11/11/2015

Drowning in Gear

I'm having trouble adjusting to the way endgame gearing works in 4.0. This may sound strange, considering that the changes they made to stats were supposed to simplify things, but my problem isn't so much that it's too complicated, but that I feel drowned in options and don't really know what's worth pursuing anymore.

You see, for the past four years, I was always able to categorise any drop of gear quite quickly with a simple set of questions. If I was more artistically inclined I would draw you a flowchart, but it's simple enough that I can write it down as well:

Does this item have the right main stat for my class? yes/no
If yes, does this item have the right secondary stat for my class (read: power)? yes/no
Is it an upgrade for me? yes/no
If the answer to all of the above is no, is it something I could use for an alt or companion?

Now, if I actually got this far, this is where it could get a bit complicated with legacy gear transfers and the like, but a large amount of drops fell pretty clearly into the "no" category right from the start. Greens were pretty much always vendor trash once I learned to use moddable gear, and the same was true for a lot of blues, though I did occasionally put those up on the GTN if they had good stats.

Since 4.0, everything has the right main stat for my class, and almost everything has the right secondary stats. I feel like I have to consider absolutely every drop for viability and it's honestly kind of tiring. In ops, I quickly defaulted to only caring about the items with set bonuses, simply to reduce the number of drops that I actually have to think about. I'm actually finding crappy excuses to not roll on things purely so I don't have to bother, such as "hm, from the looks of it that's a Jedi robe", even if such distinctions don't really exist anymore.

At the same time the fact that companion performance is now independent of gear means that the market for selling gear for them has absolutely collapsed. I've been trying to sell some greens that I think look reasonably nice (since it's all cosmetic now), but judging the value of a piece of gear based on purely aesthetic reasons is a lot harder than simply comparing stats. Some of the new companions also have no gear slots at all other than their weapon. And even there variety seems to have been reduced - for example Aric Jorgan stopped using his assault cannon since he has now been turned into a sniper like several other companions (which, to be fair, is consistent with his back story but... after four years, really?) so the only companion that might still have a use for that type of weapon is Sergeant Rusk. Off-hands for companions have been eliminated from the game entirely!

It just feels like there's been a huge amount of inflation in terms of gear drops when you compare the amount of gear provided by the game to how little people actually need anymore. With mastery there are no truly wasted drops anymore, and in a throwback to the way operations worked at launch, Bioware has implemented a "bonus drop" system, where a couple of people get a non-tradable, random non-set item assigned to them off each operations boss, so there is more loot going around than ever. Yet where I used to have four companions that could use my hand-me-downs, I now have none. (If I want to change the look of someone's outfit, that's really very different.) The moment my first alt hit 65, I had already almost a full second set of level 65 ops gear waiting for her in the bank, and I keep thinking that I really need to get more of my alts to 65 purely so that all that gear has somewhere to go.

Oh, and remember how legacy gear used to be something rare and coveted? The new supply boxes drop a piece of legacy armour each, guaranteed. I've been vendoring legacy gear because there's just so much of it.

It all just feels kind of wrong right now, though I hope that I'll adjust with time. I feel like SWTOR Economics should write an article about this...

3 comments :

  1. I started using excel sheets to keep track of what slots need improvement in my toon's gear :)

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    1. I used to have a spreadsheet to track all my alts' and their companions' gear which I will probably revive at some point, just for the alts themselves... but at the moment my problem is that I'm getting more gear than I have a use for!

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  2. I need to create a bank alt just to hold *one* of everything of all the legacy gear from the supply crates. -.- My regular bank alt's bank storage is overflowing.

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