Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Rumination on Stat Design

You may have seen this blue post regarding the Balance of Power Tooltip:
Okay, I see the problem here. The tooltip says "Increases your chance to hit with all spells and reduces the damage taken by all spells by 6%."

This can be interpreted two ways:

Increases your chance to hit. Also reduces damage taken by 6%.


Increases your chance to hit by 6% and reduces damage taken by 6%.

Back when both numbers were 4%, the distinction didn't matter. However, the first one is correct. We only changed the defensive part of the talent to reduce damage taken rather than reduce chance to be hit.

We need to change the tooltip to "Increases your chance to hit with all spells by 4% and reduces the damage taken by all spells by 6%."
This is not a big surprise. PTR testing showed that BoP only gave 4% chance to hit, but I can understand the continued confusion from the moonkin community. However, that is not what I want to talk you about today. Another post in this thread caught my eye.

Strumvogel made this comment:
Well Hit in general is a pretty lame stat, its just a "raiding tax" gear wise. It's completely arbitrary in the amount required, pretty much useless beyond that point and isn't terribly 'fun' as a stat.
I understand where she (The toon is a girl. I assume girl) is coming from. Hit Rating is the only stat that prevents something bad from happening while the 3 other DPS stats provide something good. So with. haste you can gloat over your shorter cast time. With crit you get the warm fuzzies of large numbers bouncing across your screen. With hit all you can say is "Woot! My spell did what it normally would." I agree that it doesn't look sexy or like a lot of fun, but that is just on the surface. Hit rating is the one stat that every DPSer agonizes over while making making gear choices and it is a little sexier then it seems.

Over all, I like how the DPS stats are set up for Moonkin currently. Hit rating is the best stat point for point, but you only want a limited quantity. Spell Power is the base DPS stat, and is acquired in standard amounts based upon ilevel. Haste rating is a great stat in the beginning but loses ground after a soft cap. Crit rating is a solid all around stat, but inferior to the other stats available to some extent.

This is why Hit is sexy. Look at the variety we have. We have four DPS stats that do a lot of different things and we have to balance them as best we can. The variety forces us to make critical choices on how we gear our selves.

Hit is so extremely important that we have to have it, but getting to much is a waste of itemization. Therefore, we ask questions like: 1. Which 4 or 5 items am I going to use to get to the hit cap? What happens if item X drops? How am I going to drop/add hit rating to get back to the cap?

We ask a lot of the same questions when trying to balance Crit vs Haste. What is the best way to get to the Haste Soft Cap? Then how do I focus on Crit rating more? What happens when I pick up a new item?

I don't think all of them would admit it, but I think a lot of raiders really enjoy this process. That is why you see so many BIS lists when a new raid instance becomes available. We like sorting through the data to see which pieces of gear get us there in the best way.

Now what if we dropped Hit Rating from the equation? The choices become pretty simple. Which item has the most Spell Power? Do I have 400 haste rating? If so, Which item has the most Crit? Ultimately which items you choose would primarily come down to the items with the highest ilevel.

Of course that already happens to some extent, but not always. For example, Graylo is currently wearing [Bindings of the Expansive Mind] to reach the hit cap, but I also have [Unsullied Cuffs] which are of a higher ilevel. This is why I think Hit rating is a sexy stat. Hit Rating has the potential to make a lower level item better then an item of a higher tier. That is why I don't think that Hit Rating is a lame stat.


Anonymous said...

"Sturmvogel" is German and means "storm bird" just in case you wonder where that name might come from.

Lherin said...

I don't have a problem with hit per se. I have a problem with stat-flation, and the fact that items are getting a ridiculous amount of hit now makes gearing a never ending one step back, two steps forward.

I don't find it fun to have to keep a variety of hit gear in my bags 'just in case' I have to swap a new piece of gear in. When the hit cap was lower, and gear budgets were smaller, I noticed this problem a lot less, you could often tweak your hit pretty easily through small adjustments. Unfortunately now a 'small' amount of hit on a piece of gear is on the order of 30-40 hit, which is not granular enough IMHO.

Lherin said...

As a quick example, in last night's algalon I didn't have a draenei available for my group, so I had to swap in some hit gear. I went from 0.5% under the cap, to 1.1% over the cap, because that's the smallest change I could make.

Macbook said...

I agree with you here Gray, if it weren't for us always to stay hit capped, gearing would be relatively boring. I am currently a tad over cap (its like 10.20%), which gives me a little wiggle room if I need to swap some gear out.

I also agree with Lherin though, that our gear is currently overloaded with +hit, and it can sometimes be difficult to be capped perfectly, not wasting any stats. I remember being at nearly 280 hit recently, and no matter what gear I could swap, I was either over the cap or under-capped.


AntiKathy said...

Ya'll are whining about keeping a few extra pieces of gear in your bag? Good GODS, people, didn't you play when a druid was expected to keep at least 3 full sets of gear at all times? I used to count myself as good if I had anything more than my backpack slots empty! And I had to walk uphill to ZG! Both ways! Barefoot!

Actually, moonkin hit cap is pretty low, comparatively, and that's only for boss fights anyway. It's not all that hard to set up a hit gear set and a trash gear set, especially with the in game utility these days. (We had to stop! and remember what gear went where! in the snow! barefoot!)

Ashivor said...

While I do agree with those who find the hit cap annoying at times, I definitely understand why we need it. But, I do agree that the amount of hit on gear is getting out of control.

Have any of you looked at the T9 set ? The ilevel 258 T9 has 196 hit all of two items. The pants have 102 hit, and the helm 94. So with 263 hit needed, that leaves only 67 hit from ALL other slots to be at the hit cap.

I think with that kind of itemization it is going to be near impossible to get at 263 without overshooting it my quite a bit.

Need further proof that the hit is going to be an issue? Look at all the druid items ilevel 232 or better with hit, and have fun picking maybe two and still ending up with 280-300 hit:;ub=11;cr=123:119:79;crs=1:1:3;crv=0:0:0

Lherin said...


What makes you think I don't have the equivalent sets today? :) I tank and I pew pew. I rarely have more than 12 slots free in my bags, and my bank is always full. On my person I have 4 belts, 4 pairs of boots, 4 chests, 3 pairs of pants, 3 bracers, 6 rings, 9 trinkets, etc... I don't needs to carry more stuffs!

Phil said...

I am a noob:
What are all the caps for all the different stats? What stats have no cap? Gear choice is my weak spot. With every patch worth has changed and my head is spinning. Hit then SP then haste then crit right? but is it worth it to dorp 30 hit 34 crit 30 haste for an extra 800 spell power?

~Gargen of US-Vek'nilash
lost with gear choices

Lherin said...


We have to be careful when using the word 'cap', because there are really two kinds, hard and soft.

There is only one stat we have currently which has an easily achievable 'hard' cap, and that's hit. Assuming standard raid buffs/debuffs you need 263 hit to be 'capped'. After that, any additional hit is worth exactly 0 dps.

Some of the other stats have achievable 'soft' caps. Which means at certain values they lose dps potential versus other stats, but at no point does their value become 0. (no point that you can reach with the equipment currently in the game)

I'm sure gray has made a post in the past explaining all this, you should check his older posts.

Phil said...

I just wasn't sure if with the new order of stats and all the changes with the new patch if all of the older posts still applied.

Ashivor said...

If you look back to an entry made last week:

You will see the following:
Hit: 1.595 (Only until 263)
Spell: 1
Haste: .941
Crit: .742

After 400 Haste
Haste: .389

So what that means is that hit is the absolute most important thing until 263 (assuming with balance of power and IFF), then you should try to get Haste to ~ 400. The reason there is the soft cap with haste is because after 400, with Nature's Grace your wrath spells will get down below the global min time of 1 sec.

For instance I just got a new pair of pants from the new 5 man "Leggings of the Snowy Bramble" which are fantastic pants for that level, the problem is of course I was already over 400, which wasn't as much of a problem until 3.2 dropped. So with those pants I am at ~ 500 haste, and clipping the global time. My wrath with a Nature's grace is .93 seconds, so in other words I am wasting .07 seconds not including my usual 150 ms lag. So I am going to rearrange my gear with a few other pieces to swap out some haste gear with crit gear.

So phil, quick recap: hit to 263, haste to ~ 400, then try for crit > haste, and always socket/enchant spell power. For the meta, I use spell/spirit to take care of that pesky 2 blue gem meta requirement.

Phil said...

For my meta I used +10 to all stats... is that okay? I have been following Gaylo's gemming post but I found the +10 and it was a steal so I snatched it up.

p.s. thanks all for you continued assistance

Anonymous said...

I think it is important to remember the relative weights when trying to balance gear around the hit cap (and Gray has already done the hard math to calculate the weights). Being under the hit cap is not necessarily a bad thing if the stats you gain instead out weight the difference. So, for instance, if you are 10 under the hit cap, but would lose more than 15 spell power by swapping gear, you are better off staying under the hit cap.

The other aspect is that hit and crit are statistical gains while spell power and haste are direct gains, so while the math may favor one over the other, the "feel" of play may dictate a different choice.

A final point is that weights and BiS lists generally ignore regen stats, which is probably reasonable for our current state (perhaps not while leveling though), but if you run out of mana, regen stats also translate into dps gains.

Anonymous said...

The main problem I have with hit is not the BIS situation it's when u are working towards your BIS it's the fact u cant upgrade your gear 1 piece at a time. quite a few times u get an new uber piece of loot only to have it sit in my bag for 3 weeks till I get the other piece so I can keep up with the hit cap.

Been times when I've just passed on gear because i would need to get 3 other pieces of loot b4 I could even use it.

I would like them to take the giant leaps out of your gear progression, similar things happened with our set bonus we need to get 5 pieces of loot be we can upgrade past our T8.

What the blue means here is that blizz don't like this method of having to get 3-5 pieces of loot till it's worth wearing any of it.

Nathan said...

The only think I dislike about hit is the hard cap. I am, unfortunately, well over the hit cap at the moment. I have too much gear that, even minus hit, is better than other pieces I had. All that extra hit is a complete waste. While Lherin doesn't like to have extra hit gear, I found myself in the opposite situation with no recourse. I didn't keep NON hit gear.

I'm much more of a fan of hit from a melee prospective. It's more like our haste now. They hit cap, then get a bit more. The downside is that it's better used dps wise elsewhere. The upside is that their normal melee (white hits) are more likely to hit. While it's not ideal, it's not wasted.

As it stands we shoot for 10% crit, and then stop. Anything else is as useful as ... well Southern Euphemisms in inappropriate settings. I'd simply like to see it do SOMETHING after "cap."

sZimm said...

completely agree. this falls perfectly in line with my own thoughts on the subject, and im pleased to hear that others can also get a certain enjoyment out of analyzing such things. i thought that was just a particular perversion of mine. :)

Anonymous said...

Just a question. Did the HIT number go up for the new raid instances?

We did the 1st 2 bosses and I actually missed .5% with wrath and missed 1.1% with SF.

My hit is at 264.

Anonymous said...

@anon above me. did you have a dreanei in your group?

Luke said...

I've always been a huge fan of hit while leveling, and keeping 5% or so at all times. Why? because misses suck. They are anti-crits. It means you need another attack or spellcast to take down that mob, instead of one fewer. Always have hit even for leveling.

I do understand the frustration that casters (and non-DW toons) can have with hit caps, though. My hunter has i think 9% hit and is doing mostly heroics, so way over cap, and keen to replace a piece or two of weaker, hit gear with non-hit gear. However, for Rogues, Enh Shaman, and Fury Warriors, hit is a beautiful thing, since the white-damage hit cap is basically unreachable. Other stats are more valuable than hit past the yellow/spell hit caps, but pushing past the 8% yellow hit cap to the 17%-13% spell hit cap also increases white damage, too. This, i feel, is ultimately why Titan Grip's hit penalty on yellow attacks was turned into a flat damage reduction: since you needed more hit to meet the yellow cap, that also meant you had fewer white misses, leading to more damage and rage, negating the penalty.

Mr Woof said...

Couldn't they help the problem by converting a % of all or excess hit to crit? Like 1 hit=0.3 crit rating? If 'hit is not missing the target' can't more hit be 'hit it better; e.g. vital spots'? ~Woof

Skonged said...

Great write up! This helps so much.


Fowltempered said...

"Hit Rating has the potential to make a lower level item better then an item of a higher tier."

This cuts both ways. Just like a lower ilvl hit item can be more valuable when you're under the hit cap than a higher ilvl non-hit item, a lower ilvl non-hit item can be more valuable than a higher ilvl hit item if you are at or over the cap.

Hit is great because it's the stat that we balance around. I don't "need" to be at certain crit, haste or spell power levels (to a degree, I will give you the ~400 haste point of inflection), but I DO balance my gear to put me as close to 236 hit as possible. The other stats you sort of just stack as much of as possible, depending on their relative weights.

Anonymous said...


Yes, I had a dreanei in my group. I was a little shocked that I had misses.

Anonymous said...

Hey there Gray, thanks for all the information.

I know your schedule may be busy, but if you haven't already you may want to jump into heroic ToC. There is a hit back there that would allow you to reequip your unsullied cuffs (which are more than 30dps better than what you are wearing). You will come out much better while only having to run an quick 5 man.

Graylo said...


I don't really think it is stat-flation. I think they are trying to stick the same amount of stats into fewer buckets.

After looking at these comments I noticed something. Take a look at the Tier gear from TBC and compare it to WotLK tier gear. All of the WotLK items have 5 distinct stats. The TBC items could have up to 6 distinct buckets. I made a post on it in the WoW forums but it didn't go any where. You can find it here: Link


Your meta should be the Chaotic Skyflare Diamond. It is a huge DPS buff for you.


As a general rule I prefer to be over the hit cap rather than under it. Sure, 20 spell power may give you more DPS than 10 hit in a normal setting, but things don't always go normally. For example, what if your Draenei dies or you get out of range. Your FF can miss if your relying on that 3%. What if FF or Misery drop off while you're casting?

On top of that, if your under the cap you leave open the possibility to be screwed by RNG. Sure the probably of missing may only be 0.5% but that doesn't mean you won't miss 5% of them.


As far as I know the hit number did not go up. It's likely that your misses were due to bad timing and bad luck. Remember at 264 hit rating you're relying on Imp FF or Misery to be up on the boss. If those drop off for any significant time your going to miss some spells.


It really depend on how you level. I tend to fight mobs that are lower level then me so the hit helps very little and I get what I need from Balance of Power.

Someone who is always fighting higher level mobs will get more out of it.

@Mr Woof

That is a very interesting idea. I would love to see it in-game, but I bet it would be a real pain to code.


Thanks for pointing it out. I hadn't noticed it. Its not a huge upgrade for me, but it definately gives me some room for future upgrades.

Anonymous said...

To Ashivor:

Glad to know boom is one of the easy-to-set-weights specs. It's my next toon on the way up. I love enhance but need a break from running a 10,000 hour sim to check one item swap. Space Chicken incoming!

(To those who've not done enhance: Not exaggerating. No static stat weights. Too many stats--everything but spirit, defense, MP5, and block are useful--and damage too dynamic.)

Phil said...

I have one Chaotic Skyflare Diamond, and one +10 to all stats, should i just get two Chaotic Skyflare Diamonds?

Anonymous said...

I may be misunderstanding Phil, but the Chaotic is a meta and meta slots only appear on helms so it is not possible to equip two at once.

Lherin said...


Well, I'm not sure if maybe I'm using the right term for what I am trying to describe, but as a more concrete example: the difference in ilvl of the tier sets is increasing. The difference between Tier 7, and Tier 8 25 man gear was 13 ilvls. Now we have Tier 9 gear at 258. The progress in gear is non-linear, and because of that, ratings/stats that have caps are in a sense being devalued because we have a harder and harder time making correct use of them.

While I agree that during this expansion the absolute value of hit hasn't changed, the abundance of it certainly has. And given that we have to spread our hit out amongst the same number of slots of gear, it means it's going to be harder and harder to properly balance hit given that the granularity is disappearing.

Much as your example of 'buckets' on individual pieces of gear, the same concept applies to the number of gear 'slots' that each character has. Since the number of pieces of equipment I can equip is fixed, and since ilvl is increasing(and increasing non-linearly), capped stats are going to come in larger and larger 'chunks' whether I want them to or not, and the amount of 'wasted' stats is going to increase as a consequence of this. So in that sense it's losing value for me.

I haven't been sleeping well, I hope I'm making sense :)

Phil said...

+10 all stats is on my belt.. i found it under meta gems but it matches any socket sry, like i said i am a noob

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
lxsli said...

It seems like I dislike hit for the same reason you like it. It's an NP-hard problem, specifically bag packing. That means you can only solve it optimally by iterating all the possible solutions. Fortunately there aren't too many usually, so it's manageable, but I don't enjoy doing it over and over.

Plenty of other people seem to dislike doing it manually, which leads to tools like Rawr. It's an amazing tool but I wish it wasn't needed, we shouldn't be forced to use external tools (EXEs especially) just to decide what gear to wear.

IMHO higher ilvl pieces should always be a reward and there shouldn't be hard caps that force people to obsess over every point. The haste/crit interaction is good because it encourages balance, while allowing customisation. This is especially true with critting dots etc, just waiting for crit hots :)