Thursday, April 23, 2015

I want the old gear system back. Mostly.

When Warlords was announced approximately 7 years ago, I was pretty excited about the new gear system. It sounded interesting, and certainly different from all previous expansions. Now that I have had a few months to try it out I have to say I'm not really a fan. I don't enjoy the parts I thought I would and it hasn't really solved any of the problems it was supposed to.

Of all the major changes to gear this expansion, the only part I wouldn't change at all is how primary stats change when a player changes specs. That is undeniably awesome. When it was announced I immediately thought, "Killer! Now my priest only needs one set of gear!" But it really hasn't worked out that way. Secondary stats are so strong that very few pieces of gear are good for both specs. Or I'll get pieces with sockets or Spirit. All of a sudden I have two full sets of gear for my two specs. Just like before. It's fine, and maybe the system saves other classes some more inventory space, but I still have two sets of gear. And my hunter now has 4. Four. The SV set. The BM set. PvP set. I can't get rid of anything decent with leech or avoidance on it for soloing..Tertiaries and gems have made my inventory woes worse on my pure DPS character.

The most frustrating aspect of gear in WoD is figuring out what is really an upgrade. Sockets, Warforged, Tertiary stats. It's kind of driving me crazy. Last night I got a 685 neck from a mission. I was wearing a 670 neck with a socket. Due to the two combinations of secondary stats, these two pieces were incredibly close in value. I ended up having to use Simcraft to figure out what to do. I have to do that a lot these days. More than I ever have before, and I'm a pretty informed player. One of the reasons for getting rid of hit and expertise was that it seemed crappy players just went to an outside web site to find out what to do. Some of that is always going to be unavoidable, but it feels like I have to sim gear upgrades/sidegrades a lot more than I should. I know what my best secondaries are. I listen to the hunter podcast. I should just know what is an upgrade and what isn't, especially when I'm gaining 15-20 ilvls. It seems unreasonable to expect a less informed player to understand upgrading correctly under the current system. I think it's time to dial back some of the RNG attached to gear. It's confusing, and many times doesn't feel good. Unless you get the super lucky "trifecta," it always feels like something is missing. Maybe I'm greedy but I get a nice upgrade and instead of looking at the stats it has I see the socket that isn't there or wonder how much more agility is on the warforged version. Tier pieces are even worse because you don't really know what piece of gear it is until it's been won by a group member. I'm sure there are teams out there dealing with "I would have rolled on it if I knew about the socket!" drama. Gear has essentially turned into a slot machine experience where we're trying to score all three cherries for the jackpot. It's a bit much.

I think gem slots should stop being random. I don't mind them being rarer than they were before WoD, but let's just know which gear has them and which doesn't. Tertiary stats can come or go. I honestly don't have strong feelings about them. Except they shouldn't be random either. Maybe make them into enchants or something, but not random. If we have to have some slot machine aspect to gear I would prefer just going back to the MoP system where gear has a chance of being warforged. That is plenty of RNG.

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