It's been a common thing lately to hear "my spec doesn't scale well" as an excuse for poor DPS. People tend to toss the term around a lot without really knowing what it means, or at least what it means in the context of the WoW
design team. A a very basic level, scaling is the capability for spells and abilities to grow stronger as your gear (item level) increases. A spell that doesn't scale well is a spell that doesn't get as strong as it should as your gear increases.
This is where Ghostcrawler comes in today via a forum post. He talks about the history of scaling (how some abilities used to only do flat damage and not scale with attack power, and thus gear), and how the complex (but really rather simple) interaction in scaling happens between primary and secondary stats today.
However, despite the discussion being about gear scaling, my favorite line from Ghostcrawler's thoughts has to be this:
Encounter mechanics can have a much bigger impact on DPS than 5-10%.
Keep that in mind when reading and talking about his post, which is in full after the break.
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