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Posts with tag Reforging

The rise and fall of features in World of Warcraft

I've been playing World of Warcraft since its inception. As a result, I'm as likely to view the game through the lens of my experiences as any player. One of the reasons I'm so thoroughly anti-nostalgia is because I'm actually incredibly nostalgic. If I don't stop myself, if I don't actively make an effort not to, I'll drown in falling down the well of this is how it was and just spend hours annoying the crap out of people who started playing after me. In one guild, I remember doing exactly this - I would spend all raid reminiscing with the other old hands (there were like four of us) and driving the newer raiders crazy comparing fights to raids from BWL to Blackwing Descent. Remember - every fight can be compared to Omnotron. Every fight.

One of the ways this shows up is when any new feature is introduced to the game. As a writer for the site, I always try and stay objective about a new feature, and often, I come to love them - I'm a huge fan of transmogrification, for example, and when they announced reforging a few years back I knew immediately it was going to become a mandatory and huge part of gear strategy. But the fact is this - on an emotional level I hate every single new feature as soon as I hear about it, because they're not my World of Warcraft - it takes an effort on my part to be open minded and I don't often succeed.

As an example - I've written multiple posts essentially defending the decision to remove flight for a while in Warlords' 90 to 100 zones and leave it out. But the fact is, flight was introduced back in The Burning Crusade and I've gotten used to it. I understand and I support the decision from a design perspective. But emotionally? Emotionally I have flying mounts and I want to fly on them. I just plain like being able to shortcut all the things on the ground, even while I get why the design doesn't support it. This divide between what's new and most probably better for the game and my own desires while playing the game isn't limited to wanting flight, either.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Warlords of Draenor

The tension between balance and player interest

I'm looking forward to Ashram, the new PvP island zone in Warlords that seems to combine elements from zones such as the Timeless Isle, Wintergrasp, and the old days of world PvP. So I tend to go looking for information on it, which is where I found the following.
With cross-realm groups being possible on Ashram, this is a perfect example of the ways the game has to balance what most players will do vs. what some players will do - balance the min-maxing attitude vs. the more common, and more often executed, use of a feature or game element. Ashram as it stands will allow players to group cross realm - this is intended so that players who have characters on separate realms (my wife and I, for instance, often would run the Timeless Isle on characters that were on separate realms) can still go to Ashram. This is a good and fun use of cross-realm grouping. But there's a potential down side to this.

Since cross-realm grouping is possible, we know the next step - something like oQueue that allows you to put together a group of 40 players and go destroy Ashram on an already imbalanced server. If a certain server is already heavily skewed towards the Alliance, putting together a 40 player group (since Ashram exists in the world and not in a raid instance) and just destroying any hapless Horde you come across, or vice versa. Even if you don't pick a server with a faction imbalance, it's still feasible that a big raid group could end up owning Ashram for an extended period of time, and using players that aren't even on the server.

Decisions in the game's design are always made between these two poles - between the ease of abuse, and the benefit it brings to individual players. Sometimes, even with the best of intentions, things don't work out like we'd hope. Reforging, as an example, falls into the 'possible player imbalanced use trumps player convenience' category.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Raiding, The Burning Crusade, Warlords of Draenor

Breakfast Topic: Who will miss reforging?

Let me start by getting this off my chest: I hate reforging. I hate it with a fiery, burning passion usually reserved for politicians and the sorts of people who think numbers are an acceptable substitute for letters in words -- which is to say a lot. This isn't to say that I don't appreciate the ability to customize my gear, but reforging has turned the ability to customize into a metagaming nightmare.

In order to play my best, when I get a piece of gear -- even if it's a clear upgrade -- before I equip it I need to consult Ask Mr. Robot (or a similar service) and visit a reforger in-game. Then I'll spend a few hundred gold to shuffle the stats on all of my my gear so that the new piece fits without dropping important stats like hit and expertise. Even using an addon to do the hard work of figuring out what to reforge to what, this adds a layer of metagaming between me and my desire to play that I just don't enjoy.

So you can imagine my delight when I found out that reforging was going away. I'm sure I'm not the only one who won't miss reforging -- but I'm equally sure that there are plenty of players out there who don't want to do without this customization option. So today I'm asking you: will you miss reforging? And if so, why?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Wowhead introduces class guides

Wowhead has just launched a new feature for players new to the game, and players new to a different class as well -- class guides written for virtually every class and spec in the game. The guides act as a brief overview of what you'll need for the class you play, covering spells, talents, glyphs, enchanting, gemming, reforging, and even topics like tackling the Proving Grounds and Challenge Modes. Some guides also include basic DPS rotations for each spec as well.

Written by familiar faces from around the WoW community, the guides themselves are fairly basic -- you won't see any number crunching or theorycrafting. Instead, they act as a quick reference for players wondering what they should be doing with the character they play. That said, it's a wealth of quick-reference information that I'm pretty sure I'm going to keep bookmarked. Check out the class guides for yourself over on Wowhead.

Filed under: News items

The future of itemization

I've written long, eloquent defenses of reforging. And this week, I finally snapped. The fact that I have to reforge between my arms spec and my fury spec (and not just reforge, but regem) has finally broken me. I now take it all back - reforging sucks. It compensates for things that are flaws in the modern game, but I no longer find that charming. I just find it irritating that those faults exist and that we have a means to wallpaper over them doesn't change the fact that they exist.

In a way, my relationship with reforging mirrors my relationship with the old tanking scheme that existed before Mists of Pandaria - I knew there were flaws with threat generation, but I'd grown familiar with them. I understood that they were there and how to circumvent them. In the modern game, there are significant flaws with itemization, and reforging is that means to circumvent them, so I've been a big booster of and supporter of it ever since it was introduced back in Cataclysm. But I was wrong. Using reforging to sandpaper down the jagged edges where gear doesn't meet our needs doesn't change the fact that gear doesn't meet our needs - it merely conceals those edges.

We know that we're going to have two new stats - multistrike and readiness - in addition to critical strike, haste and mastery. None of these are caps in the same way that hit or expertise are (soon to be were) - we'll see how they work, but we already know some talents will affect them or be affected by them, like the upcoming Anger Management talent for warriors. So what I'm wondering is, are we finally going to see a situation where there's enough gear with stats individual classes want that we don't need a system to make up for gear's shortcomings? Or are we just going to have to make the best of bad itemization again, like we did back in Wrath?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Warlords of Draenor

Lichborne: BlizzCon 2013 news for Death Knights

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Lichborne for blood, frost, and unholy death knights. In the post-Cataclysm era, death knights are no longer the new kids on the block. Let's show the other classes how a hero class gets things done.

BlizzCon 2013 bought with it a new expansion, Warlords of Draenor, and while we did learn a lot about upcoming changes, very few of it was actually class-specific. Mostly what we got in class specific news was the level 100 talents, which, while awesome, will likely change pretty significantly even between now and the beta, to say nothing of when Warlords of Draenor goes live. That said, there were still a lot of very interesting system changes that herald great things for death knights, and we'll go over those today as well.

New Talents and Skills

The level 100 talents continue the storied tradition of level 90 talents in that they very obviously take their cue from the prime death knight, Arthas himself, the Lich King. They also address something we've talked about before, ability bloat. Instead of adding new skills, 2 of them simply replace existing things.

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Filed under: BlizzCon, Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Diablo 3 adding transmogrification and enchanting

Diablo 3 Enchanting
The upcoming Reaper of Souls expansion will add a new artisan, known as The Mystic, who is capable of transmogrification and enchanting. Enchanting is similar to WoW's reforging in that it will allow you to reroll a single item property. The Mystic progresses from level 1 to 10 like the Blacksmith and Jeweler.

Enchanting
  • Most item properties can be rerolled, but some can't (no details yet).
  • You can reroll that one property as many times as you want, but once you choose one you can only reroll that property.
  • Before you replace a property, you can see the possible replacements. One of these will be randomly chosen once you complete the enchant.
  • If you don't like your rerolled property, you will have the option of reverting it to the item's original property.
  • Enchanting costs crafting materials and gold.
  • Enchanting an item makes it bound to your account and it can no longer be traded to other players.

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Filed under: Diablo 3

Addon Spotlight: Reforging and gear optimization addons

Addon Spotlight Reforging and gear optimization addons
You all know the score. Siege of Orgrimmar is here, the Timeless Isle has been up for a few weeks, and gear is dropping like rain. But getting that drop you need isn't the end of the road for gearing, no, far from it in fact. Your work is only just beginning. Once you've got your hands on that upgrade (and, of course, actually ascertained that it is an upgrade at all) you will need to enchant it, gem it, reforge it, and consider whether to upgrade it. With the reduced cost of upgrades now, it's a far less significant decision, but nonetheless it is one that you'll have to make.

But fear not, friends! There are tools out there that will make your lives considerably easier.

Ask Mr Robot

What? Olivia, you nincompoop, Ask Mr Robot isn't an addon, it's a website! Silly brits, always mixing everything up. But you're wrong, since January 10th, there has been a great little addon that tags along with the well-known and widely used website. And since 5.4 dropped, it's started bringing the site's robotic advice straight to your characters in-game! So how does it work? It's very, very easy. Head over to askmrrobot.com, and load up your character details. You'll need to choose a region, as well as a server, and type in your name. Pretty easy so far? You'll need to be logged out on the character in question and Mr Robot will pull down all your gear data from the armory. Since you asked so nicely.

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Filed under: AddOn Spotlight

Features that have changed the World of Warcraft

Features that have changed the World of Warcraft
Time to be blunt. World of Warcraft is way better now than it was in vanilla.

Before you gasp and get a case of the vapors, let's get real here. I'm me, it's true, you know it's true. The talent system? Leaps and bounds better than the last minute Diablo II clone we got in classic. Raiding? Raids today are more accessible, better designed, and far more varied then the resistapaloozas we got back in the day. I say this as a dude who farmed UBRS for the Draconian Deflector and who tanked Princess Huhuran in cloth freaking booties because they had nature resistance on them. Throughout its near-decade long run, World of Warcraft has constantly changed, iterated and improved on the experience it provides. Every patch, every expansion has made adjustments and tweaks, and while nothing is perfect and not all changes were good (We all know that any change to warriors that didn't make them invincible supergods wasn't a good one, am I right? Why are there so many crickets here?) the game has moved forward with new systems and features.

For me, it's interesting to look back over the history of the game at those changes that really improved the player experience or changed it in a fundamental way, that altered how we play. And so, now I'll do exactly that. With Flex Raids on the horizon for patch 5.4, what else can we look back on?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Take what drops?

The Care and Feeding of Warriors Take what drops
Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Care and Feeding of Warriors, the column dedicated to arms, fury and protection warriors. Despite repeated blows to the head from dragons, demons, Old Gods and whatever that thing over there was, Matthew Rossi will be your host.

In looking over the changes to warriors in patch 5.4, we know that the patch will be going live on September 10th and, as of now, we've seen very little in way of buffs to our DPS (fury is seeing a change to Storm Bolt that might make it worth taking, arms is getting some AoE dps buffs and all warriors should see a slight bump from Deep Wounds, but nothing terribly significant) - I think it's safe to say we're not going to see anything like a buff to our main attacks at this point. Combined with some set bonuses that will favor arms over fury (the two piece, anyway) and I admit that I'm considering going arms once 5.4 rolls around. This is deeply ironic considering I just got a heroic thunderforged 1h weapon for my SMF set. I took the scimitar for three reasons I think most warrior players will appreciate.
  • It was a huge improvement over my normal 2h raid weapons.
  • It dropped and I could use it.
  • See number two.
While SMF puts out more DPS than either TG or arms as of right now (it's debatable whether or not that will continue) the two fury specs are close enough that as of right now, DPS warriors are in a strange position of being able to essentially switch between the two. It's not as easy as simply slapping on the weapons, of course - the current game is one with reforging and gem selection to consider. In order to go from TG to SMF, I have to reforge several pieces of gear as well as change my gem selection (and it is of course even harder to go arms from either TG or SMF). This is somewhat counter to the idea that you would use either TG or SMF based on whatever drops - even if you find yourself suddenly holding a much better SMF set, you can't ignore the work you'll need to get SMF ready, and you certainly can't switch between the two on a fight per fight basis.

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Filed under: Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, The Burning Crusade, (Warrior) The Care and Feeding of Warriors, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

Lichborne: The trouble with hit rating and expertise

Lichborne The trouble with hit rating and expertise
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Lichborne for blood, frost, and unholy death knights. In the post-Cataclysm era, death knights are no longer the new kids on the block. Let's show the other classes how a hero class gets things done.

Hit rating and expertise are the life blood of the max level PvE death knight. DPS death knights need exactly 7.5% hit rating and 7.5% expertise to avoid missing raid bosses or having their attacks dodged outright. Even tanks, while a miss is less of a big deal for them, may find hit and expertise helps them keep threat and prevent key debuffs from falling off the mob. They're so powerful that if you aren't near those caps, your DPS will suffer horribly, and in most cases, the one thing you do to increase raid DPS is to hit those caps if you aren't at them already.

Now, this is what we have reforging and regemming for though, right? Sometimes it's just not that simple. Today, we'll take a look at the problems with hit gear and suggest some solutions.

The big problem is that once hit and expertise do their job of letting you hit the mob, they are almost literally useless. Dual wielders get a little bit of extra help for their normal weapon hits, but 2 handed wielders get literally nothing else out of them at all. They're dead stats. Arguably, it's bad even if you are at the 7.5% caps, because that means you have a bit of hit and expertise. and expertise rating that's not needed for daily questing or dungeon runs, or even for most raid trash.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Does everything have to be fun?

When I was talking about reforging recently, one of the talking points for the discussion was that reforging isn't fun. This got me thinking: does it have to be fun? Reforging, enchanting and gemming my gear isn't something I do because I find those activities to be fun, it's something I do to be better at doing the things I do find to be fun (which is to say, killing monsters in Azeroth's various locales) and I'm okay with not especially enjoying everything.

This doesn't mean I want them to be painful or tedious. But while I am endlessly delighted by transmogrification, I don't think I need to feel the same obsessive joy in arrange my stats that I do in picking out new looks. In fact, I think it might actually detract from the game and the parts I do enjoy if reforging was compelling gameplay instead of a means to an end. That's because the name of the game, having a lot of options to gameplay, can only sustain so much interest before it becomes overwhelming. Everyone has a threshold of interest they can sustain. Some of us can do enough content in a week that valor caps seem restrictive, while others of us can barely even cap valor in a week. Some of us love alts, others can barely manage to keep one character going. These differences are what has led World of Warcraft to become a game with the dichotomy of enormous choice in terms of what content we can choose yet restrictions on how much benefit you can get from it, to make it more optional.

Into this mixture, elements of the game that are neither astonishingly enjoyable nor game-breakingly tedious serve an important function. They provide leavening. They create breaks between the peaks and valleys of the game experience - the crushing disappointments of nights spent wiping, or bosses who refuse to drop your desired item and the dizzy elation of a close arena match swinging in your favor, a first boss kill for your guild. There's an old saying that if everything is special, then nothing is, and one could argue that if the entire game strives to be fun at all times you'll soon come to lose out that sense of fun.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Achievements, Mists of Pandaria

Reforging, itemization, and the player

Reforging, itemization and the player
It's not exactly a secret that I'm terrible at keeping my finger on the pulse of the community. I just sort of wander around with my usual private obsessions, doing what I do, and sometimes I blunder into an emergent discussion like a rhinoceros stumbling into a clearing. Such is the case with the discussion of reforging currently going on. The post I have linked to by Mushan basically highlights the discussion, with some folks arguing that World of Warcraft has gone too far in the direction of gear optimization and too far away from the days when you'd get a drop, know it was better, and put it on. As a result of that argument, some are arguing that reforging should be removed from the game.

I can understand this argument, because if we think about it, reforging was never meant to be what it became. The initial purpose of reforging back when it was first announced was to allow players who got a drop that was otherwise significantly better than what they had, but itemized for a different role (so, as an example, a cloth piece itemized for healing over DPS) to make that drop better for the role they intended to use it for. So if your tankadin got a pair of plate lets with crit and expertise on them, he or she could swap some of the crit to a stat more useful for tanking. However, players being what they are, they immediately grasped that reforging also allowed them to trade away stats that were less effective on gear for stats that were more effective. Reforging allowed players to customize their hit and expertise in ways that had never been accessible before, allowed for dump stats to be dumped with even more efficiency than before - it was the absolute biggest change to the game in years, and ended up the largest single legacy of Cataclysm.

Mushan's arguments about removing the process of reforging are good, and I'm not going to belabor them here - instead, what I'm going to do is discuss my own personal feelings on reforging, and how it benefits the game.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

Arcane Brilliance: Mists of Pandaria mage guide to stats and reforging

Human fire mage
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, we talk about how awesome mages are. But did you know that you can make your mage even better? I know! It's like chocolate-covered chocolate. Or a cheesecake that also grants you three wishes. Or an Avengers movie that is also directed by Joss Whedon. Or a warlock that is also dead.

With just over a week of this pre-expansion/post-patch limbo to go, it's high time we covered one last piece of patch 5.0.4 mage business before we turn our eyes almost exclusively toward the impending influx of pandaren and monks and ... pandaren monks. But good news! Most, if not all, of what we discuss here today will also apply in Mists. Though there are always small shifts in stat weight at endgame, we're still quite far removed from knowing exactly how things will shake out when we're all doing hard mode raiding.

This expansion brings some major changes to our stats, radically altering the benefits they do and don't provide. Before we get to each spec and its stat weights, let's look at each stat and familiarize ourselves with its Mists of Pandaria version.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance, Mists of Pandaria

More Cowbell's brilliant guide to Ask Mr. Robot

Image
Robots. They're an awful lot better at many things than we puny humans. Of course, you would rightly argue that we humans have taught these robots everything they know, and you would be absolutely correct. Indeed, Lisa Poisso met the humans behind the robot last October for an interview! But those humans aren't me. I am not great at math -- I can't do the sums required to exactly calculate reforging or best-in-slot gear or how many hit gems I need to get to the cap.

And that's where Ask Mr. Robot comes in. What does he do? Well, he retrieves your character from the armory and inputs all the details into his remarkable computer system, then recommends reforging, regemming, enchanting and gear upgrades for your character! Mr. Robot recently had a substantial facelift and is hugely improved from his old version, now able to advise on far more elements of gear and offer more specific input according to spec. He even has PvP information!

Like many very clever people (and androids), Mr. Robot can appear a little intimidating to the new user. I know when I started availing myself of his services, it took me a fair while to wrap my head around it -- and that's where Hoofit over at More Cowbell comes in. His guide breaks down the Ask Mr. Robot experience into manageable steps, explaining all the sections of the interface to allow would-be users to get the most out of the site.

As More Cowbell says, if you haven't heard of Mr. Robot, you could be missing out on powerful improvements and upgrades for your character. The More Cowbell guide is a great place to start to see what that robot can do for you and how.

Filed under: News items

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