Step away from the leather

The latest batch of 3.1 updates includes a few doozies:

Improved Berserker Stance now increases strength by 3/6/9/12/15% instead of increasing attack power by 2/4/6/8/10%

OK, so finally the boot has dropped and Fury is to scale with Strength rather than Attack Power, in much the same way that Retribution Paladins and Death Knights do.

I’m guessing this was done to bring all the plate dps classes in line and using a similar stat spread. It should make it easier in future to design dps plate that is desirable for all of them. Since Strength converts to Attack Power for warriors at a rate of 1:2, given enough Strength bonuses on gear, it should work out even. In fact, given enough Strength bonuses on gear, the dps plate wearers may even come out ahead.

But right now, it’s a nerf to Fury because:

  • The previous version of the talent scaled a lot better with buffs and enchants (there are lots of enchants and buffs that improve attack power, but very few that improve strength)
  • Many Fury warriors picked up a some leather or mail when the stats were better. Naturally they optimised for the stats which scaled best for them. And some of Fury’s best attacks (like Bloodthirst) scale off attack power.

I think this is the harshest type of nerf in a  gear based game. One that means you need to regear, or that some of the gear you spent that hard-earned DKP on over the last few months is now no longer worth it.

It is so very easy in an MMO to make a gameplay choice which made perfectly good sense at the time, and later is totally invalidated. It’s always annoying. It’s always likely that for some people, it will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back and they will go off to do something less frustrating.

And who would really blame them?

It’s not that this is really that huge a deal in the great scheme of things, although it does come at the tail end of a few other Fury nerfs.  If Blizzard want Arms warriors to be doing more dps than Fury, then people will just switch. But switching specs has a cost too — a cost in time and hassle to learn to play a different spec, a cost in status from being expert to being a noob, and maybe a cost in fun too if you just liked dual wielding. Not everyone wants to go through that every time one spec gets a nerf, in fact probably most people don’t.

Nerfs are always a sign that the design team made a mistake. There’s no real way to guarantee you’ll never be on the receiving end of one. All you can really do is hoard as much spare gear as possible, and hope that if the stat weighting changes you’ll be able to adjust.

And why is there so little Strength gear?

I’m sure all the plate dps classes have been saying this for ages. But very few of the trinkets, necklaces, cloaks, or rings that are designed for melee have Strength bonuses.

There could be three reasons for this:

  1. It’s a deliberate way to control the scaling of the plate dps classes. If they had access to high Strength gear, they would scale through the roof. The design goal is for rogues to be top melee, and that includes having better gear choices.
  2. It’s the easiest way to make one item vaguely useful to all melee, including rogues. Although in practice it means that the item has perfect rogue stats and is sub par for anyone else.
  3. Laziness. Not wanting to make extra items just for the plate wearers. After all, they already have full suits of plate to roll on.

None of this really explains the lack of Strength enchants or flasks though. Making those available would have been as simple as a couple of extra recipes.

It’s not so fun in a gear based game to realise that so much of the gear isn’t really optimised for you. But until Blizzard see the light, there’s always the Cloak of Bloodied Water to fall back on…

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5 thoughts on “Step away from the leather

  1. Nerfs are always a sign that the design team made a mistake.

    hmm… this could be said about ANYTHING in the game. Buffs are always a sign that the design team made a mistake, patches are always a sign that… etc etc etc.

    I dunno if that’s really the case. I kind of came to the conclusion long ago that things like this are what change the treadmill, and make it a variety. If the game was perfectly static, it would be perfectly boring.

    Changes to class mechanics like this make you take a at Cloaks of Bloodied Waters etc, that you may have passed over before. Suddenly, just when you thought you knew everything, you need to go learn something else. That keeps things fresh, while you still have the exact same character running the exact same dungeons.

    Yes, some people will rage quit that OMFG FURY USES STR NOW?! But strength was always a good stat for fury. Remember when hunters got the big RAP nerf a while back? The sky didn’t fall, although reading the forums, you would think it had.

    Meh.

    • There’s an element of it, but I don’t think WoW in particular was actually designed to have major changes going on constantly.

      Changes and variety are good, but not if it’s overly punishing to players to change accordingly. And since nerfs do upset players — I mean, actual and specific removal of abilities — I’d think designers would want to avoid them. It’s always better for a new ability to go in a bit weaker and get buffed than get severely nerfed somewhere down the line, imo.

  2. I’m sorry to say that I have a rather simple response to this. It won’t make everyone happy, but I’ve always been an advocate that a Warrior is designed for Tanking. I’ve been a healer in end game stuff and now I’m doing DPS (but would happily heal) on my Shaman and every single DPS warrior I’ve come across does mediocre DPS and tend to take WAY more damage than any other DPS class, melee or otherwise. I have a level 33 Warrior that is set for Prot, I just can’t fathom why people would pick a warrior and then choose DPS, I know it’s a personal thing but melee DPS would be either a ret Pally or a Rogue really. Or nowadays you could just re-roll Death Noob.

    • I do think you’re being a bit inconsistent here. Why is it OK for retribution paladins or death knights to be melee dps, but not dps warriors? Those classes can both tank, and tbh they probably are stronger tanking classes than warriors at the moment.

      I also think you may have been grouping with some poor warriors. I’m protection myself but I know our fury warrior usually tops the meters in raids – that’s why the spec is getting nerfed ;)

  3. Pingback: A Class Act « Healing for loots in the World of Warcraft

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