Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Gear or talent – where’s the spellpower?

A while ago I published a rant about skill versus gear. There’s a general opinon that a skilled player with crappy gear accomplishes a lot more than a crappy player with excellent gear. Which is true to some extent, with the modification that you should think twice about what a skilled player really is.)

Today I’ll save you from the rant, but I’ll put almost the same question, but with a little twist:

I wonder: If you take a mage at level 70 and let him go nuking some mobs (why not Dr Boom to make it simple), what is the most crucial factor which will decide how well he’ll perform in his damage dealing role? Iis it the talents he has (in the talent tree that will say, not as a player) or is it the gear that he wears?

Let’s make a thought experiment. Take one average-geared mage at level 70 keep and let him keep his gear on, but take away all of his talent points, leaving the talent tab empty. Take another level 70 mage, let him keep his damage dealing spec, for instance 2/48/11 fire, but take all his gear off, leaving him to nuke almost naked. Which one of those two mages will do the most damage?

I guess it should be possible to calculate it by some basic theorycrafting. And else it would be easy to try it out if I just sacrificed some gold for the respeccing. But confident as I am that my readers know more about this stuff than I do, I throw out the question to you. What do you think? And why?


Anonymous said...

The untalented but geared Gnome would probably win.. has to win... although Dr. Boom might not be a good test for a Fire Mage.

In the case of the Fire Mage you would be comparing (real basic comparison):
+1,000 damage - bonus damage in last 20%
+0 damage + bonus damage in last 20%

(The last 20% is why it is a bad comparison for a fire mage.. unless you theorycraft out the last bit)

That said... must go plug numbers into somebodies tool... somewhere...

Chris said...

Its a combination:

Since I have no idea what your talents offer I will look at a lock, Destruction specced (0/21/40) we have
~ 8% crit, 2xcrit damage (rather than 1.5), and boosts to damage, probably the major one is the sacced succubus for 15%

so something like:

(BDPS* [1+crit/100])*1.15

compared to:

and easy enough to graph or test.

In general I would say that gear > talents, as we can see from the simple case of a fresh level 70 vs a tier 6 raider, assuming both are equally skilled the T6 gear will do 1.6-2.2k+ damage, the fresh level 70 will hit 1k max. The difference is in the end-game scaling of gear where the iLvl essentially doubles while the talents provide a small bonus that scales with gear.

If you restrict the test to a fresh level 70 the talents may win out(unlikely imo), however at high levels, gear is just such a significant contributer (my lock's bonus spell damage in T4.5 is at a base coefficient doubling the power of my shadow bolts, talents only add about 30-50%).

Skill > Gear > Talents

However making the mistake that a bad talent build is ok is bad, as the effect scales with level, and especially with skill, if a hunter is clipping their rotation they are scuppered irrespective of how awesome their talents are.

Anonymous said...

You can't just look at the +dmg or +crit from talents. There's A LOT more in there, especially for a mage.

Take frost spec, on regular mobs - without talents you lose shatter combos, chill effects, bonus crit damage when you DO crit (although without gear, the crit% is going to go way down), reduced loss on channeling, and faster attacks.

I think what 2ndnin says makes sense in terms of how the people play vs. simply looking at their talents... look at frost mages - you could have some moron spamming ice lance till he goes oom and never using his elemenetal. Even if his spec is picture perfect for full frost pve, he's going to be horrible in terms of damage. Not to mention a good player being aware of their surroundings and not taking damage on fights where it's key. But I think you already understand all of that and are just looking at spec vs. gear.

Anonymous said...

@Protectorate: yeah, I was looking for some good theorycrafting, being curious about where the biggest effect is. It's a thought experiment sort of. Got the question into my head and couldn't get rid of it so I did what I always do: blogged about it.

krizzlybear said...

I'm going to second 2ndnin's (lol @ second/2nd) statement and proceed to add this; consider the fact that gear is constantly being upgraded whereas talents remain static. But that's not to say that one affects an individual's DPS more than the other; both of them augment your DPS rather than dictate it. Overall, it always comes down to skill.

Rohan said...

Generally gear is more important than talents.

But it does depends on what's in the talent trees. For example, a Holy paladin in Ret gear would do terrible damage, as she does not have access to Seal of Command or Crusader Strike, which are essential abilities. But a Ret paladin in Holy gear can still heal fairly well, as the two healing spells are baseline.

Chris said...

Yup, as protection in Holy Gear I lack ~200 healing and the stamina to heal continually other than spamming Flashes at people, however in Ret gear I lol (~50% or less of the damage of a ret paladin in the same gear) because the fundamental abilities are in talents.

I suppose then you have 2 types of classes:

1) Talent derived abilities
2) Talent derived improvements

The first type will typically have Talents ~= gear, in that even if you have the gear you suck without the talents because you cannot use them properly, thats basically your Ret/Prot Paladins (and I tanked specced as holy... it was painful on a single mob compared to tanking an entire pull as prot, I lacked the tools).

The second type will almost always see a higher return from gear than from talents as the talents merely provide synergy and bonuses to existing gear rather than actually providing a real damage source.

Thats why I looked at Warlocks, as a class they basically ignore all "new ability" talents, and stack +crit, +damage, and other improvement talents, they are the epitome of the "talent as enhancement" class, where as a Ret/Prot Paladin is the epitome of "talent as ability" classes. Literally all a Warlock is looking for is the enhancements to his spells, and gear comes out on top (Affliction till T4, Demo in T5, Destro in T6 basically, because the talent scaling is not high enough to offset the innate / gear differences at those levels).

Essentially Gear > All. But only because of the massive scaling in the end game in terms of gear quality, at a fresh level 70 the gear and talents are going to have a much closer effect, but your talents will never scale as well as gear (or scale with it).

:P and seconding me is fine, I like being seconded.

Anonymous said...

With the reset of talents coming with the patch I guess I'll get an excellent opportunity to check out if the theories are correct. But it suerely seems that gear will win.