Warlords of Draenor: Itemization changes on the way

According to the latest round of alpha patch notes from patch 6.0, we're in for some major itemization changes in Warlords of Draenor. While we've had bits and pieces of information regarding itemization and stat changes in the upcoming expansion, we didn't really have a lot of clarification or detail on exactly what those changes are going to be. The latest iteration of patch notes has cleared that up considerably, and expanded on what little we knew.

Hit and Expertise are both gone, replaced instead with a universally useful secondary stat. Three new secondary stats have been added -- Bonus Armor, which simply increases armor; Multistrike, which grants attacks and abilities a chance to fire an additional time for 30% effectiveness; and Readiness, which reduces the cooldown of several class abilities with long cooldowns. Multistrike works for both damage and healing abilities, making it useful for all classes and specializations. In addition, the amount of role-specific stats is being reduced. Tanks will use Armor, which replaces both Dodge and Parry, and Spirit will be useful only to healers.

But it's the changes to items themselves that sound absolutely intriguing.

Itemization Changes

We're making a number of changes to itemization based on a single philosophy: We want to increase the chance that any given item drop is useful to someone in your group.To support this philosophy we're making a few changes to stats. Most items found in Draenor will work for all specializations within a given class, so that you never have to grumble when you see, for example, Intellect plate drop in a group that lacks a Holy Paladin.

We're also reducing the number of role-specific stats: Hit and Expertise are gone, as are Dodge and Parry as stats on items, replaced with a single tank stat of Bonus Armor. Armor and Spirit will be specific to tanks and healers respectively, but all other secondary stats will have universal appeal.

Because of the magnitude of this change, we're retroactively applying this philosophy to items in Mists of Pandaria. After the pre-expansion patch you may find that some of your items contribute different stats, but they should still be good for your class.

General Mists of Pandaria and Future Items Warlords of Draenor Items

  • New secondary stats added:

    • Bonus Armor: Increases armor.

    • Multistrike: Grants a chance for spells and abilities to fire an additional time, at 30% effectiveness (both damage and healing).

    • Readiness: Reduces the cooldown of several class abilities with long-cooldowns.

  • Hit and Expertise on all items have been replaced with a universally useful secondary stat.

  • Stats that are not useful to your current class specialization will be grayed out in the tooltip rather than green, and will not be counted on your character stat sheet.

    • Spirit for non-healing specializations

    • Bonus Armor for non-tanking specializations

    • Strength for Agility/Intellect-users

    • Agility for Strength/Intellect-users

    • Intellect for Strength/Agility-users

    • For example, Intellect on a cloak will be greyed out for all Warrior specializations and they will not receive an increase to Intellect if equipped. However, if the same cloak is equipped by a Mage, Intellect will show up as green and they'll receive the increase to their Intellect.

  • Dodge and Parry have been replaced with Bonus Armor. If an item had both Dodge and Parry on it, it has been replaced with an additional useful secondary stat.

  • Head, Chest, Hand, Wrist, Waist, Leg, Feet, Weapon, Shield, and Off-hand items that had tanking stats (Dodge, Parry) or healer stats (Spirit) have been replaced with a different universally useful secondary stat.

  • Plate Armor pieces will always have Strength and Intellect on it.

  • Mail and Leather Armor pieces will always have Agility and Intellect on it.

Remember the raids in vanilla and beyond, wherein you'd happily destroy a boss only to find his corpse contained absolutely nothing of use for anyone in the raid? Balance druid gear in plentiful bounty, with nary a moonkin in sight? These days are going to be absolutely gone in Warlords. All plate armor will always have Strength and Intellect on it. Mail and Leather Armor will always have Agility and Intellect on it. If you are a rogue and you receive a piece of leather armor, Intellect will simply be greyed out. If you are a balance druid, Agility will be greyed out.

Here's the kicker -- if you are a balance druid, and you change specs to feral, all Intellect on your gear will theoretically grey out, and Agility will activate instead. Which means that classes with multiple specs that can heal, tank, dps, or any combination thereof, will now be toting around one armor set that will adjust to whatever specialization you happen to be in. It's a simple change, but it's a game-changer in terms of simplicity, one that should make players who like to utilize more than one role very, very happy, and free up some valuable bag space as well.

Keep in mind that the item changes in regards to plate armor always having Strength and Intellect, leather armor always having Agility and Intellect, will only apply to gear that drops in Warlords. However, the stat changes will be applied to gear acquired in Mists of Pandaria with the launch of patch 6.0, largely because the changes are so massive that Blizzard would like us to get accustomed to using them while still in current content.

Regardless, these are some big changes. So far, Warlords has been less about introducing overly complicated systems, and far more about elegantly streamlining the game. The reworking of class abilities is an attempt to make the days of boundless buttons a thing of the past, new additions like the Toy Box tab are meant to streamline inventory management, and the new itemization changes are meant to streamline the process of acquiring useful gear. The more I see, the more excited I am to see how it all plays out.