Specs and stats

When Blizz first announced Patch 6.0.2 class and stat changes, they went to some pains to explain to us how much better and less complicated our lives would be with the changes. In particular, they eliminated reforging because they wanted to save us from math and from having to go to a website like AskMrRobot to figure out our optimum secondary stats for a piece of gear. As it turned out, they didn’t save us from anything other than being able to get and use decent gear. Thanks, Blizz, your Nobel Prize nomination is almost finalized.

Just my opinion, of course, but secondary stats are a mess right now. First, they are a part of the loot-by-luck RNG scheme, and it is a double-blind system. Not only do you have to be lucky enough to win class-appropriate gear, but you also have to be lucky enough to win spec-appropriate gear, even if you are not a hybrid class.

Think about that for a minute. It is no longer possible for a pure damage class like hunters to switch specs without also switching gear sets. Not if they want to maximize their damage which of course is their only reason for being. In Mists, if I knew that an upcoming raid would face bosses that Beastmastery would be much better for than Survival, for example, I could switch specs to BM, pay a quick visit to my local reforger, and be set to provide my best effort for the raid team. But in WoD, that is impossible. I can still switch specs to fit a fight, but if I do not have a ready-made alternate gear set, doing so will probably yield less damage than if I did not switch specs, even if I am equally skilled in both specs.

And getting spec-appropriate gear is completely luck-based. Blizz has made gear for pure classes as spec-dependent as it is for hybrid classes, without the ability to select gear for a particular spec. On my monk, I can play as a windwalker but select to receive mistweaver gear, and I will get gear with intellect, possibly also spirit and multistrike.  But on my hunter, even if I opt to receive Beastmastery gear while playing Survival, it makes zero difference. All the secondary stats are pure crapshoots. Yet they are a very significant part of hunter damage.

In fact, secondary stats now play a much greater role than Blizz originally led us to believe they would. (Surprise!) When first announced, it was to be a simple 5% increase to your attuned stat — for example, +5% multistrike for SV hunters. This indicated that getting multistrike gear was desirable if you were SV, but it wasn’t a major problem if you didn’t. Similarly, if you had gear that was a mixed bag of secondary stats, you really wouldn’t be penalized by switching specs. All that would happen is that, for example, whatever mastery you had would be increased by 5% if you switched to BM.

But of course Blizz had to go completely overboard, they could not leave well enough alone. Trinkets, buffs, spells, passives, etc. suddenly had their benefits greatly enhanced by the amount of your attunement stat. This meant that something that started out as a nice-to-have suddenly became crucial to your ability to perform your role. But in their usual slipshod way, Blizz failed to adjust baseline mechanisms when they went berserk on attunement-based numbers.  Instead, they made band-aid fixes that ended up doing more harm than good to some classes.  Obviously, for me the example that springs to mind is Survival hunters, where the band-aid fix to extreme multistrike attunement resulted in a non-viable spec. In fact, I venture to say that the mass “fixes” to secondary stat attunements resulted in greater class imbalance, at a time when class balance was none too strong to begin with.

So, for a Survival hunter like me, I am left in the situation where:

1.  I can no longer play my spec. In addition to nerfing AoE, which was the spec’s strength, there are no cooldowns and no surge capability, rendering play purely mechanical, without meaningful player choices.

2.  Since I had gone to a lot of effort to accumulate gear with multistrike on it, and since I have been forced into another spec, now most of that gear is nigh unto worthless for me.

3. Blizz has removed reforging, so the only way I can get more appropriate gear is by double-blind luck with loot drops.

4. I have to trust that, even if I do get some spec-appropriate gear, Blizz will not suddenly decide to make that spec unplayable and force me to start all over again.

Basically, Blizz has given pure damage classes all the bad attributes of hybrids and none of the good ones. That is, we have to carry multiple gear sets but it is close to impossible to assemble and continue to upgrade the gear. The only raid role we can provide is damage, but we are greatly hindered in our ability to maximize that role.

So in Patch 6.3 (because there will be such a patch), I would like to see two major changes regarding secondary stats:

Bring back reforging. Very few players do their own math even now, everyone goes to MrRobot even to check if a piece of gear is an upgrade, because the secondary stat computations have gotten so intricate. 

Take away the second RNG factor in loot drops — make appropriate secondary stats automatically conform to your spec. 

Have a good weekend.

About Fiannor
I have a day job but escape by playing WoW. I love playing a hunter, and my Lake Wobegonian goal is to become "above average" at it.

6 Responses to Specs and stats

  1. TheGrumpyElf says:

    Ditching survival is the only thing you can do to help yourself so you are on the right track. It is better even with the “wrong” stats. Had a guild hunter show up to the first week HFC in survival and he was under the tank. I talked him into going MM and he had not played MM since wrath. He had no clue what he was doing. His numbers doubled. Not kidding. Doubled. Playing a spec he had no idea how to play over one he we well versed at. That shows how bad SV is right now.

    What does this all mean. Go MM, that is what it means.

    If you were working a multi/ver/crit sort of build or even better the multi/crit build switching to MM make the most sense. Those stats are the top MM stats with crit on top so just switch gems and enchants and scope from multi to crit ones and have at it. The gear translates much better to MM than it would if you tired BM.

    • Fiannor says:

      You are right, of course, although I keep resisting that inevitable conclusion. I leveled as MM and played it through Wrath like your friend — loved it then for its depth of play, but have not played it seriously since. Some part of me just wants to dig in my heels and tell Blizz to stuff it, they can’t dictate which spec a responsible hunter should play, all specs should be viable, with one or another being slightly better for some fights.

      But of course they can and they have dictated the “approved” spec for what looks like at least the remainder of this expansion. I hate it, but that doesn’t change the fact it is true. I thought I could make BM work but I have never really been a big fan of it, except for the spirit beast pets.

      *kicks dirt* *whines “No fair, no fair!”* *Looks up Icyveins MM guide*

      • Grumsta says:

        I was directed to this post

        http://talarian.blogspot.com/2014/12/wow-why-rando-secondary-stats-matter

        and I’ve stopped getting so hung up on secondary stats now. If I drop a piece and it’s higher ilevel I equip it unless the lower ilvl item has a socket, which I treat as an extra 5 ilvls. Nice and simple.

        If I drop a piece later with the same ilvl and the secondary stats are more favourable then of course I’ll switch to that.

      • Fiannor says:

        @Grumsta

        There is certainly something to be said for just ignoring the whole mess, but I noticed that blog was dated last December. We’ve had 2 major patches since then, with a ton of various class and spec adjustments. I am by no means a theory person, but my anecdotal experience is that the secondary stats currently do make a noticeable difference in performance. As always, YMMV 🙂

  2. Athie says:

    I’d guess there won’t be a 6.3, because all resources will be focused on getting the next expansion out the door in tandem with the movie. Blizzard’s gotta get that sweet one-time bump after all.

    But, yeah, I hear you on stats. I keep seeing versatility on priest gear, because awesome? Gearing has never been stranger…

    • Fiannor says:

      Well, as I recall, that was the reasoning we all used when we were stuck in Mists, with SoO dragging on forever — “Oh, they are using all their resources to make WoD awesome.” We were about as far wrong as you can be on that one.

      Still, I don’t see going almost an entire year without at least one more major patch. You may be right, but even for Blizz that would be pretty extreme. And bear in mind — given Patch 6.1 — they don’t have to put a lot of effort or content into whatever they decide to define as a new patch. The hype’s the thing, just enough to stave off some of the revenue losses from fewer Asian hours of play and unsubbing from NA and Euro players.

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