Friday, July 9, 2010

When Gear Scaling Arrives Too Late

When Lyriana attacks an enemy she always crits. Twice. With each hand.

The punchline is that my little Dirge is not relying on top end raid gear, or even group dungon loot, to transform into a walking Chuck Norris fact. The majority of her gear consists of quest and faction rewards from the solo quests of the current expansion. She's been on three successful dungeon runs and got a few pieces of level 90 loot. Apparently those first few pieces were enough to make me bump up against 100% for both crit and double attack chance.

(The DA number includes a 15% buff that I can only cast on a single person at a time, and would most likely go to a pure DPS or tanking class rather than myself in a group setting. The crit number is a also technically a soft cap because it takes more crit to affect higher level boss targets in EQ2. Even so, I'm not yet doing dungeon runs in earnest and I'm already starting to swap out gear to shift away from the stats that I'm capped in - the "crit bonus" stat that improves the amount of damage you do on a crit is comparatively more valuable when EVERY hit is a crit.)

This situation arrived in EQ2 because the game was desperately due for a gear scaling adjustment with the last expansion. Unfortunately, the developers managed to get browbeaten out of doing so by community outcry, and the result is a situation where, as Ferrel notes, we're left to wonder what will happen next expansion, triple attack and extra critical hits?

The problem is that, once the situation gets this badly out of hand, the solution is bound to be painful. WoW's gear situation may be almost as bad after the game had to add multiple tiers of additional hard mode loot to the current expansion. The rumor out of the Cataclysm alpha was that combat ratings will decrease in effectiveness by a whopping six-fold between level 80 and level 85. Part of the idea there is to leave room for future expansion so that the next time the curve does not need to be so steep. In this case, it might actually be difficult to keep players from actively becoming LESS powerful when they gain levels in the Cataclysm era.

The challenge, then, is to scale gear downwards BEFORE things get so out of hand. That, apparently, can be easier said than done.


Magson said...

My coercer is mostly in instance loot anymore and sits at something like 130% crit chance, 40% crit bonus, 35% potency, and 800-ish ability modifier. I'm constantly on the lookout for items that will increase potency and crit bonus, becuz 100% crit and 800-ish ability mod are more or less the caps for coercers. We cast fast but we cast small, so ability mod over 800 doesn't really do much for us.

Oddly enough I'm having a tougher time gearing up my SK. Crit chance is 94% now and double attack is almost 90%. Potency's only 12% and that's due to getting 8% from my AA's. Even with it not all being capped, it's still pretty insane what I can do with this toon, so yeah, I completely agree that gear's out of whack.

Everblue said...

Apparently in Cataclysm later tier bosses will have "expertise" (meaning that tanks need to stack more avoidance rating to achieve the same gross avoidance percentage), "resilience" (resistance to crits) and so on, thus allowing gear to provide material upgrades without ruining the game experience.

This is a good idea I think - players get the big numbers they want without later raids becoming unbalanced.

Lomax said...

My Guardian is in mostly level 90 legendary gear and sits at 96% crit, 94% double attack.

Along with that other stats like haste are at the diminishing returns spot already.

Definitely screwed up badly, the lack of gear degredation means that the next expansion is going to need massive inflation to make things worthwhile, and with many stats now redundant like crit there are only a few areas they can expand players power in.

Such a massive expansion then means the gap between top and bottom end players grows even more...

Out of whack at the top end for sure, it doesn't matter how good the graphics are or how much content you have, if the core game mechanics don't work very well nothing works, this is where the top end of EQ2 is heading. I really do hope the new producer makes some bold moves here.