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Stats 201: Getting your secondary stats just right

Though we did an article covering the game's basic stats that will guide you through leveling any character, once you hit level 90 you need to start considering your secondary stats. These stats, like hit and expertise, become more important when you stop leveling through content and gear to stop at top-tier content. Unfortunately, figuring out what these stats are, what they do, and what you need isn't exactly self-explanatory -- sometimes even requiring you to consult an addon or website to figure out whether a new piece of gear is really an upgrade.

Fortunately, Blizzard is working on simplifying the system with Warlords of Draenor, removing a some secondary stats and the ability to reforge gear -- which will make it a lot easier to tell what gear is an upgrade and start using it immediately. Unfortunately, if you're a new 90 or you've just boosted a new character to 90, you still have to deal with the current system, so we'll lay out just what the secondary stats on your gear mean -- and how to tweak them to your liking with reforging so you're ready to hop into LFR or whatever else you want to do.

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Filed under: WoW Rookie

The future of itemization

I've written long, eloquent defenses of reforging. And this week, I finally snapped. The fact that I have to reforge between my arms spec and my fury spec (and not just reforge, but regem) has finally broken me. I now take it all back - reforging sucks. It compensates for things that are flaws in the modern game, but I no longer find that charming. I just find it irritating that those faults exist and that we have a means to wallpaper over them doesn't change the fact that they exist.

In a way, my relationship with reforging mirrors my relationship with the old tanking scheme that existed before Mists of Pandaria - I knew there were flaws with threat generation, but I'd grown familiar with them. I understood that they were there and how to circumvent them. In the modern game, there are significant flaws with itemization, and reforging is that means to circumvent them, so I've been a big booster of and supporter of it ever since it was introduced back in Cataclysm. But I was wrong. Using reforging to sandpaper down the jagged edges where gear doesn't meet our needs doesn't change the fact that gear doesn't meet our needs - it merely conceals those edges.

We know that we're going to have two new stats - multistrike and readiness - in addition to critical strike, haste and mastery. None of these are caps in the same way that hit or expertise are (soon to be were) - we'll see how they work, but we already know some talents will affect them or be affected by them, like the upcoming Anger Management talent for warriors. So what I'm wondering is, are we finally going to see a situation where there's enough gear with stats individual classes want that we don't need a system to make up for gear's shortcomings? Or are we just going to have to make the best of bad itemization again, like we did back in Wrath?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Warlords of Draenor

Blood Pact: So you want to play a warlock

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Blood Pact for affliction, demonology, and destruction warlocks. This week, Megan O'Neill explores the beginning of MoP.

The next thing is to write a "how to warlock" at 90 series, but I feel like I've done this before. The deja vu is strong with this one topic.

Oh right! I wrote something like it back in 2012, when the big patch 5.0 first came out. Not all of the same advice is relevant -- well, Soul Link isn't what it was anymore, for one -- but the basics are all still there. I'll go over the specs in detail later, so let's start with the general introduction to warlocks.

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Filed under: Warlock, (Warlock) Blood Pact, Mists of Pandaria

Blizzard: Gearing in Warlords of Draenor

Draenei gear
Along with the BlizzCon announcement of a new WoW expansion came, of course, a discussion of the way the game will be changing with that expansion. One of the most jarring changes will be the gear system -- and trying to wrap our heads around the way everything will work in the future has been a bit of an exercise.

Never fear, fellow WoW players, it's Community Manager Crithto to the rescue in the forums today, with a long and detailed post going over exactly how (for the moment, at least) the developers are designing gear for Warlords of Draenor. This is a fascinating insight into the thought process behind the design, which strikes me as rather flowchart-like, in a good way. There are, in a sense, stat tiers within the design of each piece, meant to make our gear both more flexible and more customizable.

Gear is divided into two categories: armor (head, shoulders, chest, legs, gloves, belt, boots, and bracers) and non-armor (weapons, rings, cloak, necklace, and trinkets). In general, armor pieces will have primary stats, and non-armor pieces will not, with the exception of weapons. As far as stats go, there are three types: primary, secondary, and tertiary. Primary stats can be one of three things: Strength, Agility, or Intellect. A gear piece's primary stat will change depending on your class and spec. In addition, all armor pieces will possess some value of Stamina and Armor, and that will not change depending on your stat.

Secondary stats will not change based on your class or spec--they are fixed on an item. Secondary stats include things like Haste, Crit, Mastery, Spirit, and Bonus Armor. In addition, Blizzard is exploring new possibilities for secondary stats, for example, things like Readiness, Amplify, and Multi-Strike. These are still in development, and nothing is yet certain. Armor pieces (as listed above) will not possess Spirit or Bonus Armor. Non-armor pieces, however, can.

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Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

Totem Talk: The Spirit of Restoration

Totem Talk The Spirit of Restoration Tuesday
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Totem Talk for elemental, enhancement and restoration shaman. Want to be a sultan of swing healing? A champion of Chain Heal? Totem Talk: Restoration, brought to you by Joe Perez (otherwise known as Lodur from World of Matticus and content creation at InternetDragons.TV), shows you how

No matter what expansion, and regardless of the level of content you're doing, one of the things that comes up regularly as a topic of discussion is Spirit. A stat that took over for MP5 as the hot regen item, and rose to even more prominence and popularity among healers with the announcement of fixed mana pools. It is something that has a presence you will always feel and will never be able to escape.

This isn't a bad thing mind you, but it sparks conversations and discussion about how much Spirit you need. What is the right amount? How much is too much? Is there such a thing as too much? Is it worth it at the expense of other stats? I know that many of the fine folks I talk to have had plenty to say on the topic recently, which lead me to today's post.

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Filed under: Shaman, (Shaman) Totem Talk

How to choose between the same pets, but different stats

Same battle pets, different stats
Something I was surprised to notice when I began collecting battle pets was that the stats were not always consistent within the same pet type. While Mr. Wiggles is always Mr. Wiggles, a rare Mouse does not necessarily have the same stats as another rare Mouse. The inconsistency of stats applies to both purchased pets, like Undercity Cockroaches, as well as wild pets, such as a Cheetah Cub. (Have you killed a cheetah so that you could capture her baby? I have. We are bad people.)

At this time, many of us have more than three of quite a few battle pets. Extra quest pets, like Winter's Little Helper, can just be caged and sold (when cageable, of course), since they all have the same stats. but how do you choose which purchased pet you should keep? And what about the wild pets?

I'll show you my favorite stat, and you can show me yours.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Is reforging a hit or a miss?

It's always the same. Just when I get everything all sorted out neatly, a new piece of upgrade gear drops. If I win the gear, the next half-hour or so after raid is spent digging up gems, cutting them to the appropriate cut, then nabbing enchant mats and making sure the item is enchanted properly. And after all that is done and I put the gear on, I log out and back into the game so that the armory updates. Then I alt-tab out of the game and pull up my reforge site du jour (rogues, Shadowcraft is an amazing, amazing thing), put the window on my second monitor, tab back into the game and reforge it all.

And hopefully when I'm done with all of that, I'll have precisely enough hit to cap without going over, and all of that useless crit will be a thing of the past. It's not a hugely complicated process, but it is a process -- one that I repeat with each new piece of gear I obtain. I generally get far more out of reforging than I ever did with simple gemming and enchanting from the Wrath era. However, I also understand all these different stats and which ones are good, something a new player might not be aware of.

So is the reforging process a hit with this expansion or a miss?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Ghostcrawler explains stat changes in Mists of Pandaria

As promised, Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street, the Lead Systems Designer for World of Warcraft, has returned to the official WoW blog with an explanation of stat changes in Mists of Pandaria. Here's a quick rundown of some important changes, with the full blue post after the break.

  • Spell resistance is gone, and so is spell penetration.
  • The chance to block will be handled by a separate combat roll for each attack that is not avoided.
  • Resilience will be renamed "Defense (PvP)" or possibly "PvP Defense." All players will have 30% base Defense, the same way all characters have some base Stamina.
  • All spells and abilities will crit for double damage, baseline.
Lots more after the break.

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Are pure DPS classes really just another form of hybrid in disguise?

Once upon a time, my guild was trying its hardest to down 25-man heroic mode Lich King. It was the very end of Wrath, and we were running out of time to put an end to the boss before the inevitable launch of Cataclysm. I had been playing an assassination spec since some point between Ulduar and ToC, having given up on ever obtaining a really good combat weapon (I was partial to fist weapons; something about punching people in the face with knives appealed to me), and I was really good at it. I spent forever poring over stat caps and best-in-slot items and had just gotten the perfect set of items that capped every stat that needed to be capped.

And then it happened -- the prep patch for Cataclysm. Do you know what the best stat is for an assassination rogue in Cataclysm (other than hit, of course)? Mastery. Do you know what wasn't present on any Wrath gear? Mastery. My DPS went down, and due to sup-par burst DPS, I was sat for the realm-first 25-man heroic mode Lich King kill. I watched all my guildies ding the achievement and get the one title I was really excited about. And later, one of the officers, a druid, asked me flat out -- why didn't I have a backup combat spec?

Oh ... if only he knew.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Encrypted Text: Slicing up hit and expertise for Cataclysm rogues


Every week, WoW Insider brings you Encrypted Text for assassination, combat and subtlety rogues. Chase Christian will be your guide to the world of shadows every Wednesday. Feel free to email me, especially if you've been playing subtlety lately!

I love hit and expertise. While their mechanics and nuances can be complicated, I enjoy the diversity they bring to our gear options. We have stats like critical strike chance, which give us a chance to hit harder; haste, which lets us hit more often; and of course, hit and expertise, which let us hit our targets more often. The interaction between all of these different gear stats is one of the most interesting parts of theorycrafting for me. Think about it, would you really enjoy picking gear if you were just choosing between haste, mastery, and crit?

Unfortunately for us, hit and expertise are also our only two remaining stats with tangible caps on their potency. While we were able to cap out on critical strike chance and armor penetration in the past, one of those stats has been rebalanced and the other completely removed. Because of the caps in place, hit and expertise's value drops off immediately after reaching that golden value, and so we're left always keeping those caps in mind.

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Filed under: Rogue, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Totem Talk: Restoration stats and spells at level 85

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Totem Talk for elemental, enhancement, and restoration shamans. Want to be a sultan of swing healing? A champion of Chain Heal? Totem Talk: Restoration will show you how, brought to you by Joe Perez, otherwise known as Lodur from World of Matticus and host of the BDTU: Lore edition podcast.

So last week, we went over a series of common questions players were asking about restoration shaman changes in both the Cataclysm beta and patch 4.0.1., and the week prior, we talked about healing in heroics and normal dungeons. With everything going through massive amounts of changes and still two months to go before the release of the Cataclysm, some things are starting to feel like they are becoming settled and stable.

Luckily for us, restoration shaman seem to be pretty settled, with maybe a little minor tweaking necessary before the full release. Today I'd like to talk about some of the numbers you can expect to see when you hit level 85. I'm talking about the base mana costs, stat values you will need to know and to start talking a little bit about the coefficient of healing spells you can expect come Cataclysm.

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Filed under: Shaman, (Shaman) Totem Talk

Spiritual Guidance: The shadow priest's guide to World of Warcraft patch 4.0.1

Welcome to Wednesday's shadow priest edition of Spiritual Guidance, hosted by Fox Van Allen. We bloggers are all about search engine optimization. As such, there are going to be some changes around here: Shadowfiends will be referred to as "Lady Gaga meat dresses," and Dawn Moore will be henceforth referred to as "NY Jets reporter Inez Sainz." Fox Van Allen will, of course, remain Fox Van Allen -- he's as optimized as he's ever going to get.

I spent hours riding a seahorse in Vashj'ir last night. I love a good video game cliché, and there's no video game cliché quite like the underwater level. The environment is beautiful and immersive, but those beautiful aqua blues and sea greens couldn't distract me from a fundamental truth about the new expansion that I was constantly experiencing: Shadow priesting is a lot more fun in Cataclysm. Period. There are more options. More abilities. And yes, even more DPS.

For those of you who want to get the ball rolling on these new abilities in Cataclysm, there's good news: Patch 4.0.1 is currently available for testing on the public test realm. It's not the full release of the game, but the new patch will cover almost all the changes that are going to be made to our spec for the new expansion. And better yet, the patch's appearance on the PTR signals that all these changes to the shadow priesting way of life are just around the corner. (And not, like, how we keep saying Cataclysm is around the corner, despite its being months away. I mean legit around the corner. For reals, no take-backs.)

The way you play the game, whether it's soloing mobs or raiding Icecrown, is about to change significantly. Are you ready? Follow me after the break, where I'll explain what patch 4.0.1 is, what it is not and what to do once it hits.

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance, Cataclysm

Officers' Quarters: Reforging loot systems


Every Monday, Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership. He is the author of The Guild Leader's Handbook, available this spring from No Starch Press.

In the spirit of last week's column about various loot issues, I decided to feature the following email today. It comes from a guild leader who is worried about the stat changes in Wrath and Cataclysm and how they might affect his guild's loot system. Is it time to ditch the dice?

I'm GM of a guild that has had a member pose a question about the way we do loot in raids. We are not a "hardcore" raiding guild though we do have around 2-4 scheduled raids per week both 10 man and 25 man. Our loot system was set up to try to be fair to and distribute gear throughout our members to help the entire guild grow and progress. We roll on gear and each member is allowed one main spec win, one off spec, and one tier piece per run. If you have won you are still allowed to roll on a piece that fits your character, but it someone rolls on it that hasn't won you will automatically lose to the person that hasn't won in that specific category. If all people have won something already it's just a high roll wins scenario.

We also have guidelines concerning which type of gear is most suited to a particular niche of character; i.e. tanks, healers, dps, etc. The system has worked for pretty well so far, but this one member brought up a valid point concerning leather and cloth healer gear in the future.

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

Cataclysm: Stat and system changes for DPS death knights

We've known for a while that we were getting some pretty sweeping stat and gear changes in Cataclysm. The other day, the blues over at Blizzard put together a nice little post that outlined all the big points of the revamp. As you might expect, there are a few changes that DPS death knights are especially going to want to watch out for. Let's take a closer look at the changes that are most likely to affect the DPS death knight.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Death Knight, Cataclysm

Cataclysm: Stat and system changes for tanking death knights

We've known for a while that Cataclysm was going to feature some extensive changes to the stat and gear systems, and while we'd gotten bits and pieces of the whole picture before, the blues recently posted a massive breakdown of many of the changes. Death knight tanks will see a few things affect them as well, such as the complete removal of defense and a change to the workings of parry. Without further ado, let's break down the major changes that affect death knight tanking.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Death Knight, Cataclysm

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