Big Numbers, Little Enthusiasm

I don’t really think of this as a QQ rant at all. I’m feeling a lot of enthusiasm for the actual Wrath expansion.

I feel optimistic about the future of Bear tanking, I feel optimistic that Shadow Priests will still be nifty (raiders can bemoan the 51 point talent, but I don’t raid. I think Dispersion in action looks cool.) and my Hunter looks to be getting all sorts of yummy goodness. Even for people like me, that intend to keep their kitty pet.

The quests look cool, there are tons more instances and stuff to do, raids will all have ten person versions, there are bear mounts for anyone that wants one, motorcycle mounts look neat, reputation grinds are reduced in pain and suffering because you can wear a tabard that applies all reputation you earn in any instance to the faction of your choice, so no more running hated instances 100 times to get the one reputation reward you feel you need from a faction, and the whole continent is huge in scope.

Nope, I’m looking forward to having lots and lots more fun in the game.

I figure it’ll be at least two months before I start to see people whining that they are bored. At least two months.

Well, maybe one month.

But… and you knew that, on this site, there is always a butt… I am not looking forward to playing the big number game again.

It’s gotten too big for me. It feels silly.

When the first expansion came out, we were in awe of those first items. You know exactly what I’m talking about, because you still see level 60 purples on the AH all the time, both profession recipes and drops.

We’d look at our hard earned level 60 epics, and then look at the stats on the green quality quest rewards in Hellfire, and we’d weep.

Here’s the funny thing though… we’re in the same situation now. We have our level 70 epics, and we can browse Wowhead or MMO Champion, take a look at the stats on the new level 80 gear…

And the stats are so big they’re silly. 

You know what gear you have now, and you know darn good and well how effective it is against what you’re fighting at 70.

When you see the stats on a similar item in the Wrath expansion though, and see the massive spike in numbers… well, how do you know if that is good? Great? Ridiculous? 

I feel like they are telling me I’m going to be wielding Godzilla for a two handed weapon.

“I swing at you with my giant thunder lizard! Hah! Oh, you dodge? Well, Dodge this nuclear breath attack! Fwooosh!”

Let me give you an example.

Right now, my favorite, prized tanking possession is my Earthwarden. I worked hard for that puppy, and I cherish it. Other bear tanks have moved on past it, but for those of us pre-SSC, Earthwarden is the big momma of bear tanking weapons.


MMMmmmmmMMM…. Okay, now let’s contrast that with three new Wrath upgrades, shall we?

First, a quest reward from the level 74 group quest, Wanted: Ragemane’s Flipper.


Okay, it could be legitimately called a Kitty staff, but with Stamina like that, and Agility like that, is this also great for tanking? We’re going to be uncrittable anyway, so the loss of Defense rating isn’t that huge… but what about losing the armor?

Boy, that Agility and Stamina look huge next to our Earthwarden, don’t they?

But reality check.. this is a quest reward for a level 74 group quest with a recommended number of players of three. Everyone will have this. It’s possible the devs added this as our new Bladefist’s Breadth, an easy but godlike blue drop from a quest. But we don’t really know. Why not check out some level 80 drops to see?

Let’s move on to a drop from a Heroic instance… in this case, Heroic Utgarde Keep.

The drop  in question is the Enraged Feral Staff.


To quote Keanu… Whoa.

That’s right, that’s +117 Stamina. That’s also 1,092 armor. +56 WHAT?!?!

And that’s all on a blue drop from a Heroic instance.

I look at the numbers on that, and I don’t even know what to say.

+117 Stamina? WTF?

If that’s a blue drop, what would an achievable epic look like?

Well, let’s look at an epic drop from ten man Naxxramas, the Staff of the Plague Beast.


Now do you see what I mean?

Sure, those are awesome numbers. Boy, those numbers are big. Are you kidding me with those numbers? Shoot, I’ll just equip that staff, strip naked and have fun storming the castle, okay?

The numbers are big enough that I know, I just know that there is no way that they equate to anything we are doing now. 

At this point, you have to look at the numbers and realize that diminishing returns must be pretty brutal at level 80.  

Remember the way things work in this game? The higher your character level, the less bonus you get from your stats.

Sure, a point of Stamina is still 10 health, that doesn’t change.

Keep in mind, this ain’t a QQ. It’s just the facts of life. 

That staff has +89 Agility. Wow.

At level 70 for Druids with 350 Defense,  14.71 Agility equals 1% Dodge. So +89 Agility is worth 6.05% Dodge.

6.05% Dodge, all the time, on a single piece of gear. Ignore the Stamina, that Agility is amazing.

But if we then look at Whitetooths’ work on determining a Druids’ Agility to Dodge ratio, we see that for Druids at level 80 and 400 Defense, 42.37 Agility is equal to 1% Dodge.

So at level 80, that same +89 Agility is worth 2.1% Dodge.

You see what I mean?

If you look at +89 Agility with the eyes of a 70 Druid, and see big huge honkin’ Dodge, you aren’t looking at it right. It’s not what you’re used to.

I’ll still be very satisfied by getting that staff. 2% Dodge is a fine amount of Dodge for a tanking weapon, especially with the Stamina, Armor, Strength and Attack Power. I’ll be very happy with it.

Now that I know what those stats will really equate to.

The trap is looking at all of the gear with these big honking numbers, and thinking that we are going to be walking gods. 

You have to remember that because of the diminishing returns of all stats as you increase in level, every time you ding, your existing gear actually makes you less powerful. You have to upgrade everything’s stat values just to stay the same.

I am excited as all heck at actually playing the expansion. I think it’s gonna be tons of fun. This ain’t a QQ about item scaling, etc. We all got used to it in Burning Crusade, and we will get used to it all over again.

Overall, I think we’ve found that when we ding and gain our Weapon Skill and Defense Skill increases, we still feel plenty powerful against monsters of appropriate levels, even in the same gear.

But I do wish that Blizzard would add the same basic functionality you can get from an addon like RatingsBuster, something that would put in paranthesis next to an item’s stats what it actually does for YOU, right now, at your class and level.

Because if you think the casual player was confused about upgrades now, can you imagine what it’s going to be like at level 80 in Wrath?

I mean, shoot… in Burning Crusade people were willing to drop 400 gold on a single gem that added +2 Agility. From Delicate Living Ruby to Delicate Crimson Spinel, people spent some serious gold to upgrade.

Can you really see that happening in Wrath? +2 Agility… it just doesn’t go as far as it used to, does it?

9 thoughts on “Big Numbers, Little Enthusiasm

  1. The epic staff has a lot less armor than the blue staff though. 462 armor *360%
    I’d think they are quite competitive to each other.


  2. whoa, indeed… well, I GUESS I’ll keep grinding towards my Earthwarden… for now… I guess… or maybe I should just go and play Warhammer for two months, given that I probably won’t even tank my first heroic before the expansion? Tough call…


  3. Hi BBB, greetings from sunny Scotland!

    Really enjoy the blog and I tend to find I like your train of thought. I was wondering, at the risk of asking you or others to repeat themselves, why you seem happy enough with how our BB butts will tank in LK? I’ve read countless threads over the last few weeks on what is nerfed/buffed from day to day and I admit I am still a little confused.

    If I am gathering things correctly, our trademark whack of armour and health are being removed and we are getting… what exactly? I can’t seem to see how we make up for the loss. Is our dodge massive? Is there unseen mitigation I’m missing? I know you voiced concerns like the rest of the community about our viability – oh how I’m learning to loathe that word. So I guess what I’m asking is that, as a source I trust, if you are feeling optimistic can you run me through why I should too?

    Keep up the awesome work here and at WWI!


  4. Yes, it would be nice if Blizz include a tooltip to say what these values actually mean. I guess we’ll all have to go back to number crunching to work it out… or if we’re more casual, then I dont suppose it matters. Just use the gear you like the look of.

    I dont get too excited by big numbers; I’ve long since understood that the game is entirely the same at every level: bigger stats for you, and bigger stats on the monsters. Whats the difference? Greater stats when you level; diminishing returns when you level. It gives you the illusion you’re progressing in abilities – which you are – but its still the same game with 2x, 3x, 4x the numbers on both sides of the fight.

    Its also fun when you look back to pre-BC – all the epic gear with “tiny” amounts of stats we take for granted today, and see how desperately people wanted to get that gear. Again, same game then as it is now, just smaller stats on both sides.

    I’m also looking forward to ditching all my epics and starting again. I dont feel proud of them anymore; I’ve played a ton on the druid, so its no wonder I have great gear. It dont mean too much else…


  5. Wheeeeel, ok so, if one was raiding, the Earthwarden mace was uber until you got into SSC or ZA.

    Last time I had one t2 item and a few t1/dungeon set items that I replaced around lvl 63-65. This time though, I won’t be replacing my t6 items until level 80. It’s not AS much of a gear wipe as last time.

    Plus, I like the look of Wrath items much better than the Space clown look of TBC gear. 😉


  6. Even worse than whiteshadow’s numbers show, it turms out that there are actual diminishing returns on the agility->dodge (or anything->dodge) similar to armor. So the absolute best case is that the staff of the plague beast gives is 2.1% dodge. If you have high amounts of agility or dodge rating or defense rating, it’ll be close to 1.5%.


  7. Hey BBB!

    I would love, just LOVE to have an Earthwarden myself.
    Unfortunately im not gonna have the time to grind the CE rep to get it after only just dinging revered with them.

    I have the last quest in the Aldor rep chain to get me the next best thing which will just have to tide me over till i hit 74.

    So to me its good to see that there’s an available upgrade which isnt too hard to get rather than hoping for a random world drop / hrs of PvP/ or an Exulted Rep grind . Druid weapon itemization is always sparse because nobody else can use “Increases AP by xxx in cat/bear/Mkin form”. This makes weapon upgrades few and far between, esp for the casual player that i unfortunately am.


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