What sucks about blogging at work is that I can't access the official WoW forums because they block it, so I have to get my patch notes and whatnot from WoW.com. Don't get me wrong, I rather enjoy reading their articles, but just an FYI, I pulled these Cataclysm changes from their blue postings.
I was going to say that if you see anything wrong in these blue posts, blame the editors over there but they'd probably blame Ghostcrawler anyway, which is only natural, so meh.
Attack Power - This stat will no longer be present on most items as a flat value, though it will still show up on some process. Strength and Agility, which will be present on items, will grant the appropriate amount of Attack Power (generally 2 Attack Power per point of Strength or Agility) depending upon which stat a particular class favors. Agility may provide less Crit than it currently does.
I agree wholeheartedly with this change. I'm sure rogues/feral druids/hunters and whoever else used Agility AND Attack Power gear are getting sick of doing the Agil -> AP calculation, and then adding the straight AP from the gear itself. I dunno, it seems like it'd get annoying.
What does it mean for us? Simpler gear choices. It comes down to "which piece has more Strength on it?", which is welcome in this paladin's eyes. What I find interesting is that last bit about Agil providing less Crit, which could help combat the non-plate BiS gear for retribution.
[For reference, EJ currently has 7-9 pieces (depending on which bracers you choose and if you get Shadowmourne or the polearm from H LK) with Agil in place of Str in our BiS list for heroic modes, which I find just silly. I mean sure, I bet they let you do more DPS, I don't doubt that, but paladins wearing leather and using a hunter polearm? Silly ret, agility's for kids.]
Combat ratings - All ratings will be much harder to "cap out" at maximum gear levels. Ratings will be steeper in Cataclysm, and creatures in later tiers of content will be harder to hit or crit, similar to how level-83 mobs are harder to hit or crit than level-80 mobs.
This is intriguing; I guess we'll have to do a lot of gear management and the like to stay at that cap. The kicker is yet to come, though.
Wait for it, wait for it...
Reforging - While these changes will go a long way to making a wider variety of stats more attractive, we understand that sometimes you simply don't want more Hit Rating on your gear or you'd rather have more Haste than more Crit. In Cataclysm, we are going to give players a way to replace stats on gear as part of the existing profession system. As a general rule of thumb, you'll be able to convert one stat to 50% of another stat. While some conversions (like converting Stamina to Strength) won't be permitted, the goal is to let you customize your gear more.
Boom! We'll be able to change our gear at our whim. Well, more like the whim of your local blacksmith for us ret paladins (at least I think so; plate armor = blacksmith seems pretty logical). So we can turn primary stats (Stam, Str, etc.) into secondary stats (Crit, Haste, Hit) and vice versa, depending on our needs. This should make BiS lists pretty interesting, and blacksmiths should find themselves with a LOT of new customers.
Personally, I like how this adds a layer of depth to the end-game. There's going to be a lot of tweaking and number-crunching going on, and that just makes me giddy. I love data.
No, not Mr. Data, although he is pretty sweet. Data as in spreadsheets, parses, optimization modules, in-game data collecting via target dummies or well-known raid bosses. Whenever someone's like, "This rotation is better than the one you're using lol", I say "Show me the data!" all Jerry Maguire-like. Yes, I scream it too.
Haste - Haste will become more attractive for melee classes by allowing them to recover resources such as energy and runes more quickly. Our intention is for Haste to let you "do stuff" more often.
I'm loathing this one, to be honest. I'm so used to despising the haste on my gear as if it were a giant pickle in the middle of an ice-cream sandwich. What will this do for us, regenerate our mana faster? Seems kinda useless, as we don't really run out of mana in most circumstances thanks to Judgement of Wisdom (which should be your default Judgement, unless you got other paladins judging it). For those rare instances in which we do get low on mana, there's always Divine Plea to make up the difference.
Mastery - This is a new stat that will allow players to become better at whatever makes their chosen talent tree cool or unique. It's directly tied to talents, so what you gain from improving this stat is entirely dependent upon your class and the talent specialization you choose. We'll talk more about specific Mastery benefits in the future.
This is the new ish with Cataclysm, or at least one of the new ishes; in other words, there are several new ishes, and this is one of them. I got the following screenshot from MMO-Champion.com, which I trimmed down to show our proposed masteries:
Hmm. Nice, to be sure, but I can't say that I am really excited about it. These seem kinda bland, but maybe that's the point; they're good enough to make you want to "specialize" in one talent tree, but they're not amazing enough to be imbalanced. We'll have to see how this goes.