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. Arpagio's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Spotnick View Post
    What they keep forgetting is priests can roll on hit cloth, mages and warlocks can't on spirit cloth.

    So it's not entirely true to say it's "different" gear if you let priests roll on hit gear.
    and this goes for rings, trinkets, cloaks, and necklaces as well. Boomkins, ele shaman, and spriests can roll on ALL of those while the mages and locks are solely stuck with hit and the heals can only roll spirit. Oh well though...
  1. zilverdael's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Spotnick View Post
    What they keep forgetting is priests can roll on hit cloth, mages and warlocks can't on spirit cloth.

    So it's not entirely true to say it's "different" gear if you let priests roll on hit gear.
    A (S)priest rolling on hit is plain stupid.
  1. ilanna's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by tugnutt7 View Post
    The one and only thing I want to see is a smart loot drop system. Only drop gear that someone in the raid could potentially use.
    (ie don't drop hunter pants on Argaloth if there are no hunters in the group.) Other than that, I like the Cata gear model.
    This has always been an idea in my head. What's the problem with changing the way seeding works? Have loot be determined when a boss is killed with a check of classes/specs in the raid. Surely something like that is possible?
  1. Thalin's Avatar
    How about making the tier tokens for all classes similar to the Heroic Al'Akir drops? We have had the same shoulder token drop from our 3 Cho'gall kills. The most recent token went unused, while there are around 8-10 guild members who would really like to get their 4th tier piece. In addition, just make gear have stat allocation points with caps for each stat and secondary stat. That way each armor piece can be customed tailored by the individual player? Seriously though, reforging is just scratching the surface. Not only would this allow customization on a more detailed level, but it would seriously reduce the amount of unused gear that often gets sharded or vendored.

    *edit for example*

    For example, mail armor piece drops, I being a hunter take said armor to reforger. The armor has a set number of stat allocation points. Let's say 40 to keep it easy. Okay pick primary stats. Okay AGI and STA looks good. Wait, maybe I should stack all of my points into AGI...Nope can't do it, there is a cap per stat to prevent stacking a particular stat to incredible numbers. Okay so I'll take 10 AGI and 10 STA. Now pick your secondary stats. I could use some more hit so I'll be taking Hit. Crit is my next highest secondary stat now that I've reached my hit cap so I'll take that too! Now my mail armor piece has 10 AGI, STA, Hit and Crit. It is the perfect piece for me!
  1. Darrgen's Avatar
    Why not have some special gear similar to that of engineering helm except instead of 2 sockets only provide one. Then have the socket gems drop from bosses as well. This would make the higher end gear more universal with an open socket to most every class. the socket gems would carry item levels similar to the gear. So if you got a item lvl 372 socket you could put it in a item lvl 372 piece of gear or higher item level that had an open cogwheel socket(perhaps even have a pattern for engineering that made the actual gems and the raw material drop from bosses) Not sure what would be the problem with this approach since it adds something for engineering to do and makes gear much more flexible for classes.
  1. Azrile's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Arpagio View Post
    My honest to god opinion about the feral tanking issue:

    Get rid of bear. You killed off Shamatanks and since gear is now becoming the issue, kill off the bear.

    Again, this is my honest opinion and no matter how much you druids rage about this, my opinion isn't going to change on the matter.
    Do you even understand what he said... they actually fixed the bear issue very well by removing the need for bears to look for STR leather gear. Bears take AGI leather gear, and usually AGI for every other slot, but can deal with using a piece or 2 of STR tanking jewelry. What he was talking about is how there are 5 specs that use leather AGI and they mostly all like different secondary stats right now... the same way there are 5 different dps plate specs that all prefer different secondary stats.

    He is really talking about two different issues. One they fixed rather well.. Besides holy Pallys, ever piece of gear can be shared by multiple specs, it makes the loot tables a manageable size. What he was talking about at the beginning is a completely different issue, and that is where each rogue spec ´likes´different secondary stats... so a piece that drops with haste and crit might be passed on by a sub rogue etc. The first part he was talking about if they should perfectly itemize every item slot for each spec.. the answer is no, because we already have reforging that takes care of most of that issue. they possibly could change the reforging limit from 40% to 60%. They also could go back and add more benefit for haste to a few melee specs since that is really the sore thumb stat right now.
  1. madyrn's Avatar
    tugnutt7 hit it above. There is no justification for not having a better system in place to determine what drops. The game can already see what spec each person in the group is. When you engage a boss, the current specs should be used to build a sort of temporary loot table from which the RNG pulls its drops. That way, at the least, whatever drops will be usable by someone in the group. Upgrade or not, at least it can be used.

    You can quibble over stats on gear all day long but, until the guys "upstairs" decide to essentially hard code what stats go to what spec/class, this hornet's nest will always be present. Stats are not even the half of it either. When it comes to the BiS argument, now you have situations where, for example, an enhancement shaman will go for a leather piece because it's BiS. So, this comes down to the devs not only cleaning up the loot system itself but also making a much more definite divide between who can get what and what stats are available to which spec.
  1. JonTargaryen's Avatar
    They can solve the Holy plate issue by introducing a new Paladin 'stance' or presence, the way Righteous Fury is the tanking presence.

    Divine Fury: Grants spell power equal to X% of any Strength gained from items or effects and Spirit equal to Y% of any hit rating gained from items or effects, but decreases attack power by Z%.

    Obviously the Spirit -> hit rating conversion should be removed from Enlightened Judgements or it would lead to some interesting results.
  1. Herecius's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by mr.mahatma View Post
    i can see both sides of the argument here, but what i dont understand is "I’m not sure we want to pile more onto that design."
    i think that the idea of stat conversion would be the best fix possible. you could even loop it into the current spec "bonuses" ie: certain skills, different mastery effects etc)
    such an example could be the holy paladins.
    on their spec summary show: "90% of strength gained from items is converted to the spellpower of the paladin." and why couldnt this be done without making them hit as hard as retadins? just do the conversion literally. instead of something like the spirit to hit conversion where you retain all of your spirit and the hit, just gain the spellpower, but LOSE the strength...

    i guess the way i see it is that the whole point of a video game is piling more onto basic designs. otherwise things get stagnant.
    You know, that's probably exactly the kind of suggestion and feedback Blizzard is talking about and asking for. :P
  1. hopezero's Avatar
    I play a feral druid and I personally love that I have to make decisions on gear based on the spec I'm playing. While a lot of time the gear would be an upgrade for one spec, it might not be for another. For example, the 4piece for tanking isn't all that great (imo) however the AP bonus for kitty is a nice boost. There is enough gear and ways to change gear to make pieces more desirable for different classes. Example: A frost DK loves crit but the Arms warrior wants more haste but they can't seem to get the haste drop for the arms warrior so he just reforges the crit to haste. (And I have no idea about these specs stating so don't rant about it ^_^). With reforging/enchants you really are able to change gear up enough to make it worth while for most people without having to really add too much to current loot tables. But the fun comes in when that one piece you really want, that fits your stating perfectly finally drops.

    I love that my tanking set is different from a Warriors (or any other for that matter). The differences in the game are what make it interesting. I love that H.Pallies are the only plate intel class in the game, I love that druids are the only leather tanking class in the game. These differences in gear are what make raiding interesting.

    I enjoy the challenge of gearing my toon, I don't enjoy gear being handed to me. I love killing halfus every week and praying that we get another Malevolence drop. Adding 3 more 2hander AGI weapons would dilute the gear instead of putting in my time and hoping i get the drop, I get handed gear. I raid for the challenge of not only getting bosses down, but also because RNG, when it comes to loot, can be fun ^_^
  1. Akutare's Avatar
    Honestly I think the best solution to spell plate is to make a new class where one of the specs is a caster who wears plate, then Holy paladins would have as much competition as elemental/resto shamans and balance/resto druids. As to what that spec in that class could be, that can be something they sort out. In a way, it's sort of a shame that they didn't make one spec of death knights like that. Maybe it wouldn't have been totally appropriate, but it would have ended the crying about spell plate. DKs do have a lot of spell effects, so it would probably not have been much of a stretch to have had one that was more caster and converted spirit to hit. Although now it's too late for that, so new class of plate wearing and spell casting.

    While I am making vain wishes, we also need a healer that heals people by stabbing them back to health, because that would be awesome.
  1. Museigen's Avatar
    More competition means more loot getting used, which means higher geared raiders, which means more dead bosses, which finally means more loot. While losing loot is frustrating, loot not being used is even worse as it's not increasing the raid potential in any way.

    That's how I see it anyway.
  1. Nymrohd's Avatar
    What about the obvious option of making gear drops less random? With class specializations the way they are players could have a clear tag on what spec they are at any given moment. Why not just make the tables prioritize gear that can be useful. It should be doable (though the WoW machine is so old, it might be hard).
    Honestly the problem is, they made a game with massive gear dependance. The greatest ammount of player power comes from their gear; base stats are tiny in comparison.
  1. Unholyground's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Arpagio View Post
    and this goes for rings, trinkets, cloaks, and necklaces as well. Boomkins, ele shaman, and spriests can roll on ALL of those while the mages and locks are solely stuck with hit and the heals can only roll spirit. Oh well though...
    In my personal opinion non tier gear should scale to the class that is getting it with that armors proficiency. Similar to how druids see feral AP on weapons. A mage sees hit on on piece of cloth but a priest sees spirit. problem solved, it works for cloth gear very well.
  1. DiamondTear's Avatar
    For me loot isn't significant anymore. Trying to get the healing stats I deem as optimal is some extra fun but neither change would make a big difference to me.
  1. Phaidrae's Avatar
    I'm shocked that Blizz HASN'T made it so all the gear can be used throughout the classes like that. All plate can be used by all plate wearers and all cloth by all clothies....It would mean less work skinning gear (like they ever try very hard on skinning gear anymore anyway..."Give Locks a menacing looking helm, make plate shoulders ridiculous and make leather gear ugly as hell! /DONE!") and more time to make the game more suitable for the PvP divas that have, effectively, destroyed WoW.

    What they need to do is make reforging more effective/useful. Say I have a balance spec for my druid and I'm given a piece of gear with 127 spirit on it but no haste...Ok, I'm not lacking in the hit department so spirit won't do much aside from minimal mana regen which isn't a problem for me either. Take it over to Mr. Reforge @ the chant shop and I can turn a whole whopping like 52 of those points itemized as spirit into haste, leaving me STILL with 75 spirit that I have no use for. Why not give us the option of swapping out ALL of that nasty spirit for say...10-15 LESS of the stat that we're looking for - so that would convert to like 117-112 haste. Voila - useful stats...but at a cost - tho not too high to seem unappealing, not too low to seem ridiculous.

    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)
  1. Snowcrash3's Avatar
    sorry, but these page long 'here's the pickle we can't figure out' is pathetic

    You make millions of dollars per day and have all those employees and you can't figure out how to solve for dropping loot that only 1 or 2 specs use? Give me a break and stop trying to please everyone, make a decision for the greater good and merge whatever.
  1. Swizzle's Avatar
    Smart loot and the removal of random enchant items is all they need to do.
  1. Wingwraith's Avatar
    My biggest complaint about loot is when loot drops for people who aren't even in your raid... so annoying.

Site Navigation