For this post I plan to look at a sample progression of gear for a ranged DPS class (Mage) following the ideas I put forward in the previous introduction to scaling. I want to focus on the improvement across the tier 7 –> 8 boundary taking the following as our effective pieces of gear.

Tier 7 BiS: Gown of the Spell Weaver (official ilevel 213, calculated ilevel 212.1509)

Tier 8 BiS?: Conqueror's Kirin Tor Tunic (official ilevel 226, calculated ilevel 228.3120)

Ok, lets take the existing Tier 7 best in slot item as being a good example of gearing for a mage (it looks good to me, intelligence, stamina, crit, hit and spellpower, no wasted sub-optimal stats on it). From this we create our mythical Tier 8 gear using the new required third combat rating ‘spell penetration’.

The objective of altering the progression is to produce multiple tiers of gear which are appropriately and perfectly provisioned without falling into the “+2 to each stat” problem noticed by Ghostcrawler and others. The solution as I see it is to force the introduction of stat diversity onto gear which will make more effective use of the ilevels available to a piece of gear due to the nature of the ilevel formula.

Moving on with the example progression.

Tier 7 best in slot chest piece:

Gown of the Spell-Weaver
Binds when picked up

Slot: Chest (213)
Type: Cloth, 308 Armor

+85 Stamina
+70 Intellect

Yellow Socket
Socket Bonus: +3 Critical Strike Rating

Durability 100 / 100
Requires Level 80

Equip: Improves hit rating by 72 (2.74% @ L80).
Equip: Improves critical strike rating by 50 (1.09% @ L80).
Equip: Increases spell power by 110.

Mythical Tier 8 best in slot chest piece:

Mythical Gown
Binds when picked up

Slot: Chest (226)
Type: Cloth, 314 Armor

+75 Stamina
+80 Intellect

Yellow Socket 
Red Socket
Socket Bonus: +6 Critical Strike Rating

Durability 100 / 100
Requires Level 80

Equip: Improves hit rating by 60.
Equip: Improves critical strike rating by 55.
Equip: Improves spell penetration rating by 50 
Equip: Increases spell power by 120.

Looking at this item it improves intellect slightly at the cost of stamina, and drops hit rating for a significant increase in spell penetration (0 –> 50 rating) and a slight increase in spell power. Comparing this upgrade to the Tier 8.5 chest:

Tier 8.5 chest Gown of the Spell Weaver

11 Int
50 Spi
6 Armor
32 Crit
22 Spell Power
1 Sockets

10 Sta
72 Hit

 
Mythical Gown Gown of the Spell Weaver
10 Int
6 Armor
5 Crit rating
60 SPen rating
10 Spell Power
1 Socket
10 Sta
12 Hit Rating

 

The second looks like box looks like a much better trade in my eyes, it focuses on the same strengths as the original best in slot item and reduces the hit rating slightly to account for increased hit on other items due to inflating ilevels. The gear becomes much more flexible by gaining a third rating on the gear (forcing it to spend points more effectively).

This can be carried out for any piece of gear, adding a third tier and the fourth and final combat rating to the piece we can simply add:

 
Mythical Gown Tier 9 Mythical Gown
5 Sta
10 Int
6 Armor
25 4th Combat rating
20 Spell Power
1 Socket
No losses
 

Or removing the third socket we can increase the fourth combat rating to 55-60 within budget.

Each tier and piece of gear is now clearly differentiated through the provision of these multiple combat ratings and the gear improvements are provided through additional stats as well as improved efficiency. A level 83 item will not be as efficient as these tiered end game epics due to the massive number of ratings on each comparing with perhaps one or two on a standard piece of gear. The only issue comes in with the fourth raiding tier which does not add a fifth rating but instead follows the “+2” pattern, however I would like to think that in this case the gear will be optimised better than others with the knowledge that the hit and penetration caps have been reached leading to a spell power / crit focus for this late game gear.

Hard mode gear is not a tier advanced from the equivalent tier level gear, and as such follows the “+2” model but again as with the fourth tier gear improvement spends the budget on non-required ratings such as crit and spell power. This gives meaningful divisions within hard mode vs tier+1 gear, the hard mode gear will be harder hitting, the tier+1 gear will be less hard hitting but more likely to hit the higher level bosses of that tier. This gives an interesting option to mix and match gear where needed and indeed the best in slot option may be a mixture of previous tier hard mode gear (which we want to encourage guilds to go back and see even if they are progressing the next tier), and the current tier gear. This can be enforced by the provision of trinkets and accessories providing very large volumes of the required combat ratings for each tier allowing flexibility.

I think that is enough of a rough overview of how I see gear progression based on these ratings. There can of course be alterations and the value of each rating can be adjusted to fit viably within the ilevels available. The gear does seem slightly more interesting than a simple “+2” version while still allowing near perfectly optimised gear at each tier meaning fewer outcries of “our gear is intentionally bad”.

(Ilevels calculated using my hacked together matlab file)

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