded item. Nothing a Wizard wants more than +86 dex and strength on a level 62 legendary hat. At least the +AP from critical hits is kind of different, though high level wizards aren’t real known for their difficulties maintaining sufficient Arcane Power, given how many other ways there are to generate it.

And that’s it. All 23 legendary helsm, as of v1.0.3 Diablo III. There are also nine Set helms, but this is way too long already, and they’re just more of the same as the legendary helms. Equivalent to good (but not great) rares if they roll very well on the random mods.

As has often been lamented by fans, there are no ilvl 63 legendaries or sets in Diablo III, and no ilvl 63 crafting recipes either. Seems like the devs wanted to leave the best possible items to monster-dropped Rares alone, and that’s a viable theory, but in practice it seems more frustrating and limiting than anything else.

Not one of the legendary helms has anything has that really changes the game play, and virtually none have any mods that aren’t also found on Rares, almost always in the same range of potential values. That’s what really surprises me about them; if the devs didn’t have the time/interest to create interesting Legendaries, with themed mods and stats you can’t get otherwise, why didn’t they at least crank up some of the values? Where are the helms with +50% magic find, or +15% skill damage, 2-4 gem sockets, or anything along those lines? It seems like the D3 devs had their huge spreadsheet of allowable item mods and values, all carefully marked out to progress slowly and gradually

On the bright side, they’ve admitted the Devs have admitted that they have a problem and they’re working to fix it. Besides, as lame as the Legendaries are now, anything will seem a huge improvement. It’s like if your current girlfriend is a 300 pound crack whore — you might crave a nuclear physicist supermodel, but just meeting a normal woman will seem like a huge upgrade.

And there’s your tag line for v1.0.4 legendary improvements; “Better than a 300 pound crack whore!”


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  1. Your jokes were bad and you should feel bad!

    Good read, but I happen to like this style of article, felt like the good ol’ days of the Dodecahedron.

    • I skimmed through the front page preview paragraph and stopped reading

      This article missed the entire point of the picture: A stealskull is available at level 36, LEVEL 36 and the item remains totally viable all the way through to the end game should you have bad luck with drops. “Not a fair comparison” my ass.

      • Your comment is unclear in meaning or intent, but I did address that point in detail near the top of the article. Quote:

        “One of the most obviously changes in uniques from D2 to D3 is that nothing in D3 is ever meant to be useful for very long after it’s found. In D2 there were any number of normal difficulty uniques and sets that were still quite useful, even in the end game. Mostly these were Magic Find items like Tarnhelm, Goldwrap, Chance Guards, and others, but even things like Sigon’s gloves, Bladebuckle, Frost Burns, Stone of Jordan, and Ume’s Lament were all findable and equippable by level 25, and remained viable in Act 5/Hell. You could do better with higher level gear, but you could certainly do worse.

        I suppose one could argue that this was a flaw in D2?s item system, and that it didn’t properly reward higher levels and character improvement, and that it was lame to find or equip an item at level level 15 and then never upgrade it again… but oddly enough, no one seemed to make that claim while actually playing the game.”

  2. It’s the same issue with all Legendary item types right now – the stats only boost one or two specific Attributes or Skills. And it’s RANDOM which ones are chosen.

    Well, you can’t play the game spamming only 1 skill – so these items are very rarely rolled up with a perfect combination that you can use for your specific build. That’s the crux of the situation – these items only boost a specific stat or a specific skill – they don’t boost a whole BUILD, except maybe incrementally. But it’s not enough to make you say “HOLY &$^% – LOOK AT THIS LEGENDARY ITEM I JUST GOT!!!!”

    And since there are no unique affixes that boost your character’s power globally or in an interesting way not otherwise available with class skills or runes, it’s just dumb luck if you find something worth equipping.

    As for weapons, well, the DPS itself on those are just inferior right now – regardless of how the other affixes roll on them.

  3. Why did I just read that? Reminds me they fucking didn’t bother with itemisation at all. Who the hell releases a item gear grind game without thinking about the bloody gear? Seriously. Grrrrr.

    Good read by the way Flux.

  4. I love the “+2 to Metconned” joke.

    Classic Flux there!

  5. The helms are some of the only legendaries I’ve found desirable. I paid 15 mil for my dex, socketed helm of command for my tank DH and 12 mil for my 160 int, socketed, mana regen, fire bats Visage of Giuya for my WD. TBH though, other than a stormshield, those are the only legendaries I wanted.

  6. Helm of Command is considered extremely good and right now people on HC America ARE willing to drop 100 mill on a good roll of it.

    I know Andy’s Visage is also considered good.

    Ouroboros, Blackthorne medal, Nat set, String of Ears, Stormshield, Sage’s boots and Justice Lantern are very sought after in HC.

    On my MFer I use Blackthorne pants and 2 piece of IK.

    That said, legendary items are pretty bland and lack that “omg” gamechanging personality.

  7. Basically there is nothing there that boosts specific or unusual styles of play or isn’t available on a category of item that is easier to find. In other words, there is nothing “legendary” about them.

    And *that* is what we’re upset about.

  8. Awe your making my barb feel bad… he’s actually wearing the Giant skull lol, but mine adds to crit hit chance. Now that hes lvl 60 i should probably upgrade though.

  9. Helm of Command and Storm Crow aren’t so bad, especially since the main Wizard build depends rather heavily on AP on crit.

    All the rest of them though except maybe Andy’s Visage? Terrible. And helms are one of the BETTER item categories.

  10. Does everybody seem to forget that items should first be found before they are sold on the AH.

  11. I’ve found about 15 legendary’s so far. Across 5 characters I’m wearing 3…

    The eye of the storm on my monk – primarily because I havent found anything better yet, and I got a bit lucky with the random stats

    Ouroboros amulet on my wizard, which is actually pretty good – it rolled 130 intelligence and the other stats are pretty sweet including the LOH

    Bul Kathos wedding band on my barb – which I reckon is pretty ok.

    Unbelievably I’ve found 3, yes 3 Messerschmidts Reaver, which if my D2 memories serve me correct was a useful medium level axe back then, but in D3 is an absolute pile of junk, whenever I see a brown axe drop I’m like oh no not again.

    Nice read flux, and I really hope they beef these up in 1.04. I still get a little excited when one drops, but my mood changes pretty quickly when I ID it…

    On a side note I’ve found 3 greens only, monk fist rubbish DPS, WD hat also terrible – but I actually got Nats Soul boots rolling Dex as the random – now toying whether to sell (looks like it could be worth 8-10 million) or use on my DH…

    • Does the LoH on Ouroboros apply to spells too? I found an int Ouroboros early on but haven’t really bothered to look up how LoH works in regards to spells (my enchantress is currently using it but I don’t recall seeing her gain health).

      • LoH works with every damage output skill. However, contrary to the Devs touting transparency and no hidden modifiers/game mechanics, there is a hidden LoH coefficient assigned to every skill in the game, that nerfs the crap out of it or nullifies it completely.

        Had the Devs just used reasonable numbers for everything, instead of over-top, enormous numbers with ludicrous ranges, there would have been no need for hidden LoH/Chance-to-crit coefficients on all the skills, or hidden 80% reductions to life leech in Inferno difficulty.

      • Yes it applies to spells. The current FOTM wiz build, WW/CM relies heavily on crit chance and life on hit to tank and keep enemies stuck in Frost Nova.

        I run a melee wiz as well (Though have stayed away from that build, due to not having enough APOC, and also because it’s really cheesy.) Here is a thread with all of the coefficients for Wizards: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/5149154265?page=1

  12. My monk got a Helm of Command. This helm hand in hand with a good shield is pretty good, too bad I never had enough money (I mean, gold) to buy a good, and not an “above-average” one.

    • My wiz uses a helm of command too. I wish I could afford an amazing one (200+ int, 100+ vit, 60 All Res, 4.5% crit) but the 8% block even on a mediocre one is pretty clutch.

  13. Good read. It seems pretty much the entire community agrees that the d3 legendaries are lacking.
    Blizzard has a lot of job ahead of them.

  14. The core of the problem is that too much of your character’s power comes from gear, which makes gear matter too much. This wouldn’t have been a major issue if it hadn’t been for the fact that inferno and its gear checks make gear matter even more, to the point where players are forced to min-max which basically renders a large majority of items useless.

    Toning down the stats gained from gear and buffing the stats gained from leveling up is a good start, but that alone won’t be enough to fix things. There’s still the issue of lackluster mods, huge discrepancy between affix quality ilvls and str/dex/int/vit usefulness. I think these issues need to be adressed first, before the devs even begin to consider how to make legendaries a bit more unique and give them more flavor and personality.

    • I don’t think the devs are about to change the skill system or raise the level cap, so we’re stuck with gear checks for every new section of the game until the expansion, I’m afraid.

  15. “required regular ladder wipes and new seasons with a fresh economy”

    What was wrong with that? At least we didn’t have to worry about “fixed” drops and suffering if Blizzard doesn’t make awesome profits on the RMAH due to inflation.
    Obviously, there is no real “fun” way to fix this when money is involved for a corporation. The, “required regular ladder wipes and new seasons with a fresh economy” which sounded like a hassle was the only true way of fixing this on a “fun” aspect for the fans rather than making problems for a money grabbing corporation.

    Oh well. We have to just look at this as D$ and not what D2 was.

  16. LORE: Erlang Shen is actually a chinese deity…..


  17. The game in it’s current form is crap, so I am little worried about the issues of legendary gear on a game I have stopped playing now since last month. Why should I care about the game when it’s makers clearly don’t? Blizz has made their millions, cannot help but think that they have exploited the ‘Diablo’ brand for them to achieve this goal.

  18. The only set item I have found is Tal Rasha’s Horadric Crest. I got the high Int roll and high armor roll, so it’s great for magic finding in act 1 and 2. The random mod was 6 yards to radius, if that would have been a decent resist all, I would use it all the time. The lack of resist all starts hurting me pretty bad in act 3 onwards.

    • The pick up radius mod is pretty underrated IMO. It may not seem like much at first, but from a convenience point of view I find it one of the hardest mods to live without once you’re used to it. Repeatedly going from +7 radius on my DH to +0 on my barbarian (and back) was such a great exercise in frustration that I ended up sacrificing about 10% DPS on the barbarian for +7 radius, just so I wouldn’t constantly undershoot gold and orbs.

      • I actually prefer a smaller pickup radius, it’s easier to leave health globes behind without popping them when I’m at full health, so that I can grab them later when kiting elites and bosses back toward the level entrance.

        This is with a wizard, I might feel different with a non-kiting class.

        • Totally agree. Pickup Radius actually makes it more difficult for me to survive in many instances. I view it as the only negative stat in the game.

          • You both play alone don’t you. In multi-player games people always go out of their way to pick up the globes even when they don’t need them.

        • Ironically, my problem is the exact opposite. I’ve died more timed due to not being able to pick up globes (mobs and geometry blocking access) than I have by picking them up by accident. :/

  19. I almost can’t stand keeping up to date with DiabloInc anymore, I’ grasping at straws trying to defend d3. I’ve been a die hard fan since D1 like most of you guys and I can’t defend the game anymore. Anyone trying to defend legendary items, rolling new chars of the same class, max lvl of 60, or skill respec is just crazy. This game has been a flop and there’s no fixing it because most people are walking away from the game.

    • Lol, did you even read the piece? Granted, it’s quite long (although good IMO), but clearly Flux is not defending D3 legendaries. All you need to know is this: basically any update will make the current D3 legendaries better as there is no way to go but up; it’s like going from a 300 pound crack whore to Brooklyn Decker.

  20. offtopic: flux: any idea when the barbarian podcast is going to be posted? Thought you said on the previous that it should have been already a week ago?

  21. The solution to item inflation is single player. Simple as that.

    My friend and I played D2 for years in lan, had a lot of uniques drop and never experienced this problem of saturation of high level gear.

  22. Flux, you should check out my thread on D3 itemization. I think you’ll find it a good read.


  23. yep, this is the same for every item, not just helmets.

    A helm without a socket is junk.
    Because you can add +14% vita or more to it.
    Any item other than your weapon, without vit + your primary stat, mostly junk as well.

    It’s ridiculous… Items need to be fully redesigned for this to work, right now it’s either junk or meh, depending on the stats.

  24. My takeaway from the post was this: Top tier items can’t drop as often as in D2 because the economy needs to stay more stable than it did in D2 to facilitate the AH and no ladder seasons.

    As Flux aptly puts it, it seems the cure was worse than the disease.

    And what about the devs fixing things? Well for one thing, they sure took their sweet time with the game itself. And they are continuing in that tradition it seems, as PVP is nowhere on the horizon, and even small changes take many weeks to materialize. I haven’t really played in a month, hell, more than that. And I burned out on the game well before inferno, already in hell act 2. And I’m starting to think that whatever fixes the devs can muster will take so long to see the light of day, that it’s going to be irrelevant. Unless they REALLY hit the nail on the head and make the game AWESOME, which I find tremendously unlikely…

    • I think the problem was that they messed up the economy, in terms of making the cure worse than the disease. The problem wasn’t the introduction of the AH, or even ladder seasons. If you remember, Diablo 2 went several years without ladder seasons at all, in fact, that was the case from 1.0 to 1.09. The economy “worked” fine then, despite the higher drop rate of good items, and despite the fact that sojs were used primarily as currency.

      The reason it worked in Diablo 2 was there were alternatives, particularly when LOD came out. Yes, Harlequin Crest was good, but Vamp Gaze was no slouch, and neither was Arreats, and neither was Jalal’s. You had options on what to use and where you could find it.

      Diablo 3 is messed up for a reason a lot of people aren’t pointing out, and that is itemization (which has been pointed out) but specifically the itemization of ilvls. In Diablo 2, there was parity among all of the “elite” weapons, all were usable, and any advantage they had over each other were minimal. In Diablo 3, every 1 ilvl you go up signifies a 15% potential increase.

      What this did, effectively, is make it so you’re restricted to the top two tiers for gear, which makes the whole experience seem unsatisfying, as something like 70-90% of what you find dropped will have absolutely zero chance of being usable, let alone valuable. There are other problems, but I don’t think it’s just the AH or lack of a ladder season. D2 did fine without ladder seasons and with faux AH’s like jsp forums. The fundamental decisions made in the design of the item and item systems are truly what is to blame.

  25. “So you get .5% life per Spirit spent, and 3-4% life. Which sounds fine, until you realize a character at this level has like 400 hit points and is spending 10 or 20 Spirit. Which works out to a whopping +12 to total life and a massive 5 hit point heal every time you use say, Blinding Flash. Woowoo!”

    Yes, it is mindboggling how badly designed these items are, like seriously didn’t anyone notice how utterly useless these attributes are at that level?
    Apparantly this game isn’t only designed for grandmothers, it is also designed by grandmothers.

  26. Very good read indeed!

  27. yes they are really that bad

    and legendary items in general too. fucking amazing how blizzard screwed up this game

  28. Come on flux. You were there before ladder resets. How often did a windforce drop, or a grandfather? True top end gear did not drop often, and the only reason ladder resets started was because of duping and botting. You write as if the game without duping and botting had massive inflation of high tier items, and that’s simply not true.

    • Not very often at all. I don’t think I ever actually found a Grandfather in D2, which would make it one of the very few uniques I didn’t find. I did find a couple of Windforces, though. That said, I found FAR more uniques and sets in D2 than I have in D3, and since far more of the D2 uniques and sets were useful…

      The related issue, which I mentioned in the intro, is that Inferno in D3 is actually really hard, in a gear check way. D2’s end game was not really hard, so you didn’t *need* super quality gear to play it. If D2 had possessed an Inferno-style 4th difficulty level, the play experience would have been very different in ways that are hard to predict in retrospect.

      By the same token, if D3’s end game was hell, we’d all be blasting through it with mediocre equipment and no one would really care that sets/uniques weren’t better, since they’d still be usable. Though still way lacking compared to rares.

  29. Personally I feel even if legendaries were awesome at launch, the game would be just about as dull as it is now. Sure it’d be better, and buffing legendaries is needed, but that change by itself (not considering other changes) isn’t enough of a boost. And that’s due in part to the auction house.

    Right now, hardcore is pretty much where the fun is in D3. The economy there isn’t completely hosed and it’s just [obviously] more of a challenge in general.

    At this point in time softcore seems pointless, with or without a buff to legendaries. They’d still be just another almost-impossible-to-find item that can be bought for huge amounts of gold/money on the AH. That’s just not fun 🙁

  30. I pretty much agree with Flux on most of this.

    The only really “unique” stat modifiers I see on Legendaries is move speed and attack speed on odd slots. Other than that, most of the other stats you can find on rares anyway. Most of the ones that add a bonus to your class skills appear on rares of those base items anyway.

    A little OT, but I’m surprised people haven’t really pushed for a transmutation/fusion function for items in D3 (i think WoW’s version was called transmogrification or whatever… I haven’t played WoW since vanilla… XD). I mean, is no one else tired of A. looking like a mismatched clown, B. having a hell of a time finding decent stats to get a matching “item set” (often sacrificing potential stats too if you go for say the ilvl 61 set), or C. end up with an all ilvl 63 armor set and looking identical to everyone else (except with a palette change… even if some colors look really bad with some item sets).

    It’s worse if you hate how the ilvl 63 set looks on your character. And don’t you think it’s a waste of all those uniquely modelled lower level item sets (some of which look pretty damn awesome I might add)?

    I guess the game item design is more important than aesthetics but still…

    • “The only really “unique” stat modifiers I see on Legendaries is move speed and attack speed on odd slots.”

      It’s funny you mention that because that currently is my only goal to still log in for 15 minutes every other day, to gather items with run speed and attack speed to use in a build that benefits greatly from both modifiers.
      I feel it’s pretty much one of the very few ways to still make a “unique” character (although the skills will be completely cookie cutter).

      Unfortunately what drives prices up for legendary items isn’t their set mods, but what secondary random mods they spawn combined with the rarity of the item itself, and then prices quickly spiral out of control so that legendary items with good random mods can theoretically be really good items, but practically unattainable and thus extremely hard to build a normal character around. It’s such a horrendously bad system, it’s hard to wrap my head around the fail of it.

  31. I’d take frequent drops and ladder resets any day over what’s there atm (or rather what was there like 2 months ago when I quit d3). Gold farming sucks.

  32. Alright Flux, I’m calling you out. No, I didn’t read the whole article because I really didn’t feel like it. Perhaps it was in satire, I will never know, and not care. I auto-rage on QQ itemsuck threads.

    My point is everybody who makes threads arguing about how D2 uniques were overpowered obviously did not play very much Diablo 2. Hardcore D2 players who were top on PVP didn’t use all uniques, runewords and set items as many people keep arguing. Some of the BEST items were rares. If I saw you using a shako you were in for a rough time. You were a trash player. Period. Top end helms were rare circlets with desirable mods such 2 os, FRW,
    +skills, FHR and so on. FCR rings were valued above SOJs for hitting FCR breakpoints. I’ll admit the uniques in this game are very lackluster D2 on the other hand had perfect itemization, a great mix of rares, runewords, and uniques, they were almost all equally viable in different situations.

    The underlying problem that causes this whole situation is the RMAH and wow-based stat and leveling system. These two things implemented into the game for the sake of monetization cause a disharmony in itemization. Anybody who wasted as much of their life playing that game will agree with me.

    If your posting was supposed to be ironic, then more power to you. I am pretty sick of listening to people cry. This issue will be fixed to the best of blizzard ability, albeit, choices that were made during the games inception will make this task VERY DIFFICULT.

    From an artistic point of view this game was a failure. The bottom line may be black, but this chapter in Blizzard’s history is a red mark from their hardcore fanbase.

    Edit: We pretty much agree with each other. I hate noobs.

    • You need to realize that not every player is a hyper-super-hardcore-player.

    • You may not be a noob at D2, but you’re an idiot regardless if you think that everyone not wearing top of the line PvP equipment was a noob or didn’t play the game right.

      The point is that many uniques/runewords/whatever had powerful enough unique modifiers to be useful and in many cases desirable or even essential early/mid and end game, and it didn’t take 500 hours of grinding the highest level to maybe drop a useful unique item and then having to depend on a 1 in a 100 RNG to hopefully spawn the item with good random mods so that it isn’t salvage trash.

  33. wouldnt increase drop rates, so we dont need to use AH for decent gear, and Bind on equip keep the economy sorta balanced?

    once a good item is used the only thing to do with it after you find something better is salvage it. if every legendary item was bind on equip and if its possible maybe put a counter on rares that they can only be equipped on X amount of characters, whether your own or through the AH.

  34. Excellent write up, Flux. Loved it. Lots of insightful points, that takes a fairly critical look at D3 while not falling into, “All is lost!” It’s sort of reminiscent of of that top 10 best unique items write-up you did so many years ago, and which was so fun.

  35. Just tried logging into my bnet and there was a warning of too many login attempts. I think someone is bruteforcing my account.

  36. I remember feeling complete joy when I ID’d my first Arreat’s Face Slayer Guard in D2. I’m glad they didn’t try to reproduce this helm for D3, because I fear it would be as awful as the other uniques “Legendaries” they resurrected for this game. Not once have I felt awe-inspired about getting a legendary drop in D3 and I’m disheartened by the fact Blizzard ruined this aspect of the game for me.

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