If you've heard of either Excalibur, the Cloak of Invisibility, the Genie Lamp or Aegis, then you might already know what this topic is going to be about. Fantasy, among other genres, is ripe with iconic magical tools or weapons; items which are often unique in nature and difficult to obtain.
Such items are often part of video games. They help create identity not only to the characters that wield them, but to the lore of the world they exist in itself. It's easy to find examples: the Ocarina of Time, the Portal Gun (ASHPD), Soul Calibur and even "mundane" items like the Pip-Boy in Fallout.
These items are naturally essential in a RPG setting. TES games, among other series, have an innumerable amount of them. I loved Auriel's Bow in Skyrim and the Ectophial in Runescape; how many times did that bottle of ectoplasm save my life?
Yet when I play Guild Wars 2, I feel like these items are lacking. Sure, there are many legendary items with their own design and lore, but aesthetics alone aren't enough to make it into a list like IGN's Top 100 video game weapons. When I think about unique items in GW2, two of them come to mind: the Watchwork Pickaxe, and Mawdrey.
I own both items, and they are definitely my favorite in game, because they offer more than just better stats or different aesthetics: they have their own special function. The Watchtwork Pickaxe is different from standard and unbreakable pickaxes in how it has a one in three chance of dropping Watchwork Sprockets everytime you mine ores with it. If you have enough gems in game and wish to spend them wisely, I strongly recommend you get this pickaxe. As for Mawdrey (more precisely its complementary item, Mawdrey II), it has the unique ability to consume Bloodstone Dust in exchange for random loot.
You could argue that Legendary weapons in Guild Wars 2 are also unique items because they're difficult to obtain, and because you can change their stats whenever you want. But this stat-changing ability is something they all have in common, it's not unique to either one of them; and with that out of the way, they're really just improved versions of ascended weapons with fancy designs. They don't have a special attack, or a particular use against a distinct type of enemy, or a special utility outside of combat.
|Image by Noxxic from GamingPrecision|
I'm not sure how it is in other recent MMORPGs, as I rarely play them for long enough to know about these things in detail; perhaps you could let me know in the comments below. But I think the reason why unique items in GW2 are being kept to a minimum is because of the community being irrationally afraid of them becoming too imbalanced or unfair to others. This discussion about the Watchwork Pickaxe brings that irrationality to evidence.
Contrarily to what people thought back then, the Watchwork Pickaxe didn't make anyone lose ores, or drive players into a mass exodus due to a feeling of unfairness, or make the game Pay-To-Win. I have the impression that there's this desire in the community for everyone to be equal, to have equal chances, absurdly akin to some sort of communism. But let's face it: no matter what items the game has to offer, there are going to be those who get rich and those who don't. The real concern here should be that there's a cash shop in game and that you can buy gold from it.
With all of that aside, what are you favorite items in video games?