Monday, April 11, 2011

Intellect plate and randomness

Ghostcrawler made some interesting and some comments about intellect plate and gear competition. Let's start with his first point: intellect plate. "We don't like Intellect plate, but we haven’t come up with a good alternative for it." What's wrong with Int plate? To answer this question let's open every boss in WoWhead and check loot tables. Let's count how many BoP intellect plate drops in Blackwing Descent:
Name
Who drops it?
Percentage
Breastplate of Avenging Flame
Magmaw
13
Life Force Chargers
Omnotron
12
Belt of Blackhand
Nefarian
19
Burden of Mortality
Chimaeron
21
Flash Freeze Gauntlets
Maloriak
19

Now let's see the same table for intellect cloth:
Name
Who drops it?
Percentage
Belt of Arcane Storms
Maloriak
28
Bracers of the Burningeye
Atramedes
17
Brackish Gloves
Chimaeron
21
Crown of Burning Waters
Magmaw
21
Einhorn's Galoshes
Chimaeron
19
Flame Pillar Leggings
Magmaw
28
Legwraps of the Greatest Son
Maloriak
19
Mantle of Nefarius
Nefarian
18
Mantle of Roaring Flames
Atramedes
25
Power Generator Hood
Omnotron
18
Shadowblaze Robes
Nefarian
29
X-Tron Duct Tape
Omnotron
12

Now let's summarize the bosses with Cloth and Plate int drops:
Boss name
Int plate
Int cloth
Magmaw
13
21+28
Omnotron
12
18+12
Maloriak
19
28+19
Atramedes
0
17+25
Chimaeron
21
21+19
Nefarian
19
18+29
Average
14
43

So intellect cloth, that is used by 9 specs is 3 times more available than intellect plate that is used by 1 spec. We can be sure that there are not just 3 times more mages, warlocks and priests combined than main spec holy paladins. What is this nonsense then?

This is the result of optimizing loot tables for "feel" instead of numbers. The holy paladin gear is 3x overrepresented, simply because with proper, 1/30 droprate a holy paladin would very rarely see drops. On the other hand he would see cloth drops all the time and call it "unfair", despite the cloth drops are competed by 9 specs.


He also told: "There would just be Intellect cloth that everyone from Destro to Disc would want. Great, you might think, less stuff will get sharded. But then think about how it would feel if you were one of those clothies. In a 10-player raid, there might be three people rolling on your loot. In a 25-player raid, it could be double that." This is also about "feels", as 3 people rolling on 3x more loot is equal to 1 person rolling on 1 loot. Oh wait, "less sharded" means more loot on average, so uniform loot is better, hands down. But "feels worse" because socials measure themselves to peers. If another guy wins it, it's worse for them than not even dropping as not only they did not get loot, but the Joneses have more loot!


Since it's a game, the developers must optimize for "fun", aka "social feeling". This forces the system to be sub-optimal, ergo exploitable. This case the exploitation way is simple: be a holy paladin and gear up very fast. As a general rule, if someone talks about "feels right" instead of numbers, you shall start seeking loopholes. There will be many.


By the way the intellect plate problem could easily be solved: get rid of all intellect plate boss drops and replace them with intellect mail and place a blacksmith NPC who takes the mail and some white plate armor and forges them to an int plate (with same slot and stats). The tier, valor and crafted gear would be still plate. There could be less intellect mail drops than mail+plate drops currently without losing the "feelings".

The "realm first lvl 25" and the other "awesome" things work like a charm. People swarm to the guild. While they do read the rules, some of them has a long way before being able to get rid of bad habits. There is a common conversation:
Newbie: - can i do something?
Some veteran: - "i"?
Newbie: - oh sorry, *I

Well, it seems someone got a new bad habit:

PS: what is the best way to get City Attacker achievement?
  • Form a raid of 15-20 guildies and attack Orgrimmar, kill 1-2 horde, corpsrun, try next week again
  • Fill a raid with /trade people and lie to them that they will get bear mount
  • Pay hordies to be naked with PvP flag on in Thunder bluff cave

33 comments:

christof said...

Well the raids are balanced about the upper end of pregression, and most hard mode raiders dont care about the loot, but about "winning". So they need their raid geared up as fast as possible.

There are 4 healers in the game.
Holy Paladins
Resto Druids
Resto Shamans
Priests, counting as one, as you take a healing priest with you, that uses the better spec for each fight

So you should look, how fast it takes to gear any healer up. The non paladin healers have the advantage of being able to use the pieces of there spelldamage dealing class comrades. This isnt an issue for the poor priests, but you often have only one druid or one shaman in your raid. So extra plate drops are needed, to make paladins gear up as fast as druid and shaman healers.

Squishalot said...

I think you're thinking about it too hard, Gevlon.

Consider the following conspiracy theory:

Intellect plate is more common than other gear relative to place in raid. Therefore, people are incentivised to spec Holy Paladin, thus creating more healers and resulting in more healers in LFD (one of Blizzard's aims).

-----

Anyway, there is a problem with your analysis. Intellect cloth is split between 'healer cloth' and 'DPS cloth', primarily based on the presence of Spirit on the gear. If you run through the list of bosses, you'll note that there is one DPS cloth and one healer cloth for each boss listed.

Why is this meaningful? A healer will always be a Priest, Druid, Shaman or Paladin. If the drop rates are roughly equal for each class of gear, then all healers gear up equally fast, when applying a need-before-greed system, main-spec over off-spec.

Where intellect plate is perceived to be 'unfair' is because cloth/leather/mail DPS/DDs are able to roll on healer cloth/leather/mail and obtain some usage from them. Druids and Shamans are all able to obtain some the maximum benefit from the healer gear in a different talent spec. Mages and Warlocks are also able to gain some benefit from the rest of the stats on the cloth gear. However, intellect plate has no other uses - Paladins can roll for off-spec, but no other class can use it.

In respect of 'healer gear should be used by healers', and in line with armor specialisation, there is nothing wrong with intellect plate at all. Paladin healers represent 1/4 of healing classes (1/5 of healing specs), and as a result, should obtain just as many drops as the other healing specs. There should only be more cloth than plate to reflect the number of Disc/Holy Priests vs Holy Paladins.

Jason Starstone said...

The "u" could very well be a native English speaker used to texting (SMS-ing). They might not even actually notice doing the abbreviation until it gets pointed out to them.

Something like using "theif" (for thief) or "rouge" (for rogue), if I see that it jumps out as me as having a completely different sound, me being Dutch, while the native speaker doesn't seem to notice. Though I wonder how that works in the case of rouge...

Alrenous said...

"As a general rule, if someone talks about "feels right" instead of numbers, you shall start seeking loopholes. There will be many."

Feels right - 'freindly guild.'

Loophole - the PuG. That screenshot is very, very telling.

It's funny when even feeling right itself has loopholes.

Gevlon said...

@Squishalot: except increased drop raid DECREASES healers in LFD. Why would anyone go heal a 5-man if he has raid gear?

Actually Blizzard should decrease healer and tanking items in raids, to speed up DD gearing (removing them from LFD) and forcing tanks and healers to run an LFD every day as valor is their only meaningful gearing path.

Squishalot said...

@ Gevlon: "except increased drop raid DECREASES healers in LFD. Why would anyone go heal a 5-man if he has raid gear?"

Because you need to gear up to get to raid levels. Note, we're talking about typical players, not people who understand that gear =/= success.

"Actually Blizzard should decrease healer and tanking items in raids, to speed up DD gearing (removing them from LFD) and forcing tanks and healers to run an LFD every day as valor is their only meaningful gearing path."

The other alternative, which I think is much better, as it doesn't bump the socials' noses out of joint, is to align raid content requirements with LFD requirements (i.e. 20% tanks, 60% DPS, 20% healers). At the moment, 2-3 tanks out of 25 raiders (10%) simply isn't sufficient demand to populate LFD's 20% requirements.

Babar said...

It's all about variance. If intellect plate drop did indeed drop in proportion to the number of specs that use it, then a holy paladin could kill every boss every week and still not see certain pieces of important loot until 4.2.

jam said...

@Jason Starstone AIUI the reason people tend not to blink by "rouge" is because once you are familiar with a language, you stop reading it as individual letters, and really only read the whole word. Example:
http://best-magic-tricks.blogspot.com/2006/07/mixed-letters.html

I can probably read that at about 75% speed, but I can follow the text just fine. The mind is a strange, strange place.

Ðesolate said...

Well taking Ghostcrawlers text to the next logical step we are about to enter dynamic loot tables.

How this will be designed is possibly the main question why this is not active yet. Most "fair" and "simple" would be Paladin activates str.& int-plate, etc. (druid activates agi-leather & int leather, rogue activates agi leather etc.)

But the next logical step would be, taking no ret pally with you. because they suck up the loot table (prot pallys are pretty awesome atm so they would possibly "tolerated" but DPS can usually be easyly avoided). So this would take us to the step that we set up groups depending on the generating loot list...

...not really perfect but well, the only "real" treatment of the "int-plate-problem".

Sten Düring said...

@Squishalot

The percentage-discrepancy between fime-mans and raids is an argument akin to the dead horse being beaten. In this case said horse has died, been buried and dug up again in order to beat it.

The raiding population is a minority of the player-base. The 25-man raiding population even more so.

The lack of tanks for five-mans is based on the need of 25% the five-man population to run as tanks.

Yes, 25%, not 20.

You see, I can drag that third dps through a five-man, despite flies flying in and out of his/her mouth, saliva slowly dripping to the ground.

The frothing tanking-counterpart, however, will have his/her party permanently wiping on the first boss encountered, if they even get that far, and hence you need one out of four playing a tank to reach one out of five SUCCESFULLY playing a tank.

Now, you convince me you can get a quarter of the player-base to permanently do less damage, read up on fights, grow situational awareness and shrug off being verbally abused by unknowns while learning.

Even in the most social of guilds the average tank has to pass SOME kind of retard-check before they'll be able to casual raid and progress 2/12 before the next content patch arrives.

Hence 20% of the players being tanks is sufficient for the raiding population.

Trash said...

I am raiding as a holy paladin, currently at 6/13HM(10m) and while there are so many pieces of cloth gear sharded every week, I am still wearing Vicious bracers because I haven't seen any INT plate wrists drop yet. Also the plate tanking gear is being sharded so often while we haven't seen any Malevolence drops from Halfus while our hunter with blue axe would really love to have it as well as our feral tank.
When I saw GC's post about this topic, I couldn't get the reason why this would be wrong. I mean it always was like that, why they want to "fix" it now? I have seen so many socials who stopped playing because they've got all the gear they could get in the current content. Of course, they would usually come back as soon as the new content patch would hit the live realms.
The slower they let socials gear up, the better for them. Ask yourself how many times you saw a player who got his BIS weapon from Lich King HC(Illidan, KJ, Kel'Thuzad, ) and stopped playing almost immediately after the drop.

zenga said...

Trash said...
I am raiding as a holy paladin, currently at 6/13HM(10m) and while there are so many pieces of cloth gear sharded every week, I am still wearing Vicious bracers because I haven't seen any INT plate wrists drop yet.


Bracers are an issue for every spec. Throughout entire ICC the mail caster bracers never dropped, in maybe 40 clears. RNG is RNG, but the fact that bracers are not available from valor points makes it of course more 'tricky' to obtain them as there is only 1 in the loot table for holy on normal, plus the ones from sinestra.

My point, bracers should not be used as an argument.

chewy said...

@Jason - Whilst you are undoubtedly correct that the use of "u" came from text/sms messaging it is now an affectation. The original justification for abbreviating words was that the providers charged by the letter but this is no longer true and certainly not true for Wow.

I find it particularly reprehensible that native English speakers choose not to use English as well as those who learn it as a second language. This level of sloppiness is tantamount to passive racism - "I'm British/American/Australian I don't have to speak English properly".

Ðesolate said...

@Jason Starstone: if someone speaks of "rouges" he usually gets this link (from me) http://www.wowpedia.org/Rouge.

A bit mockery and pointing out that they speak of the metrosexual rogue (most likely Bloodelf).

Another point is that the "u" like the "i" and "lol" is an example from the rules... ...that makes the case quite clear: Read the rules.

Campitor said...

There are 3 types of plate: tanking, DPS, and healing. Depending on it's intended purpose it will have either Stamina, Intellect, Strength, or Spirit for primary stats. Secondary stats will be expertise, hit, crit, haste, dodge, or parry (I probably missed a few). Why not have talent tree modifiers that convert strength to intellect for paladins and a percent of Stamina as spirit? The secondary stats could be manipulated as needed.

I'm sure Blizzard could figure out the appropriate mix of seconary stats so that a holy paladin could roll on a combination of DPS and Tank gear. This would get rid of any need for intellect gear. I'm sure they could homogenize all the plate gear so a tank/DPS/healer could roll and reforge on anything but then the other classes would cry foul.

Anonymous said...

If intellect plate is such a problem then why did they not implement a token system for every kind of loot a long time ago?
In a role play perspective it is very odd to let a giant wormlike creature drop any kind of cloth, plate, weapon or item.
If Magmaw for example would drop a scale, a tooth or an antenna which you can bring to a craftsman to make class appropriate things out of it, there would be less disenchants and alot more happiness.

Trash said...

@Anonymous: That's exactly what I think would be great in the meaning of sharding gear, but there are few points to consider:
1. Shards would be much more expensive
2. Less players would be able to get offspec gear since most drops would be used in mainspec
3. Players would get geared much faster which would mean that every new raiding content would last for a much shorter time than it is now. We would also see a lot of more quitters in the ranks of socials.

SaiyanMan said...

I think saying that 9 specs use cloth is a bit unfair. In reality, it's closer to four: DPS-priest, Heal-priest, Warlock, and Mage. If you think about it from that granularity, the drop percentages are much better calibrated.

Ben Kennedy said...

"So intellect cloth, that is used by 9 specs is 3 times more available than intellect plate that is used by 1 spec. We can be sure that there are not just 3 times more mages, warlocks and priests combined than main spec holy paladins. What is this nonsense then?"

They set drop rates by who may be in an average raid group, not total number of class/spec combinations, which would be an absurd thing to do. In an average 10 man raid group with 1 healing pally, there may 2-3 of some combination of priest/mage/warlock. A 25 man raid may have 2 holy pallies and 6-7 clothies of various kinds. The drop rates make complete sense.

Anonymous said...

@Squishalot: Shadow priests have a talent that converts spirit to hit rating at a 1:1 ratio. I am 95% certain that balance druids and elemental shamans also have similar talents. Spirit cloth is for priests of any spec. This greatly helped me in gearing up my spriest, and as I mostly got my hit from spirit, I was able to heal heroics in my ilevel 349 "dps gear."

@Campitor: Spirit is now considered a "secondary stat" for purposes of item budget. Plate gear will always have stam, and either int or str. Str pieces are further divided into tanking and dps pieces.

Ulsaki said...

To make the cloth situation worse, a disproportionate amount of it has spirit on, making it Priest loot (Mages and Warlocks are the only casters in the game lacking a spirit-->hit talent).

I would have been jumping for joy if they removed hit from caster gear and used spirit-->hit. I would hardly have any more competition (all Priests will take non-spirit, non-hit gear and Shadow Priests will roll for hit-gear), and drops wouldn't be so rare.

The lack of a spirit-->hit talent also favours the other classes because they gain more use from enchantments.

chewy said...

"This forces the system to be sub-optimal, ergo exploitable."

Are you saying that optimal systems are not exploitable? Name one, please.

Anonymous said...

Even in the most social of guilds the average tank has to pass SOME kind of retard-check before they'll be able to casual raid and progress 2/12 before the next content patch arrives.

Hence 20% of the players being tanks is sufficient for the raiding population.

p.s. - The "u" could very well be a native English speaker used to texting (SMS-ing). They might not even actually notice doing the abbreviation until it gets pointed out to them.

Maleficias said...

Ben Kennedy already made the point I came here to make: the ratio of potential cloth specs to potential intellect plate specs is irrelevant, what matters is the likely representation in an actual raid. Seen in this light, 3:1 in favour of cloth does not appear so unreasonable.

Further, your selective quotation of GC's statements about cloth makes it appear that he was talking about the impact of increasing the drop rate relative to plate, rather misrepresenting (no doubt unintentionally) what he said. He had in fact moved on to talking about the impact of further stat homogenisation - the removal of the distinction between Hit and Spirit items by making a Spirit-to-hit conversion available to all cloth-wearers.

Of course, your argument still holds, in that 'less sharded means more loot on average'; but I'm not convinced the reasoning against is the base, 'social' mindset you ascribe it to. Should the aim of a loot system be that the minimum amount is wasted? If that is the aim, then going even further with the trend towards points and generic tokens usuable by multiple/all classes would be the right approach. This would make the system even more soulless - maybe this is 'social' in your book, but there's a certain thrill in hoping for a specific drop, in the luck-of-the-draw (and it's nice as a loot council member if the game narrows down the list of competitors for a given item, too...).

Getting loot has already become too automatic. I remember finding the luck-of-the-draw rather thrilling in the early days, when sometimes you'd see a drop and immediately know who's it was (I recall once getting the whisper "as soon as I saw the word 'pantaloons', I knew they were yours"). Sometimes it meant that the trialist got an item right away because no one else wanted hunter gloves, but that element of chance was...er...oh I'll just say it: fun.

Anonymous said...

The way I see it, it would be the best solution to give one more spec the use for intellect plate.
Unholy DK seems to be the best option here, the spec is already deep into spellcasting, and is often changed because it's to powerfull at range.

Reconfiguring unholy DK to use spellpower rather than attack power would mean to implement a talent similar to enhance shamans "mental dexterity" where the DK gets AP, as a percentage of his SP. Also give unholy some new weapon imbues that scale with SP.
Unholy DK's should still have to be in mellee range to do max damage, and spells can have short ranges, and mellee talents can have the possibility of procing instant casts and cd reduction on spells.

Balancing drops of INT plate if it was used by two specs instead of one would be as easy as balancing INT mail.

Sasha Barin said...

I'm going to second the suggestion of Unholy DK "healer/caster" class. Sort of like a disc priest with plate, pets and a 2hander.

Anonymous said...

I'd prefer it if bosses droopped items with a stat budget which the professions could assign to whatever primary stats the client wanted. Similar to reforging. For example, blacksmiths could turn plate gloves into healing or tanking or dps gloves; tailors could turn cloth into healing or dps or even pvp cloth.

The moronic part wasn't that he used "u" instead of "you" but that he thought that the problem was his capitalization.

Anonymous said...

@chewy: No, he's saying the converse: that a non-exploitable system is optimal. The two are slightly different things!

Anonymous said...

@ Chewy
English is a living language as such it is changing daily both in it's usage and spelling I'm sure my great great great etc grandparents had similar issues when their children wrote I went to the old shop instead of I went to the olde shoppe.
In today's world it stands to reason that people will use the fastest means of communicating an idea hence txt not text and U not you.

Squishalot said...

@ Sten During: The problem, as evidenced by long queues, is that tanks are nowhere near 20% representation.

@ Anonymous (who replied to me about spirit->hit): Once you consider the stat 'penalty' for not being in the correct armour class, I would argue that spirit cloth gear is not relevant for druids or shamans. In fact, I mentioned that in my opening post. Your only valid argument is that Shadow Priests can also use spirit gear, and thus, can be rolled for off-spec.

Eaten by a Grue said...

To last anonymous regarding the changing English language.

You grossly oversimplify the process of change. Yes, the English language is evolving, but the vast majority of change has been related to comporting the spelling of the language with the pronunciation. Leaving vowels out ("txt" versus "text") does not help here.

Also, I think you grossly overestimate the rate of change. The fact of the matter is that if you want to be taken seriously in this day and age, you spell out your words. If you insist on using "u" for "you" in any but the most casual of settings, you risk sounding like an uneducated idiot.

Anonymous said...

The best way to get City Attacker is to get a raid of 20 or so people and then fly into Orgrimmar and camp inside the inscription trainer building. Put the healers on the second floor and you can sit there all day killing idiots who try and walk through the chokepoint at the door.

*vlad* said...

It's hardly being given away if the average drop is once out of every nine attempts, and your 'fair' example of 1 in 30 drop chance is ridiculous.
Do you seriously expect people to have to kill bosses 30+ times to get items?
Anyway, your 'cloth is in much more demand' argument fails in a lot of 10 man raids. We currently have 2 cloth wearers in ours, 4 in leather, 2 mail, and 2 plate.

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