Blizzcon has come and gone. Lots of information about the next expansion, Warlords of Draenor, was released. Let's take a look at some of the changes. WoD will see a fairly large overhaul of gear. Here's a summary of what's coming.
1. Armor with different primary stats is going away.
There will be no more "Strength" plate or "Intellect" plate armor. Instead, plate armor will have both Strength and Intellect. If you're a Holy paladin, you use the Intellect. If you're a Ret paladin or a warrior, you use the Strength. The same thing will happen with mail and leather (Agility/Intellect gear). Set gear will use the bonuses for the current spec.
This is a brilliant solution to the Intellect plate problem. It makes armor usable by far more specs. It allows Blizzard to make lots of armor with different combinations of secondary stats. It makes life a bit easier for gearing up secondary specs.
All in all, a superb solution. A veritable Alexander's sword cutting though the Gordian Knot.
2. Hit, Expertise, Dodge, and Parry stats are going away.
Juggling the Hit and Expertise caps has long been an annoying problem. So these stats are being removed. I imagine that special attacks will always hit, while white attacks may have a small miss chance still.
The tanking stats are also being removed. It looks like tanks are going to focus on active mitigation. One thing to note is that it looks like there won't be "tank" armor or "dps" armor. Each spec might be prefer different secondary stats, but it won't be as obvious as it is now.
3. Reforging is being removed.
I called for the removal of reforging (and hit/expertise) back in 2011. I've never liked it. It's been an ugly hack, and I'm glad it's gone.
The only concern is that the differential between the Best-in-Slot piece and the second-best piece will be slightly larger. But everyone chases BiS anyways, and the game got along fine with this gap back in Vanilla/TBC.
4. Tertiary Stats
This seems very vague at the moment, but Blizzard is looking at putting new small unusual stats on items. Maybe things like movement speed increases. Possibly gem sockets will become rarer and less important.
I dunno, I wonder if one of these small stats will be overpowered and then everyone wants it. Somewhat like some procs on current gear. But I guess we'll have to see more concrete items to judge.
5. Item squish
It looks like all the numbers will be reduced in size, by at least an order of magnitude. It seems mostly cosmetic, with assurances that old content will still be soloable.
Concerns - Spirit?
All this looks pretty good. The only concern I have is with Spirit. I don't see how Spirit can go on armor. Since DPS and Tanks get nothing from Spirit, Spirit gear would be automatically tagged as healer gear, and then non-spirit gear is not for healers. This seems to cut against the whole reasoning behind combining armor types. Not much point in getting rid of Intellect plate if Spirit plate takes its place.
But if armor doesn't have Spirit, that means the total Spirit a healer can have is a significantly lower proportion than she has now. So I'm a bit curious as to how Blizzard will handle regen. Maybe they'll just tune mana regen for the lower amount of spirit.
Or possibly this is a signal that the devs are looking to reign in mana regen, and conservation and triage will once again be part of the healer vocabulary. I personally am in favor of this style of play, but it was a large part of the Cataclysm intro dungeon/raid debacle. I am not sure if the community will approve of making mana more important for healers again.