Saturday, June 26, 2010

On Reforging

In an interview on Gameplanet, Ghostcrawler talks about reforging:
The way [reforging] works is, instead of being tied to trade skills, now there are NPCs in the major cities. You go to this NPC and tell them you want to reforge an item. The interface opens and you place the item in it. It then asks you to pick a stat to reduce, and then pick a stat to add. You can’t use primary stats like agility, strength and intellect, but you can use all of the secondary stats like hit, crit, haste, parry, dodge, things like that. Then you reduce one of the stats by – at the moment it’s 40% but to make the example easier, say it’s 50%. If you have 100 crit, you reduce that by 50, that then gives you 50 points to put on, say, hit. And the cost of that transaction is the vendor cost of the item, so if you later decide to sell that item, you’re not really out of pocket.

I have to say that I thought reforging was going to be something you did rarely, to get rid of excess hit or a really bad stat. But from this description, it seems like reforging will be something that you do to every piece of gear.

To see what I mean, let's use our old technique of assigning a dollar value to stats. The standard 4-stat item has 2 primary stats and 2 secondary stats. We'll just ignore the primary stats because they don't change during reforging.

Let's assume, that for our class:

1 Crit rating = \$1.00
1 Haste rating = \$1.10

[Item with Crit and Haste]
100 Crit rating = \$100
100 Haste rating = \$110
-------------
Total = \$210

Then we reforge some of that crit into haste.

[Reforged item]
50 Crit rating = \$50
150 Haste rating = \$165
-------------
Total = \$215

Reforging the lower value stat into the higher value stat always makes the item better. So whenever you get an item, the first thing you do is reforge the lower value secondary stats into whatever secondary stat has the highest value for your class.

Pretty much the only time you wouldn't do this is if you are hovering around an inflection point in the value of a stat, such as the hit cap. At that point you get to bust out the spreadsheet to see if reforging is a gain or a loss.

Now, if you can't increase a stat that already exists on an item, then items with the two best secondary stats won't be reforged, but all other ones will.

I guess I understand the impetus behind reforging. My paladin has an i264 2H weapon, which I would like to use for Retribution, but I can't use it because it puts me 3% over the hit cap. However, I can't help but wonder if the implementation as described will just lead to an extra layer of complexity. You get a new piece of gear, and you have to reforge, gem, and enchant it before you can actually use it. Sometimes, I miss getting a new item and being able to equip it immediately.

Not to mention that there's a possibility for unintentional power inflation, as every item will contribute more than the design on paper, and maybe a lot more if a specific secondary stat turns out to be much more valuable than the others for a specific class. With both reforging and gemming, a character could focus a huge amount of her equipment budget on one specific stat.

15 comments:

1. I think you may be right that Reforging could be hard to balance, but I kind of want to trust Blizzard on this one.

Personally, I'd love being able to reforge some items I have now. It may just make the difference between a mediocre item and a good item in Cataclysm.

I just hope this won't turn into an excuse to make more poorly itemized items.

2. It the bone they throw to the Johnny-type players.

3. I think reforging will hurt the game more than help it. The point of it is to make unattractive gear attractive, not to squint over a spreadsheet and then reforge every single item you have.

4. Unlikely. All the gear is created by Blizzard. They create bad gear because they want bad gear to exist. If you can reforge it into good gear, then there is no point in designing bad gear in the first place.

5. The article doesn't mention it but... I don't think you get a 100% rate of return. It will only be worthwhile when one stat is significantly better than another, and even then you'd be better off finding an item which starts with the stats you want. It's a way to turn junk into something passable.

6. Well, Ghostcrawler's quote explicitly says, "reduce that by 50, that then gives you 50 points to put on, say, hit".

So I'm just going with the information he released, which is a 100% conversion rate.

7. I thought I read a while back that its a stat that is not already on the item....

That would change things a bit, if an item has haste and crit, but you want it to have hit.

Or if it has hit and crit, but you need more haste, and already have enough hit.

8. I think this will ultimately result in better itemized items.

The mantra for holy paladins since patch 3.2 (the illumination nerf) has been haste/mp5 > haste/crit >>>>> crit/mp5. I didn't need to plug this into a RAWR program or spend weeks theorcrayfting; it was pretty intuitive that the the 3.2 changes would've made crit/mp5 gear the least desirable.

If reforging existed in WotLK, you would have seen every raiding Holy Paladin reforge every single crit/mp5 item with no questions. Essentially reforging is an attempt to cover up issues with their itemization team.

I think this is the case they are trying to tackle, and if they were to see such reforging in WotLK, they would have seen tons of items like the Vigilant Ward reforged.

9. I expect that it's only a matter of time (and probably not too much time at that) before you will be able to reforge anywhere, in the same way that they decided to let you swap glyphs around from anywhere.

Reforging looks to be a nice way to give players a little more control and customization of gear, a way to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. It will be interesting to see it in action.

10. I am all for it. I think it will give better customization in the game and allow us to mix and match equipment to maximize our class roles and capabilities.

A small example: right now, you may be hit-capped and have say 7-10 extra points in hit because there is no way to micro-manage how many extra points past the cap you have on your gear. This will allow you precision in secondary stats, and as such better overall management of your character.

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12. I'm disappointed that reforging got given to NPCs. What's the logic behind that?

13. > I'm disappointed that reforging
> got given to NPCs. What's the
> logic behind that?

Because it would be annoying as hell if everyone started to reforge in (casual)-raids between bosses. Even more if they have to ask other persons to do that.

It would be way more annoying then the "kings please", "might please", "i need kings", ... spam you get for things like weekly patchwerk in a T10 pug...

14. I don't think it's any different than enchanting or jewel crafting in that respect, and if you're having a problem with raiders gemming and enchanting in the middle raids then reforging belonging to players instead of NPCs is not going to change that. I'd like to see a little more love for crafters in the future (above and beyond self-buffs) and if we're not getting it from reforging then I don't know where we'll see it.

The only thing I see mentioned that NPCs can do that players can't is have a fixed cost of service. I guess it just takes a little more money out of the game when you have to pay its vendor cost to tweak the stats? Interesting to not that, if the economy, price of materials, and vendor prices of items in Cataclysm are anything like they are now then reforging will far and away be the easiest and cheapest thing on the list of mandatory modifications you have to make to your upgrades

15. The problem I see with reforging is I'm not sure what percentage of players will understand the stat choices they'll be making.

Right in with the stat system in WOTLK I know a lot of players still don't understand their stat choices. All they want to know "Is This Better Than What I have?"

Also will reforging simply turn into ridiculous stat stacking like we are seeing with tanks and EH (gemming straight stam and not much else)?