Today we dig into one of the major changes that Mod 6 will feature: The new stat curve that kicks in beginning at level 61+. Once you level up from 60 to 61, you’ll notice a major dropoff in percentages you get from the stats. That’s because they didn’t remodel the system from 1-70 but are using a different stat curve for 1-60 and 61-70. Generally, you need much more stats in a certain category to achieve the percentages (Crit, DR and others) you are accustomed to (in fact the devs stated those are unreachable for now), but the stat curves are nearly linear, so stacking deep into a category is much easier and less punitive than before.
Why was this necessary? The problem with the current gear and stats progression was that nearly all builds were hitting the soft-caps for each and every rating, so stacking Power and HP remained the only possibility to improve characters. In the new system the devs can introduce much more variety on gear and you don’t have to worry that certain stats won’t give you a significant improvement. Also you should be able to specialize and min/max characters better because you can stack specific stats aggressively and the system aims towards more longevity than the previous one as well.
So far, so good.
There are some major concerns surrounding the new curves though that have to be addressed. The first is a cosmetic one. It just doesn’t feel as elegant that they are essentially splitting the game into two halves. Gameplay from 1-60 will be vastly different than the gameplay from 61-70. Some go as far as saying 1-60 is false advertising for what the end game is like and although that might be hyperbole, it’s certainly not wrong. I myself think that it probably won’t matter as much, cause people will rush through 1-60 faster than ever (I hope everyone grabbed their pack of Inscribed Garment). The items that drop on preview indicate you can just continue your journey and don’t have to settle and gear up to a certain GS/ilvl to be able to master the new quest areas. But I do wonder as well why the early implosion of the stat curve couldn’t have been foreseen and agree the new one with the big cut at 61 feels washy and like a workaround. Adjusting the curve for 1-70 would have meant to fully rebalance any existing content though and we know Cryptic is undermanned. That’s nothing they can do, especially since it does not generate any income, nobody will be playing 60 content any longer.
While this can be mostly discarded, other balancing issues cannot.
Because the same amount of stat points give way less percentage points, everything giving stat points (boons, reinforcement kits, enchants, some feats and powers) has been downgraded while everything giving raw percentages (ability scores and feats mostly) has received an upgrade. The new stat curve basically affects every single facet of balancing.
There are many ramifications that you simply have to get used to and prepare for, like the Vorpal Enchantment receiving an indirect nerf, because nobody will be able to achieve comparable crit rates at 70, but also more severe issues.
I don’t want to get all nerdy on you, but let’s simply take a look at the combat HR for a second. So far, most DPS builds were able to get to 10% LifeSteal easily even without ToD boons, the combat HR to 30% adding its feats. That’s three times as much. In Mod 6, DPS classes might have problems getting to 5% LifeSteal while the combat HR will still have 25%. That’s five times as much and a sneaky 40% buff to the class in that area. I don’t want to specifically pick out the HR here, all classes feature those kind of problems (Here’s a nice list for CWs).
PVP? In its current form DR% has become a wasted stat because you are able (and have) to stack Armor Penetration comparatively easy. Tenacity originally also reduced the efficiency of ArPen and we might see a revival to counter this new imbalance.
Let’s take boons. So far they are an integral part of the character progression, because the 2k stat points they provide give decent percentages. In Mod 6, 2k stat points are negligible, more or less worth 1-2% stat percentages. Would you go through all four campaigns for 1-2% DR or 1-2% Crit (figuratively)? Most certainly not. A full set of reinforcement kits is worth 1.7k stat points and in its current form can be safely discarded for the amount of AD it costs. Even enchantments: Rank 10 now provides 400 stat points each. A full set of 13x R10s is 5.2k stat points, roughly 7 percentage points. Generally you will need to get to much higher ranks to get a sense of improvement.
So based on the new system boons, enchants and reinforcement kits (and everything else giving raw stats) must be looked at and probably buffed, but in doing so, you severely mess with the 60- balance, which still uses the old stat curve. How do you handle that? Again: I don’t think 60- will matter at all going into M6, but this is still an issue.
Another point has been brought up on the official realms by some of the premier number crunchers. Because the stats are giving less percentages per point invested, slotting anything other than Radiants (Power, HP) and Darks (ArPen) makes even less sense than currently.
The system isn’t final, Rank 12s haven’t been released yet and hopefully we see adjustments to other areas as well. After all, we’ve just seen the very first builds of the new module, so this is voicing concerns and not premature criticism. But right now the old balancing doesn’t fit the new stat curve and it would cause major pains if released this way. There is absolutely no way this should get through without tweaking the described areas, cause you can’t just sit back and hope everything will pan out just fine when changing such a major facet of the game.