Posts Tagged “Gear Analysis”

I am sure that you have all heard that itemisation is going to be radically different in Wrath of the Lich King with the removal of +damage and +healing to gear, and the introduction of +Spellpower. There seems to be some apprehension about this in the community (or maybe I am the only one who is feeling a little apprehensive, who knows?), so I am going to try to clear some things up. Oh, and don’t think I am doing this for you! As usual, my motives are purely selfish… by working this out on ‘paper’, I can get a better understanding of it, and feel better about it. My mind just works like that.

Please note that this is all based on available information so far, and I can not test it myself unless Blizz pony up with a beta invite *scowls*.

So, first things first:

What the heck is Spellpower?

Spellpower is the new term used for the damage or healing on an item. Lets take a look at a current item in WoW and break it down, shall we?

On this item, the essential stats would stay the same. It would still have +34 sta, +35 Int, and +31 Spi. However, the healing and damage done would be removed, and replaced with 26 Spellpower. This would mean that a caster class would get 26 damage, while the healer class would get the scaled healing of 77. Now, these numbers are clearly not going to be the same as what is on the item, because I doubt that many casters would like to have 26 damage on their chest piece! (If I HAD to take a stab at what the spellpower would be, I would guess maybe… 30-40?) I am just using them as examples to explain what the item will look like.

It makes a little more sense when you look at a non-healer piece of gear:

The 62 Spell Damage and Healing on these robes becomes 62 Spellpower. Easy!

So, will items be better for healers now, or casters?

In theory, all items are meant to be of equal value for either healers or casters, thanks to the scaling of spellpower to the various spells, as well as to damage and to healing. Something that would give me great damage as a warlock would also give a priest great healing. This means that there is a ‘one size fits all’ approach to spellpower.

How can the item ‘tell’ if you are a caster or a healer?

Well, the item can’t really. From what I can gather from Blizzard’s notes (stuck way down at the bottom if you want to see), it is the spells themselves which are affected, not the actual caster. Respeccing into a healer spec doesn’t suddenly grant you a massive amount of healing. Instead, I do believe that the spells themselves are affected. Your damage spells would do a certain amount of damage based upon spellpower, and your healing spells will heal for a certain amount based upon spellpower. This does NOT mean that people are going to be able to spec into a healing tree and do immense amounts of damage, or into a damage tree and also be great healers (once again, in theory). Blizzard are also putting the usual talents in which increase your damage or healing accordingly. So Holy Priest X and Saresa could be dressed in the exact same gear, but Holy Priest would not be able to out-dps Saresa (unless she was being a super-noob, or the Priest was absolutely fantastic!).

My understanding of what Blizzard have written is that the spells themselves are going to change. So, if a spell’s tooltip currently says ‘heals for 100′, it will say ‘heals for [insert number larger than 100 here]‘. I am still not sure how this works exactly, and I definitely do not have the math on hand. Once again… beta invite Blizz! Beta invite! This plus healing will of course be increased and buffed by the talents in the holy/restoration tree, ensuring people have to spec to heal to heal well.

Edit – thanks the the knowledge that I have now, I can clarify this.  My initial supposition was incorrect, and the way Spellpower works with healing is that the tooltip stays the same, but the coefficient between spellpower and the amount healed has changed, so 1 point of Spellpower packs a lot more punch than 1 point of +Healing.

What about other stats? Spellpower is great and all…

Yep, I was confused by this as well. Sure, we may share Spellpower, but we all know that certain stats are more desirable for some classes than others. Warlocks do love their Stamina (as well as certain Mages who steal Lock gear for PvP *mutters*), Mages love Intellect, and Priests like Spirit. Pieces could still be determined to be better for some classes than others based entirely on stats (as was done much more in Azeroth than Outland, where massive arguments could occur over a cloth piece with Stamina and Intellect on it!). However, I think that Blizzard are going to itemise all their items with every stat that could possibly be applicable to a cloth wearer, or a leather wearer, or a plate wearer. So cloth will have Stamina, Intellect, and Spirit, almost all the time. Why do I think this?

Mainly because they are giving Warlocks talents based upon Spirit. We have never had a use for Spirit. Sar’s spirit is currently at 145. The base Spirit for a level 70 human is – 145. She has NOTHING with Spirit on it. Why should she? It is completely useless for locks. Soon however, she will be stuck with the afore mentioned Spirit through the new itemisation. What Blizzard have done is given us a use (arbitrary as this is, I think) for Spirit through Fel Armor now being improved by it.

While this sounds like it has massive implications for healers, who all stack stats differently according to class, I think that they will be the ones who are most benefited by this. Why? No healers compete over basic armor (unless they wear the wrong thing!) Priests wear cloth, Druids love their leathers, Shaman mail, and Paladins wear Plate. They can continue to itemise these items appropriately for each healer. It will more than likely be the casters who get the short end of the stick. Mages and Warlocks get stuck with Spirit. I would be very interested to see how they blanace leather for Resto Druids, who use very little crit, with Boomkin, who live off crit. Paladins? I don’t know enough about them I am afraid, ask Siha (who has a beta invite BTW, and would be much more reliable than me anyhow)! There are only a couple of ways around this that I can think of:

- Itemise somewhere in between the caster and healer extremes, pleasing no one.

- Amend talents for all classes so that everyone is benefited by everything (some evidence of this already – Warlocks using Spi, Resto Druids having better access to direct heals, making crit more attractive). Probably what they will do, although I think it removes a lot of flavour from the classes and the game. I enjoy having loot that’s specifically good for locks!

- Still have gear which is better for some than others. A possibility, although I really think this removes the purpose of the Spellpower in the first place.

So Why Introduce Spellpower?

It’s been a while, and I am bad at hunting down comments made by Blues. From memory, there were two reasons given:

- Make it easier to gear up. People do get frustrated with farming an instance for that one elusive drop (Sonic Spear, anyone?) Less items, higher drop rates, much easier. The only issue I have with this is that demand is also going to go up. I take Sar into an instance after item X. It has a 35% drop rate off Boss A, so there’s a pretty good chance it will drop. Unfortunately, Mage and Priest are also interested in Item X, so I now only have a 1/3 chance of winning. I still forsee a lot of instance grinding, especially with my bad dice!

- Make it easier for some classes to respec and not have to worry about offset gear. Great for Druids (balance and resto, still need to farm a feral offset!), Shaman (elemental and resto), and Priests. Too bad if you are a Paladin I guess, unless plate is going to be good for prot, holy, and ret!

Blizzard’s notes on Spellpower

These will probably make much more sense than what I have written!

Spellpower

  • All items and effects which grant bonuses to spell damage and spell healing are being consolidated into a single stat, Spellpower. This stat will appear with the same values found on items which grant “increased spell damage and healing” such as on typical Mage and Warlock itemization.
  • For classes which do not heal, they should see no change in the character sheet other than new tooltip wording.
  • Healing characters will see their bonus healing numbers on the character sheet decrease, however, all healing spells have been modified to receive more benefit from spellpower than they received from bonus healing, with a net effect of no change to the amount healed by their spells. Some talents have had to be rebalanced to accommodate this change, but the amount healed will remain roughly the same. In addition, some talents will provide only healing spell power.

Of course, someone out there probably has a much firmer grasp on this than I do, so be sure to keep reading up. How do you think Spellpower is going to affect you?

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The other day I said that enchanting a warlock is a fairly simple business. However, I guess it may not be all that simple to some of us! This is my guide to the enchants which I chose for Sar, why I chose them, and occasionally some viable alternatives which I think should be considered.

Helm: Glyph of Power.

Fairly easy to obtain, at what I consider to be a reasonable price (considering how rarely helms get replaced). I honestly don’t think there is any better out there.

Shoulders: Greater Inscription of the Orb.

I am Scryer, so this is the obvious choice for me. Aldor warlocks can also go for Greater Inscription of Discipline. Both choices are almost equal, although I am a fan of the spell crit on mine!

Cloak: Subtlety

I wrote a fairly lengthy post on Subtlety, so I wont rewrite it all again!

Hands: Major Spellpower

Gloves are a tricky proposition, because there are 3 very viable enchants that you can have. At the moment I actually have Blasting on my gloves, which I think is almost as good as Major Spellpower. If hit is an issue for you, there is also Spell Strike, which is a great enchant to boost that all-important hit!

Chest: Exceptional Stats

I personally do not believe there are many good enchants out there for warlock chest pieces. Basically, you are torn between Exceptional Stats and Exceptional Health (Exceptional Mana is also a possibility if you are really lacking in that department!) The only reason I value Exceptional Stats over the Health is that you get the benefit of the plus to intellect, which does yield you that smidgen more crit.

Legs: Runic Spellthread

Runic Spellthread is simply the best caster enchant for legs that you can get, and is also cheap and easily available with Primal Nethers no longer being bind on pickup. If you are in the middle of gearing yourself up and don’t want to blow the gold on expensive leg enchants, you can also go for the much cheaper Mystic Spellthread.

Boots: Fortitude

At the moment, the jury is out on which boot enchant is the best – Fortitude or Vitality. The only reason I came down on the side of Fortitude is that it is a cheaper enchant, and a little bit of extra health never goes astray on a boss fight. Also, being the spec that I am, if I know that health is going to be an issue I sacrifice my voidwalker for the extra 200 health every four seconds.

Bracers: Spellpower

Obviously, once again the spell damage enchant is the best one to go for here.

Weapon: Soulfrost

There are 3 enchants which are viable for warlocks to have on their weapon: Soulfrost, Sunfire, and Major Spell Power. I had Major Spell Power for quite a long time, but when I got a weapon I was satisfied I would be keeping for a while (and I have had it for maybe, oh, 6 months?) I spent the gold and got Soulfrost put on it. Soulfrost would obviously be beneficial to most warlocks, however, our firey friends would clearly prefer a Sunfire enchant.

Oh, and if you really want to give it a test run… Deathfrost would be interesting, but I would suggest that the proc would not make up for the lost DPS.

Have fun with your enchanting! Oh, and enchanters, do not forget about your +12 spell damage to rings!

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As you all know, I recently (as in yesterday) got back into the arena side of things. And I did awesomely, with a grand total of 2 wins and 10 losses on my 2v2, and 2 wins, 8 losses on my 3v3. What can I say, I am an arena star!

Anyway, arenaing naturally leads one to look at the gear that you dream of getting, but know you will never attain when you are a total scrub like myself. I knew this before, but doing more arena reminded me of an old gripe that I have had: Warlock Sets.

Why is it that Blizzard deems it appropriate for Warlocks to have two sets for PvP, but only one set for PvE? I have always been jealous of those classes who get more than one set for different specs. I want lots of shiny Tier pieces! I want to be able to take a token for ‘off set’ over and over. Of course, you may argue that there isn’t as much differentiation between Warlock specs as there is, say, Warrior specs. You would be right. I would argue, however, that there is enough differentiation between Warlock specs to warrant more than one set.

For argument’s sake, let us look at the existing sets. In arena, there are two Warlock sets for each season, and these work around two very basic principles.

1. A Damage/Crit set: Obviously for our pewpew Warlocks!

2. A Damage set: Higher spell damage than the Damage/Crit set, this is aimed at our feardotdot Warlocks.

This works quite well, as it allows people to gear to their spec. For instance, because I am of the feardotdot school of PvP Warlocks, I will aim for pieces which are straight spell damage. Crit for DoTs, as we all know, is useless (DoTs don’t crit!)

Then, on the other hand, we have the PvE sets.

Tier 4: Voidheart Raiment: The Voidheart set I believe is fairly balanced across the board. The two set bonus is my favourite bonus across all sets, and is useful for anyone. Plus damage always makes me smile! The 4 set bonus is great for Affliction locks, but useful for most every spec. At this gear level, I believe most shadow mage specced locks would still be using Immolate. If you are not, then the 4 set bonus is clearly useless.

VERDICT: Across the board, leaning towards Affliction.

Tier 5: Corruptor Raiment: The two set bonus here is out and out demonology. In particular, it’s a total waste for shadow mages like myself, as I do not have a pet. The four set bonus is also craptacular for shadow mages, but is nice for Affliction locks and some Demonology locks (especially any locks with insta Corruption). It would also be great for Fire Locks.

VERDICT: Demonology is favoured, Affliction and Fire Locks do well out of the 4 set bonus, and Shadow Mages are left hung out to dry.

Tier 6: Malefic Raiment: The two set bonus again favours Affliction, Demonology, and Fire Locks. Shadow mages who don’t use DoTs (or use limited DoTs) gain no benefit from this. However, the four set bonus is again fantastic for all classes. More plus damage? Yes please!

VERDICT: Realistically, great for all classes. However, the 2 set bonus is not especially great for shadow mages. However, on fights where healing was a foreseen issue, I am sure it wouldn’t be hard to whack up a DoT or two.

Clearly the set bonuses tend to favour one spec over another for each set. However, the itemisation of the raid sets is also a concern in my opinion. I believe that there should be a choice between gear that has crit on it, and gear that has more damage and no crit. At the bare minimum those two options should be present. Not all warlocks want crit. We are already able to select non-crit based weapons, why should we be stuck with essentially ‘useless’ crit on gear? If our PvPing brethren can choose between crit and damage based gear, then our PvE friends should be able to as well. It would also mean warlocks no longer felt they ‘had’ to spec a certain way because that is the way the gear pushes us. Is it just me who thinks this would be more fair?

Edit: I know the links aren’t to the sets, and I apologise. I thought it would be more beneficial to have the Wowhead mouse overs of an individual piece to show the set bonuses. Apologies for any inconvenience!

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