Wednesday, April 6, 2011

more shards for you: spellpower plate

News! Discussion! Opinions!

Let's talk about spellpower plate. Or rather, let's talk about what Ghostcrawler said about spellpower plate.

How do you feel about holy paladins being the only spec in the game with gear devoted to it?

I'm okay with it. No, really. The alternatives are far worse, clunky if you will.

We could wear mail. True, but we could also wear tutus and prance around with wands. Can you imagine a flipping PALADIN hopping around with a wand and ballerina slippers? I'll pass, thanks.

We could wear strength plate using conversions of melee stats. Then we'd heal AND be able to throw it down like a melee. Sure, we could be redesigned like cleric in DnD who got the best of all worlds: healing, armor, and power. And then ret and holy alike would have to ride the nerf-coaster while they got us 'balanced'. And by balanced, I mean, not #1 in PvP.

Pass. I'd rather not deal with the rogue tears.

Another problem with the strength plate idea is the gear competition. Right now, things are slated a little in favor of holy paladins. We gear up pretty quickly. Yet, lumping us in with the strength-plate crowd isn't an answer to the loot distribution problem. Warriors, Death Knights, and Paladins are popular classes. Melee DPS is a popular role. At least in my raid, the competition is still pretty fierce for strength plate.

It's anecdotal, but I noticed last night that I'm one of the weakest-geared healers in my raid.

Spellpower plate gets sharded in droves, it's true! But regular raid groups are sharding lots of stuff off the first few bosses. We're sharding the spellpower legs off of Halfus not because spellpower plate shouldn't be in the game, but because we've been sharding every. single. drop. from Halfus for weeks now.

(Three BoEs dropped last night before Chogall trash, 2 agility trinkets and the healer staff. No one seems to be complaining about all the extras of these we don't need...)

The other huge problem I see with a strength-plate conversion is how differently things are itemized across strength classes. Different classes want different things, and that's a good thing. But if holy paladins had a conversion, it would be tricky as hell to figure out what we wanted. (Other than to avoid expertise like the plague if it was converted to mastery!). And then Rohan over at Blessing of Kings brings up an very good point: if we have a conversion for plate, what about non-plate stuff? Do we roll jewelry like healers, or like plate dps? We'd be Ninja Raiders!

I've heard the argument that spellpower plate is wasteful . Okay, IRL I'm all for being green and reusing bags and wearing clothes till the zippers rust and turning the heat down and not wasting gas.

But this is not real. Pixels can not be wasted. We do not need to remove spellpower plate to 'conserve' gear. Waste is not a bad thing in a video game, in fact, it's good. It ensures that the content has repeat value.

I mean, if we're going to remove spellpower plate to make sure that the loot distribution is "more fair", the next step, obviously, is that the game should check the raid composition and only drop things that those classes can use. No druids or rogues in the raid? Guaranteed no leather!

Oh, wait. We still might have repeat drops. Instead, we should have the game not only spec-check, but gear-check. If all the clothies have a 359 helm, no helm would drop off that boss. That way, each boss kill guarantees only useful and necessary things that we need.

So then we need to kill each boss exactly three times before the whole raid is decked out. Then we have no reason to come back, except to push through to the bosses we haven't done three times yet. And what happens when said raid already has everything off that boss already? Does he just drop nothing?

Wait, I know! Every boss will drop tokens, which can be turned into.... anything! You get a token, take it to the npc, then you choose what slot you want it to fit into. Then you choose what secondary stats you want. Every boss is guaranteed loot, and it's exactly what you want... every time!

Does that actually sound fun?

If you're raiding every week, you've probably sharded a whole bunch of gear, and only a tiny amount of that was spellpower plate. Waste and RNG in drops are an important part of raiding. We notice the spellpower plate because it sticks out more obviously, but every week we 'waste' a whole lot of gear.

And again, not a bad thing. We need incentives to keep raiding the fights we've already learned. Large loot tables help keep things interesting.

I agree that spellpower plate is a bit clunky, but the alternatives are more broken than it stands currently.


  1. I kind of have to disagree to an extent. While I agree that "wasted" drops are a natural part of raiding, there are degrees to everything. Do you miss having to shard feral druid relics? Probably not. Blizzard did away with all other drops that were only useful for a single spec and it's fair to point out that holy pallies being the only exception is awkward.

    That said, they seem to have done a decent job this expansion actually lowering the amount of random spell plate drops, as I haven't seen nearly as many of them so far as I used to, and while gearing up my own paladin I actually found myself wondering where all the healing plate had gone (which is a good thing IMO).

    I have to say I quite liked the suggestion that I've seen elsewhere, to simply make intellect plate useful for more specs (retri pallies, death knights?) But I guess Blizzard would shy away from completely overhauling another class's mechanics just to address loot imbalances.

  2. I'd thought about the possibility of ret pallies and dks using spellpower plate, but that also sounds like a huge problem till they figured it out. Blizzard has been keeping such a close eye on Ret and Prot's healing abilities. To keep them even, while putting Ret in intellect gear, they would have to nerf the hell out of paladin's baseline healing and bake extra healing, efficiency, and mana into the talent tree. Which would be alright, as long as you don't spec holy until you're level 85.

    Indeed, I am glad that relics have been streamlined. I think the biggest problem with those dropping was that there was also always one available from the points vendor. I like how they do it now: we buy those with points, or get them from heroics, but not from raids. I think that was a great idea.

    And it seems to me like there is less spellpower plate in Cataclysm than there was in, say, Ulduar. Perhaps there's less variety in all gear (I think there may be, though I haven't been paying attention for sure), but it hasn't felt like a problem.

    Rather, not that it's not a problem, but it's not such a big problem that I want it changed. If I got to pick what Blizzard worried about, it would be some variety in paladin healing, not loot!

  3. As of today, I have 78 boss kills in BWD/BoT under my belt. I have the following pieces of spell plate looted from bosses: Shoulders (Chimaeron - 7 kills), Chest (Magmaw - 13 kills), Legs (Halfus - 13 kills) , Feet (Trons - 13 kills); of these, I have not seen the Shoulders or Legs drop more than once.
    I have yet to see Head (Council - 5 kills), Wrist (Chogall - 2 kills), or Gloves (Maloriak - 9 kills) drop.
    If people think that it's unfair for me to have 4 pieces of Spell Plate from 78 boss kills, or put another way, from 14 weeks of raiding, then I can only shake my head and disagree with them.
    Blizzard are not showing me favouritism over other classes as far as I am concerned.
    Oh yes, and the only trash drop we get is a belt that no Holy Paladin should even want.

  4. Alipally, thanks for stopping by! Sounds like you've been unlucky with the healadin drops. I still have never seen bracers, and we just last week saw our first healing paladin head.

    The trash belt highlights another problem: we have items for the same slot available from rep AND as an extremely common drop from Conclave (in randomized form), so why in the world is there a BoE belt? I guess I'm of the opinion that BoE epic drops should be itemized more generally, IE, we have 5 casters still crossing their fingers each time we pull the BWD trash for their wand.