MMO-Champion - Dev Watercooler -- Stats on Gear
Dev Watercooler -- Stats on Gear
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
‘Dev Watercooler’ is a blog series that provides an inside look into the thoughts and discussions happening within the World of Warcraft development team. In our first entry, Lead Systems Designer Greg "Ghostctrawler" Street laid down a few ground rules:

1. No promises are being made in these Dev Watercooler blogs.

2. Don’t read too much between the lines.

3. No complaints about the topic not being what you want to see covered.

The developers talk a lot about stat allocation on gear. We made some major changes to the stats that show up on armor and weapons for Cataclysm, and we periodically review how things have shaken out.

One suggestion that pops up fairly often, both internally and externally, is to make gear more tailored for each and every talent spec. (It honestly feels like we have 30 classes in the game at times.) We could have bosses drop Intellect mail with Hit on it for Elemental shaman. We could go back to legitimate bear gear. There might only be one spec (or less if you’re talking Feral’s two-specs-in-one-tree deal) interested in those drops.

The problem with that approach is that boss loot tables get really long. Say you’re a Resto shaman who won some mail gloves last Tuesday. Had this alternative model been in place, those gloves might not have dropped for you. In this alternate universe, the Elemental gloves did instead. There is a reason that Argaloth and his ilk feel like slot machines -- because they can drop so many items, the chance of them dropping the piece you want is pretty low. That works for the Tol Barad boss because he’s pretty easy to reach and we want to encourage players to keep coming back to him week after week so that more players benefit from his gear. It might be pretty frustrating if every boss felt like Argaloth though.

There’s another extreme we talk about sometimes, which is making gear more universal. We could merge the Spell Hit and Spirit stats pretty easily for all casters the way we did for Elemental, Balance, and Shadow. There would just be Intellect cloth that everyone from Destro to Disc would want. Great, you might think, less stuff will get sharded. But then think about how it would feel if you were one of those clothies. In a 10-player raid, there might be three people rolling on your loot. In a 25-player raid, it could be double that.

We could go even crazier. I mentioned in an earlier blog how Hit and Expertise aren’t very exciting to tanks, and that even if we made threat really hard to maintain, that tanks would probably still just stack survival stats and get frustrated when they lost aggro. Since we don’t vary the Stamina and Armor on tank gear (except in jewelry, socket bonuses, enchants, and gems perhaps), that means the tanking stats are really Dodge, Parry (except for druids), and Mastery. It wouldn’t be that hard to have say Haste convert to dodge chance and Crit convert to parry chance. Now the plate stats are Hit, Expertise, Crit, Haste, and Mastery (aside from the Strength and Stamina, which are always there in predictable proportions). Boom.

Now plate tanks share the same gear with plate DPS. When plate drops, all the death knights, warriors, and two of the three paladin specs might want it. Is that a better world? Less stuff would get wasted but there would also be more competition. You might feel less unique as an individual, and things might feel all too similar when you go from playing your Prot paladin to your Fury warrior, but on the upside, swapping to an alternate spec might be easier because you won’t need an entire second set of gear.

I mentioned two out of three paladin specs above. That third spec has been a thorn in our side for a long time. Paladins in general have a knack for that. I kid. (Mostly.) I’m talking about Intellect plate. We don’t like Intellect plate, but we haven’t come up with a good alternative for it. The pitches we hear most often have downsides we don’t like. Yes, a Holy paladin could wear mail… at which point their silhouette would look a lot like a shaman instead of a paladin. Yes, Holy paladins could derive their spell power from Strength… at which point they also hit with their weapons nearly as hard as Ret paladins. Yes, we could convert all that Strength to spell power, and convert the Hit to Spirit and the Expertise to Mastery or whatever. The Spirit to Hit conversion does the job, but it’s not super elegant or intuitive. I’m not sure we want to pile more onto that design.

Unless we come up with a really compelling reason to change gear stats, we’ll probably stick with the Cataclysm model for the foreseeable future. But we’re interested in seeing your feedback. Would more universal gear be more fun or less fun? Do you like competing over items many folks want, like Deathbringer’s Will or even Cho’gall’s shoulder tokens? Does it suck when plate tanking gear drops long after the tanks have geared up, or is it nice to be able to toss it to the Ret or Fury player for their offspec? Do the druids wish they had real tanking gear? Are the Prot warriors jealous of the Feral gear model? Is this one of those places in the game that could benefit from a more simple design, even if it was a less fun design? There are no wrong answers here, only whiny ones. I kid. (Mostly.)

*Greg “Ghostcrawler” Street is the lead systems designer for World of Warcraft. He tanks with a two-hander. On a shaman. Boom.
This article was originally published in forum thread: Dev Watercooler -- Stats on Gear started by Boubouille View original post
Comments 99 Comments
  1. Rukh's Avatar
    For holy paladins all they have to do is allow them to wear mail but make really well itemized plate shoulders. All the rest of the gear looks like spandex crap anyways and nobody would know the difference.
  1. ForsakenFrodo's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by rettypally View Post
    Stats mean nothing when a frost mage with nothing on is harder to take down than a raid boss.
    Personally, these blogs are a waste of time. Its like, the theortical ramblings of blizzs devs who will change their mind come next expansion.
    I frankly have no interest in hearing the thoughts from people who think frost mages and warriors are "ok", and locks are "ok" locks are a free kill.
    (yes I have a lock, as well as many other classes)

    The only thing I want to read is, "ring of frost has been deleted", and "Frost nova is on a 1 min cooldown" AND "ice lance damage has been nerfed to what a no cooldown instant cast should be".
    All I heard was; "I was just killed by a frost mage"

    I found this blog post very interesting and enlightening to read. I do not expect a solution for the meaning of life, but a little fun read - WHICH IS THE BLOODY POINT.

    2 cents of mine are now yours.
  1. Yougra's Avatar
    The problem I see with Holy Paladin all of a sudden using DPS plate is that... well, isn't there enough classes rolling on that already? Five specs at the moment, and it could turn into six.

    And I know 6/7 specs already roll on DPS cloth. Make Arcane a leather-wearing battle mage or something.
  1. darkone238's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by rettypally View Post
    Stats mean nothing when a frost mage with nothing on is harder to take down than a raid boss.
    Personally, these blogs are a waste of time. Its like, the theortical ramblings of blizzs devs who will change their mind come next expansion.
    I frankly have no interest in hearing the thoughts from people who think frost mages and warriors are "ok", and locks are "ok" locks are a free kill.
    (yes I have a lock, as well as many other classes)

    The only thing I want to read is, "ring of frost has been deleted", and "Frost nova is on a 1 min cooldown" AND "ice lance damage has been nerfed to what a no cooldown instant cast should be".
    So stop reading them?
  1. Zecoir's Avatar
    Personally I would think of it as a failure if Blizzard decided to cut down on the stats even more than what they've already done. I thought it was amazing when we had spell power gear and healing power gear even though it made it harder for a healer to farm whatever he or she wanted to, but that was just a part of being a healer! (Played Resto shaman at the time so im not just a retarded dps complaining).

    I think the situation is even worse as a tank. I only got insight in the prot paladin atm, but stats as hit and expertise is almost useless as its not even hard to keep aggro. All you have to do is stack mastery and swap stamina when you reach the avoidance cap. wtb TBC times where you as prot warrior had to get expertise to minimize the parry mechanism and ofc imcrease your threat + you had to get hi t to maintain your threat. From what I've seen/tried to so far in cata you can easily swap to prot as pala even though you still got 4-5 holy pieces and be ahead on threat by miles.

    The main problem with merging gear and stats is the more you do it the less theorycrafting, I thought the arp was great in the beginning, however because it ended up scaling so well in the end it ruined it, mainly just because of warriors in pvp. (GG). But insted of removing the stat they could have changed the percentage of arp you gained from xxx amount of points to even it out.

    So imo: Blizzard is going in the wrong direction, give us some more stats to play around with, make some of the minor stats more important to max out as tank, hit / expertise cap.
  1. Xiaz89's Avatar
    I too want to tank with a two-hander
  1. Aranddaar's Avatar
    to be honest who really defines who they are fighting against via a silhouette figure, it's really not that important. Most times I arena I see the class colour bar ( say pink for pally) and spring into action from there. I don't see the big issue (other than loot conflict in raids) with mail wearing paladins.
  1. Fojos's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by rettypally View Post
    Stats mean nothing when a frost mage with nothing on is harder to take down than a raid boss.
    Personally, these blogs are a waste of time. Its like, the theortical ramblings of blizzs devs who will change their mind come next expansion.
    I frankly have no interest in hearing the thoughts from people who think frost mages and warriors are "ok", and locks are "ok" locks are a free kill.
    (yes I have a lock, as well as many other classes)

    The only thing I want to read is, "ring of frost has been deleted", and "Frost nova is on a 1 min cooldown" AND "ice lance damage has been nerfed to what a no cooldown instant cast should be".
    And if Blizzard actually listened to players like you we'd have a pretty terrible game. What do you want, exactly?

    Quote Originally Posted by Phaidrae View Post

    Sounds like it would be one of those "too good to be true" things and Blizz would quip that it would make getting gear "less fun" for some people; but to that I say B.S...Gear has ultimately become a frustrating element of the game. Very few pieces seem to be well-itemized anymore, loot tables for most of the current bosses are lackluster at best and we're overall lacking in the option of a good selection of weapons, with the exception of daggers and 1h swords. (um, WTB epic caster staff that's NOT BoE)
    Just because you want every piece to have perfect stats for you (lazy syndrome), doesn't mean all do. There needs to be some kind of choice in the game, or it becomes stale.
  1. Cirque's Avatar
    "we don't like intellect plate but it's something we have insisted on for 6 years".

    I don't really understand. They often say they'd like this or that and don't like this and that and then it takes them ages to change it, if they do it at all (like soulshards). They're letting off so much stuff they'd like to change, as I've always argued, Blizzard is much too conservative with changes, and acts too slow on many things. And how can they possibly look back at the barber shop with a sort of regret? I find it an amazing thing and visit it a *lot*. But it was expensive. So it wasn't a good implementation? For a RPG, the customization options WOW provides is already extremely limited, even with the barber shop. I'm not asking for Rift of Aion like customization features (though I'd personally love it), but would it hurt so much for us to pick a different voice for our toon and not look 90% the same as the next toon you see?
  1. stgeorge78's Avatar
    My problem is that every single week, for 12 weeks in a row, every boss has dropped the same one item every single week. Half of the weeks the other item was for a spec we didn't have in the raid. We've had to DE roughly 3/4 of the items that have dropped for us because someone has it or no one can use it. 10-man raiding is artificially gimped because they made it so that out of the bosses 10 items, there is one item with a significantly higher drop rate than all the other items. The same problem exists in 25-man because very often the boss will drop 3 of the same item.

    ---------- Post added 2011-04-06 at 12:52 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Cirque View Post
    "we don't like intellect plate but it's something we have insisted on for 6 years".

    I don't really understand. They often say they'd like this or that and don't like this and that and then it takes them ages to change it, if they do it at all (like soulshards). They're letting off so much stuff they'd like to change, as I've always argued, Blizzard is much too conservative with changes, and acts too slow on many things. And how can they possibly look back at the barber shop with a sort of regret? I find it an amazing thing and visit it a *lot*. But it was expensive. So it wasn't a good implementation? For a RPG, the customization options WOW provides is already extremely limited, even with the barber shop. I'm not asking for Rift of Aion like customization features (though I'd personally love it), but would it hurt so much for us to pick a different voice for our toon and not look 90% the same as the next toon you see?
    The current team working on WoW is the laziest I've ever seen. They constantly re-use items, raids are now 2 rooms long. They talk for 6 months about a change, and then wait another year before implementing it. This game should be having monthly patches with all the things that need to be done, but they realized a long time ago, they can just sit and do nothing and make the same money and any time they want more, they spend 2 days and throw up another item on the Blizzard Store. There is no incentive for them to improve the game because they are a monopoly, and the #1 rule for a monopoly is to extract more money and do less work because there is no alternative for an addicted fanbase to turn to.
  1. Arpagio's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Ardae View Post
    really? kill off bear tanks? your talking about a totally unique tanking class that has been an icon of the comunity forever. they killed off the sham tank because it was never exceptionally viable. Speaking from a logical view how can mail even propose to have the same ammount of protection that plate can provide, the dodge spectrum has already been filled by bears.
    Only reason it wasn't viable was because blizz continued to make them non-viable. They take away the increased shield block, they made it so that if you wanted to parry you had reduced threat, took away the increased armor and the increased stamina. Blizz hated shamans to the point that they got rid of an entire part of them. They could have done it differently, but they didn't.

    Now your point about "how can mail even propose to have the same ammount of protection that plate can provide"... are you serious? You are wearing leather! Same thing would go with a shaman that druids get. Give them something like righteous fury or some stance like Bears, DK's, and Warriors have that gives them reduced damage, increased armor, and increased threat. We have a taunt now even! The dodge aspect of bears only fixed that they can't block or parry... nothing to do with the armor itself.

    As for the rest of this topic, homogenizing the gear is just silly,no holy pally wants to really wear str on their gear. If they did this to plate, then they would in turn do this to mail and leather as well making ele/resto shaman, and resto/balance druid wanting agi since hunters/rogues sure aren't going to be wearing intellect and spirit.
  1. Hykon's Avatar
    Please remove hit and expertise entirely from tanking. it's just annoying. We just roll the dice when tanking now and hope we can hold threat, doesn't matter how efficient we are with our rage and abilities (speaking in terms of my Prot Warrior)
  1. Fatpob's Avatar
    "But we’re interested in seeing your feedback."

    only if you are in the US though.... Pointless blog really
  1. Deathpony's Avatar
    Greg,

    I do not believe a more universal gear would be better or more enjoyable implementation. With the current lack of customizability we would see players more than ever looking like clones of one another. Much like the simplifying of classes and the removal of class/spec uniqueness, in order to make 10 man raiding with various compositions understandably valid, we would see a continued deterioration of 'uniqueness'. Gear competition is not enjoyable any more than bosses with enormous loot tables.

    The resolution for these competing dilemmas does not reside within the gear itself, it is in the distribution of it. Therein lies the fundamental problem that needs to be addressed.

    It is NOT the gear statistics OR the loot tables, it is HOW THEY ARE ACCESSED.

    Right now the Cataclysm loot system favors numbers of participants over strong play, which goes against the encounter design of the expansion. Which is what? To challenge players to play better by providing substantially more difficult encounter content than the previous expansion, but the loot system does not reflect this. It needs to. The system for determining loot right now has not effectively changed in the last 6-7 years of this games life. Everything else has changed, but not how loot is accessed from bosses by players.

    Why not? Why has this aspect of the game not evolved with the rest of the game? It clearly needs to be.

    If the development team's intention is to challenge players to increased levels of game play, then the system for determining loot should coincide with this gesture in development. Strong play should be rewarded if that is what you want to encourage. Think outside the bubble your team's development brain seems to be perpetually locked in. A new loot system that rewarded increasing levels of play with increasing loot OPTIONS would make the matter of large loot tables insignificant if done appropriately.

    Advance the loot system technology so that it encourages stronger play. I don't mean current hard modes or Ulduar ones. I mean give a boss 2 achievements of increasing difficulty, and for each one they successfully fulfill when completing the encounter, one of the random drops isn't so random anymore. Don't be shortsighted with what I said. THINK BIGGER. Expand upon the root concept, the idea, not these shortsighted examples I just gave.
  1. randysavage's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Necrotica View Post
    I assume what you're suggesting is the mob's loot not be pre-picked, but numbers generated and loot assigned when you loot the mob or it dies? On top of that it has to check all classes (and specs?) to pick only from those lists?
    generally speaking this is how i believe it should be (discarding the spec component)...randomly selecting loot for small raids in which some classes will undoubtedly not be represented is a flawed system...in a 40-man raid world, maybe not so much, just because of raid size and the greater chance somebody, anybody, can soak up the loot...but for 10 mans, most certainly...we've all probably been on countless runs where conversations along the lines of, "oh well, i wish we had a shammy to take this loot" happen...

    this doesn't have to happen when a mob dies, necessarily...it could be set when the instance was initiated (like it is now) but with a prospective look at raid composition...the caveat being that initial raid composition could be leveraged to force loot for certain classes to drop, and once the instance was opened, the composition changed...(that, of course, would take the willing participation of several people who agree to not have any chance at loot dropping for them at all during the raid, which may be hard to find)...the other way to do it would be to set the loot table based on the raid composition at the time of the pull...no boss fights are so short that this would be a computational challenge...it might be a programmatic one, though...
  1. BlazingDeath's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Dassen View Post
    ...WHAT THE F*** IS UP WITH THIS G** D*** "FIRST" OBSESSION? WHAT IN THE LIVING **** DO YOU GAIN FROM IT? IT DOESN'T MAKE YOU ****ING COOL, IT BLOODY **** DOESN'T MAKE PEOPLE LOOK UP TO YOU, WHAT THE **** IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?

    also inb4 ban, I don't care, I had to get that off my chest
    umadbro???
  1. Shokzman's Avatar
    50% of your str is transfered into spell power as a holy Paladin so they hit half as much as a ret pally.
    Just saying :P
  1. lamazing1021's Avatar
    i never enjoyed the fact that holy pallys got their entirly own armor class to themselves to mix and match. with the passive armor specialization why cant you do the opposite for them, make them benefit from not using plate. make it harder to pick gear by having to mix all armor types with int on them? just a thought, might not be totally what holy pallies want but, holy pallies are hard to play, >.>
  1. spasmodic's Avatar
    This is actually a pretty simple problem to fix.
    If a piece of loot drops off a boss, theres two options

    if someone directly needs it. they roll need and can recieve the item.

    if nobody needs it the item can be disenchanted to a crystal or sold to a vendor.

    All that needs to be added is something along the lines of a third option.

    Instead of being vendor'd/Disenchanted. a player can bring the piece of gear to the Valor Point vendor, and trade it with another piece of gear off that boss for a simple 1000 Valor points. and then just make a notification when looting if the player recieving the item doesnt have 1000 valor points available.



    it seems like a clean-cut method. you still need to raid to get gear, and no healing paladin will take a Plate DPS gear over a warrior/DK

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