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Attributes Changed, Some Just Downright Removed
If you've been playing World of Warcraft for awhile then you've probably noticed that as you reach higher levels, the stats you find on items become a whole lot less straightforward. At early levels the five core attributes are the stars of the show. It is fairly clear which ones you want for your class and spec, and which ones you don't. The problem is, as you level higher and higher, you start to see some new stats that can just be downright confusing. Haste? Armor Penetration? Defense? What do these things do for me?
The folks at Blizzard are on the same page as us - finally. They've realized that the current state of stats and attributes (not just on gear, but on consumables, buffs, etc) is a disaster, and that hitting some of these numbers like the hit cap, defense cap, and others is a total nightmare for fresh level 80s. So, they've promised to streamline the system. Several announcements were made at BlizzCon 2009 that shed a lot of light on where they're going with stats and attributes in the very near future.
As always, keep in mind any and all of these things are subject to change anytime before the World of Warcraft: Cataclysm expansion is actually installed on your computer - and even then, not even that is safe because of Patching. Enjoy.
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Hunters and Enhancement Shamans
Before we delve right into the stats discussion, I need to mention one thing. You may or may not of heard already that Hunters and Enhancement Shamans are no longer going to use Intellect or Mana. Both are being converted over the the Focus system that Hunter pets use currently. This makes great sense for Hunters, and is being ported to Enhancement Shamans purely because of the fact that they share gear. So, congratulations guys, the worst part of your class is being fixed. Hooray!
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More Core Attributes, Less Confusing Stats - Mana Regeneration
MP5 and Spirit
Spirit will once again be solely responsible for all your mana-regeneration needs. We had some good times, MP5, I sure will miss you. All healers (including Shamans and Paladins) will now have total dependence on Spirit. I can almost feel myself drowning in all of the Paladin QQ tears. On the plus side, to counter the fact that we're losing our iFSR (inside five second rule) mana regeneration, all healers will have a Meditation-like ability. For those not "in the know", the Priest's Mediation along with the Druid's Intensity talent allow a percentage of not-casting mana regeneration to continue while casting. Learn more about the Five Second Rule.
What about you Mages and Warlocks? There's some good news for you - "No more Spirit on Mage and Warlock gear..... really".
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Intellect and Spellpower
I never thought of Spellpower (or its counterpart, Attack Power) as confusing stats. It always made sense - More spellpower = more powerful spells. Apparently, though, it is just too complex for some people so they are removing it. Instead, Intellect will now be the stat responsible for providing casters with their spellpower. No details as to how this mechanic will work were released, though we do know that spellpower will still be a listed stat on your character pane, it just won't be found on gear. So, instead of making spell coefficients work with the amount of Intellect you have, they decided to complicate the system and convert it to spellpower first, then use spellpower as the spell coefficient. GENIUS.
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In manner of spellpower, attack power will no longer be found on gear. Instead, it will be derived in two ways from core attributes. For Leather and Mail armor wearers, Attack Power will be derived from Agility. For Plate armor wearers Attack Power will be derived from Strength. Ultimately what this will mean is that Leather and Mail armor pieces will be completely undesirable to plate wearers. They did say, though, that generic items like Rings, Necklaces, Cloaks, and perhaps even Weapons will still have Attack Power on them so that they are appealing to all physical DPS classes.
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Defense - Removed
Defense is another stat that is being removed from items (and the overwhelming cheer from non-Druid tanks everywhere is deafening). Instead, tanks will be he able to hit their needed Defense cap to become uncritable in manner of the current Bear Druid Tanks - Through talents such as Survival of the Fittest.
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It has been decided that Armor Penetration, as a stat, is too "mathy". Honestly, I disagree - there are much "mathier" stats out there, like Haste. Regardless, Armor Penetration, as a stat, is being removed. Does that mean there will be no more ignoring a target's armor? Unlikely. A new system called Mastery will be implemented along with all these changes that will, in extremely simple terms, "make you better at what you do... (it's magic)". We'll talk about Mastery more later in this article, but for now suffice to say that classes that need Armor Penetration will get it, one way or another.
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Haste - My Favorite!
Oh, they're not uncomplicating haste? They're making haste even more complex? Superb. You heard it here first, folks (actually, you've probably heard it 20 or 30 times by now). Haste is being given additional usage by making it also increase the regeneration of Runes, Energy, Rage, and Focus. They do go out of their way to include that Retribution Paladins and Enhancement Shamans will be given a talent that "allows them to take advantage of this benefit". I won't lie - this line confuses me. The reason is that they've already stated that Enhancement Shamans will not use Mana any more, and instead convert over to Focus, like Hunters. However, they never said that Retribution Paladins were having anything changed like that. Will Ret Pallys be put on Focus, as well? Were they just being redundant in mentioning Enhancement Shamans? Let the speculation commence.
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Block Value (aka the amount of damage mitigated by a blocked attack) is going away as well. Instead, Block is going to be more like dodge, and mitigate a percentage of incoming damage. I like percentages. Percentages are clean. This one they seamed pretty uncertain of, like they hadn't decided exactly how they're going to make it work. My favorite line in the discussion was, of course, this: "So now you can use Block as a real mitigation stat and it isn't broken in one part of the game and terrible in raid boss fights, so, Prot Paladins, theres hope for you... somewhere... over the rainbow."
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And Finally, Stamina
Just kidding. Stamina is making a comeback. Since no one will be worrying about silly things like Attack Power, Spellpower, Defense, etc. there will be more Stamina for all. Everyone, clothies included, will have the same amount of hit points as Plate Wearers "so you won't have to complain anymore about dying on Thorim 'cause you're not a Warrior".
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More Details on the New Mastery System
As mentioned previously, a new World of Warcraft system called Mastery is going to be implemented in Cataclysm, along with all of these attribute adjustments. Mastery does, in fact, make you better at whatever it is you do, whether its DPS, Healing, or Tanking, and even gets into specific bonuses depending on your talent tree focus.
Mastery is earned purely by investing points into talent trees. The goal of this is to make it so that talents are more fun and interesting, and much less "bonus" based. For example, Fire spec'd Mages currently pick up a talent called Fire Power that does nothing more than increase their fire damage by 10%. Another example is the Death Knight talent Guile of Gorefiend, which has two completely unrelated bonuses - one as increased critical strike damage and the other as increased duration on a mitigation ability.
With Mastery, talents that do nothing more than offer "required" bonuses, as well as talents that are multitasking, will be modified or removed. Instead, simply by investing points into a particular talent tree you will earn those bonuses passively, and have more points to spend on fun and interesting talents. Talents will become much more personal, much less cookie-cutter, and overall more enjoyable.
By way of example, with Assassination Rogues increased Poison Damage will be part of the Assassination tree Mastery. On the other hand, Subtlety Rogues will have a Mastery bonus that reduces the Energy cost of abilities. Beast Mastery Hunters will find that their Mastery increases their pet's damage, while Marksman Hunters will find their bonuses come in the form of faster Focus regeneration.
By spending points in a talent tree you will get three kinds of passive bonuses. The first is one that makes you do your job better, so if it is a healing tree you'll get a passive bonus that increases your healing done, or if it's a tanking tree you'll likely get one that will increase your health or armor, or both. The second passive stat will be stat-related, like Haste or Critical Strike Rating (it will always be applicable to your class/spec). The third bonus will always be something purely spec related, such as the previously mentioned poison damage for Assassination Rogues.
Besides being just a system, Mastery is also going to be a stat found on gear. Mastery points on gear will apply directly to this third, spec specific bonus.
A discussion of all of the different stats and attributes found in the game World of Warcraft. We look at how core stats like Agility relate to Attack Power, how Magic Resistance really works, just how much Defense a tank needs, and so much more.