Cataclysm: Planned Stat Changes

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Eyonix made an interesting post about the coming stat changes in Cataclysm. Personally I am not sure if I like all these changes, since Shaman seems to ge go away even further fromt eh fun class it used to be. Basically they will remove all AP/Spellpower/Intelligence from our gear and design some way to emulate this. I fear we might end up like Retribution Paladins with no Mana Pool and give us some weird mana regeneration mechanic like example improved Stormstrike. This would limit our flexibility, which is what I like most on the shaman, even more. But well it is too early to judge about things.

Here is Eyonix Post:

As many of you know from panels at last year’s BlizzCon and posts here on the forums since then, Cataclysm will bring about major changes to familiar character stats such as Intellect, Armor Penetration, Defense, and others, ultimately designed to make the effects of stats more easily understandable and make gear choices more interesting. As these changes will have a significant impact on how stats work and relate to one another, today we wanted to offer you a closer look at exactly what’s in store and explain some of the rationale before Cataclysm arrives.

The most obvious question these changes raise is “Why are stats being changed, and why now?” As the game has matured, we’ve run into increasingly complex issues with the current stat system. Many stats are inherently confusing, and the way they interrelate can feel convoluted. Attack Power, for example, currently translates to damage, but so does Armor Penetration. Defense provides five different statistical benefits of varying utility. Mana regeneration involves understanding multiple stats and rules and often ends up being irrelevant anyway. In addition, the difference between a “good stat” for a class and a “bad stat” can be extreme. Some casters want Haste but not Crit; hunters want Armor Penetration but not Haste. There are other overarching issues, as well, such as Intellect not being very exciting for casters despite it being a core stat — and these are just a few examples.

Our ultimate goal is make gear a more interesting (and less confusing) choice by making each stat valuable to more players. While the reasoning behind some of the following changes may be clear, we understand that you may have questions about some of the less obvious alterations, and we’ll do our best to answer any questions you may have here on the forums.

What You’ll See on Gear

Stamina

Stamina – Because of the way we will be assigning Strength, Agility, and Intellect, non-plate wearers will end up with more Stamina than before. Health pools will be much closer between plate-wearers and other classes.

Spirit

Spirit – Come Cataclysm, this stat should only be found on healing gear. Non-healing casters will have other systems in place to regenerate mana, and we are designing special solutions for Elemental shaman and Balance druids who often share gear with healers (more on this below). Raid buffs that currently boost Spirit (such as Blessing of Kings) will only boost the primary stats of Stamina, Strength, Agility, and Intellect. We are also likely changing the five-second rule and other quirks of the current regen system.

Intellect

Intellect – Intellect will now grant Spell Power (more on this below). Intellect will also provide less mana than it currently does.

Haste

Haste – Haste will become more attractive for melee classes by allowing them to recover resources such as energy and runes more quickly. Our intention is for Haste to let you “do stuff” more often.

Block Rating

Block Rating – Block is being redesigned to scale better. Blocked attacks will simply hit for 30% less damage. Block rating will improve your chance to block, though overall block chances will be lower than they are today.

Parry

Parry – Parry no longer provides 100% avoidance and no longer speeds up attacks. Instead, when you parry an attack, it and the next attack will each hit for 50% damage (assuming they hit at all). In other words, Dodge is a chance to avoid 100% of the damage from one attack, Parry is a chance to avoid 50% of the damage from two attacks, and Block is a chance to avoid 30% of the damage from one attack.

Mastery

Mastery – This is a new stat that will allow players to become better at whatever makes their chosen talent tree cool or unique. It’s directly tied to talents, so what you gain from improving this stat is entirely dependent upon your class and the talent specialization you choose. We’ll talk more about specific Mastery benefits in the future.

Armor

Armor – The way Armor mitigates damage is not changing, but the Armor stat has been rebalanced to mirror changes to the armor curve in Cataclysm. As a result, bonus Armor will go down slightly overall. We are also changing the mitigation difference among armor types so that plate doesn’t offer so much more protection than mail, leather, and cloth.

Resilience

Resilience – This will only affect damage done by players and critical damage done by players. It will not impact crit chance, mana drains, or other such effects.

Strength, Agility, Hit Rating, Expertise, and Critical Strike Rating

Strength, Agility, Hit Rating, Expertise, and Critical Strike Rating – These will all still appear on gear as well. Aside from situations mentioned elsewhere in this list, in general these will function similarly to how they do now, though the details — such as how much Hit Rating you might need to effectively combat high-level creatures (more on this below) — are likely to change.

Being Removed from Items

Attack Power

Attack Power – This stat will no longer be present on most items as a flat value, though it will still show up on some process. Strength and Agility, which will be present on items, will grant the appropriate amount of Attack Power (generally 2 Attack Power per point of Strength or Agility) depending upon which stat a particular class favors. Agility may provide less Crit than it currently does.

Spell Power

Spell Power – Spell Power is another stat that you’ll no longer see present on most items. Instead, as mentioned above, Intellect will grant Spell Power. One exception is that caster weapons will still have Spell Power. This allows us to make weapons proportionately more powerful for casters in the same way they are for melee classes.

Armor Penetration

Armor Penetration – This stat will no longer be present on items. Armor Penetration will still exist in talents and abilities.

Shield Block Value

Shield Block Value – This stat will no longer be present on items, since the amount blocked is always proportional to the amount of damage done. Talents and other effects might still modify the damage-reduction percentage from 30%, however.

Going Away Completely

MP5

MP5 – This stat will be removed from the game completely. Holy paladins and Restoration shaman will be redesigned to benefit from Spirit.

Defense

Defense – Defense is being removed from the game entirely. Tanking classes should expect to become uncrittable versus creatures just by shifting into Defensive Stance, Frost Presence, Bear Form, or by using Righteous Fury.

Spell Ranks

Spell Ranks – Spell ranks will cease to exist. All spells will have one rank and will scale appropriately with level. The levels at which you can learn certain spells are being changed in order to fill in some of the gaps, and we will be introducing some new spells to learn along the way as well.

Weapon Skill

Weapon Skill – This stat will be removed from the game completely. Classes will start with all the weapon skills they need to know and will not need to improve them.

What Else You Should Know

Combat ratings

Combat ratings – All ratings will be much harder to “cap out” at maximum gear levels. Ratings will be steeper in Cataclysm, and creatures in later tiers of content will be harder to hit or crit, similar to how level-83 mobs are harder to hit or crit than level-80 mobs.

Reforging

Reforging – While these changes will go a long way to making a wider variety of stats more attractive, we understand that sometimes you simply don’t want more Hit Rating on your gear or you’d rather have more Haste than more Crit. In Cataclysm, we are going to give players a way to replace stats on gear as part of the existing profession system. As a general rule of thumb, you’ll be able to convert one stat to 50% of another stat. While some conversions (like converting Stamina to Strength) won’t be permitted, the goal is to let you customize your gear more.

Gems

Gems – We are changing the gem colors of a few stats as a result of these adjustments. For example, Hit is likely to be blue instead of yellow. We’ll have more details on this in the future.

Changes to Existing Gear

As with previous expansions, we plan to roll out these changes and modify all existing gear shortly before Cataclysm launches, though it’s still too early to say exactly when. For the most part, the gear you have will still be good for you, though there will be exceptions, such as warriors using leather and mail armor.

If you are a tank (druids excepted), expect to see:

  • No more Defense on gear. Existing Defense becomes Dodge, Parry, or Block Rating.
  • No more Block Value on gear. Existing Block Value becomes Block Rating.
  • You’ll have as much Stamina as you’re used to, though you may notice your tanking plate has a bit less Stamina than a comparable piece of DPS plate, since we tend to take the gem budget out of your most attractive stat.
  • Bonus Armor on gear will go down slightly.

If you are a melee DPS class, druid tank, or hunter, expect to see:

  • A lot more Stamina. Bear-form Stamina scaling will be lowered as a result.
    Strength if you wear plate. Agility if you wear mail or leather.
  • Existing Attack Power becomes Agility and Stamina.Armor Penetration becomes Haste or Crit.
  • No Intellect on melee gear. Hunters won’t need Intellect since they will no longer use mana. Shaman and Retribution paladins will get mana and spell damage in other ways.

If you are a DPS caster, expect to see:

  • A lot more Stamina.
  • All of your Spell Power converted to Intellect and Stamina.
  • No Spirit. You won’t miss Spirit, though, because you won’t need it for DPS or mana regen.

If you are a healer, expect to see:

  • A lot more Stamina.
  • All of your Spell Power converted to Intellect and Stamina.
  • Spirit instead of MP5. You’ll probably be happy with Spirit, though, because mana regen is going to matter more than it does currently. Healing paladins and shaman will benefit more from Spirit than they do currently.

If you are a Balance druid or Elemental shaman:

  • You will still share gear with Restoration druids and shaman.
  • Your gear will have Spirit on it. It won’t have Hit on it.
  • You will have a talent that converts Spirit to Hit. We will adjust talents accordingly so that you want about as much Spirit as, say, a warlock wants Hit.
  • Hit on rings and other such gear will still benefit you.
  • Raid buffs will no longer boost Spirit, so you shouldn’t find yourself unexpectedly over the Hit cap because of buffs.

Many lower-level items with nonsensical combinations of stats, such as Agility and Spirit, will be changed. We’re also updating quest rewards, trade skills, and loot drops to support better itemization for class builds that weren’t widely available or used prior to The Burning Crusade (such as Balance druids).

We’re aware this is a lot of information to take in, but this is still only a piece of the larger picture, and many of these changes rely on integration with other systems we haven’t yet discussed in detail. In the weeks and months ahead, we’ll continue to tell you more about these changes, along with all of the new and exciting features we have planned for Cataclysm.

After this post there were a couple of followups int he same thread:

Q: So does this mean that there will be no more pure DPS caster leather/mail gear (aside from tier pieces)? Will Balance druids and Elemental shaman have any reason to roll on cloth gear?
A: The goal is that classes will want to wear the gear intended for them.

Q: Yes, but what about warlocks, who get a bonus to SP based on Spirit when they have the armor buff up? Will that spell and buff be reworked as well?
A: It seems so. I would remind players who are focusing on individual talents and abilities to remember that we’re going to be doing a major redesign on all talent trees. So fear not, these changes are meant to work in conjunction with the design of each class come Cataclysm.

Q: Will reforging become available when the stat changes come into effect? Or will my gear with spirit on it become trash until it does?
A: Your gear won’t have spirit on it as a mage when Cataclysm hits.

Q: I’m assuming they’re not removing it from caster gear since Eyonix stated in the beginning about how some casters prefer crit over haste and how you could change crit to haste with reforging. I don’t think it was quite mentioned though because they’re more focused on trying to get other classes to want the stats. For instance it’s utter garbage on my warrior. It’s only useful for faster swings to generate a bit more threat, but otherwise it’s trash. I think they want to get it to the point of being more viable to people besides casters and mutilate rogues to a lesser extent.
A: Haste will basically remain the same for casters. It is changing for melee classes, however. Haste will also allow melee classes to recover their resources more quickly, effectively letting them hit their buttons more often.
A: The change to haste for melee dps is “in addition to its current affect”.

Q: So, how’s this going to work for Ret Paladins?
A: Retribution paladins are already working this way on live realms, given that they rely on mana. You’re just cooldown limited.

Q: Now I understand that SP will be removed on these items but the initial thread of my idea should remain true. Are elemental shamans and balance druids going to be essential forsaken an extra dps stat on each peice of mail/leather gear we choose (or are being directed towards wanting to use) in relation to cloth casters?
A: Elemental Shaman and Balance Druids will have access to gear with the same item budgets as every other class.

Q: Quick question on this–will this spell power count against the item budget?
A: Spellpower will still count on the weapon item budget.

Q: Very nice changes overall. Only question I have is what is the point of calling plate armor plate armor if it has the same or nearly the same mitigation as cloth? Seems rather silly.
A: Plate will still possess much more armor than cloth, the difference just wont be as significant as it is now.

Q: So what’s the point of being a tank anymore?
A: Tanks will have much more health and armor with gear, enchants, gems, and talents. From gear they’ll also be getting mitigation stats such as parry and dodge (when applicable). Don’t worry tanks will still be tanks, and dps/healers wont be able to fulfill that role anymore than they are able to now.

Q: Will spell penetration still exist?
A: Spell Penetration will still exist on PvP gear.

Q: Wait, so melee DPS will have more health than the tank? Or am I misunderstanding this?
A: We take gem budgets out of the most attractive stat on a piece of gear, in order to avoid anything with sockets always trumping similar gear without sockets. As such, socketed tanking plate has less base stamina but with gems, you’ll almost certainly end up with more health than dps classes.

Q: Will have to see how it plays out but I have to say I am not a fan of the block chance being a flat 30%. Yes on a raid boss this means more mitigated damage but it also means mobs in RFC will still damage me when I block. (just an example)
A: Yeah, that is sort of the intent. We don’t like that block allows certain tanks to trivialize older content. Older content is always going to be easy, but it was a little strange that warriors and paladins could literally take no damage with enough block while DKs still took some damage. Stats need to scale and this one wasn’t.

Q: That all sounds fine as far as I can tell but where do Holy Paladins fit in there? Druid and Shaman resto classes will shar with DPS counterparts but it still seems Holy Pallies are not sharing gear with anyone.
A: Holy paladins are still a special snowflake with regard to gear. We have explored alternative solutions, ranging from them not wearing plate to somehow getting spell power from Strength, but we don’t like any of those designs better than just having Holy paladins wear plate.

A: Think about it like this:

DPS cloth: Int, Sta, Hit, Haste, Crit, Mastery (mage, warlock, Shadow priest)
Healing cloth: Int, Sta, Spirit, Haste, Crit, Mastery (Holy and Disc priest)

Melee leather: Agi, Sta, Hit, Haste, Crit, Mastery, Expertise (rogue, Feral druid)
Spellpower leather: Int, Sta, Spirit, Haste, Crit, Mastery (Resto, Balance druid)

Physical mail: Agi, Sta, Hit, Haste, Crit, Mastery, Expertise (hunter, Enhancement shaman)
Spellpower mail: Int, Sta, Spirit, Haste, Crit, Mastery (Resto, Elemental shaman)

DPS Plate: Str, Sta, Hit, Haste, Crit, Mastery, Expertise (Fury, Arms, Retribution, dps DKs)
Tanking plate: Str, Sta, Hit, Armor, Dodge, Block, Parry, Mastery, Expertise (Prot, Prot and tanking DKs)
Healing plate: Int, Sta, Spirit, Haste, Crit, Mastery (Holy paladins)

There will be exceptions. There might be some spellpower cloth with no hit or Spirit that healers and nukers may want. There will likely be Elemental tier sets with no Spirit. Jewelry and cloaks will be more class agnostic than actual armor pieces.

I wrote that quickly, so hopefully I didn’t mangle anything. 🙂

EDIT: You get a small mastery bonus for wearing the highest-armor gear capable for your class. Hunters in mail get a bonus. Hunters in leather do not.

Q: If I’m reading this correctly are you saying that with each tier, each boss level increases by 1? As an example: Naxx 25 – Boss level = 83; Ulduar 25 – Boss Level = 84; ToC 25 – Boss Level = 85; ICC 25 – Boss Level = 86 – Meaning are we trying to gain my hit and expertise with each tier?
A: We’re not sure yet how bosses will “level up” in subsequent tiers. The general idea is that currently you need a specific amount of hit and after that hit becomes worthless even though more hit goes onto higher level gear. Furthermore it creates odd balance problems when you are critting and avoiding the most powerful bosses by more than you did the earliest bosses (because your gear keeps getting better while they just get more health and damage).

Q: If DPS are going to be able to tank almost as effectively as tanks, I don’t see it as a problem if we expect to dps almost as well as a dps.
A: DPS won’t be able to tank almost as effectively as tanks.

Q: There will always be a superior stat, or a stat that is more desired to get the job done. Even if everything is as balanced as it can possibly be, the theorycrafters will come out and say something like ‘Crit does .001 more dps for Frost Mages than Haste’, then you can bet that all the Frost Mages will want and stack Crit. That’s just the way it goes.
A: I actually disagree with that. The problem we have with current stats is that some are good and some are terrible. To use the Resto druid for example, crit isn’t useful because so many hots can’t crit and haste isn’t useful because so many hots can’t be hasted (and talents provide generous cast-time reduction already). To use another example, some mages are very near the crit cap to the point where a trinket that proc’d crit (or even a free crit) would be less attractive that one that proc’d haste. It’s not that crit is bad for them. It’s just that they have too much. The problem is that some stats are twice as good as other stats. If crit was slightly better than haste, you’d take crit given the choice, but still wear haste.

Q: Is there any way that we poor poor clothy dps casters can get some kind of assurance that we won’t have to compete with boomkins/ele shamans for our cloth gear once they hit their spirit/hit gear cap?
A: There is a small Mastery bonus for wearing “your” gear. So a Balance druid who takes cloth will be essentially giving up free stats. Sometimes that may be worth it to them (just as sometimes it’s worth it for a Resto druid to take that piece of +hit gear), but often times it won’t be worth it especially if it’s an upgrade for you.

Q: How will this work with summon food and water? These items have level limits. How will a mage be able to create the lower level items with ranks gone?
A: There won’t be a way or need to cast the lower level spells. If you’re just worried about losing the flavor of croissants vs. strudel, we’re keeping that. At some point you’ll just start making the better breads.

Q: So what is going to prevent tanks from picking up the dps gear which already has higher stam and then reforging the stats to get tank stats? That way they still turn it into more of a tank chest and get the higher stam.
A: Think of reforging like enchants. It’s not that you take a piece of gear and turn it into whatever you want. You pick up specific scrolls with specific conversions. We haven’t decided on them all yet, but I imagine crit -> parry is not something you’re likely to see. Maybe we’d do hit -> dodge for the tank who is full on or doesn’t want hit. Maybe we’d do block -> parry to help DKs benefit from more plate. Rest assured that we’re not going to promote a system where Prot paladins want dps plate for tanking more than tanking plate. Part of all of these changes are to discourage behavior like that. We don’t want to recreate it immediately in a different form.

Q: I’m not liking these changes to stam and armor. A clothie being as durable as a plate wearer? Dumb.
A: Someone (Angua?) had a post awhile back that explained this using numbers. Cloth won’t have as much armor as plate. But maybe it will have half as much armor as plate instead of one fifth as much armor as plate (or whatever the ratios end up being at higher levels). Really, cloth isn’t the issue, since cloth wearers have spells to buff their mitigation. Leather wearers are the ones who end up the most fragile. Mail would be bad too except that shaman can use shields when needed and hunters typically don’t get hit by melee much. We just want to bring things a little closer to each other. It’s easier to establish a baseline for how hard a particular attack should hit for when one dps spec isn’t literally four times as survivable as another.

Q: Unless it’s drastically changed, that wont matter to much. Stam is king and has been. It might change, we shall see, but if not, people will take less dodge for more stam.
A: Once upon a time, being a “mana sponge” was a scary thing. Nobody (esp. druids) wanted to be the meat shield that had huge health pools but drained the healers dry. When mana matters, avoidance matters more too. I’m not saying parry will ever trump Stamina, but perhaps Stamina won’t trump parry by quite as much as it does today.

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