So, as we are privvy to our passing thoughts and silly ideas, one that I had recently really stuck with me, given the huge problems with SL scaling, stats becoming absurd, etc.
There’s rumors of TBC Classic and everything, but one thing I wanted to clarify is direction. I know Blizzard isn’t Jagex, but I want to draw examples from a company that is doing VERY well by it’s nostalgia group with Old School RuneScape. They have the community polls, changes and patches, etc, all driven by the community and what they want to see. Granted that OSRS is vastly different from WoW, but the concept is there. Classic needs to have community driven input, and not just keeping Classic 100% Classic, because if there’s prospect to grow and progress to other expansions, this is effectively a ‘second chance to get it right’ by not only player feedback, and also possible cleanup on the developer’s part.
The main thing I want to bring up is items and levels. We saw people taking Thunderfury into Karazhan and, much to the chagrin of the developers… That’s okay. It didn’t matter if it wasn’t raid tier appropriate for the item, because it had extra effects that made it superior to a lot of other items available. I’ll compare Warp-Storm Warblade from Heroic Shaffar in the Mana Tombs, and Thunderfury.
On paper, Warp-Storm is much better, giving hit, defense rating, a quicker swing speed, and nearly triple the stamina. Also, the DPS is higher by about 18. The proc however, there was nothing like Thunderfury for tanks to ever replace it. Even some Naxx weapons were on par with blues from higher-end BC, which leads more credence from Naxx power vs item level creep. We saw iLvl capping out at 92 for Tier 3 armor sets, bar none the highest iLvls in Vanilla. 164 was the cap for Sunwell gear in BC, a staggering 94 levels higher than the player cap. This was the start of what I feel was a disparity for the scaling up of gear/content. We had 284 for Shadowmourne and 277 for other items in Wrath, literally blowing the iLvl scale out of the water with 204, and 197 iLvls to get beyond player levels.
I feel like there is a huge amount of pressure on the dev team to make things fun, interesting, and make us want to get the new gear, because a slight increase isn’t as fun compared to the large progression tiers. Granted, this is how we were always told to play; You go through the different dungeons to get your pieces that are BiS until you can do the other raids to replace them, and it’s a slow progression with sometimes big jumps, and other times “This is the best belt ever and I will never replace it.” (Looking at you, Onslaught Girdle).
Moving forward, I feel like we can at least handle the major problems with gear disparity by looking objectively on an overall ‘normalized squish’ within parameters. This way we won’t see the joke of a problem in Shadowlands if things continue to progress, and we can feel like we’re actually getting powerful without being blatantly obnoxious. If we were to examine item level vs character level, we could reasonably assume, and give a comfortable margin of error, that players could attain gear up to 150% of their character level, plus or minus 10%, as the ‘best of the best’ while keeping a reasonable gap between the tiers.
This would fit the margin for Classic perfectly.
BC would limit this down to item levels 105-115, capping out at around Karazhan gear. Ironically this actually fits again, until other content is released. Unfortunately this is also where it would stop with progression, unless we were to add further margins. If we pushed it to instead allow for 200% of player level, this would cover out to SSC/TK for the 130-140 iLvl range, and just under the 140-150 range for Black Temple. Sunwell gear was it’s own fiasco with the introduction of new forms of Haste, and what it did for different class balance.
I’m rambling on a bit at this point so I suppose as good as any time it would be to summarize:
We should talk about preemptively adjusting/squishing gear stats accordingly, with minor adjustments to compensate, so that we have steady progression without enormous spikes or ‘new content’ releases with different catch-up rewards that have hugely superior gear to that of required content.