Friday, June 5, 2009

Friday Laziness: Itemization Philosophy

Itemization in Ulduar is wonky. It's so off that it's led many players to think the devs don't know their own game, or at least that the itemization people don't talk to the class design or raid design people. For example, our Holy Paladin hasn't taken a single plate piece because they are loaded with mp5, which is functionally useless to him (because crit and int are better regen stats for him aside from also increasing healing throughput). Every 2-handed weapon in Uld 10, including hard modes, is itemized the same, with either arPen or Hit on top of Strength and Crit. Don't even get me started on caster leather, elemental shaman gear, the lack of MP5 on resto shaman offset gear, or all the spirit on every piece of caster cloth. I recently respecced Blood from Unholy on my DK because there are virtually no upgrades in Ulduar without Armor Penetration (which is awesome for Blood and terrible for Unholy).

What I'm saying is, there are no choices. Every piece is equally poorly itemized. So the devs say they want us to play a "game" with our gear where we make interesting choices about what's an upgrade and what's not. But they don't offer interesting choices, just bad stat after bad stat. Things in Ulduar, despite higher ilevels, are turning out to not be upgrades over Naxx pieces because of how poorly itemized Ulduar gear is. And it's not just a few bad pieces, it's virtually every piece in every slot. Like I said: no choice. Where's the fun in that?

It's a real problem because 1) gear is a part of the "fun" of raiding, and 2) the hard modes were tuned for a raid wearing upgrades over our Naxx gear (upgrades we can't find for many slots in Ulduar). The hard modes were tested with shirts of uber, and I seriously doubt the drops in Ulduar constitute a full 8% increase in stats and 130 increase in all ratings, especially when we are DEing most of these ilevel "upgrades".

And the explanation, as you can see in this thread (I recommend you read every post GC makes in that thread by clicking the "Blizz" icon at the top of each post to go to the next one), is that they made the gear shitty on purpose so they could make the next tier more attractive than this one without raising it's ilevel very much.

Seriously. That is insulting. The thread specifically tries to avoid insulting the devs, and they turn around and insult us. If you are going to reduce the fun by taking choice away, the least you could do is not reduce the fun further by making the items we don't have a choice about suck.

I was going to write something about how, you know, it's really OK if we are excited about gear in Ulduar and actually know we are getting upgrades. But BBB just summed it up so perfectly that you should just read his post on it. :)

But enough angry ranting. The bottom line is that I am very happy with Ulduar, just like BBB is. This is more a nitpick. The devs deserve a lot of credit for delivering an awesome instance. I am thankful for what I have, but I also feel compelled to point out problems when I see them. I just don't want people to get the impression that I'm a total Negative Nancy. I am having a lot of fun in Ulduar.

And anyway, cheer up, it's the weekend! Viva la alcoholism!

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