HoTs and DoTs: A Restoration Druid and Shadow Priest

Shadow Priests, Spirit and Stat Weightings

Clothier, Tailoring Shop in Dalaran

Unfortunately you can't just choose your gear based on looks alone

I think most players, certainly raiders, are used to evaluating gear attributes in terms of how they benefit their own character – their own class or even just what’s best for their own talent spec.

The advice I give to brand new Shadow Priests is very simple: Haste and Spell power are equally as good as each other and the value of Critical Strike Rating is about half that of Spell power or Haste, point for point. And if you’re not sure, choose the item with higher Spell power.

Then, if it’s a (formerly) Holy Priest asking, I tack on this final piece of advice: Never choose one item over an other because it has more Spirit.

Spirit

Just because Shadow Priests don’t value Spirit very highly it doesn’t mean that other cloth wearers, and Blizzard, feel the same way.

Let’s consider all the cloth wearing classes and raiding talent specs and compare what value 1 point of Spirit is worth compared to 1 point of Spell power:

Mage
Priest
Warlock
Arcane
Fire
Frost
Discipline
Holy
Shadow
Affliction
Destruction
Demonology
0.29
n/a n/a
0.22
0.87
0.21
0.47
0.55
n/a 0.70

Source: Wowhead’s Stat Weighting, when Spell power = 1.

Spirit was not mentioned/used to find Mage Fire or Frost gear, so I assume that it is irrelevant to these specs. Does anyone raid as Demonology these days?

I should also point out that Shadowpriest.com’s most recent testing for Tier 10 gear has valued Spirit more highly than it has in past Patches and I assume that the value on Wowhead of 0.21 (above) is from Patch 3.2. In Patch 3.3 Spirit has been valued at 0.59 compared to 1 point of Spell power. This is still less than the value of 1 point of Critical Strike Rating, which becomes important further on in the piece.

The Budget

The developers place a completely different value on Spirit – one that sits above class and talent mechanics. A single value that they use to create or budget gear.

What makes a 264 item different from a 251 item? More gear attributes. What makes one 264 item better than another 264 item? Personal preference. We might prefer one item over another item, both with the very same item level, but in Blizzard’s eyes they are equal.

Every single attribute – Stamina, Intellect etc, even empty sockets and magic resistances, is valued and the sum of these values adds up to give you an item of that item level. Compare these two similar items both item level 264:

Two offhands from Icecrown Citadel 25 man

Two offhands from Icecrown Citadel 25 man. Item level 264.

What value does Blizzard place on each attribute? What is the master value stat weighting list? I’m sure a more practised mathematician than I could figure it out. If x = stamina, y = intellect, z = spell power, a = spirit, b = haste, c = critical strike rating you might read the above items like:

Shadow Silk Spindle: 69x + 69y + 60c + 60b + 106z = ilvl264 offhand
Sundial of the Eternal Dusk: 69x + 69y + 60a + 60b + 106z = ilvl264 offhand

I might not be great at math, but I can see that Blizzard values 1 point of Spirit exactly the same as 1 point of Critical Strike Rating. Look again:

Offhand items, Item level 264, 60 Spirit = 60 Critical Strike Rating

Offhand items, Item level 264, 60 Spirit = 60 Critical Strike Rating

The Sacrifice

Items that we prefer, the ones that become our best in slot, tend to have higher values of our strongest DPS producing attributes. That doesn’t mean we don’t need some of the other stuff to survive, or to have enough Mana to last.

I’m finding that this is most easily seen while I level up Caesandra, my baby Mage. The other night I passed on a belt that dropped in Blackrock Depths. At first glance it was a lovely combination of Stamina, Intellect, Spell power and Critical Strike Rating. But the belt that I’m wearing, and have been wearing for the last 15 levels or so, is still better for me. It has no Stamina, no Intellect. Just a bit or Armor and the rest of the budget spent on pure Spell power.

Technically the BRD belt was a better item overall, and it had a higher item level. If I was questing, I probably would have valued it differently. But I’m leveling inside the sheltered environment of PVE dungeons and I can easily sacrifice survivability stats – it’s up to the tank to take a beating, not me.

In the Burning Crusade I wore incredibly fragile caster pieces – Spellstrike over Battlecast gear, the Frozen Shadoweave set: items that sacrificed Stamina (survivability) in order to load up on DPS stats that rivaled higher tier gear. In preparation for Black Temple, where it was recommended that all players have at least 9000 health in order to survive the first boss, I came up short.

Shadow Priests: But I only want Spell power! Haste!

In Wrath of the Lich King, Blizzard have done away with items that are weak on survivability stats in order to hold more DPS stats. All the 213 cloth gear has about the same amount of Stamina and Intellect, all the 232 gear has a bit more, and so forth. You can pretty much ignore it entirely – it’s always there. We’re left to make upgrade decisions based on more interesting dilemmas – what has more power?

We know that Blizzard values 1 point of Spirit exactly the same as 1 point of Critical Strike Rating. Now factor in some Shadow Priest preferences:

  • 1 point of Critical Strike is valued to be about 75% as good as 1 point of Spell power (100%) or Haste (100%)
  • 1 point of Spirit is valued to be only about 50% as good as 1 point of Spell power (100%) or Haste (100%)

Blizzard values Critical Strike Rating and Spirit as equals, but if given the choice, us Shadow Priests would take Critical Strike Rating over Spirit any day.

Critical Strike Rating is our third priority attribute. Spell Power and Haste are more valuable so we tend to choose items with Haste over items with Critical Strike Rating. What worries me is that, in our quest for more and more Haste, I see many new Shadow Priests with lots of Haste/Spirit items. And seriously deficient in Critical Strike Rating.

Here’s the rub. Items that you have with Spirit on them, even though they might be loaded up on Haste, may be hurting your gear set and overall stats.

If you are wearing two rings:
1. Item level 251: Spellpower/Haste/Spirit
2. Item level 264: Spellpower/Haste

I would consider swapping out the 251 ring for a 264 Spellpower/Crit ring. The item might be considered lower on the Shadowpriest.com Best in Slot ranks (using the Haste>Critical Strike weightings) but it doesn’t mean it’s an inferior item. You can’t wear pure Haste items in every single one of your gear slots. Ok, you can, but the output would be worse than a balance Spellpower/Haste/Crit approach and you probably wouldn’t make the Hit cap. So don’t shy away from great items just because they have Critical Strike Rating on them and no Haste.

If you have 500 Spirit and 850 Critical Strike Rating, wouldn’t you prefer to have 400 Spirit and 950 Critical Strike Rating? You can do that using the same item level gear available to you – remember 1 point of Spirit is the same as 1 point of Critical Strike Rating according to Blizzard.

I know I’d much prefer the extra Critical Strike Rating.

The long and short of it

Every time you choose an item with Spirit, that item budget could have been spent on additional Critical Strike Rating, Haste or Hit. Keep an eye out for items that drop with zero Spirit, but with Hit or Critical Strike Rating. You still need Hit and some Critical Strike Rating in some of your gear slots so don’t discount these items just because they don’t have Haste.

6 Responses to “Shadow Priests, Spirit and Stat Weightings”

  1. NatarumahNo Gravatar says

    Great post, Cassandri!

    Gear choices can always be a bit of a bother, and with a lot of stats to juggle (now suddenly useful) that can take some fresh looks in prioritization.

    Your post on the Spirit-Crit equation made me think, so I made one regarding the balance between Crit-Haste and the secondary benefits of Spirit:
    http://twistedfaith.wordpress.com/2010/03/04/taking-a-hasty-and-critical-look/

    Greetz!

    Natarumah

  2. Drakolich - MalorneNo Gravatar says

    For demo locks the stat weightings are spell power>spirit>haste>crit. This is because of demonic pact scaling with spellpower and spirit being one of the best ways we can get spell power. This also makes the demonic pact buff larger for the rest of the raid maximizing your raid buff contribution.

  3. Drakolich - MalorneNo Gravatar says

    Just found it somewhere, Spirit is 0.702 for demo locks.
    Just as a side thought, lots of people raid demo as well

  4. There’s a good table of the weighting of various stats for item levels on wowwiki which seems to back up your conclusion that 1pt of Spirit is equal to one point of crit on gear:

    http://www.wowwiki.com/Item_level#Calculating_Item_Level

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