Why is the game designed such that it punishes you for caring about upgrading your legendary items ? I think Turbine should change the way they handle upgrades on legendary items to be a bit more forgiving (and not cost TP) because right now it seems like spending any relics/time on lower level LIs is redundant and all I worry about it maxing them to 31 to deconstruct and replace as I work my way towards the end game. Am I missing something?
Firstly, all upgrades to all Legendary Items are available in-game, so you would never need to spend any TP if you want to earn them elsewhere. Similarly, Legendary Items as a whole, are very useful. Let me ask, do you use a quest item weapon instead? No; you use a Legendary Weapon, so the fact is given that these items are significantly more powerful than quest/barter weapons.
It is optional to put relics on lower level Legendary Items, so if you feel it is bad to waste some powerful relics on lower level weapons, you do not have to do it. A tip here is, you should put at least a tier 1 relic on each slot for a lower level weapon. Tier 1 relics are easy to acquire and are cheap, and still give some good boosts. If you are levelling weapons to level 31 solely to de-construct them, then you do not need to put any relics/crystals on them as you will just loose them on deconstruction.
I agree that the legendary item experience is pretty much a throw-away prior to the player reaching level 75.
However, this isn't any different than any other piece of gear a player picks up along the way. Some players level slowly and invest more time in their gear. Others level quickly and are comfortable picking up odds and ends.
You can choose whichever method makes more sense to you. Nothing prevents you from focusing on your LIs, if that's what you enjoy as you level up.
I guess I just have a problem with the TP requirements - I like that you can deconstruct them and receive a portion of what you put into it back -that makes sense but when you put a high tier relic in and then either lose that or pay money to remove it, I find that kind of defeats the purpose because instead of feeling like you're working towards something you feel like you're just wasting resources that you're going to need later.
Why is the game designed such that it punishes you for caring about upgrading your legendary items?
It's designed that way because originally they were a level cap item, so designed to give folks at level cap something to do.
...because right now it seems like spending any relics/time on lower level LIs is redundant and all I worry about it maxing them to 31 to deconstruct and replace as I work my way towards the end game. Am I missing something?
Nope, you aren't missing a thing, legendaries are disposable, and you don't want to invest too much into them that you won't get a return on. That being said, DO level/decon as many as you can to gain a significant pool of relics. You'll want that resource later. Think of legendary items as the currency you spend to gain equity in relics. That investment pays off in the future, as you continue to play, when you reach cap and have little to do, then when cap is raised again and you need resources to move on.
So start growing that nest egg now!
"Sometimes survival comes down to not being hit. Actually, most times." -the chicken skill, Bob and Weave