Cataclysm changes for mages

Blizzard has this post about widespread changes coming to the game with Cataclysm

The most obvious question these changes raise is “Why are stats being changed, and why now?” As the game has matured, we’ve run into increasingly complex issues with the current stat system. Many stats are inherently confusing, and the way they interrelate can feel convoluted. Attack Power, for example, currently translates to damage, but so does Armor Penetration. Defense provides five different statistical benefits of varying utility. Mana regeneration involves understanding multiple stats and rules and often ends up being irrelevant anyway. In addition, the difference between a “good stat” for a class and a “bad stat” can be extreme. Some casters want Haste but not Crit; hunters want Armor Penetration but not Haste. There are other overarching issues, as well, such as Intellect not being very exciting for casters despite it being a core stat — and these are just a few examples. 

It’s interesting that mages were used as examples more than once. Let’s break some of them down: 

Mana regeneration involves understanding multiple stats and rules and often ends up being irrelevant anyway. 

Agreed. After a point one doesn’t have to worry too much about mana. If the fight goes a very long time then you might, but normally it isn’t an issue. 

Some casters want Haste but not Crit 

Agreed. However, this is part of character customization. It can be fun to structure yourself around being a crit mage who can do enormous amounts of damage as long as things go your way. Or, you can go haste and do damage almost no matter what’s going on.

Abethany has desired crit and haste at different points. Right now she’s way over hit capped, her crit is OK, but she could certainly use more haste. The goal with Abethany is balance and not to be weak in any one of them. But the point is that I’m paying attention to each of these different stats and customizing my character accordingly.

Intellect not being very exciting for casters despite it being a core stat 

Agreed. I usually don’t pay very much attention at all to that stat. It’s only use, really, is by comparing it to a different item. Does this one have more +Int than the other? Well, I’ll go with more +Int. But I don’t seek it out by any means.

While technically true that it has an impact on everything across the board, the amount of Intellect granted by items verses the amount of benefit it gives doesn’t make Intellect critical. Which is a shame.

And now on to other points: 

Stamina – Because of the way we will be assigning Strength, Agility, and Intellect, non-plate wearers will end up with more Stamina than before. Health pools will be much closer between plate-wearers and other classes. 

This is exceedingly interesting. Does this mean that we will no longer be squishies? I don’t think so. 

Instead, what I believe this means is that we’re going to be able to survive collateral damage from AoEs and the like at a much better rate than before. Even if we have tank hit points (we won’t but say we will) we’ll not be able to tank anything because the protection provided by our robes still won’t keep swords and claws from punching through. We’ll still lose all those hit points very quickly if we get into melee with something. But when it comes to other things, AoEs, the odd spell, and the like, we’ll have a better chance of surviving long enough to be healed. 

The way it is now is rather binary. Either we have all our hit points or we have none of them. The time we spend with, say, 25% or even 50% of our hit points is really not great, especially when compared to other better-armored classes. It’s easy to heal us up to full because there’s not a lot to heal in the first place. 

Spirit – Come Cataclysm, this stat should only be found on healing gear. Non-healing casters will have other systems in place to regenerate mana, and we are designing special solutions for Elemental shaman and Balance druids who often share gear with healers (more on this below). Raid buffs that currently boost Spirit (such as Blessing of Kings) will only boost the primary stats of Stamina, Strength, Agility, and Intellect. We are also likely changing the five-second rule and other quirks of the current regen system. 

Only on healing gear will help us deliminate mage verses priest items. I do wonder what the change to the five-second rules is going to be. 

Intellect – Intellect will now grant Spell Power (more on this below). Intellect will also provide less mana than it currently does. 

I’m fine with this. Whether there is a “+10 Spell Power” attribute or “+10 Intellect” that gives us the same kind of boost (be it more damage or whatever) is neither here nor there, except that it does help Intellect become a better stat, which is good. 

Haste – Haste will become more attractive for melee classes by allowing them to recover resources such as energy and runes more quickly. Our intention is for Haste to let you “do stuff” more often. 

I like this because I’ve never been clear why haste applies to us but not everyone else. I’ve always wondered why everyone didn’t want lots of haste. 😉 

Mastery – This is a new stat that will allow players to become better at whatever makes their chosen talent tree cool or unique. It’s directly tied to talents, so what you gain from improving this stat is entirely dependent upon your class and the talent specialization you choose. We’ll talk more about specific Mastery benefits in the future. 

Excellent–this is where character customization that was lost (see above) is expressed. I’m very much looking forward to how this all pans out. 

Resilience – This will only affect damage done by players and critical damage done by players. It will not impact crit chance, mana drains, or other such effects. 

I didn’t know it affected mana draining but anyway this is good. It helps make concrete the fact that “Resilience” equals “PvP only.” In short, it allows me to clearly avoid it in all situations. 

Spell Power – Spell Power is another stat that you’ll no longer see present on most items. Instead, as mentioned above, Intellect will grant Spell Power. One exception is that caster weapons will still have Spell Power. This allows us to make weapons proportionately more powerful for casters in the same way they are for melee classes. 

I heard the part about “more powerful for casters” and there was something else after that? 

MP5 – This stat will be removed from the game completely. Holy paladins and Restoration shaman will be redesigned to benefit from Spirit. 

I accidentally gemmed myself with some MP5 instead of what I wanted (haste I think). I won’t be able to make that mistake again! 

Spell Ranks – Spell ranks will cease to exist. All spells will have one rank and will scale appropriately with level. The levels at which you can learn certain spells are being changed in order to fill in some of the gaps, and we will be introducing some new spells to learn along the way as well. 

This is good, though the impact is barely noticable. Cleans things up, makes one’s spellbook more elegant, but seems more like a housekeeping change more than anything else. 

Weapon Skill – This stat will be removed from the game completely. Classes will start with all the weapon skills they need to know and will not need to improve them. 

Wait, you mean there’s skill involved with weapons? I thought everyone just wore them for their stats. 😉 

Reforging – While these changes will go a long way to making a wider variety of stats more attractive, we understand that sometimes you simply don’t want more Hit Rating on your gear or you’d rather have more Haste than more Crit. In Cataclysm, we are going to give players a way to replace stats on gear as part of the existing profession system. As a general rule of thumb, you’ll be able to convert one stat to 50% of another stat. While some conversions (like converting Stamina to Strength) won’t be permitted, the goal is to let you customize your gear more. 

Ugh. The first thing that comes to my mind are classes rolling need for things not intended for them because the items can be reforged to suit them. I’m interested in learning how difficult it is for an item to be reforged.

Gems – We are changing the gem colors of a few stats as a result of these adjustments. For example, Hit is likely to be blue instead of yellow. We’ll have more details on this in the future.

Gem color hasn’t been a deciding factor in any of my gear choices. The number of gem slots, however, has.

Many lower-level items with nonsensical combinations of stats, such as Agility and Spirit, will be changed. We’re also updating quest rewards, trade skills, and loot drops to support better itemization for class builds that weren’t widely available or used prior to The Burning Crusade (such as Balance druids).

I hear this complaint a lot from other people so I’m glad it’s being addressed.

More updates are coming and so far I’m liking what I’m seeing. All the changes are either all positive or not negative. That’s good. I’m not seeing any downside here.



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Geek. (But so are you!)

Posted on March 1, 2010, in World of Warcraft. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Overall, lots of welcome changes. I imagine they used Mages as an example, as they’re arguably the more popular “caster” class. Same reason people in LFG ask for mages, when they mean “casters”.

    The only change that gives me pause is removing spell ranks. Occasionally, it can be useful to cast spells of lower than maximum rank. Not a big deal, though.

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