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Legendary is the term for items of the highest quality in Diablo III. It replaces "unique" in the Diablo game item nomenclature.

Much like Unique items in Diablo 2, Legendary items have static names and properties. However, legendaries always have at least one "open" affix, so any given legendary can roll with a very large amount of different properties, ironically, making each legendary potentially more unique than a unique item.


Contents

[edit] Why the Change?

Bashiok gave some explanations for the item name change in a forum post in October 2010: [1]

Why else would they rename the Unique items to Legendary?
Bashiok: Unique items in Diablo II were only “unique” in that only one of them would drop per-game. Using the term “unique” to describe them implies many things, none of which are likely to be true.
World of Warcraft uses the word a bit more intelligently in that it is indeed unique in that your character can only ever have one of them.
Because they will be using the same “Unique” setup that WoW uses
Bashiok: We have no plans to have such a system.
World of Warcraft uses unique and unique equipped for character balance, so that the designers know what items a character can have equipped at any one time. Balance is important to us, but probably not to the same degree that we would want to restrict use of dual-wielding two of some awesome legendary sword. For instance.
...I guess I would probably follow that up with the usual, ‘but nothing is set in stone’. I guess if we were to hit a point where dual wielding the most awesome sword in the game completely broke everything, we’d have to do something like unique-equipped.
But even then, you could still find them, pick them up, and trade them off… so I’m not even sure how unique-equipped kills hoarding.

Fan reaction to this change has been negative to indifferent. Diablo players have come to love Unique items and the golden text that identifies them. The first dictionary definition of "unique" does mean "one of a kind" but the other meanings just mean "special," so it's not that misleading of a term.

The name is created by the usage in the game, and everyone playing soon knows what unique means. Besides, if they're going to be literal, doesn't this mean that they need a whole lore story for every "legendary" item, or else that name is no more accurate than "unique?" In regards to that question, there still remains many legendary items which, via their description, should be unique, such as Tal Rasha's Lidless Eye (db). In the end, however, this is merely semantics and nostalgia at work.

[edit] Legendary Item Appearance

Most legendary pieces of armor do not have a unique model, but are rather a re-skinned version of an existing normal armor piece (most often the "balor" item set, or otherwise the "warlord" item set). Sometimes an item, such as Ice Climbers, will simply be colored blue, and that is the only way to signify their difference from a standard, non-legendary item. This includes set items, as well.

Other legendary items do have unique appearances. All helms, weapons, off-hands, and shoulders will have a unique look that distinctly shows in-game.


[edit] Development

The following sections have been saved for the sake of posterity, and curiosity for fans who may not be aware of some legendaries which simply didn't make the cut. Funny enough, only one of the contest winners below actually had his or her legendary item name implemented into the game, being "Lord Telrandan's Hand" from Erignmatic. However, the item's name was modified to the current Telranden's Hand.

[edit] Known Diablo III Legendary Item Names

While nothing is yet known about the stats of Legendary items, some of their potential names are known, thanks to a contest Blizzard ran via their @Diablo twitter account in 2009. The contest rewarded 100 of the best Unique name suggestions with a Diablo pin, with five of the best names promised to be used in the game. Which five is not known, and we don't have a full list of all 100 entries, but here are some of the pin winning suggestions. [2]

Armor of Lucien Tooltip.
  • Havenrow Skin Peeler, by KarlGrande
  • Belial’s Wrath, by Kastrien
  • Staff of the Sightless Eye, by Frostblind
  • Elzix’s Misfortune, by ChrisEngine357
  • Deckard’s Cane, by ClakyDruott
  • Archivist’s Scroll, by Maelnison
  • Axe of Assimilation, by ScottGallupe
  • Que Hegan’s Zeal, by forbrukerombud
  • Crown of Divine Right, by MShaneman
  • Lord Telrandan’s Hand, by Erignmatic
  • Skull Crusher of Demise, by ravenneangelle

In addition to this, a legendary items were shown at GamesCom 2011, complete with tooltips:


Armor of Lucien, Legendary Chest Armor 624 Armor

Requires Level 60

Durability: 25

Sell price (Gold): 1,405


As of September 12th 2011, two Legendary items have been found during the Friends & Family beta testing of Diablo 3.

  • Griswold's Edge
  • The Crudest Boots

It also appears that some of the properties on these items are random as people that have acquired Griswold's Edge have stated that the properties of their item are different from others. [3]