Friday, October 16, 2009

2T8 vs 4T9: A Different Perspective

Looking around the internet I came upon this discussion on the Moonkin Repository. None of the sentiments expressed in the thread are new, but I've grown frustrated with some of the conclusions that have been drawn over time. It seems to me that some people have an unrealistic expectation of what set bonuses should be. Please let me use the 2T8 vs 4T9 debate as an example.

A History of 2T8

The first version of 2T8 was a 6% increase to your Eclipse buffs when the eclipse buffs were mutually exclusive. Math that I and a couple of other people did showed that it was extremely inferior to 4T7 and suggested that Blizzard buff it to 15% to make it competitive. When Blizzard buffed it as we suggested it became a good set bonus that increased Moonkin DPS by about 3% give or take. In patch 3.2 Eclipse was buffed so that the two Eclipse buffs were no longer mutually exclusive, and you could proc one while the other was on cooldown. Not only was this a significant buff to Eclipse, but it was also a significant buff to 2T8. This increased the value of 2T8 so that the set bonus provided about a 6% DPS increase. This is much larger then most other Set Bonuses in the history of the game and many theorycrafters including myself expected 2T8 to be nerfed. It was not.

2T8 vs 4T9: A different perspective

I have seen several comments that said something to the affect of "4T9 sucks. Blizzard is screwing us." I completely disagree.

4T9 is not a bad set bonus. My calculations value it at about a 2.5% DPS increase. Looking at prior moonkin set bonuses and the set bonuses of other classes, set bonuses tend to be worth somewhere between 2% and 4%. 4T9 is on the lower end of that scale, but a 2.5% DPS increase is not something to brush off. It's much more significant than most people think.

2T8, on the other hand, is a bad set bonus. Try and understand what I'm saying before you flame me. 2T8 is obviously a very strong set bonus, but it is an outlier. The reason we don't move from 2T8 to 4T9 isn't because 4T9 is weak, but because 2T8 is strong.

The reality of the situation is that Blizzard is not going to increase the value of set bonuses with each tier of content. It would be an unsustainable cycle. If they did that, at some point only the set bonuses would matter. The trick is to try and maintain the value of set bonuses from tier to tier to make for an easy transition, without making the other factors of our DPS meaningless.

Therefore, every time you say "4T9 is weak" or "buff 4T9", what blizzard probably hears is "2T8 is too strong" or "Nerf 2T8."

Myth: 2T8 was made to Make Moonkin Competitive

It seems to be a popular opinion that Blizzard purposely used 2T8 to make Moonkin competitive with other classes in terms of DPS. Personally I think the suggestion is ludicrous. Why would Blizzard balance any class using a temporary set bonus? It doesn't make sense. To maintain the buff they would have to continue giving that class over powered set bonuses. This would in turn create expectations of what a set bonus should be worth, and the other classes would get up set that one classes set bonuses were always significantly better then their own.

If Blizzard feels the need to balance a class they are going to do so with more permanent changes like having Spirit provide Spell Power, or changing Eclipse so that the buffs are not mutually exclusive.


Like everyone, I would love it if 4T9 was better. I would love it if all moonkin bonuses and abilities were better. I would love it if Moonkin were OP for once in their lives, but that is not good game design. No one likes to hear it but 4T9 is probably closer to what a set bonuses should be then 2T8. If you keep asking for a change to be made, don't be surprised when that change happens on the opposite side of the equation.


lissanna said...

Yeah, if people try to hold on to 2 T8 when we're supposed to be getting the T10 gear, I'm betting they'll crack down on that behavior really fast... I'm really surprised that 2T8 hasn't been nerfed yet.

Anonymous said...

Blizz will not go backward and nerf T8, but if they don't come out with significantly better gear, T8 may outlive T10.

Stormtrail said...

Great post. Anyone who doesn't understand or believes they won't nerf 2T8 only has to look at what happened to the 4T8 resto Druid bonus. Too bad for me as I got my four piece the day before, but it was a smart move on their part.

Druid Dude said...

I am probably alone on this one, but I would greatly prefer more flat set bonuses. Give me something like
"Increases spellpower by X percent" or even "Increases spellpower by X amount"
Heck I would even take a flat crit bonus.
Some of the set bonuses are pretty interesting, but they vary wildly in effectiveness. I would much rather know what I am getting right out of the gate, and leave the interesting bonuses and interactions to theorycraft about to things like talents and idols and glyphs.
Don't get me wrong, I love to sit down and work out math and theorize as much as the next guy, er chicken. But when it comes to set bonuses, give me something more plain.

Captcha: "mentoms"
Are those the fresh candy for dude? Large bellied men hanging out around a drum kit? What is it?

Andres said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andres said...

I am definitely in accordance with you, Graylo. I would like it if they nerfed our 2T8 and buffed our 4T10. 4T10 is just good enough but I wish it was just slightly buff. A change from 5 to 8% would not suddenly cause our dps to skyrocket.

All throughout WotLK, Moonkin dps has just barely cut it as a hybrid but it feels like quite a few other hybrids are exempt and allowed to dominate DPS. I'm of course talking about DKs and Warriors. I do not by any means think our dps is abysmal but I try my best and my DPS is competitive but I know for a fact that I would do more dps as another hybrid if I put in the same effort, excluding the poor shadow priest who will overcome our dps in 3.3.

~Phasmy, Kil'jaeden

Tulveli said...

I hope they do nerf 2t8. It makes sense that they should (as you point out, it's too strong a bonus for 2 pieces), and I don't like feeling tied to wearing 2 pieces of an old set because the bonus is more significant than increased stats on newer gear and the new set bonus. It feels clumsy.

Johnny said...

Gray... the owl was once kind of op. sunwell post patch with that glyph of starfire adding a tick endlessly... i remember our gildies be very jealously looking at my dpses. ;-)

back to topic: i agree with you that 2t8 is just too strong. it wont last over t9 though. the item lvl in icecrown will be far too high.
but i have to say also, that i really like the idea of the 2t8 bonus.

@druid dude: you mean to put powerful components back to the talent tree (e.g.: givig iIS a bigger impact ) than being dependant of some set bonus?

Superku said...

Great post.

It's important that they keep the bonus damage of sets to a certain level, and not let it inflate out of control.

Not sure there is a huge point in nerfing 2T8 now (or with 3.3 as is more likely), it is a problem that will sort it self out eventually, probably already with T10. It reminds me of the mage T5 bonus, it sucks that you have to use old tier gear, but that's what happens sometimes.

Anonymous said...

It'll be interesting to see if they bother to nerf the bonus or not. They may just hinge on t10 stats and boni (sp?) to outweigh 2t8. If not, i hope they do nerf it, i was stuck with 2pc T4 as Feral in BC. It was not fun.