The great item squish

The one thing that can’t be denied in warcraft is inflation. The economy has experienced massive inflation and so has character stats. Compared to vanilla, where a hundred gold was a fortune and character health was about 5k, at the end of cata a thousand gold can be made easily in an hour and unbuffed my pally has 180k health. Inflation is a fact of life both in game and out. While the economy can’t be brought down aside from introducing gold sinks character stats can.

There are currently two possible methods of bringing character stats back under control, or at least resetting the current inflation. The first which I believe (I could be wrong) is what is being favoured by blizz is the great item squish. The second is of course Mega Damage. Where three zero’s are substituted for the mega damage notation. The first actually changes things whereas the second just changes it’s formatting.

Something has to be done there’s no doubt about that. After all, as countless people have no doubt said before this, we’ll end up with a million health and 10 million crits before we know it, or some other crazy numbers. However, I remain unconvinced that either of the proposed options are the best solution. I’m not sure what is, maybe some sort of mix or the current options with more guarantee. I don’t know but I have objections and here they are.

Mega Damage
I suppose my objection to this is the same as blizz’s objection to it – it fixes nothing. It changes the display of the information but the numbers are still going to be as stupidly high behind that. It also sounds silly and like something you get on Guitar Hero. However, this would be the easiest ‘fix’. Nothing would have to change in past content and everyone can just continue gearing up as they always have.

Item squish
On first glance this seems like a good idea. True it’s not putting in place any measures that mean it won’t have to be repeated in the future. However, if things go like it did before then it would be in several expansions time anyway and so therefore not worth worrying about. There is the concern that players would feel less powerful and I suppose to a certain extent that would be true. However, it would soon become assimilated into the new normal. Just as people are nasty to those doing less than 10k dps at 85 now, a new standard would be reached say 3k and then if you did less than that it would be bad. With each expansion players have created standards out of numbers that actually make the numbers themselves somewhat immaterial. It doesn’t matter how much damage you are doing as long as it’s more than everyone else.

So on the face of it this seems like the best option. My concern though is two-fold. First, soloing ability. If they make players less powerful but don’t go back and readjust previous content (including cata content) then I will be a very sad panda. I love soloing old raids/instances. Sure there are some that you can’t solo however powerful you are due to mechanics, others we just aren’t powerful enough yet. I started playing in wrath but by the end of wrath I could solo a few dungeons and I three manned Molten Core with my friend sometimes. Now, I can solo a lot up to some bits of ICC. I want to be able to solo more. I want in essence to grow more powerful not less. It’s still not about the numbers though, just the relation they have to other things.

I guess my real concern though is that they do go back and adjust everything accordingly. Think about how much that is? Even if they do have some super find and replace database for all the numbers it’ll still take ages and they’ll be bugs and it’ll be very problematic. I don’t want them to have to spend development time on this. As much as I love soloing I want all their attention on new content. If they have to spend time on old content (like they did with the cata 1-60 revamp) then we run the risk of Mists not having the content like cata. Nobody wants that.

At the end of the day I suppose I want the impossible. I want nothing to change and for us to keep getting more powerful so I can keep soloing. At the same time I acknowledge that the numbers will get silly. I want the best of both worlds and I bet I’m not the only player that does. I don’t envy blizz the decision.