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As the story goes, the ability to reforge magical items was introduced to Azeroth by the Highborne. We don't really know the in-game lore of how, when, why, or where, but we do have it fairly clearly that the knowledge came from the Highborne.
Reforging allows you to customize your magical items by substituting one secondary stat for a different secondary stat. The stats that are eligible are the ones in green text at the bottom of an item, such as critical strike, mastery, expertise, and so on. (We'll do a full list behind the cut.) You can only swap about 40% of a single secondary stat, and the item must be at least item level 200 or higher. (Items have levels similar to player characters, and those levels help determine how much of each stat bonus that item can provide.)
The stats that are not eligible to be reforged are stamina, intellect, strength, and agility. These stats are considered set in stone and have very little variation in the amount of each stat, even on different items of the same item level. Since that's the case, you can probably see why you're not able to re-allocate those points.
You can find an NPC to reforge your items in each of the major cities. These include:
- Archmage Aranhir Starsinger in Darnassus
- Karabrel Moonlance in the Exodar
- Erdunor Whitespire in Ironforge
- Ithurian Whitespire in Stormwind
- Archmage Pratt in Undercity
- Enchanter Farendin in Orgrimmar
- Enchantress Fire in Silvermoon City
- Enchantress Herim in Thunder Bluff
As soon as you get near the reforger, you'll get an interact icon. Click on the reforger and drag and drop your magic item into the window. You'll be able to select from the list of stats to be customized, and the dialogue box will tell you how much it will cost. Reforging costs as much as a vendor will pay you for that given item.
The full list of stats that can be reforged (either reforged into or reforged away from) is thus:
- hit rating
- expertise rating
- critical strike rating
- haste rating
- mastery rating
- parry rating
- dodge rating
There is a little bit of a fine art involved in knowing when to reforge your magic items. As a general rule, think twice about reforging green gear. This is because it's likely to be replaced relatively soon in your play time, and if you have limited gold, you might not get any real benefit out of reforging that green item.
Blue and purple gear, however, is usually worth reforging if the stats aren't already perfect for you. Most classes have some kind of "cap" for ratings like hit or expertise. Once you're at that cap, getting more of the stat won't help you. In these cases, reforge away from that capped stat and pick up something else. This involves knowing your class's stat caps (check our class columns right here at WoW Insider), but reforging can really help you get a lot of bang for your buck in this case.
Also, if you're a class that serves more than one role (like a paladin doubling as a tank or DPS), some of the rep gear can be very attractive with a little reforging. For example, the Belt of the Ferocious Wolf is fairly awesome for plate tanks if you swap the critical strike rating for some parry or dodge.
Ultimately, reforging lets your do some pretty creative things with gear that drops. The idea is that you will get more use out of each item if you can customize it, reducing the "waste drops" that were so prevalent in previous expansions. Play around with reforging, and see how you like it. I found that once I got started, I loved it.
Visit the WoW Rookie Guide for links to everything you need to get started as a new player, from how to control your character and camera angles when you're just starting out, to pulling together enough cash for mid-level expenses such as mounts, to dungeoneering and travel tips for lowbies.