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Thread: Thoughts on itemization and broadly applicable gearing in Cataclysm

  1. #1
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    Thoughts on itemization and broadly applicable gearing in Cataclysm

    Back at level 60 and 70, there was a big problem with gear being too specifically targeted for certain people and immediately rotting if no one who filled that niche was present to take it. At level 80, several specs were reworked so that there wouldn't be these orphan items with only one spec that could use them. Enhancement shamans were redesigned to use hunter gear, ret paladins had their need for spellcaster stats removed, and druid tanks were reworked to be able to function fine in normal rogue gear.

    I think this was an excellent series of changes; nothing was more frustrating than seeing str mail drop and not having an enhancement shaman. That being said, I think there are still item classes that are underutilized, and it would be nice to see some of them reworked or removed for Cataclysm in a way akin to (but less drastic than) what happened with 3.0.

    I would love to see discussion about this issue here; either item classes that I've forgotten, possible solutions, or reasons why you think the item classes here aren't too uncommonly used. However, I would request that you not object to changes on the grounds of minor balance issues (for example, that removing tank weapons would weaken warrior and paladin tanks) because these are things that could easily be smoothed over by talent or ability changes much more minor than the ones they have planned anyway. Basically, balance is going to change a lot regardless in Cataclysm so some minor item tweaks shouldn't be off the table.

    Daggers

    There is only one spec in the game that can make good use of melee daggers. Possible solutions:

    Let druids wield two daggers.
    Right now feral attack power conversion is such that, while druids can use one handed weapons, there is absolutely no incentive for them to do so. If the conversion were reworked slightly and druids were allowed to hold two daggers, that would open up another spec that could use them.

    Incentivize hunters to use one handed weapons.
    Hunters use melee weapons solely as stat-sticks, but currrently enchants and itemization disparities work out such that it's pretty much always better to use a 2H weapon than to dual wield. Boosting the itemization of 1H weapons so that two 1H weapons matches the stats of a 2H weapon more closely would open up daggers to a larger number of people.

    Buff subtlety.
    This isn't exactly a solution on its own, but having another spec of a class that can already use daggers be viable for raiding wouldn't hurt things any in my opinion.

    Fast one-handed weapons

    Right now there are two types of fast one handed weapons: tank weapons and dps weapons. Dps weapons are only fully usable by combat rogues. Tank weapons are only usable by one spec each of warrior and paladin. I am conflating them here because I would propose a combined solution for both of them.

    Get rid of weapons with tanking stats.
    I know this sounds extreme, but there's not really a hugely compelling reason to have tanking weapons. This is going to be even more true with the removal of defense rating. Just replace that avoidance with agility and turn some of the stam into a socket and you can turn weapons that used to be just for tanks into more broadly applicable pieces of gear (and at the same time, turn fast one-handed dps weapons into more broadly applicable pieces of gear).

    Incentivize hunters to use one handed weapons.
    Hunters don't care about weapon speed at all, so the same thing recommended in the daggers section will work here too.

    Spell plate

    Spell plate is by far the most restrictive gear in the game right now. There is only one spec that gets any use out of it whatsoever. Unfortunately, I don't see a good solution to the issue either. Here are some of the outlandish possible solutions, but I don't really care for them.

    Just make paladins heal in mail.
    This would have basically no effect on PvE game balance. However, people typically don't like "downranking" their armor class, and I don't blame them. Removing all PvE spell plate drops and increasing the drop rate of what is currently shaman gear would work, but it wouldn't be pretty. It would also pretty much eliminate the possibility of holy paladins swapping in PvE gear for PvP, which most other classes can do at least to some extent. You might see that as a good thing or a bad thing though.

    Rework holy paladins so that they want dps gear instead.
    Unlike the above option, this lets you use plate to heal in. However, it would require a massive rework of the tree to make it viable. Plus, what do you do with all the hit rating that's on the gear you're wearing? This is such a huge change I don't even really think of it as an option, I'm just throwing it out there.

    I'm curious to see what other people think about this.

  2. #2
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    Get rid of weapons with tanking stats.
    I know this sounds extreme, but there's not really a hugely compelling reason to have tanking weapons. This is going to be even more true with the removal of defense rating. Just replace that avoidance with agility and turn some of the stam into a socket and you can turn weapons that used to be just for tanks into more broadly applicable pieces of gear (and at the same time, turn fast one-handed dps weapons into more broadly applicable pieces of gear).
    You are forgetting about dual-wield DK's.

    While I agree with some of what you said, I don't believe removing tanking weapons from the game is viable without having to rework either A) Raid encounters or B) Tanking armor to compensate for the stats lost on the weapons. Granted, it is really tough to speculate at this point with Cataclysm coming out and imminent changes.
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  3. #3
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    I think that we don't need to be reducing armor types further. I don't see a huge issue with gear getting disenchanted because no one can use it, but rather because everyone who can use it already has it. If anything, gear is way too easy to get at the moment, and could use some reduction in availability.

    Oh, and regarding removal of tanking weapons. Here's a reason not to remove them:

    They're fun. It's really fun to look forward to getting that weapon upgrade. If the weapon just does more dps, that's not particularly exciting for a tank.

  4. #4
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    You forgot about enhancement shamans also, and how they absolutely require slow weapons, and thus won't ever use daggers if they have any clue.

  5. #5
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    Enhancement shamans and dual wield DKs both want slow one handed weapons, not fast ones. Fast weapons are pretty much worthless for both of them (DK tanks use fast tanking weapons sometimes, but despite the fact that they're fast, not because of it).

    As far as my own experience goes, I mostly focus on my 10 man. It's not at all hard to build a 10 man that, while balanced with regards to buffs and debuffs, lacks a rogue or a paladin and therefore sees some of the items above rot immediately. It's admittedly probably less of an issue in 25 mans.

  6. #6
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    I'm actually kind of curious what they are going to do with weapons when cataclysm comes out anyway, mainly because of their stated desire to have plate wearers want Strength, and mail/leather wearers want agility, coupled with the fact that they want to do an across the board stam boost. Currently, it just seems like there are alot more varieties of (non-caster) one handers than there are specs to use them, and it could get worse with itemization changes.

  7. #7
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    Is it not true that with recent changes to devastate a slow one-hander is better for Warriors as well?
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by MellvarTank View Post
    While I agree with some of what you said, I don't believe removing tanking weapons from the game is viable without having to rework either A) Raid encounters or B) Tanking armor to compensate for the stats lost on the weapons. Granted, it is really tough to speculate at this point with Cataclysm coming out and imminent changes.
    I just noticed this comment. Raid balancing isn't an issue for a couple of reasons:

    - Defense is going to be removed anyway. Tanking weapons and DPS weapons will be statted more similarly than ever before.

    - It's not a big stat differential. Just as a random example (because they're right next to each other alphabetically on the ICC loot list in wowhead) Gutbuster vs. Bonebreaker Scepter. You lose ~50 stam, gain a bit of attack power and crit, lose 44 dodge and gain 47 agility (which is a small avoidance loss as a warrior and a small avoidance gain as a paladin I believe). 50 stam is somewhere between 1-2%. Given that in the last month (i.e. not evening during sweeping changes, just minor ones) they've had swings of up to 4%, this wouldn't be hard to balance around at all.

    - There are already two tanking classes that use DPS weapons and it works fine for them. Speaking as someone who plays one of those classes, I'm still plenty happy to get weapon upgrades when they come up, I just have a bit more competition for them.

    I don't know enough about warriors to answer your question with regards to slow vs. fast weapons. My guess though is that if that's the case it's related to the fact that heroic strike bonus threat and damage doesn't scale with gear (well it does a bit, by pushing glances off the table, but not very well) while devastate bonus threat and damage does.

  9. #9
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    The only way I can see them removing spell plate is by giving pallies some sort of talent that converts str into intellect. A lot of the problems that one would face are already being removed (like arp) so I don't know. Sounds possible, but then I like having lots of different gear drops so that everyone is not rocking the exact same stuff. If holy pallies wore dps plate gear, how would you tell them apart looks-wise?

    Weapons weapons weapons. Well, it looks like they have already started to buff sub spec, but I think they still have a long way to go to make it viable. If nothing else, they need to make it a viable pvp spec like it used to be. We'll see how that plays out as cata approaches. In regards to warriors, we will have to wait and see what they do with heroic strike/cleave. As it stands, the bonus threat from said abilities outweighs the bonus threat in using devastate with a slow weapon, not to mention it makes rage gain a bit smoother.

    Armorwise, there's 2 types of leather. There's 2 types of cloth. 2 types of mail. 3 types of plate. But when you look at the different raid slots, it makes sense. So I doubt any striking changes will be made.
    Last edited by Rampart; 02-25-2010 at 04:09 PM.
    Told you so.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rampart View Post
    If holy pallies wore dps plate gear, how would you tell them apart looks-wise?
    The same way you tell them apart now - Weapon, Shield, Mana pool
    All the gear sets already look the same as far as the skin is concerned.
    "Upon an order we plead, with the lure of a song, a sacred song, to the moon and the stars. An illusionary light is here placed."

  11. #11
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    I'd feel immense joy if they homogenize warrior and paladin tanks into using slow agility + stam one handers. Just use the new secondary profession to transfer stats from crit -> stam and there we go.

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