Moo Tang Clan: Optimal builds/spec/gear

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Optimal builds/spec/gear

Melf_himself writes about how different aspects of gameplay are basically side-stepped by just looking up what is the build of the week, what the best-in-slot gear to grind for is, etc.

All that depends on theory-crafting being universally applicable. Which in a game like WoW is pretty much the case. Take any level-cap character, strip them of all their talents and gear, and they would have the same base template as any other character of the same race and class.

Change this somehow though, such that there is variation in base abilities, and while your talent spec may well be ideal for you but wouldn't be perfect for me. My hunter might have more base agility than yours, while yours has more stamina or intelligence.


Melf_Himself said...

Wouldn't picking the correct base abilities just then become part of the 'optimal build'?

i.e. instead of saying "oh, your class has the wrong spec, go buy a respec", it'd be "oh, your class has the wrong base abilities, go re-roll your character and level all the way back up again"

To solve this problem in the Age of the Wiki, I'd prefer that a lot of the progression happen over the short term (i.e. over the course of a single dungeon), where players choose their build or what-have-you in response to the (dynamically generated) situations that they encounter.

Rough example: a mage enters a dungeon and there are a lot of magic-resistant foes, so he focuses on raising his melee buffing skills as the group progresses through the dungeon. Or perhaps there are an absolute tonne of low level goblins, so he raises his AoE skills. Or there are only a few melee enemies, but they hit very hard and take a heavy beating, so he raises his single target damage and slow-down abilities... etc, etc.

Garumoo said...

Well, I was thinking it would be more of a non-choice system.

Start off by randomising the starting stats a bit more, and then keep adding small random bits throughout the leveling process. Have some feedback loops in place that exaggerate small differences, and others that flatten the differences, all depending on situations (as you've described).

Even if you roll and re-roll starting characters in the hope of getting one with the base stats where you want them, your leveling journey would have a greater effect on the level-cap template.

Melf_Himself said...

Are the random bits based on the way the character is played? If so, people will just look up the best way to 'farm' attribute points to develop the desired build.

And if they're completely random, well, that would solve the problem, but it kind of takes the fun out if it don't-cha-think? Also, some few lucky people would end up with nuts over-powered builds, and others with awful under-powered builds.

Garumoo said...

All good points. I imagine it could work such that if you've started out being stronger in some attribute then that is weighted in where gains occur, with some smaller chance the gains would be elsewhere.

This could also be balanced with specific activities that improve specific attributes .. such as a fighter going hand to hand melee with two-handed weapons to improve strength, or a paladin doing lots of healing to improve their wisdom. The problem here of course is that a low-strength fighter with high agility would have more success in combat using ranged weapons, and a paladin who is bad at healing is going to cause a few wipes until he improves his skills.

You can grind to improve, but it has to be a conscious decision, one which sets aside short term gains against longer term goals.