Continuing yesterday’s explanation of Wrath itemization, let’s experiment and take it a step further. Here are some further class changes Blizzard could make to simplify the “nobody in our guild could use this loot” problem. (Rampant armchair game design follows.)
Remove all plate caster armor
Paladins would wear caster mail.
Rework shaman healers, shaman nukers, and paladin healers to share stat itemization goals. (Maybe add a talent to shaman healers that their Chain Heal hits another target if they crit.)
What about the armor the paladins would lose in dropping to mail? Give the holy paladin an armor multiplier buff (+20%, 10s?), renewable each time they cast a healing spell. Make this buff incompatible with Righteous Fury, to prevent self-healing pally tanks. Shammies and pallies already share shields (and are the only ones who use them), so all caster shields could use the new system.
Remove all caster leather
Druids would wear caster cloth.
Make the tree of life and boomkin forms add an armor multiplier (+25% flat) so that druids don’t lose any armor in this transition.
Most caster druids I know already mix in cloth by necessity, anyway.
Remove all leather tanking gear
Druids would wear melee leather.
Rework bear form/abilities/talents such that leather melee gear and tanking accessories rings/trinkets/necklaces is good enough for bears. There’s barely any druid tanking gear outside pvp anyway.
The GoW “Maybe Someday” Revision
Continuing the examples from yesterday, after the above changes, we’d end up with:
- Plate melee — deathknight 1.5/3, paladin 1/3, warrior 2/3
- Plate tanking — deathknight 1.5/3, paladin 1/3, warrior 1/3
- Mail non-caster — hunter 3/3, shaman 1/3
- Mail caster — shaman 2/3, paladin 1/3
- Leather non-caster — druid 2/4, rogue 3/3
- Cloth caster — mage 3/3, warlock 3/3, priest 3/3, druid 2/4
We’ve gone from twelve kinds of gear in TBC to nine kinds in Wrath to six in my mythical redesign. My redesign has zero niche categories; it has one tanking set, three non-casting dps sets, two caster sets.
This is a leap, but it’s not out there.
Cloth would get too many people wearing it (11 builds) when compared with plate, leather, and mail (3 or 4 builds per specialization). So let’s do one more rebalance and in doing so, head out to la-la land!
Remove Leather and Mail armor, replace with Scale
Hunters, shammies, pally casters, rogues and druids would wear the new armor type Scale.
Align the abilities and gear goals of leather/mail casters (shaman, paladin, druid) and the mail/leather non-casters (hunter, shaman, druid, rogue) in ways like the ones listed above. Which yields:
Remove all (plate) tanking gear
Put all tanking bonuses in sockets/enchants/rings/necklaces/shields etc. Plate would make tough and help you attack, but wouldn’t be tied to tanking unless you tankified it yourself. That’d make the feral druids happy, they like rings and necklaces and trinkets and so on.
The GoW “La-la Land” Revision
- Plate non-caster — deathknight 3/3, paladin 2/3, warrior 3/3
- Scale caster — shaman 2/3, paladin 1/3, druid 2/4
- Scale non-caster — hunter 3/3, shaman 1/3, rogue 3/3, druid 2/4
- Cloth caster — mage 3/3, warlock 3/3, priest 3/3
This isn’t perfect, but you see what I’m getting at: WoW loot, now with Nicheguard. There are currently entire instances without loot for some niches. This would very much fix that. Would every drop be a perfect match for every member in that category? Nah, there’s still a lot of room for optimization, with some pieces being better than others for each class. But will stuff flat out be dismissed due to one class/spec not being present? Unlikely!
The downside to any of these revisions? Well, the game-wide reitemization for one. The talent reworkings, basically a redesign for some classes. Also, the professions system is currently built on armor-type, so Leatherworkers would become Scaleworkers(?), while blacksmiths would finally drop their weird mailcrafting abilities.
Quite a bit of work for a game currently live with ten million subscribers clamoring for cool new content.
This is why I don’t think we’ll see anything along these lines in the current WoW, but given how Blizzard is tweaking the game, I wouldn’t be surprised to see something like this in WoW2 or whatever their next MMO is.