I actually got this out on a Monday; who is surprised? Let's just dive on in to the blue post that every is talking about. First, I have to toot my own horn here a bit, since the change that GhostCrawler announced are roughly the same resilience changes I suggested at the end of January in my post How About 'dem Purps!? The exact implementation of my change is a bit different (and I actually think that it is a bit cleaner the way GC suggested it), but it amounts to the same thing - reward players for wearing PvP gear in a PvP context and somewhat punish players for wearing PvE gear in a PvP context (and vise versa).

As a really quick aside that everyone can agree on, Spell Resistance and therefore Spell Penetration are going to be removed from the game [finally]. GC said what has been on the lips of many players for a very long time (unless you played a warrior, then you do not see what the big deal is) - these stats are awful design and implementation. The fact that, as a melee, I am forced to spend  much of my stat budget on a stat to guarantee my CC landing in a PvP context was always pretty dumb. Almost every spell-caster would get this stat for free simply by wearing the PvP cloak with spell pen, but Feral and Enhancement have to gem and enchant for spell pen, which means we are losing out on actual role stats like agility and mastery. I think I speak for everyone when I say that we will all be happy to see it go.

Similarly, Hit and Expertise are finally going to make more sense to everyone. It looks like there will be a baseline 3% miss chance against a target at the same level (a subtle lowering here is nice), a 6% spell miss chance, and a 3% dodge chance. The Hit stat will continue to lower my chance to miss my target, which is good, but in addition to reducing the target's chance to dodge/parry, expertise will also lower my chance to miss with spells. What is really nice about this model is that (in MoP), Feral will be able to stack Hit up to the melee hit cap, then stack Expertise for a double-dip of effect: reducing my chance to miss with spells (up to the cap for Cyclone) and then covering the chance for enemies to dodge my attacks. This is actually quite nice for Feral, specifically, because it will mean that less of our item budget will have to go to hit and more can go to expertise to cover some of what Hit currently covers. Put simply, this will end up meaning less hit required and stacking enough expertise to cover Dodge from Mages/Priests/etc will also go to landing Cyclones.

Now we get to the good stuff: Resilience!

Resilience is being changed into two distinct stats - PvP Power and PvP Defense. Just as it does presently, defense will end up reducing damage taken from other players. Largely, the defensive side of resilience is going to be unchanged in theory, but probably going to reduce damage further than we expect it to currently. I will spend more time on this dynamic after explaining PvP Power.

PvP Power is going to increase the effectiveness of a player's role in PvP: if the player is a damage-dealer, then PvP Power is likely going to play a lot like attack power or spell power and increase damage done to other players; if the player is a healer, then PvP Power is likely going to play like Spell Healing and increase healing done to other players. Implementation is still left to be discussed here in terms of when these stats are used, though we have largely come to understand that when one player hits another, PvP Defense (currently resilience) and PvP Power will come into play; this dynamic will largely be unchanged in MoP. What we do not yet know is how and when PvP Power comes into play for healers, as they are always targeting another player (in either context - PvP or PvE). I suspect that the stat will "turn off" when in a raid or dungeon, but we will not know for sure for a while.

The really interesting change is how the gear will be itemized. Essentially, PvP gear will be a lower item level than the corresponding raiding tier's gear (by that we assume that Cataclysmic PvP gear will be iLvL 390 while the Deep Earth set is iLvL 397). This may end up meaning that the current tier PvP gear will be the same iLvL as the LFR set and would therefore mean that PvP gear can step into an LFR and compete (which we can now). In addition, the stats PvP Power and PvP Defense are going to be "free" in terms of stat allocation. This is a huge change in dynamic since it has always been that PvP gear would take a hit in stats to have resilience on it. As an example, all the PvP gear essentially has Resilience as a secondary stat instead of Mastery, Haste, or Crit which forces PvP plays to maximize one stat and forsake all others. In MoP, it looks like we may have gear that is, for all intents and purposes, the same as the LFR equivalent in terms of stat allocation, but will not have the same bonuses for equipping set pieces. This is a truly exciting change.

Going back to PvP Defense, since we expect that the dps-role stats to be improved, then we would expect that the defensive side of things would also need to be improved. As an example, we have something around 45% damage reduction in a full Cataclysmic set at present, and we still see teams that focus on training something to death in PvP and end up winning with shear force; in essence, the damage output is still extremely high for some. In MoP, when players are going to be wearing 30% damage reduction "for free" and getting a stat that improves their damage against players, we would expect that the defensive stat would have to further reduce the damage just to keep up. What we end up with is a nice balance (hopefully) between damage-dealing and each player's ability to survive the onslaught. Players will improve their defenses and offenses at a rate that roughly scales with gear, and we expect that losing X amount of PvP Power/Defense will be too much for top-tier players and will (hopefully) keep players from using PvE trinkets/set bonuses in high rated arenas/rbgs.

What no one has yet to point out, and I am certainly not going to bring it up on the forums, is that healing is largely unchecked. Take, for example, the situation where both Guntir and I get the same Chest-piece upgrade. I get a bonus to damage reduction the same that Guntir does, and I get a bonus to dealing damage while Guntir gets a bonus to healing done. Where the interesting bit lies is in the fact that while my damage output scales, so does my target's damage reduction - there is now a check (though it cannot keep up) for my damage gained. Guntir, on the other hand, gets more healing applied to a player but nothing reduces the healing done (except for MS-effects), so in the case where there is one dps and one healer, the healer could potentially outscale the damage of the dps player.

Sigh... already this change implies that Mortal Strike effects et al will remain in MoP as a crux of the PvP system. I know I should not be surprised, but I am a bit taken back by it none the less.

Next week marks Blizzard's Mists of Pandaria press event, and MMO-Champion is already suggesting that once the NDA lifts from that (March 19, apparently), we should expect to see Alpha/Beta starting on MoP. I would be surprised to see the Beta start that soon, but the last time we saw anything concerning MoP, we saw a really polished game with some implementation required to get things finished. Maybe we will see the MoP beta start in a few weeks, and if so, then I will be posting none-stop with what I find (recall, I am one of those suckers who bought the annual pass to get a MoP beta invite and DIII). All things considered, we are seeing a LOT of changes in MoP that, I believe, are for the best in terms of balance and increasing the fun of the game.