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Have reforging demands become too complex?

Have you ever cringed at the idea of picking up a new upgrade because you knew it meant you were going to have to reforge almost every single piece of gear you wear? Do you actually consider picking up more than one of the same item so that you can have it reforged differently for different specs? Do you ever want to punch that smarmy, overly reverbbed ethereal in the face after you dump several hundred gold reforging all your gear because there was no negotiation? (You just charged me a flat fee, you jerk!)

That last one may just be me.

Reforging gear has become a huge part of optimization. It is at least as important as gemming and enchanting. Sites like WoW Reforge and Ask Mr. Robot (to name just two) are heavily consulted by players looking to squeeze every last erg of performance out of their gear. Is it too much? Has the minigame of stat tetris gotten out of hand?

There's no denying that reforging is complex. Go ahead and try to eyeball your reforging to get to your stat caps and you'll see what I mean. It's possible to do this, but often you'll find yourself looking at ratings and doing calculator math to get there, and it's often just plain easier to go to a site or use a program like Rawr.

I actually quite love reforging. I love sitting down and tinkering with my stats, playing with higher or lower hit builds (since you can't cap hit anyway for a fury warrior), seeing if I can block cap in my current tank set-up. I find it actually provides me with the ability to set my gear to work the way I want it to rather than in a preordained fashion. It means Blizzard is free to design its gear with that less optimal spread of stats it likes for lower raid tiers, for instance, while letting me say "Well, since I'm already capped on exp, I can reforge some of it off and still use this higher strength piece with gobs of expertise" -- and I like that.


Put those ethereals to work

That being said, in the past Blizzard has said it wants the game to require less out-of-game resources to play successfully -- and reforging? Holy cats, does reforging fly in the face of that. In addition to often being expensive, proper use of reforging often requires an addon, a program or an external gear optimization site to really get the best use of the feature.

Since we have those obnoxious ethereals anyway, why can't they provide a similar service? Tell the reforger what stats you want to cap at what levels, and have him do the work of suggesting at least basic reforging to get there. Something as simple as "I want 8% hit," and the reforger tells you exactly how to get as close to that as possible in the gear you have on.

Reforging has really evolved very quickly in the year since its arrival. It's not "Hey, tank pants dropped; I'll reforge away some of the dodge and use them in my DPS set" any more. It's "I want precisely this much of these stats, and I'll reforge until I get there," and I think that use of the service must be taken into account and addressed with new iterations of the game. WoW has always been good at learning from features the players create via sites and addons, and this is another case of that need being addressed.

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm has destroyed Azeroth as we know it; nothing is the same! In WoW Insider's Guide to Cataclysm, you can find out everything you need to know about WoW's third expansion, from leveling up a new goblin or worgen to breaking news and strategies on endgame play.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Cataclysm

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