While assigning straight cash valuation of the scrolls is kind of disingenuous, the gem to scroll conversion (and the fact that this is the only way you can get them) does point to a larger issue. I’d disagree with the notion that the metric we should be measuring here is “cost to fully upgrade everything currently in existence after starting now” but rather the average valuation of obtaining (and upgrading) “the ones that matter” (more on this later). Completionist goals have reached such absurd milestones from the perspective of a new player that I wouldn’t recommend them to any new player that doesn’t have nearly limitless free time, a large disposable income, and some amount of self loathing. And thats not just this one thing, but like, everything, and it was done very deliberately with both soft and hard sell monetization tactics (strongly evidenced by the fact that when I first entered “endgame”, I could maintain my level of collection completeness and relative progress from the top by playing about an hour a week and paying zero dollars per week, now if I tried it would be at least ten times that much and at least one dollar per week), so that is not something that is going to change.
To this end, I’d say that the base availability (ie, first time availability for new players) is the even larger issue, and this directly relates to the (current) valuation (both in gems and the psychology of it) of forge scrolls.
If you are after a certain specific color (and more often than not, people are), the wait time is an arbitrary (and average 65) weeks. As in, after this Sunday, the next time someone would even have the opportunity to get red forge scrolls in any capacity without plans being significantly altered (this is also the start of a new weapon type cycle) could be somewhere between early 2022 if they adhere to a strict color rotation (and the next whatever new class of the next weapon cycle happens to be red) and could be as late as 2023 if they run a rotation where they introduce a new Doomed weapon type in a different order next cycle (as they have in the past, and again, this week marks the first one of the given type).
Thats… absolutely insane to me. I don’t necessarily agree with the notion that every player need to be completely “caught up” during this time frame, as in 100% completion (and again, the design of the game is steadily moving away from things like this even being possible so it doesn’t matter whether I agree or not, it won’t happen for this reason). The fact still remains that simple incremental progress becomes more and more impossible by the day. The potential that a new player might, for example, start next week, scrape and farm and whale their way into being able to afford a Doomed Crossbow when it is in soulforge for an extremely short period of a week starting January 4 and not have an opportunity to upgrade it, not even one level, for a year or two. Content locks and rotations that have a significant impact on gameplay are simply too long and too arbitrary. This goes for other stuff too but this is a very good example. I call this a content lock because a Doomed Crossbow gains not only incremental power boosts with every upgrade but significant power boosts at +6, +9 (in many situations) and +10. When a driven player can earn enough power orbs for Zuul or E. Kurandara within a year and a whale that is also a driven player can earn enough for both, and these are considered some of the games most elite collectibles, and you cannot even make a dent in what should be something that represents, while “rare”, a much more basic and much more generally available item, something is wrong. There is a tacit goal to collect and upgrade stuff, especially powerful tools to use in combat, and this is your measure of “progress” in the game. And progress needs to be at least somewhat incremental, or that one goal that took way too long will end up being the thing that burns someone out forever.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that while Tower of Doom was on a four week rotation, the “valuation” to get “caught up” (read here: completely maxed) at any given point was rising even faster than it was due to a deficit in scrolls, even with full tower clears, being introduced with every new doomed weapon without multiple t7 shop purchases. But even with this, two cycles of a given tower color would get you at least one fully upgraded weapon (and a start on another) with minimal purchases (t4 to unlock the weapon and get some scrolls) and the garbage/defensive/“guild wars defense only” class weapons could collect dust as an “eventual” goal - one that might not even “need” (for the purpose of other progress milestones that might matter to a person) to be completed. So while the “valuation” of “obtaining and upgrading every single doomed weapon in the game” is going up less quickly than it did when we were getting 4 week ToD cycles the IMO far more important “valuation” of “obtaining and upgrading tools that significantly impact gameplay within a reasonable amount of time after you have made it a goal” has ballooned to an unreasonable degree because you have one week out of an average 66 week cycle to spend 2850 gems to upgrade your first doomed weapon (WITH a full clear, +4500 with no rooms cleared and +9500 per additional weapon you want to upgrade on this same cycle) and so implicitly outside this cycle would likely be “valued” at a lot more, even if made available in some other quantity, as historically has happened with just about any other “rare” item. And that is really bad.
Theres the slight possibility that this next cycle of doomed weapons is the last one forever, so that whenever red tower rolls around again after all this current cycle is out (again, likely 2022 at the earliest at current pace) it will have a repeat weapon, and that there will be a way to make progress toward being “caught up” without tons of gem expenditure, but this would do nothing to address the absurd waits and costs around upgrading “the ones that matter”, as that calculation always involved simply ignoring the “worst” weapons.
The good news is that (non-committal) assurances have been made that (somehow) forge scrolls will be made more available. The bad is that, at this point, I fully expect this to be something that does not address the issue at all because of this new baseline that is being created now (like putting them on AB/offers in tiny quantities where you won’t even upgrade a single weapon within the 1-2 year cycle that they are currently on at fairly extreme costs) and then flash offers to sell them. I hope I’m wrong about the former and there is put an actual way to earn them (earn, with in-game mechanics that put them into the player’s inventory when they are earned) at a pace that could be considered incremental upgrades to at least a single weapon of every color, but it is basically an eventuality that the second part comes to pass. Because if there’s one thing this post highlights, is that they have successfully created the new scarcity baseline but aren’t properly capitalizing off it yet.
tl;dr: The current “cash value” of the 25 doom weapons is some metric that they will actually assign in the future and the insane baseline being established now is just to make those offers look good by comparison, but I really hope the issue of being able incrementally progress these weapons for new players without cash does still come to fruition.