Friday, May 1, 2009

Blue Post: Possible boost for Spirit

For those of you don't know Patch 3.1.2 is now on the PTR. It is a small patch, but it has a pretty significant change for druids.

* Innervate now Causes the target to regenerate mana equal to 450% of the casting Druid's base mana pool over 20 sec sec.

* Glyph of Innervate - Innervate now grants the caster 90% of base mana pool over 20 sec sec in addition to the normal effects of Innervate. (Old - Innervate now grants the caster full mana regeneration while casting for 20 sec, in addition to the effect on the target. If the caster targets self, the mana regeneration effect of your Innervate is increased by 20%.)
This change to Innervate isn't all that unexpected given some of the things Ghostcrawler has been saying on the forums recently. From a PvE perspective it is about neutral for moonkin, and makes innervate better for Pallys and Shaman. For PvP, it is a good change given the complete lack of Spirit on PvP gear.

As a side effect, this change has prompted a quite a bit of discussion on the value of spirit for druids, and Ghostcrawler has decided to chime in with a couple of comments.First he said this:

Spirit isn't an attractive enough stat for Balance druids. That's a problem, but Innervate is not a great solution to that problem. As I said in a previous post, it's more like int and crit become great regen stats for Balance, which then leaves spirit to become a damage stat... which you have to admit is a little weird. (That said, we may still boost it for Balance in the near term.) (source)

Then he followed it up with this.

We aren't taking Spirit off of gear. It's a stat in the game and we need to use it. "Sub-optimal" is not the same as "worthless." Spirit on plate is worthless.

We did improve the set bonus by quite a bit, and we are considering increasing the amount of spellpower provided by Improved Moonkin Form.

Long term we would still like to evaluate whether we're happy with there being so much crossover of Int becoming a mana regen stat and Spirit becoming a dps stat.

Finally he said this:

Making Improved Moonkin Form grant 30% Spirit to spellpower instead of 15% is the kind of thing that would make Spirit a more attractive stat.

First off, I assume that when he says "We did improve the set bonus by quite a bit" he is referring to the increase in the 4T8 proc rate to 15% instead of 5%. This is being reported in the EJ forums. Hopefully we will be able to provide a value for it soon.

The more significant part about the comment is that how he talks about buffing Spirit. I do agree that something needs to be done to buff Spirit for Moonkin. Its ridiculous that Warlocks benefit from it more then we do. That just doesn't make sense from a game design stand point or a lore stand point in my opinion.

However, I think it is a bit like putting a band aid on a stab wound. The problem isn't that Spirit is a "Sub-optimal" stat. The problem is how blizzard is choosing to design gear.

I think the old method worked fairly well. If you look at the cloth and leather caster raid gear before 3.1 a majority of it followed a pretty standard path. The stats could be divided into two groups: Fixed stats and Variable stats.

The Fixed stats were Stam, Int, and Spell Power, and they were on 99% of the cloth and leather gearing options. The Variable stats were Hit, Haste, Crit, and Spirit, and most gear choice had two of thes four stats. Items with spirit obviously lent themselves to healers more then DPS, and the items without spirit were considered to be DPS items.

With the release of patch 3.1 Blizzard seems to have changed its philosophy. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but they've done it in the worst way possible.

A vast majority of the cloth and leather caster gear in Ulduar has spirit, and Blizzard seems to be interested in making it a Fixed stat. Again, that's not necessarily a bad thing but they haven't committed to the switch and it has reeked havoc on gearing/looting decisions for caster DPS.

Of the choices without Spirit, most of them have Hit rating. This is fine to me because hit rating is awesome but very limited because of the cap. The problem is with the 2 or 3 awesome items that have Stam, Int, Spell Power, Crit and Haste. Every Moonkin, Warlock, Mage, and Shadow Priest in the game will want these options, and an item designed like this is clearly better then items of a higher item level not designed this way.

If you want Spirit to be a Fixed stat for caster DPS then you can't create items like [Robes of the Umbral Brute], because it is so clearly superior to anything with Spirit.

Secondly, there is always going to be a problem with secondary item slots like Necks, Rings, Backs, and Weapons, since Spirit is a horrible stat for Paladins and Shaman. Unfortunately Blizzard doesn't have a good way to say that a neck is meant for a Holy Pally instead of a Moonkin, but an item that is designed perfectly for the Holy Pally will also be very good for a moonkin, and likely better then an option with Spirit on it.

Finally, Blizzard has to itemize the tier sets more fairly. If you look at the T8 Moonkin sets, 4 out of 5 slots have Spirit. It sucks, but I could understand it if other casters were designed similarly. However, if you look at the Mage set, Warlock set, and Shadow Priest set, you will see that all of them have only 3 out of 5 pieces with Spirit. What sense does that make?

Mages and Shadow Priests have their own issues with Spirit, but it is arguable that Warlocks benefit more form Spirit then Moonkin do. So why are Moonkin being singled out and forced to have more of a "sub-optimal" stat then other caster DPS are not? It isn't fair.

So in conclusion, while I would love to see spirit made more valuable for moonkin given the current state of Ulduar gear, but Spirit is not the problem. The haphazard way in which Blizzard itemizes the gear is the problem.

Personally, I think Blizzard should go back to the old method and allow Spirit to be "sub-optimal" but optional stat. However, if you choose to continue putting Spirit on almost all cloth and leather caster gear then commit to it completely.


Doomfire said...

Great points all around.

I've always thought that an interesting way to allow people to customize gear would be changing socket bonuses so they would adjust to whatever color gem you are using.

Red gem would grant a socket bonus of spellpower/crit/haste

Yellow gem would grant a socket bonus of intellect or hit

Blue gem would grant a socket bonus of spirit or mp5

The socket bonuses would need to be increased overall from their current levels, but would allow a lot more customization for the end user and fits with Blizzard's idea of trying to force multiple classes into the same gear.

Now this obviously wouldn't be a way to fix Moonkin spirit, but would fix our itemization to an extent.

Phil said...

That answers my question much more thoroughly than I had intended. Thank you.

~Gargen of Vek'nilash

Korhaug said...

Making spirit a fixed stat is definitely the elegant solution. This is what they did with feral gear - there is no more gear itemized specifically for feral druids. Even the tier items are itemized like rogue gear. Once you do that you can balance around it, and everything is fine.

The problem with that is that it will make caster gearing incredibly dull. Wrath epics have 5 stats on them for the most part. Currently you have stam, int and SP, and then you fill two slots from 4 stats (hit, crit, haste, spirit). If you fix spirit you'll only have 1 slot to fill from 3 stats, and all gear will basically feel the same.

Caster gearing is already more boring then melee (which have more useful stats to choose from), so I doubt spirit-free gear will disappear any time soon.

Jormundgard said...

Thank goodness the designers read your blog, hopefully this will make a difference. I know that they want mana management to become an interesting mechanics, but lately they're just forcing us to work around it. Here's hoping they apply some sanity to itemization soon.

Jormundgard said...

You probably heard, but it looks like they did bump the spirit bonus to from 15% to 30% spellpower.

Kehlim said...

They actually increased the spellpower bonus from spirit to 30% with improved moonkin from on the PTR.

Even though this gives us a nice DPS boost but it does not fix our most important problem: the lack of crit. The nerfs to scorch, the mana-regen, the potential loss of the 4pc T7 -bonus and the sprit-loaded itemization in Ulduar decreases our DPS significantly. Sometimes I have to cast 15+ wraths to get an eclipse proc and very often I can't even fully use this because most encounters involve lots of movement. Mana can also become an issue in 10-man raids without replenishment.

I seriously hope Blizzard considers changing improved moonkin form to give 15% spellpower and 20-25% crit. I think with would fix most of our problems without making us OP.

Shem said...

I totally agree with the OP and I think Blizzard needs to take a look at this.

Having hit or spirit on almost every "caster" piece in Ulduar is especially harsh on Moonkin who get the most hit from talents as well as one of the poorest spirit:dps ratio.

Giving us addition bonus from spirit IS a nice buff. But fixing itemisation would be an even nicer buff.

Aarondf said...
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Aarondf said...

Any chance at seeing a new numerical ranking for the gear lists that take into account the extra spirit-to-spellpower boost?

Tweetee said...

1st of all i have to say gratz on this website...finally something worth reading about us Mighty Chickens.

I'm not much into theorycrafting etc etc...i just go with common sense but my wishlist and urs only differ on trinkets so i must be on the right track, anyway i was wondering if u r going to update the gear list now that they buffed the spirit % on improved moonkin aura.

Personally i dont think theres going to be much change but it would be nice to see if i was right or wrong.

oh one last thing is it true they are upgrade the proc rate on the 4T8 bonus.... coz if its true then that plus the spirit buff then some pcs HAVE to change

DjWillieC said...
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Puut said...

"So in conclusion, while I would love to see spirit made more valuable for moonkin given the current state of Ulduar gear, but Spirit is not the problem. The haphazard way in which Blizzard itemizes the gear is the problem."

Could not agree with this comment to any greater extent. Itemization is terrible for a number of classes, my beloved elemental shaman are in this boat with moonkins. Fingers crossed for the devs to make some changes, but I am not holding my breath.

Walter said...

Not to mention full T7 with nothing but the T8 pants is the same or better than a full T8 set.

If new gear is not an upgrade that seems to me to be broken.

Great post BTW I hope GC reads it. I feel like balance for the most part gets ignored.