Wednesday, November 13, 2013

What Will Dynamic Armor Mean to You? Part 1

Part 1 - Character choices.

When the next expansion comes out armor will be different.  It will be armor type.  As in plate is plate, mail is mail, leather is leather and cloth is cloth.  No more will there be intellect plate, parry plate and strength plate.  It will just be plate and parry will be gone all together. 

When you are in tank or retribution spec your paladins plate will have strength as its main stat.  When you are in holy spec on your paladin your plate will have intellect on it.  The removal of dodge and parry mean DPS and tanking strength pieces are the same and the fact the gear dynamically updates based on you spec when you are in holy that strength becomes intellect.

Easy enough to understand and something I have been a vocal supporter of for many years now.  I think my support came from the fact that I got sick and tired of seeing all this intellect plate drop when we did not have a holy paladin in the group or seeing all this intellect leather drop when we did not have anyone that could use it.  So often we would kill a boss for the first time and it would, to our dismay, drop 2 pieces that no one in the group could use.

I can really get behind the plate is plate design.  But it will have an impact on how we play the game and how raiding could very well change thanks to it.  First up, the individual take on how your play your character.

For me, the first thing that came to mind is that my shaman can return to her roots as enhancement.  My shaman first reached max level in wrath.  I was enhancement back then and that was all I ever was.  I always liked the game play of enhancement even if the dead spots in the rotation would infuriate me beyond belief.  As someone that does not like being melee an enhancement shaman was something different for me and I really enjoyed it.  Odd being I hate melee right?

When cataclysm came about and we lost nearly every raid healer we had I was forced to work on another healer.  My shaman was one of the early characters to hit 85 so I started to build a healing set for it even having never healed with it before.  Soon I fell in love with shaman healing and my shaman was basically a healer main spec from that point on.  I was able to gear up my enhancement spec well enough in cataclysm and would even play it from time to time.

When mists came out I leveled as enhancement but worked on getting my healing gear as soon as I hit 90 because now I was a healer main spec.  I figured I would get my enhancement gear later.  With the reputation requirements, the time sink of dailies, and so much to do to keep up there was no way I was able to keep up two complete sets of gear on an alt.  I fell way behind on gearing for enhancement.  I did enough to make sure my healing set kept up but my enhancement spec was brutal.  So much so I stopped even questing, it would take too long to kill things.

I made the decision, unhappily, to ditch the only spec I had ever known for elemental, because at least I could use my healing gear for my elemental spec and still do okay.  Sure, the 50% hit rating was a tad bit overboard, maybe, you think?  But at least I could kill stuff at lot quicker in 500 item level healing gear as elemental than I could in 460 enhancement gear with some green pieces still.  And enhancement went the way of the dodo, never to be seen again.

As long as gearing was like this I had no intentions of ever seeing myself play enhancement again.  But never say never.  Enter warlords and me having the ability to say goodbye to elemental, a spec I never really liked anyway.  Enhancement here I come.

But what if I stayed elemental?  My elemental set would surely be much better because now that hit is being removed I would not be bogged down by nearly 50% hit rating when I used my healing gear as elemental.  I might be putting out 120K instead of 80K thanks to all those stats no longer going to waste.

But wait, there is more, I could also use all that healing gear to be enhancement again.  Thank you for opening the doors once more to return to the only spec I had known for DPS as a shaman.  I am looking forward to the day I can once again be enhancement and not have to build an entirely different set for it.

Not all is fine and dandy in dynamic armor world however.  From what they said I would still need to get a neck, rings, trinkets and weapons for my enhancement set but at least it is no longer a case of needing to get everything, just some things.  And that opens so many doors.

My shaman can return to enhancement.  My druid could have its first healing set since the start of cataclysm, which oddly enough I still had in my bank until I cleaned it out a few weeks ago.  My paladin could be holy again for the first time since wrath.  I can finally test out monk healing because the only reason I have not is because it uses a different set of gear.

Will dynamic armor change the way you play your class?

Will you test a spec out that you never have because you will already have most of the gear for it?

If you have never healed or tanked before will you be willing to now that you basically have a healing a tank set already?

End of part 1


  1. Pre-Mists I was main specced holy and healed raids. I didn't enjoy it, at first I thought I did but then I realised that it was the raiding and the team that I liked, but I really did not like healing. I had an off-spec of protection and tanked dungeons and that I liked, I liked questing and soloing and just whacking mobs in the face. I found raid tanking quite scary, probably due to the fact that I didn't really have the gear for it. I liked my kitty druid, I know me liking dps crazy right? However, if I was invited to a group it was always to heal, as they always needed a healer. I quit raiding in the end and decided that when Mists came out I wouldn't gear a healing spec. If I had no gear no-one could then force me to do something I really didn't want to. I swapped to tanking which I love and I've never regretted that swap. However, when we could have got a tank for my spot I did feel guilty that we had to cancel raids for lack of a healer. That was my choice to go prot/ret, it made my game time more enjoyable but it was selfish really.

    So what does the gear swap mean for me? It means that should I choose I could gear 3 specs again with a lot more ease than now. I did keep a set for holy, prot and ret all throughout Cata. It was only in Mists that I refused point blank to accept any holy gear as I didn't want to be forced to heal. However, at the same time there's still that pressure that I avoided my avoiding gear. In Warlords you will be able to switch but does that mean that you should have to?

    I think I've established my credibility as a tank now. In the beginning I'd been a semi-average healer and people weren't sure I'd cut it. In fact most people I raid with now don't even know I ever used to do anything else. So I guess the choice is mine.

    For alts it can only be positive. Alts for me are just something I have fun on, they are also something I've had zero time for in Mists. They've got to 90, they've run world events and they do the Tillers farm, that's it. I did try with my monk at the beginning of the expansion, it tanked a bit of MSV. I wanted to try healing with it a bit later, as it was a new class and so I wanted to experiment. I had zero healing gear so I picked up an adventurers set, I ran a few dungeons as brewmaster to try and pick up some upgrades, I then got a friend to tank when I went mistweaver so that he could mitigate any mishaps with my shoddy gear/lack of experience. My heals seemed to hit for nothing, it was only my friend that just basically soloed the place that meant the poor random dps didn't go mental at me. When timeless isle came out I got a full set of 496 and realised that mistweaver and I would never work out. I just can't do it, my heals still seem to hit for nothing but now I know it's me and not just crap gear. With the new gear system I could have just swapped specs, turned my average tank gear into average healing gear, and learned right away that I suck at mistweaving. Yes I know I said I didn't like healing above and I don't but I felt compelled to try the new spec, as I'd tried every other healing class/spec and so I wanted to experience the full set. A lot of wasted time getting gear I would never use.

    1. character limit

      I can only see this as a good thing. We'll shard less, people will gear up faster, in theory at least, which should make people happy, as people seem to like gear. Maybe that'll make progression smoother too.

      For some classes I don't think the change will be that big a deal. I like kitty best for instance on my druid, if I changed specs to resto then the gear would change a lot, however just changing to guardian I could do that now. Same with my death knight, it's all just strength plate, right now the difference is in the secondary stats which at just dinged aren't a big deal. A lot of secondary stats are going in Warlords so there's not even going to be that distinction really. So I guess in essence this change only really benefits those with classes where the specs have an strength/intellect change. As a hunter I'm guessing it won't help you at all in that area.

    2. You bring up a good point I plan to address in part 2. Being forced into a role you do not like because you already have the gear for it. It can be a very unfortunate side effect.

      My DK, Bear/Cat, and monk both use the same gear for both things and do just fine. My paladin and warrior are the same but their DPS suffers. As does my priest and shaman who do their DPS in healing gear.

      It will help me itemize a little better and I can dig that.

      It won't effect me at all, the only difference is that shaman of any spec can now roll on my gear, something I am not used to.

  2. Any idea how far back this change will go? i.e. T1/T2

    1. They did not say but I would hope they are doing everything. If not, there might be a bunch of confused new players later on when things change for them at 90.

  3. I've a little bit loved that there aren't many enhancement shamans. Quit rolling on my gear. Hopefully blizz will up the value of secondary stats, and enhancement shamans can only roll on mastery mail, and hunters will roll on crit/haste mail. Better yet, while they're doing all these gear changes, get rid of mail gear. it doesn't make any sense that hunters or shamans wear mail... Or just put pallies in mail. Hopefully that will kill them off faster and I won't have to be as annoyed by them. :-P

    1. I agree, hunters should definitely be in leather. What "hunter" goes running around in the woods while hunting in his heavy chain mail? No, seriously.

      I think of it the other way, as a hunter of course. I hate when resto shaman roll need on agility mail for their offspec in dungeons. If you want agility mail, come in as enhancement, otherwise keep your grimy little mitts off the hunter loot.

      Now even resto shaman have all rights to roll on mail as it works for all mail specs. There is a good and a bad to it.

      A holy paladin in my guild is crying every day since the announcement because he now has to complete for his gear. I told him, welcome to everyone elses world.

      Makes me wonder if they are going the personal loot way with dungeons next expansion.

  4. The only concern I have about this is spirit for a healer. Since spirit is a secondary and not a primary stat will it be tied to intellect now or will it just be another mastery/crit/haste possibility on gear (if this is the case these pieces with spirit would still suck for anyone not a healer). Otherwise, will healers only get spirit on rings, necks, trinket, and weapons?

    This is my biggest worry with the removal of reforging and spirit on these pieces being questionable. Will healers be able to get enough spirit?

    1. I am kind of wondering about that too. Spirit is a healer only stat and if gear switches based on spec does that mean one of the secondaries will be spirit? Or do only main stats switch?

      It is an excellent question and we might have to wait until we see it in action to get an answer. I hope this is not something they just forget about like they do so often until the last minute.

      I am thinking that spirit, like tank stats such as armor, will be only on rings, necks and trinkets. But that is just a complete guess.

      Healing always gets the shaft at the start of an expansion. Nothing would make me think they are doing anything different next one. We always start starving for mana and generally hating the game and end up swimming in mana and generally hating the boredom. Would be nice if one expansion they could at least attempt to get it right.

  5. The main two factors I see is that it will give players more choice for spec and it will let the average player gear up faster than they've been able to. The only ones who will gear up slower will be those who historically have much lower demand for their gear type (Int plate, Spirit cloth, etc) but on average a full raid will gear up faster now than they did before. There will be a lot less sharding in the first month or two and significantly more later. I think that's preferred.

    Spirit is the main question mark I have as well, my assumption until I hear otherwise is that if you're in a healing spec you'll get Int and Spirit on your gear (they said they want Spirit to be more important so I don't think it's going away). I've seen the theory that gear will actually show all of its potential stats on it (say, 100 Str, 100 Int, 50 Spi, 75 Crit, 55 Haste) and each spec will just use what it needs but I think that's less likely... but would be a funny throwback to how gear was actually itemized back in BC. A true homage. I don't think that'll happen, though.

    I'm also expecting that JC will become an actual end-game profession again in WoD, able to craft current tier necks and rings. Perhaps Scribes will be able to make current tier trinkets. Those profs are due for some viable gear creation love so although those slots sound like they'll be more spec-specific than the armour slots, they should if anything be easier to fill in WoD, I think.

    1. I agree, I think there will be a lot less disenchanting earlier and a lot more later, and that is how it should be.

      I am a little worried about how they will handle spirit too, I can't wait to see how that works. I wonder if it will just be a "bonus" stat when in healing spec. That would actually make the most sense.

      I would not count on professions to be useful for neck, trinket or rings. They never have been and they never will be. They give some really low item level things to start an expansion and that is all they ever were. With exception of the scribe darkmoon trickiness which can sometimes be great. Like the greatness one in wrath that I was wearing until ICC. Now that was awesome.