Interesting topic at the WoW Developer Water Cooler blog feature this week, namely the topic of Item Squishing or Item “Compression”. The conundrum of it all is pretty simple: Items and stats are growing exponentially fast. So fast that stats are starting to get a little ridiculous. Ludicrous, even. Items in the theoretical 5.3 patch will have +thousands to stats and 6.3 would have over tens of thousands.
The bigger picture problem that Blizzard was trying to sell home was that computers will not be able to handle dealing with that many variables when it comes to damage, as tens of thousands of stats on every item logically would equate to doing millions of damage. That million plus damage is the root problem of this all as the game requires both the servers and your game clients to be precise. Ten million four hundred thirty-six thousand nine hundred and forty-two, kind of precise. That is as annoying to read out like that as it is strenuous for a server to process. Maybe not one player at a time, but imagine Alterac Valley.
That is a LOT of virtual dice to keep rolling every time your DoTs tick. Something has to change.
The first of several ideas started minor and even comical. Of these my favorite was simply rounding off damage at “10k” or “2m” instead of thousands and millions, but they displayed it in such a way as to make fun of the people who will inevitably be the largest group of nay-sayers to these proposed ideas.
While that could work, it would only really delay the inevitable. Later on the honest ideas started rolling out, which is the whole point of this post ^_^ Item Squishing is the act of taking existing items and squishing them down to more manageable levels, and lowering damage output as well. The developers made it very clear we would still do the same percentage of damage as we do now, only the numbers itself will shrink.
The loudest group against this proposed change is those who claim to only enjoy seeing big numbers when they do damage. The bigger the number, the better. While I can understand seeing big numbers is great, it really is secondary to the process. You don’t care about the number itself, you just care at how BIG the number is compared to normal. People don’t seem to be grasping that on the forums, though.
Let me give you an opposite example. Was playing Black Ops with a bud over the weekend and one mode was Team Deathmatch or something similar. I noticed in this particular mode that every kill the respective team got earned them exactly 100 points. Not ten, not fifty, but 100. That changed everything. The shiny bars at the bottom keeping score surged forward, but for what? It was first to 2,000 wins, but we were never really playing that game. We were playing to twenty. As with the rest of that FPS ‘series’, it was merely over-inflated hype. I don’t know if anyone playing even noticed, but it certainly rubbed me the wrong way for being misleading.
WoW is trying to avoid getting to that by nipping it here and now. Damage is related to the content you are in. It doesn’t matter if you do 20 or 10 million if each hit takes off 10% of the mob’s health bar. For that reason, I am also in support of the change. But, I am not so for it that I can’t see potential issues. If you take a gander at the graph they released, you’ll see the new proposed item levels they sorta have in mind.
The lighter shades above show where we are presently, the darker colors are where they plan to be. This isn’t 100% going to happen, but come on. It’s a graph. This is Science.
My two concerns with this change is, first, Cataclysm still has a huge impact on the item level, or “ilevel”. Based on the numbers you go from ilevel 75 to 175 from 80 to 85. . That’s basically all of 1-60 made up in five levels. If that math keeps up, we’ll need *another* round of squishing, another Great Lootralizer to even the scales, at the start of the very next expansion after Mists of Pandaria. (175/75 = 2.3ish. Cata ends at 175, multiply that by the 2.3 and poof, 402. Conveniently where Cata is at presently based on that graph.)
Secondly, is that 1-60 content is seemingly not going to change. If our items at level 85 before getting tier gear are marginally better than tier gear from Classic content… how the heck are we gonna raid outdated stuff solo? I don’t do this often, but I have helped out friends in the past, and I do like checking out old 5mans for Transmogrification… if our stats get lowered not only will damage we deliver go down, so will the amount we can take. Add in Warriors and the like blocking percentage damage instead of whole amounts like we did in Wrath, and that makes old content a lot less soloable than now. There was a post made about this issue on the forums, but avoiding giving direct answers only solidifies the worry some people are having about this. The Blue in question is Daxxarri, and they said:
It seems to me that some of those that have expressed misgivings about the squish are worried about feeling ‘nerfed’ when facing older content, but the item squish shouldn’t mean that soloing older raid content will die, necessarily. Though we appreciate the feedback, I think it’s safe to say that we wouldn’t want anyone to turn their back on the idea purely out of concern for losing the ability to take down older raids solo or in small groups.
Wudya mean, “shouldn’t mean that soloing older raid content will die, necessarily”? Is that the PR way of saying ‘You can still do it, stupid. Just bring 39 others with ya!’? Ending the comment with “small groups” adds another clue, in my opinion.
Daxx, if you go through with the squish, if everything goes smooth/properly do you guys see it affecting the numbers needed for old BC/WotLK raids etc? If so, how much?
It’s very early days yet, and as Ghostcrawler indicated in the Watercooler, we don’t even know which direction we’d be going in yet (if we end up pulling the trigger on it at all). So, with that in mind, I’m just not in a position to comment on it at the moment, but we are interested in the feedback that we’ve seen, including support for the idea.
In short, ‘Even though you asked be a very obvious question and could say the answer to it right now… I can’t legally. Sorry.’
This leaves a massive door open for both good and bad comments to be crammed into this posters mouth. Again, I am for the idea. But I never think that limiting the player ever ends well, especially after many have grown so accustomed to the idea of running old content solo.
Perhaps add solo dungeons to the list of things to include in PvE Scenarios? Fast groups with items that look identical to the originals so Transmog Hunters can still have fun with modernized Old Content?
I’m sure we’ll all find out soon enough. Last I remember that ol’ business conference call with Blizzard stated a Q2 released of Mists of Pandaria. I dunno if Diablo 3′s delay pushed it back any, but things are definitely on the conveyor belt to launch at this point. Also, patch 4.3 is starting to appear on the Blizzard (Background) Downloader. So you know what that means.
Cata is almost over! It is almost over, friends!
/happily sobbing a la Tom Hanks in Money Pit
After nearly a year of pointless nothingness, we are coming upon a shiny new continent and a new race and class. We have stared into the xpack and the xpack stared back into us. Though many have fallen, we the proud remain.
Cata is almost gone, thank the flying spaghetti monster! XD