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. VanishO2's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by ilanna View Post
    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?
    Unfortunately some classes could atempt to "hack" the system with that design, forcing a certain drop to occur.

    For instance, you could basically fill a BH raid with paladins, since they can fill tank, dps and healing roles. This kind of boss isn't exactly made to be killed by perfect raids or raids with diferent kind of healers, dpsers or tanks.

    You can even kill some bosses in the other raids besides BH with just a few classes covering all the roles in a 10man raid for example, some normal modes aren't that hard to force you go with 1 of each class or go home. I alread did at least half the bosses in T11 with a raid almost composed by Druids and Paladins. Pally Tank, Druid Tank, 2 Ret paladins, 2 Boomkins, 1 Hunter, 2 Holy Pallies, 1 Resto Shaman. You could easily swap the Resto Shaman for a resto druid, the Hunter for a feral or another Boomkin and do a good job with most bosses. And BH would basically drop only Druid and Paladin PvE and PvP gear.

    That could also work against you in the way that you could not count on a friend to fill your raid if he is from a class that you don't want anything to drop (basically he doesn't need anything from BH and a drop for him would be a waste again).

    So, in the end, the current system is the best possible, unfortunately. If only things you need, dropped, you would never have maelstrom crystals for your raid or in the market soon. The best thing possible is what we're going to have now... more sources for good gear (353 ZA/ZG) for the slots that you're having problems to join the current 346/BoE/Crafted BoE/Faction/346/359/Points. Also players sometimes dismiss good 346 gear just because they're not purple. For 4.2 we'll have all this gear + 359 valor gear from justice vendors + new stuff from Firelands (wich will probably include new crafted gear and maybe a new faction with new stuff?).
  1. Unholyground's Avatar
    WoW is on its last legs anyways, Diablo 3 will break their fall and keep people interested until Titan comes out.
  1. Dillybear's Avatar
    honestly im way to to rant as hard as id like at most of these posts but i will say this, random may seem stupid but predictability is not fun random is fun in that it adds suspense and hope for what you want instead of what you know will happen. also i dont want blizzard telling me what stats i want on my gear i want to figure that out myself. i love getting the leather caster gear knowing i was the only druid in raid and guess what if it drops again a shard really isnt that bad of a runner up seeing as how the only efficient way of getting shards is from unused raid loot that people all are crying they dont want ot get de'd yet they wouldnt all have max purp enchants on their stuff had it not gotten de'd.
    the problem stems from people thinking as a player not as a designer. "i think it would be fun if all my tank gear could share with my dps gear" as a player that might sound great, but as a designer that might not be the best as it could cause a lot of inexperienced tanks to try tanking for the first time and be terrible people complaining that it would be "best" if they had a tank enchant on one and a dps on another and they hate having to get tw ofo the same item just for different gems or enchants. and then theres the lack of enjoyment you feel when you are rolling against 8 or so other people for one fucking peice of loot,while it might drop more chances are you are going to have to watch yourself lose it a lot more too before you get it and thats just not fun. before people cryed about poorly itemized gear so blizz gave us reforge now people penny pinch stats and assume that even 60% of the previous poor stat is just too much of a fuckung burdon because cleraly every piece of gear should have bis stats every time right?
    im sure blizz will change the loot system some day and when they do people will just complain and say "man i liked it whne loot was more random" or "man now that we all can use the gear we never really have enoguh shards" or i guess to put it more simply heres the way the most of the playerbase thinks:

    MAN WOW SURE ISNT AS GOOD AS IT WAS BEFORE *current expansion here*

    edit:also if you think you NEED that mastery reforged to haste or w/e else to succeed then you are a fucking bad player and need to understand that you work with what you have and if you are good you succeed, if you arent then you wont, nuff said
  1. arrachne's Avatar
    "We understand such concerns as mages and warlocks having to spit blood to get geared and not get a gear upgrade for weeks while watching priests just leisurely picking up everything with spirit on it. We're not going to fix it though because it wouldn't be "elegant". Also I'm a HUGE dickhead.


    P.S. Gearing wouldn't be "fun" without RNG. I obviously have no idea what "fun" is despite (or maybe because of)the fact that I've been the lead developer of the word's most popular mmo for years."
  1. Quazier's Avatar
    could use a SWP like system where you trade the item + a token to change the item to something better suited for your specific class
  1. Necrotica's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by madyrn View Post
    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.
    We was talking about this back in vanilla days and the Devs then said that can't work cause the bosses and all mobs in the dungeon automatically assign their loot when you first begin the Raid ID when your raid enters the place, basically they spawned the mobs in and the look was automatically picked then for that ID of that mob.

    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?
  1. Justaway's Avatar
    Does this mean Shaman will tank with 2-handers : )?
  1. lady2221's Avatar
    yes the tanking druids rly want their gear, but sharing gear with ALL plate users (melee and tanks) just sucks. leave it as it is :P
  1. Contravene's Avatar
    Ghostcrawler reminds me of a wanna be Raid Leader who is always minus the important facts. They can't even balance the combat engine they have already..
  1. Archermit's Avatar
    I would love to see dedicated teir gear for feral tanks, something with crit / dodge and mastery while ofc giving the hit / expertise ( when we need it ) on off-sets items
  1. Opblaaskaas's Avatar
    I knew Shamans were gonna get a tank specc!!! /conspiracy
  1. Sparklelord's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Daerth View Post
    I dunno if I'm the only person who finds this post very boring and actually of little importance, the debate on whether gear should be more distinguishable has been going on ever since I started playing (especially Bear gear in TBC lolz)... I just don't know why they decided to bring this up instead of some other more interesting topics
    They said it could be boring stuff they brought up. It's just supposed to be a behind the scenes look at their development process.
  1. Ashlan's Avatar
    if they do something about stats being more equal, this game will get really bored because bosses will drop the same or close gear and there will be even less choice.... you want them to do what they did whit the old talents trees... and that sucks. I still miss the old talents :S
  1. Master Guns's Avatar
    I really wish they'd comment on how every tier for every class is the exact same stats/set bonuses. Do you realize how boring and homogenized that is? That's fucking stupid.
    Plate DPS tiers, Paladin, DK, and Warrior, have the exact same stats essentially, and the exact same set bonuses. Same with cloth, mail, leather, etc.
  1. Teralic's Avatar
    Out of all stats changes, i'd consider reasonable something like this:

    1) Make Spirit a baseline hit in addition to out of combat regen. Just put in instead of any hit, including on agi/str gear. Why not? One could even somewhat explain it: like, more inspired warrior or rogue would actually hit things more often since they have higher morale or whatever. This won't make pretty much any differense for the rest, just one less green row and somewhat more use of rating-like "primal" stat.

    2) Give Holy a talant (or a core spec part) that would use Str as Int. But with a "side effect" which will decrease the amount of AP gained from Str while in holy spec by, say, 70%. They will, however, gain same offensive SP from it as from Int, so it should not change much for holy dps. They still won't need any expertise, probably, but so does hunters and they still see it sometimes on mail - not a big deal, there's always more then one option for a slot, with and without exp.

    3) Make hit and exp of more use for tanks (there was a nice thoughts in previous blog about extra shield procs, etc). But keep the rest same way. There's really not much needed to make it attractive for tanks - some of them already trying to cap at least non-boss hit and expertise before stacking survival. Other option would be to not make hit or exp any more useful for tanks, but give them a talant that'd let them consider bosses as 82 level target for their attacks. It might be the best way to go tbh.

    4) Possibly make expertise useful for hunters. Since it's on half of gear anyway. Or just remove it from mail and give enh a talant to never worry about exp. Verstion 3: since it leaves casters with 1 less useful type of stats, just bloody merge it with spirit/hit. That's some annoying stat to cap anyway, especially when you need to cap both hit and exp. Maybe give some other stat that'd be of some use for all classes.

    So this would basically make this types of gear:
    Cloth - int + spirit/mastery/crit/haste (2-3 of any)
    Leather - int + spirit/mastery/crit/haste
    Leather - agi + spirit/mastery/crit/haste/exp
    Mail - int + spirit/mastery/crit/haste
    Mail - agi + spirit/mastery/crit/haste/exp(?)
    Plate - str + spirit/mastery/crit/haste/exp
    Plate - str + spirit/mastery/dodge/parry/exp

    Yes, that might make gear less "fun" for some... But really, is it so fun at first place? >.< To have this mess with stats that can't be used by half potential users just because of a single rating on it? If you're worried everyone will roll on the same gear - no, they won't. You can see it even now: when crit cloth drops, fire mages would drool on it, when some priests or who else won't even consider it as upgrade over some haste lower ilvl gear. Those ratings unlikely to be equal for every spec, and as far as i remember, it is supposed to be some rating of more use then others. But there should not be a trash rating that noone ever wants to use (when you see a matching prime stat & type on the item).

    You can have some classes/specs centerd around one rating and make it "the stat you would reforge to" even more clear then it is for some specs today. Just the rest 3-4 ratings should be around -20-30% less useful, not -80% or of no use at all, that's all i mean.

    That's how i see it. Everything is totally IMO.
  1. underdogba's Avatar
    Again Ghostcrawler is coming at us with the most milquetoast possible blog, saying exactly what he's expected to say. There's absolutely nothing interesting or remotely different in anything he has to say compared to what Blizz devs have been saying all along time and time again. If anything, his analysis is watered-down for public consumption (for example the part about asking if druid tanks don't like having real tank gear, as though "like" and "dislike" are the primary motivating factors here, and not systems design!).

    So far GC has been two-for-two in inducing an overwhelmingly jawbreaking yawn.
  1. ShimmerSwirl's Avatar
    Wall of text.
  1. link064's Avatar
    As much as I agree that it would suck merging spirit with spell hit, it really wouldn't be that much different from the current situation.

    Spirit cloth drops - 3 priest specs roll on it
    Hit cloth drops - mages, warlocks, and spriests roll
    Non-hit/spirit cloth drops - all clothies roll

    Spirit/hit cloth drops - everyone rolls
    Non-hit/spirit cloth drops - everyone rolls

    The only changes are healers would have more competition, but then the frequency that available pieces showed up would increase. It would take some more maths to prove that it is a better situation for clothies. As for off-pieces, it would be Wrath-rolling all over again where everyone rolled on everything.

    As per the suggestion to convert str -> SP/int for holy paladins, that goes against Blizzard's "this is good but looks bad" policy. They really try to avoid associating good things with bad things. Could it work? Yes. But it isn't a direction they want to go. As for having a "Righteous fury-style stance", it would have to be a Holy-only stance or else Ret and Prot healing would be way too good. At that point, you might as well just make it a passive. And even then, what's to stop a holy paladin from toggling it on and off when they need to heal and then facerolling DPS all the other time? If you were to convert strength to int or SP, it would have to be all the time.

    I think the biggest thing Blizzard is overlooking with paladins is that (unless I'm mistaken) Strength based Holy Paladins using melee attacks would do less damage than the current Intellect based Holy Paladins spamming exorcism. And what does it matter if their melee attacks hit "nearly" as hard as Ret? They have an amazing arsenal of melee attacks consisting of Crusader Strike and auto-attack. Judgment isn't even a melee attack. Woo! If that really is their main concern, it is a really weak one.
  1. Alceus's Avatar
    "He tanks with a two-hander. On a shaman. Boom."

    Not funny GC...Not Funny...
  1. slosh's Avatar
    I think stat conversion would be extremely beneficial for paladins and slightly beneficial for a couple other classes.

    But Paladins are by far in the worst shape for gearing up various specs or content.

    DPS (and leveling to an extent)? Strength/Haste/Crit gear.
    Tanking? Completely different set.
    Healing? Yet another set.
    PvPing? Well there's holy and ret versions for that too!

    We're the only class that really needs up to 5 completely separate sets of gear. Others can reforge things like spirit/hit and have a fairly functional (although not optimal) set of gear. But a Paladin that likes to do all three specs? Have fun spending obscene amounts of Valor/Justice points trying to fill all those rolls.

    It really needs to be addressed. Converting ret stats to holy makes most sense since things like crit and haste are usable by both (convert strength -> Int, Hit/Expertise -> Spirit), and it could easily be done through the talent specialization feature.

    In doing so, you'd go from 5 sets of gear for pallies down to 3. Tanking, PvE heal/dps, and PvP heal/dps.

    I don't think this needs to be done across the board where cloth drops and suddenly all cloth players want it, but my god it makes sense to get rid of Int plate.

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