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Are Stats Too Crazy These Days?

I know the answer is 179% yes.

The obvious go-to game for insane stats is World of Warcraft. I'm looking at gear and numbers for just about everything and they've spiraled out of control in Legion. We're doing millions of damage in one ability, getting thousands upon thousands of stats on one piece of gear, and earning billions of points toward an artifact with one consumable. None of those are exaggerations.

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Deciding what piece of gear to wear in MMOs these days requires log parsers, ui addons, a calculator, or at least a ton of theory and speculation. Entire websites exist to help people figure out what gear is better. For example, should you use an item with 800 versatility, or 450 crit? Which is better? Why? On what bosses? In which type of encounters? With what buffs?

The entire thing is a little out of control, and it's happening in a lot of MMOs.

Personally, I prefer simpler stats. I get that some companies have taken to naming certain things differently -- coming up with stats like "mastery" and "versatility". I suppose that's fine, as long as those stats are given absolute clarity. Ambiguity is a gateway drug to stat creep.

Give me strength, dex, agility, intelligence, wisdom, critical strike chance, armor class, etc. Just simple stats. Math behind the scenes can be left behind the scenes. New expansions should all reset stats. Expansions should be planned well in advance to not have stat creep explode.

Simpler stats do not mean simpler combat or boring loot. Epic Sword of Awesomeness can still be amazing with 25 strength and a proc that does 35 fire damage. We don't need a dozen stat modifiers.

In fact, I'm also a believer in simple loot too, but that's a topic for another day.

WoW is being toned down (again) in Battle for Azeroth. It treats the symptoms like it always has, but it never fixes the root cause of the problem.

  • carson63000 says:

    Diablo 3 is still more over-inflated than WoW, no? I think high end Greater Rift Guardians have hundreds of trillions of hit points?

  • Hysten says:

    I liked how games like Runescape did stats. The gear stats made sense and instead of hitting for thousands of points of damage, you’d be pretty happy hitting an 8 or a 10.

  • audioshaman says:

    I agree with you, but of course in many ways WoW’s stats have been greatly simplified over the years. You’re no longer trying to figure out your hit cap or what expertise rating you need, for example.

    And each time WoW’s stats have been simplified it has resulted in a huge backlash suggesting that the game is being “dumbed down”.

    As far as power creep, I also agree with you… but it’s also a difficult topic. People like getting more powerful in RPGs. They don’t like having power (or anything else) taken away. Power creep sucks, but gaining power is fun. Players want fun. I don’t know how to solve any of it.

    • Keen says:

      I think expansions are the best time to do this because in WoW it might as well be like starting over at level 1. When a new expansion comes out, it’s a total reset.

  • Sky says:

    I am one of those people I guess that enjoys it. I understand the rarity of my opinion, though. There is something about smacking a boss or critter for millions of damage, or seeing an item drop that increases my dps by 25,000 that makes me smile.

    And yes, I know that in reality when comparing two different stats in two different games, 25,000 in World of Warcraft may be the same as increasing your damage by 100 in another. It’s just the same type of “fun” you get from playing an idle clicker/management game where the entire purpose of the game is to keep making more and more money.

    • Sky says:

      To expand,

      I can’t wait until we start doing 1.99aa damage in World of Warcraft, because the boss we are attacking has 277jj health, lol. (I’m being facetious, of course.)

      For those that don’t know, in a lot of games where numbers tend to get large, fast, the “number creep” is usually like this:

      999a < 999b < 999c 999aa < 999bb < 999cc /etc etc. One "b" currency is worth one thousand "a" units, or maybe 1 "aa" unit may be worth 100,000 "a" units.

      If that makes any sense. It does to me :3

      • Keen says:

        Yeah, see to me that’s silly. I think they should always just scale the damage so that 1,000 is always “a lot” and 10 is always “a little” rather than having to create new forms of math and annotations just to make sense of it all!

  • Hilljack says:

    If the primary form of progression is pure gear grind, then power creep is virtual impossible to avoid. Other facets of the game must entertain people, be it housing, cosmetics, pvp or faction war, resource battles, crafting etc.

    In today’s limited attention span, ultimate choice, ultra-competitive environment; creating a game to combat the simple solution of power creep is extraordinarily hard. I would say, the best combat to power creep is niche focused MMO’s which lack traditional RPG elements.

    I do not deny a more traditional RPG focused MMO could be created with limited power creep, but doubt we’ll see it any time soon.

    Your best would be a more survival based MMO such as Rust, ARK, etc. Even those games have power creep comes in the form of new recipes etc, but it seems the creep is more controlled.

  • Yotor says:

    Power creep is going to be an issue in any game. The balance is making sure that you have tools to ensure that game play changes. I look at DnD’s power creep. As you level a normal orc isn’t a challenge for a mid range hero, but throw in some interesting terrain, a bridge over some lava perhaps. Even the easiest most mundane combatants can be a threat. I understand in modern MMO’s it isn’t possible to tailor every encounter for a player, but there are ways to overcome any challenge the “over powered” player presents.

    The bigger problem is how do you make a threat feel grand. In wow, we’ve defeated titans, gods, planets, and every bady out there. Yet the mountain is ever steep and requires more climbing. In a DnD campaign at some point your characters will retire or be finally killed. At some point they will have to do that with WoW, or let your characters fade into oblivion as the servers are shuttered like old stores in a strip mall.

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