tl;dr → out of the possible 40 (44 if using offhand) gear mods, usually 30 of them are required to be some form of necessary damage mitigation. This means that build variety is going to be hugely disadvantaged, and a great many gear mods will never be used.
Disclaimer: I am not referring to leveling builds, or “fun” builds that have very limited viability pushing higher tier content.
Yes, it is the great topic of glancing blow, crit avoidance and dodge again. But this time I have gone and looked at several current builds that are topping ladders and leading endgame. For the sake of simplicity I will refer to a single Druid build (Boardman as to be expected - thanks for putting out content for the rest of us).
This is a melee physical damage build that uses a passive skill to convert spell physical damage into melee physical damage. To accomplish this build (awesome build, recommend checking it out) only 7 mods on his gear are towards melee/spell physical damage and attack speed. The remaining 33 mods are locked behind defensive affixes that are almost absolutely required if you plan to progress to higher tier content.
It should also be noted that this build does not reach the desired 100% crit avoidance (sits around 65%) and does not include a single unique or set piece. So even will full rares, the “necessary” crit avoidance has not been met.
The problem with this current system is that this gear is almost indistinguishable between other builds that use the same damage types. They all require as many protections as possible, approximately 70% dodge, 100% glancing blow, and up to 100% crit avoidance.
There is almost no room at all for build variation within gear. I am not saying there is no build variations, I am simply saying that the gear alone seems to be nothing more than accumulate the same stuff as everyone else. This has created an atmosphere where the large majority of mods on gear aren’t even useful and tend to be “trash” stats.
For the sake of clarity: I am not saying these seemingly mandatory stats aren’t important, but I am saying that they are currently too important. Adding more mod slots on gear, an alternative slot/method to accumulate these stats, removing them all together, consolidating them into a single affix, increasing the upper range for T5 so you need fewer of them, or anything else for that matter would be, in my opinion, a much better option - at least if the plan is to encourage build diversity.
Please leave any suggestions that may not have been discussed already, I would love to hear what other ideas players have.
And a big thanks to Boardman21 for putting out content like this.