Saturday, February 7, 2009

Managing the hit cap

My wife sometimes watches me game from across the room while she's working on other things, and she noticed that I had gotten out a pencil and paper and was jotting down stats from my character sheet. Whenever I start writing stuff down (or using a spreadsheet), either I'm being slightly neurotic about my gear planning again OR there's something wonky about game mechanics going on. She was curious which it was this time.

To backtrack a step, I first got the gear to reach the Wrath "hit cap" (368 for mages who are able to get at a 3% talent) with the assistance of food a month ago. The setup I had, however, proved short-lived.

PVE Gear Upgrades
First, I got the [Sundial of the Exiled] trinket for heroic emblems. This thing is good enough for mage DPS that it was worth falling 55 rating below the cap just to have it instead of the [Rune of Infinite Power]. Next, I finished the Loremaster achievement, earning the right to make a [Deathchill Cloak] which rendered my old [Cloak of Seething Steam] obsolete. Finally, I obtained a [Girdle of Bane], which competes with my [Belt of Dark Mending] for my waist slot in PVE.

PVE sidegrades
As if that part of the picture wasn't complicated enough, there are also PVP sidegrades to consider. I do still run Wintergrasp at least once a day, so I'm swimming in Wintergrasp marks. That allowed me to snag a [Titan-forged Hood of Dominance] to swap in for my everyday [Titan-forged Hood of Salvation], and a [Hateful Gladiator's Pendant of Ascendancy] as a backstop for my everyday [Hateful Gladiator's Pendant of Subjugation]. Both of these are nice to have because they're one for one trades of haste rating for hit rating. Many of my other spell hit pieces offer less in the way of spell power and other stats (see the belts above), but with these I'm just swapping out one rating for another that's more valuable against raid bosses.

Somewhere along the way, I also picked up a pair of [Titan-forged Slippers of Dominance], which shares time with my [Sandals of Crimson Fury]. (Ironically, the slippers were my main PVP shoes for a while, because I opted to purchase all the other Wintergrasp rewards before finally going back to get the more PVP-oriented [Titan-forged Slippers of Salvation]).

Adding it up
Now you may be able to guess where the pencil and paper came in. For those keeping score at home, my gear minus the two pieces that I got major upgrades for was at 273 hit rating. That would appear to be a 95 point deficit. Then I resocketed my [Water-Drenched Robe] with an orange and a green gem that offer hit rating. This cost me 19 spell damage, but gained me 16 hit rating (I didn't go with pure yellows because of the socket bonus, and because, at the time, I needed a blue gem in one of the slots for meta purposes), leaving me with 79 points to cover. The pencil and paper were to figure out which two items I should swap for their hit rating upgrades from the following list:

[Titan-forged Hood of Salvation] -> [Titan-forged Hood of Dominance]
[Hateful Gladiator's Pendant of Subjugation] -> [Hateful Gladiator's Pendant of Ascendancy]
[Belt of Dark Mending] -> [Girdle of Bane]
[Sandals of Crimson Fury] -> [Titan-forged Slippers of Dominance]

For extra added bonus confusion, I can choose to eat [Snapper Extreme] for 40 hit rating instead of [Firecracker Salmon] for 46 spell power. (I don't always run with a food buff, but I do try to make the extra effort when there's a boss fight involved.)

My best guess before I got tired of thinking about it was that the Hood and the Pendant are the winners since both rep reward purples are better than their counterparts. That puts me at 367, which means that I have some small miss rate, but it's not worth fretting over. (I suppose I could always regem the robe again for a yellow, which would cost me the 6 rating socket bonus and result in a net gain of 2, which would be one point over.)

The upgrades aren't necessarily finished, however. I'm still using a green wand, the [Wand of Blinding Light], because it's actually one of the best options for pre-raid mages, and I could lose the 15 hit rating on that piece if I upgrade it. That one I could paper over (again, resocket the robe to a pair of yellows).

The robe itself is the larger issue. I'm currently getting 84 hit rating out of that one slot, and could push that to 94 with yellow gems. The robe that I use in my everyday gear, the [Robe of Crackling Flames] spends so much of its budget on mana regen that I'm comfortable making that swap. If I were to pick up the [Heroes' Frostfire Robe], on the other hand, I'd be in for some tough decision-making. The robe has spirit and crit rating, and generally I get better scaling out of haste, but it also offers some every nice spell power and would unlock the 2 piece bonus for my mage. However, if I filled the yellow socket with an orange spell power/hit rating gem, I'd have as many as 80 points of hit rating to make up. I can do 40 of those with the food, but I'd also have to swap in either the belt or the boots to make it work.

(On the flipside, the [Heroes' Frostfire Leggings] replace the resilience on my [Deadly Gladiator's Silk Trousers] with hit rating, and thereby free up one of my other slots. However, it would also create a new problem because I'm using the blue socket on the Gladiator pants to fill meta requirements. If I do get those pants, it might be the last straw that convinces me to go Jewelcrafter so I can use [Runed Dragon's Eye] to end the blue gem problem.)

Is the blogger more crazy than the game?
All of which brings me back to the question I asked the first time I talked about this issue. Is having a hit cap that I have to try and reach, but not exceed, really the best design for this system? I don't know, but I'd like to think that it's not just me.


Pangoria Fallstar said...

Essentiallly it's a game within a game. Many people (my wife) will just ask ME to do it, or follow an online guide or never bother with it. But for those of us seeking that extra little bit of throughput. That's when we play this mini-game.

Green Armadillo said...

It is as much of a meta-game as a mini-game. As far as I'm aware, the existence of a hit cap isn't even documented anywhere in-game (and spell misses were reported by the game's UI as "resists" until patch 3.0).

I would probably mind it less if it weren't for the issue of actually storing all of this side-grade gear in case you need it down the line.

Harold said...

Have you put a belt-buckle on the belt? They're rather cheap to get and that gives you an extra slot to play with in which you could put a hitrating gem of any colour you like.

Anonymous said...

I'm responding to something you posted a couple days ago, about being almost done with non-raid WoW content.

I've been finding more and more, especially in Wrath, that WoW is deeper with greater content than I had thought. Obviously in your recent milestones post you have accomplished a lot of the more optional, fun things that are out there.

But there are a lot more - I'm not even halfway to getting a Red Proto-Drake from Heroic Achievements. I sadly missed the chance to get a ZA Bear Mount forever (coolest mount in the game, imho), but I've decided to go back and get a Netherdrake. The gold is nowhere near as good as Wrath dailies, but the ride is gonna be nice.

Anyway, there's a lot of stuff out there, and I know you know about it. I think it's more a question of having your fill of that kind of thing than running out of it.