Blog Articles by keyword: items
by Tachyon on Wed. 04. May 2011, 23:01
Filed under: equipment, loot, planning, gear, stats, items
Gear planning is part of the endgame experience that starts the moment you hit the level cap with a new toon, decked in quest blues, some epics of the last expansion and some green drops. Whether you're a tank, healer or damage dealer, getting gear now pretty much is your key driver that determines your next activities, from the faction reputation grinding to which dungeons you farm.
Know your stats
The first step in gear planning is to find out which primary and secondary stats are useful for your class. In general, primary stats (like intellect and strenght) are more useful than secondary stats (such as crit and haste rating).
Comparing different stats is possible if the stats are interchangeable, so that having more of one stat compensates having less of a second stat.
For damage dealer classes, the compensation metric is the DPS (healers and tanks have different metrics in form of HPS and damage mitigation).
Let's look at DPS as the function of a set of stats, DPS->f(a, b, ...).
At any given vector of (a, b, ...), there are stat exchange values of dA/dB such that DPS(a, b, ...) = DPS(a-dA, b+dB, ...), meaning we can get the same DPS when reducing stat a by dA when we add dB to b. If, let's say, the DPS remains the same when reducing intellect by 10 and adding 20 crit rating, we could say that 10 int = 20 crit, or 1 crit = 0.5 int.
Finding those interchange values for your stats is rather complex and can be acomplished by either using statistic models or simulations.
Fortunately programs that calculate those values exist already:
Using those programs, you can calculate stat weights for your current class/spec/gear. Here's the current weigths I get for my mage with RAWR:
- Intellect : 3.98
- Spell Power: 2.88
- Mastery Rating: 1.41
- Haste Rating: 1.18
- Crit Rating: 1.13
- Hit Rating: 0
Normalizing stat weights
In order to compare the stats, I also normalize them to spell power by dividing it by the spell power rating:
- Intellect : 1.38
- Spell Power: 1
- Mastery Rating: 0.49
- Haste Rating: 0.41
- Crit Rating: 0.39
- Hit Rating: 0.39 (reforge back crit)
Given those stat weights, we can now effectively rate how much each item, enchant or gem is worth, by weighting the stats accordingly (for example, an item with 30 Intellect and 20 Mastery Rating is worth 30*1.38+20*0.49 Spell Power). Calculating how much items are worth allows us to compare and rank those items.
Loot ranking can be done in RAWR, with wowhead.com's item search, or with GuildOx LootRank (my recommendation!).
In LootRank, enter your stat values, select the gear sources available to you (instances, crafting professions, PvP items, faction rewards, quest items, etc) and even load your armory profile get a rated gear list that shows you from which items you benefit the most. It also suggests gems and which stats to reforge. You can also have an overall rating that lists the items by added value, I use that to determine my DPS spending preferences.
Improving your gear
Having that list at hand helps you improving your gear over time. You may see some 'low hanging fruits' there, for example trinkets you could buy at the auction house, or faction rewards for which you're already entitled. Get those first.
- buy items in the auction house
- craft BOP items
- grind faction reputation
- run dungeons for gear and tokens
- start raiding, and stick to your item priority list
TLDR version: calculate gear weights using RAWR, use LootRank to list gear improvements, grab low hanging fruits, WIN.
by Tachyon on Thu. 15. October 2009, 01:15
Filed under: raiding, itemsToday's raid evening came with a little distraction: my 10 years old cousine is visiting with us this week and decided that watching me raid in WoW was more interesting than watching TV with my wife.
Throughout the whole evening she was very courious about all the things going on and what this and that person or class or raid mob did, so I was double-tasking my way through ToC 25, Vault of Archavon 25 and Onyxia 25, trying not to mess up and pay attention to the raid while listening to and answering her questions carefully at the same time. Needless to say I was too distracted to even attempt to talk to my guildies on Ventrillo, as I was explaining the class roles and stuff going on in the encounters to my cousine (who told me how fascinating she finds the hair styles of the priestesses and female warlocks, and look at that cute little imp!, while I did my best nodding and agreeing to what she said while trying to dodge the white and black spheres on Twin Val'kyrs and to not to mess up my DPS completely).
Yet she must have brought an aura of good luck, as on that evening not only Reign of the Dead (finally!), Skyweaver Vestments and Sandals of the Mourning Widow dropped for me, but I also won Reins of the Grand Black War Mammoth out of sheer luck (to be honest, I even was so distracted that I didn't even know what I've rolled for, I only rolled because everyone else did, but don't tell my guildies, *gg*).
If painting a bull's eye on your forehead with selfluminent neon markers and signaling 'hit me' dual wielding neon tubes in a Battleground doesn't do the job, try THIS! Perfect for sneaking up (the way glaciers do, but more in regards to the size than the speed). What's missing is two buttons on the mammoth handle, one for a big horn (HOOOOOONK!) and the other for the two ejector seats to deal with the stowaways.
By the way, after the raid I let my cousine create a character (blood elf priestess she chose) so she could play with the hair styles and do some starter quests before going to bed.
Now that I have Reign of the Dead, I'm puzzled on what to chose as second trinket, and can't decide between the Abyssal Rune (iLvl 200, 84 Haste Rating, 25% proc chance to get 590 spellpower for 10 sec, 45 sec internal cooldown) and the Talisman of Resurgence (iLvl 245, 128 intellect, on use: 599 spellpower for 20 sec, 2 min cooldown).
With the Abyssal Rune I'm now on 835 haste rating (25.47% haste, with talents: 31.47%) at 2686 spellpower selfbuffed.
Holy highspeed, Batman!
What combination would you take? Any advice?
by Tachyon on Sat. 04. October 2008, 15:38
Filed under: pvp, items, patch, battlegroundA complete honor reset (points and marks) with the release of the WotLK expansion was first announced then cancelled. Blizzard announced then that the prices of the lvl 80 honor items would instead be raised, to make sure that saved honor points won't be that much of an advantage when the first players enter the new PvP endgame.
What remains from the original plan are the new PvP items that will be added in the 3.0 patch, meant as a last occasion to spend the remaining points and marks.
The items are cloaks and trinkets, 4 different variants each, and every one of them is item level 156.
I'm currently stockpiling my honor and marks to buy these two beauties when the patch goes live:
The cloak costs 20k honor and 20 Eye of the Storm marks, and the trinket 35k honor and 40 Alterac Valley marks.
Both items are not only among the best for PvP, but also PvE, definitively worth getting them, and they are also unlikely to be replaced before the late lvl 70s in WotLK.
For a complete list of all 4 cloaks and trinkets, see: mmo-champion.com
by Tachyon on Tue. 16. September 2008, 00:49
Filed under: wotlk, expansion, release, raiding, items, qq, dpsIn less than two months, the Wrath of the Lich King Expansion will be released, rendering the 'old' Burning Crusade content obsolete, and giving everyone a chance to start your raiding / PvP / whatsoever career anew.
Our guild is still stuck on Brutallus (we managed to take him down to 17% before the enrage phase), and I just heard that our raid leaders decided yesterday to no longer raid Black Temple / Mount Hyjal anymore but invest the remaining time to focus on Sunwell only.
Whilst I understand this decision, I has a backlash on me, as I'm still missing the fourth set item for my 4x T6 set bonus (which would give my Frostbolt / Fireball / AM a plain 5% damage bonus).
The missing item is Gloves of the Tempest whose token is dropped by Azgalor in Mount Hyjal, which I never managed to get, due to bad luck (last two times I attended a MH raid, Azgalor didn't drop any mage tokens at all), or bad circumstances (one of the MTs' alts was allowed to bid on it too last time I saw them drop, this was an exception but finally resulted in me not getting the gloves) or dropped raids (we didn't raid MH every week, for unknown reasons).
So if we refrain from raiding MH, my only chance to get the 4x T6 bonus would be to get the Bracers of the Tempest, whose token drops from Kalecgos, the first boss encounter in Sunwell. Of course the demand for the bracers is much higher than for the gloves, and Kalecgos is usually raided on Wednesday (the day I'm babysitting my two baby boys as my wife is attending her aerobic lessons), so my chances to get the 4x T6 bonus are not that good.
It's kind of a tragedy (or better: just sucks.), as without the bonus I'm missing 5% of the DPS I'd need for Brutallus to help contributing to the DPS we need to kill him.
This week's MH id has Azgalor and Archimonde still alive, but I hope but really doubt that we will visit MH tonight, on the last occasion, before we skip the instance completely.
Too bad for me, but it's the price you pay when you're in an achievement oriented guild as a casual raider.
Comforting hugs, cookies, or 'get up and fight!'-kicks are welcome, just drop them in the comments...
by Tachyon on Wed. 13. August 2008, 19:43
Filed under: raiding, loot, items, guildThe fact that so many loot distribution systems exist speaks for itself - none of them is perfect in every situation.
The general principle is:
Loot shall be distributed in the way that causes the least drama, and the highest motivation.
But does it matter who gets the loot? And who benefits how much from it?
Things that have to be considered with loot distribution:
- Loot improves your raid, making encounters more easy and allowing to progress.
- Loot is a motivational factor for the players (surely not the only factor, but let's be realistic: its probably the most important one), as it is the only way to advance a character in the endgame.
- Getting loot upgrades the players' characters. The item may be more of an upgrade to one player than to another player.
- From a raid group perspective, the item also indirectly benefits all other players, especially when the player receiving it raids often or fulfills an important role in the raid. That's why most guilds set priorities on equipping their main tank with the best gear possible.
- Item drop chances vary, and generally the best items drop more seldom.
- Alternatives have to be considered - are there some other sources for item upgrades that a player hasn't used, such as heroic badge loot, crafted items and faction rewards? One item may be more of a benefit to a player just because he was too lazy to get an upgrade from an alternative source, whilst the item may be only a small upgrade for another player who has no other way to improve his equipment than from item drops.
- Players hate random distribution. It's like working as much as your co-workers, only that each employee gets a random amount on his paycheck at the end of the month. Get more that your coworkers and you feel guilty, get less and you feel cheated.
- From a guild perspective, it's also important to keep the equipment of your raiders on a more or less equal level. If some raiders quickly outgear others, it becomes more likely that they switch to another guild when the raiding progress is not that fast.
Let's introduce some well known loot distribution systems and how they work:
Free for all lets all players pick up loot - first come, first serve. This generally distracts from playing together, as everybody will focus on ninjaing loot instead of concentrating on the fight. Diablo2 players learned to hate that system.
Round Robin assigns the loot more or less randomly to a player.
Need / Greed
This system allows the players to be fair (though does not force them to be) by letting them decide whether they need the item to upgrade their gear, or just greeding to roll for it when the other players also don't need it.
This system is best suited for pickup groups, and depends on the players making fair decisions. Loot ninjas could need on any drop, that will cause drama for sure, often resulting in a group kick for that player.
In small groups, players often discuss who should get the item that just dropped. If more than one player wants it, a manual dice roll decides who wins it.
This system can also be applied for raids, where the raid leaders or guild officers form a council to discuss who will get this item. They want to conclude on a decision that can be justified (be it that one player benefits most from the item, or be it to give credit for raid participation), but as there are so many driving factors, the decision is most often unambiguous when more than one player would deserve the item equally.
Loot council can and most probably will cause drama, at least when items are distributed that don't drop frequently. Players depend on the loot council's benevolence, that lowers their expectation and demotivates on a long term, as the efforts/rewards are not directly coupled.
For items that drop very often, such as the set tokens for T4/T5/T6 (3 types of tokens, and guaranteed 3 tokens per kill results in an average drop chance of 100% for a specific token), where set bonuses also have to be considered, this system can complement other loot system in that situation.
DKP stands for Dragon Kill Points. It requires tracking of the players participation over all raids (which means additional effort for the raid organizers), and also tracks which player got which items in the past.
Players earn DKP by rading, and can spend it to 'buy' item drops.
There are many variations on how DKP is earned and spent, so there's a whole family of DKP systems.
- Points per Raid - Each raid, be it successful or not, will reward a given amount of DKP.
- Points per Drop - This is a common practice with Zero-Sum DKP systems. If a players spends points to buy an item, the points will be distributed to all players in the raid.
- Individual adjustments in form of Bonus and Minus DKP (see the famous Onyxia Wipe) can be granted for exceptionally good or bad performance at a raid.
- Fixed Item Prices - Items cost a predefined amount of DKP. To give credit to the item's value, the item slot can be taken into consideration (weapons are generally more valuable than boots), and items could be grouped by tiers to reflect the effort the raid has to loot them (MH and BT will cost more than SSC/TK items). Some DKP tools can also calculate the item value as a function of the item slot and item level. With fixed item prices, the loot is given to the player with need with the highest DKP.
- Bidding system - Players can use their DKP to bid for items. The player with the highest bid will get the item. This system is somewhat flexible towards the item drop chance and the demand for the item; items that drop often tend to be cheaper than items that drop more seldom. Each player can decide for himself, how much of his DKP he's willing to spend for an item drop.
DKP systems are a good way to regulate the loot distribution, as this system is transparent and credits raid attendence and previously gained loot.
The Zero-Sum DKP systems tend to be rigid and have discrepancies due to rewarding attendence to farm encounters with lots of loot, and punishing attendence to progress encounters. When a raider quits the guild, the zero sum condition is violated, so it will either shift into a non-zero sum system or require normalization to adapt the DKP of all players in a way that the sum is zero again.
Non-Zero-Sum systems tend to have a postitive sum over all raiders, as bonus DKP is more frequently applied (and if, then to the whole raid) than minus DKP. This DKP inflation becomes more and more of a barrier for new guild members, who find themselves disadvantaged. For fixed-sum systems, this advantage becomes more or less permanent, and can only be countered by a normalization (just like in the Zero-Sum system).
Bidding systems are more flexible as they tend to self-regulate, and players which have more DKP also tend to spend more. DKP inflation does only happen when players get into item saturation (when they have almost anything they want). Saturation is a good indicator that a player has outgeared the current raiding progress, and should advance to harder content.
Whichever loot distribution system is used, none of them is perfect. Loot distribution can become a complicated issue, especially in raid alliances, with guest raiders and or twinks participating.
DKP and Loot Council are in my opinion best suited for raiding, but it's essential to observe where it works and where it doesn't. There's always a way to customize or mix the loot systems, but keep in mind that the simpler the system, the better. Loot distribution should be done efficiently and quickly after all, to not to annoy the mass amount of people that want to advance to the next boss instead of waiting for a neverending discussion on loot distribution.
My guild currently uses DKP with fixed amount of points per raid, but with a different DKP account for each player and raid tier (so you won't be able to purchase Sunwell items with DKP earned in MH/BT. For the class set tokens we currently use Loot Council, as we need more people with a 4x T6 bonus. Items are purchased with bidding, and it works quite well for us.
How does your guild handle the loot distribution? Share your experiences by commenting this article
DKP is the devil, by World of Matticus
Loot Distribution, by Bremm's Musings
by Tachyon on Wed. 13. August 2008, 01:45
Filed under: items, seasonal, event, battleground, pvp
Competitor's Tabard, a tabard showing a slightly modified version of the Olympic Rings. This item is sent to all players participating in a battleground.
Gold Medallion, which summons a Spirit of Competition, which in fact is a chinese dragon pet. Players can get it by a certain chance when winning a battleground (got mine on the 4th win).
Nice idea from Blizzard, this gives even the PvP-deniers (to whom I don't belong) a reason to do some battleground sessions, especially for the pet collectors which won't want to miss this unique seasonal pet.
by Tachyon on Wed. 16. July 2008, 01:25
Filed under: gameplay, items, diablo3
Clearly Diablo2 was the loot-centric game par excellence, one that fed the ancient human instinct of hunting and collecting, which always makes an explosive mixure in terms of gameplay addiction.
When WoW was released, the diversity on item stats was not that large (there was for example no spell damage at launch), but Blizzard kept adding more and more of them, and this trend continues well into the next expansion. Sockets on items were also adapted from Diablo2, allowing the bearer to fit the item better toward his needs.
The most interesting aspect is not what WoW omitted, but in which way it improved the whole itemization and loot distribution system to take what worked and improve what didn't.
Diablo2 had no concept of loot tables, only a definition (drop level) per mob, which maximum item level it could drop items from. Certain named mobs such as the famous Pindleskin had a drop level sufficiently high to drop any of the best items ingame, which lead to players farming him (one run took about 2 minutes) over and over again, be it manually or using a pindle bot, to collect the best items ingame in an easy was. Clearly this was too easy and too monotonous, so what WoW did was to create Loot Tables that contained a list of possible drops along with the drop chance for each mob in the game. This required the player to beat certain encounters to see a specific item drop, but also gave the player a chance to farm for items he whishes to posses.
Diablo had massive problems with item duping, which lead to further invalidation, making gold as a currency obsolete and introducing duped unique rings (SoJ - Stone of Jordan, which was the best ring to wear for a long time) as the new currency.
The solution to this dilemma, when Blizzard created WoW, was to make the precious items soulbound when they are looted (BoP - Bind on Pickup) or worn (Bind on Equip) for the first time. This effecticely countered item recycling as well as item duping (as the best items are BoP and thus can't be traded), and added to the replayability and prestige factor (items now reflected achievements of the player wearing it). The number of items that still can be traded is limited to BoE items and crafted items, the former usually being not the most powerful ingame, the latter requiring huge expenses on craftig mats.
Loot Distribution System
In times of Diablo2, any item was really dropped, in fact to the ground, where every player could pick it up. The Diablo world consisted of short-living instances for a maximum of 8 players, thus ninjaing items was normal and didn't have consequences at all, compared to WoW where there's at least a chance that bad reputation gained for ninjaing had a backdraft and consequences for the ninja.
WoW introduced loot distribution systems such as round robin, master looter, free-for all, and need-before-greed. Groups of players could settle on a system before or during their adventure, and have a fair system to decide who gets the item drops, avoiding a great amount of drama.
What WoW can learn from Diablo2
WoW improved a lot over the many patches and the expansion, and subsequently added more variety in stats to the items, and also secondary effects as procs or 'on use' effects, to make more of the Diablo heritage.
Still there's some things that can and certainly will make it into the game sooner or later, such as the rune system, where runes with special effects can be added to an item in the same way as gems can be added, and also special rune words can be build to build powerful new magic items (such as Heart of the Oak in Diablo2).
I suppose Blizzard is holding back this cool system on purpose, just to add it in as a great surprise one sunny day (or patch, or future expansion).
What we certainly will never see in WoW are stats such as Magic Find (increased chance to find better magical items), or non-functional stats such as Increased Light Radius. On the other hand, we can never be certain...
What Diablo3 will learn from WoW
Loot Tables, Soulbound Items and Loot Distribution Systems are precious lessons Blizzard learned, and it would be foolish not to use them in Diablo3. Thus my prediction: Diablo3 will feature each and every one of them.
by Tachyon on Sun. 16. March 2008, 23:05
Filed under: Frostmourne, Items, WotLK, Expansion, LoreThe legendary rune blade Frostmourne, which corrupted Arthas Menethil's soul and pushed his career from being a Paladin to being a Death Knight, can now be purchased and put over the chimney at home.
The replika is 1.2m (47'') long, weights 7.3 kg (16lbs) and is forged of stainless steel.
The rune typed inscription is both promise and warning:
Whosoever takes up this blade shall wield power eternal.
Just as the blade rends flesh, so must power scar the spirit.
The sword can be purchased at EpicWeapons.com for $429, which is not that much, thanks to the weak dollar (1 USD < 1 CHF since Friday, that's epic, hrhr). The only question that afflicts me: where to find a place for such a sword at home? I'm really tempted to buy it, but without a chimney I'm lacking a proper place for it, and putting it in the umrella stand whold certainly dishonour it.
The stats of the rune blade have been presented at the last BlizzCon in the Lore(lol?) panel, but it's yet unclear if it will even be lootable sometime in the next expansion (Wrath of the Lich King), and what this would mean for the bearer (mind the inscription!).
More pictures and infos to the Frostmourne replica can be found here: