Dev Watercooler - The Great Item Squish (or Not) of Pandaria

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Dev Watercooler - The Great Item Squish (or Not) of Pandaria

Postby Flex » Fri Nov 04, 2011 10:14 am

Link to blog

GC's thoughts and a couple proposals regarding the increased item power inflation.

Quick summary for those who are linkblocked.

Solution #1: MEGA DAMAGE! Rework the display to compress the numbers, 1,000 becomes 1K, 1,000,000 becomes 1M and so on. Doesn't solve the root issue, just masks it easier to digest by glancing, which may be all that's needed.

Solution #2: Item Level Squish. Compress item levels for the expansions and scale everything in the game to match the new item level scaling. Solves the root problem and introduces a huge psychological problem of "feeling" nerfed.

Some key quotes:
I did, however, want to outline the problem lest any of you believe we don’t think there is a problem. There is. We’re just not sure of the best solution yet. If your answer is that stat budgets don’t have to grow so much in order for players to still want the gear, our experience says otherwise, and thus these proposed solutions exist. Your thoughts on the matter are valuable.

When we tried this internally, everyone agreed that it just felt off throwing a spell for hundreds of damage when you are used to it doing thousands of damage.

The numbers grew so much primarily because we wanted rewards to be compelling. Upgrading from a chestpiece that has 50 Strength into one that has 51 Strength is undeniably a DPS increase for the appropriate user, but it’s not a very exciting reward.
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Re: Dev Watercooler - The Great Item Squish (or Not) of Pand

Postby Tev » Fri Nov 04, 2011 10:49 am

ok, deleted my post since you got on up like 3 seconds before me :p

My issue is I just don't think their options address the underlying problem. iLvLs probably never needed to jump as much as they did in the first place, but now they are at a point of hitting "Ludicrous Speed!". Either the Numbers will keep getting bigger and bigger, or if a stat drop occures, they at best put off the issue another 2 expacs.

I think they need to take a look at and complete readdress the whole green/blue/purple and iLvL design. When everyone is in purple gear, blue and green doesn't matter, only iLvL. It might almost be better if they either added new colored tiers without increasing iLvL, or did away with colored tiers altogether and focused solely on iLvL.

The other thing that might help is changing how stats and effects are distributed, fun proc effects seem to only happen on legendary weapons these days, partly because a majority of players realize that a stable stat increase would outweigh a sproadic chance effect, unless the effect was overpowering. I would go as far to say that maybe certain pieces of gear should not have stats, period (trinkets, weapon, shield) and should have something else (trinkets already have some nice chance/event/click effects, abd should be expanded imo)

Well that's my 2 copper.
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Re: Dev Watercooler - The Great Item Squish (or Not) of Pand

Postby Flex » Fri Nov 04, 2011 10:55 am

They did address the green/blue/purple issue in Cataclysm.

Previously the rarity of the gear increased an item's stat budget, so an ilvl 60 green would be weaker than an ilvl 60 blue which would be weaker than an ilvl 60 purple. Starting in Cataclysm an ilvl 300 green is as powerful as an ilvl 300 blue which is as powerful as an ilvl 300 purple. The only difference is seen in blue and green (since epics are strictly level 85 items) where a higher ilvl blue will be available earlier than the same ilvl green, you get a 318 blue in Deepholm and get a 318 green in Twilight Highlands for example.

But ultimately the increase is at the end game and I'm not certain adding a higher stat allocation color with the epics would actually solve anything. If the epics are 400 and the epic+ are 409 where does the next tier epics start?
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Re: Dev Watercooler - The Great Item Squish (or Not) of Pand

Postby Aergis » Fri Nov 04, 2011 11:06 am

Ultimately this was a huge turnoff for me from TBC to wrath. It pissed me off when they introduced rating system and then just jammed up the numbers to make it look like you got more of each ability, but in the end you were still dodging 20%. I don't expect the gear I get in TBC to be the top end gear in wrath, and then cata, and then mop, but it seems extremely wasteful to just throw it all away each time. Something in the middle would be nice...

It's an interesting dilemma from their end too, the need to create the desire for people to want to go raid for new gear so they keep playing, but I really dislike how they implemented it over the years. It kinda feels like the casino effect, adding more lights and bells to make me think I'm winning more money...

FFXI has done a pretty decent job of making old gear still useable while still creating upgrades worth getting. They are often more situational though, where as wow is far more streamlined it seems. Plus in ffxi you can gear-swap in combat, making it desirable to get certain pieces of gear for specific abilities, probably has a lot to do with it.
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Re: Dev Watercooler - The Great Item Squish (or Not) of Pand

Postby Tev » Fri Nov 04, 2011 11:13 am

Aergis wrote:Ultimately this was a huge turnoff for me from TBC to wrath. It pissed me off when they introduced rating system and then just jammed up the numbers to make it look like you got more of each ability, but in the end you were still dodging 20%. I don't expect the gear I get in TBC to be the top end gear in wrath, and then cata, and then mop, but it seems extremely wasteful to just throw it all away each time.

It's an interesting dilemma from their end too, the need to create the desire for people to want to go raid for new gear so they keep playing, but I really dislike how they implemented it over the years. It kinda feels like the casino effect, adding more lights and bells to make me think I'm winning more money...

FFXI has done a pretty decent job of making old gear still useable while still creating upgrades worth getting. They are often more situational though, where as wow is far more streamlined it seems. Plus in ffxi you can gear-swap in combat, making it desirable to get certain pieces of gear for specific abilities, probably has a lot to do with it.


I missed that from Everquest as well, there were some things you never got rid of because they had a unique effect (Journeyman boots were a must for any class that didn't have a running speed buff). They made the Epic Quest weapons something you would hold on to for life for some classes (clerics got a mace that had a click effect ressurection with no mana cost, and a fairly high % return of lost mana)
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Re: Dev Watercooler - The Great Item Squish (or Not) of Pand

Postby Flex » Fri Nov 04, 2011 11:33 am

Aergis wrote:Ultimately this was a huge turnoff for me from TBC to wrath. It pissed me off when they introduced rating system and then just jammed up the numbers to make it look like you got more of each ability, but in the end you were still dodging 20%. I don't expect the gear I get in TBC to be the top end gear in wrath, and then cata, and then mop, but it seems extremely wasteful to just throw it all away each time. Something in the middle would be nice...


What's the solution for non-ratings system? numeric percentage increases would have to introduce the most gentle of increases that makes it pretty much the same thing if you don't want every old piece of armor to have "Reduced affect for players over level X" or to outright be better than a new item if stat scaling works out oddly.

I've also accepted that I am different than most people and enjoy the throwing away of old gear at each expansion cycle.
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Re: Dev Watercooler - The Great Item Squish (or Not) of Pand

Postby Nikachelle » Fri Nov 04, 2011 11:39 am

Flex wrote:enjoy the throwing away of old gear at each expansion cycle.

I like this too. Out with the old, and in with the new.
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Re: Dev Watercooler - The Great Item Squish (or Not) of Pand

Postby Shoju » Fri Nov 04, 2011 11:41 am

like I posted as a response of the blog, I don't mind replacing ger, and I don't expect it to last forever, but taking gear from the Hard mode version of the last tier of the previous expansion, and dropping it when I get quest rewards, and loot from a 5 man 5 minutes into the new expansion is disheartening. Putting on the shield from the ogre in BRC was very sad for me.

I posted a wall of text in the comments. Maybe I will dig it out and repost it here.
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Re: Dev Watercooler - The Great Item Squish (or Not) of Pand

Postby Nikachelle » Fri Nov 04, 2011 11:45 am

Shoju wrote:like I posted as a response of the blog, I don't mind replacing ger, and I don't expect it to last forever, but taking gear from the Hard mode version of the last tier of the previous expansion, and dropping it when I get quest rewards, and loot from a 5 man 5 minutes into the new expansion is disheartening. Putting on the shield from the ogre in BRC was very sad for me.

I posted a wall of text in the comments. Maybe I will dig it out and repost it here.

But that's not the case, and it wasn't so when we moved from BC to Wrath (Naxx in level 70 epics anyone?) or from Wrath to Cataclsym.

I certainly wasn't replacing the bulk of my heroic 10 man ICC gear until around late level 83 or 84, and some of it not till level 85. There was certainly nothing in the early Cataclysm stages that (I personally thought) beat the fully socketed and enchanted raid gear until quite late in the leveling path.
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Re: Dev Watercooler - The Great Item Squish (or Not) of Pand

Postby Flex » Fri Nov 04, 2011 11:47 am

Shoju wrote:like I posted as a response of the blog, I don't mind replacing ger, and I don't expect it to last forever, but taking gear from the Hard mode version of the last tier of the previous expansion, and dropping it when I get quest rewards, and loot from a 5 man 5 minutes into the new expansion is disheartening. Putting on the shield from the ogre in BRC was very sad for me.

I posted a wall of text in the comments. Maybe I will dig it out and repost it here.


But 10 man hard mode/25 man normal mode was not the best gear of that expansion, it was basically the Karazhan level of gear that expansion, which was replaced quite quickly in the TBC to WotLK changeover.
Last edited by Flex on Fri Nov 04, 2011 11:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Dev Watercooler - The Great Item Squish (or Not) of Pand

Postby Flex » Fri Nov 04, 2011 11:50 am

Nikachelle wrote:I certainly wasn't replacing the bulk of my heroic 10 man ICC gear until around late level 83 or 84, and some of it not till level 85.


Deepholm was when you started really replacing some things, previously it was a wash, Uldum had the "you'd be silly not to use this" thing going on and Twilight Highlands sorted out some of the spots not filled in Uldum. I think I replaced most of mine in Deepholm, because, well why not?
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Re: Dev Watercooler - The Great Item Squish (or Not) of Pand

Postby halabar » Fri Nov 04, 2011 11:54 am

Their concern about making upgrades not relevant is a major concern. If they aren't careful, people will be keeping their prior tier 4-pc sets until they collect the full new set, and maybe not even then.

Heck, hunters still use the T-5 2-pc bonus for soloing, compression could make that viable again.

I don't think they are going to make significant changes. They'll have way to much rebalancing to do.
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Re: Dev Watercooler - The Great Item Squish (or Not) of Pand

Postby KysenMurrin » Fri Nov 04, 2011 11:57 am

Scaling back ilevels does seem like the best option to me, but they're right that it doesn't work well for player experience. They could get away with collapsing the Cataclysm tiers, perhaps (6 ilevel gaps instead of 13, maybe, starting from 333s) without too much fallout. But if they collapse WotLK levels there's a cascade effect for every item in Cataclysm, and a resulting feeling of a massive nerf - even when it happens only weeks away from the next expansion anyway.

And then there's the question of what to do in MoP, because a 6 ilevel gap means some items remain best in slot or close beyond their intended tier.


Why was the ilevel formula not linear in the first place, by the way? The amount of stat on the items goes up much faster than the ilevel number. Seems too late to fix that for all gear now, though.
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Re: Dev Watercooler - The Great Item Squish (or Not) of Pand

Postby Aergis » Fri Nov 04, 2011 11:57 am

Part of the reason for me wanting to keep the gear is it has a reverse effect of excitement when I get the gear. Some random gear drops now, weee. I know I'll trash it soon. When I got T2 legs in vanilla I couldn't sleep that night I was so excited, had been waiting for it to drop for like 6 weeks and there was so much drama over it one guy gquit...

I'm not saying drama over gear is good, but I do miss the excitement and rush of getting it in the first place. And I know I sound like a whiner so I'll just shut up now, it is what it is and I still play, but not with the enthusiasm I once had.
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Re: Dev Watercooler - The Great Item Squish (or Not) of Pand

Postby Zobel » Fri Nov 04, 2011 12:00 pm

Tev wrote:My issue is I just don't think their options address the underlying problem. iLvLs probably never needed to jump as much as they did in the first place, but now they are at a point of hitting "Ludicrous Speed!". Either the Numbers will keep getting bigger and bigger, or if a stat drop occures, they at best put off the issue another 2 expacs.

Two responses:
  • A one-time fix is sufficient if it puts off the issue for the remaining life of the MMO. (And that's what, 2-4 expansions?)
  • At least according to their graph, they're proposing not just squishing ilvls but also having each new expansion return to the same slowly upward sloping baseline as the previous expansion. (Unlike before, when each expansion would reset the baseline to the highest peak of raiding from the prior expansion.)
Squishing ilvls now would address the underlying problem (that ilvls are growing too fast, not that they're growing at all). It also reserves the option of doing a one-time display kludge in the future if Blizzard runs into this problem again but only wants to squeeze a little more life out of the franchise without another across-the-board squish.
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