Saturday, December 26, 2009

Making WoW stats easier to understand

I must admit I don't fully understand all the stats in World of Warcraft. Yes, I know what each single one of them means. But then comes the point where I have to decide whether I should wear an item with +20 strength or rather one with +38 attack power, and I can't make that decision in my head. I need some sort of stat calculator program or addon for that. Obviously that hurts the "Oh! Shiny!" feeling if you first need to calculate whether that new item is actually better than the old one. Apparently Blizzard was thinking along similar lines, and decided to simplify WoW stats in the Cataclysm expansion. Via MMO Champion, here is a list:
  • MP5: This will be removed from items and replaced with Spirit. All healers will be given a meditation-like ability.
  • Spell Power: Spell Power is being removed from items as well. Don't panic, we'll be improving Intellect so that it provides mana and Spell Power.
  • Attack Power: We're removing Attack Power from items as well. Instead, we're allowing Agility to provide the necessary Attack Power for leather and mail wearers. Strength will provide the appropriate amount of Attack Power for plate wearers. This means leather and mail items will no longer be desirable for plate wearers.
  • Defense: The Defense statistic is also being removed from items so that players no longer have to worry about juggling around "the cap." Tanks will receive the necessary anti-crit from talents, like Survival of the Fittest.
  • Armor Penetration: This ability is too confusing and "mathy." It is being replaced with Mastery, a stat that makes you better at what you do. More on that later!
  • Haste: Will also increase the rate at which you gain energy, runes, and focus. Retribution paladins and Enhancement shaman will have a talent that allows them to take advantage of this benefit.
  • Block: Block Value is being removed. Blocking will now always mitigate a percentage of damage.
  • Stamina: Players will notice more Stamina on gear as Defense, Spell Power, Attack Power and Armor Penetration are removed.
So principally I think this is a good idea. But of course there is a catch: How do you transform the existing items into the new system? If you have less stats, you automatically have less options for variations. The place where I will feel that most is my jewelcrafting. I spent a fortune in gold and time to farm tokens to learn for example recipes for gems that give strength or agility and for gems that give attack power, and suddenly the latter will just disappear for being obsolete.

What remains are still some tactical choices. Depending on how you distribute your stats as a dps class for example, you could either go for a higher base dps, or for higher burst dps. Hit rating, and thus a "hit cap" still exists. But in the end players have a tendancy to lump all stats plus the skill of the player into a single score, the dps score on some damage meter. So what do you think about the stat changes in Cataclysm? Will there be too many stats, too few, or just the right number?

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