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Warlords of Draenor: Crithto clarifies gear changes

Blizzard Community Manager Crithto posted yesterday about the gear changes coming in Warlords of Draenor, in an epic-length forum post that, inevitably, raised an awful lot of questions. And, being the generally cool guy that he is, Crithto has come back with a ton of answers. I'm going to be dealing with them in groups, but if you really just want to read his original post where they're all bundled together, that's fine too.

So first up, Crithto commented more on the overall philosophy behind the stat changes in WoD.
Crithto
Getting gear is fun. We like getting gear and we like the feeling that on any given boss, there should always be something that you would want. What we're doing with items in Warlords is just an evolution of the Thunderforged version to make it a little more interesting. You'll probably see more bonus pieces than you did Thunderforged in the past, but getting an item that has all 3 bonuses will be very, very (very!) rare. Remember, you'll be just fine with the baseline pieces of gear, and most of your character will be made up of this gear. But each and every time you kill a boss, there's that chance of getting something slightly better.

Crithto
One of our other goals is to reduce the amount of work an item takes. Currently, the amount of work (math! MATH!) you have to do in order to even put on a piece of gear takes away from the enjoyment of the actual item dropping. We want you to spend more time killing creatures and getting better gear and less time figuring out how that piece that dropped effects specific stat levels (hit, expertise, haste, etc.), what gems you need cut, and what enchant to put on it. We're not removing all of those choices, but we're drastically tuning down the amount of required work. Get your boots, put them on, next boss!

Another reason for these item changes are to bring hybrids closer to fulfilling their off-spec role. Part of the fantasy of being a warrior is that you can take the punishment when you need to (tank), or dish it out if you want to (DPS). However, collecting two entirely different sets of gear, plus gemming, enchanting, reforging... it's all different and it's just a lot more work. In most cases, it was too big of a barrier for some players to even consider. With these changes, we're bringing your off spec closer to the performance of your main spec. You won't have to collect the same Chest set piece twice, or say, get a different set of boots. However, if you want to be optimal, there will still be items to collect.

These all seem like decent goals, with both upsides and downsides. Make it so that you always want gear? Great! It means boss kills are more exciting, but it also means that you are never "done" with gearing. That, unless you have the most loaded of RNG dice, you will always "need" that one upgrade. Reduce the amount of work an item takes? Great! No more maths! But far less build customization, too.

Make it easier to gear an off-spec? Great! But it makes off-specs more of a requirement, and since secondary stats don't shift and can't be reforged, you may still need two sets of gear if your MS needs crit and your OS needs mastery. Your perspective will likely fall on one side or the other of these issues, but bear in mind that that's just your perspective. Not everyone's.

Another important thing to note is that the original post makes a new definition between "armor" and "non-armor" pieces. This is not something we're accustomed to, but looks like it'll be something to consider going forward.

Stat Questions

Crithto
Quote:

Can I just ask what will happen to Spirit for Shadow Priests, where it is now a go to stat because it gets converted to Hit? With Hit going away, will it convert to something else, or will Spirit now be useless for us.

Healers will have increased baseline regen on their character, and each point of Spirit will have higher regeneration effects. As mentioned in the last couple paragraphs, Spirit will be useless to DPS specs, so min-maxers will want to get alternate gear for the few slots they have Spirit in.

Quote:

How will these changes affect mastery?

We may make changes to specific masteries as part of the Warlords of Draenor review, but don't have any sweeping changes planned.
Quote:

Are more tertiary stats being considered than the 5 we've been shown thus far?

This list we have at this time is not set in stone, but currently includes: Leech (heal on damage dealt), Inspiration (heal on damage received), Cleave (extra damage to additional targets), Sturdiness (reduced durability damage), Speed (movement speed), and Avoidance (reduced area effect damage taken).
Quote:

Will these changes to stats only affect items in Warlords of Draenor, or will older items from, say, Burning Crusade also change?

At this time, changes to gear are planned for drops in Warlords of Draenor. We are, however, considering modifying Siege of Orgrimmar gear to help players make the levelup process as smooth as possible, but aside from the removal of Hit and Expertise from all gear these changes will not be retroactive.

It seems like our concerns for spirit are being somewhat answered here in the first point. However, our earlier concerns about Spirit being the sole arbiter of what is healer gear and what is not remain unanswered. At least, as we can see, they only apply to non-armor items.

It will be interesting to see how Blizzard handles the reforging-free nature of Warlords of Draenor with respect to all stats, not just mastery. If classes genuinely hate one stat or another, this is a problem, as it will result in people passing endlessly while they seek out the stat that they want. At this point, it's probably important to skip out of Crithto's Q&A for a moment, and link a post Lore made about secondary stats:
Lore
Quote:

Question, will the gear's secondary Stats from raids be static when they drop or are they rng and be random generated stats?

The vast majority of raid gear will continue to to have pre-determined secondary stats, just as it does today. We may still put in a few alternative pieces with randomly-generated stats, much like we did in Throne of Thunder, but those will be rare exceptions.

This extends to other types of content as well. Every once in a while, when there's a compelling reason to, we might let gear randomly roll secondaries. Timeless Isle is a good example of a situation in which that style of gearing makes sense. Again, that's the exception, not the rule. Under normal circumstances, secondary stats will still be pre-determined, not random.

Given that we don't have reforging, this is a huge relief. Random secondary stats would mean that you couldn't focus on specific pieces of gear, and instead would have to rely on RNG getting you what you needed, like Timeless Isle gear, or the gear from the bosses in Throne of the Four Winds.


Drops and RNG Gods

Crithto
Quote:

I dislike the idea that we're going to have to pray to the RNG gods to get gear to drop, and then pray again that our gear has bonuses. I'm not invested in world first content so it likely wont affect me much, but I can imagine world first guilds getting a little peeved because guild X got extra lucky on their drops and had more tertiary stats which helped them progress faster, while guild Z got mostly normal epic drops.

Philosophically, having a random element to gear helps to keep loot feeling exciting instead of reducing it to a checklist you just tick off. We understand that too much randomness can be frustrating, which is why we implemented things like the bad luck streak protection on personal loot and bonus rolls. Do note that secondary stats on gear are not random (other than some random suffix items, which are in the minority). The additional qualities (e.g. Warforged, sockets, tertiary stats) are random and are intended to provide gearing with a long tail. Rather than deny you an important item slot like a weapon, we can make sure you get an item in a reasonable amount of time. However, getting the perfect item is not a foregone conclusion and might take a lot of effort and luck.

Quote:

The only system where this loot style could work is in the personal loot like lfr. I find it hard to believe that you think that this could realistically work in a normal raid group that uses any type of loot system other than rolling.

LFR will always use personal loot. Normal and Heroic difficulties have the option (raid leader's call) to use personal loot, or to drop a variable amount of loot based on the number of players. As you add players to a group, the chance of an additional piece of loot dropping will increase until it reaches 100%, at which point there will be a chance for an additional piece beyond that. There should not be any break points at which you are hesitant to add more players. Mythic has a set raid size so will work much as Heroic does today.

Quote:

One more thought on this...please extend this system to crafted gear, not just boss drops.

Okay!

We briefly discussed the issue of "long tail" loot systems above, where you can never feel like you're "done", but encounters remain interesting by merit of the fact that loot could still drop which is an upgrade. In even more ways that previously mentioned, though, this is a double-edged sword. While it's great that content remains exciting for more players, it is because of loot, not encounter design.

Yes, it's nigh impossible to design a fight that doesn't get boring with repetition without making it insanely hard to defeat the first time you face it. So inevitably, the content gets old, but the chance of an upgrade keeps you going back to it. For a while at least. And this puts pressure on raiders, it puts pressure on guilds, it puts pressure on friendships. That being said, revisiting farm content with no chance of an upgrade is just as bad, if not worse.

Personal loot is a relatively recent innovation, and something that I applaud. For 10-man sizes, particularly, thanks to the lower chance of every type of gear being represented in the group (oh god not int plate again) electing to take personal loot, at least when everyone is looking for upgrades, could be a good thing. You have a far, far lower chance of getting useless gear. Although personal loot does not protect you from duplicate items, it at least ensures that they'll be useful ones.

To me, the optimum would be to have personal loot that was tradeable, so that if I got the same legs three times on my resto shaman, I could pass them to my friend in the raid on her character. However, with the new gearing system meaning that that friend could be anyone who wears mail (remember that legs are armor so won't have spirit) and likes the secondaries, this would be way too strong.

Lastly, it wouldn't make much sense if the new gear system only handled boss drops, so Crithto's answer to this question is not a huge surprise. He also responds to a question on Jewelcrafting, where a player is concerned about the lower number of slots.

Crithto
Quote:

So what for the peoples who spent a fortune on gems an jewel crafting just to have a useless prof now.

Despite this being a bit beyond the scope of this discussion, we can say that we don't want to keep a flawed gear design just to ensure revenue for Jewelcrafters. We are, however, considering additional types of things that they could make to offset the need for so many gems.

Any gearing change will inevitably have an impact on professions, but Blizzard has it in mind. Making JC a slightly less fantastic way to print money is, in my book, no bad thing.

PvP Gear

And, of course, what about PvP gear?
Quote:

I read this all, and I like it, a lot. Good stuff.

However, my fear is how this plays out for PvP. For PvE variance in performance based on RNG stats is super cool and creates a sense of non-uniformity, but in PvP you need to be able to expect that class X generally has Y capabilities.

PvP gear will have more stats to choose from, and less worrying about hit caps! PvP Power will likely still exist to make sure PvP gear is powerful without being more powerful than PvE gear in PvE. Additional PvP changes are beyond the scope of this discussion, but we do want to make sure PvE gear doesn't outstrip PvP gear for world PvP.


First up, that sentence about PvP gear being the best for world PvP brings a huge smile. I have heard some preliminary talk about how PvP Power might work from Holinka's Twitter, and it sounds great.

I'm a little worried about the PvP gear purchased for tokens. Blizzard could go one of two ways with this -- they either massively increase the amount of gear so that there's a piece that everyone likes, or they reduce it down so that there's only one set of secondaries per armor class. The former sounds way better than the latter, so I hope they go to that end of the scale. I also don't quite see how the tertiary stats will go in PvP, so I'm hoping they just don't apply.

What questions remain for you? What do you still need to know about the new loot and gear systems coming in WoD?

Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

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