Tobold's Blog
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Making WoW stats easier to understand

I must admit I don't fully understand all the stats in World of Warcraft. Yes, I know what each single one of them means. But then comes the point where I have to decide whether I should wear an item with +20 strength or rather one with +38 attack power, and I can't make that decision in my head. I need some sort of stat calculator program or addon for that. Obviously that hurts the "Oh! Shiny!" feeling if you first need to calculate whether that new item is actually better than the old one. Apparently Blizzard was thinking along similar lines, and decided to simplify WoW stats in the Cataclysm expansion. Via MMO Champion, here is a list:
  • MP5: This will be removed from items and replaced with Spirit. All healers will be given a meditation-like ability.
  • Spell Power: Spell Power is being removed from items as well. Don't panic, we'll be improving Intellect so that it provides mana and Spell Power.
  • Attack Power: We're removing Attack Power from items as well. Instead, we're allowing Agility to provide the necessary Attack Power for leather and mail wearers. Strength will provide the appropriate amount of Attack Power for plate wearers. This means leather and mail items will no longer be desirable for plate wearers.
  • Defense: The Defense statistic is also being removed from items so that players no longer have to worry about juggling around "the cap." Tanks will receive the necessary anti-crit from talents, like Survival of the Fittest.
  • Armor Penetration: This ability is too confusing and "mathy." It is being replaced with Mastery, a stat that makes you better at what you do. More on that later!
  • Haste: Will also increase the rate at which you gain energy, runes, and focus. Retribution paladins and Enhancement shaman will have a talent that allows them to take advantage of this benefit.
  • Block: Block Value is being removed. Blocking will now always mitigate a percentage of damage.
  • Stamina: Players will notice more Stamina on gear as Defense, Spell Power, Attack Power and Armor Penetration are removed.
So principally I think this is a good idea. But of course there is a catch: How do you transform the existing items into the new system? If you have less stats, you automatically have less options for variations. The place where I will feel that most is my jewelcrafting. I spent a fortune in gold and time to farm tokens to learn for example recipes for gems that give strength or agility and for gems that give attack power, and suddenly the latter will just disappear for being obsolete.

What remains are still some tactical choices. Depending on how you distribute your stats as a dps class for example, you could either go for a higher base dps, or for higher burst dps. Hit rating, and thus a "hit cap" still exists. But in the end players have a tendancy to lump all stats plus the skill of the player into a single score, the dps score on some damage meter. So what do you think about the stat changes in Cataclysm? Will there be too many stats, too few, or just the right number?
I think most likely your tokens for lvl 80 recipes would be obsolete anyway with Cataclysm if previous experience is anything to go by, but I agree that this will change jewelcrafting - my guess is that less different recipes might lead to more people having and selling each of them. Less gold to make but larger chance that your guildie has the recipe you want?

I like the changes Blizzard do here. I don't feel that the stats they take away added much to the fun for me. However from old discussions with friends over different RPG systems ("is Rolemaster too "mathy"?) I know that it differs greatly what amount of calculations is right to make things fun for people.

It looks like they keep crit as a separate stat from the list you refer? In that case I guess rogues get to keep their spreadsheets :)
Merry Christmas Tobold!

I appreciate the (planned) changes, as for some classes right now there really is a lot to consider when comparing items to one another.

With the upcoming streamlining every role will still have (to make) the same choices:

Healer: Large Manapool vs more efficient healing (mastery) vs longevity

Tanks: Threat generation vs high avoidance vs high stamina

DPS: "Main stat" vs Hit vs crit vs mastery vs manareg

Burst damage is more a question of talent builds and/or glyphs rather than stat distribution i think.

"I spent a fortune in gold and time to farm tokens to learn for example recipes for gems that give strength or agility and for gems that give attack power, and suddenly the latter will just disappear for being obsolete."

The upcoming changes are announceed for the next expansion, nobody's going to care about your lvl 80 junk by then anyway :)
While the concept behind the change is something I like (ie making the game easier to understand to new players) I don't like them just removing and consolidating these stats. MY main arguement against it is that it furthers the trend of everyone being in the same gear that was started in Wrath.

With the game now having only a handful of stats what seperates gear to one caster from another? Sure I understand they want every drop to go somewhere, but I don't want to see every single caster garbed in the same hood/robes/pants/staff/etc.

Same thing goes for melee. With the removal of Arp you remove the only thing that seperates one melee dps piece from another. If all dps plate is just Str, Sta, and Mastery then that same piece can be used by all plate wearers regardless of spec/class for dps. That may/may not be a bad thing in your book but a WoW where everyone looks the same is really bland to me.

I can imagine the number of armor/wep pieces is going to shrink with these changes because Blizzard can now design a smaller number of pieces that can be used by everyone.

Of course all my fears can prove unfounded and Blizzard can go in the opposite direction so who knows.
I don't think much will change in the way people pick their gear. Item choice (for dps specs) will still be a matter of how well each stat translates into extra dps.d Rebalancing or removing some stats, such as haste and arp, won't change the general gearing strategy. It'll still be "Get hit capped, get expertise capped if appropriate, and use Rawr/Enhsim/some-other-calculator further gearing".
mmo-champ is just repeating what was said at Blizzcon, probably for those that weren't following the event and to fill these slow holliday days. So they're saying nothing new, the new stats will be:

caster dps: stam, int, crit, haste, hit, mastery
melee dps: stam, str/agi, crit, haste, hit, mastery, expertise
healers: stam, int, crit, haste, spirit, mastery

I personally like the proposed changes for several reasons, they make gear more class divided (no longer will plate dps lust for that BiS leather), it makes leveling gear considerably better, hopefully it will make "filler" stats like haste desirable for melee.

There's even side efects like making some good pieces for tanking and dpsing like an item with: stam, str, expertise and mastery for instance.

All in all it's a good change imo, and to answer your question 20 str = 40ap if you're a plate user or a druid if not it's worth 20ap if you're a rogue or shaman.
I have no problem with making the system simpler to understand, however its blizz that changed it before to make their itemization more complicated and spread out stats to give more flexability in 'nerfs'.

My concern now is for those that spent months aquiring the perfect set of gear, enchants, gems, to see all their work wiped out by this change and having to spend another month or two fixing their sets.. assuming blizz isn't uttery carefull and fair in these changes.
In Wow, I love the ability to customize my characters. Spellcasters can have builds focusing on different abilities(i.e. larger mana pools vs. faster regen vs. more power). By lumping these abilities into attributes like spirit or intelligence, a lot of the possibility for customization is removed. It obviously depends on how they implement it, but it can easily lead to more "cookie-cutter" builds. Maybe it's just me, but I prefer the complexity of the current system, and the difficult choices I sometimes have to make regarding gear.
Most of you are blowing this way out of proportion. With the addition of a new stat (Mastery), the new system isn't really any simpler than the old system. The exception is tanks, but all of those stats are "required cap" type of stats. They don't represent any kind of choice (you MUST cap them or you can't tank), but they do make it very hard for poorly geared entry level tanks to do their job.
also omitted in this discussion is how certain professions will reforge items, changing one stat to another. That will add a certain degree of choice into the system (although there will always be a "right" answer when crunching the math).
Juggling around the defense cap isn't so different from a DPS juggling around his +8% hit. So why only change one?

I do agree that the stats are too confusing now. The only way I could figure out if item A is better than item B is by using an addon like Pawn and adding numbers for every stat from a website like EJ.

So how will less stats effect me? It won't. I'll still have to use this method to figure out if that item with 20 haste is better than that one with 20 crit rate.
I can only really speak from a hunter perspective, but it looks to me as if we go back to vanilla complexity, with the addition of one stat, Mastery. Back then gearing was lots simpler (for me), all I had to do was stack agility. I kind of look forward to that again.

Of course this might not be true for other classes, especially casters, since SP was much more rare back then, at least unless you had a chance to raid.

What I wonder though is what will happen to all the "old" gear with AP, SP, ArP and the works? Will it all be converted to the new system? I doubt it, as it would be one heckuva lot of work on Blizzard's end, but who knows?
When they first started talking about this at Blizzcon, I was a little excited about it because of the Mastery system possibly solving the problem of certain trees being un-viable.

Then I started thinking about it. If they use the mastery system to "make characters better at what they do" instead of all these secondary stats, do we even need the primary stats anymore? Just have 3 stats: +Tanking, +Healing, +Pwning. Everything tanks need to tank will now be granted by the tanking stat, and so on.

I'd also take issue with the fact that it would make everyone wear the same gear and look identical, but we already do so it's kind of a moot point.
my jewelcrafter has 2 recipes for TBC spell power gem. runed...and..teardrop. teardrop gem used to be a plus healing gem and I went through ha great deal of trouble to acquire it. now - they are basically identical.

I suspect, that's what will happen with all those attack power, armor penetration, etc gems. they will be converted into pure stat gems so you will end up with 2 (or more) recipes that craft the same exact thing, but carry a different name.

on one hand, it doesn't really matter since like others stated - the basic recipes from Cataclysm will probably surpass epic recipes of today (not to mention, there's quite a bit of time still left in Wrath, so its not like you bought something extremely expensive only to replace it a day later) As a crafter though, who more often then not collects recipes for the hell of it, the way some people collect gold or minipets, etc - it annoys me that diversity of my collection will be diminished. it doesn't come as a surprise though, so I'm going to enjoy what I have right now, while I still can :)
I fully agree with the changes :), a game's meant to be played, not messing around with its math, I want to know right away if the next piece of gear is gonna be an upgrade for me or not.

This simply frees up a lot more time for fun in WoW.
I think this is a great change and long overdue. I use addons like RatingBuster and DrDamage and I still can't figure out which is the best item to use! It's about time!
Keep in mind that, coming with Cataclysm, you'll be able to "reverse-engineer" (I forget the actual name Blizz gave it) gear to replace stats on your gear with other stats, as long as that new stat doesn't already exist on the item. So you won't be able to double-stack an stat, but if you'd rather have stamina than spirit, and stamina's not already on the item, then you'll be able to.

I submit your list of 3 stats can be reduced to just one - PWNING.

Just have each item have a pwning stat, and have it affect whatever the character is trying to do. Cast a heal, pwn! Cast a damage spell, pwn! Tank some hits, pwn!

Really, why complicate things? With more than one stat, people have to make choices. One stat items solves this annoying problem.
I welcome the simplified stats in Cataclysmic since I rely on an addon to assist me in gear evaluation. I highly recommend the Add-on Ratingsbuter in the meantime. It breaks down the stats to show what you will gain in AP, etc from STR for example.
It's somewhat important to note what MMO-Champions is doing right now is restating all convention news and with the degree to which Blizzard iterates in their development cycle much of what was said at the convention is probably wrong be now. Don't get to comfortable with any of this.

Also, remember there will be a complete gear reset with the expansion. Everything you have now will have long ago replaced itself by the time the first expansion raid comes along.
One question this begs is: What are going to be the effects on trinkets and other items that provide utility effects - that are based on the preexisting stats as they stand now?
I am personally glad to see this. I mean, I am not a total gear head, but how many times I have had people go out of their way to belittle me about my gemming and gear selection is beyond measure.

I would prefer just to have an easier selection process and then of course have gems that actually make sense so guys and girls like me don't have to be so confused.
For those of you speculating if they will leave your current gear useless- don't. Last time they made this change (from damage and healing done to spellpower, and prior to that from straight agility to AP and a mix of stats) they made it sweeping. New gear and old is affected. The only thing really left to think about is which gem AP is getting turned into, agi or STR. Perhaps they'll remove it.
First off this was already done once when Blizzard got rid of the +healing on most items.

Honestly this isn't a bad idea, however I don't like how everyone is so excited to make WoW "easier" in alt of those posts own words.

I'm torn because this isn't persay a bad change, but I'm worried about a slippery slope of "easier" changes.
**Incoming Sarcasm**

Even after these changes there are far too many stats to be concerned with. Even a pwning stat is too elusive. Which is why every item should be reduced to a, what you might call it, perhaps, a Gear Score.

As a regular pug raid leader, I don't have the time to evaluate a person's skill, let alone their combination/blend of stats. And it only gets worse when I have to consider one's enchants/gems/gear set bonuses, how am I supposed to know which is better to heal, tank or dps with? Ranged DPS? Ranged...tanking? huh?

And don't ask me to use the Armory or inspect others, thats an invasion of privacy.

LF4M for New Cataclysm Instance - 9k GS minimum!
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