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Devblog: Item Balancing

By [Ankama]WAKFU - ADMINISTRATOR - August 21, 2023, 16:00:00
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We had the goal of removing single-target and area masteries, and so we got started on that project. During the concept phase, we realized we didn't like the rules governing how masteries were assigned to items. That's one of the reasons we decided to significantly alter items and masteries; now we'll describe the progress we've made on this project, plus offer specific elements that you'll see when Update 1.81 comes out.

Removal of Single-Target and Area Masteries

We've posted a devblog on our perception of this revamp, its potential benefit for players, and the avenues we can utilize. Let's go back to the following points:

"When we design items, characteristics have a weight. Currently, we've established a rule for all items that's intended to strengthen dual specializations. For example, a melee-only item will have 100 melee mastery, while a melee + single-target item will have 75 melee mastery and 75 single-target mastery for the same weight.


The first point to bear in mind here is that we're committed to updating the formula and the abilities of all items in the game in a way that ensures that no one's total mastery will decrease. So that means rebalancing all items in the game on the same basis (via increases, in most cases).

  1. If you had a '100% melee' build, you would see a large increase in your total mastery.
  2. If you had an 'X% melee + Y% single-target' build, your masteries would stay the same, but you'd now be able to play area-of-effect spells (like Celestial Sword).


This will also be a fairly long-term project, even if the solution we've presented here looks like one that can be partially automated. We'd like to implement it with the release of the single-account server if the community reacts positively to our proposal. That's why we've prepared a new, very brief survey to better understand your feelings in response to this proposal."

Devblog: Single-Target and Area Masteries

The results of the survey were very positive. The community was receptive to our idea that single-target and area masteries be redistributed to the item's other masteries. Having explored a number of possibilities, the team also liked this option best. So this is the option we settled on.

Regarding the items to be modified, it has always been crucial to us that they maintain their role and identity. Beyond the massive amount of time a project like this would have required, the fact that certain items could dramatically change might have harmed players with past investments. We therefore decided not to change the identity of items, and so they'll have the same function as before.

For the sake of transparency, we're going to show part of the system used to create items in WAKFU. The values are non-binding and the full context is not given.

The Item Creation System

All items that grant masteries to equipment follow strict rules to ensure consistency. They specify a weight and a maximum associated with each characteristic. These values may vary, depending on certain factors. Each characteristic is related to one of the four fundamental types:

  • OFFENSIVE: various masteries, % Critical Hit, and % Armor given
  • DEFENSIVE: various resistances, HP, block, and % Armor received
  • ANCILLARY: lock, dodge, and initiative
  • MAJOR: AP, MP, WP, Range, and Control

Each type also has a maximum weight designed to regulate the item's power and allow for a greater amount of interesting, viable equipment items. Thus, each characteristic granted by the item increases the total of its type by its weight. To further boost the variety of possible items, the item has a maximum weight that must not be exceeded and that is below the sum of the fundamental types' maximums.

Additional Rules

Let's add a key element to the concept: to encourage specialization, we decided to reduce the weight of masteries when an item acquires more than one. To explain our thinking in relative terms, masteries' starting weight is equal to 300, and it goes down to 200 when this condition is met. This rule applies to melee, distance, single-target and area masteries. Therefore, if an item initially grants X melee mastery with a weight of Y, it could also grant X*300/200 = 1.5*X melee and single-target/area masteries, also with a weight of Y.

Meanwhile, the weight of critical, rear, healing, and berserk masteries works differently. Their weight depends on the item's level; it ranges from 133 for a level 5 item to 300 for a level 230 item, i.e. 1.88 times greater. A berserk mastery point is worth two times less than a melee mastery point at level 5, and is worth as much at level 230.

We therefore established rules whereby the revamp would operate on items that granted single-target or area mastery:

  • If an item also granted another mastery, then the amount of single-target or area mastery would be converted at an equivalent weight and added to the latter (secondary masteries first).
  • If an item didn't grant any other masteries, then the full amount of single-target or area mastery would be converted at an equivalent weight into mastery in 3 elements (you'll choose which ones when the update is released).
  • All mounts now have 40 Elemental Mastery.
  • Pets have been updated on a case-by-case basis.
Once the revamp was complete, it gave us the following evolution curve for masteries:

Other changes had to be made to certain game elements. These include updates to sublimations such as Brutality and Brazier, changes to class passives such as the Sram's Ambush and the Eniripsa's Mass Aid, and redesigned gameplay elements for bosses such as Drainacask, Rushu's vestiges, and Badgwitch the Furiox. We did everything we could to avoid impacting any particular play style. At any rate, you can see the full list of these in the changelog for Update 1.81.

More Extensive Changes

Once the initial work was done, we were still unhappy with certain changes. In particular, we thought the initial promise wouldn't have been kept if potential users of an item were to lose over 30% of total mastery with this revamp. Confirming this dissatisfaction, the evolution curve for weights of critical, rear, healing, and berserk masteries seemed superfluous and outdated. If we're to work hard going over 2,200 items, we might as well use the opportunity to start from a more solid foundation for the future of items by going over all the standards for mastery weights.

After thinking a lot about the issues of base weight, the impact we wanted specialization to have on weight, and the best way to keep our initial promise that players wouldn't lose mastery, we came to a few conclusions:

  • Within the current paradigm, it is impossible to guarantee that no mastery will be lost. The only alternative would have been to apply a major overall improvement, and adjust player and monster HP accordingly – but this wouldn't have changed anything, as the relationship between the two would have stayed the same. The idea would therefore be to make it so players lose as little mastery as possible due to the update.
  • We want to reduce the mastery gain from dual specialization.
  • All mastery weights should have the same evolution and no longer be based on the item's level at all.
  • We must reduce the difference between mastery weights as much as we can in order to increase the variety of items that can be used optimally.

We also decided to slightly lower the "base" weight of masteries; in this case we brought the baseline weight from 300 to 250, but we kept the reduction to 200 when an item has more than one mastery. Let's look at Cire Momore's Headgear as an example:

Single-target mastery cannot be converted into negative critical mastery, and we very much don't want this item to remain the same after the revamp. We're therefore acting as if the item only had single-target mastery, and applying a multiplier to negative critical mastery. Thus, single-target mastery will be 480*300/333 = 432 when single-target mastery is removed, then 432*333/283 = 508 Mastery in 3 elements when weights are updated. With the same approach applied to critical mastery, it has to be changed to -100*400/283 = -141.

This change produced the following curve, this time accounting for all items:

Most of them will see their masteries slightly increased, owing to the reduction in base weight. For some this will be a more significant increase, as distance and critical masteries had a base weight of 400 in some cases. Finally, note the more or less significant decrease for about 20% of items, explained by two key facts.

Reminder: We want to standardize the weights of all masteries; in the case of critical, rear, healing, and berserk masteries, they had a very low weight in the lowest level brackets. Rebalancing these weights on a constant leads to a decrease in total masteries.

In the case of items that had multiple masteries at once and, to that end, enjoyed a weight reduction: If they had X Single-Target Mastery and Y Melee Mastery, for example, it would give (X+Y)*200/300*300/250 = (X+Y)*4/5, which is always less than X+Y. Let's look at Ghast's Belt as an example:

The item is dual-specialized, granting both 275 Melee Mastery and 275 Single-Target Mastery, i.e. a total of 550 Mastery. When single-target mastery is removed, it will be 275*2*200/300 = 367 Melee Mastery; and when weights are updated, it will amount to 367*300/250 = 440 Melee Mastery.

We're aware that this kind of change can lead to a sense of unfairness. But keep in mind that the rate of increase is separate from the average. An item granting a high number of masteries will still grant a high number after the update. The project was designed and the values determined to make things as fair as possible.

At the same time, we seized the opportunity to make it so berserk and healing masteries would follow the same curve in enchantment bonuses as the other masteries. This change is important to us, and we'd been wanting to implement it for some time. We think that combining it with the removal of single-target and area masteries is a positive change. In addition, out of all our changes, we removed the gain in single-target and area masteries from abilities and unlocked the maximum applied to melee and distance masteries at 40. We still want to see abilities evolve in the future, but for now we want to focus on this evolution of masteries.

Since our early announcements about single-target and area masteries, we have read so many discussions and debates on this topic. A lot of players have made compelling arguments, and we understand this is a sensitive subject. We'd like to thank you for participating on Discord and the forums, as this has been a useful source of reflection for us. We did our best to trim things fairly and equitably, but we know that this represents a big shift in your play habits. We hope that the change will accomplish its initial goal: to make the game more accessible and more fun.


1) Why has this change had such a severe impact on berserk mastery?

The results of the survey from the last devblog show that a majority of the community considers this mastery unfair and overpowered compared to other masteries. We therefore decided to make sure it would be of equal power.

2) What's happening to sublimations like Brutality and Brazier?

All will be detailed in the changelog for Update 1.81.

3) What will happen to sockets containing single-target or area masteries?

Once again, you'll have to read the Update 1.81 changelog for details on the changes.

4) How will my set be affected?

Here is a sample of items and how their levels and specializations will change due to the update; note that you'll be able to choose the equipment's element when the update comes out:

The beta is coming soon, so you'll get to check it all out!
First Ankama intervention

Replying to MisutoKiriya


Alas, no such thing is planned for the next Beta. We won't update the character informations on Beta anymore.

See message in context
Reactions 53
Score : 247
Wow this is actually exciting, i hope indeed this would be a buff in general. 
2 -1
Score : 321
Glad to See the team is going about this in a Fast and steady pace, just hoping they don't completely ruin berserk mastery as I think its a good representation on High risk/High Gain its fine as it is now but I Understand why it would be looked at regardless.
2 0
Score : 395
Looks like 1.81 will make players that didn't do much effort like me be able to get much closer on gears to those who struggled to push their masteries to the limit.
6 0
Score : 18107
I'm very excited to see these changes on the Beta. I think that the removal of both masteries will have a positive impact in the game overall. 
3 -1
Score : 4089
When this comes to the beta could you update the character infomation so we can see clearly the changes to our current sets?
helps with lazy people like me who lose motivation having to re-create every set and character on the beta.
0 0

Alas, no such thing is planned for the next Beta. We won't update the character informations on Beta anymore.

Score : 161
I agree with most that is said here, but I have a question related to other masteries mainly to rear and berserk one. Do you plan to remove them, or maybe make them exclusive to certan classes. while i understand that some classes need them to work how it is intendet to. some classes and buld abuse them especialy beserk mastery, with high armor. and again i understand that to some extend it is ment to be used that way some time it is to much, i saw build with 3-5 k beserk mastery and 2-3 k in other absolutely decimate other builds. it is true that those are kinda situational masteries but some classes have it too easy to acess those, like osamoda and sacrier to rear mastery....
one more question is what do you plan to do with osa, his whole gimmick is to transform singl in area mastrery when transformed, whole dragon transformation will lose soo much of it original utility, and transorming at that point will become only detrament. even without being transformed you will have access to areas speel, without being restricted to casting them on youself or summon.originally those spells where balanced with existenc of singl and area mastrery, and where kind of week whea you were not transformed. so what will happen with those spells and whole osa class.
1 -1
Score : 2578
You should remove distance and melee too, because they limit the game/strategy and cause overspecializaton, standard classes and clone characters (*cough cough* iop/sacrier/panda/osa/ougi/masq/etc *cough cough*). You can set new masteries like:

- berserker mastery
- 80+ HP mastery
- rear mastery
- front/side mastery
- critical mastery
- non-critical mastery
- indirect mastery
- heal mastery

Players should choose one or more of them to invest. About elemental mastery: You should add automatically fixed elemental damages each level reached.

This will promote variants, more strategy, each character could have different decks and gears. In pvp you can have some variants to fight again antagonists.
0 -8
Score : 100
Hi, I think its a good opportunity to delete control, there is a lot of items with control and I think this its the time and you can make this change like you mentioned before
9 0
Score : 18107
After reading @Morezanto's reply, forgot to ask, are there plans on adding new masteries we can invest our Stat Points into?

I feel like with the removal of ST and AoE there won't be too much strategic thought behind building a character, it will be more like a binary choice: Cra goes Distance and critical, Iop goes melee and critical, Xelor goes distance and critical, Pandawa goes melee and critical, and so on. It won't be as exciting as having a second mastery to specialize on. Don't get me wrong, I like the removal of both stats but at the same time I'd like more ways to further improve my playstyle and reinforce my character's identity.

Maybe new stats we could invest our points into would fix this. I'd be happy if we could put points into Indirect Damage for example to specialize my Xelor around Clock and Sanglass or my Sram into traps.

Are there any plans?
5 0
Score : 1824
My hope for specialization is making sublimation scrolls more accessible. Currently they are pretty expensive and mostly rewards from the endgame. If they were moved more across the level brackets (or crafting), it could help. And it should be way more exciting than just stats.
0 0
Score : 1933
Hello, could anyone who understood, explain wich equation and how it aplies in items with 1 mastery + Elemental, like this one that already has a result.
Please ty.
0 0
Score : 552
Weight of the item: 80 * 333 + 40 * 300 = 38640
Updated value: 38640 / 283 = 136
1 0
Score : 3208
gz all dual mastery items will be nerfed; and by doing this almost everyones build will be harmed. I would have to go and buy or waste more time to change those items that with bad luck i had on my build, for another ones that got boosted? i mean under the current system is almost safe to say that everyone plays dual masteries for better damage output (lvl.160+), so for those that have that kind of builds have some bad news coming.

In the long run the idea is good, but for those players with several characters who have already made decisions about how to have them builded and are already satisfied because they are high level, it does not seem fair to force them to make new decisions and change some items, because you decided that those who use dual masteries should now be adjusted downwards to be equal to those who used a single mastery xD (compensation?)

You allege that the result of the survey was positive, but we have no way of confirming that, and if I remember correctly they did not explain clearly how it would be carried out as they explain now, I think there will be more players harmed than benefited despite the fact that is a necessary change as only you point out.

My suggestion is that you review again how the double mastery items will be balanced, so those of us who have already supported the game for many years and have our characters built are not heavely affected.

I dont even want to imagine the toppic regarding sockets on the items in dual m. builds, it will be affected baddly as this is going.
14 -1
Score : -480
badthing is going badway. anyway if you said that the std/aoe is unbalance but i dont think so, there are have 3 things most unbalance in this game and it not from the aoe,std:
-  Item Rerolls: it make ppls feel uncomforable everytime they maked it failed, i failed of broke all 17 my yugonets,8 of my sidefins( legendary 230 belts) to make it right colors but still  have'nt done it yet. it truly need a better way to fix it. increa more bonus charges or put it alock to get instally 1 more socket or 1 white color after 10 charges maybe.
-the Sublimations : the most unbalance in the game, for example : carapace II, put it on an low items and you have more res than a boss, is this call balance ?. atlest give it a limit. a condion lvl use, like need lvl 170+ gears to use, happen like "influence  III", raw power III"...ect
-the Dungeon mechanics:  too many mechanics doent make the game look harder, it just make the gameplay boring and anoying, ppls will decide play the game solo 6 characters, with less mistake. It close the contact and make the game feel like a single player version than a MMORPG, even after that. the drop sucks.
the devs put the game ran so far with decisions. so after the remove aoe/std idea. pls take a look about something really unbalance, somethings gain and lost after all
thanks for reading becuase my english sucks
8 -2
Score : 5081
Honestly, what it boils down to for me is that the enchantment system really sucks.

I've recently done a rerun of 1-150 without any powerlevels with friends. The system basically allows you to double down on your stats, it's like a good half of your power, and if you ignore it, mobs are extremely tanky even at low levels (Due to new dungeon revamp).  This is bad for new players.

Enchantments make the treadmill so awful. It takes so much value away from gear,, while giving a ton of value to over-optimization. You could work around with average gear and supplement it, but if you went for the optimized route, you would be damaging extremely hard with a bunch of tactical cheese available for you (Literally any positioner makes full class cannon builds most viable)

Forgive me for my ignorance here, but have they ever done a survey for the enchantment system? 
1 -1
Score : 406
Just want to second someone else mentioning here that the "control" stat also needs to be removed. Its a stat that's effectively been phased out with a lot of the class reworks, and at this point its virtually a useless stat that serves no real purpose.

Aside from that this looks like a great update, keep the devblogs and info coming! happy
4 -1
Score : 171
Why don't you add those numbers to the other masteries in the item? that way each item will remain the same, no more, no less. 
As it is now, everyone is using full on their sums of the masteries they builded on their characters and they are happy and used to the results they have.

And then from now on you do apply the new improved item creation system for the upcoming items.
So no one ends up displeased when you take out st/aoe.

The players who are dissatisfied is not because you are going to take out these masteries, but because their damage is probably going to be lower, besides, most of us use double masteries, that is a fact.

Just seeing the GHAST is discouraging .. (-110 from the current sum just in 1 item) if you had put this on the survey the result would be diferent.

9 0
Score : 89
I cant wait to have this ingame and be able to use aoe skills without knowing i dont get any mastery from single target, thats all I wanted, thanks
0 -1
Score : 699
Am I the only one who sees contradictions between reducing the mastery gain from dual specialization items and converting full ST/AoE into full elemental mastery and even giving them a little boost??
3 0
Score : 552
There is no contradiction, but the devlog wasn't very clear:
  • Currently, dual specialization items' masteries are inflated.
  • Because these masteries are being removed, they will be converted to other masteries at a non-inflated rate.
  • The remaining masteries on the item will be updated according to the new weights.

... so now you might be wondering, what are the weights? From the devlog, we can be sure of some of them:
  • Baseline: 300 ➜ 250 weight; 100% ➜ 120% efficiency
  • Mastery of 3 elements: 333 ➜ 283 weight; 90% ➜ 106% efficiency
  • ... some others

Knowing this, we can verify that there is nothing weird going on with the examples:
Cire Momore's Headgear
Weight: 480 * 300 = 144 000
Updated: 144 000 / 283 = 508

Cursed Janairo Helmet
Weight: 522 * 300 = 156 600
Updated: 156 600 / 283 = 553

Kannivore Boots
Weight: 80 * 333 + 40 * 300 = 38 640
Updated: 38 640 / 283 = 136

Undersea Voyager Helmet (just my best guess)
Weight: 85 * 333  +  160 * 300 + 160 * 300 = 28 305  +  96 000
Updated: 28 305 / 272  +  96 000 / 236 = 104 + 406
3 0
Score : 822
"Nobody will lose mastery" became "everyone who uses 2 specialized masteries (every single player in the game) will lose mastery". That is awful and a complete 180 from what you initially stated, 90% of DPT-characters use 2-3 specialized masteries and they're gonna lose 60-110 mastery per item? Wtf?

You need to look at the items that lost mastery points manually and make it so you're not nerfing 90% of the current builds.
6 0

I can understand your point to some extent, but I want to say that it's kind of hard to take you seriously. We did come clean and gave numbers and stats, and it's a fact that "90% of the current builds" will NOT be nerfed.

Score : 1133
From what I understand, the mastery on most optimized builds will be lowered by up to 30% because we achieved high mastery numbers by building Berserk mastery or specializing using items like the Ghast Belt.  As stated, we were encouraged to build our characters this way.

It was mentioned that bringing up all items to the standard of ones like the Ghast Belt would cause all mob and player HP to be adjusted up to account for it.  However, I see no mention of the mob HP values being adjusted downward to preserve the current relationship between player power and mob HP.

Failure to preserve the current relationship is going to result in characters on average losing power.  This is pretty bad news for those of us that enjoy running high stasis.  In higher stasis, this "acceptable" 30% decrease in total mastery (which translates to a 30% decrease in our damage/heals) is going to sting quite a bit.
6 0

"From what I understand, the mastery on most optimized builds will be lowered by up to 30% "

"In higher stasis, this "acceptable" 30% decrease in total mastery (which translates to a 30% decrease in our damage/heals) is going to sting quite a bit."

First of all, I'm not sure where you took your values from. Here's the final curve for changes.

As you can see :
  • A vast majority of the items experience a buff (6300 out of 8220)
  • Around 400 items have no change
  • Then there's a nerf from 1 to 20% on about 800 items
  • Around 300 items have a 20% nerf
  • Then the last ~400 items have a bigger nerf, but some of them are really exotic or very old items.

As a result, yes, if you had an "ONLY Melee/ST" build, you may experience a reduction of your characteristics. I'm really not confident you will experience a 30% total reduction of your mastery. Keep in mind it's only the mastery obtained through equipments, not the enchantment, not the abilities, not the sublimations.

Also, if you had any elemental mastery on your items, they will be buffed in elemental so that will compensate part of the nerf on Melee/ST items.

I'll be willing to discuss the specific, detailed changes after the beta hits, but I want to be more positive on the overall outcome of the change.

Have a good day,

Score : 98
I thought that the changes were not going to force anyone to change part of their set because nobody would end up with less damage output, and we only see changes with a random equation that would bring discontent since it was not what was promised in the survey so dont say was positive when you have another intentions.

Please check how those double dual specialization are going to be changed, when we went for those kind of items was to achieve certain output for a planned gamestyle and maked the effort to roll those expensive items, and now we have to accept this? where is the "nobody would end up with less damage output" part?

As the other player says you can add the damage from one mastery to the other as it is and builds will end up with no more or less, and apply the ecuation to the new items from now on.
4 0
As stated in the devblog, it's unfortunately not that simple. It's a very tricky situation.

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