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4-09-2009 @ 11:52PM
Item level determines the number of stats to be assigned to a given piece of armor or weapon. In general, it can be expected that the higher the number, the better the weapon will be.The thing is, however, that increasing how MANY stats is no guarantee that the stats will be used in the best way for a given spec, class, or fill in the specific stats that an actual player needs given his actual equipment. For example, rogues have been passing on most of the epic dagger drops because, while "better", the slow attack speeds were less useful for that rogue in particular.Think of item level like talent points for your gear. Where those points are placed has a bigger impact on how well you do than simply how many points you have, but it's still better to have as many as possible.You can search WoWWiki for the actual formula believed to be used (just search for "Item Level"). It's somewhat complicated and more than a little arcane (and probably at least somewhat mistaken, since it's being reverse engineered) but it's there if you need it.A 225 sword and a 195 sword would not have the same stats, and hence would not be equal.
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