Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
A simple change to WoW armor

In the open Sunday thread there was a discussion about whether classes that can wear heavier armor should be allowed to roll on lighter armor. That is especially significant for healers. A paladin healer is presumably not highly interested in how high his armor value is, and would consider a piece of cloth armor with great healing stats as upgrade to a piece of plate armor with bad stats. So the healing paladin can roll on plate, mail, leather, or cloth armor pieces. A healing shaman can roll on mail, leather, and cloth. A healing druid on leather and cloth. And a healing priest only on cloth armor. Which means the lighter the armor piece that drops, the higher the competition. A healing piece of plate armor is going to the paladin uncontested. A healing piece of cloth armor can be rolled on by healing paladins, shamans, druids, and priests. And that is without considering that since "+ healing power" has been removed as a stat, the mages and warlocks can roll on cloth items with "healing stats" too, because the same stats are good for magic damage.

So I was wondering whether Blizzard couldn't introduce a simple change to the game: Disable the ability to wear lighter armor. Paladins could only wear plate, shamans could only wear mail, druids could only wear leather, etc., no more "downgrading" of armor. Why should one type of healer be allowed to wear more types of armor than another one? It doesn't make sense! If every class just has one type of armor to wear, things get a lot simpler, and there is less fighting over loot.
But... then my cute gnome DK couldn't wear her festival dress anymore :(

All jokes aside, we had this exact same discussion a week ago. In the end, most hybrids prefer to have no rules on armor and most cloth classes preferred to have armor restrictions.

The only reason that people want to downgrade in the first place is bad itemization. As it is now, several "best in slot" items are of a lower armor rating then you usually wear. So if you want to perform at your best, you need those items. Fix this itemization issue and noone will even want to use lower armor.

With all the changes to make gear usable by multiple classes/specs (for example plate DPS gear is now usable for warriors, DK, paladins) I wonder why we still have gear that is only useful for one spec/class (paladin healing gear). That's 1/30 of the specs! Maybe add gear that just scales with what you can wear. Everyone bids on that nice healing piece. If the paladin gets it, turn it into plate, if the priest gets it, turn it to cloth. Only problem being that you would need multiple models or the paladin will be dressed in plate dresses.
Well, the other possibility of course is to allow any class to wear any armor. A cleric in Dungeon & Dragons can wear plate armor, why wouldn't a priest in WoW not be able to?
A Paladin is pretty much defined by being a priest in plate. So "flavor", to some degree.

The real reason though, PvP is why Priests can't wear Plate!

I know, PvE is being balanced around PvP, and vice versa.

Kind of strange how DPS plate and cloth is always desired while for many raids Plate or Mail spell power gets sharded.
The problem is that the Paladin shouldn't be rolling on cloth armor, not because it isn't an upgrade (it might be) but because there is specifically armor for said paladin. I know in my guide its a simple matter that you can't roll outside your armor group unless either A no one of the proper armor group wants it or B there are special circumstances. Special circumstances such as the fact that during BC enhance shamans where better off wearing rogue gear then mail during early raids (kara, SSC and EYE) because the mail armor wasted Itemization points on Int which simply wasn't a useful stat for enhance shamans. Rogue gear on the other hand had every stat an enhance shaman required at the cost of less armor class which in a raid situation is irrelevant 90% of the time.

I different armor problem I think blizzard has faced, and is slowly getting away from is when a piece of armor is made for such a specific spec that 1 spec of one class gets use out of it, and everyone else is screwed. Case in point.. all that plate paladin healing gear. Their the only people who make use of it, So sure its great for them when it drops, but its horrible for everyone else. Protection paladins used to be in a similar boat, but blizzard migrated them to the same stats as a warrior or deathknight tank. Enhance shamans where given talents to convert Int to attack power allowing them to happily use hunter gear and leave that leather to the rogues and druids. The unifing of spellpower and + healing helped this also, What once was a strickly healing priest item could not be used by mages, warlocks and shadow priests. It makes competition for loot a bit fiercer, but it also means on average people should be getting the opportunity to acquire more loot.

I wish they would consider doing something with holy paladin gear as it is currently the last holdover from the old system.
@zode armor is one of the major imbalances of PvP right now though. For example with the Damage equalization you get a class like a Ret Paladin, He does X damage, can heal and has full plate. Then you get a class like a mage who also does the same X damage, but can't heal himself and doesn't have plate. The mage also has less Hp to boot. I understand blizzards goal of trying to make every class equally useful from a dps standpoint but like you said when they try to Balance PvE and PvP useing the same unified system they are bound to run into a number of problems.
Or simply:

Just make the stats on the lighter armor completely unappealing to the heavier armor classes.

Oh wait, they DID do that.
An alternative would be to do something like the Heirloom system. These items scale with your level, so why couldn't they scale with your armor type? A drop is not cloth, leather, mail or plate until someone actually equips it. At which point it automatically converts to for example plate for a Pally.
Already exists in the form of T7 tokens, which are valid for multiple classes, and can be used for multiple talent builds.
The idea that I'd like is to give paladins a talent to increase spell power based upon armor. Similar to the blood DK talent.

Then you wouldn't see paladins in the BC crafted cloth holy set...made me embarassed to be a paladin.
I like how WAR solved the problem. There are types like cloth and plate etc. but every piece of armor is tagged with the class that can wear it. So for example in WoW the item description could state for cloth: "Wearable by Mage, Warlock, Priest" and for leather: "Rogue, Druid", etc. It would solve all drama and leave much less room for ill fated for interpretation. As Tobold stated, why should some classes be able to roll on every type of armor and others only on one type?
There is am incredibly easy solution to this. If it is your main armor spec, you get first dibs. If it is lower, the class it belongs to gets first dibs and you can roll on it if they dont need it. It is not complicated. If we went to the ONLY wear one armor type, a lot more crap would get sharded. Hell, I wear a bunch of cloth on my resto druid. I look at stats, not armor.
Perfect World has an interesting approach to this. Raw stats are determined by level and you can allocate them however you wish. Your ability to wear armour is determined by your strength stat. So if you're a mage, you would get the highest damage potential by wearing cloth armour, but you could reduce your intellect a bit in favour of a little more strength in order to upgrade to light armour - or even conceivably heavy armour although the stats on that gear are no good for the mage. So for our healing paladin in WoW, they would have the option to skimp on strength in order to maximise healing but have fewer options for armour, or add some strength to have more options but less raw stats.
A Paladin Tank (!) rolled on Faerlina's Dagger and made my Warlock sad... :(

It is a problem of shared itemization, but in the end, Blizzard wanted it in the spirit of more loot useful for more players. DPS Casters often compete with Healers nowadays.

I am not absolutely sure about your idea... if it is really that good. But I would approve, it fixes more than it breaks.
One alternative is to have a guild agreed standard for what is a "fair" loot priority, preferably defined by a neutral third party. The Kaliban loot lists I linked on the Open Sunday thread try to do this:

They're here for those who want to look:

The way they work is this: primary classes get first refusal, followed by secondary & tertiary. You move down the list until you find someone who wants to roll on it.

Whilst these aren't perfect, they appear to be less unfair than any alternative I've seen.
In most guilds, a holy pally won't be allowed to roll on cloth unless the clothies in raid all have better already. In a PUG it's up to individuals but in my experience people try to get items to their best prospective owners more often than not. As a shaman with resto offspec, I reap the benefits of my relatively lenient armor restrictions, and have a fully epic mishmash of cloth, mail, and leather spellpower gear gained from simply being there when no one wanted the stuff. Would it be better if that stuff was just sharded? Even if that's more "fair"?
They added a talent to warrior which converts armor into AP to make leather less appealing to them. I think that was only the start.

I assume Tobold was talking about the Cloth/Druid "collision". Paladins and Shamans don't really pick cloth because they have zero use for spirit and spirit less cloth is nothing a heal priest really loves.

The problem is, the best items are all cloth. It's easy to request that all the jewels (cloth caster gear) stay within the cloth classes, if you play a cloth class. But the reason why druids wear cloth is, that there is often no leather part.

Take a look at the list of epic leather gear with Spell Power and Hit added in WotLK:;cr=131:119:123;crs=1:1:1;crv=0:0:0

2 Pieces of T7.10, the same 2 Pieces of T7.25 and 2 pieces of Wintergrasp PvP gear.

Yes. That's it.

A Moonkin can equip an epic leather WotLK piece on its head, shoulder and feet.

Wrist, Hand, Legs, Chest and Waist either don't have any hit rating or are cloth.

GG Blizz.

You cannot really expect a Moonkin to not roll on cloth gear and expect it to be happy. Or, you should give the Moonkin priority on any caster ring, trinket and neck piece containing hit rating over the cloth classes.
It seems blizzard could help this problem somewhat by providing another mail or leather healer, to at least allow them to avoid having some items be only useful to 1 talent spec out of the 27.

I also came up with an idea for "upgrading" armor pieces, if blizzard were to do something like this, they wouldn't need to worry as much about exact balance between plate caster, leather caster, mail caster, vs. cloth, instead they could go heavier on cloth caster,
Armor type upgrades
, though there would still likely be a lot of loot drama, but overall the armor pieces would be more likely to even out among classes.
As a tank, if a piece of armor makes my pally healer's job easier, I directly benefit from that. So I have no qualms about a pally running in cloth.

I do see a bit of an issue with the current trends in itemization though. A lot of dps plate has too much stam rather than more dps stats - so you have warriors and dk's running in leather gear at times because of the better focus of dps reflected in leather armor's itemization.

I also tried not to cry when almost every boss in 2 quarters of Nax dropped +spell power plate. Kind of unfair to the other 9 people in the group.

Wow, this issue has me an emtional wreck! lol
I had hopes when I saw the Runed Orbs that were being added in Ulduar that they would be adding in another Sunwell-Sunmote turnin system. It does not appear so. Blizzard wants random loot to be random and likes forcing players to take non-optimal upgrades instead of holding out for best-in-slot gear.

How else are they going to keep you interested in running Ulduar for the next six months before they release the new content?
I agree. I WANT to be wearing all leather on my druid, but sometimes I just can't argue with the fact that several of my best-in-slot items are cloth. I'd be much happier if cloth weren't an option at all, even if it does mean there are fewer options for me. As much as paladins usually don't want to wear cloth due to its spirit, there are many cloth (and leather) items that have no spirit at all. Armor is worthless in a PvE environment, because any AoE damage taken from the raid is almost always going to be magic-based.

I think one of the best ways to do it is to simply give talents that increase AP/SP per armor for more classes than just plate wearers. The leather pieces would end up being best in slot for my druid after that, because the extra armor would actually be worth something in a PvE environment. While at the same time, I could still wear cloth if it was enough of an upgrade, but only temporarily until I got a good leather piece for that slot.
We've mainly had this problem with Boomkins in my guild. One of them liked to roll on cloth that wasn't best in slot or there were better leather pieces, simply because it was an upgrade from what he already had. Then, 2 bosses later, the leather upgrade drops and he's the only one that can use it. We were only doing /roll at the time. We've since implemented EPGP loot system and he's never high enough to get the cloth unless nobody wants it.

I couldn't really blame the guy so much because of Blizzard not making good leather pieces for him. but it is an annoying problem that pissed off a lot of clothies when it happened...
I don't think you need to change the game.

You just need to knock loot whores in the head and tell em to sit down. Being able to wear multiple classes of armor is one of the big perks of druids, shamans, and paladins in leveling, and the problem of douchy players who don't understand that common courtesy requires that they only get cloth or leather armor when its about to get DE'd otherwise is one the guild needs to handle, not Blizz. There is no if/and/but here, every player should put the needs of the guild first in all looting decisions.
How about an incentive to wearing the "proper" armor than an outright restriction? One could simply roll a +spellpower or equivalent stat into the baseline skills that allow classes to wear heavier armor.
There already ARE incentives.

There are reasons why good paladin healers don't wear cloth. The stats on healing cloth are all wrong, and are terrible for a paladin healer.
"There are reasons why good paladin healers don't wear cloth. The stats on healing cloth are all wrong, and are terrible for a paladin healer."
True for paladins, but not for druids, say.
In my mind, this is really a lot like "main spec" before the "off spec" discussion. Only when no "main spec" can use an item, should anyone be allowed to roll on it for "off spec". Similarly, if a cloth wearer doesn't need a piece -- then, and only then, should a leather/mail/plater wearer be allowed to roll on it. Most organized raids (and quasi-organized PuG raids) will follow those rules.

It's similar to hunters not being allowed to roll on melee weapons (and conversely, melee not rolling on bows/guns). There is a difference between "use" and "best use" of an item.

What I find equally interesting is that players who get "best-in-slot items" that are a bit off (hunter w/ melee or paladin in cloth) are often ridiculed or scorned. There is definitely a perceived social stigma about players having these items. A really good example of this is with the Hemorraging Circle ring out of Heroic Gundrak. It has "expertise" which is a melee only stat but it also happens to be one of the highest Attack Power rings from Heroics for hunters. This makes it attractive to a lot of hunters despite the useless expertise stat.

However, any hunter who equips that ring is also opening himself up to get mocked by other players. And god help him if he actually won it over a melee class (because it's a top 4 ring for Melee DPS) who needed it.

My point here is that I don't think Blizzard needs to change anything. The truth is that the balance is really in place by the socially acceptable standards already in place. Yes, people can be asshats -- but I would rather have the current system in place and deal with the occasional drama. After all, it's far better to let someone get a useful item (even if it is cloth) than see something get sharded because no one can use it.
raid encounter: The Armorsmith

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Using the current Elitist Jerks numbers for balance druids, three T7.5 pieces are best in slot for them, but otherwise it's all cloth. Most of the time it's only by 10-20 DPS, but in the case of pants, for example, the best cloth is 60 DPS over the best leather. DPS is an extremely competitive role, and forcing me to wear leather instead of cloth where not wearing tier pieces would stand a good chance of dropping me from the top five on bosses. There's also that cloth pieces are 3-4 times as common and druid casters seem to be disproportionally well-represented in raids these days.
rofl @ Tobold.

You are moaning yet again because one of your classes needs to compete with others for gear. Then you delete my post calling you out for it.

What about your most recent post where you say the achievement is far more important than the purple pixels? If so, why do you moan about having to share the purple pixels.

At least be honest with yourself. The goblin way is also the tobold way, you just don't want to admit it.

Or you can delete my comment again because it hits too close to home.
If you post a one-liner comment just calling me a whiner, without adding to the discussion on the subject of the post, your comment will be deleted. If you don't want your comments to be deleted, don't troll.
Fine, here you go:

You also fail to mention that you priest can now roll on gear that was previously for mage/warlocks only (i.e. pre spellpower).

Your objectivity is going totally out the window, in it's place are whines in a veneer of impartiality.
There is not one impartial post among over 2,500 posts on my blog. I never claimed impartiality, and I'm getting sick and tired of whiners like you who attack me because I'm not impartial. There simply aren't any impartial blogs.
As a mail-wearing healer, I would like to weigh in on this conversation.

The itemization for mail healing gear is not fantastic. I'm unhappy with the number of pieces that only have crit and 0 haste, even though cast time is a huge issue for shamans; it's preferable to me to get off an extra heal than to have my heals crit a few extra percentage points' worth of the time. To make up some of the haste, I have turned to leather and cloth.

The way to keep people from getting the gear that you need is to form good relationships within your guild, and to have solid loot rules. After all, the point of raiding is to have a whole team that has sufficient gear; if your shaman healer is missing important stats because the itemization on the tier gear and the mail gear isn't quite where it could be, it's important to make sure the healer gets the gear that he or she needs in addition to all other raid members. As a mail-wearing healer, I am always very careful not to roll on something that should go to another class or that would help someone else more than it would help me. In turn, if it's only a slight upgrade for them but a major upgrade for me, I often get to roll on it. If there is mutual respect for other players in the run, you get very few problems when it comes to gearing.

With pugs, it's more difficult, to be sure; I never pug raids, so I never have to worry about that.
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