Spellpower and You: Gearing in WotLK

Note: this post contains information on Wrath of the Lich King. However, it’s not really ‘spoilers’ as such, and I recommend you read it anyway in the interests of being prepared.

One of the big changes in Wrath of the Lich King is a revamp of gearing and the way gear stats are handled. This is for a number of reasons – such as making hybrids more flexible and making gear pieces more useful – but here’s the basic summary for holy paladins (and, well, all healers and casters).

The Theory

  • Spell crit, spell hit and spell haste ratings are disappearing. Crit, hit and haste ratings now affect both spellcasting and physical abilities.
  • +heal and +dmg/heal ratings are disappearing, and being replaced with spellpower, which affects both spell damage and healing.
  • Existing items with +healing are being translated to spellpower stats instead; it’s not a direct 1:1 translation, so on Wrath Day you’ll end up with a lot less spellpower than your current +heal.
  • This is not a problem, because other mechanics are being revamped to account for it (for instance, healing spells are getting a much bigger boost from spellpower).
  • Existing items with +dmg/heal are being translated to spellpower as well, at close to a 1:1 transition.

The Practice

On Wrath Day, you’ll see a big change in your stats: no longer will you have Spell Crit or Spell Haste, and your giant +Heal will turn into a much smaller Spellpower number.

Let’s take a look at a sample healadin with a fairly standard 42/19/0 build (based off my own character), Here’s a warcrafter.net sandbox showing the paladin in a fully gemmed and enchanted set of Karazhan gear (including some gearing choices I wouldn’t actually make, but I’m sticking to the Kara-only guideline).

Examplia, as we might call her, has the following vitals:

  • Health: 7,717
  • Mana: 10,427
  • Healing: 1734
  • Spell Damage: 703
  • Mana Per 5: 113
  • Spell Crit: 16.34%

On Wrath Day, she’ll have the following:

  • Health, Mana, Mana Per 5: unchanged
  • Spellpower: 1078
  • Crit: 16.34%

So, you can see that her base stats and regen remain unchanged, while her +Healing turns into Spellpower at a ratio of about 1.6 : 1. Her spell damage increases, which means her effectiveness as a shockadin may also increase (depending on how much benefit Seals and Judgements will derive from spellpower, which is still being revised).

(Remember, of course, that Blizzard may revise items differently depending on the gear in question. Examplia is wearing Karazhan gear, which was designed two years ago when The Burning Crusade was being developed; characters in gear from Sunwell Plateau or badge purchases from the Isle of Quel’Danas may see different tweaks, as Blizzard’s developers had eighteen months’ more experience when developing those items.)

The Effect

What does this mean? Well… we don’t entirely know yet. (All that math for nothing!) Blizzard have said that the change of condensation of +dmg and +heal into spellpower won’t reduce healing output; I haven’t seen any equivalent statements about the effect on shockadin DPS, so it could yet be an improvement, reduction or no real change at all.

What we do know, however, is that existing gear will be more versatile, and upcoming gear will be useful to more people.

Compare a couple of items:

Previously a healing shield and its DPS equivalent, in Wrath of the Lich King these items will be all but identical – which means if you only ever got one, now it will do dual-duty. This effect can be seen in a lot of other places as well:

As you can imagine, once healing and spell damage are condensed into Spellpower a lot of DPS caster items suddenly become excellent for holy paladins. Compare the Karazhan rings; all of a sudden the Violet Signet of the Archmage is suddenly better for a holy paladin than the Violet Signet of the Grand Restorer, as it has Crit Rating instead of Spirit.

Obviously, this effect will become less important after Wrath Day as people start doing quests, running instances, and upgrading their gear – new caster/healer gear in Wrath only comes in one flavour, and that’s Spellpower. However, the better your gear is on Wrath Day, the longer you’ll take to upgrade it, and the easier you’ll find questing and instancing in the meantime.

In closing, I note that I expect paladin gearing-up to be bunches of fun at level 80. No more getting stuck with stacking mp5 until you hit Tier 5; now all those caster Crit/Spellpower items will be just as tasty for us!

28 thoughts on “Spellpower and You: Gearing in WotLK”

  1. I was wondering about the change to crit–will agility/int still have an impact? If so, will we actually get (spell)crit from agility?

  2. Valyria, that’s actually a very good question, and one I don’t currently have an answer for. I’ll try and check it out in the beta shortly.

  3. My understanding is that hunters will only get +crit from Agi, not Int, as we have been all along…. In which case, casters will only get +crit from Int, not Agi. Hunters would be at a huge advantage if we got +crit from Int *and* Agi – not that I’d complain about that! :D

  4. One question. when Wrath comes out, will healers and dmg casters be needing on the same items in instances? or will there be a specific difference between the items a healer will use and the items a mage/lock/spriest will use?

  5. An interesting question indeed.
    I know there are still talents that only increase healing or damage.
    It wouldn’t surprise me if it’s ability dependent instead of class dependant.
    ie: Paladins melee attacks would crit based on agility while spells were int, even though the base for both was now the same.
    Though then we’re almost in the current boat…
    It’s pretty messy either way, isn’t it? Neither makes complete sense.

  6. Phyl – ah yes, but what about hybrids? Paladins want spell crit if they’re holy; if they’re ret they want physical crit. Elemental shammies want spell crit; enhancement shammies want physical crit. What then? Does one’s spec dictate it? What about a 36 Holy/35 Ret pally, or a 35 Holy/36 Ret?

    Asdasd – yes, healers and damage casters will have a lot more overlap. There will still be some differences – paladins and shammies still aren’t going to want items with +spirit; crit rating will be much more appealing to paladins than druids; etc. But yes, a +crit/+spellpower ring would be just as appropriate for a holy paladin to roll on as a mage.

  7. Just to add a comment on the whole business of rolling over loot with i.e. all caster classes. The new system – as it looks right now – will give more QQ on the forums about paladins or druids rolling on cloth etc etc… or warlochs taking the spirit gear over healers …
    But on the other hand the system will almost certainly make sure that someone can use the drops from the bosses. So there will be no more crying “shaman gear – DE it” which may reduce the number of runs nessecary to gear up.

  8. Melee and Spell Crit _ratings_ are merged, not crits ; Agility will likely still provide melee crit and Intellect spell crit (they do not provide ratings, but pure crit %).

  9. this seems to raise an interesting problem: healers who are currently doing kara and heroics (or otherwise adding to their current gear) might start to want dps caster gear more than current healer gear. if a current dps item has more spell power than 1/1.6 of the healing on a different item, the current spell power item is then going to be a better healing item once wrath hits than the current healing item.

    drama will ensue in pugs where healers of all types start rolling on previous DPS gear.

  10. From a retnub point of view, if spell crit and melee crit are same as such, does that mean ret pallys will have some redicolous % to crit with judgements, u get 15% from talents. When my pallys ret specced hes got about 33% chance to melee crit. In WOTLK would i have like a 50+% chance to crit with judgements? With the spell-power from ap talents making judgments actually hit for decent that mite be OP. What do u reckon?

  11. Well, in my opinion, if healers and dps’ers are going to need the same items, then this system isnt going to flow as smoothly as original WoW/BC, and to Lotzy, although it could reduce the number of runs necessary to gear up, it could also make it take much longer, it would just depend on the setup of the group.

  12. Dave – I don’t have Quag’s Eye, but my banked Scarab gives +37 Spellpower and equip bonus says “Your direct healing and heal over time spells have a chance to increase your spell haste rating by 320 for 6 secs”.

  13. Hmmm. I am mainly wondering, as if they now will be giving the same effects, I can just skip Heroic UB and farm Normal Dark Portals. Much easier and able to do over and over vs once a day.

    Thank you.

  14. I have a raiding Resto Shaman, most of the way through Tier 5 and still using the Shard of the Virtuous. I also have a Cudgel of Consecration from Heroic MgT – will this now be a better healing weapon, from a pure thoughput stand point? No Mp5 on the Cudgel, but a Lustrous Chalcedony picks me up 5 with the socket, shortly after I hit Northrend, and an extra 2 spellpower.

  15. Here’s a question for you. I have a Sorcerer’s Alchemist Stone, which has +bonus damage. I have been considering crafting a Redeemer’s Alchemist Stone for my healing set. Would crafting this second item end up being a complete waste once the spellpower unification occurs? This is significant because the effort and transmute cooldowns spent crafting this item is very substantial.

  16. Come WotLK, the Redeemer’s stone and Guardian’s stone will have identical stats – at least they do so far in beta. They’ll both be +63 spellpower with the 40% potion boost effect. So… I wouldn’t bother. :)

  17. So how will gearing work? Will there be 1/2 as much gear with 2 times as many people to gear with said lack of gear?

  18. Well, it’s hard to say until we’ve seen how much loot a tuned, typical instance or raid will drop.

    I think the end effect will be: you will have more competition for most pieces of gear (except single-class stuff like spelldamage plate). However, there will be less individual pieces of gear on a boss loot table, so any given piece will drop more frequently, so you’ll have a chance to get it more often.

  19. damn… so, basically it means that healers can
    (& SHOULD) start NEEDing
    (or spending DKP points in high-end raids)
    for casters gear… just to be more ready for WotLK ?

    that’ll not make everyone else happier… :((

  20. Not if they have healer gear of equivalent power/ilevel – as you can see in the examples above, pre-WotLK healer gear becomes spellpower gear once WotLK launches.

    In fact, healers are better off because they no longer have to accrue a DPS set for soloing or whatever; their healing set will be just as good for both purposes after Wrath Day.

  21. ye, agree on that = but some times the difference is such

    healing item : +healing, +int, +spirit(no need)

    caster item : +spell dmg. +int, +spell crit

  22. Ok, here is one for you all.
    Frozen Shadow-weave set. That my spriest wears.
    Will it be just as good as equivalent healing gear for healing once LK is come about?

  23. All the base stats, sockets, and socket bonuses are staying the same. The frost/shadow dmg is changing to non-specific spellpower as follows: Robe: 72 -> 59; Shoulders: 50 -> 41; Boots: 57 -> 47. In addition, the items are becoming BoP. The set bonus remains unchanged.
    Comparing the Frozen Shadoweave Robe to the Primal Mooncloth Robe, as an example:
    Frozen Shadoweave robe: +30 Sta, +20 Int, Yellow & Blue sockets (+3 hit bonus), +59 spellpower. Set bonus is based on frost/shadow dmg.
    Primal Mooncloth robe: +20 Int, +20 Spi, Yellow & Blue sockets (+3 Int bonus), +64 spellpower, +10 mp5. Set bonus allows 5% of Mana regeneration to continue while casting.
    So in general, some pieces of healing gear will still be more healer-oriented (with mana regen stats and no hit rating), but Frozen Shadoweave will be a good solid piece of gear even for healing.

  24. That half way makes me sad just because I re-specced from being a Holy Priest to being a Shadow Priest. I chanced servers (so also respecced) and re-did my tailoring specialization from Primal Mooncloth to Shadoweave. Looks like I could have stayed primarily a “Healer” and still done respectable damage.

    Oh well. So goes life. :) I’m still excited about the patch.

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