24 November 2009

Random thoughts on hit

I had a shower moment this morning. The shower is where I get all my best ideas, like 'oo, I should start a blog', and 'does conditioner work on pubes?'. This time it was about hit. Because Merlot has been locked in a wrestling match with hit since Naxxramas and is growing weary of it.

Hit is, by far and away, the most valuable stat to any caster dps — but you can easily amass enough of it to guarantee every single spell will land. All hit beyond that point is worthless, which is why Merlot, and probably most other casters of at least Ulduar level, burn considerable calories fretting over how to maintain but not exceed that magic balance.

The aim is to get as much hit as possible on as few items as possible — but that's a lot easier said than done. You may be forced to equip items that are of poorer quality, or even pass on upgrades that would result in too much of a hit loss. This is what gives rise to the popular feeling that hit is deadweight, the anvil of stats, constantly holding you back from bigger and better dee pee ess. Which is a shame, because it's a real trooper right up until the cap.

I'm about 40 points over the soft cap at the moment (allowing for misery). I can swap out hit gear, but the alternatives I have access to are inferior even accounting for the hit. I could swap out gems and enchants, but at the rate of gear turnover that option gets prohibitively expensive. Or I could start to spec out of shadow focus, but there are really no alternative talents that would increase my dps by any meaningful amount. So for now, I'm stuck.

For frequent raiders with a constant stream of new item options this might not be that annoying, but for a casual raider like myself who may get to roll on only one upgrade a week, it's a pain in the arse.

But as the hot water washed over me and I got shampoo in my eye, the solution came to me. Two, in fact.

First, I thought, we could change the goalposts. It feels wrong that the gulf between heroics and your first raid should be so large, while the amount of hit you should need in an entry-level raid is the same as the amount required against the ultimate badass of the expansion. Someone once decided all heroic bosses should be two levels above, while raid bosses should be three, but these are arbitrary checkpoints.

What if the level between you and a raid boss increased every tier, but the hit requirement increased more smoothly? This would ensure that we continued to prize hit on all gear as we progressed, and not come to see it as something distasteful to avoid wherever possible.

This would also have the advantage of reining in stat inflation in tank avoidance and prevent other combat mechanics like armor penetration from getting out of hand.

If that seems distasteful to you, I had another more radical solution. What if hit didn't affect the chance to land a spell, but the damage that spell does? So all spells have a hundred per cent chance to land (before resistances), but the damage they do relative to a target's level is modified by the caster's hit rating. Hit instantly becomes a desirable stat regardless of your hit level. Maybe there's a hit cap, maybe the effectiveness of hit diminishes at high levels, who knows. But in principle, it could work, right?

I know neither of these ideas will float, but it's nice to dream. For a few minutes there, while my conditioner got to work, I stopped fuming about my hit problem and imagined a world with one less thing to worry about.

Then the water ran cold and I reverted back to my rest state of nerd rage. And now I'm back to planning some gear upgrades that won't drop me below the cap.


The Renaissance Man said...

The flaw that that would create in the current model is the gap between tanks and DPS. Tanks would become unable to generate threat eventually unless they reworked tanking gear to include enough hit to keep up with the inflation.

Cazenovia said...

To toss a slightly different perspective in there.. I have a raiding boomkin in a guild that clears 25s weekly and runs 10s as well. Poor Caze is something like 100 points over hit cap, I kid you not. I was higher until I got a few upgrades that let me shift some other points around.

I also have a raiding priest that pugs everything, hits 25 TOC probably every other week, and is gearing up slightly faster on her disc set. I still have some ilvl200 pieces on her because for some reason, I'm having issues getting hit capped. TOC gear, Ulduar 10 gear at the very least, and.. a handful of pieces from TOC-5 to stay hit-capped and not overly gimp everything else. It's really kind of bizarre, and I'm probably missing something obvious, but I can't quite figure out why that is.

I agree, though, I'd love to see hit be at least marginally useful once past the soft-cap!

Anonymous said...

Don't forget there's a potion that provides hit as well as food. These are not as good as having hit gear, but they help bridge the gap when gear isn't available. I try not to downgrade my gear if the only stat missing is hit. But I agree, there's not enough hit gear to go around. Why not just have hit be a constant stat on all caster gear?

Weatherlight said...

First thought: get a system where the water doesn't run cold after a while. Maybe a good and viable solution could have eventually appeared...

Just kidding! I actually disagree with you: your second idea looks far less revolutionary. It doesn't work that differently from spell penetration, only in a PVE way if I understood right. Increasing spell effectiveness is always a good thing, but isn't that why we have Spell Power in the first place? Perhaps with Cataclysm something of the kind will be worked.

As for your first thought can't bring myself to like it, even recognizing it would help solving a few problems. Maybe it’s that little dps monster (hey, being a shadow priest doesn’t mean we don’t like to top charts, it’s just that we can’t… Usually… until 3.3 comes?) that lives hidden inside each of us trying to tell me I’ll do even worse. Maybe the monster is wrong.

I do know what you mean with excess hit. I’m over the over cap, and that is the best I can gear myself up. I even have some pieces with extra hit sitting on bank waiting for better days. Being the second time I ever post a comment I will dare to give you an advice: do that re-spec you’ve been postponing, while there isn’t a great many talents to improve dps there are few utility tools you can pick up, or even those little 5-10 dps, It’s not like the extra hit has any kind of use anyway. I was holding myself from doing so until recently waiting for that piece with less hit and more spellpower or crit or whatever really… It never dropped and I actually got even more hit, well I just dropped Shadow Focus and got Psychic Horror for the Champions and not really sure what else but you get the idea: Extra hit is useless everyday, some situational spell get use… on occasion.

Last thought: Not sure if I want to share any more “In the bath” moments with you…

Leigh said...

Balancing hit is a pain! The +hit trinket from Naxx is still in my bags and will remain there for the rest of the expansion. I only replaced it full time 2 weeks ago when a few upgrades in other slots allowed a bit of gear juggling to occur.

Your first idea, where the raid boss increased per level, it sounds great certainly from a DPS and even a healer perspective. Having recently geared out my DK tank getting that magic defense cap is problematic. You would have even more dependency on your tank to get every upgrade from the current tier in order to progress to the next tier and have stats that would allow him not be insta-gibbed. It would destroy PUG raids (I'm geared enough to step into ToGC10 and ToC25) and possibly destroy peoples desire to level a tanking alt.
If that idea was tweaked somehow and made workable it would be imba though.