Every now and then I see a spell damage non-armor item, such as a ring with spell power and crit, and think, what would a paladin three years ago think of this? I remember Judgement being so awesome, and part of it was because of the spell damage (yes, I did just totally ignore that it is the best-looking set in the game). It gave some burst, helped with heals, and due to the DRs on stacking stats, it made sense to ave a tiny bit instead of strength (well, after hit and crit, which weren't present in large amounts, so I guess overall the spell damage ended up being weaker than hoped).
They'd be so giddy. Ooh, BoEs with lots of crit and hit and stamina and strength, intellect too! I can see the old-school paladins jumping all over each other for the stuff while current paladins stood there amazed. What, our heroes are being noobs?
It's funny how that has happened. You look at say hunters or rogues, and they're fairly consistent. Oh sure, relative values of AP, crit, and agility change, but overall, they still like crit, AP, and agi. Then look at paladins. Spirit was bad, but it was the only regen we had except for chain-potting (anyone remember Illegal Danish with the druid tier 0?). Now spirit is so amazingly bad that it's a convenient noob check. Spell damage used to be somewhat useful and now it's another noob check for ret and prot, partially because they both get it for free. It seems like shamans have that too, but only recently. It used to be that strength was a big stat for us because we got 2AP per str. Now it's only one, and agility gives one too, plues crit, dodge, and armor. We used to wear hunter gear because it was all we now, now it's the best we have.
Perhaps that's a way to measure change: how noobish people in the past would look today. Most DPS would be alright, just different stat balances, and of course confusion at the lack of weapon skill (Rogues: "but what about glancing blows!?") Shamans and paladins would look pretty dumb. Casters from way way back might look dumb since for a long while the philosophy was to focus on base stats, not spell damage. That's back when 23 spell damage was a 4-piece set bonus and often that was all you had besides maybe a dozen on a weapon. MC brought more spell power, but still people were badasses with 200.
Imagine everyone running around specced prot for PvP and ret for raiding, since kings was badass and you barely needed any points in holy anyway; paladin healing really meant cleanse spam. I still remember arguing in favor of whatever the holy talent was that increased judgement duration. Kinda funny now that holy has multiple decent judgement-affecting talents.
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