Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Secondary Stat Attunements and You?

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.

Death Knight:
Blood: Multistrike, Frost: Haste, Unholy: Multistrike

Druid:
Balance: Mastery, Feral: Critical Strike, Guardian: Mastery, Restoration: Haste

Hunter:
Beast Mastery: Mastery, Marksmen: Critical Strike, Survival: Multistrike

Mage:
Arcane: Mastery, Fire: Critical Strike, Frost: Multistrike

Monk:
Brewmaster: Critical Strike, Mistweaver: Multistrike, Windwalker: Multistrike

Paladin:
Holy: Critical Strike, Protection: Haste, Retribution: Mastery

Priest:
Discipline: Critical Strike, Holy: Multistrike, Shadow: Haste

Rogue:
Assassination: Mastery, Combat: Haste, Subtlety: Multistrike

Shaman:
Elemental: Multistrike, Enhancement: Haste, Restoration: Mastery

Warlock:
Affliction: Haste, Demonology: Mastery, Destruction: Critical Strike

Warrior:
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.

13 comments:

  1. My problem with stat attunements is different. I think they are just one more example of Blizzard wasting time on things that they like wasting time on, but which ultimately don't matter much, they are a solution in search of a problem.

    Secondary stat attunements are undoubtedly a feature that is going to take a non-trivial time now. They are absolutely a feature that will affect balance decisions later, and that will take more time, because that's a new factor that hasn't been there before. And maybe, just maybe, they are a feature that might backfire later on and turn out to be broken in some way (eg, some attunements will turn out much stronger than others, cue bad scaling, cue all mages, say, going arcane because of it) - and in this case they will have to spend more time cutting that feature back or altering it significantly to make it work.

    Why do this? Who asked for this? Who in their right minds would spend time on this minor stuff, which is of little importance to gameplay, but which does take time to develop / maintain and which might backfire, instead of JUST GETTING WOD OUT THE DOOR?!

    I have no good answer to these questions. Blizzard are nuts, that's all.

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    1. I like that phrase for it, they are a solution looking for a problem. There was no need to add them. They were not fixing anything and they are not adding anything.

      As you mention about all mages going arcane, that is the problem I see with it as a hunter. If I get lucky with drops and get all multistrike, I have to be survival, if I get none, I can't be. If I end up with heavy mastery I have to be beast mastery, if I get none I can't. What stats I get on my gear would dictate which spec I need to play. No longer will I be allowed to play the spec I want to pay. I will be forced to play the spec that I have the gear for if I want to be viable. That my friend, is horrible design.

      Blizzard is not nuts, they just don't care. Slight different. They have their vision and they do not care if anyone else sees it or at what cost it hurts the game in the process to making their vision a reality. At least that is how I see it.

      Attunements, and now tying abilities to them which make them required by certain specs, is just another in a long line of bad design decision that follow removing flight, moving cities, wasting time on character models, etc. Just one bad decision after another.

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  2. Just for the record, SV is planned to get a flat 10% MS (taht means you'll never get 0% MS). And according to what I read lately enchanting will more or less take the place of reforging with enchant for every secondaries on every slot (and no more primary).

    AS for hunter not really favoring any secondaries it"s not that they balanced it right, it's that they are all shit for hunter and none provide a significant increase.

    I'm glad to see reforging gone though, while I can understand the frustration for the unlucky, at least now the gear that drop DOES matter, right now when I see something drop its essentially "is it higher ilvl? yes? then I take it and reforge to whaterver I need". Now the stat allocation will actually matter.

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    1. I have not heard about the flat 10%, that will surely help a little. But it will still not change the fact that you will be forced to play the spec you have the best gear for. That is bad design flat out.

      I agree they are all shit for hunters now, but even if they are all shit one is not better than the other. So they are still balanced and that is a feat that they had never accomplished with any class ever before and I still think it is good.

      I hate seeing reforging going. It is needed now more than ever and it is not only the "math problem" they said they were removing it for. Now, with the removal of haste caps, hit and expertise, there is absolutely no reason what so ever for removing reforging. Just put the best stat on your gear. Simple. No other outside resources needed.

      I have a hard enough time dealing with dreadfully horrible RNG, I do not want to have to deal with it twice as often. Not only do I have to deal with dreadfully horrible RNG but now I need to deal with it more. Instead of trying to get a pair of bracers off any of the four bosses that drop it, now I need to get them off the one specific boss and anything less and I would be better off using last tiers bracers with the better stats on it. No thank you. bad design is bad no matter how you try to justify it.

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    2. Celestalon tweeted about the 10% on Sunday. Twitter

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    3. I think they removed reforging so that raiders have more incentive to continue to do raids for longer. On the one hand, it is good that the game is going to stay interesting for longer, but on the other hand, is it really going to stay all that interesting with that cheap of a way of prolonging it? Is it really fun doing the same raid for weeks looking for your perfect drop and not getting it? I don't think so.

      The fact that they had to *remove* an existing feature to make that happen is also characteristic. :-) That's WoD in a nutshell - their noble intentions on making the game stay interesting for longer end up in them *removing* features that we used to jump through hoops, so that we have to jump through the same hoops the old way, by clearing more raids, traveling by feet, etc.

      The intentions are fine, but the implementation is completely inept. The word "Blizzard" is becoming synonymous with "inept and stupid".

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    4. @Jaeger

      I noticed that after I made the post and comment while reading around. It is a nice addition, but still not a good design in my opinion. Multistrike increasing the proc rate would be a good design, multistrike being the only thing that procs it is not.

      @PvP Anon

      I understand what you are saying but please do not take this the wrong way but you are completely wrong and so is blizzard.

      Raiders will still raid to get the BiS. Just because they got the bracers that they reforged mastery out of into multistrike does not remove the incentive to get the ones that have multistrike. It just makes the only ones you have a little more useful while trying to get the best ones for you.

      So, in short, removing reforging to prolong the gearing process is a bullshit excuse they gave and has no basis in actual reality. Which essentially holds true for everything blizzard, absolute bullshit with no actual basis in reality.

      But it seems you knew all that already as you said, blizzard means inept and stupid.

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  3. I love reforging on my healers (disc and rsham). I know exactly what I want, and choose what to give up for it without worrying about breakpoints or hit caps. My priest hasn't seen any good crit drops in the last month, but at least I can re-purpose some haste or spirit to fill my needs without worrying about falling below some cap. I'd love to have that flexibility with my hunter or tanks.

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    1. They really need to rethink removing reforging. I think, even more so now, that removing reforging is a massive mistake. We are going from 3 secondary stats to 5. We need it more now than ever before.

      As you mentioned, it also works wonders for healers. If you want more spirit, add more, if you need less, take it away. If you would rather faster healing go haste, if you want big numbers go critical.

      Removing reforging is a really bad move.

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  4. Grumpy, I totally agree.

    Blizz wants gearing to be even more of an RNG grind than it is now and I don't like it at all.

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    1. They really need better gearing options. There are a lot of things I complain about but the absolute top two that are going to finally make me leave the game are the community and the RNG.

      The community issue would be really hard for them to fix, but they could make efforts to do so.

      The gear issue however is a super easy fix but they refuse to do anything about it except add MORE RNG to it. The RNG if you get a tertiary stats, the RNG if you get a gem slot, the RNG for gear alone, the RNG for forged. They are adding more of what is the worst part of the game. WTF is wrong with them?

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  5. Anon, Grumpy's former Guild Leader:

    I would call this an effort on extending content. Reasoning being that folks know what spec they like and will gear towards it, almost no matter what obstacles Blizzard throws in their way. For most specs, the less than optimal gear will be continuously discarded, sold or disenchanted and less favorable pieces of the correct support roles retained. In other words, a green item with the correct stats will likelier be kept and used over a blue item with the wrong priority and so on. In many ways this will harken back to ye olden days of vanilla type gearing.

    Can't say it matters to much to me as I am near to certain through with raiding and likely even dungeons other than solo. But for any one who is trying to play the game Blizzard is advocating, I think this type of reasoning sucks. The Justice/Valor method of gaining raid appropriate gear through the effort of earning those two types of points made for a rational method of gearing up, somewhat and mostly independent of the RNG items. Note however that the RNG items were still available in both heroic dungeon drops and raids.

    Now it seems that Justice/Valor pursuit is of minimal value for anyone playing the end game of gearing up, and instead the RNG will be the means of truly distributing loot randomly as chance may occur. Which means of course it will take forever and a day for some items needed to get a more effective use of a spec to drop. See how Bliz just extended the content for ya...

    Which is why the reforging ability had to go, or otherwise, useless items for vendoring or AH suckers or disenchanting might become good enough to affect the extended content provided by the RNG distribution pattern. Now in the old reforging, I admit freely that I always took the easy way out, looking up the best choices and only minorly deviating from that pattern ever. Blizzard formulas are for those who actually enjoyed sitting in front in algebra and trig, and not for the likes of me to go "oh joy".

    But as you noted, that would have been basically done away with and the question would become does my spec need this or that, and then reforging to this or that. That is something the math challenged among us would have been able to deal with competently, after all, if multi-strike is my favored stat, there is not much question I would be reforging into that and so on.

    Which begs the question of just what the hell the designers/developers/storytellers are thinking of with this expansion. As it stands now, the only thing I see as a selling point is the reagent tab in the bank and I guess I better not get to attached to that notion either as it will likely wind up being axed along with everything else that was a selling point for WoD.

    I feel a rant coming on, so I better close this, lol...

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    1. I do get that feeling that it will go back to the old days when sometimes a older piece of gear is actually better even if it is a lesser item because it has the right stats for you on it. In a way that is a good thing and it might be what they are aiming for. They do seem to be grasping at straws here trying to bring back the old days as the removal of flight proves.

      There is no justice and valor need at all any more because the morons that made the game removed the gear you can buy with them. The only type of gear they had in the game that you could actually earn was removed. Makes you wonder what drugs these people are on. Removing "earning" gear and leave everything to luck? Seriously what the hell are they thinking.

      Reforging should stay. I do not see a problem with useless items becoming good. I see that as a good thing. Even more so when there is no real way to earn gear and you can only luck your way into it. So it would be nice to be able to use whatever you get lucky enough to get instead of it being useless.

      Check out wildstar, look me up over there.

      Once you see it you will see what warlords is thinking. Everything they are adding is in wildstar. I am not kidding. Warlords should be called WoW's wildstar. It seems like they heard of everything in wildstar, thought it would be a good idea, and made warlords as an exact copy of it. I seriously am not kidding. Warlords is wildstar.

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