5 Mar 2010

Being Late to the Party

I know I’m late to the Icecrown Citadel party, and that a ton of people are already doing it in heroic mode. Today I’m pleased to say that I managed to get in there, get some bosses down and bag some loot. I’ve managed to down everything including Festergut so far. And yes, I got some achievements for my trouble too. All in, the ride was pretty smooth despite some upset during the ship-to-ship combat.

I’m now using Frost Needle in my main hand, coupled with Igniter Rod in the offhand and managing to shed even more hit in the process. I’ve been battling to lose hit ever since I made the switch from Fire to Arcane as my primary spec back in the early days of 3.3, but it feels like I’m finally getting close to having all my statpoints becoming useful again.

One thing that I did get reminded of tonight was the concept of gear mastery coming in with Cataclysm. Basically, if a class has proficiency in a particular armour class (cloth, leather, mail and plate) then they’ll get a boost based off the item’s Mastery value. The idea is that it encourages Paladins, Druids and Shamen to stick to their own armour class rather than grabbing ones from a lower bracket.

I don’t think it’ll work.

The downgrading of armour types has been going on since Molten Core, when we had Paladins running around in cloth so that they could heal effectively. I don’t think that Mastery will help discourage them from rolling on gear outside of their armour proficiency. Instead, I think that the classes that loose out will feel even more bitter about missing out on gear and the additional boost from the Mastery stat.

Why not consider instead a penalty based system? Yes, you can wear armour outside your proficiency, but you face a penalty on your stats if you do. The question then changes from “is this an upgrade to me even without the mastery bonus” to “is this still an upgrade once I take the penalty into account?”.

It’s a difficult balance. On the one hand you want to make sure that players feel that they have fair access to gear, while on the other you want to ensure that gear is useful to as many people as possible before it’s trashed or discarded. It’s why I’m not calling for strict limits to armour proficiency to be built into the game.

At the end of the day, it’s about being selective who you raid with. If you’re with a raiding guild make sure you understand their policies on loot distribution, and if you’re not happy with them it might be that the guild’s not suitable for you. It’s when you’re raiding outside of your network of guildmates (pugs etc) that having game mechanics that nudge players in a particular direction can be a benefit.

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