Thursday, March 17, 2005

I am a player of World of Warcraft, I play as Cellen the Human Paladin, currently on the Doomhammer server. As a refugee from EverQuest I found WoW to be a big breath of fresh air after the eternal grind of EQ. As of this writing my character is level 56 and I am still mostly enjoying the game, however the game does have some serious deficiencies.

The one I’ll discuss presently is the poor itemization for most quest rewards. In EQ, as in WoW, classes were limited to certain armor types – cloth, leather, chain, plate. One subtle difference in WoW is that each tier of armor-wearer can wear all the armor below their tier as well as the armor designed for their class. This means a plate wearer in WoW can wear mail, leather, or cloth. This has the interesting effect of allowing people to “Graduate” to higher tier armor once they reach level 40 (though the same thing could be accomplished in EQ by restricting an item both by class and level). Now this isn’t the main problem with WoW’s itemization but it does tie in, as I’ll explain.

Most of the items in EverQuest had stats and effects that would be useful to any class that was able to wear the item. A leather bracer may have +100 HP, +100 Mana, +50 attack, +4 Mana regen, +10 Stamina, +10 wisdom, +50 armor. This is just an example but there were plenty of items like this. The 3 leather wearing classes in EQ were Monk, Druid, and Beastlord. Because the stats were balanced between melee, caster, and hybrid, any of those 3 classes would benefit from wearing the item.

Most items in WoW don’t follow that pattern. A typical quest reward item in WoW would be a leather bracer with +17 agility, +17 Strength, +100 armor. At the high end (level 40+) game, the only leather wearers are Druids and Rogues. This bracer clearly only benefits rogues – it provides nothing for a spellcaster; and while druids are definitely capable of meleeing in their animal forms, very few druids would gear themselves as melee characters and neglect the mana/casting side of their characters. While my character is a Paladin, I play mostly duoing with a Druid, and I’ve seen firsthand how few quest rewards offer any benefit at all to Druids, especially those that choose to gear up as healers (casters). Almost all weapons and armor that are usable by a druid give little to zero benefit to mana or casting. Around level 40-42 when we completed the Scarlet Monastery instance, and my druid companion got Whitemane’s Chapeau , a cloth hat, which was by far the best item at her level. To make clear: the best item for a druid – a leather wearer – at that level is a cloth item.

Anyway that’s the basic problem with itemization. There are too many one-sided items for members of a class when there should be more balanced stats on all of them. Instead of +17 agility and +17 strength, the bracer described above could have +17 Agility and +17 intellect, or +12 agi, +12 str, +12 int. Or add a healing/damage bonus for nature based spells, etc. SOMETHING to make the item appealing to anybody of that armor tier.

That’s all for now! Kek!


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