But with Cataclysm, Blizzard has already announced that they are working towards getting rid of a few stats. To be specific, they're looking to get rid of 5 stats. Attack Power, Spell Power, Armor Penetration, Defense Rating, and Mp5 are all going away (or at least, that's what they've planned). So, healers will have to get Spirit for mana regen and Intellect for Spell Power, which probably means that you can look at just how much mana a healer has to figure out their potential HPS. lol. Spell dps will need Intellect (again, looking at that mana pool), and then I guess hit and haste. All of this in an attempt to simplify gear, so people can actually tell what's an upgrade.
Now let me go on the record and say this is great. I think it's an awesome step for the game. I feel that I'm constantly consulting outside resources like Rawr to figure out if this higher ilvl item is actually an upgrade... even if they're both obviously shaman healing pieces... sometimes the lower ilvl item is better. It's all about stat allocation.
But... (and here's to the title of this post) this is really changing a lot of stuff to the game. Not only does Blizzard have to completely redo stats for all gear (which touches the professions of Blacksmithing, Leatherworking, and Tailor), but they'll also have to convert certain potions and flasks, and they'll be obliterating 5 core color gems. And with rough calculations, and not actually looking to see if all combination exist, that's something like 42 gem cuts, not including the original 5!
And now where dps Spell damage would have previously wanted red gems for spell power, they'll now want yellow for Intellect (which is also the same color for haste). Where melee dps wanted red for Attack Power, they'll still want red for Strength or Agility (depending on the class). And where healers previously wanted purple for mp5 or Spirit and Spell Power, they'll now want... green for Spirit and Intellect. Tanks will probably stay in the purple category to get Stamina and Strength/Agility for threat generation.
So... the only major change is really for spell dps. Let's look at this from another perspective. In a "standard" 10-man raid, you'll have 2-3 healers (green), 2 tanks (purple), 2-3 melee dps, including hunters (red), and 2-3 ranged dps (yellow). Maybe I'm wrong, but it really seems that they're trying to redistribute how gems are used.
And then I realized... they track this kind of stuff. Somebody pulls up a query and finds out that there's 5 million red gems compared to only 100,000 yellow gems, or whatever. And until this last patch, yellow wasn't really needed at all, but now haste is the latest thing, so yellow is useful again. They are in constant efforts to balance the economy... and gear... and different classes... And I imagine some planning meetings at Blizzard where they have the itemization guys vying for one thing, and the AH guys asking for something else, and the Profession guys wanting to make sure their babies aren't touched... Wow! There's simply a lot that goes into this game and the thinking... and we get to simply sit back and