With the release of Mirage, players are enchanted by a compelling story, vibrant characters, and a desert world full of mystical environments. However, recent changes in stat systems and lack of gear are adding up to actually slow down the abilities of leveling wizards. For the first time ever, wizards could actually be less powerful than they started out, even after leveling up. Here's how Mirage is making your wizard weaker.
Geared for Success?
As wizards level up, they need better gear to be competitive. First, there's PvE. Enemies are increasing in difficulty, and the general community consensus what that Mirage was a pretty big difficult jump from Polaris. Even though most experienced teams can make it through without any problems, it isn't just hardcore, master players who are running wizards through Mirage. If the difficulty even continues along this trend, much less scales up like the Polaris to Mirage jump, we're looking at mobs the size of Azteca bosses in the near future. We need good gear for that. These enemies, rather than waiting a few worlds to obtain our new spells, are getting them much quicker.
Second, there's PvP. High-level wizards competing with other players have to have top-notch gear. For long-time and more hardcore players, maybe they have Darkmoor gear or the Exalted Duel equivalents. But more casual questing players, while they can't expect to have things handed to them, do need something that at least provides reasonable stat lines. Mirage doesn't offer that. Furthermore, there are zero crafted gear options, only crafted wands, which don't compare to some of the top wands currently.
There's another side to the gear story with some decay of stats, which I'll talk about a little bit later, but that just compounds the gear issue. See, what we're getting in Mirage is hardly comparable even to past worlds. In fact, some of it is not an upgrade, but a seeming downgrade, as KingsIsle has placed too much emphasis on pip conversion by sacrificing other stats, when in fact the stat is rather insignificant when compared to others. Given that it is only useful with spells of an odd pip cost, you really won't see it used a lot.
When we aren't being downgraded, we get what's called a "sidegrade." That is to say, not an upgrade or improvement to past gear, but a tradeoff between a few stats. Options. Options are great, and I love that we can have diversity in gear, but options should come from multiple sources within the same level tier, not different worlds in the storyline. We need continued improvement of gear as we level. Sidegrades are simply not sufficient.
A Critical Problem
In order to stay competitive in PvP and to survive these crazy mobs and cheating bosses, we need to continue to improve our critical and block. Not because it has to always be better and better, but because some form of linear progression makes sense, otherwise, why level at all? If you've noticed, as we've leveled up, our wand tiers have gotten fewer and fewer critical and block rating increases. In fact, a lot of the new stats are actually going down. This compounds a problem we're already having.
Critical & Block Decay
Here's where things start getting wild. KingsIsle realized that eventually, critical and block would simply scale up to 100% and 100%, where there'd be gridlock and not a lot of excitement happening in the critical world. So they decided to implement a system where your critical and block value would decay as you level. That is to say, right now, your value translates to a certain percentage, but when you level up, it translates to a smaller percentage.
For example, let's say you have 370 critical rating which provides you with 60% critical chance at level 110 (my numbers aren't precise, this is just an example). At level 120, ten later, your same rating of 370 might only provide 52% critical chance. Add this to the fact that new gear is a side grade and many critical and block percentages are decreasing, and wizards are facing serious questions about increasing their power.
It will be really interesting to see how things play out over the course of the next few months, perhaps a year, before another storyline update. With gear not providing much of an advantage, even in pack tiers, and critical and block decay, I can't help but think that level 120 wizards might face serious competition from level 110 wizards who have solid gear from Polaris and are not experiences as heavy of decay.
What is really gained from leveling to 120 is a spell, and it's more useful for some classes than others. Is the decay and lack of gear worth it? What do you think?
Thanks for reading and see you in the Spiral!