"Versatility is garbage."

"Crit is the worst stat for my spec."

"I don't want that upgrade, haste is useless to me."

I've had guildies pass up 15+ ilvl upgrades because they didn't like the secondary stats. Murf mentions something quite similar in his listmas post. So, is that the truth of the matter? I venture that it's not, and that you're best taking a raw ilvl upgrade in most cases.

Let's take a look at some classes. I know Enhancement Shaman relatively well, so I brought up my character on AskMrRobot and took a look at the stat weights given:

Not gonna lie, the fact that AskMrRobot doesn't normalize these to Agility = 1 is driving me mildly batty. |

So really I only care about what the spread is between the "best" secondaries and the "worst" secondaries. The actual values, or the exact secondaries we care about are immaterial.

I grabbed an some items from the current WoW raids/heroic 5-mans, and charted out the stat progression for the basic item, and with warforged (I'm ignoring sockets for a moment for simplicity. We'll get back to those). I chose Bracers--interesting point I learned, there are no mail belts in Highmaul LFR from bosses. I wonder if there's a shared drop I missed? Below you can see a chart that shows all of the values that I extracted:

So now that we have all of that, let's assume you have double your best secondary on your 630 ilvl item, and all your upgrades have double your worst secondary. In the case of the Enhancement Shaman weightings, that would be an item that looked like:

Item Level 630

+94 Agility

+121 Haste

And all our upgrades only have Versatility. So let's compare our 630 to the next closest thing, a Warforged version with Versatility, which would look like:

Item Level 636

+99 Agility

+127 Versatility

So now take the stat weightings above, and multiply them by the differences. We had 121 Haste, so that's 314.6 points of power (121 * 2.6). 127 Versatility is 254 points of power (127 * 2), meaning the difference is ~60.6 points. The difference in power attributed to Agility is (99 * 5.4 - 94 * 5.4) = (5 * 5.4) = 27, leaving us with a power differential of ~33.6, or around 7 more points of Agility to make it worthwhile.

All right, let's bump it up to LFR.

Item Level 640

+103 Agility

+134 Versatility

So we have our prior 121 Haste (314.6), versus our new 134 Versatility (268), but a new difference of 9 Agility from our base item (48.6), meaning the upgrade is 2 points better than what we started. So in the absolute worst case for the weights given, 10 ilvls difference is sufficient to say screw it, take the item regardless of the secondaries no matter what (for a weighting of 2.6 vs 2.0 and stacking the BEST versus the worst).

Interestingly enough, that seems to hold scaling up. Performing similar calculations for 676 upgrading to 685 shows that it would be better to keep the 676, caveat the strange stats on the item, but if we were to get a couple more ilvls on the 685, it would beat out the lower level item.

So that's the worst case. Let's take a normal case, where the secondaries are split between the best two and the worst two.

Item Level 630

+94 Agility

+70 Haste

+51 Mastery

(94 * 5.4 + 70 * 2.6 + 51 * 2.15) = 761.65

Item Level 636

+99 Agility

+74 Versatility

+53 Multistrike

(99 * 5.4 + 74 * 2 + 53 * 2.05) = 791.25

And just like that, the the 636 is already better than the 630 by a decent margin.

All of the above assumes our weightings are "correct". Haste is 30% better than Versatility according to AskMrRobot's weights. What if the gap was wider? If you look at the weightings for Holy Priests, you're looking at a 57% gap--1.1 for the best, 0.7 for the worst, with Intellect at 2, ignoring Spirit for a moment because that's another bucket of worms.

Holy Priest Weightings. It's clear to me that these weightings are generally created to enforce priority order, rather than work with raw numbers...but let's pretend for a moment, shall we? |

+94 Intellect

+121 Multistrike

(94 * 2 + 121 * 1.1) = 321.1

Item Level 640

+103 Intellect

+134 Versatility

(103 * 2 + 134 * 0.7) = 299.8

As expected, still worse. In the case of weightings like these, it doesn't overcome the stat weight disparity until a little above 646 (if we could get items at 648 or so, that would do the trick). But again, it's rare to see stats stacked like that, so let's take a much closer to real world example:

Item Level 630

+94 Intellect

+70 Multistrike

+51 Haste

(94 * 2 + 70 * 1.1 + 51 * 1) = 316

Item Level 640

+103 Intellect

+74 Versatility

+60 Mastery

(103 * 2 + 74 * 0.7 + 60 * 0.8) = 328.07

In the case of Holy Priests with the weights as given, Warforged wasn't sufficient. We had to go up 10 ilvls still. However, 10 ilvls is definitely more than enough to say screw it, replace it regardless. Even had I decided to use Spirit/Multistrike in the 630 calculation, the 640 would've been effectively equivalent.

All of this is to say that

**. If it's a gap of 10 ilvls or more, you're probably best just taking the upgraded item and calling it a day, regardless of the stats that it has on it. All of this gets completely out of whack when it comes to trinkets (because of procs), weapons (due to weapon damage/spellpower), or sockets. I'm not going to cover trinkets because that's a case by case basis, but sockets are interesting.**

__ilvl is still largely king__Right now sockets are worth +35/+50 of a secondary stat. For our Enhancement case, if we got a 630 item with a socket and gemmed Haste, that's a huge power differential:

Item Level 630

+94 Agility

+70 Haste

+51 Mastery

+35 Haste (Socket)

(94 * 5.4 + 70 * 2.6 + 51 * 2.15 + 35 * 2.6) = 890.25

Item Level 646

+109 Agility

+78 Versatility

+64 Multistrike

(109 * 5.4 + 78 * 2 + 64 * 2.05) = 875.8

So a single green gem in a socket is enough to make that 630 better than the unsocketed LFR Warforged item. What if we flipped it so that we had the best socket but worst stats to start?

Item Level 630

+94 Agility

+70 Versatility

+51 Multistrike

+35 Haste (Socket)

(94 * 5.4 + 70 * 2 + 51 * 2.05 + 35 * 2.6) = 843.15

Item Level 636

+99 Agility

+74 Haste

+53 Mastery

(99 * 5.4 + 74 * 2.6 + 53 * 2.15) = 840.95

The socket is better than Warforged, even when comparing the worst stats to the best. And that's with a crappy gem, no less.

All of the above assumes the stat weights are accurate, which frankly, they are not. It's clear in both the Enhancement Shaman and Holy Priest cases that while they may be based on sims, they've been tweaked to make pretty--especially for the Priest, which I'm confident is literally just enforcing priority ordering rather than actual weights with math behind them. Remember, those weights change as you get more of a given stat because of how stats interact in your spec.

In my mind, that means a 15 ilvl upgrade (ie: LFR->Normal->Heroic->Mythic) is an absolute no-brainer, take it regardless of stats, unless you have a socket. Sockets are worth a good 5 - 7 ilvls on their own, if not 10 with a rare gem. 10 ilvls is probably okay as well, unless you're truly going from 2 awesome stats to 2 of your worst stats, at which point you need to understand more about your stat weights and how spread out they are. Basically, you mostly only need to worry about optimizing your secondary stats once you're getting side-grades (including warforged).

I think I'm justified in saying ilvl is largely king, but I definitely underestimated the power of sockets. #WorldOfWarcraft, #Theorycrafting

No disagreement on the power of item levels here.

ReplyDeleteI am still stuck in my TBC-era mindset where some degree of gear optimization was possible outside of just hoping you get the right random stats on a piece of gear. I personally prefer that system, and I think WoD's approach is a lot less fun even if the difference from stats isn't that big. I miss having a fairly easy, approachable way to better min/max myself!

That all did admittedly get out of hand, though.

I mean, there is some optimization to be had. You get to choose your enchants/gems still, and as you get gear, you can decide to swap out similar ilvl pieces. There's no less customization today than there was in TBC (though there is less than there was in, say, Cata).

DeleteAre you sure you're just not lamenting your innocence, when you weren't aware that an optimal solution could be mathed out?

Because for healers, while there's an optimal HPS solution, playstyle makes up a huge factor. For tanks, while there's an optimal TMI solution, your role in the raid and your ability to use AM will help determine which are your priorities. For DPS, there's simply a mathematically perfect solution, because DPS is largely so simple from the 10,000 foot level.

"I am still stuck in my TBC-era mindset where some degree of gear optimization was possible outside of just hoping you get the right random stats on a piece of gear. "

DeleteDo you realize that raid items are in fact not random? So (not so much in Highmaul but in BRF) you'll have a choice between two items for a given slot with different secondaries?

And speaking as a raider in BC who did half of Sunwell before quitting like half a year before Wrath, there's much more optimization right now in terms of gear than there was then.

"You get to choose your enchants/gems still, and as you get gear, you can decide to swap out similar ilvl pieces."

This is a huge thing -- and notice how the items you swap when changing specs (neck, cloak, rings) are the items that can be enchanted? That's actually fairly brilliant of Blizzard to make those the enchanted items.

"There's no less customization today than there was in TBC (though there is less than there was in, say, Cata)."

Assuming you're referring to Reforging?

"Are you sure you're just not lamenting your innocence, when you weren't aware that an optimal solution could be mathed out?"

I'm going with this, yeah. Even in BC we were mathing out the optimal stuff. I knew as a shadow priest that 1 spellpower = 6 crit...and that was all I needed to know until BT/Hyjal, at which point 1 spellpower = 1 haste = 1 crit. Hit wasn't even a significant factor due to a passive 10% hit which meant we only needed 6%.

There was no real depth to it -- in fact, I was using green and blue items "of Shadow Wrath" into Black Temple because they were better than TK/SSC epics.

I think there's some confusion, as the loot tables for heroic 5-mans are, maybe not random, but large enough to effectively be random. A boss might drop one of six or seven variations on the same item in 5-mans, whereas in raids it's very much the old way of getting loot, with the exception of sockets/warforged/tertiary. I think that's led some folks to believe that secondaries are randomly rolled.

DeletePossibly, though if you look in the dungeon journal it's clearly not the "X item with random properties." Meh.

Delete"Sockets are worth a good 5 - 7 ilvls on their own, if not 10 with a rare gem."

ReplyDeleteKeep in mind the power of sockets will keep decreasing. The legendary 616 cape was superior to 630 capes by virtue of the socket -- but if we were comparing a 716 to 730 cape that wouldn't be the case. The percent difference between the two capes stays the same, but the raw amount grows...and the gem stays the same.

So right now socketed > warforged, but it won't be long until warforged > socketed (especially for non-rare gems).

Ah, excellent point. The stats on the item ARE increasing exponentially (even if that exponent is like 1.01 or some such). If it were purely lie we your argument wouldn't hold, but indeed, the amount of stats you get per 15 ilvls increases each tier, so the relative weight of the socket will go down. I guess there's a question of when does it go down enough.

DeletePurely linear, not lie. Stupid autocorrect.

DeleteWell, let's assume that 1 primary = 2 secondary for the moment.

Deletehttp://www.wowhead.com/item=109900&bonus=524

So that's 278 base. Socket adds 17.5 to get 295.5, warforged is 294.5. Socket is better.

Now http://www.wowhead.com/item=113850&bonus=0

351 base + 17.5 for socket is 368.5. Warforged is 371. So Warforged is better.

Which means for big items like helm/chest/legs the Warforged already wins in normal raids for non-rare gems. For something like neck/ring/cloak/etc (the weakest slots) then gems remain better for much longer.

So there's not really a hard and fast rule, depends on the item slot and the quality of the gem.

That's assuming all secondaries have the same value, which they don't. Since you can always put your best secondary in a gem socket, it elevates the value (though, as Ashunera on Twitter pointed out, the loss of Stamina technically devalues it as well).

DeleteBut yes, that is a good point I forgot to take into account as well. Sockets screw everything up :P

I was doing rough math to illustrate the idea, sue me :) The larger point is that the gem does become relatively worse at a minimum, especially for big budget items.

DeleteAnd yes, sockets screw everything up.