Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Cataclysm Miscues: VII: Stats

This is the seventh in a series of posts about the little things that cataclysm messed up on this expansion.  These little things are things that mostly go unnoticed or are easily overlooked because they are usually not game breaking but they do leave you having that feeling of something being off.

Past posts:
Cataclysm Miscues: I: Healing & Mana Potions
Cataclysm Miscues: II: Hemet Nesingwary
Cataclysm Miscues: III: Targeting
Cataclysm Miscues: IV: Professions
Cataclysm Miscues: V: Flow
Cataclysm Miscues: VI: The Gap

Stat Inflation Gone Wild:

This is not going to be about stat inflation even if that is an interesting topic that deserves discussion.  This series is about things that feel off in the game and I will attempt to approach it from the angle that explains why stats being like they are just feels wrong.  No matter if you agree or disagree with inflating stats or are hoping they squish them is irrelevant.

In all previous expansions the end of the previous version to the beginning of the new one saw some nice increases to the stats that were on gear but none can hold a candle to what we saw happen this expansion.  Where you might have been wearing a chest with 32 agility and came across a new quest reward with 40 when the previous expansion came out you where now moving into the realm of having a piece of gear with 80 agility to a piece with 120 agility.

While you can argue, and rightfully so, that the difference between 32 and 40 when compared to the difference between 80 and 120 is only a small bump more percentage wise it just did not feel right.  It did not feel like a smooth transaction.

If you went into a level 80 area like hyjal fresh from questing now you would be in mostly 130s, 150s and maybe a few 170s items and by the time you finished a few quests you would be in gear in the 270s.  For people like myself and most likely you where our lowest item level was a 264 item when we started cataclysm the only real difference we noticed was with stamina and the main stat but because we where gemmed and enchanted sometimes it was not worth upgrading but for people just passing through now the increases was leaps and bounds better.

It should have been designed, for better flow and stat allocation, that the fresh questers entering there would have been in the position we where, where it might be a decent upgrade or it might be only a little better.  For a full 264 player it was like that, for someone coming in with a 138 chest it was culture shock seeing the stat difference.

It is as if they designed the new areas with the idea that everyone had been doing ICC 25 at the very least, and would always be geared like that the first time they enter there, before entering the new areas and never once considered that people would be coming directly from questing in storm peaks and icecrown into hyjal.

So while the increase in stats was fine for us, the 80 to 120 example but one was gemmed and enchanted where the other wasn't which made it a choice, for someone just questing through that did not raid all wrath, the new person, they might be wearing a piece that has 44 agility and are moving from a 44 agility piece to a 120 agility piece and that just never feels right.

When it comes to the miscue on stats it wasn't so much the inflation that was the problem.  It was where they started the inflation.  Starter gear in a level 80 zone should have been slightly better then the quest gear from storm peaks and icecrown.  It should not have been slightly better then ICC25 and even some ICC25 heroic pieces.

The gear did not make a fluid transition and that is why it feels so out of place.  The stats on the most basic of starter gear from cataclysm is double and in some cases triple of what can be found in wrath content.  This is the reasoning for such a large amount of people playing the level 79 twink bracket. 

The cataclysm greens you can get and equip at level 79 are insanely better then anything you could even imagine to find in wrath content.  We are not talking an 80 to 120 difference here, we are talking a 30 to 120 difference here.

There are many cases where everything just feels off with gear this expansion but nothing is more apparent then the level 79 twinks that have taken it to the next level.  The comparison between the best geared ever level 79 with wrath gear to the best geared ever level 79 with cataclysm gear shows how insanely wrong the stats are.  We are not talking what looks like an expansions difference with a 20%-30% stat increase from one to the next, these are 200%-300%-400%  increases, sometimes even more.

Where they chose to start the stats on the new items never felt right the first time around even walking into the area in 264s mostly and it feels even more off running there with alts that are just coming through for the first time and replacing that 138 item with a 272 item that basically quadruples the stats of something we only got 1 level ago from a simple quest no different then this new simple quest.

People like big numbers, I know I do, so everyone just looks at things and says, woohoo, huge upgrade and doesn't even think about it again but somewhere in the back of their minds they realize that something just feels a bit wrong with all of it.

So if you are playing cataclysm, like it or not is irrelevant, and you ever felt like some things just did not seem right then perhaps this is one of those things you subconsciously noticed.  While not game breaking the huge jump in stats is one of the miscues of cataclysm.


  1. This one is really, REALLY aggravating, and reeks of a total lack of playtest. I've recently gone through the 78-81 jump in a newly created character and can attest from first-hand experience: the shift in stats when going from wrath to cataclysm is just grotesque.

    1. Those first few quests can be really daunting for sure. They do give you some key gear pieces right off the bat however to help cover some of it.

      I think they should have started much lower and eased the gear increase as the quest line went on.

  2. I think Wrath's stat inflation is to blame for this as starting with a lower item level would mean the geared players would be unable to upgrade their gear when questing. Also, the power difference was quite great too. The beginning of Cataclysm was very challenging until people gathered some gear - on the other hand, if it wasn't, the geared people would have no challenge at all.

    However, while this problem is a Wrath one and Cataclysm can't be blamed for it, I think there's one thing you didn't mention: Blizzard could have avoided it in Cataclysm but the gear inflation was quite big again (smaller than in Wrath I think but big nonetheless).

    1. I made a post back in wrath about the stat increase in wrath and I can find it but yes, I did it based on percentages and the increases from vanilla to BC compared to BC to wrath and the increase of the set numbers. My numbers where completely based on facts as I looked up the actual numbers but being I can not find it I will throw some guess at the numbers based on memory.

      Vanilla to BC was small, like 10%, BC start to BC end was around 30%. BC to wrath was like 22%, wrath start to wrath end was like 98%.

      So yes, the big burst started there. Cataclysm, instead of going back to the 10% to 30% and instead of staying with the wrath 22% to 98% decided to take it even further. The start was in the 200% range and then another 150% on top of the 200%.

      They could have fixed it, instead they decided to make it worse, many times worse. This is why it is a cataclysm miscue. Wrath's version was a wrath miscue. The only thing worse then making a mistake is repeating a mistake even worse than the original mistake.

    2. I don't know what method did you use to come up with the values but they are way different from those I found - even for Cataclysm, which follows 1 primary + 2 secondary stat model for most of its items and (obviously) didn't have the items changed when new expansions were introduced (especially Cata changed the item model a lot by removing spell power etc.). For reference, I checked the weapons, the increase in weapon stats in Cata raids is only about 60%; Cata leveling has about 120%. To put the 120% in perspective, TBC (after the Cata changes were applied, I realized too late I didn't check a historical DB) has a bit less than 100% but there was less inflation in Vanilla raids and starting weapons were much worse than Naxx ones - Cata starting weapons are worse than HC ICC but by a smaller margin.

      So I believe I was right; the power increase from level 79 to level 85 is made of 3 components:
      1) power increase of 120% in Cata leveling zones and dungeons (i. e. Vashjir/MH -> T11 normal gear); this seems to be quite large but TBC (Hellfire -> Kara) had about 100% too
      2) power inflation in Wrath raids (the stat gain is often up to 300%, Cata has about 60% which seems to be more than TBC and Vanilla but really doesn't even compare to Wrath)
      3) lack of the counter-component, i. e. the Cata starting gear was only marginally worse than Wrath's best raid gear; consider the fact TBC starting gear is much closer in power

      I have to admit that the inflation in leveling zones was higher in Cata than in any other expansion; however there are two things you didn't consider at all:
      1) As I said, the Wrath raid power inflation was huge. Cataclysm raids seem to be a bit larger than the other two expansions but not even comparable with Wrath.
      2) I guess neither of us realized how big the inflation was in Vanilla and TBC. Persuader (ilvl 63 - early MC) to Kingsfall (ilvl 89 - Naxx) is about 60% increase. TBC leveling had about 100% increase too.

    3. I fail at proofreading. This sentence:
      consider the fact TBC starting gear is much closer in power

      Is obviously missing the end which is:
      ...to MC gear than to Naxx gear.

  3. During the playtest, I remember they raised the health pools of mobs from end-level Wrath health pools to beginning-level cata health pools, which was nearly double the mount, even at an average of 30K.

    MoP should be interesting, because if they bring out gear with literally thousands of stat points (1285+ Stamina, 1176 Strength), there is going to be a bit of a problem...