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They're random - which means some people will get them very quickly, some will get more than one over time and others will take years to get one or never will. That's how random works.

For what it's worth I've never gotten one as a drop, but that's partially because I spend a lot of my time, playing low level characters where level 80 or exotic drops of any kind are extremely rare and a lot more time in story instances where the majority of drops are pre-determined and precursors are not an option at all. I also don't use tricks like boosting magic find before opening bags to increase my chances of getting a precursor. I also never put exotics into the Mystic Forge so I've got no chance of getting them that way either.

IMO it's important to remember that - not all play time is equal when it comes to your chances of getting a precursor. So it doesn't matter how many days or months or years you've owned the game or even how many hours you've spent logged in. What matters is the times when you're doing something that produces random weapon drops. Of course that's extremely hard to keep track of, so I'm not saying you should actually work it out or compare it with your friend, just bear in mind it's not remotely as simple as "I've played for X hours so I should have had a precursor by now".

More importantly never getting a precursor has not prevented me from making a legendary weapon - I've made 3 (1 before crafting was an option, 2 after) and could have made many more if I wanted to. Before precursor crafting was announced it was a problem because the only option was to get a lucky drop or buy one from the TP and the prices were rising steadily with no sign of stopping which made affording one challenging for many people. But since precursor crafting was announced the price has dropped and sort-of stabalised, because if it gets much above the cost of crafting one people will stop buying them. And of course you can just craft it and don't have to worry about the price at all.

Would I like to get a random drop which gets me several hundred gold for no extra effort? Yes of course I would. But that's all it is to me - if I want to make a legendary I'll craft the precursor, if I want gold I'll farm it. A precursor to sell would be a nice surprise but it doesn't bother me if I don't get it, any more than it will bother me if all those roller beetle races I've been doing don't get me a free computer or $20,000.

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I've had one drop from the labyrinth chest in the Silverwastes earlier this year, after playing for almost 10k hour. Fortunately for me it was the only one I ever really wanted to have, the precursor to the minstrel (focus). More fortunate, thanks to playing a long time I even had enough resources to craft it into its legendary form the same night despite it being one of the rare days where the trading post was down all evening.

That said, my other legendaries (Ad Infinitum, Kudzu, and Nevermore) were all crafted from scratch, including precursors, and it was a much more memorable, enjoyable, and satisfying experience. I love my minstrel, but if I ever were to craft another gen1 legendary I'd prefer to craft the precursor from scratch rather than dropping/forging/buying it.

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Saying they're random is an understatement, 7.5k+ hours here and never had a pre drop open world, i personally believe that since pre crafting was introduced Anet has also lowered the drop rate from the forge to the same as dropping in open world.

I have gotten all of my pre's from the forge in the past, probably 25+ but since crafting was introduced i havent had 1, in the thousands of items thrown in not a single pre, i guess it would make sense for anet to encourage crafting over gambling.

Where Danikat is right in saying play time doesnt mean anything, as 7k hours could be AFK, i am far from an AFK player, i am very active in the game across all content.

Anyone reading this who is waiting for that pre to drop before/if you make that legendary dont, either buy it or craft it ( keep in mind many T1 legendary precursors are cheaper to buy than to craft )

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0 drops since headstart 2012, 5k hours. Actually, I got one from a T4 ascended reward chest (or similar), but that's not a drop. Also, I wasted some hundred if not thousands worth of exotics and rares in the mystic toilet for 0 return. I long long stopped using the forge for this. A friend had about 6 or so precursors from the forge. Great balancing lol. Anyways, since most old legendaries are out of favour anyways and since I have 7 or so skins, it doesn't bother me that much.

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Played since GW2 launched and I've had 2 precursor drops. One, The Legend, was from a random set of rares put in the mystic forge during season1 marionette (cause she dropped nearly a full inventory worth of rares each time the event ran). My second, Dusk, was about a year and a half ago that I got from a random mob on the Ascalonian fractal. I also won Rodgort's flame during a community event several years ago. All other precursors I have I either crafted or bought.

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To be honest, I think the game would benefit from a loot find mercy rule based on time played. Just some internal counter that your account accrues over time that buffs your chances of getting better drops. Better drops then "spend" these accruals and as time goes on you build up more. Random is all well and good, but going thousands of hours in a game without a better drop than an exotic worth 1-2 gold is kinda sad.

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