JazyaVechette wrote:

There are really only 3 things that need to be unique for each epic.

1- Effect. Powerful/useful so that people want them doesn't mean they need to be complicated.

2- Graphic. Considering how many models they make every expansion, this isn't exactly a lot of 'extra' effort.

3- Story. Good writers don't need crazy complex mechanics or 75 sub-steps to make a few memorable moments.

Think about the things that stood out most to you from all the epic quests you've done. Are any of them unusually complex or uniquely scripted? How much would it take away from the quests if the most dev-resource-intensive pieces were simplified?

Additionally, a great deal of the man-hours could be reduced by 'overlapping' a lot of the steps. There are many common kills with the 1.0's, every 2.0 needs an Anguish Orb, etc.

Focusing on quality/experience over quantity/complexity is the ticket here.
The docs I wrote for the two epics I've created were about 20 pages each. None of the mechanics were all that complicated. Raids are complicated, spawning a dude that drops a thing is not complicated. Of course a truly epic quest should be hard, interesting and fun. It should require help from friends to make the experience more meaningful. That all takes time.

A good writer doesn't need props, that is true. But writing a story takes longer for a good writer than a bad one. And since we have those props, we can make the story a lot better using them than they would be without it.

Overlapping steps would be very poorly received by players. They would feel cheated.

Making the item graphics would take longer than any other, but that's not really a consideration about why we are reluctant to make more epics. Making a powerful item that would be unique would take some time as well, and is a bigger issue, but not a big deal.

There's more to it than just the time spent on a quest that would be used only by one class (and some of his friends at points). I strongly believe that effort like this would be better served making something for everyone. But there is also an issue with making an item that is so good that it never gets replaced. It's generally bad for the game to eliminate an item slot from each character. Heck, we've gone to some trouble to ADD slots over the course of the game's development.

Epics are one less item for players to upgrade. Or if we do eventually make an item that is better years later, then they are unhappy that we've outdated something they worked hard for, that their guild worked hard for. While epics are pretty awesome for many reasons, they are also pretty terrible for other reasons.

Basically, we just feel that they are not worth the trouble they bring or the effort they require.