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