Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Reforging for Dummies

Let me start this by saying that, prior to the last couple of days, I'd never really been a big fan of reforging. I hesitate to use the phrase "dumbing down," but there is such a thing as being "too customizable," in my opinion. And there's nothing the engineer in me hates more than something that is too user friendly.

Back in the day, before the fall of the Lich King, you had to be clever with your itemization, gems, and enchants. There was a rather interesting trade off where you had to decide whether to exist as much as a percentage point over the hit cap, or risk going a few scant points under. Entire posts were written debating the merits of being close to cap against being over cap. Snow fell only on uphill slopes that I, of course, walked on to get everywhere. It was a golden age of snowshoes and tough moral dilemmas.

However, what I call interesting, a lot of other people call blatantly annoying. What's worse than getting the new, awesome, super shiny upgr- Oh it has no hit on it. Damn. Burn it all to fel. Enter reforging. The salve to our irritable bowel syndrome. The panacea to our collective case of conjunctivitis.

Being Catholic, my initial reaction to change was one of intense fear and suspicion. It is something that is bred into me like an overactive sex drive and a love of the "occasional" drink, as well as an affinity for the pleated skirt. What was wrong with the old ways? Doesn't too easy = bad = sin = anger = fear = the dark side? Isn't there some sort of inherent nobility to my suffering? HAS EVERYTHING I'VE EVER DONE BEEN FOR NAUGHT?!

Okay, I'm catastrophizing. But seriously, I'm the type of person that sometimes struggles with change. I had my old system worked out and working for me, and then they had to go and gunk it up. So I did not welcome reforging with open arms.

Yet, now that I'm max level and beginning to to tweak gear for raiding, I'm starting to see it's allure. No longer am I pigeonholed into lesser gear for fear of losing my cap. No longer do I develop a twitch when the new epic trinket awards me with a whole percent of wasted hit points. I simply reforge, and then I'm done. Or unreforge (isn't that just "forge"? IDK).

The beauty of reforging is that it allows you to mess around with numbers to try and hit the cap exactly on the nose. It's still a bit challenging, as you can only get so much from each piece. In fact, it sort of becomes a game within a game as you try to work the puzzle pieces together to fit perfectly (as possible). Right now I have achieved a scant 0.04% overage. I was irrationally excited by it since, after purchasing the scarily hit free Justice Point hand upgrade, I knew full well that the loss of hit from the slightly worse piece it was replacing would be a challenge to make up. In the past, I would have just ignored the upgrade, because no way would I be able to gem/enchant swap enough to make the purchase worthwhile, sinking tons of gold into the process and probably ending off with a worse itemization than when I started.

Now, though... WAHOO REFORGING!

Being still somewhat resistant to change and extreme measures for min/maxing, I wanted to pass along my simple rules for reforging. These rules are supposed to be the "basics" when you're mucking around for hit cap. Sure you could reforge everything to the best stats possible, but I'm not dealing with that right now. I'm deriving these from my current stat progression (found in the guides up there on the left), so they may change over time. I want to try to keep it simple though...

Affliction Warlock Hit Reforging Rules of Thumb
  1. If you need more Hit, try to steal it from Mastery. Mastery is the worst.
  2. If you can't steal Mastery, get it from Crit or Haste (you can get into Haste plateaus if you want, but I'm not worrying about that yet, I'm still switching gear too frequently).
  3. If you have too much Hit, unreforge or put some back into Crit or Haste. Forget Mastery.
  4. ???
  5. Corrupt things for Profit
Demonology Warlock Hit Reforging Rules of Thumb
  1. A clever Demo lock told me we should shoot for 1996 Haste. Meander around this rating if you want.
  2. Crit and Mastery are about on the same level, so steal from either of these for Hit.
  3. Too much hit? Unreforge or metamorphosize some into Haste.
  4. ???
  5. Enslave things for Profit.
Frost Death Knight Hit/Expertise Reforging Rules of Thumb
  1. Melee hit cap is 8% and Expertise cap is 25 (check your mouseovers).
  2. Steal it from Haste.
  3. Pop it back into Mastery. Bwuh? Yeah, Mastery is actually decent here. Or my fave, Crit, is always good.
  4. ???
  5. Freeze things for Profit.
And right now, that's the long and short of it as far as I'm concerned.


  1. Wait what? When did Mastery become bad for Affliction? I was under the impression that Mastery was good for Aff.

  2. I bring to you a light at the end of the tunnel... or the devil incarnate, depending on your point of view.

    This will optimize your gear for you, and even tell you what to enchant. The best feature in my opinion is that it will tell you how to reforge. I was a bit skeptical, but I followed it for my pally and it ensured that I was as close to hit-capped as possible.

    Its not as customizable ( and thus not as hard to use) as rawr, but it works pretty well.

  3. So far that I've seen, Crit's actually worse than Mastery for afflic. They're both kinda equally crappy atm, but I have a feeling Mastery is going to win later on in the tiers, and technically right now, it comes out a few hundredths or so ahead in my Pawn scales pretty much every time I swap a piece.

  4. From what I have researched Mastery for Aff is on par with Haste.

    I tend to stack haste and mastery in my gear. Crit is usually what I reforge for hit. If there is no crit on the piece I will reforge mastery before I reforge haste.

  5. So you can see the numbers I pulled from the EJ Sim here:

    This is for 359 gear levels I believe, so ymmv.

    Haste will vary widely depending on if you're near a plateau. Check out Cynwise's post for more info on that if you want, but basically it doesn't scale linearly.

    Crit has a bit of an increased value because it will proc our DI more.

    At T11 gearing, Mastery is the worst right now, but they're tweaking it all over the place. Probably run your own sims for the best results, but, really, we haven't seen any sort of Mastery buff as Affliction (unlike Demo), so I think it's the first candidate to go. Haste and Crit are both too useful, IMO, and the numbers I've seen back that.

    I'll keep my eye on it down the road, but from what EJ is running, Mastery is worst as we gear up. Unless something has changed since patch 4.0.6 came out that I don't know about...

  6. Go ahead and link some of the research you guys are find though, it'd be interesting to see the caveats of each since it seems to be a lot more based on the individual than I thought.

  7. For the first time, mastery came out last (though only BARELY beaten by crit, and not really on par with haste @KoalaB) in my own SimC run. However, the SimC apparently still wants to run its simulations with the succubus and other theorycrafting crap which I knowingly deviate from, so I'm not at all pleased with it or trusting it as a fair representation of which stat is cooler.

    I will definitely echo that the stat weights are heavily dependent on gear & plain-English translations of said stat weight priorities. Depending on whether you were in my 352 gear, 359 BiS, or 372 BiS, you could say crit was equal to haste or it was equal to mastery or it wasn't equal to haste but it beat mastery by a long shot, etc.

  8. Yeah, we were having a conversation on Twitter about this (and I was trying to prod Nibuca... my fave aff'lock number cruncher), but the consensus seems to be that there is no consensus on the minor stats. Haste is complicated with non-linear scaling, but if you were to average it to fit better with the others... it's probably the best until you get to somewhere around 2k haste.

    Crit can be low for us, but I don't know how a Sim takes DI into account and things like that. I would argue that I've seen Crit be closer to Haste than Mastery.

    Which leaves Mastery. From most sims that I've seen, Mastery is the lowest and doesn't scale as well as the others as you go up. Mastery is much better for demo and destro 'locks.

    So as much as I'd like to make this guide for "dummies," I just don't think we have conclusive evidence. Funny that in trying to make stats "easier" in Cataclysm, we've ended up with perhaps one of the more complicated choices here. I guess the good news is that you're not going to really hinder yourself no matter what you choose.

  9. If it is reforging you are talking about, try, it does one thing - reforging, but you have to understand what it is you want to achieve.

  10. I'm actually swiftly becoming a big fan of Ask Mr. Robot that I have linked in my resource section over there. It does a pretty decent job of telling me what to reforge. I'm planning to write a bit about it on Monday.