Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Eliminating Reforging, Hit Rating, and Expertise

I hate reforging. It's just so inelegant. It's complex and time-consuming. You basically have to use an external application to figure out how to reforge properly. All in all, it just seems so unnecessary.

So how can we get rid of reforging?

The primary reason that reforging exists is because of Hit Rating and Expertise Rating. In particular, Hit Rating has a very steep value curve that looks like a step function. When you are below the Hit cap, Hit Rating is usually the most valuable stat. Then past the Hit cap, Hit rating is a complete waste. Expertise displays a similar value curve.

So the best path to eliminating reforging would be to eliminate Hit Rating and Expertise Rating. If those two stats were gone, reforging would not be needed. It still might be nice to have, but the extra complexity would outweigh the value it adds to the game.

The easiest way to get rid of Hit and Expertise would be to say that special attacks and spells cannot miss, or be dodged or parried. White melee auto-attacks could still be affected by those stats.

If this was done, the game would not change greatly. Once you hit raiding, pretty much everyone has enough hit to make this the default state anyways. Indeed, Blizzard has started moving towards this state in small steps. First, taunts were changed to always succeed. Then interrupts were changed to always succeed. A lot of threat dumps used to miss, but now always succeed. Extending this to all specials just removes a little randomness.

Then Blizzard just needs to introduce a new stat for melee dps and ranged dps. Perhaps something like changing Expertise to increase autoattack damage. Maybe casters could get a stat like "Spell Charge" which increases damage done by spells with cast or channel times. Then each role would have a unique secondary stat. Healers would have Spirit, tanks have Dodge and Parry, melee DPS would have Expertise, and caster DPS would have Spell Charge.

But none of the remaining secondary stats would display the steep step change of value. They wouldn't go from amazing to useless at a single point. There would still be breakpoints where the value changes slightly, and that would keep the theorycrafters happy. But adding more of stat would always improve your character.

The need for reforging would disappear. Blizzard could eliminate reforging from the game. Mylune would save all the wee forest animals in Hyjal. And we would all live happily ever after.


Ted said...

Certain classes see a similar value curve from haste. Hunters for example have plateau where reforge to hit a plateau yields a large dps gain, but further haste beyond the plateau us fairly useless until you hit the next plateau.

Rohan said...

Breakpoints and plateaus still exists, but they aren't as extreme as Hit rating. For example, Haste always increases autoshot damage. So even if you are at a plateau, increasing haste will increase your damage. Not by as much as other stats would, true, but it's not zero. Plus, adding haste means you move closer to the next plateau.

Basically, for other stats, reforging would be "nice to have" but not "necessary" the way it is for Hit Rating.

We survived up to Cataclysm without reforging, and if hit/expertise was eliminated, we could probably survive without reforging again.

Anonymous said...

Like Ted said, certain haste breakpoints exist for hot and dot heavy classes. As well, if you remove hit rating from the game, how will elemental shamans, balance druids, and shadow priests deal with spirit on their gear? The shadow priest doesn't matter as much, because warlock and mage gear exists with hit rating on it, but there isn't any leather or mail with int and hit rating on it due to the talents for those casters that convert spirit to hit. Either the talents would change to have spirit convert to spell charge, or there would be three types of mail and leather gear.

Anonymous said...

Something to take into consideration is that in PvP reforging tends to be a nice addition because there is a very limited amount of options.

Reforging gives depth by allowing people to make alterations to minor stats making game play more interesting. As a warrior I can go all crit for improved pressure or I can reforge and go heavy on expertise to improve successfully landing a Throwdown. As a holy paladin you can balance your spirit and crit through reforging which allows you to fine tune your character to the team you are playing with.

It's all perception in the end, what I consider depth you consider maintenance.

old wow bastard said...

I was almost hoping this was a joke post...but I do not see a punchline anywhere so I have to assume it's not.

Personally I really enjoy the current variety of stats in the game, and have no arguments with the reforging mechanic whatsoever. Both of my plate Tanks can share mastery/hit or mastery/expertise with plate dps. This is rather nice compared to the old method where tank and dps pieces had completely different stats and reforging did not exist. I'd prefer for a piece of loot to drop twice, and be useable by two people of different specs. Previously it would just be usable for one, and would be sharded.

Yes at times reforging can be a pain, and finding out the "right" way to reforge can be tough for some classes and specs. That being said, this is a MMORPG and a bit part of these games is juggling stats, determining the "correct" gearing requirements, etc.

Additionally I do not believe Blizzard has been very successful in the past when they have removed stats. Yes the game is slightly less complicated without MP5, armor penetration and the Defense stat; but the removal of those stats really has obviously not made gearing idiot proof. In some ways they've created more problems by removing stats from the game.

Masterlooter said...

Regarding, "White melee auto-attacks could still be affected by those stats." (miss/dodge/parry)

They'd have to revamp quite a few other mechanics in the game for this to happen. It's not just as simple as saying, "OK, now you have an inate X% chance to miss". Some melee classes and specs are dependant upon having a minimum of X% of their white hits land in their current implementation.

I think removing +hit from the game is an all or nothing deal.

Maybe I misunderstood the intent, but how is Spell Charge different than Spell Power? Just that one doesn't work on instant cast spells?

Also as others have said, this style leads toward gear being specifcally for one class/spec/role. Which is something they specifically said they wanted to move away from.

Xayíde@Gurubashi said...

I must heavily disagree with this post.
Reforging gives you options, gives you flexibility. It's not all about hit, expertise or soft and hard caps in general. You can use it to focus on a specific stat for specific fights/situations, you can make a piece good for more specs that it would be if there wasn't any reforging, you can maximize your potential more easily without depending on piece x or y of gear to drop.

I love reforging since it came out. Does it need external applications so you can make the best of it? Sure, but so do a thousand other things in WoW if you are a min-maxer and personally that's one of the things I most love about the game, its complexity.

Pixelated Executioner said...

And having auto-attacks with no guarantee to hit sort of screws other classes who rely on those attacks to generate the pool for their abilities, like Warriors.

While reforging can be a pain, I think it's a necessary addition so that you don't have someone in Tier 14 hanging on to a Tier 11 item just because "nothing else has the same stats." What I don't like about it, however, is the additional cost - the gold sink shouldn't be necessary.

Darthregis said...

I agree, mostly.

Hit and expertise are fairly frustrating stats to deal with (for me, at least). Particularly as a caster, where 8% hit is fine for heroics. Then for raids, you need to MORE THAN DOUBLE that percentage. (17% for spell hit, assuming no buffs.) Just the other night, I got caught with my "hit-pants" down, being plenty capped for heroics and pulling 12k. Then I hopped into a BH PuG and was only doing 8.5k. Just because of that silly hit rating.

As far as reforging goes, I DO like that aspect of the game. I like having additional options of customizing my gear. Certain stats weigh heavier than others in all cases, and reforging lets you play upon those options. (eg: My DK tank, that suffers diminishing returns with excess parry/dodge on the greater stat. It's nice to be able to shave a bit off into one or the other... or into super-sexy mastery.)

Winterpine said...

First of all, hit is the developer's solution to dealing with some raid boss difficulty issues...however, I will have to look for the article that explained this, as I would do the subject great injustice trying to explain it myself. I just recall that removing it creates some pretty annoying problems.

Secondly, reforging isn't hard. It requires a basic understanding of your class, some simple arithmetic, and five minutes of tweaking - or, lacking those or just being lazy, an external app.

Lastly, reforging adds so much more to the game than a way of adjusting to increased hit rating on higher levels of gear! It allows flexibility of play style. On my Restoration Shaman, I can reforge for crit or haste if I want powerful or quick heals; spirit if I don't want to worry about mana; mastery if I expect my raid to take a ton of damage and I want to land big heals consistently under the most pressing circumstances. Those choices and the strategic thought behind them are part of what make the game fun.

Lastly, when I DPS as Ele, much of the gear out there comes with crit - one of our worst stats. Reforging allows me to shift undesirable stats to desirable ones when no alternative pieces of gear with better itemization are available.

Elladrion said...

I couldn't agree more with Xayide, reforging is a vast boon to the game and using external scources to min/max it is no differant than before when I was using RAWR to maximise gems/enchants/certain gear pieces. I would kinda like to see reforging expanded to the entire stat, that way you could have many pieces completely swappable between dps and tanks, and the complete lack of spirit cloth in firelands is alleviated, but admittedly that does make gear even less special and more no-brainer.

I just wish we had reforging last xpac so I wouln't have had to deal with all those terrible armor pen pieces that were so good for other classes but you just couldn't avoid completely.

@darthregis- the hit cap is so high on casters becuase that's all you worry about. Melee only need 8% hit becuase they need to cap expertise as well. To lower the caster hit cap they'd have to make spell penetration necessary for PvE, and you would sill be allocating the same amount of stats to just hitting/penetrating resistance.

Ian said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Azuriel said...

By many of the arguments here, it would seem people would be thrilled if Blizzard added even more stats and numbers to plug in. More is always better! Let's expand Spell Penetration to being required for bosses, give melee something like Endurance to affect the degree to how successful a hit is, get back to needing Resist sets, maybe adding enchanted gems... the sky is the limit!

I think Rohan's point is that not every decision is a meaningful one. There is nothing meaningful about the Hit cap, or the Expertise cap - like the old Defense cap for tanks, it is simply a number you are required to meet to be effective. "You need to be this tall to raid."

I agree with Rohan on the inelegance of reforging as well, but I believe that exists more as an apology that there is less gear in the game (since 10m and 25m raids were merged). It used to be that you would have more than one piece of gear available per slot depending on when you got an upgrade that pushed you over such-and-such breakpoint. Now, everyone basically has 2 choices, which splits into 4-6 with reforging, depending on which stats are on the gear.

Azzur said...

The point of the post is that hit and expertise are inelegant stats and should be removed. It's not as if you can tweak them to make meaningful decision. Currently, you reforge to get exactly the required number, which is just wasting time.

Contrast this with the decisions healers can make. For instance, someone can choose to play in a more regen-style (spirit), haste or mastery.

The post is not about reforging in general. Reforging is a good mechanic because it allows the player to tailor the gear to their playstyle.

Talarian said...

Without reforging it would have been a bit harder for Rohan to see the difference between a Mastery/Crit-heavy Holy Paladin versus a Spirit/Haste Holy Paladin without investing in/grinding/begging for drops of new gear.

It's fairly simple (40% of one stat to another), and allows for that kind of experimentation (along with enchants and gems, of course), which allows you a significant amount of customization of your character.

If you want to argue hit and expertise are clunky, sure, I've no problems with that argument. But that's only a single reason of many for reforging.

Rohan said...

Azzur does make a good point. I approached the post from the point of eliminating reforging. But it might be that eliminating hit and expertise, and leaving in reforging, is a better path.

Without the absolute caps, the math on reforging becomes a lot easier. For example, I find reforging Holy to be a lot easier than reforging Ret. Just arrange your secondary stats in order of desireability and reforge the lower ones to the higher ones.

And Talarian is also right in that reforging does allow you to "shift gears" without storing a lot of extra armor. It does narrow the gap between a Best-in-Slot piece and a non-Best-in-Slot piece.

Anonymous said...

Special attacks allways hit?

--a Rogue

Anonymous said...

An alternative to eliminating hit and expertise that would still making reforging less of a hassle would be if you could reforge up to 40% of a stat, instead of always reforging exactly 40% of a stat.

I know that's something I've wished for when trying to juggle around my reforging to cap hit and expertise without going signicantly over.

Anonymous said...

Nah, HR/ER shouldn't be purged altogether. Ideally, they would be based on an "overflow" concept, much like ProtWarr's Shield Block.

After the corresponding caps, HR/ER would improve the critical strikes. In order to elegantly bypass the potential crit-capping issues, post-cap HR/ER would increase the (base) crit multiplier rather than increasing the crit chance itself.

There you go : still useful in PvE, minor impact in PvP.

Olaffjelltop said...

I think the OP could use a little more Hit chance on writting to nail it :P

I find that both the removal of Hit/EX or reforging would have a negative impact for a lot of reasons.

On the matter of reforging: this was added in a haste (imho), and surely the introduction could be a little better and a better UI is needed. However, it was added for more than juggling Hit stats. I find it really useful during leveling of a new character, where a lot of quest rewards are upgrades but they have stats I don't need and can use reforging to twist them around and have a feeling of power.

Another thing reforging is good at is the shift in modes you can achieve even in the same spec with the same -more or less- gear. The holy pala changes in 4.2 and the shift to Mastery for 25mans could be an example to that. If I need fast reactions, I change my excess into haste, if I want huge bubbles I go all Mastery.

Now the issue of Hit/EX is a bit more complicated. I mean, sure you could make everything NOT miss, but you end up with an ininteresting game. Sometimes having a miss or two can spice up any fight. You could make yellows never miss and let whites miss by RNG. But then RNG is a bitch and we really like having a way to affect all that. I mean, if we liked RNG then emblems and badges and tokens for gear are such a useless drain of depeloper time...

So I guess we have to a) accept fate for what it is, or b) propose a more meaningful (?) way to remove the hard cap on hit stats. Something quite easy, like having the game automatically convert any such stat above the ceiling into another secondary stat, at whatever small quantity, even if it picks the most undesirable one. I mean 1 Hit could become 0.1 Haste for a prot paly, which is such a waste, but 1 Hit above the hard cap is worse.

You will still prefer to read up and tweak your numbers if you are a min-maxer, but it won't be as punishing if you don't hit the golden line, or if you are such a noobling and get yourself filthy rich in Hit as a healer...

snuzzle said...

How does the proposed Spell Charge stat differ from Spell Power? It really just seems like a slightly different flavor of the same stat, kind of like the way feral combat skill rating was the same as weapon skill rating, just with a different name.

I do think hit rating and expertise rating are a bit of an odd duck in terms of stats. I wish they could make them work with other classes more the way they do with feral kitties.... they're good stats, but they're not the end-all, be-all until cap and then worthless after cap.

I think if they would just make it so that you could never feasibly get hit/exp capped, in the same way as you cannot reasonably get crit capped or haste capped, then the stat would work a little better too. As long as we were balanced around not being capped on hit/exp, then I think it would be better. Hit and expertise would never be bad, they would always be good, and you wouldn't feel like you had to sacrifice everything for them while gearing up.

Olaffjelltop said...

@snuzzle: I don't think making hit stats unable to cap is a realistic goal. I mean, if you always have a chance to miss, you will either get all the Hit gear you can, gem, enchant, reforge for it, and still miss, or remove Hit and make it RNG.

In the first case, you are making things worse, in the later case, well none likes RNG. Still, of the two I would pick the RNG. Effectively it is the same, and you won't have to go crazy.

Anyone with a more elegant solution?

--G! said...

I have issues with secondary stats. They are not intuitive and only seem to be easy to balance and achieve once you start getting tier gear.

Maybe secondary stats should appear less in blue gear and more raid gear drops, to help you with heroic modes where optimizing stats matters most?

Rohkajin said...

I'm pretty sure there will always be a need to reforge, no matter how minimal. To avoid DM for tanks with too much parry in compare to dodge. For hunters between haste plateaus.

Other than that some classes just benefit very little from certain stats (such as enhancement shaman and crit).

Hitting the hit and expertise caps aren't that much of a problem. Reforging often allows me to reach those caps alot more precise than passing them by say 100 rating because one piece has just a little too few points of hit.

WoW has become all about customising, first the glyphs, now your gear, I don't think they'll be removing it any time soon.

As for taunts and interrupts, they have become critical if not mandatory for certain encounters (specially with mediocre gear), which is likely the reason they never miss these days.

GlaVek said...

I think hit and expertise are fun stats - otherwise you make mindless choices of whatever has the most primary stat, with perhaps influence giving to a desirable secondary stat to choose between.

I think reforging is the single most foundational change to the game in the 3 years that I have played, and it's a delightful one. Improvements to its design would be:

A) Reforge cost is a % of vendor cost, but not the 100% it is presently, and

B) A way to save reforge sets in game, similar to the Equipment Manager. But this I only wish for on my triple/quadruple hybrids who are paladin or druid.

Redbeard said...

Hmm... I'm not so sure I like the idea of having special attacks always hit. That would make any average Rogue an unstoppable juggernaut in BGs.

What might be smarter is that the Hit Rating and Expertise rating is directly tied to your level without adjustments. If you're up against a boss a couple of levels higher than you, it may suck but you're going to miss a certain percentage of the time. (After all, that's why they're a boss, right?)

Outside of that, I like the idea at least limiting Reforging. It seems that Reforging as implemented is Blizz' lazy way out of having to tweak gear. Maybe a smarter idea is to allow more gem slots and removing one of the bonuses in most gear Blue and up in rarity.