Numbers or Names?

Does anyone else find having a goal of reaching 542 defence rating less interesting than a goal of obtaining gear such that you become The Uncrittable? Or obsessing over a 164 Expertise rating instead of being The Finisher? I know I’d rather be aiming for an Undeniable set bonus than two pieces of something rated 264.

Surely it would be possible to design a game so that the numbers are more hidden, at least to the casual masses. EJs will still want to min-max based on figures, but I’d be surprised if the majority wouldn’t prefer titles or visual indicators once they reached certain milestones.

Achievements allow that in a way. You can see each step to Epic for example, so why not also have some non-numeric means of letting people see their progress toward key statistical milestones.

It could be something like the paper doll that shows when your gear is broken – but instead of showing damage, it shows how close each piece is to the magical goals. It would get pretty complicated with all the myriad stats, but with the coming Cataclysm stat simplification, surely it would be possible.

I’d bet the vast majority of the player base would have no idea that their are certain numeric goals for each stat. Which leads to fail PUGs and finger pointing. But if you could work it so that it was more obvious, and more intuitive, then more players would be at least equipped well enough to hold their own.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy crunching spreadsheets, working out gear rankings, and planning upgrades. But all of that work is a meta-game, and it’s all for the minority of players. Better to put the basics in game,  make it visual so people can see what they’re aiming for, and reward players for reaching those goals.

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4 Responses to Numbers or Names?

  1. Damien says:

    Despite 4 years of university science, including pure and applied maths and an honours year in physics, I can honestly say I do not enjoy the number crunching aspect of WOW gear optimisation. If I want that kind of gaming experience I do a soduko.
    They should change the need/greed/pass buttons to:
    “Upgrade for your {current/off} spec”
    “Auctionable/Tradeable”
    “Disenchantable by you”
    “Vendor only” (i.e. BOP downgrade for you)
    The earlier options should trump the later ones.

  2. Bane says:

    That’s a good plan, integrate it into the looting system. Even if all they did was say “This will make you harder to hit” or “This will top up your damage”. And maybe add an optional “more info” box for the stat fiends if they want it. Telling you when it’s not an upgrade is just as important.

    At the moment we’re reliant on add-ons like RatingBuster to assist, and even then there’s that pause while you try and work out if you should roll Need. The current “guys this gives me 1.5 more Int over 3 extra Spirit – which should I take” discussion is silly. That pause doesn’t work too well in a gogogogogogo PuG.

    This topic is obviously the meme of the moment – Spinks just posted a similar thought: “Make stats simple and intuitive, make the effect of a new item on a character obvious and unmistakeable. Make it easy for someone who is actually paying attention to gear up in an appropriate way.”

    http://spinksville.wordpress.com/2010/03/02/simplification-or-just-dumbing-down/

    Morphic resonance at work.

  3. Bane says:

    And now Tobold: “To make things not so easy to calculate, we add some unnecessary math to it, for example giving you a base groupability stat of 400, which you need to increase to 540 by adding 689 groupability rating to your gear.”

    http://tobolds.blogspot.com/2010/03/groupability-stat.html

  4. Bane says:

    And Garwulf: “The moral of the story… just because the item has a higher gear score, doesn’t always mean it’s an upgrade.”

    A perfect example of how you need to know the numbers in order to make decisions, and defaulting to a “high number is better” position is often faulty. We shouldn’t have to be mathematicians to play better.

    http://huntsmanslodge.com/5869/hit-rating.htm

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