Regional FlagGear Changes in Warlords of DraenorSource
Community Manager
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#1 - 2013/11/26 06:30:00 PM
Now that BlizzCon is over and Warlords of Draenor has been unveiled, we’ve been getting some additional questions about the gear changes currently planned for the expansion. To help shed some more light on what you can expect, we thought we’d take a bit of time to clarify a few things.

Keep in mind that as with anything still in development, the information we share now will likely change as we progress, but this should help give you a good understanding of our goals and thinking.

Armor Pieces: Head, Shoulders, Chest, Legs, Gloves, Belt, Boots, and Bracers

Primary Stats

One of our main intents for primary stats is to make sure that higher Item Level (ilvl) pieces from new content are almost always superior to items from older content. Further, the changes we’re making to primary stats will help make pieces more universal, so groups will find gear drops more useful more often. This means you’ll be disenchanting less Intellect plate (only usable by Paladins today) or Agility mail (only usable by Hunters and Enhancement Shamans today). As we discussed at BlizzCon, we’re accomplishing this by making it so primary stats for a given piece of gear will change based on your current spec, though it’s likely that only new gear added in Warlords will work like this, as it might be impossible to implement this for all existing gear. Here are some additional points to know regarding the changes to primary stats:

  • Armor pieces will always have some amount of Stamina and Armor value.
  • Armor pieces always have Strength, Intellect, or Agility as a primary stat. Plate has either Strength or Intellect. Mail and Leather have either Agility or Intellect. Cloth has Intellect.
  • In the cases of Plate, Mail, and Leather, the primary stat will change depending on your current spec. Specifically, casters (including healers) will get Intellect, and melee or tank specs will get Strength or Agility.
    Secondary Stats

    Our intent for secondary stats is to differentiate pieces that occupy the same slot, allow for player customization, and to further differentiate specs within a class. Here are a few important points regarding the changes that are currently planned for secondary stats:

  • Secondary stats don’t change based on spec on armor pieces (or any piece).
  • Secondary stats on armor pieces can still include Haste, Crit, and/or Mastery.
  • Secondary stats on armor pieces will no longer include Hit, Expertise, Dodge, or Parry. These are being retired in Warlords, and will likely be removed even from existing gear.
  • Secondary stats on armor pieces will also no longer include Spirit, nor will they include Bonus Armor, which are reserved exclusively for non-armor pieces (which are explained below).
  • In addition, secondary stats on armor pieces may include several new stats we are exploring such as Readiness, Amplify, and Multi-strike. Technical Game Designer Chadd “Celestalon” Nervig has been sharing more details about these on his Twitter account.
    Additional Properties

    Armor pieces may have three other properties at random. First, items may be higher Item Level than normal. For sake of this discussion, we’ll call these items Warforged for now.

    Second, items may have gem sockets. Unlike gem sockets today, gem sockets in Warlords of Draenor will be rarer but more powerful. There will be no socket bonuses, but we are strongly considering requiring the right color gem for the socket. All gems will grant secondary stats, including Spirit and Bonus Armor (see below).

    Finally, items may have tertiary stats. These include things like a bonus to Movement Speed, Sturdiness, Life Steal, Avoidance (less AoE damage), and Cleave. Because of the rarity of tertiary stats, stacking them to produce (for example) a Movement Speed set will take enormous effort.

    The design intent of these additional qualities on items is to make itemization more exciting and to give it more longevity. Rather than waiting weeks to get a breastplate, you might get one pretty quickly—but to get a true “best-in-slot” item will take much more effort and a bit of luck. Here are a few more points to consider for these properties:

  • We haven’t decided on exact numbers yet, but for the current discussion, assume something like a 10% chance for an item to have an additional property. It’s possible for one item to have all three of these properties, but the chance of that is very small.
  • The properties are determined at the time an item is looted (and possibly even includes crafted gear). For example, if an ogre boss drops two copies of the Bracers of Crithto, one might be a normal version, while another might have a tertiary stat.
    Being Warforged, having a socket, or having a tertiary stat do not count against the stat budget of the item—they are strictly bonuses. The item will not have reduced primary or secondary stats in order to have these additional properties.

    Set Bonuses

    Similar to primary stats, set bonuses will also change depending on your current spec. This means a Paladin may only need one tier set rather than one for Holy and one for Retribution. It also means that set bonuses can be more tailored towards a spec. For instance, Marksman Hunter set bonuses can have different bonuses or different numbers than a Survival Hunter set. Like today, not every helmet, chest piece, or other piece of armor that drops will be part of a tier set.

    Non-Armor Pieces: Weapons, Rings, Cloak, Necklace, and Trinkets

    Primary Stats

    In general, most of these pieces will not have Strength, Agility, or Intellect. Instead, they may have Attack Power or Spell Power to make sure they are more universal. However, our current thought it to keep primary stats on weapons so that they continue to feel iconic and special. Many of the items will have Stamina as well.

    Secondary Stats

    The information about secondary stats on armor above also applies here. In addition, Spirit and Bonus Armor can appear on these items. Spirit is only useful for healers. Bonus Armor is generally only useful for tanks. A Spell Power piece without Spirit may be attractive to healers or may be attractive to DPS casters instead.

    The intent of including Spirit and Bonus Armor on these pieces is to make sure some items are still valuable only to healer and tank specs, helping to make sure they don’t have too much competition for gear against the more numerous DPS players in a given group. These are also stats we consider interesting, because how much of each of these stats a tank or healer might want is more subjective. For example, one tank in a group might prefer more Bonus Armor while another might prefer more Haste.

    In the case of Spirit, imagine that stacking Spirit on every non-armor slot will give you more mana regeneration than you would reasonably need. That is to say, you likely won’t need Spirit on every single spot in order to function as a healer.

    In the case of Bonus Armor, this stat fills the niche that Dodge and Parry fill today. We like tanks avoiding attacks as a mechanic, but it hasn’t proven to be a particularly interesting gearing strategy. However, we still want a dedicated damage-mitigation stat, and Bonus Armor will be it.

    Additional Qualities

    These items will also have a chance to have one of the additional qualities discussed above (Warforged, gems, and tertiary stats), and the information related to these qualities on armor still applies here.


    A Holy Paladin has a raid tier set from the Blackrock Foundry. If she switches to her Retribution spec, the tier set is still functional, as the primary stats and set bonuses change. However, if she prefers Haste for her Retribution spec and Crit in her Holy spec (and is someone who enjoys the min-max game), then a single set of armor may not be optimal.

    For her healing set, let’s assume this player also has one ring with Spirit, a shield with Spirit, and a trinket that procs on heals. The trinket is almost useless in her Retribution set. The shield is also useless, since Retribution is designed to wield a two-handed weapon. The ring will be sub-optimal because Spirit is useless to a Retribution Paladin, but if it has another valuable stat (e.g. Haste), it may still be worth using—again depending on how min-max-focused the player is.

    A more casual player would probably be fine just using the trinket anyway and using a lower Item Level two-handed mace when she plays Retribution. A more min-max player would probably want separate rings, cloaks, trinkets, neck pieces, and weapons to use in the different specs. A very min-max player—such as someone competing in world-first Mythic raid progression—might even want different heads, shoulders, chests, and so on depending on the mix of secondary stats. This player might even swap out gems between the two specs.

    This may seem like a lot to take in now, but we’ll continue to watch feedback and answer any additional questions where we can. And again, keep in mind that as with anything still in development, this information or some of the details will likely change as we progress.

    As always, we welcome your constructive feedback, and we look forward to reading what you think.

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    Community Manager
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    #611 - 2013/11/27 01:34:00 AM
    I read this all, and I like it, a lot. Good stuff.

    However, my fear is how this plays out for PvP. For PvE variance in performance based on RNG stats is super cool and creates a sense of non-uniformity, but in PvP you need to be able to expect that class X generally has Y capabilities.

    PvP gear will have more stats to choose from, and less worrying about hit caps! PvP Power will likely still exist to make sure PvP gear is powerful without being more powerful than PvE gear in PvE. Additional PvP changes are beyond the scope of this discussion, but we do want to make sure PvE gear doesn’t outstrip PvP gear for world PvP.

    11/26/2013 10:48 AMPosted by Draenybrit
    Can I just ask what will happen to Spirit for Shadow Priests, where it is now a go to stat because it gets converted to Hit? With Hit going away, will it convert to something else, or will Spirit now be useless for us.

    Healers will have increased baseline regen on their character, and each point of Spirit will have higher regeneration effects. As mentioned in the last couple paragraphs, Spirit will be useless to DPS specs, so min-maxers will want to get alternate gear for the few slots they have Spirit in.

    11/26/2013 10:57 AMPosted by Madone
    One more thought on this...please extend this system to crafted gear, not just boss drops.


    11/26/2013 11:12 AMPosted by Zmo
    So what for the peoples who spent a fortune on gems an jewel crafting just to have a useless pro now.

    Despite this being a bit beyond the scope of this discussion, we can say that we don’t want to keep a flawed gear design just to ensure revenue for Jewelcrafters. We are, however, considering additional types of things that they could make to offset the need for so many gems.

    11/26/2013 11:12 AMPosted by Vaemyr
    I dislike the idea that we're going to have to pray to the RNG gods to get gear to drop, and then pray again that our gear has bonuses. I'm not invested in world first content so it likely wont affect me much, but I can imagine world first guilds getting a little peeved because guild X got extra lucky on their drops and had more tertiary stats which helped them progress faster, while guild Z got mostly normal epic drops.

    Philosophically, having a random element to gear helps to keep loot feeling exciting instead of reducing it to a checklist you just tick off. We understand that too much randomness can be frustrating, which is why we implemented things like the bad luck streak protection on personal loot and bonus rolls. Do note that secondary stats on gear are not random (other than some random suffix items, which are in the minority). The additional qualities (e.g. Warforged, sockets, tertiary stats) are random and are intended to provide gearing with a long tail. Rather than deny you an important item slot like a weapon, we can make sure you get an item in a reasonable amount of time. However, getting the perfect item is not a foregone conclusion and might take a lot of effort and luck.

    11/26/2013 11:22 AMPosted by Losin
    The only system where this loot style could work is in the personal loot like lfr. I find it hard to believe that you think that this could realistically work in a normal raid group that uses any type of loot system other than rolling.

    LFR will always use personal loot. Normal and Heroic difficulties have the option (raid leader’s call) to use personal loot, or to drop a variable amount of loot based on the number of players. As you add players to a group, the chance of an additional piece of loot dropping will increase until it reaches 100%, at which point there will be a chance for an additional piece beyond that. There should not be any break points at which you are hesitant to add more players. Mythic has a set raid size so will work much as Heroic does today.

    Random Player:
    Will these changes to stats only affect items in Warlords of Draenor, or will older items from, say, Burning Crusade also change?

    At this time, changes to gear are planned for drops in Warlords of Draenor. We are, however, considering modifying Siege of Orgrimmar gear to help players make the levelup process as smooth as possible, but aside from the removal of Hit and Expertise from all gear these changes will not be retroactive.

    Random Player:
    How will these changes affect mastery?

    We may make changes to specific masteries as part of the Warlords of Draenor review, but don’t have any sweeping changes planned.

    From Twitter:
    Nathyiel: What about off-hand/shield?

    They are considered "weapons" for the purposes of these system changes.

    11/26/2013 11:00 AMPosted by Secondwind
    Are more tertiary stats being considered than the 5 we've been shown thus far?

    This list we have at this time is not set in stone, but currently includes: Leech (heal on damage dealt), Inspiration (heal on damage received), Cleave (extra damage to additional targets), Sturdiness (reduced durability damage), Speed (movement speed), and Avoidance (reduced area effect damage taken).

    Getting gear is fun. We like getting gear and we like the feeling that on any given boss, there should always be something that you would want. What we’re doing with items in Warlords is just an evolution of the Thunderforged version to make it a little more interesting. You’ll probably see more bonus pieces than you did Thunderforged in the past, but getting an item that has all 3 bonuses will be very, very (very!) rare. Remember, you’ll be just fine with the baseline pieces of gear, and most of your character will be made up of this gear. But each and every time you kill a boss, there’s that chance of getting something slightly better.

    One of our other goals is to reduce the amount of work an item takes. Currently, the amount of work (math! MATH!) you have to do in order to even put on a piece of gear takes away from the enjoyment of the actual item dropping. We want you to spend more time killing creatures and getting better gear and less time figuring out how that piece that dropped effects specific stat levels (hit, expertise, haste, etc.), what gems you need cut, and what enchant to put on it. We’re not removing all of those choices, but we’re drastically tuning down the amount of required work. Get your boots, put them on, next boss!

    Another reason for these item changes are to bring hybrids closer to fulfilling their off-spec role. Part of the fantasy of being a warrior is that you can take the punishment when you need to (tank), or dish it out if you want to (DPS). However, collecting two entirely different sets of gear, plus gemming, enchanting, reforging… it’s all different and it’s just a lot more work. In most cases, it was too big of a barrier for some players to even consider. With these changes, we’re bringing your off spec closer to the performance of your main spec. You won’t have to collect the same Chest set piece twice, or say, get a different set of boots. However, if you want to be optimal, there will still be items to collect.

    Community Manager
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    #676 - 2013/11/27 03:13:00 AM
    11/26/2013 06:12 PMPosted by Tricked
    Question, will the gear's secondary Stats from raids be static when they drop or are they rng and be random generated stats?

    The vast majority of raid gear will continue to to have pre-determined secondary stats, just as it does today. We may still put in a few alternative pieces with randomly-generated stats, much like we did in Throne of Thunder, but those will be rare exceptions.

    This extends to other types of content as well. Every once in a while, when there's a compelling reason to, we might let gear randomly roll secondaries. Timeless Isle is a good example of a situation in which that style of gearing makes sense. Again, that's the exception, not the rule. Under normal circumstances, secondary stats will still be pre-determined, not random.