Monday, March 1, 2010

Cata Stats & Ferals

Finally I get to talk game mechanic speculation about our class in my blog!

Eyonix has posted on the Blizz forums to give us all the low-down on gear stat changes coming for Cataclysm. There's a lot to absorb there, but it's definitely worth taking a few minutes to read over it.

For the purposes of this blog, however, I wanna take a minute to highlight the stuff directly pertinent to Ferals.
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.
I don't expect a lot here will change for bears. Our gear will have a lot more base stamina on it, so we'll see less scaling of stamina from talents (as pointed out below). For cats, I'd like to say this is probably going to up our survivability, but I assume the incoming damage will be adjusted to handle this. I see this move as an attempt to normalize party- or raid-damage during encounters. 3K damage every few seconds affects some classes a lot more than others.

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.
Again, for Bears, I'm not sure how this would apply. Maybe we generate more rage than we do now? Only I don't think I've ever been rage starved in content that I didn't vastly outgear. For Cats, though, this means faster Energy regen, which can only lead to good things.

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.
We don't know much about this yet, but it does raise an interesting question for Ferals. However, I believe I have enough to say about it that it may warrant its own post. So more on this tomorrow.

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.
This is interesting. While I can see raising health pools of some classes as a reasonable balancing move, I'm not sure why they would want to do the same here. The wording is "so much more protection," so there's still going to be a difference. But I wonder how much it'll be now. Again, I'd like to say this will have no affect on Bears and will likely up Cat survivability. But who knows how they're going to change incoming damage to compensate for this?

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.
Not much to say here. Some things will still be familiar to us after the change.

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.
Of all the changes, I think this one is my favorite. I absolutely hate Attack Power as a stat on gear. Maybe it's because I tend to overthink things, but when I'm comparing two pieces of gear AP is always that one stat that makes me hesitate and overthink things. In my world view, AP should be to stats what a puzzle is to its pieces. (AP:Stats::Puzzle:Puzzle Pieces, for you nerds like me.) Basically, AP should be the end result of some combination of your stats and they shouldn't throw extra loose AP at you just to make up some perceived balance difference. You wouldn't expect them to throw a couple extra blue pieces in a puzzle just because the end picture didn't have as much blue as the puzzle next to it, would you? No. So don't do it with my gear, either.

Armor Penetration - This stat will no longer be present on items. Armor Penetration will still exist in talents and abilities.
And this after I wrote a program to find gear combinations that hit an armor pen cap. Ha ha.

Seriously, though. I knew this was coming (which is why I only put about a day and a half of effort into said program). What's nice about this is that Armor Pen isn't going away as a game mechanic, just as a gear stat. So if I, as a Feral, am supposed to have some level of ArPen, it's probably going to come from Agility or something. Makes it easier to compare.

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 us Righteous Fury.
Obviously this doesn't affect Bears much, as we already have crit immunity through talents. What this does, though, is remove Defense from the Cloaks, Rings, and Amulets that we share with other tanking classes. More itemization for stats that directly help us. (Yes, Defense does increase your Dodge rating, but not by enough to actually make it a desirable stat.)

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.
I'm really excited about this. I hate when I'm looking at a possible upgrade and thinking to myself, "Man, this is an upgrade in a few areas, but these one or two stats are completely wasted on me. Do I really want it or should I wait for something that I can really use fully?"

Now the answer is easy. Yes, take it! And move around the stats that aren't that useful to you. Now it's a solid upgrade.

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.
I hate getting gear and knowing I have two options: Gem it well, or get the socket bonus. Cats have no use for blue gems. Bears have almost no use for Yellow. But since gear is so similar between them...yeah. If Blizz can find a way to make every gem color be at least somewhat useful for every class, I'm all for that.

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.

Overall an interesting look at the changes coming up. I am going to miss the epeen of having 3 times the armor and health of anyone else in my raid. It definitely held up a big neon sign that said "San's the Tank!" But it's nothing I'm not used to. My health and armor pools have both been nerfed since BC. I'm still not any less of a tank now than I was then, I promise. Changes come and go, but as long as we can still do our job, who cares?

If anything, I can see this freeing up bag space for Dual Spec Ferals like myself. I have a single piece of gear common between my two specs (Darkmoon Card: Greatness). With the Frost Resist gear I keep handy, and my special cooking and fishing hats, I have one 20-slot bag entirely devoted to gear. With these changes, I might be able to share a few more pieces of gear between my two roles. Not only would that open up a few bag slots, but it would also help my effectiveness on fights where I spend time in both Cat and Bear. That, I think, would be a welcome change to any Ferals out there.


  1. Re:Survivability

    Like it or hate it, but at least there's a clear vision for the way Cataclysm is going to be. Survivability across the board is going up, while healing output is being reduced (speaking proportionally).

    The whole idea is that you can take more damage before you die, but you might have to hover at less than 100% life for a while before the healers can get to you to heal you to full. (Or you'll have to wait for a HoT to tick you bck up).

    So yeah. Cats (and most every spec to be honest) are getting a big boost to survivability. The exceptions I think are plate DPS/healers, who will see their survivability come into line with other classes.

    And re:Gems, there's actually a potential issue here that I hope they'll take care of. If there's still a single non-core stat that gives more boost than anything else, I could see people digging back to WotLK gems to maximize that stat.

  2. I wouldn't be surprised if they either removed a lot of the "secondary stat" gems or did with them what they've done with items like the Riding Crop...leave them in game with the caveat that they have no effect on toons above level X.