Vexing Complexity

 Pages 1 2 3 4 NEXT
 

Vexing Complexity

Choosing equipment in World of Warcraft is ultimately meaningless.

Read Full Article

Armour definitely does need to look better. I've only been playing WoW casually for a couple months now and at level 56 I can say I've not once had to think about trading my gear off. I do a quest, get a weapon with all round better stats and equip it. It seems that's how the progress has been so far.

Also I didn't miss anything then... it isn't really explained what the stat boosts on gear actually do... aside from the obvious...

EDIT: To add to the armour thing at the start. Some of it looks awesome, but I can never seem to find anything that goes with it well. It's a petty thing to be complaining about... but it's hard to feel heroic when my Blood Elf looks like he got dressed in the dark...

Personally when I played - which was up to the time that tournament near Dalaran came out, not too long after Ulduar - I really liked both aspects of optimizing my talents but along with that selecting appropriate gear. I could take some talents that improve hit chance, or screw that - take some more attack power and put +hit enchantments on my gear, or get gear with it... or whatever. I never used those wikis or spreadsheets or elitistjerks. Well, other than to find out what the max hit chance is and that kind of thing but not for picking specific talents or gear. Anyway point is, I just did my own thing and had fun. My Warrior tank was hella fun and so was my dps Death Knight. I was never in a raiding guild so I pugged a LOT. I managed to get bulwark of the ancients for my warrior along with some other sweet raid gear. Took a while since a PUG usually can only kill maybe 4 raid bosses in a night haha. My DK had that Black Ice spear also from Malygos - and interestingly on that one I was on spark duty and still had 2nd highest DPS after a hunter. Frost spec DPS was AWESOME. But you had to build for it, both in terms of talents and gear.

Back in the days when I played a Rogue, (Blood Guard Skeleto :D), I used to change specs every week to try different things out. Sometimes it worked better than others, other times completely different specs gave relatively equal results but with completely different implementation. That was before respecs reduced in cost after a while so I paid 50g per respec... for I don't know how many... no wonder I didn't get an epic mount until Burning Crusade. Of course, then in WotLK I went crazy selling my blacksmithed items on my warrior and bought a traveller's mammoth, and two mechano hogs lol. So rich... got boring.

But uh... yeah... haven't talked about WoW in a while. Sorry about that. Good read!

So you would rather have everybody wearing samey gray-brown power... er, magic armor?

Great stuff!

This is also exactly the reason I prefer some paper&pen RPG systems to others, with enough complexity to confuse the choices (and distract from the fact that you're supposed to have a good time, damnit).

I don't think I agree with your statement that equipment is ultimately meaningless because a tank in dps gear versus and tank in tank gear is such an absurd difference in survivability. Even tanks in full tank gear can differ greatly simply because of how can gem/enchant and or reforge. Do I use enchants to supplement my lack of hit rating so my threat increases as well as increasing my chances of hitting with a crucial ability (ex an interrupt) or do I go full survivability and aim for higher health pools, mitigation and avoidance? For healers it becomes and question about heals per second versus longevity. Do I have enough mana to go the distance and will that matter if I can't heal enough to keep the tank alive?

I've played WoW for many years now and had the privilege of tanking almost every realm first from Vash in burning crusade until the end of WotLK and I've seen first hand exactly the difference between what a well geared and thought out character can do versus a poorly planned one and its quite dramatic (not just talking about playing skill).

If anything I'd definitely agree with you on the hidden over complexity of WoWs current system. The idea that you need to go out of your way and essentially study long and at times very complicated posts on sources outside of WoW to learn the mechanics of how the game works and why lets say parry is > than dodge for your class is whats really the problem. The idea that the WoW community relies so heavily on sources like Elitist Jerks and the various character simulators that are developed there to help optimize is a bit ridiculous in my opinion.

I know people at my workplace who play WoW and are far more casual or less experienced then me and just think a higher item level automatically means a performance upgrade and I've also seen them suddenly start learning from places like EJ how they should gear and how astronomically their performance has increased because of that. Complexity for the sake of complexity is bad, I realize they don't want everyone to be cookie cutters when it comes to gear and specs but this sort of thing really doesn't do anything but penalize those who don't have the time out there to analyze something like

Trinket Value = (Amount of Passive Stat x Passive Stat's Weight) + ((Amount of Proc/Use Stat x Proc/Use Stat's Weight) x Proc/Use Uptime)

Shamus Young:
Experienced Points: Vexing Complexity

Choosing equipment in World of Warcraft is ultimately meaningless.

Read Full Article

Thing is, at the raiding level, a lot of these discussions do take place.

I'm a holy paladin.

Point for point, Int is the best stat I can use. It gives my spells greater potency, crit chance, increases my mana pool, and gives me Mana regen.

But spr is my base stat for mana regen. do I take the gear with 100 Int and no spirit, or the one with 65 int and 65 spirit? Am I running OOM on fights? Are my heals low?

Haste is my best secondary stat for throughput - it enhances my mana regen, and lets me cast faster, but that faster cast speed also means I blow through mana faster, and Haste comes at the cost of a gear's potential to contain spirit. Haste is going to eat my mana harder.

Maybe crit would be a good choice? Crit intercats with some talents to trigger temporary effects that grant me haste or spirit buffs. It also makes my average heal hit bigger - but it comes at the risk of not getting a big heal when I need it. Leaving my healing efficiency at the mercy of the RNG.

Mastery grants damage absorption to my targets - so they take less damage, mitigating both my need for bigger heals, and my mana usage - but it comes at the cost of mana generation, heal size and cast speed.

These are all considerations to be made when selecting gear - and they happen for every class. A tank can't build threat without enough hit rating, but can't survive big boss abilities if they've not got the damage mitigation via dodge, parry, block, or armour (or some combination) to make themselves essentially unable to be the target of a critical strike. Gear matters, and for many classes, (like paladins) gear and stat priority builds around playstyle. I push INT and Haste, because I like to have the ability to respond quickly, but another paladin could play approximately equally well pushing up INT and crit. There are, of course, points where numbers take over, and there becomes and obvious "this is mathematically better than that", but there is a wide period (basically from hitting 85 to endgame raiding) where gear considerations present choices and tradeoffs to the player - and considering many long-term players spend most of their time filling that gap, I'm not sure I buy the premise of this column.

-m

That said, paladin Tier 11 gear looks absurd.

Bring back the Tier 2 styling, please.

Shamus, you REALLY need to give Dungeons and Dragons Online a try. The game is RIDDLED with these kinds of decisions to the point where there is flat-out no such thing as a "best in slot" item in the game. (Some people try to tell you there is, but there isn't. What they have is "best in slot" stuff for how THEY like to play. But more conservative players may, in fact, get much better results from completely different gear.)

Adding an additional level of depth (and, admittedly, some complexity) is the fact that you aren't just stuck playing ONE class--you can multi-class up to 3. But choosing to multi-class right off the bat means you can't get the "capstone" enhancement for any class, and those are some of the best enhancements in the game. So you want a combo that gives you some good stuff to make up for that. But multi-class combos are often a lot stronger in other ways that makes up for losing the cap.

Best of all, the mechanics are idiot-simple, since it's all d20 based. I've looked at the numbers they show you in WoW (my housemate plays WoW), and I'm baffled. He uses a gear planner (RAWR) just to figure out what is going to help him and what isn't.

DDO isn't balanced for PvP in any way, but it's really well balanced for PVE. Once you get a feel for how the game works (and it's not like pen and paper so you can fool yourself if you come in thinking it is), you can solo on any class, and be a real asset in a party with any class.

I really like it, and I hope you'll give it a look. You can start playing for free, after all.

P.S. I'm on the Thelanis server.

You're article made me miss the gear customization of the old days. Sure there were balance issues, but at least you had much more freedom to build the character you wanted to build instead of just following a standard set of gear upgrades.

All your suggestions exist in PNP D&D, and you can find tons of people on variosu websites who can definitely answer which piece is better (Including the charop board on Wizards). I'm not sure what this would actually change, because the choices still seem to be shallow and don't really open things up much.

I did like the look into things. I'm just not sure the solutions given are, tangible.

Short of the "reset button," which I think everyone can agree won't happen.

I have to agree with matt. A lot of the choices you claim aren't being made actually are a huge deal in upper levels of raiding. Since I'm a healer, I'll give a few examples.

As a healer, I have two primary stats, stamina and intellect. Since every item with the same item level has about the same amount of these, I won't be focusing on them. What I'll be looking at instead are secondary stats.

Each piece of equipment will have exactly two secondary stats on it to begin with. For a healer, you'll have a choice of:
crit
haste
spirit
mastery

What mastery does is different for every healer, so lets just focus on the other three.

As a healer, your job is to keep everyone alive. There are a number of ways people can die. You can run out of mana and be unable to heal them. You can simply not do enough healing to keep up with the damage they are being delt. Your casts can be too slow to hit them before they die.

Each of these three secondary stats deals with exactly one, and only one, of these issues directly. Spirit will make you regenerate your mana, so you'll be less likely to run out of it. Crit can sometimes heal for twice as much as usual, making it easier to keep people alive in high-damage situations over a long period. Haste makes you heal faster, making it easier to keep people alive when damage is being delt quickly.

So, choosing exactly how much of what stats you want is very, very important. Futhermore, by choosing one, you are essentially forsaking the other. In fact, two of these stats, haste and sprit, work against each other, in that the faster you cast, the more quickly you will run out of mana. So there definitely are double-edged swords in gearing decisions.

All of this doesn't look into particular classes or talent trees, but what I've typed here is essentially true for every healer. And, while I don't know about the other classes, exactly what stats are the 'best' at least for shaman healers is very hotly contested right now.

toomuchnothing:
I don't think I agree with your statement that equipment is ultimately meaningless because a tank in dps gear versus and tank in tank gear is such an absurd difference in survivability.

But that's still a meaningless choice. If you tank, take the tank gear, if you DPS take the DPS gear. It's not like a tank would consider the DPS gear, it's not a choice.

But that's still a meaningless choice. If you tank, take the tank gear, if you DPS take the DPS gear. It's not like a tank would consider the DPS gear, it's not a choice.

I choose different ends of the spectrum to simply point out an extreme. Exactly why I said

Even tanks in full tank gear can differ greatly simply because of how can gem/enchant and or reforge.

right after. I could explain at great length the decisions that existed in the past and exist now and all the potential outcomes but the post was already reaching what I would consider wall of text or bloated proportions.

While I generally agree that WoW gearing is not particularly interesting, in the sense that typically there's a formula that tells you "x gear is objectively better than y", I feel the need to point out that:

"Melee weapons that deliver better damage per second but cause fewer (or less severe) critical," is the trade off between strength and crit rating (for warriors, paladins, and death knights) or agility and crit rating (for rogues/feral druids/enhancement shaman). This type of trade off already exists in the game. Also...

"Armor that reduces incoming damage but slows your own attack speed." Would be a trade-off between armor and haste. This type of trade off also already exists.

"Items that will boost your magic potency but reduce your mana pool." This used to exist, but not so much post-Cataclysm. Pre 4.0, intellect did not increase spell power, so casters had to choose between intellect and spell power on gear. I would say that now the trade-off is between intellect and haste or crit or hit.

In theory, I think WoW does have some interesting choices to be made. "Do I gem for Agility for an increase in attack power and crit, or do I choose haste for an increase in energy regeneration, or do I gem for pure crit for more bursty DPS?" The issue is, for me, that the players have gone to the trouble of creating spreadsheet to figure out EXACTLY which is better, 1 point of agility, haste, or crit.

Your overall point is spot on, thought. For a rogue doing raid DPS, or a Death Knight tanking, or a druid healing, there is really only one choice to make: what gear gives me the highest overall damage output/damage mitigation/healing numbers? Plug numbers into equations, and you can figure out exactly what stats, and how many of each, are the best. I would argue that this is the nature of the game. So long as you only have one job in a raid, there's really only one choice for gear.

* Ranged weapons with better distance but less damage.
* Melee weapons that deliver better damage per second but cause fewer (or less severe) critical.
* Armor that reduces incoming damage but slows your own attack speed.
* Items that will boost your magic potency but reduce your mana pool.

But here's the thing - even those type of option would eventually become meaningless as people 'spread sheat' away and realise what is more important.

Stop talking about MMOs. Especially competitive high-end PvE.

There is very little choice if you want to play competitively in an MMO. You pull up your spreadsheet, find out which stats you need and aim for those. Matt gave a good example on gear choices and how they impact the game, but i'm sure there's a spreadsheet out there that details "effective healing" and the way to get the best numbers. The choice is there only because of the variety in encounters (length, intensity, mechanics) and the fact that you never really know what will be the predominant strategy for the next batch of encounters to be released: will the raid focus mostly on long, mana-intensive battles or will there be an incredibly strong boss that will demolish your tank unless you keep spamming heals? Competitive healers usually have two slightly different item sets that they use for either mana efficiency or healing power.

Let's take a different example: i'm a caster DPS class. I know that at my gear level, 1 point of crit rating is 0.8 DPS, 1 point of spellpower is 1.1 DPS, 1 point of haste rating is 0.9 DPS, 1 point of hit rating is 1.7 DPS until the hit cap of 242 with talents and raid buffs, 287 without talents and 312 without any of them. An item gives int (spellpower), crit, haste and/or hit. If the total accumulated DPS of that item is higher than one of mine, i replace it based on how large the difference is (and here we have the choice of raid loot).
This is min/maxing. This is what competitive players do in MMOs. You can implement whatever choices you want, players will always find which of the playstyle+item combo outperforms the others. WoW attempts to mitigate this by making some specs offer more support, some being easier to use and so on, but it's a very strict matter and one slip-up gets you the ire of many players for making one class overpowered until the next patch is out.

The point is: MMO systems design is much different from single-player choice design due to the competitive nature of the games, and the player's inherent tendency to min/max. The objective there, if you want a player to have a choice, is NOT as simple as you think. "Melee items that do more dps but lower your critical chance" is something that can be mathcrafted and will either be THE weapon to get, or will be discarded, depending on how over/underpowered you make it. The goal here is not to make diverse equipment; Blizzard seems to have abandoned this idea long ago due to its extremely hard to balance nature. The goal is to balance the factors enough so that player skill is ultimately the real determining factor on who's better. Choice in World of Warcraft ultimately comes from other, different sources, with the items you're wearing usually being a benchmark on what encounters you can safely perform.

Matt_LRR:

Thing is, at the raiding level, a lot of these discussions do take place.

I should have made clear: I was talking about the leveling aspect of the game. Yeah, once you're raiding, equipment is EVERYTHING. (So I'm told.) It's just odd that the first 80 levels don't work that way and don't prepare you for it.

"Mathcrafted". Heh. Hadn't heard that one before. I'll have to remember that.

Spot on. It's never clear what new equipment is going to do in WoW, so I don't bother. I basically pick a few stats that should be good for my current class and concentrate on those. Another 5 dps on a weapon while keeping crit chance up? Sure. Double the armor value on leggings with about the same stat boosts? Can't lose there. If I'm not dying or having serious troubles then it's working well enough. It's certainly not worth the time to go spreadsheet it. That's for serious raiders, who like turning a game into a job.

Shamus Young:

Matt_LRR:

Thing is, at the raiding level, a lot of these discussions do take place.

I should have made clear: I was talking about the leveling aspect of the game. Yeah, once you're raiding, equipment is EVERYTHING. (So I'm told.) It's just odd that the first 80 levels don't work that way and don't prepare you for it.

"Mathcrafted". Heh. Hadn't heard that one before. I'll have to remember that.

That's fair, but as you're levelling, you're gaining levels faster than you're getting gear - you replace your full set of equipment approximately once every 10 levels. That levelling period is designed to get you familiar with all your skills and abilities, and how to play your class. But your character sees more change and progression from your development and talent selection than from gear selection, and at sub 80 levels talent selection is a choice (you get one talent point, do you want to add 2% to your damage output or give yourself another 10% chance to avoid stuns so you can retreat in a pinch? you're going to respec to your best class-spec at 85, but on the way up, what you choose can have a significant effect on your levelling, and there aren't necessarily "best" talents to take during levelling).

Virtually everyone levels on their DPS spec though, so offering variety and gearing options there serves little in-game utility. I guess it's not unfair to make the argument that when you get dumped into the world of gear progression at 85 that the game hasn't done a great deal to prepare you for it, but you should, at that point, have at least a pretty good idea of what you need based on what you've learned so far, and are now in a position to start experimenting, trying different gear configurations, and trying new talent builds, if you don't want to start reading. The game also then takes you through dungeon progression at 85, from dungeons to heroics to raids, which (now)include gear priority restrictions on rolls and is built around teachign you to select gear that enhances your performance in your class. By the time you're in heroics, the game has nudged you in the direction of gear that works for your class.

The old adage of wow is that "the game starts at 60(70[80{85}])". In a very real sense, 1-85 is just tutorial and character building.

-m

I agree entirely, I've come into this problem since returning to my Warrior to actually attempt some raiding. It seems that Blizzard just change up the way that stats work once in awhile to give the theorycrafters something to do, everyone just looks at the iLevel and grabs the best set for their role/class anyway.

By the way, I wouldn't have linked to EVE Online as the "worst" offender. It may seem like it, what with the pages of scary numbers on each ship or module's info window, but it actually has a ton of depth. I don't know of any two EVE players who can agree on the "best" fit for a given ship; everything is a tradeoff for something else.

NOTE: This post was in no way a flame, troll or anything that could spark an EVE vs WoW debate. I love both games! Honest!

I'm just nit picking a bit here, but...

This is even before you have to account for mysterious variables like diminishing returns, hard numeric caps, soft numeric caps, and how your stats interact with those of the monsters you're fighting. Does dodge rating apply to incoming spells? Does Parry interact with ranged attacks? What's the difference between block and armor, since both seem to reduce incoming damage? There's nothing in game to answer any of these questions, and so a majority of the players fumble around in the dark.

There are actually tooltips in the character info panel that tell you the majority of this. I'm a protection paladin, so knowing how much incoming damage I'm avoiding is important. If you have Character Information panel open, you can scroll through your various stats and mouse over the ones you're concerned about. For example, I can scroll down to Defenses and hover over Armor, which will tell me how much I have, how much extra is there through spells and enchantments, and that it blocks a certain percentage of incoming physical damage. Going down to block, it tells me how much of a percentage change I have to make one of those, and that it stops a straight 30% of incoming damage.

Obviously it's not exhaustive (you can't dodge spells, and it doesn't spell that out for you), but it's got practically everything you could possibly need if you're not that concerned about high-end raiding. Especially helpful are the to-hit percentages for each level of enemy you could be facing, which has all but eliminated the droves of people asking "how much hit I need" in trade chat.

For leveling, yes, much choice in equipment is pointless. But then, you get a lot more choice out of your talent tree while leveling than you do at cap because the order in which you take them can differ... and you can respec to something more cookie-cutter once you hit 85. Do you want the survival traits now because you like soloing, or the max DPS talents first because you like to do dungeons, or the mobility talents because you run around exploring or crafting more than grinding, etc etc.

LOTRO's cosmetic appearance and wardrobe system says hi. :)

Shamus Young:

Matt_LRR:

Thing is, at the raiding level, a lot of these discussions do take place.

I should have made clear: I was talking about the leveling aspect of the game. Yeah, once you're raiding, equipment is EVERYTHING. (So I'm told.) It's just odd that the first 80 levels don't work that way and don't prepare you for it.

"Mathcrafted". Heh. Hadn't heard that one before. I'll have to remember that.

Yeah sorry, it's a bit of a remnant from my old raiding days. It means calculating exact numbers for dps/healing/effective health using complex mathematical formulas that take all variables into account. Kind of like mathematical modelling: transforming a known system (you, the player, performing) into a series of equations with numbers that can be tweaked to perfection.

In regards to levelling, WoW used to have a sort of anti-choice back in the day: weapon skill (not sure if they took it out or not). Basically, you had to raise your skill level to the max before you could use the weapon properly. You raised your skill level by using that type of weapon, so if you were an avid sword user and wanted to switch to maces, you had to GRIND first. That means using the mace very poorly (essentailly having a ridiculous miss chance at the early levels) until you figured out which end to swing it from. It all had the effect of putting you off switching weapons entirely. Sort of funny how that works from a design perspective.

But back to levelling: there used to be some choices like you wrote about, mainly in the form of weapons with very low speed but high damage. They eventually took those out too beacause they realised they screwed up the low-level pvp brackets (battlegrounds and the like), not like twinks wouldn't screw them up anyway. But there you go. There's actually a very clear significance with the gear you're wearing while you're levelling up (especially on item-focused classes like warrior or rogue), but the game is designed in such a way to not impede your progress even if you made really bad choices regarding item setup, so the major factor in getting to max level is how much you play and how well you know the quests. That's why items don't tend to matter much (also because if they did, all those things you mentioned like hard caps and diminishing returns would suddenly be a serious headache).

As for item appearance, you can see a major difference between the early Outland multicolor clown suits and the theme-specific Northrend gear. I say some progress has been made.

EDIT: also what Matt said. As usual, he's pretty much spot-on while i'm just rambling.

The goal in WoW is to get the better gear, and hopefully one day the best gear. It is not a choice and not intended to be a choice. The next piece of gear you are after is usually one that clearly surpasses the last, and attack vs dodge vs resistance aside, usually it is obvious that this new drop is better than what you now have equipped. Now late game I had one set of gear for pvp and daily quests and another for raiding, which involved a little picking and choosing, again straightfoward, and socketing gems involved some choice between susposed equals, yet rarely did I dwell much on gear or feel that I should be. That isn't the point of gearing up. The point is: "OMFG that guys staff is cool I need to Thottbot where he got that from." Talents, though, I spent hours and hours devising optimal builds, which paid off when people told me they looked up my talent spec in the armory. I was an affliction lock with sweet dps.

Shamus Young:

Matt_LRR:

Thing is, at the raiding level, a lot of these discussions do take place.

I should have made clear: I was talking about the leveling aspect of the game. Yeah, once you're raiding, equipment is EVERYTHING. (So I'm told.) It's just odd that the first 80 levels don't work that way and don't prepare you for it.

"Mathcrafted". Heh. Hadn't heard that one before. I'll have to remember that.

The leveling part of the game is about context, for the world, your character, and learning how to play your class one new ability at a time. End game is about gear choices, as by this point you should know how to play your class/spec if you have been paying attention. If you threw gear into that it would be a lot at once.

Think of it as a super long tutorial. These days you could level to 85 pretty easily, given a couple of weeks, even if you have never played before.

It seems like TF2's item selection is what Shamus is after - those guys know how to balance trade-offs against bonuses! Or they did, a couple of years back when I still played...

Unfortunately, the majority of those choices you mentioned have simple numerical ways of calculating advantage.

To take one: is more damage for less criticals worth it? Weight the average damage of a critical with the frequency of the criticals, add it to the base average damage, and you have a perfect formula to figure out which is a superior weapon. If you make them equivalent (as many games have started to do when providing this choice), you've only given the illusion of choice. Such an illusion is, of course, desirable from a design standpoint as it makes balancing easier, but people who see through it will likely be less satisfied with the choice.

Any simple mathematical manipulation can be reduced to a DPS formula and offers, at best, the illusion of choice between mathematically equivalent options.

TF2's item system should really be the posterboy for how to do things right. You can remain an extremely competetive player using only default items and the other items almost always simply change the way a class is played rather than offering a different numerical spin on the class (which would be horribly unbalancing).

I never ever wanted to trade in my wicked Druid armour. It was leaf-green with golden trimming. I prefer the looks over stats, I try to remember and have fun in this game. Main bulletpoint is to look damn good.

Straying Bullet:
I never ever wanted to trade in my wicked Druid armour. It was leaf-green with golden trimming. I prefer the looks over stats, I try to remember and have fun in this game. Main bulletpoint is to look damn good.

I find this ironic, as in combat you're looking at either a bear/cat's ass or a moonkin/tree's backside. And most of the time spent exploring will have you turned into an eagle. You chose the wrong class for fashion.

poiumty:

Straying Bullet:
I never ever wanted to trade in my wicked Druid armour. It was leaf-green with golden trimming. I prefer the looks over stats, I try to remember and have fun in this game. Main bulletpoint is to look damn good.

I find this ironic, as in combat you're looking at either a bear/cat's ass or a moonkin/tree's backside. And most of the time spent exploring will have you turned into an eagle. You chose the wrong class for fashion.

Most probaly, I did. But then again, fashion/taste differs from person to person. I just consider it one piece of fly set, so long you are confident on how you look, you will radiate it towards others. Works in a virtual world too!

;]

you are forgetting a few things Shaemus

Gearscore is paramount for a charachter. Looks < GS, if your armor looks like C'thun's excrement (looking at you heroes' plagueheart set) but if its gearscore is less than what is required at your skill level/actual level you wont be allowed to do what you want. If you are at level 85 in Cataclysm and want to raid, say, The Throne of Four Winds, you will need at least a 5.5-6.0 Gearscore. Thats the MINIMUM for players to even think of taking you along. Gearscore is just adding the levels of items together into a number, its basically a magic tool that just adds numbers for you which any intelligent person can. It has 0 bearing on ANYTHING in the game, and don't say it does its just an aggregate number of the bits of cloth, leather and mail you are wearing, the rings on your fingers, the cloak on your back, the belt on your waist and wherever trinkets are on your body. But players use this as a judge of how good they think you will be, and its as good a reason as any to deny you access to content. Oh you can go to the Throne of Four Winds and go into the instance, but you'll be alone. If you want help, you'll have to meet the arbitrary gearscore price tag no matter how stupid.

There are some instances where DPS isn't good. The tank, who has the maximum ammount of defensive power, shouldn't need to deal damage. He simply has to keep enemies attacking him, and that means he needs to generate threat however he can. A healer does not need DPS, they instead need items which increase spell critical chance and healing power. If a healing spell critical, it heals for double the amount it was going to heal. This is useful, especially if you want to save mana and just cast one critical spell all the time.

The biggest thing though, is understanding your class. Dosen't matter if your gear or your stats are in the right. If you can't play your class, no matter which one it is, you will fail. I have a Warlock, Death Knight, Mage, Paladin and Hunter and though they aren't all Alliance or all Horde they are skilled enough at what they do. I took the time to learn from other skilled players, and I take time to teach other players how to play their classes. Now, I spend more time on my Horde characters than Alliance but I still take my role as mentor seriously. All five have needed professions, and when mixed together they can gear up a newly level 80 person in under 6 hours with gems, enchantments and armor. However, it takes months for my apprentices to graduate and become real good players. My charachters are on the RP server Moon Guard and, though off and on, are respected. Yes, my Warlock has the Blood-bathed Frostbrood mount and he's got the acheivment to prove it but he never earned that. My guild wouldn't take the time to teach me, and just had me as another source of damage to pump into the fray. When I went solo and learned for myself of how classes are played, it all made sense.

So, to tl;dr

Gearscore is important too I guess, DPS isn't everything to everyone and play your class properly

Even though I love Eve Online, I do agree that it is one of the worst offenders in this matter. A newbie will rarely know the end result if he fits his ship in a certain way. It took me some time to know that the different races had different offensive and defencive affiliations (the Gallente like drones and armour tanks but their enemies the Caldari rely on missiles and shield tanks, for example).

Matt_LRR:

Shamus Young:
Experienced Points: Vexing Complexity

Choosing equipment in World of Warcraft is ultimately meaningless.

Read Full Article

Thing is, at the raiding level, a lot of these discussions do take place.

I'm a holy paladin.

Point for point, Int is the best stat I can use. It gives my spells greater potency, crit chance, increases my mana pool, and gives me Mana regen.

But spr is my base stat for mana regen. do I take the gear with 100 Int and no spirit, or the one with 65 int and 65 spirit? Am I running OOM on fights? Are my heals low?

Haste is my best secondary stat for throughput - it enhances my mana regen, and lets me cast faster, but that faster cast speed also means I blow through mana faster, and Haste comes at the cost of a gear's potential to contain spirit. Haste is going to eat my mana harder.

Maybe crit would be a good choice? Crit intercats with some talents to trigger temporary effects that grant me haste or spirit buffs. It also makes my average heal hit bigger - but it comes at the risk of not getting a big heal when I need it. Leaving my healing efficiency at the mercy of the RNG.

Mastery grants damage absorption to my targets - so they take less damage, mitigating both my need for bigger heals, and my mana usage - but it comes at the cost of mana generation, heal size and cast speed.

These are all considerations to be made when selecting gear - and they happen for every class. A tank can't build threat without enough hit rating, but can't survive big boss abilities if they've not got the damage mitigation via dodge, parry, block, or armour (or some combination) to make themselves essentially unable to be the target of a critical strike. Gear matters, and for many classes, (like paladins) gear and stat priority builds around playstyle. I push INT and Haste, because I like to have the ability to respond quickly, but another paladin could play approximately equally well pushing up INT and crit. There are, of course, points where numbers take over, and there becomes and obvious "this is mathematically better than that", but there is a wide period (basically from hitting 85 to endgame raiding) where gear considerations present choices and tradeoffs to the player - and considering many long-term players spend most of their time filling that gap, I'm not sure I buy the premise of this column.

-m

That said, paladin Tier 11 gear looks absurd.

Bring back the Tier 2 styling, please.

Matt, I have to say, your point reminds me of my former WoW experience. I was a BC raiding druid tank. And there were not many choices for how to gear, but when I had choice, here is more or less what it came down to. Stamina trumps all, agility is a close second.

I could go into detail as to why, but I'm sure most WoW experts know why.

The complexity is sometimes overcome by one's own knowledge of their personal needs (this develops after playing a certain class for a while).

However, the article was on point for new players. And have you guys ever seen the Warlock tier set (I want to say 6, but it might be 5) in which the helm occasionally produced a pair of demonic looking wings. That was the be-all, end-all omniscient WoW set for me.

Back when I played WoW (pre any expansion) I mained a Shaman. However, instead of using the Shaman set for level 60s, I used the Hunter set. I got harassed to no end for this, especially by my own guild. At the time 90%+ of the Shaman were restore spec'ed, and while I was to some degree (enough to sustain myself) I was spec'ed mainly to deal massive amounts of burst damage.

This lead to a conflict with my guild during an UBRS(iirc) run; they said they were tired of healing me and I need to respec for healing. I told them I have one of the highest DPSes in guild, that I can out damage rogues in most cases, and that I don't need to be healed as I could take care of myself. Needless to say they stopped healing me.

Because of the arguing and whatnot our group wiped on one of the bosses. I reincarnated, left my teammates dead, finished the boss off single handedly and stole all the loot. Obviously I got booted out of the guild for this.

Being angry at me, whenever I encountered a former guildmate they challenged me to a dual, and found out what my build was made for. Shortly after the honor system was implemented (but before battlegrounds) I started ganking even more than I previously had (which was a lot) and it was a blast. Then battlegrounds was implemented, world PVP died, and Shaman were pretty much forced to be half-assed healers in PVP amidst the chaos. It wasn't long before I gave up on WoW.

A similar thing happened during my 2moons run. I was the highest level Segnale(healer) on the server (for quite some time), but unlike every single other Segnale on the server which were entirely health spec'ed and equiped with lvl 6 weapons, I was pure damage spec'ed wielding the most powerful weapon for my level.

By all means I was a glass cannon, but very few could survive long enough to attack me. I was one of the most notorious PVPers, griefers, and guild leaders on the server. I hunted down mods/GMs, despite their level advantage, just because I could. Regardless, I came under constant fire for not being spec'ed for party grinding.

Kind of went on a tangent, but the point I'm making is there is a small degree of flexibility with builds in these sort of games: many of which are only effective if they are done to extremes, making huge sacrifices in various areas of gameplay. The people who do chose to go these routes, constantly get shit for not following a cookie cutter build. So not only does the game itself vastly limit your options, but the community treats you like a leper if you do anything other than the norm -- regardless of the success you have with your build.

This is one of the reasons I can't do MMOs anymore. Moreover I can't stand the fact that every MMO allows respec'ing; it makes your choices meaningless and encourages this sort of bullying into playing a defined role.

Fingers Diablo III will not allow respec. (yes I know its not an MMO)

There's a website that helps calculate your dps. End of headaches.

Wow as it is makes you choose between different bonuses.

You apparently want that there to be glaring obvious drawbacks to every choice.

 Pages 1 2 3 4 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here