Thursday, November 10, 2011

Gear Simplification - Is It Needed?

They are making efforts to take some of the guess work out of talents by giving us talent trees without letting us decide what talents we get.  That is all fine and dandy.  Many people are saying that the reason they are doing this is to assure that people are not walking around with bad specs.  Giving people the right spec gives them a leg up, one less chance to make a mistake.

After bad specs what is the second biggest thing I see people that don't spend much time researching doing wrong?  Gear.

If they are making efforts to help the people that do not use outside resources I think the next move they need to make is fixing the many errors I see being made with gear.

Stats on Gear:

Random greens.  Please stop putting agility on cloth and plate items.  No cloth user will ever have a use for agility and since the last patch no plate user will ever have a use for agility.  For people that don't read and don't know better, if they see something on gear they think they need.

While we are at it, lets remove the strength from leather and mail items too.  No one that wears either of those classes of armor needs strength.

Speaking of seeing things on gear, could you please fix all previous tiers of gear to take away things that the class does not need any more.  DK starter gear with agility?  Hunter gear with spirit and intellect?  Again, to people that do not research online this could be very misleading and it is not exactly good gear for leveling either.

Now lets get down to trinkets.  +15 agility and a chance to restore mana?  Really.  Change that to +15 intellect or +15 spirit please.  Thank you.

As a hunter the biggest thing that bothers me is having MP5 on older hunter gear.  Make life a little fun for those baby hunters and change it to gain an additional amount of focus instead of mana or just remove it completely.

A little bit of gear simplification can go a long way when it comes to changing some stats on older items.

Remove Hit Rating and Expertise:

The idea behind them is fine, people that read will always be at their required levels and people that don't read never will.  If they are really making serious efforts to make life easier for the people that do not use outside resources removing hit and expertise is a step in the right direction.  People that do not read never understand either of them anyway.

At least remove hit for casters.  Casters target something and send their spell to the target.  If the target moves, the spell follows it.  They do not need hit rating at all.  Their spells are all like heat seeking missiles.  They will hit whatever you target even if the target moves.

On a humorous note, after one TofFWs run one of the new mages said they didn't have enough hit rating because they forgot to reforge before the raid and someone else said, the guy is the size of texas, you should not be able to miss him even if you tried to miss him.

As funny as that was to hear someone say it there is something to that.  How the hell could anyone miss, even more so melee?  The guy is the size of a building, you are pressed against him, you can not miss, it is not physically possible to miss, he can not dodge either, he would have to move half a mile to dodge.

Spirit, wave bye bye:

Is it a main stat still or a secondary stat?  It is still listed in the main stats but acts like a secondary stat.  I understand the reasoning for it, you understand the reasoning for it.  Someone new that does not read it confuses the hell out of and rightfully so.

Make a decision, there are three options.  1) Make it a true secondary stat.  2) Make it a true main stat.  3) Remove it completely and have mana regen for healers based on intellect.

I choose option three.  That would make things so much simpler.

Different sets of gear:

Lets remove the need for it.  I don't know about you but I am a complete junk collector and my bag space is always at a premium.  My poor paladin has holy gear, ret gear, prot gear, prot pvp gear, holy pvp gear and some fun gear items.  There is no such thing as bag space for me.

For leather wearers leave the agility leather to the rogues and druids will use only intellect gear.  When in bear or cat spec the intellect acts as agility.

For mail wearers have shaman wear the intellect and leave the agility to the hunters.  When in enhancement for a shaman let the intellect act as agility.

The plate tanks it becomes a little more of an issue.  Not sure how dodge and parry would be handled but it could conceivably be done this way.  Critical = Dodge and Haste = Parry.  Block is already increased by mastery for warriors and paladins and DKs do not need block at all.

For the black sheep of the plate family, the holy paladin, just remove intellect from plate gear completely and have strength act as intellect when in holy spec.

Sure, this really starts to heat up rolling on the plate even more and the cloth wearers have always had it hard with so many using the same gear but with the leather and mail wearers it just made things super simple.


I know that wearing a leather item on my hunter is a bad idea.  Inspecting people in randoms it seems not everyone does.  How about when a hunter goes to equip an item that is not mail it gives a little pop up warning for people that might not know any better. 

Something like when equipping a BoE it pops up saying that the item will be soulbound.  You could have a pop up saying that if you equip this item you will lose 15% agility bonus.  Or something that says, this gear is not meant for your character are you sure you want to equip it.

With all the talk about the stats on gear and should they be squished or turned mega no one seems to notice that there are other problems with gear that should be fixed as well.

While me and you might not need any of these changes, it will really help the newer players and the players that do not read anything online to find out what is best for them.

In the long run, helping them helps us.  The changes to specs means we will no longer be running with people in the wrong spec.  Making some changes to gear would mean we are no longer running with people that have the wrong gear.

Not sure how much more we can help the people that don't know any better.  We can not do their rotation for them, we can not make them move from the fire, but we can make sure they have the right spec (soon) and the right gear (if they do something about it).

Maybe if there are two fewer things for them to worry about they might start to worry about why their life goes down when they stand in that green stuff.

Okay, I am just dreaming there, but it is a nice dream.


  1. I suggest rotation simplification is needed first. The largest reason people underperform is not being able to watch and react to procs, not because their gear isn't quite right.

  2. @Paul

    I agree 100% but the game can not do the rotation for them. If we do that, then you are not playing the game, you are watching it play itself.

    They added something that made procs light up. Sadly that was not enough.

  3. Yes, they should just get rid of the gear as means of character progress (Transmogrification already started) and introduce a little number called "itemlevel". The itemlevel has nothing to do with any items you have or wear. The name has purely historic roots.

    The itemlevel increases when you select 'need' in a raid when a character-empowering thing happens. If you win the 'need-roll', your character's itemlevel increases automatically.

    Grand new world.

  4. @Nils

    I think that is taking it a little too far. But I assure you that a fair amount of people would love that idea.

    In a way the game is already like that. You hit need in a raid, you win the item, you put it on, your item level goes up.

    All you are doing is removing the "really hard" step of equipping the item.

  5. I remove the simulation aspect (1) and the act of choosing the better item (2).

    1) The simulation aspect of "Hey, I have abaddass sword now!" is important for a few players, but irrelevant for the abstract gameplay. It becomes the less important the more somebody ventures into the metagame which always happens with time.

    2) The act of choosing the better item is only meaningful if you can make a mistake. For you that is trivial - of course. But for a new player it is not necessarily trivial. And that's by design. Choices are good for a game exactly because they are not trivial.

    If Blizzard catered just to you they would now, that you have learnt all that can be learnt about item choices, remove these choices, because they are dead weight. But, surprise, Blizzard does not only cater to long-time guild leaders. ;)

  6. @Nils

    I agree with you and it seems like we are both meaning the same thing but moving in different directions.

    You want people to learn from there mistakes.

    I've learned most people do not learn form their mistakes.

    It just seems you have more faith in the player base then I do. You think they can learn. I know they can't.

    I've done way to many randoms to know that the majority of the WoW player base doesn't learn.

    If you can make it to 85 and still think intellect gear is good for tanking, you will never learn.

    If you can make it to 85 and still think that spirit mail is good for a hunter, you will never learn.


    It would not hurt the game at all for a pop up to tell a player "this items is not good for your spec" and I believe it will help people learn.

    If you really want people to learn from their mistakes, why are your against adding things that teach them?

    See, we both want people to learn. I want to help them learn and you have faith they will figure it out on their own. That is the only difference.

  7. You don't want to help them, you want to remove the possibility for them to do mistakes. That's not learning ;)

    Blizzard could easily create a button for every player that says: "If you don't want to do a complex rotation please spam me. I am automatically adjusted for the content and independent from the items you wear"

    That would be the easiest fix in computer gaming history. The reason Blizzard doesn't do this, is because such a game would not be fun to play for anybody; including those who don't seem to learn according to you.

  8. "You don't want to help them, you want to remove the possibility for them to do mistakes. That's not learning ;)"

    Yes, that is learning. That is the definition of learning.

    You take a test and get the answer wrong, you are told the answer is wrong, you learn. = You equip an item that is wrong and you are told it is wrong, you learn.

    See, that is the definition of learning.

    Read a reply I made earlier about the rotation, I said the same thing. We can not help people with rotation. That is their job, that is the game.

    I'll throw the same line back at you.

    "If Blizzard catered just to you they would now, that you have learnt all that can be learnt about item choices, remove these choices, because they are dead weight. But, surprise, Blizzard does not only cater to long-time guild leaders. ;) "

    Fits what you said about letting them learn on their own a lot more accurately then me wanting to teach them.

    Don't assume anyone else actually looks for any information outside of the game. Just because you did, just because I did, doesn't mean they do.

    You are assuming they will learn because you learned. You are assuming everyone will look online because you did. Everyone is not you.

    Not sure what point you are trying to make because all you keep doing is saying the same thing I did in a different way, we both want people to learn.

    The only difference is I want to actively teach people to be better and you want them to figure it out on their own.

    You have way to much faith in the people that play this game in my opinion.

    They will not learn on their own. Hence the reason we are talking here about it now. If there were capable of learning on their own there would be nothing for either of us to say.

  9. I apologize for the many comments, btw. Please tell me if you dislike that :)

    You take a test and get the answer wrong, you are told the answer is wrong, you learn. = You equip an item that is wrong and you are told it is wrong, you learn.

    Yes and no. Trying to equip an item and instantly being told to not do it, is not a fun test. Blizzard worked hard to create situations that require figuring out (tests, challenges). That's a big chunk of what making games is all about.

    As dev you can make figuring things out easier, but if you make it super-easy then why did you create the challenge in the first place?

    The fun in figuring out which items to equip (a test you personally have long passed and forgotten) is fun for the bad players you meet. If you remove the test or make it super-trivial you take this fun away from them!

  10. I do not mind.

    Just a little frustrated we are both arguing on the same side so we will never make it anywhere. lol Otherwise I love a good conversation.

    The "fun" factor is a problem with all games. I had fun learning things on my own. You probably did as well based on what you have said.

    Not everyone is like we are.

    Just like the changes to the old world. Some loved it, some hated it. Like the changes to the questing, some think it is the best it has ever been and it has completely ruined the leveling experience for me.

    We all look at fun in a different way.

    I have fun soloing content for mounts, pets, gear or just to say I did it. Some people call it boring. I call it fun.

    We all view "fun" in our own ways. Our own ways aren't always right for everyone, they are just right for us.

    I am trying to look at the much larger picture and follow the flow of what blizzard is doing. Blizzard is making every effort to take any choice out of the game. Stats are the next choice to go. It is just that simple.

    They took away our choice to pick and choose quests. They are taking away our choice to make our own specs. All to make things simpler for the majority of players.

    My article is just point out that if they want to continue that trend they can change stats because stats are another thing that confuses new players.

    While we enjoined learning it, it really is unnecessary now in the new "everything is easier" world of warcraft.

    Trust me, stats are the next to go.

  11. Well, Blizzard is actively trying to add choices with the new talents. But I think I get what you mean. There are choices that are about learning (right and wrong answers). And there are choices that are about style. Blizzard is trying to remove the former.

    The optimum in Blizzard's (hive :) mind might be a game that has lots of choices about style, but no choices about learning.
    You might be correct in that Blizzard removes stats next. Actually, my very first comment on this post was not just ironic.

    Blizzard is moving further and further away from items a sources of power gain. The easiest way to 'streamline' the system would absolutely be to remove items and just replace them with one powerscale (like a 'level', hint :).

    We end up with a game where can't make any other mistake except for the excecution (damn, saw the green on the ground too late!) and in the social sector (which guild do I join?). And all choices are purely about your style (what item do I transmogrify next?); there are no wrong options.

    Would that really be a grand new world? Apparently Blizzard think so.

  12. I am not sure I would be happy with everything being cosmetic.

    Some stuff I have grown to accept, like the new talent trees. Other stuff I still dislike, like railroad questing, I say let people get lost on where to go next, it will force them to explore.

    In a strange way I would not mind if they made everyone have the exact same stats and the game was dependent on the skill factor only.

    That will never happen however because then you are effectively locking out raiding for 90% of the player base, perhaps even more.

    If Cataclysm has showed us anything then it is that you can not tell 90% of the population they are not capable of doing something and expect them to keep paying for something they can not do.

    Hopefully LFR will fix this, so that 90% have something to do, and we can still raid out normal (and heroic if you wish) raids with some actual challenge.

    Again, I doubt LFR will work, I have no faith in the player base.

    I wish I had your optimism that people can learn but I have seen too much to ever believe people can learn. In and out of the game.

  13. I'm 100% certain that people can learn. The only reason to doubt it is to constantly being grouped with strangers who have no incentive to learn because they'll never see you again.

    I also doubt LFR will work. It ignores the social part of raiding. And raiding is to 90% about the social part. And even if it does work, it will be completely different from traditional raiding. But I don't blame the player base. I blame the developer. Anonymous humans act in pretty preditable patters. It is not rocket science.

    Besides, why stop at the logical part of the game? Why not streamline the execution part as well? We could make the entire game not about success (you always succeed) but about the style of your victory. Now that would be the end of our little extrapolation :)

  14. It's so funny reading your posts cause just about everything you write about is what happens in lotro :). Your crusade against gear inflation and keeping older content relevant? absolutely true of lotro, gear inflation is minimal and when the level cap was 65, the previous level cap raids at level 50 and 60 were still challenging enough to wipe an uncoordinated or learning raid group, and with the level cap at 75, the level 65 stuff certainly retains a decent amount of challenge. In fact going from 65 to 75, most classes (other than tanks) found their health pools barely went up at all, and non-tank mitigations across the board went down, thanks to big changes in itemisation which pushed people in the direction of primary stats.

    speaking of primary stats... every class in lotro has one single primary stat. tanks want vitality, non-tank melees want might, hunters and burglars want agility, tactical classes want will. This is clearly explained in the tooltips of the stats. And the primary stat does different things depending on your class. For the melee healing class (captains, the closest class to a paladin) and the self-healing tank class, might boosts healing output (whereas the spellcasting healers rely on will). For the hybrid melee/spellcasting class (lore-masters), will boosts melee offence as well as spell damage.

    Now, of course, there are some gear decisions to be made. No one can completely ignore vitality because you'll get way too squishy. Most classes will need some fate, which boosts in combat power/health regen (as well as crit). Tanks will also want some might to improve block/parry and threat/dps output. But by and large, people have one stat to go for and then take bits and pieces of other stats to meet specific needs.

  15. Now, of course, there are some gear decisions to be made. No one can completely ignore vitality because you'll get way too squishy.

    Already "fixed" in WoW. ;)

  16. Out of interest, how so? I don't actually play WoW lol, I'm just an interested observer. Do you just get boatloads of passive health boosts as you level up?

    Interestingly, lotro is going in the opposite direction - it's never had a huge amount of passive stat boosts based on level, and in the latest expansion most of these boosts were removed entirely. Your performance (other than miss and crit chance, which have a big character v mob level component, and vice versa) is almost entirely dependent on your gear, not your level. A naked max level character doesn't have much more health than a starting character. This is a big factor in keeping older content relevant, along with overall pretty low gear inflation - currently at max level, absolute top of the line gear has 122 points of your primary stat (which translates into x10 points of offensive rating, and x3 points of health/power) and maybe 200 stat points in total.

  17. If you removed your items and get naked, you would reduce your HP pool dramtically. However, all items that any sensible human being would ever want to equip have standardized endurance values depending in their itemlvl :)

    The equipment choice in Cataclysm is extremely easy once you know what stats you need. There are no interesting decisions involved whatsoever. (Exception you care about 0.001% of your dps and simulate different reforging/gemming scenarios.)

  18. Ah, that's the difference then. With the current itemisation (linked to the latest expansion_, there's only a small selection of items that combine DPS stats with vitality.

    This was a bit different to the previous paradigm, so it's come as quite a shock to people to see their health pools drop quite dramatically in the space of 10 levels if they didn't specifically pick up some vitality gear.

  19. I agree 100% but the game can not do the rotation for them. If we do that, then you are not playing the game, you are watching it play itself.

    They added something that made procs light up. Sadly that was not enough.

    A huge, HUGE gaping hole in WoW's PvE content is something where dps can practice their rotations.

    In most quests, the mobs die too fast to get a good rotation going. Procs can be ignored.

    So, it's bosses. And these take forever to get to, and are over quickly, and have all sorts of other mechanics that interfere with practice.

    One of the big, and not immediately obvious, wins in Rift is the abundance of practice bosses from rifts and invasions. By the time people get to raids, they should have had plenty of time and incentive to get the basics down. Not all will, granted.

    WoW should add this, and also add a built-in dps meter that tells you at the end of an encounter how well you did. Meter-watching dps are annoying, but dps that never looked at a meter (and suck because of it) are much worse.

  20. Just had to clarify this point Nils, Grumpy isn't the guild leader, but instead he is the senior Raid officer.

    If I should decide to pass on the GL role, he is one of the ones I would consider for the job, but in all honesty, I don't think he would want it. Being raid lead is stress enough I suspect.

    With regards to the idea of removing useless stats from gear, I can see his point of view, but in general I usually view items like that as disenchant materials. In fact, I am reasonable certain as a designer I would have put such useless stats on any given item just to make sure that there are plenty of DE mats available.

    As far as folks equipping the wrong items, it really doesn't bother me. I despise the LFG system anyway, and usually avoid it like the plague I feel it is. I doubt that LFR will be any better and while I may give it a shot just to see first hand how bad it can be (or perhaps how good it might be -- lol, yea right), I think I will feel the same about it as I do LFG. So again, the gear stats of others doesn't bother me in the least unless they are in my guild. For those in my guild, I have plenty of knowledgeable people to help educate others, and they do exactly that. Grumpy is one of those that does so, among others.

    I play for the sociable aspects when I am on a guild character, as well as the fun of simply playing a character. When I am not on a guild toon, I generally am playing to simply enjoy the game (which after multiple max level toons at every stage of the game to date, I still enjoy just playing). I do try to maintain proper gear stats on all my toons, most especially those with which I will be grouping with guildmates quite often. But other than for that reason, gear matters fairly little to me.

    One other thing about the gear stats, for Role Playing people, quite often the stats on any piece of gear matters not a single solitary bit, but rather the appearance of the gear. Of course this aspect gives native plate wearers the greatest selection of items to choose to wear on down to the poor cloth users who only have the one armor type to choose from for their gear selections. As a another side note here, allowing cloth items to be called armor has always struck me as peculiar to say the least. Around these parts we usually call cloth items clothes, don't ya know.

    Anon, Grumpy's Guild Leader (GL)

  21. There are boss-level target dummies in all major WoW cities for static stand-and-dps rotation practice.

    They plan to add world bosses. Depending on how it goes, it can work as "moving practice". Alternatively, they can add a few more target dummies that throw fire under you.

    As for main post, i'd say both complex and simple gear can work in context of game. Even in context of current game, where "much greater power through better gear" is reinforced for years. There are already non-stat rewards for tier content - Tier Set Bonuses. We can make them much more powerful instead of boring stat increases, AND make each of them unique and fun! Use 6, 8, or even make 16pc sets that make you exponentially more powerful!

  22. There are boss-level target dummies in all major WoW cities for static stand-and-dps rotation practice.

    I am sure the vast majority of people who need to use them never do. The practice needs to be an inherent part of game play, with explicit delivery of unambiguous feedback.

  23. If you check target dummies in Stormwind or Orgrimmar on reasonably populated server, they are almost never free from people.

    Giving people idea about target dummies might be as easy as creating quest "go to target dummy and remove X million health in a minute". Optionally, instanced with teleport. fact, easy scenarios can be just that.