Monday, August 01, 2016

Stat Templates for Leveling Dungeons

In Patch 7.0 Blizzard introduced stat templates for PvP. In B\battlegrounds now, you don't get stats from your gear. Instead your gear stats are overridden by a stat template. All characters of a given specialization share the same template. Your gear level does increase the amount of stats given by the template, but by a much lower amount than in PvE.

These stat templates apply to low-level PvP. I've been leveling a rogue without heirlooms and dabbling in some PvP. In my mind, these stat templates are amazing. Low level PvP is actually fun again. You don't get one-shot by characters decked out in heirloom gear. In my mind, whatever the impact at max level, the stat templates have rejuvenated low level PvP.

Then I did a low level dungeon. It was pretty terrible. The other characters were decked in heirlooms, so they just zerged the entire thing. Bosses died in less than 30 seconds. There was no skill or strategy, or any sense of group play.

The problem is that leveling dungeons need to be balanced such that a group of new players in quest gear can complete them. But if one or more heirloom characters are present, that balance goes out the window.

I think stat templates for leveling dungeons would be a great idea. Everyone would be reduced down to an even playing field. Dungeons would be a proper group experience once more. I rather doubt anyone will sheep anything, but maybe it could happen.

Heirlooms are fine for solo-play. They can be overpowered in the world. But when playing with others, I think it's more important to provide a fun, balanced, and reasonably challenging experience. Heirlooms will still give the character more XP and a high ilevel, but at least with stat templates the disparity and zerg would be greatly diminished.


  1. If a toggle switch in the LFG tool added applying a template to leveling dungeons, do you think many people would use it?

    You sound like you would, but I'm not sure about the wider player base. You'd find players of like mind but grouping up would be far slower.

    1. I don't think this will work as toggle switch. As always, players seek to optimize and eliminate challenge.

      However, it might be interesting for the matchmaker to attempt to match people by the number of heirlooms they are wearing. But then people with few heirlooms are also likely to be new players, and that makes dungeons harder for them.

      But then they also get the proper dungeon experience that we experienced players got way back when, rather than the current bastardized form.

    2. And assuming they don't like this challenging form, they can ask friends, guildmates or in one way or another for help, thus interacting with the community. That or someone will make an addon to override it in a click.

      I like the idea as someone that loves running low-level dungeons and not always blowing through it (healing is much more fun to me when people nearly die). Not sure how it would fare in-game, if the queues would end up affected, if players would get away from dungeons because world is easier and looking for mates takes too much time and effort, but definitely worth a test in my opinion. Go Blizzard, use some randomly chosen realms as prototypes where players can test stuff, ideas in real conditions.

  2. There is already a way to play subcap dungeons with enforced stat templates: namely, Timewalking.

    "Heirlooms are fine for solo-play. They can be overpowered in the world. But when playing with others, I think it's more important to provide a fun, balanced, and reasonably challenging experience."

    Why not the other way around?

    Solo play has a lot more room for challenges and risks. You can learn things at your own pace, know when to be conservative and when to push the envelope. When you're alone, every failure is a learning experience rather than an excuse to play the blame game with other groupmates.

    Cooperative play, especially with internet strangers who have never worked together before, will likely never meet again, and who have widely different and unpredictable skill levels, gear quality, experience, temperaments and risk preferences, should be predictable - and on the overpowered side of things. It would also tie in with Legion's theme of strength in unity and numbers: a lone hero is a victim in the making, but a group of heroes is a force of nature.

    1. If the goal is to maximize success, then yes, the current system works.

      But in my opinion, challenge makes games more fun, and the current system provides no challenge at all.