Disclaimer: All the information contained in this thread comes from the (very small amount of) information released in the fansite preview about the reforging system, as well as info they’ve released about talent and stat changes in previous discussions of class & game mechanics for Cata. Thus, we don’t actually know very much about reforging, and so we won’t really know how it’s going to work until after Cata is further in development.
We can, however, take a look at what we do know about reforging in Cata:
First, we learned that reforging was something that an NPC would do for us (the reasoning for this change can be found here), and so it wouldn’t be tied to professions. With armor-making crafting professions not really being big money-makers, I was disappointed to see that this wasn’t going to be a source of income for armor-crafters. This makes me confident that my mining/Jewelcrafting main, with herbalism/alchemy alt, is going to end up being the best set of professions for me. It will, however, be substantially easier (and probably cheaper) to get your gear reforged, and I can see it being less confusing with the NPC reforging system.
That said, lets talk a little more about what reforging does:
Reforging is supposed to take secondary stats (such as haste, crit, hit, mastery) and allow you to reduce one of them to increase another primary stat. So, for example, it would take half the haste off an item and allow you turn it into crit. Since 50% of the stat still remains, it prevents you from taking an item with hit rating and taking off all the hit rating. So, something with the “right” stats on it should always be better than something that you would have to reforge.
You also won’t be able to reforge things like stamina, strength, intellect, or agility. So, melee classes won’t benefit from taking a caster item, and casters won’t benefit from taking a melee item.
The biggest problem/question for casters with the upcoming Reforging system in Cata:
Spirit as a primary stat: Blizzard may want to treat spirit like a primary stat, so that healers can’t take other secondary stats and turn it into more spirit. It has also been considered a primary stat from Vanilla thru WotLK, so there is a lot of argument that it should remain a primary stat in Cata. Being able to stack extra spirit (to get more regen in combat) could be potentially problematic for balancing purposes if healers are supposed to care about their mana regen, as they’d be able to reforge one stat from every piece of gear into more regen unless spirit was treated as a primary stat for them.
Spirit as a secondary stat: Blizzard may want to treat spirit like a secondary stat, so that mages & warlocks can take off (some of) an unwanted stat from cloth caster gear, even if it won’t be a “best in slot” type of item, for leveling up or when they are first gearing up. They may also want spirit to be a secondary stat since it’s treated as hit rating for 3 talent specs (elemental shaman, moonkin druids, and shadow priests). These 3 spirit-based DPS casters need to be able to customize their gear to stay at hit cap, rather than constantly being over hit-cap all the time. Being able to control the amount of hit rating on your gear is really going to be a VERY important function of reforging, and having some specs that get to take off hit rating, and some that can’t remove their source of hit rating, is going to cause severe imbalances at higher tiers of gear (ie. you start out at hit cap, and then go more and more over hit cap every tier of content as you get more & more unavoidable spirit).
Spirit as a special case: Spirit could be treated as a special case, where you can turn spirit into other secondary stats, but NOT be able to turn secondary stats into spirit. In this case, it is treated like both a secondary and primary stat, where it makes the most sense to do so. It potentially keeps healers balanced, while allowing for moonkin & shaman to have the needed control over their gearing for hit. We don’t really need the ability to turn crit into spirit. We do need to be able to turn spirit into crit. Treating spirit as a special case would be a very good option for Blizzard that I hope they will consider as they work on designing reforging.
In conclusion, Spirit should be able to be converted into: Crit, haste, or mastery. If Blizzard decides that being able to turn secondary stats into spirit is problematic, then they don’t have to let us do that part of reforging the item. However, what will happen to spirit this is probably the most important reforging question that hasn’t yet been answered. I guess we’ll find out over the next couple months as we get closer to Cata’s release.
UPDATE: We got a blue post.
We don’t want players changing Agi, Str, Stam or Int (or armor!) on items for probably obvious reasons, but converting Spirit to something else or something else into Spirit shouldn’t be a problem.