Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Invisible stats

Some of the items I received recently make me scratch my head:
These four items are ilevel 128 and they replaced items of 115 value (mostly Karazhan stuff).

The problem is that despite their higher ilevel, equipping these pieces have made my Hit Rating and my AP drop substantially (hit went down from 251 to 193... ouch), and for Rogues, these stats are usually our measuring stick, so I'm guessing they actually offer bonuses in the form of "invisible" stats.

For example, the Choker improves my Haste Rating by 25. My attempts to find some meaningful (i.e. Elitist Jerks or Shadow Panther) explanations of why this stat is important have not been very successful, and as far as I can tell, Haste Rating cannot even be seen on my Character panel.

The Money Belt ignores 77 of my opponent's armor, which doesn't seem very significant, but I guess considering the number of attacks that a Rogue does, it probably adds up and translates into a reasonable increase of DPS (and my cloak already ignores 112 armor, so that's 188 armor ignored total).

So I pulled my faithful Rogue DPS spreadsheet, entered the new information and I started crunching a few numbers. Here are the results.

First, here are the abbreviations I'll be using for this study:
  1. The Savage Choker (ilevel 128, increases Haste Rating)
  2. Worgen's Claw Necklace (ilevel 115)

  3. Gloves of the Searing Grip (ilevel 128, increases Expertise)
  4. Netherblade Gloves (ilevel 120)

  5. Bladeangel's Money Belt (ilevel 128, ignores opponent's armor)
  6. Primalstrike Belt (ilevel 115)

  7. Boots of Effortless Striking (ilevel 128).
  8. Edgewalker's Long Boots (ilevel 115)
The baseline combination is 1357 (maximized ilevel) and the spreadsheet gives me a DPS of 737, which sounds a bit low compared to my observed DPS in raids, but it doesn't matter since I just want to compare configurations. In the combinations below, keep in mind that odd numbers correspond to an ilevel 128 item and even numbers represent a lower ilevel.

Here are the DPS values obtained for combinations of these pieces (sorry for the big vertical space, but it's blogger being a pest):

CombinationVariation in DPS

The surprise is that the Worgen neck piece seems to improve DPS whenever it's used instead of the Savage Choker, despite it being ilevel 128. The rest of the data seems to confirm that for gloves and belt, the increase in ilevel does translate into an increase of DPS, although it's very slight. The worst case scenario (-10 DPS) means that you will be hitting a boss for 4800 less damage over an eight minute fight. Considering these bosses have 4+ million hit points, it doesn't seem to be very significant.

The first clear conclusion of this study is that the Worgen Claw Necklace and the Edgewalker's Long Boots (both ilevel 115) are better than their ilevel 128 counterparts: they increase DPS in every combination where they are used. For the other two slot pieces, higher ilevel translates into higher DPS, which gives me the answer that I was looking for: the best combination is seems to be 2358 (two ilevel 128 and two ilevel 115).

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Weapon skills need to die

My warrior is leveling nicely and I'm having a reasonable amount of fun with it. By reasonable, I mean that the grind is not too painful, but the Warrior class definitely doesn't have any of the various "oomphes" that other classes have when they level (Rogue: "I ripped this clothie mob in 5 seconds", Mage: "Look how I take down 80% of this mob's health before it can even reach me", Lock: "Watch me solo an elite 4 levels above me", etc...).

No such achievement for a warrior: you just charge, whack whack whack, see the mob's health drop slowly and marvel at the occasional crit, and then do it again. I suspect leveling a paladin is equally non-eventful.

I leveled Arms until 41 with the Warrior quest weapon (very nice) and I then respecced Fury and I am currently double wielding two blue weapons and waiting until level 51 where the AV reward should grant me another uberleetwtfbbq two-hander.

A blue axe dropped for me in ZF last night. "Sweet", I thought when I saw it, "Nice axe! Oh... no... an axe".

I have nothing against axes in particular, it's just that at 47, I never used one yet, so my axe skill is at 0. Which means, it's time for the stupid weapon skill up dance.

So here I go, picking on the lowest level mobs possible (still around 45 where I am currently grinding), pop on Defensive Stance with a shield (have to last as long as possible), auto-swing the axe, occasionally use an ability that might prolong the fight (Demoralizing Shout or similar), and when my health has dropped significantly, Piercing Howl and run like a little girl. Bandage. Repeat.


Weapon skilling up is this thing that you either never notice (typically when you just leveled and your cap is now 5 higher, but the increase in miss rate is hardly noticeable until you cap it again) or just a mind-numbing process that can be done while browsing the web. I wish Blizzard would remove it altogether, I can't see any point in this drudgery any more, especially since they keep adding new stats that are more interesting to analyze and work on (weapon expertise comes to mind).

Or is there something I'm missing?