Friday, July 18, 2008

90% of All Statistics are Made Up - "Welfare Epics"

Sorry for the tardiness on this one - this week's been rough. Rest assured there will still be another post tomorrow. Expect a continuation; this article is a bit old and written before Patch 2.4, so I don't take into account Sunwell or S4 gear. I will focus on that in particular tomorrow. Think of this as a primer. =)
Every time I find myself browsing the WoW forums, the biggest "problem" I see peoiple complaining about is the amount of people who never get to see end game content. It's a different percentage every time I see a new thread (though the average seems to be about 6% actually seeing end-game). I can sympathize to an extent. After all, I want to see end game as much as anyone else does. But I feel there's a point that most people are overlooking.
I feel because of the ease of obtaining PvP gear, everyone seems to feel that the game is obligated to hand everything to them. The only class functions who do not benefit from this "welfare epics" system are the tanks - after all, PvP gear has no useful PvE stats for defense and avoidance. Back to my point, people don't have to progress entirely through early PvE content to see later PvE content anymore. This is only true because of the removal of all attunement requirements, from SSC/TK to Hyjal and Black Temple.
What happened when the Hyjal attunement requirement got removed? We saw an influx of PvPers wasting their way through Archimonde after having spent months at the top of Arenas. We saw all the BG farmers use their easily gained PvP items to plow through PvE content.
Allow me to take a step back again. Neither PvE or PvP is easy. At least, not at the furthest tiers. Black Temple isn't a cake walk, and neither is 2k rated Arena. At the very least, Blizzard did a good job of scaling gear requirements for both sides of the game. Running battlegrounds over and over again is much akin to running 5-mans or Heroics repeatedly. Low rated Arenas are kind of like T4 content, mid rated is like T5, and high ratings are like T6. The gear represents these comparisons.
What I have an issue with is the effectiveness of low season PvP in PvE content when the low tier gear for PvE content is practically useless in PvP. Yes, resilience doesn't matter in PvE. But often times, the other stats more than compensate for these wasted points.
Let's make a direct comparison, from the T4 gear to the Season 1. I'm going to use the Paladin Holy gear as it's the easiest to compare between and the best for my own personal knowledge to make educated statements about.

Tier 4 |||| Season 1
------- |||| -----------
Armor..............6136 |||| Armor..............6284
Stamina...........163 (169) |||| Stamina...........209
Intelligence.....164 (167) |||| Intelligence.....141
Spell Crit.........67 |||| Spell Crit.........130 (134)
+ Healing........396 |||| + Healing........257
+ Mp5.............22 (24) |||| + Mp5.............0
Resilience.......0 |||| Resilience.......124 (131)
1x Red Socket |||| 4x Red Socket
2x Yellow Socket |||| 2x Yellow Socket
3x Blue socket |||| 0x Yellow Socket
1x Meta Socket |||| 1x Meta Socket

So, basically, as expected, the S1 gear is made for survivability while the T4 gear supports longevity. While you could easily socket for MP5 and get only slightly lower amount in the S1 than the T4, the same cannot be said for the lack of resilience on the T4 (not that anyone really sockets for resilience as it is). While Blizzard has supposedly supported the interchangeability between PvP and PvE, it seems the PvP items are generally itemized better for this swap than the PvE gear is. This only becomes slightly less true at higher tiers.

Tier 6 |||| Season 2
------- |||| -----------
Armor..............7415 |||| Armor..............7415
Stamina...........193 |||| Stamina...........268
Intelligence.....173 |||| Intelligence.....166
Spell Crit.........116 (118) |||| Spell Crit.........158 (162)
+ Healing........522 (542) |||| + Healing........341
+ Mp5.............42 (44) |||| + Mp5.............0
Resilience.......0 |||| Resilience.......136 (143)
0x Red Socket |||| 4x Red Socket
4x Yellow Socket |||| 2x Yellow Socket
4x Blue socket |||| 0x Yellow Socket
1x Meta Socket |||| 1x Meta Socket

While you have more gem slots in the T6 gear, you still can't make up the deficiency in resilience. And though meeting Mp5 standards in S3 is difficult and won't be on the same par, it's still do-able. On top of this, there is much more availability in other slots (trinkets, rings, misc armor) for Mp5 than there is for resilience.

I do not claim this is an absolute truth for all specs and class combinations, but I do believe I'm onto something. Perhaps there is a truth in the Welfare Epics theory after all.

Tomorrow, I'll talk about Season 4 and the fairness of giving PvPer's the option to higher end gear than is available to PvE'ers - or whether that theory is debunkable.

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