Vexing Complexity

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I sympathize with this article as somebody who played wow for 5 years, but to tell the truth, everything in wow is meaningless. Some people make friends in real life or even find their spouses, but these things happen beyond wow. With their exception if you accept them as a part of the game, nothing in that game has a point or meaning. 100 years from now nobody will care who was the first 85 in the world. They won't build a real statue to the first people who killed The Litch King. Aliens will not abduct the first man to max level a Worgan death knight so that he may train their army of werewolf soldiers.

In short, while you're unlikely to attain any measure of lasting glory in the world, it's impossible to do so in the world of warcraft. I know which one I'd rather live in.

Shamus Young:
Experienced Points: Vexing Complexity

Choosing equipment in World of Warcraft is ultimately meaningless.

Read Full Article
" (Fixing it would mean starting over, and there's no way players would stand for that. The time required to acquire the highest levels of gear in the game is phenomenal, and it would be horrifying to rob those players of their accomplishments with a reset.)"

Players do this every expansion. In every expansion that has come out, that gear that you spent hours and hours earning, is meaningless within moments of entering the new zones. It's not that hard to move on. If they really wanted to redo the entire item system, all they would have to do is wait until the next expansion pack since players are already trained to give up their hard-won gear upon entering an expansion.

Worse, as far as I can tell in Cataclysm, they removed the actual numbers from almost every thing. I looked at all my new hunter shots, and they just say "This does a lot of damage." "Use this if you want to make people jump." "This is used after dancing."

I'd like to see, you know, numbers n' stuff....

And further - in vanilla WoW, and I think BC, weapon speeds made a *huge* difference - there were huge debates about using slow ranged weapons versus fast, and presumably also about melee. Fast weapons proc'ed more, and interacted better with certain abilities, whereas slow weapons did far more damage per shot, and made better shot rotations. You still basically picked one or the other, but at least when you got a new weapon, you had a few extra things to consider....

The funny part about your suggestion about interesting new types of items is that the last three suggestions would still boil down to the same basic problem you're railing against int he article. In order - it's whether the flat damage increase offsets the damage loss from critical strikes (efficiency), whether you're still able to tank with the reduced attack speed (efficiency), or whether the reduced mana pool is enough to significantly effect your damage output (again, efficiency).

I game I'd like to bring up is Guild Wars, where all gear has the same maximum base stats, and then a few slots of customization which allowed you to craft your gear to your play style without piles of complexity; You can choose to boost your defensive or offensive capabilities in various ways, and often with tradeoffs that made it interesting; but the choices (while some may for some circumstances be downright better than others) were kept plain; when you got something, you knew what you were getting and how it would affect you.

Also: EVE is a big offender in confusing choices; but not so much an offender in the way of non-choices; there are lots and lots of ways to play the game, and many of them are equally valid. There is no absolute best fit, which is rather different (or so I understand) from WoW.

I play WoW primarily for the PvE leveling experience; I don't have enough time or patience to sink in to the endgame raiding/rinse/repeat part of the game, or the PvP element, so for me gear along the way is at least partially divided between utility and appearance. When I hit level cap, I usually go snag the nicest stuff I can buy at auction house, then pretty much retire my character until next expansion. The endgame gear grind is at least part of the reason I don't even try to get in to the endgame: by the time I get there, slow as I do it, everyone else has already surpassed my level of gear and expertise and is demanding only experienced members for their raids and heroics and whatnot, so there's very little chance that a new arrival like me, who has limited time to do this stuff anyway, will get consideration (gearscore never got over 650 when I hit 80, for example, on my warrior). For that matter, you have to be loot-focused....being story focused, once I've done all the quests, the only agony of missing the end game stuff is knowing I don't get to see things like the Black Temple or the ICC stuff (well, I do get to watch my wife do them....but she's a full time home maker, which I figured out is a fancy name for WoW Junky with an Excuse...)

Er, but yeah: I actually wish gear was less relevant and made more sense--was more realistic. I still scratch my head at my level 65 with some pretty snazzy looking adamantine plate, then look at my 81 warrior with very, very nice gear that looks like a mix of cloth and leather strapping on a couple pieces of tin. Yeeeeesh....!

Team Fortress 2 has a good gear system. Easy to understand with interesting decisions.

I pretty much only ever lurk here at The Escapist, but I figure I might as well chime in on this conversation.

Although I do think that gear choices are complex with little depth (and are basically just problems to solve), the depth and choice comes more from the actually combat itself, rather than the gear.

In other words: Gear is the problem solving part of WoW, combat is the choosing part of WoW.

Sure, people do have rotations and priority lists that they need to use during combat to maximize efficiency, but the variables that come from the boss fights themselves, and how well people are able to manage their CDs, AoEs, procs, movement, and general communication between raid members on when and how to sync those abilities is where the choice comes from.

Damage: "I just proc'd an instant cast spell, do I save it for a couple seconds when I know I might have to move around; or through it out now for the damage?"

Tanking: "The boss is about to soft-enrage; do I use my weak damage reducing CD now and save my big damage reducing CD for an emergency, also informing the healers of it, or just use my big CD now?"

Healing: "One word, Triage. Try to figure out who needs the heals now, who can live without them, and who's dead meat."

These are the real choices, choosing how to tackle situations in the best way your guild/raid/group of friends/whatever can.

Again, aren't bosses and encounters just huge problems that you need to learn how to solve? Well, yes, but they are generally too randomized or hectic to really math-out in the same way you can do with static problems like gear or talents. You sometimes don't know which raid member will get hit with that spell or debuff; you sometimes don't know where the boss will through that AoE, or spawn that add, or cast that spell that needs interrupting. No solid line of what's right.

Everyone in your group isn't perfect either; you need to know what each person and good at and assign them to those roles: kiters, AoEers, dispellers, MTs/MT healer, OT/OT healer, etc. (this mostly comes down to picking up slack in different ways).

All these are choices; there are no solid solutions, no exact rule, no BiS.

Maybe I'm looking at it the wrong way; maybe gear needs to be more of a choice, or that combat alone isn't enough or just isn't random enough to have much choice; but as it stands, I don't see a huge issue with leaving gear as some number crunching for those at elitist jerks and such.
_________

TL:DR

Gear is the problem solving part, combat is the choosing part.

If the armor wasn't ridiculous, it would all look same-y. Although I do agree. Sometimes I just have to quietly raise an eyebrow at a piece of shoulder-ware, then equip it, because its stats are amazing.

Your friends are right about armor not mattering while leveling, but it's nothing to do with choice. Once you have learned how to play your class, leveling is simply very easy. It's only on heroic, end-game dungeons and raids that gear starts being a crucial factor.

Shamus I have to complete disagree with all your examples and as a veteran wow player coming on 5 years and a hardcore raider as well all your examples are very easy decisions.
*Ranged weapons with better distance but less damage.Would be absolutely useless to hunters and they would always always choose the damage over the distance.
*Melee weapons that deliver better damage per second but cause fewer (or less severe) critical.This one because I don't really play melee dps I don't have a comment on but doesn't seem like it would be a hard decision
*Armor that reduces incoming damage but slows your own attack speed.Any tank will choose armor I.e.mitigation over melee dps it's not even a question
*Items that will boost your magic potency but reduce your mana pool.Also mana pool would always be selected over increased magic damage especially for mages.
The fact is wow is simplified to a merger of survivability and dps even though some fights are strictly"Survival"fights you still have to kill the boss before a certain time.Healer mana is always a soft enrage cap and the fight must end in a certain time.
That being said the other half of fights always run on an either hard enrage or soft-enrage timer and must be killed in a certain time thus people will always choose what gives the most damage.The fact is you can give as many choices as possible but the stuff will always be mathhammered into the ground until someone figures out the most efficient route possible,that is the reason we have sites like elitist jerks and somethingawful and tools like RAWR.

Your ideas on this subject are great and it would clear out another problem that caused me to stop playing the game. Whenever I was in a guild, they would always order me around when it came to armor. I was not even allowed to choose, but if armor was to become based on playstyle it would all change. Unless the bastards would figure out which playstyle is the best as well...

anyways good article :)

A great player will perform without super duper gear.
A shit player will stand in fire with end game gear.

Now tell me again why gear is important?
Gear doesn't make you not stand in the fire.

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.

He DID say Healing was another matter. But I'm a rogue and I too can vouch that there is more to it on the raiding level. It's a matter of culture, not design, that leads people to believe there is a single best spec or gear setup, when that has not been my experience at all. A mentor of mine when I was first starting raiding would take talents that seemed laughable because it fit his style better. Everyone would laugh at him until he showed up on the top of the damage charts with a sizable lead.

On another note, WoW isn't about collecting gear at all when it comes to the raiding level, and is kinda a silly target for this debate. The strategies of the fights and the execution is where you can find meaningful choices, better ones than most other games for that matter. For example, "Do I run through the fire to interrupt the boss, risking death or aggroing the healers, or risk letting the boss pull off that super-powerful move on the tank?" or "A crucial raid member just died, should I continue attacking the boss or sprint over to his position and fill his role?" Those are just two major decisions I had to make within a single run of Icecrown Citadel back before the whole Deathwing thing (On Valithria and Sindragosa for those playing along at home). And the consequences feel compounded extensively when there are real players who are affected by your judgment.

Lord_Ascendant:

Gearscore is paramount for a charachter.

It really isn't. Gearscore grinds down what little choice there is when it comes to stats into an even more simplified stat to the point of being dumbed down beyond usefulness.

Zookz:
I pretty much only ever lurk here at The Escapist, but I figure I might as well chime in on this conversation.

Although I do think that gear choices are complex with little depth (and are basically just problems to solve), the depth and choice comes more from the actually combat itself, rather than the gear.

In other words: Gear is the problem solving part of WoW, combat is the choosing part of WoW.

Sure, people do have rotations and priority lists that they need to use during combat to maximize efficiency, but the variables that come from the boss fights themselves, and how well people are able to manage their CDs, AoEs, procs, movement, and general communication between raid members on when and how to sync those abilities is where the choice comes from.

Damage: "I just proc'd an instant cast spell, do I save it for a couple seconds when I know I might have to move around; or through it out now for the damage?"

Tanking: "The boss is about to soft-enrage; do I use my weak damage reducing CD now and save my big damage reducing CD for an emergency, also informing the healers of it, or just use my big CD now?"

Healing: "One word, Triage. Try to figure out who needs the heals now, who can live without them, and who's dead meat."

These are the real choices, choosing how to tackle situations in the best way your guild/raid/group of friends/whatever can.

Again, aren't bosses and encounters just huge problems that you need to learn how to solve? Well, yes, but they are generally too randomized or hectic to really math-out in the same way you can do with static problems like gear or talents. You sometimes don't know which raid member will get hit with that spell or debuff; you sometimes don't know where the boss will through that AoE, or spawn that add, or cast that spell that needs interrupting. No solid line of what's right.

Everyone in your group isn't perfect either; you need to know what each person and good at and assign them to those roles: kiters, AoEers, dispellers, MTs/MT healer, OT/OT healer, etc. (this mostly comes down to picking up slack in different ways).

All these are choices; there are no solid solutions, no exact rule, no BiS.

Maybe I'm looking at it the wrong way; maybe gear needs to be more of a choice, or that combat alone isn't enough or just isn't random enough to have much choice; but as it stands, I don't see a huge issue with leaving gear as some number crunching for those at elitist jerks and such.
_________

TL:DR

Gear is the problem solving part, combat is the choosing part.

You're not looking at it the wrong way, but I think your distinction between choice and problem solving is a little wrong.

In the examples given above, a player is required to adjust his tactics to a particular problem thrown up by a mob. He then judges how best to use his tools to fix that problem. This is done in combat, where the tool box is fixed.

Choice should come from how you build your tool box, and how you want to play. You do this right at the beginning of the game by picking a class, and then throughout by picking talents. Armour should also be part of this process. A DPS class would go for damage boosters, a tank would go for more resistances. Maybe a a player would like to balance the two... I know I do. I like to play DPS but I tend to forget my active defences when my swords start swinging. A bit thicker armour helps me role play play the frothing berserker without dieing too much.

Whilst it's true there are elements of problem solving here to find the most efficient collection of attributes, this seems to me to be the wrong way around of doing things. To me, games should be about rapid problem solving within the boundaries of the set up.

Then again, the lines between problem solving and choice become blurred in MMOs. Particularly in WoW where a player has nearly all the skills available to his class all the time. It's a little too much. Guild Wars has it better with the swappable 8 skill limit. Now there's a game which venerates player choice!

As a few people have said TF2 has an item system that allows you to play as you want and not be handicapped and very few clear upgrades, but how the game works parallels quite well in some ways to WoW.

In your typical game you can experiment and learn which weapons and classes you like to play; how you want to play them etc. Which as has been said is what's supposed to happen during levelling.

On the other hand professional TF2 is similar to raiding. Typically you have the same team setups every game, people have worked out what the best loadouts for your role are and so on.

NOTE: I have not really played WoW, so most of my info comes from what's been said in this topic.

Lorechaser:
Worse, as far as I can tell in Cataclysm, they removed the actual numbers from almost every thing. I looked at all my new hunter shots, and they just say "This does a lot of damage." "Use this if you want to make people jump." "This is used after dancing."

Disable "Beginner Tooltips" in Interface Options.

reducing ones manapool for more spellpower?, no one would wanna do that, granted its a looong time ago since i last played wow, but i was a good healer in a respected guild, and the amount of time i used to ensure i had enough mana and mp5 for a boss that went bad (most raids will wipe if the boss takes 5 min extra to down because half the dps and most healers will oom) i cant imagine anyone wanting to trade mana security for more slightly larger dps or healing, heck half the time you are going to overheal anyway, well maybe a mage, those guys just get off on large numbers, they dont care if they go oom and cant do anything half the fight :P.

and i actually leveled up as a healer since i played with friends, and when i just started out i kept hearing about how shadow priests where the suck, so i didnt encounter many of the issues described, and when i finally did manage to get to level 70 i was told to respec by my guild -.-, again because they needed the constant manaflow to their main dps.

Indeed the game really takes off at max level and all the way up is basically a tutorial. I think the lack of consequence in choosing gear while leveling is a very calculated decision to help new players find the game more accessible. What would happen if you swamped a newbie with complicated gear decisions that would ultimately make the game next to impossible unless he chooses exactly the right gear? The current system lets people who are still learning about the mechanics enjoy the game and make it fun enough so they want to get to the endgame content.

This article is the first time in a long time i have seen Shamus be wrong on so many levels.

First of all:
You argue around Complexity vs. Depth, and bring up chess as an example with low complexity and high depth, and mention that some players have dedicated lifetimes to exploring them, while at the same time you critisize WoW's item system for also asking players to read for hours to fully understand which item is better.

As someone who is actually into chess analysis, as well as being a former WoW theorycrafter, i will have to be the first to tell you that the difference between dedicating your time to chess and dedicating your time to figuring out WoW's item system isn't as big as you think it is.

In fact, i don't even see where you're coming from when you're saying that WoW's item system has no depth because it ultimately comes down to a choice where you will always pick the choice that deals more damage, because i could make that same argument that chess has no depth because it ultimately comes down to making the choice that gives you the best position. The depth lies in actually figuring out which choice is the best.

Now, as an expert in both fields i will definitely agree with you that the depth in chess in the above scenario definitely is above the depth in WoW's item system. It's very hard, even for the best computer engines in the world on top-grade hardware (we're sometimes talking computer clusters with more than 200 CPU cores across several machines) to point out the best move in certain positions, but in my opinion the WoW item system still deserves more credit than what you give it.

Second of all:
Your end list of "interesting tradeoffs" aren't as interesting as you think it is.

Ranged weapons:
Min-maxing PvE players pick the weapons with less distance and stand closer to the boss.

Melee weapons:
Crits doesn't matter in PvE, all that matters is overall damage, so players once again go for the damage with less crits but more damage.

Armor that reduces incoming damage:
Players in PvE will never pick anything that reduces their own damage.

Items that boosts your magic damage but reduces your mana pool:
Already exists. It's called haste and it causes you to cast spells faster = You spend your mana faster but do more damage.

Or to sum it up, the answer to every choice is still "I'll pick whatever gives me more DPS", just like in the current system. And if that choice for some reason isn't a viable choice, then they will pick the choice that gives them the most DPS they can get away with.

If i were to give you an analogy, lets take a game like Counter-Strike. Imagine that the best tactic in Counter-Strike for the defending team is to camp at the same spot, no matter what (around a corner etc.). Your suggestions would be equivalent to forbidding camping in the same spot for more than 1 minute (or else you lose health) in an attempt to make gameplay more interesting, to which i would reply that if camping is still the best strategy, then the new best strategy will become to camp for 59 seconds and then change position. The penalty have increased, but people would still be camping.

Fr]anc[is:
So you would rather have everybody wearing samey gray-brown power... er, magic armor?

That is more or less exactly what happens anyway. At any given moment there is a "best" set of armor for a Rogue and an ideal set of weapons. Everyone who plays their rogue in a basic style at the highest levels will attempt to collect this set. A new dungeon drops and suddenly there is a new best set that people strive to collect.

I can't be the only one that noticed how many random people in a Capital had the same gear as others.

What WoW offers is, of course, the illusion of choice more than anything in this regard. Sure there are hundreds of thousands of items, but at any given point in any given situation there is an ideal collection of items you ought to be using. It isn't until the end game that this essential fact becomes blindingly apparent. Of course, at least you have a choice to an extent if you consider being less proficient at your desired task as a choice. WAR didn't even offer us this. At any given point any particular character in a class would look identical to any other character of the same class with the possible exception of the color pattern if the player was willing to spend exorbitant sums dying their armor.

The truth is, no MMO really offers choice in this regard. Some conceal it better than others. Eve Online demonstrates both extremes wonderfully. One's course in PVE is all but set in stone. As a Caldari Player for example you fly a noob ship fitted with whatever trash you can find until you scrape together enough cash to fly a Merlin. Then you fly a merlin until you make enough for a Caracal. You fly a Caracal armed with heavy missiles until you can afford a drake where you fit a passive tank and more heavy missiles. Then you eventually buy a raven and slap on cruise missiles and a basic shield tank. At any given stage there is a "best" configuration. The only time I ever changed out parts on my Raven for example was when I started a new mission where all I did was change the ammunition I had in my launchers and swapped out shield hardeners to suit. I wasn't making a choice by doing this, I was simply being efficient.

PVP on the other hand offers the player sufficient uncertainty of circumstance that they can indeed make plenty of choices. Do you climb inside your super expensive Heavy Assault Cruiser for the raid or do you fly a more heavily armed and armored Battlecruiser and hope you don't need the speed? Do you load short range high damage missiles on your Drake or do you use less damaging but far longer ranged versions at the cost of some DPS? Do you fit a stasis webifier to your ship or just hope someone else in the group has that task covered? In any given engagement there is a best configuration to have. But because of the uncertainty inherent it becomes all but impossible to determine what is best and you're forced to simply come up with the best solution to what you think you'll encounter. There still isn't much of a choice here. Any given vessel favored for PVP tends to have perhaps three basic configurations (if you'll find that many), and even then the only difference between a solo PVP vessel and a raiding configuration is often a single module.

I think you're missing something important here, the same point the guys from Extra Credits made when talking about talents: when you have chosen for a certain playstyle (dps, healing, whatever) it actually isn't a choice anymore what stats or skills you want. There is simply a best choice, and everyone will go for that. Just look at all the different gear that you can get in PvE; there is a very clear ranking between items, and pretty much everyone knows that ranking for their class and level. In The Burning Crusade you had this awesome spear, and every PvE hunter wanted that one. No choice, it was simply the best thing at that moment. Unless you were doing Karazhan of course, because then you would want the bow from Prince Whatishisname. Unless you were doing [insert harder instance] of course, because then you would want the...etc. There might be a few cases where there could be a choice between two items, but in these cases the difference is so small that it doesn't really matter.

And what about the choice between PvE gear and PvP gear? Same thing, there is actually no choice involved. When doing PvE you'll get the best PvE gear, when doing PvP you'll get the best PvP gear. The only rule that you'll have to follow (as long as Blizzard is doing their work right) is: 'More difficult stuff will get you better gear."

Also, about your suggestions. Two of them are quite good, but these other two:

# Melee weapons that deliver better damage per second but cause fewer (or less severe) critical.
# Items that will boost your magic potency but reduce your mana pool.

They actually already exist. At least, they did when I played WoW. The first one is basically the difference between weapons with a lot of attack power and no (or not much) crit and weapons with not much attack power but a lót of crit. The second one is the choice between spell damage and intellect (or spirit), which also already exists.

Edit:

Eclectic Dreck:
snip

Dammit, you said pretty much the same thing.

To get those suggestions you suggested to work it would take a total revamp on the combat system/talents/classes/skills/talents/mob/boss encounters/PvP/class balance, basicly half of the game would need to be changed.

And there are some decision there to do, especially if you are a healer (I am priest healer in a raiding guild). After certain point filling some base stats (Spirit in healers case), you start to think do you want crit/haste/mastery more? Do you like to do fast spells? DO you like to do critical heals? IS your mastery good enough, does it fit your style? If I get this from gear, do I change that from talent tree? In raiding, do I go for tier gear, or do I like individual pieces more?
But this is a veteran speaking...
And agreed more, gear could and should look better and different... Why the hel my priest needs to wear some god damn wells on hes shoulders ???

Ghengis John:
I sympathize with this article as somebody who played wow for 5 years, but to tell the truth, everything in wow is meaningless. Some people make friends in real life or even find their spouses, but these things happen beyond wow. With their exception if you accept them as a part of the game, nothing in that game has a point or meaning. 100 years from now nobody will care who was the first 85 in the world. They won't build a real statue to the first people who killed The Litch King. Aliens will not abduct the first man to max level a Worgan death knight so that he may train their army of werewolf soldiers.

In short, while you're unlikely to attain any measure of lasting glory in the world, it's impossible to do so in the world of warcraft. I know which one I'd rather live in.

Your goal in life is glory?

What sort of profession are you aiming for/currently in?

PlasticTree:
They actually already exist. At least, they did when I played WoW. The first one is basically the difference between weapons with a lot of attack power and no (or not much) crit and weapons with not much attack power but a lót of crit. The second one is the choice between spell damage and intellect (or spirit), which also already exists.

They don't anymore.

Your "Attack Power" vs. "Crit" weapon example is bad, because it's not a "big" choice. Your stats depend on all of your gear, and the stats on your weapon (not counting the weapons DPS) have a minor effect on that.

In addition, spell damage and intellect have been condensed to one stat now (meaning that i Intellect provides both mana and spell damage). In addition, damagedealers have been made alot less mana dependant and therefore don't use spirit anymore, which is exclusively a healer stat (except for Balance Druids and Elemental Shamans who will be using healer gear to do damage). The stat you're looking for is Haste, which makes you cast spells faster but also spend mana faster.

Athinira:
sniiiiip

He clarified in the comments that he wasn't talking about high-end raiding. I think we can agree that he'd be dreadfully wrong on that aspect.

poiumty:
He clarified in the comments that he wasn't talking about high-end raiding. I think we can agree that he'd be dreadfully wrong on that aspect.

Complexity/depth of the system is still the same regardless of who is behind the keyboard (casual, hardcore etc.), so point still standing.

Intelligence level and ability to understand the system can obviously vary of course, but thats why the more intelligent people try to help out/guide the less intelligent.

Funnily, my dad plays both World Of Warcraft and Eve. He has a system of excel spreadsheets for each game that tell him how to systematically do everything.

Unfortunately your proposed interesting choices aren't very interesting when you dig down a bit.

Ranged weapons with better distance but less damage.
Everyone would pick better damage, besides it's the same as the choice you identified. Being able to stand further from what you're shooting is survivability, and PvE players always choose damage over survivability.

Melee weapons that deliver better damage per second but cause fewer (or less severe) critical.
This is just a math problem. It's just up to someone to calculate whether the base damage or the crits add up to more damage in the final analysis. And for everyone else to copy them.

Armor that reduces incoming damage but slows your own attack speed.
Again, just damage vs. survivability as far as DPS classes are concerned, which is no choice at all. Possibly an interesting choice for tanks if the game is at a stage where threat generation is an issue, but mechanics already exist for threat vs. survivability tension.

Items that will boost your magic potency but reduce your mana pool.
As someone pointed out, this effectively already exists in the form of haste, which reduces your mana efficiency. As it happens, nobody worries much about the efficiency loss. DPSers always choose damage.

It's harder than it looks to get this stuff right.

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.

I play the same spec as Matt. Awesome.

That said, paladin Tier 11 gear looks absurd.

Bring back the Tier 2 styling, please.

Agreed.

Shamus Young:
The system is actually better now than it was a year ago. In Cataclysm, a great deal of the system was streamlined. But the underlying problem remains and I don't think it would be possible to fix it. (Fixing it would mean starting over, and there's no way players would stand for that. The time required to acquire the highest levels of gear in the game is phenomenal, and it would be horrifying to rob those players of their accomplishments with a reset.)

You know, I almost don't believe this. They pulled the rug out from under us three times with cataclysm, and each time no one seemed to mind all that much once the obligatory bitch phase was over. First, with the talent system, completely changing it (admittedly to cover their own tracks so people aren't swamped with over 100 talents and a ridiculous amount of "choices") and in a way, giving it more choices. Not only that, but these choices are mainly not at all based on dps or healing or, um... I guess tanky stuff. The obvious choices are obvious, and then there's the stuff that's more interesting. For interesting, take the warlock class (which I assume you are becoming intimately familiar with). As a demonologist, your pet is a major part of your DPS AND your survivability, and once your main DPS slots are full, you can decide whether or not you want a pet that you can keep alive longer, a pet that you can revive more easily, or do you skip that just to keep YOURSELF alive?

The second thing was the stats, which you mentioned. Agreed, a step in the right direction, but perhaps not far enough.

And the third thing is the entire world. Completely new, frequently changeable, and just plain better designed.

Maybe I give them too much credit, but if this isn't a step towards a complete overhaul, I don't know what is. And they can do it by scheduling it, as happened this time, right at an expansion. Gear becomes useless, people get to relearn themselves, and you're really buying an all new game, so why not take a step towards total transformation? I think they can do it!

For me, a better system would be one where the decisions are easy to understand but difficult to make. Decisions that are interesting for players are things like:

* 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.

These are all good tradeoffs, and players could have a lot of fun agonizing over choosing the item that best suits their taste and playstyle. But as it is, the only decision players are given is to decide if they care enough to look this one up on the wiki and run the numbers.

These are all great ideas, except for the Melee weapon one, which really is just more spreadsheetery. How often critical strikes occur is already measured, and intensity of said is not changeable regularly, but would come down to just another number. My favorite, though, is the last one, because this not only promotes interesting choices, but it challenges the intelligent healer to find the perfect balance between what is JUST ENOUGH mana to survive a fight, while still being powerful enough to survive for their skills.

Of course, what I wish more guilds did was promote synergy among their mates by building together, finding redundant stats that would just overlap (like warlocks' banes and druids' spell that increases damage done) and increasing more utility based things. This way, for instance, a healer can be prepared for a paladin to begin taking the entire raid's damage and focus on the tank instead of anyone else.

Also the armor should look less ridiculous. That's not related to the rest of the article, but it needed to be said.

Noooooo! I want my crazy green glowing skulls on my shoulders! Although, what I really hope is that they start putting color back in the gear and not making it so... black and blue bruise-colored. Lich King had a theme, and they stuck to it, to a sad degree.

During the early game, there are a lot of gimmicky armors. Like there is this one chestpiece for warriors that has average stats at best, but it allows you to instantly restore 100 rage. Or there was also a set of boots that increased your running speed by 40% for a few seconds.

I want to see those make a comeback.

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.

You may look good but you wouldnt last 30 seconds in a cata heroic...

on topic: the tradeoffs you mentioned are exactly that....TRADEOFFS. I dont want tradeoffs, where the choice gives me equal potency in two different area's, i would rather have a less significant choice of which one makes me more potent in the same area (as generally, you have one job in a dungeon or raid, heals, dps etc)

What wow players want is: 'does those extra stats give me better or worse dps' it sucks, but this is what the wow experience especially at endgame is like, unfortunately, all people care about these days is how much HP the tank has, how much DPS people do and how much healing output is happening

Cata has done a great job starting to alleviate this problem, but this is what warcraft is about

They also shouldn't make stats jump 200% in 5 levels but here we are 100k health later and not even past the first bit of raids.

Can't Parry arrows, It's why hunters don't stack expertise, and if You see a hunter stacking expertise, slap him in the back of the head.

Cataclysm streamlined the mechanics of armor penetration and reduced crit chance for every class, just enjoy what they've done to make us learn to play our classes all over again without making us agonize over the differences. WotLK was such a cake walk that even casual players were complaining about it's ease, and I'm Talking before they started adding a buff to ICC, due to wanting players to fight against the lich king.

Anyway you can't fight these sorts of number crunching, people will attempt to make everything Best in slot, Anyone who plays pokemon knows this far better than the people that play WoW. There are 400+ pokemon, look at championship teams and you'll see the same 30-40 pokemon over and over again due to Stats/Movepool/Typing. Everyone innately wants to be the best, Children are raised to excel, our performance governs everything we do in the real life, from job placement to education. We are graded everyday by others, why shouldn't we have to follow these same rules in games? Games reflect reality, even in the most obscure ways, a person can't just seperate themselves from these concepts that surround them in life, both the creator and the player wouldn't connect to a point of mutual understanding and be able to enjoy the finished product. (This is why made up terms in fanasy/Sci-fi settings need to be explained ASAP, otherwise you've got a whole Barrel of Flognards up Scrabbatab Plateux Nebularizer alley with no Fabbarar)

If you want to argue that there should be choice I point you to everyday life, were there are plenty of choices, but people generally choose the most practical one. If you want to compare the fact that a Rogue should have an ability that takes advantage of his choice of Mace over Axe, I'd point out to you, that the Warrior over there is duelwielding pillars, Get over it.

Matt_LRR:

That said, paladin Tier 11 gear looks absurd.

Bring back the Tier 2 styling, please.

Completely agree on Tier 2 paladin looks. Plate Kilts own.

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