Let me start off my saying this... I do not like them. Not at all. Not any more at least, but I used to.
There are a great many changes coming to the game when warlords come out. Some game sweeping ones that many might agree are needed like the stat squish and the removal of some stats like hit, expertise, dodge and parry. There are also some changes coming that many can argue, quite possibly rightly so, are bad decisions on blizzards part such as the removal of flight, the changing of faction capitals and the removal of reforging.
Add to all that the fact that many specs are getting work overs, actually all of them are, just some more than others. From ability pruning to changing how some abilities work, no class is making it through the beta phase unmolested. Each and every spec has been stripped and changed. However with many removals come some additions and one of those addition that I do not hear talked about quite often, at least in the speculation stage which is all we can do now, are the addition of spec attunements.
In case you missed it I will give it a quick run down of the attunements for all specs. Mind you that things can still change, and they might have even changed already by the time you read this, but this is how it goes and what it seems like at the moment.
All specs get a flat 5% bonus to a given stat, they are calling it an attunement to the spec.
Blood: Multistrike, Frost: Haste, Unholy: Multistrike
Balance: Mastery, Feral: Critical Strike, Guardian: Mastery, Restoration: Haste
Beast Mastery: Mastery, Marksmen: Critical Strike, Survival: Multistrike
Arcane: Mastery, Fire: Critical Strike, Frost: Multistrike
Brewmaster: Critical Strike, Mistweaver: Multistrike, Windwalker: Multistrike
Holy: Critical Strike, Protection: Haste, Retribution: Mastery
Discipline: Critical Strike, Holy: Multistrike, Shadow: Haste
Assassination: Mastery, Combat: Haste, Subtlety: Multistrike
Elemental: Multistrike, Enhancement: Haste, Restoration: Mastery
Affliction: Haste, Demonology: Mastery, Destruction: Critical Strike
Arms: Mastery, Fury: Critical Strike, Protection: Mastery
That is where they stand now, at least as I can find it from the most recent information I was able to dig up. Remember, things could change and in truth, I am writing this post in an effort to show I hope they do change because I think stat attunements are a bad things. A very bad thing.
When the attunements where first added they were just added as what they are, a flat 5% boost to a specific stat based on the spec you were playing. I don't think anyone could complain about that. Even if the stat was your worst stat it is still a free 5% of that stat and I do not believe anyone on the face of azeroth would ever complain about getting some free stats.
Sure, some people might have complained some saying they would prefer to get something more useful for them. I can most definitely see a blood death knight saying they would rather have mastery as their free 5% or a guardian druid saying they would rather have critical strike as their free 5% or a destruction warlock saying they would rather have mastery as their free 5%.
But either way, it does not change the style of your game play. It is just an extra 5% of one stat or another. Something akin to the radical abilities that that used to give an additional percentage to shadow defense or nature defense of hit rating, what have you. Sure it was nice to have and sometimes it really helped but other times it is something that was just there an you forgot about it.
If blizzard left the secondary stat attunements at that all would have been fine with the world. While people might have preferred a different stat for their free 5% they were not exactly going to give back the 5% they were given. Even if it was their worst stat, it was still free stats.
But in more recent patches they have been changing classes to actually work with their stat attunement more closely. Making it so that a class will, or should, actually favor the stat they are attuned too.
This is the stage at which I changed my mind from liking the stat attunements to disliking them and with each patch note we see released I move more and more toward the camp of people who would like to see these stat attunements go the way of the dodo.
I'll use the hunter class as an example because I know it better than the others but do not be fooled because what I am about to explain here holds true for every single spec and every single class. You too are about to get completely screwed over by stat attunements and they are going to bend you over and not even use any lube, so be prepared, because it is going to hurt.
Hunters are probably in the best place they have ever been with concerns to secondary stats, at least as long as I have been playing. I have never seen such a perfectly designed balance when it comes to secondary stats and I do not know about you but I love it.
If I take my gear right now and reforge completely to a critical strike build and then reforge again to a completely mastery build and then try it one more time to go completely haste and I test all three on the dummy for a few 5 minute sets you would see that my results would be within 1% of each other. Now how is that for balance? Blizzard has never in its history balanced secondary stats so perfectly.
I like this design because it makes gear choices easier. An upgrade is an upgrade, plain and simple. That, with reforging, makes for a very easy gearing up process. If a piece has more stats on it, it is a better piece.
Now lets go through the series of changes and how they effected the hunter class (and all other classes too, this is not just about hunters).
Hit, expertise, dodge and parry being removed:
Awesome. Not like we worried about dodge or parry on gear anyway but not having to worry about making hit and expertise caps makes sense. I've been saying for about as long as I can remember that we are supposed to be the best of the best, the heroes of azeroth, how the hell can we miss attacking something the size of a house. Hit and expertise never made any sense at least at max level and I can not even conceive of how some half witted developer actually thought this was a decent idea to add to the game to begin with. Good riddance.
Reforging being removed:
Okay, this one makes no sense what so ever. The biggest argument against the reforging was it involved too much math so you can get those hit and expertise and haste break points just as close to perfect as possible. With hit and expertise removed and no more haste break points there was no complex math involved with reforging any longer. So why remove it? It makes absolutely no sense what so ever to remove it now. Now you do not need an outside resource to help you find the perfect way to reforge your gear to get as close as possible to those numbers you need.
Now reforging can be used for exactly what it would be perfectly meant for. If you like your cobra/steady to be faster you stack haste, if you like to hit hard you stack critical strike. No math involved. If a stat is good for you, move into it, if it is not, move out of it.
If anything reforging makes perfect sense now. There was absolutely no reason to remove it and once again it shows that the people who design the game are, in a word, morons. They wanted to remove it because there was too much math involved and then removed the need for math and still removed it even if the reason for removing it no longer existed? What other word is there to use other than moron.
New secondary stats added:
Hunters are in a damn good place now, the best they have ever been. I do not really look forward to new secondary stats. Not even in the slightest. Look how long it has been for the stats we have already and for them to find this perfect balanced world we are now living in. Adding more secondary stats will surely break that balance up and we will move back into the world of stats that are good and stats that suck. The last thing I want to be as a hunter who has gotten spoiled by good balance this expansion is to become a warrior that gets a really nice upgrade but it has haste on it. Might as well have spirit on it for as freaking useless as it is. And without reforging, that just compounds the problem. Before we could have at least taken some of the shitty stat and turned it into something useful. Now we just have a shitty stat that is useless. Thanks blizzard, that is just what I asked santa for.
Attunements added for specs:
Okay, they are adding a flat 5% buff of stats for each spec. Some of the choices added did not really seem to make much sense. Giving someone 5% extra of their worst stat is not exactly a huge buff, but it was nothing to complain about either. Maybe complain that you want a different stat, I can agree with that, but otherwise I never look a gift horse in the mouth and this is surely a gift horse.
Tying abilities to attunements:
Now this is were blizzard jumped the shark. All the changes leading up to this were good or bad. Some better than others but this one is bad, outright, completely, totally, and amazingly bad. Not just bad as in haste for a warrior bad, but bad as in spirit on a lock bad. At least haste works for a warrior even if extremely poorly, but spirit does nothing for a warlock, nothing at all.
Talking hunter here again. Hold tight while I attempt to convey what is going through my mind and try to present it in a way that makes sense to more than just me.
If I am survival my attunement is multistrike. Fine, I now have 5% more multistrike. That does not mean I am current sitting at 5%. It means I have 5% more than I have. So if I have 100 multistrike from gear I will have 105 because of the attunement. Following so far?
Lock and load now only procs from multistrike. This is the crap I am talking about that really fuined the whole attunement thing. This means as soon as 6.0 hits and I am sitting at 0 multistrike (for example, I might have a little because some hit or expertise might, just might, turn into some) and that effectively means I have a 0% chance to proc lock and load and explosive shot is where all my DPS comes from as survival. Seriously, it is really where the numbers come from. Explosive shot is actually a higher priority to hit than even our execute ability, kill shot. So for people that do not play the class, this is our signature ability. And we will not be able to get any lock and load procs because we have no multistrike which effectively makes survival absolutely useless once 6.0 hits. You would probably get more DPS from a fresh 90 feral druid at the 435 item level than you would from me at 580 or so if I am playing survival.
You might argue that as time goes no I will get more gear with multistrike and I am making a mountain out of a molehill. You are right, in a way.
Now lets look at the luck of gearing. Lets say I get lucky and win a few pieces that first week or raiding in warlords. None of those pieces have multistrike on it. That means even if I wanted to play survival I can't.
Lets pretend for a moment that survival is the best hunter spec at the moment when warlords begins. Without any multistrike gear it won't be. It will be dead last. A much much much lesser geared character with some multistrike will do better than a better geared player with none.
This all means that tying main abilities to secondary stats means you no longer can choose the spec you want to play, you have to choose the spec you have the gear for. If I have a nice amount of critical or mastery I will have to roll marksmen or beast mastery. Not because they are better, but because they are better with the gear I have.
If there were ever a reason we need reforging back, this is it. We absolutely need reforging back if they are going to tie class defining ability to a specific secondary stat. Just like we used to need 7.5% hit and 7.5% expertise, we are going to need xx% of multistrike or playing survival is just not viable. Not even in the slightest.
So while I like having that free 5%, as I mentioned, who would not like it, I do not like that the bread and butter of a spec requires you to have that stat and we no longer have reforging to make sure we can have that stat.
We can argue if removing flying is a good idea or a bad idea. That is opinion. We can argue the moving of capital cities because we wanted them elsewhere. That too can be considered opinion. But you can not argue that tying class defining abilities to a certain stat is a bad idea, because it is a bad idea. No its, ands or buts about it.
Isn't the whole concept of their design to be to allow us to play the spec we want to play? Isn't the whole concept of the game design supposed to be that we want any upgrade and they are making it easier to get upgrades by sharing gear like they are doing?
If that is the case, then why make it that certain specs can not even function without certain stats?
We need reforging back if they want this design to work. That is another thing that can not be argued. Either that, or you better start collecting even more gear than before. Have your critical set for marksman, your mastery set for beast mastery and your multistrike set for survival.
I don't like it, I don't like it at all.
Bad form blizzard. Rethink this tying of abilities to specific stats.