Wednesday, August 12, 2009

3.2 Is Here! Thoughts about Resilience Changes...

And without a doubt, this new patch has generated the least amount of hububb amongst my group of friends than any other patch.

Rest assured, I haven't quit the game, nor have quit this blog, but the game hasn't changed very much to warrant any real substantial thought provoking posts. For me, while content is good, meaningful content is far more desireable. I'm acutely aware of the level of distaste among the general blogosphere readers towards "we cleared this boss this week! Yay us!" type posts, and since I don't enjoy reading that type, I refuse to post such drivel.

Substance is key!

It's like the difference between a hookup with a non English speaking trick and a one that not only speaks English, but can hold their own when discussing ways for Blizzard to overcome the disparity between Arena and Battleground gameplay and their corresponding reward lists. After the deed is done. Of course.

Whatever. Make up your own bad analogies.

I will, however, briefly mention a few things of note: First, I'm finally full Furious on both of my characters, am starting to piece together a Shadow Priest set and have obtained [Just the Two of Us: 2200] as Prot Pally/Resto Druid. Secondly, from recent Blue posts, it's likely that Season 6 will end on August 25th (2 week notice) and Season 7 will begin a week after; August 31st... just in time for all the nerds who don't go anywhere for Labor Day to apply SPF 5000 sunblock in anticipation of monitor burns.

Anyways, let's talk about the Resilience change and how it affects gear and why I have mixed feelings about the change.

Keep in mind that with 3.2, there were two Resilience changes:
1) Resilience affects all damage, not just crit damage
2) You need more Resilience to make up the same amount of mitigation. (15% more)
For the average player, the first change seems huge as playing in full Hateful gear (or even full Deadly if they run enough heroics for Badges of Conquest) isn't often enough to prevent getting gibbed. But, in reality, is this change really that game changing for the average player? Maybe...

Maybe not.

From a personal observation perspective, the majority of the players that I see in BG's are either wearing a smattering of Hateful pieces, a bunch of Naxx 25 stuff and maybe some crafted blues. Titansteel Destroyers are a very common commodity. Going forward, I'd imagine that while the ilvl 200 BoE's will be omnipresent, the ilvl 219 ToC epics will be abound. Regardless, survivability will still be terrible, especially against top geared players in either full ToC25 gear or Relentless (Season 7). Will this new change help players save themselves because they're taking less damage and have a couple extra globals to use their abilities? No. Not in the least for average players.

As a point of note, I often recommend to PvE DPS (ie: Guildies) that are trying to get into PvP to wear their full Uld25 gear and go for the quick gib. Non-Pally PvE Healers get a different recommendation from me and usually that is to spend badges for PvP gear and stack Stamina so that 15k noob Ret Pally doesnt two shot them in a HoJ. For many of these average BG participants, gimping either their damage output or healing ability/longevity for a tiny bit of resilience isn't worth it. They're going to die anyways, so they might as well DPS/Heal as much as possible before they go down.

Let's look at the second change from an average player's perspective: This change, which requires a player to add 15% more Resilience to achieve the same amount of crit reduction, is definitely not going to help the average player, who is often wearing much PvP gear in the first place.

The rationale behind this change is a good one, and that is to encourage players to wear more PvP specific gear to increase personal survivability as opposed to stacking PvE gear. However, when players are sporting marginal amounts of Resilience in the first place, this change won't encourage casual players to start working towards PvP gear. The survival difference between 0 Resilience and 300 Resilience (arbitrary amount) is very small. On top of that, to achieve the same amount of crit mitigation as 3.1's 300 Resilience (which is still a pittance when you consider that many DPS are rolling with 500+ and healers with 900+), players will need an extra 45 Resilience, which is another piece of PvP gear.

So, if these changes are limited in their effect to promote PvP gameplay to the average player, then who do they primarily affect the most? The answer there is: mid to top level PvPers. Top level PvPers are affected by these changes the most as top players will do anything to obtain the best gear to help them succeed. In previous seasons, many top players were mixing and matching PvE gear because they had enough Resilience (at no risk of exploding), creating a gear gap that was often unsurpassable to players who only had access to PvP gear. These changes promote a balanced playing field.

So what about the average player or the starting PvPer? Unfortunately, they're completely up shit creek because they need everything and are at a severe disadvantage from the get go in their efforts to obtain such gear. Off the top of my head, I'd estimate that they need approximately 5 billion honor to get PvP offset pieces and some mainset pieces, rating to be eligible for current/previous season offset/mainset pieces, and/or hundreds of Emblems of Conquest to buy Deadly gear, which will be 2 seasons old once Season 7 comes out. Throughout this time, they're getting crapped on in the BG's and crapped on in Arenas. By the time they get all their stuff in order, Season 8 will be upon them.

Isn't there a better solution to getting people gear so they don't just implode when someone merely contemplates attacking them? To the many players last night who melted to zero, just from my 3 dots (I was playing Shadow), I'm sorry that Blizzard hasn't implemented a system for you to even have a chance to succeed.

I believe, that to get more people into PvP, Blizzard must make PvP gear easy to get... especially if there is PvP specific gear. I propose that Blizzard incorporates PvP rewards with the achievement system. Win 10 3v3 Arena matches? Here's a pair of Deadly Gloves. Win 30 Arena matches? Here's your Deadly Legs. Turn in 10 'For Great Honor' mark turn in's? Here's your Deadly Bracers. Turn in 30? Deadly Belt. 60? Deadly Feet. Ad nauseum.

The rewards are 2 seasons old with Season 7 coming and if Blizz is afraid of Deadly gear becoming ubiquitous outside of PvP, they can make the gear usable only in BG's, Arenas or BG zones such as Wintergrasp. Speaking of which, WG marks are such a poorly implemented function. If you're a new 80 trying to get a full PvP set, not only do you have to grind BG's and Arenas, but you have to be online at specific times to get enough marks to buy pieces of PvP gear that don't even contribute to your main set bonuses. Who has that kind of time?

Intrepid readers might wonder why I'm so concerned about the average player or the starting PvPer? The reason is as such: For anything to be successful, it needs participants. The more players that use the BG's or the Arenas, the better the competition and gameplay. It also stands to reason the Blizzard will spend more development dollars on something that is more widely utilized than someone only a small percentage of players even acknowledge. Right now, the barrier of entry is just way too high to become competitive.

Also, I now have a 62 Shaman and I'm already dreading the gear grind.