Losing melee slots, gaining DPS?

Mists of Pandaria (MoP) is just round the corner. Yet there is still a lot of confusion around the removal of item slots. Let’s try and get some of these questions put to bed for good.

Blizzcon

When Blizzard initially announced this change they stated they were simply getting rid of the ranged slot for all classes, except Hunters that would lose the melee slots. This would result in an equal stat loss across all classes.
From Blizzard’s point of view it made their life easier too, freeing them from having to create items which were essentially stat boosters (for example, a hunter’s polearm has no game-mechanic requirement in MoP).  And as Blizzard weren’t making so much gear they didn’t need to spend so much time balancing boss loot tables.

imageThis is the armour, weapons, and items section of the MoP character screen. You’ll notice there are now only two weapons, as opposed to 3 in Cataclysm.

Everyone (not just hunters) rejoiced, for it was a good change… except…

Stat Deficit

How players failed to realise, that by missing their stat slot they would have a smaller pool of stats I’ll never know, but at some point between Blizzcon and the start of the MoP beta dawn it did, and the panic set in, and with relatively good cause.

The problem isn’t so much a problem in MoP, as we can assume that all newly created weapons, armour and items would be balanced against all newly created content to ensure players had enough of the stats they needed to clear content.
However, the problem comes when you think about older content, and what would happen when patch 5.x lands – players would still be playing 4.x content, using 4.x gear. Would they become worse players over night as a result of losing their stat-slot?

Let’s see what difference it would actually make to DPS in 4.3.x to lose that stat slot.

WITH STAT-SLOT      32860.43
WITHOUT STAT-SLOT   29331.72
difference          -3528.71

A DPS reduction of over 10% that would affect all level 1 – 85 content. Something must be done about this!

Cosmetics

To make matters worse, what about all players that had cherished cosmetic items used in the slots that would now be rendered obsolete?

“That lovely pole arm that you got from that place all those years ago – you can no longer use it” – Blizzard

Before you know it, the benefits of getting rid the stat-slot were dwindling.

The Solution

The solution was simple. Currently all classes have 3 slots. Just get rid of one, and allow either ranged or melee items in either. Ranged count as two handers, so a hunter cannot use a ranged and a one hander (e.g. crossbow + dagger)

The cosmetic aspect is solved because out of combat, simply equip the visual items you prefer. It’s part of the whole transmogging sensation that’s gripped Azeroth!

The DPS aspect however is not resolved… so what did Blizzard propose for hunters?

DOUBLE DPS SALE! EVERYTHING MUST DIE!


“It’s simple, we’ll effectively double the DPS of all end game ranged weapons.” – Blizzard

Yes, really. It’s that simple. The ranged weapon you have today, will receive a 100% increase to it’s DPS stat come patch 5.x.   Let’s look at an example – currently the best ranged weapon for hunters in the game, and it’s equivalent in MoP

image

We can clearly see that the item remains exactly the same, apart from the DPS stat, which is doubled.

The only question remains, how does that affect our overall DPS?

It’s actually quite hard to test this at the moment – none of the theory crafting, or gear checking tools or sites support the class or gear changes in MoP, let alone the max level of 90. And lastly, the expansion is still being developed and is in such a state of flux and balancing that we cannot realistly hope to test it with offline log-parsers.

It is however, possible to test the two following scenarios, and the DPS tested using femaledwarf.com, on my character at level 85. 4.3 represents current gear, with a ~50% DPS ranged weapon. 5.0 represents 4.3 gear, without a stat-slot, but with a ~100% DPS ranged weapon. This is to signify the 100% increase in weapon DPS we will receive at the start of 5.x

4.3     29598.00 DPS
5.0     29331.72 DPS

The difference is negligible, and proves that doubling the DPS on end-game ranged weapons will swallow the DPS loss felt by removing the melee stat-stick.

Disclaimers 

  • Any quotes attributed to Blizzard, are made up for dramatic effect
  • the end stat attributed to 5.0 is actually tested against 4.3, using femaledwarf.com, it’s the best I can do at the moment, please don’t harm me!

Why upload Iron Man to YouTube?

So I suspect this will be a bit of a rambling, and controversial post, but I wanted to address the reason why I’m uploading the Iron Man WoW Challenge series of videos to YouTube.

This version of the challenge grew to be too big for its own boots, in a way. Primarily because the Iron Man challenges have always been a personal challenge, rather than a race to be first. It’s more something to prove to yourself than a wowprogress.com-style logging of the best and fastest people to achieve it.

And this is where things start to get weird. A personal challenge can’t be tracked. The rules are yours, and yours alone to adhere to. If you choose some rules over others, well, that’s fine. If you break the rules or cheat you are only cheating yourself.

Oddly though, Iron Man became something more than a personal challenge

It felt like with the publicity the challenge received in spring 2012 had  made the personal challenge become something more, with some of the first people complete the challenge making statements about their progress, and appearing on popular gaming sites. A tacking site over at wowironman.com had sprung up previously, and through some clever battle.net API trickery they were able to determine if a player was legitimately competing in the challenge, or not.

It added legitimacy to the challenge where none were needed. With progress being tracked on a central site, wowironman.com, this fast became the place to go to see rankings and to see who had failed or bent the rules. Yet this site  is so easily exploitable, it actually throws the whole legitimacy of people taking part the challenge in to dispute – which is a shame, as personal challenges often do not adhere to a fixed set of rules.

Ultimately that is why I chose to document my progress on YouTube so that once complete, I could refer anyone that doubted it to the evidence. Not that i ever expected to finish it, of course, but i certainly hoped I would, some day :)

Let’s take a look at the individual rules, and we see how to break them but stay legit in wowironman.com‘s eyes.

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Iron man WoW Challenge Update #02

The last update for the Iron man Wow Challenge (IMWC) saw my character at level 43, and somewhere in Tanaris. Nearly a month and a half ago

Ironic then, that I’m only just about at this point with my uploads to YouTube, but obviously I have progressed a lot further since then.

But first, the news. I died again, but we’ll get to that later. I’d progressed through Ungoro, Swamp of Sorrows, Blasted Lands without any issues at all. Blasted Lands I thought would cause issues since there were quests there where I’d died when not doing the challenge, but thankfully these had been removed, or changed to prevent failure.

Youtube: expected end of June 2012.

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