Monday, July 21, 2008

Is Season 4 Fair? - Part 2 of "Welfare Epics"

Yeaaaah, this is late. I'm just not going to make an excuse and jump right into things. XD

Admittedly, my article on welfare epics was outdated long before I posted it. So think of this as a bit of a continuation of that article so I can update the argument to include the newest content.

Last time, my argument was that there was some relative truth to the "welfare epics" theory. Generally speaking, the PvP gear is interchangeable with PvE gear despite stressing different functions (longevity versus instantaneous results) and the same is not true vice versa due to the resilience stat. So the new question is, if Seasons one through three were comparable to Tier four through six, what does that make Season 4? Is it unfair that there's a Season 4 available and not a Tier 7?

Now, my first instinct is to say the PvEr's got first advantage with the release of Sunwell in patch 2.4. However, before I form a real opinion, I need to compare the available gear to one another to see which, if either, is superior. I will once again compare Paladin Holy gear for simplicity's sake.

Sunwell |||| Season 4
------- |||| -----------
Armor..............8104 |||| Armor..............8055
Stamina...........207 |||| Stamina...........313
Intelligence.....194 |||| Intelligence.....192
Spell Crit.........93 (100) |||| Spell Crit.........185 (189)
+ Healing........550 |||| + Healing........397
+ Mp5.............65 (70) |||| + Mp5.............0
Resilience.......0 |||| Resilience.......136 (143)
Spell Haste.....64 |||| Spell Haste.....0
5x Red Socket |||| 4x Red Socket
3x Yellow Socket |||| 2x Yellow Socket
3x Blue socket |||| 0x Blue Socket
1x Meta Socket |||| 1x Meta Socket

It is also worth noting that there is no set bonus for having the Sunwell pieces - they aren't part of a set, I'm just comparing the two sets. The lack of slots in comparison on the S4 gear is made up by the two miscellaneous bonuses: The Glove equip which gives a +2% crit chance to Flash of Light spells, and the 4 pc bonus which gives +30% healing to Holy Shock spells.

What we see here is a relative change, but not because of the direct scale in between the gear. Only because we have, at this point, reached the highest tiers and it's gear expectation that scales terribly, not the gear itself. While you could gem for a decent amount of Mp5 to make up for the deficiency, it wouldn't be *enough* for Sunwell standards. To be honest, that could also be true for the S3 to T6 comparison. However, wearing S4 would make you pretty much set on T5 content and under - and it's arguably quite easy to get at least a couple pieces of S4.

The problem of welfare epics, therefore, is not that they're interchangeable at the same level, but that they are easier to obtain to blast through lower level content. Basically, you can skip T4 content, jump straight into T5 and early T6, and get to late T6 to Sunwell content without half the effort other players put into the work. That is the ethical issue that I, and many others, have the problem with.

Even badge gear can't be considered "welfare" as you really do have to work to get the amount of badges it takes to get similar gear. Heroics aren't easy unless you have people way outgearing it, and it's simply a lot easier to grind honor or arena points than it is to farm badges. Perhaps that's a personal opinion, but anyone can jump into a BG or make a 2's team for points - gathering a tank, a healer, and two others to do a Heroic (or gathering a 10-man raid for Kara) is a little more difficult.

What I think I'm most annoyed with is that Blizzard keeps saying they try to make PvP and PvE interchangeable, yet they failed miserably at it by introducing the Resilience stat. There really wasn't a reason to introduce it in the first place - all it really accomplished is screwing over all crit-based damage classes, such as Rogues, Mages, Retribution Paladins, and Boomkins. They all *rely* on their ability to do burst damage, especially when fighting healers. All Resilience did was tip the scales in the healer's favor for survivability - it doesn't really help any of the other classes or specs.

To answer my self-imposed question, Season 4 is not fair - at the very least, it provides near-equivalent T6 (or superior in some cases) Gloves to every class except Tanks for practically no effort. As to the answer for Welfare Epics, while I don't like the concept, I can't say I don't use them. Granted, Blizzard didn't provide me in particular much of a choice - let me know when you see some actual Retribution Paladin gear drop in PvE content. I'll start looking for the flying pigs. =P

Tomorrow, I'll start the delve into the new Paladin talents. That will be the next three posts - distinct analysis on each of the trees for paladins. Unfortunately, I won't be doing this for other classes, since I simply don't possess the knowledge for high-end talents for any other class. Though I may be persuaded to do some rough one-day analysis of particular classes and my thoughts if people really have a demand for it. Simply comment in the next few days and I'll be happy to comply!


Pike said...

Sadly, I can only dream about the T4 stuff, seeing as I hate arenas >.> and hunters have a hard time in there anyway.

I have however felt sort of semi-welfarey when I look at my gear and I'm in a couple blues, a bunch of Karazhan epics, and then the WHOABOY new badge loot. It's that new badge loot, I think, that has pushed my be.imba into telling me that I should be halfway through T5 when in reality I've never even been to Gruuls/Mags yet.

Now on the one hand, I know that I did have to work HARD to get that many badges. And I know that with my schedule the way it is, it is very, very hard for me to raid, as much as I'd love to. So the badge gear, in that case, is a nice way for me to still feel like I am making progress. But, I also hope the real raiders know I have loads of respect for them and I would be following in their footsteps if I could. *nod*

Pike said...

Oh and as for the battlegrounds stuff, I do maintain that battlegrounds can be just as hard as PvE (I rather enjoy both), BUT I definitely think the gear should not cross-over as much as it does. I have collected a decent PvP gear set over the months and some of it is better than my PvE stuff but I always wear only my PvE stuff in PvE... it's a matter of personal principle >.>

Ben said...

I see your point, but I can't for a second think farming badges is harder than gathering honor/pve badges, Nor to get arena.

Badges is often just an extra, really you're aiming for something in instances or doing kara and just getting a heap of badges. The easiets gear to get is badge gear, then pvp gear, then pve gear. Though for some classes I might say the brutal gear is harder to get than sunwell gear merely cause some classes, i.e. burst classes as you said just are at a major disadvantage. Paladins are a great class in arena thus very set to get it easily, others just aren't.

Emory said...

I have to disagree on your opinions about resilience. Many people say it's annoying and makes pvp broken, but in fact, it fixed pvp, which the majority of people don't see.

In the old days before 2.0, in pre-BC pvp, any mage with decent gear would automatically win -any- duel (pally bubble/iceblock notwithstanding) by simply polymorphing, then pressing their Arcane power - pyroblast macro, followed by their Presence of mind - pyroblast one. When was the last time you were crit for 8-10k in pvp?

The fact is, while it makes it harder to kill people, it's far from impossible. Yes, Ret pallies have had a hard time especially, but that's not due to resilience, more due to them being an underpowered spec, despite recent buffs.

Simply put, if it weren't for resilience, every high rated arena team would be a mage/destro lock or mage/mage combo, and the difference between who wins and who loses would be which team got their CC off first.

And as far as holy pallies being easy to get to a high rating with... that may have been the case in S1-S2, but now Resto Druids rule the day with their ridiculous amounts of CC. Druid/warrior, druid/hunter, druid/rogue... those are some of the most popular teams in S3/S4. Notice a trend? :P
(note, I only talk about 2v2 arena cause 3v3 and 5v5 aren't nearly as oriented around counter-classing, and more around gear/skill)

Anyways, all this will change with the upcoming expansion. WoW will be making some major changes, and I believe they will be for the best.

Prettyboi said...

In Response to Emory:

I think you're putting some words in my mouth here. =) The articles I wrote aren't about what I feel about resilience, or the balance between classes in PvP. They're about how PvP gear is considered "welfare" gear because it's vastly easier to get on one's own (or with a fewer amount of people) than PvE gear is.

In addition, when I mention that Resilience "ruined" PvP for high crit classes, it's not the *damage output* I was complaining about. I honestly think Resilience would be a better stat if it only reduced the damage done and not the chance of criticals, as Mages, Rogues, and Retribution Paladins in particular all RELY on getting criticals for many of their abilities to function properly (such as stacking Vengeance as a Ret Pally or gaining extra combo points a Rogue, etc.) I totally agree with you that 8-10k crits are a bit much.

I never said that Holy Paladins made arenas easy - I meant that Holy Paladins, out of the 3 paladin specs, have it the easiest. Retribution Paladins are severely nerfed as far as PvP goes and Protection isn't exactly meant for PvP. I agree wholeheartedly that Resto Druids are OP - however, it does make me giddy that I'm one of the few class/spec's that have the easiest time with them. Yay BoF, JoJ, +Avenging Wrath, KABOOM!

Emory said...

Sorry Prettyboi, I shoulda mentioned that I was saying "as far as holy pallies being easy to get to a high rating with..." I was replying to the comment above mine, from Ben.

You do make a good point though, about it being welfare gear, but look at the opposite situation; PvP before the expansion, when the best pvp gear was gotten from raids, and in order to get any epic pvp gear, you basically had to pvp -all- the time. While they may have tipped the scales a bit far in the opposite direction, I still think it's better now that pvp gear is the best you can get for pvp (at least, in most cases).