Monday, February 25, 2008

Weapon Types

Andres writes:
The last thing is a strange idea I've been having for a while. The most problematic gear from Arena/PvP is the weapons, since most of them have their stats better allocated than their PvE counterparts. What's worst is the lack of variety in PvE weapons, forcing some to spec out of their beloved specs because there isn't one at their current raiding level.

Although Blizzard stole some of the thunder (via weapons available now via BoJ), I was thinking of some kind of quest like T0.5 (bear with me, I ding 60 a week after BC). The players would gather items from the raid instance to be handed to the associated faction. After a number of items are handed, the player would receive a weapon that doesn't drop from the instance (for example, off-hand swords for TK).

It is an interesting idea, but I think it’s a bit of a Band-Aid fix that doesn’t address the real underlying problem. The bigger problem is that rogues, warriors, feral druids and healing paladins are too specialized when it comes to weapon types.

This doesn’t really matter in PvP, because you get to choose your weapon type, but in PvE you have to rely on drops from bosses. (You could completely change how PvE loot is distributed, but that is beyond the scope of this post.)

Rogues have it worse off. There are four main weapons for rogues: Daggers, Swords, Fists, and Maces. Each of these types works best when you are using two weapons of the same type, and each hand usually has specific desired characteristics. But this makes it harder to gear up, as a Sword rogue has to wait for a sword to drop.

I think that it would be beneficial if rogue weapon specializations were combined. Combine the Dagger and Fist Specialization talents and allow Ambush/Mutilate/Backstab to be used with both Daggers and Fist weapons. Then combine Sword and Mace Specializations together (probably would have to only use the Sword spec ability). This would give each type of rogue more options when it comes to gearing up. A Dagger rogue could replace a Dagger with a Fist weapon and still play effectively.

You could do something similar with Warrior weapon specializations. Make the type of weapon matter a bit less in order to make it easier to gear up.

Feral druids really need a way to utilize normal weapons a bit more. Right now they rely on special druid staves. But the downside is that they can’t use normal weapons, and other classes can’t use their staves. Of course, feral druids have a problem in that they don’t share off-hand or 2H Weapon types with the other melee DPS (aside from 2H Maces).

The problem with healing paladins is that 1H Maces is the only weapon type that paladins used to have in common with the other healers. The other three healing classes share Staves and Daggers, which is why you occasionally see a healing Staff or a healing Dagger. However, with the recent change to allow all Shamans to use 2H Maces and Axes, I have high hopes that we will see some healing 2H Maces. 2H Maces would be a weapon type that could be used by three out of four healing classes (paladin, druid, and shaman).

In any case, my point is that making weapon types matter a lot hurts PvE, because of the way loot is distributed (random, specific drops). You either need to reduce the impact of weapon type, or move to a more “tokenized” model.


  1. All classes can use Druid type staves. There's no class requirement on druid-designed staves. It's just a question of how useful they are.

    Most daggers are for dps casters too use.

  2. I'd love a swanky healing 2 hander. Lore-wise and precedent-wise Paladins are associated with big crazy hammers. The only problem I can see is having to give up the +12 int to Shield enchant. Unless they drop some really insane 2-hander enchants in Wrath, then there is no way I'm walking away from the 1-hand mace + Shield combo which manages to grab me +42 int, +81 healing/+12 int or +40 Spellpower/+12 int. And that is without even looking at Spellsurge. This is sad, because as a Holy paladin I'm not being hit by things in groups, so I don't "need" the armor boost. The stats on our theoretical 2-hander would have to be pretty huge compared to 1-handers, is all I'm saying.

    The hammers in question would have to be fast speed 2-handers to work well with Seal of Righteousness and keep Ret paladins away from them. I'm not sure how happy that would make spelldamage druids (Do they even care about weapon speed/DPS? Would they just use the spell stats with Balance?) or shaman (Do they use fast or slow?). So I freely admit I could be wrong there.

  3. I'd assume a healing 2H Mace would be like a healing Staff: Low base dps, lots of stats, only with mp5 instead of spirit.

    Compare Gorehowl to Staff of the Everliving for example.

  4. My Auction House Gear set is currently Ancient Scepter of the Sue-Min + Crystal Pulse Shield. Looking at that pair of Level 70 BoE pre-Kara items we have a total of:

    43.7 DPS
    2.1 Speed
    39 Int
    334 Healing 112 Spelldamage
    14 mp5

    It would need another +12 int to make up for the "lost" shield enchant, bringing the int up to 51. Honestly, move some stats around on the Staff of Infinite Mysteries from Curator and you could theoretically beat/equal that setup with Kara gear (and the DPS is higher for any healer that cares about white DPS). So very do-able without even messing progression up too much. Now when stuff goes crazy (Hammer of Atonement + Antonidas's Aegis of Rapt Concentration) I don't know if they could keep up. I'd love to see it, though.

  5. 2h healing maces would be cool. They'd be best for druids who can't use shields, but holy paladins could also use them to dps/offheal if they aren't needed to stand in the rear and spam heals the whole time. If I'm main healing, I prefer the shield for survivability.

  6. Arms warriors will always respec whenever they get a new weapon from PvE if it's an upgrade. Fury warriors though don't go that deep into Arms, so weapon specs don't matter much for them.

    There are a few big problems in the picture. For one, the boss tables are generally so large that weapon drops are few and far between. The second being that the best 1H weapon in BT aside from Glaives is 100 dps. S3 is 103, and the 2.4 badge fists are 103.

    They could easily make all weapons into token items, and allow people to pick from a variety of options, but they enjoy the randomness of loot in raids because it keeps people coming back.

  7. I don't think I could give up the 1H and shield for any fight where adds spawn, healing aggro is just too great. Personally, I would love to see healing weapons in forms other than maces, like a 1H healing maces, swords, and axes. That would help give a little bit of variety to weapon drops, especially for healing classes that can't use all of the weapon types.

  8. dorgol (boulderfist)12:37 PM, February 26, 2008

    I came across one of these on the AH yesterday. While this particular mace is pretty much crap, it makes me wonder if Blizzard isn't trying out some other itemization options.

    Oh, and I feel bad for the guy that crafted this. It's requires a good chunk of mats and I have serious doubts he will ever sell it. It doesn't even LOOK cool.

  9. If that was 300-350 healing instead of 168 spell damage, it would actually be a pretty interesting hammer.

  10. Considering dagger rogues can ambush crit for upwards of 4k (read: instant attack that looks at weapon dmg range and multiplies the hell out of it), a slower, higher top end weapon such as a fist (which has top end and weapon speed akin to 1H axes/maces) would push that ambush much higher. Scary high. Daggers are probably the most unique 1H weapon in the game for a melee class. Where as main hand Fist/Mace are virtually identical in damage range/weapon speed, as well as axes and swords which are ever so slightly faster. Their differences really only shine through specialization talents.

    Now if fist weapons carried stats similar to daggers, this would be fine.

  11. Good point beardyhead. I did not consider characteristics of the different weapons. However, Blizzard could always normalize Ambush, Backstab, etc. around a normal dagger speed, in the same manner that they have normalized many other melee strikes.

  12. Ambush does a flat dmg plus 280% weapon damage. The attack power bonus is already normalized at 1.7 or 1.6 I don't remember exactly. The higher top end weapon dmg of fists would put backstab and ambush at insane levels of dmg. Unless some serious changes are made to the weapon speed of fists then we will never see them capable of BS or Ambush.

  13. All that would need to be done is to make the damage multiplier for Ambush around 150 to 200% for fists, and you'd be set.

  14. im a bit late to comment on this post but... what about a token style system for weapon drops? at least from drops that arent things like " 'name of the boss you just killed's Giant Axe of MegaPWNing"

    something like a boss has chance to drop a giant shard/chunk of metal and it starts a quest were you take it to the GrandDaddy of all Blacksmithing and he makes you a shinny new sword/dagger/axe/mace. and perhaps a BIGGER shard/chunk of metal and that would make you a 2handed sword/axe/mace/polearm.

    maybe add in a primal for 1handers and 2 for 2handers depending on what its gonna be: air for a melee dagger, earth for a mace, fire for a sword/polearm/axe, life for a healing weapon, water for caster weapons. the getting of reagents would be a small pain but theres a price to pay for everything

    of course all the types of weapons would have the same stats to make the choice about the weapon TYPE and not the stats

    i know i forgot about fist weapons but w/e lol

  15. The idea is to make a static reward from raiding. Armor is (usually) a non issue since Tier sets aren't the only source of gear. Raids may see several pieces that, while might not be as great as the Tier set*, it's a relatively positive upgrade.

    On the other side, weapons are harder to get upgrades, especially if you like one type of weapon (be it because of spec or looks).