Dumbing Down Stats

| Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Is WoW catering to idiots who can't gear properly? Okay, done with trolling, let's get started.

Removing AP has a lot of effects on gearing. The first I thought up was dumbing down. Ironically, this is a pretty dumb complaint. It's dumb to have people pulling out third party programs when gear drops to see if it's better. That's not complexity that adds depth, it's just an obstacle to play. Removing it is smart.

The effect that I remain worried about is the cross-class use of gear. Non-armor physical damage items often have AP and agi mixed with hit, crit, ArP, and haste. This makes them usable by any class that does physical damage. Without the AP they will become far less useful to the plate classes and become the exclusive of shamans, hunters, druids, and rogues. Is this bad?

Cross-class loot has it's perils. Is this BiS for hunters or for warriors? Oh damn, both!? Alright let's run the numbers on which class benefits most, pull up Rawr. Rewind: why are we opening third party programs instead of playing the game? Maybe all the non-armor items were like this. Oh sure, versatility means simpler tables and less sharding, but any time you take the class designation off an item you open it up to drama and politics. Maybe we are better off going a little big backward. Now strength will be the plate stat while agility is the other physical damage stat.

Moving on to intellect, this really felt like dumbing down. Seriously, we couldn't handle spell power? It makes more boom! Then I realized that it wasn't what I thought. The real change wasn't the removal of SP; it was the changing of intellect. Is int good? How good? Who knows! Open Rawr. Dammit, close that and get back to playing the game. Intellect is agility for casters. It is your crit and your damage, with the bigger mana pool tacked on because you don't burn and regen your full pool in three seconds.

The defense change: I liked having a goal, something that I could get and say to myself "okay, now I know I'm ready." On the other hand, until someone else spent hours theorycrafting and experimenting to find that goal, I wouldn't know it. My precious goal was just another time for someone to not play the game: theorycrafters running simulations and tanks LF tank because they needed more defense gear. It was people not playing the game. I wonder if we'll go the way of druids, wearing DPS gear. That would counter the agi change, hugely simplifying loot tables. Is forceful deflection the future? That might be a pretty fun future.

Maybe this really is all just dumbing down. It's going from DOS to Windows. Oh noes, people who can't remember commands or even look them up (learn 2 refernce book, nubs) will be using computers! And they won't even be weaker computers, they'll have the exact same computers as the rest of us elite users. This is an outrage!

Oh wait... That's not dumbing down. It's a smarter system. It's better. Anyone who would oppose that is clearly an asshole who hates other people or a complete idiot. Some are both.


LarĂ­sa said...

Haha, I loved the analogy to DOS vs Windows! Actually I think there will be enough of things to do in the future for the min/max theorycrafters. They'll always find a way to make a difference. Like this new Titan thing. I can't figure out how to pick a path there...
They surely won't be unemployed at EJ.

Suicidal Zebra said...

Quick note: on the dev panel they alluded to keeping some of the cross-over stats such as AP on non-armour items, i.e. rings, amulets etc.

Christian said...

I feel like reducing those who complain about the stat changes to either "assholes" or "idiots" trips you up in your own "I don't like trolls" theme.

For example, I enjoy the minigame of testing different gear, juggling my gems and enchants for my hit cap, and so on. I might not be physically casting spells at mobs, but I'm certainly playing the game.

Or is my choice of operating systems somehow offensive to your choice of operating systems?

Klepsacovic said...

@Larisa: Which path looks more fun?

@SuicidalZebra: I must admit to getting most of my information secondhand, so I missed that. It should be interesting to see how that interacts with reforging.

@Christian: You caught me. I suppose I should add the third category: people for whom this is not the right game, at least in the direction it is moving. Is there a game for deep number crunching and theorycraft? I don't know, maybe EVE. In the meantime, I regard theorycraft as being like blogging; it's related to the game and part of the fun for many people, but it is not the game and if it become mandatory, then it is an obstacle to play rather than an added benefit.

Actually, it could be if there was only one OS and you were pushing for DOS while I wanted Windows.

Fish said...

What are you talking about? That epic with STR and STAM is clearly a hunter weapon!

Honestly, the more I thought about those changes, the more I like them. ESPECIALLY for someone who has a ton of alts, it's not dumbing down, it's streamlining. STR for plate wearers, AGI for others. INT for spell effect, SPI for recharge. STAM is HP. Isnt that basically what they were trying to do originally?

Jormundgard said...

First, there's nothing wrong with multiple classes wanting the same items. If you're going to go with the Loot Lotto model, it's better that things be more than less useful.

Second, by reducing the complexity of each item, they have more control over item design and there will be less reliance on Rawr-type lists. One hopes they can understand their own product now and produce multiple BiS items per slot, class, or item. Anyway, it's not really "dumbing down" when you have six variables that all do the same thing (DPS increase).

An ideal solution, though, is to remove the "Best In Slot" philosophy so that players see BiS gear as more of a luxury than a necessity.

But that would require a real form of progression, independent of gear.

Klepsacovic said...

@Fish: Originally we had spirit on warrior plate. I'm not sure what anyone thought we were doing originally. :P

@Jormundgard: I hope I didn't give the impression that I'm against the rationalization of stats; I just wanted to point out that there are some tradeoffs, even if it is better overall. My own thoughts on BiS are mixed; it can be comforting to be 'done' with a slot, but it can also feel like the mini-game for that slot is over and there's nothing left to do.

Stabs said...

WoW was originally designed to be played based on the 5 primary stats. Things like mp5, def rating weren't seen on gear before 60.

Adding those was a form of mudflation. It forced characters to seek out more items.

Hopefully we will see less mudflation too, the stats changes possibly imply that. I'm not comfortable with full Naxx gear gained in March being obsolete by August.

Klepsacovic said...

@Stabs: I doubt mudflation will vanish any time soon. As much as is creates problems, we should remember one of the benefits of it: it helps overcome poor play. Being able to vastly increase power through gear allows us to avoid ever hitting a wall, a spot at which we can never advance.

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