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Spellpower 101, or how I learned to love unified attributes

Eliah Hecht

The big patch today is changing the way stats work in WoW. In its own way, it's as much of a change as combat ratings were in the pre-BC patch. Specifically, there are two major stat changes coming:

  • Hit and crit rating will be will no longer have separate stats for melee and for spells. Both spell hit/crit rating and melee hit/crit rating will now simply be hit (or crit) rating. This will mostly benefit hybrid classes; for instance, +hit for a Paladin will make both their spells and their melee strikes more likely to land.
  • +Damage and +healing are getting unified into one stat: spellpower.

This latter change could use a bit more explaining, and that's the main subject of this post.

I can't count the number of people I've seen in general chat complaining about how their +healing numbers are getting nerfed, or worrying that there will now be more competition for caster items. I think those people are misled. Here's a quick spellpower rundown:

  • Anything with +damage and healing on it now will now have the same amount of spellpower, which will do the same as before for DPS casting.
  • Anything with +healing on it will get about half as much in spellpower. For instance, compare Light's Justice in live versus how it will be when the patch drops.
  • School-specific +damage (like +shadow damage) is also (mostly) being converted into spellpower, at a rate of about 80%.
  • Healing spells will get double benefit from spellpower. Healers will, therefore, see no difference in the output of their healing spells in the same gear.
  • The big gain is that healers will now be able to DPS competently in their healing gear, since they'll get much more benefit to their DPS spells than they currently do.
  • There will also be fewer useless drops, since any caster item will be potentially useful to any caster (with the right armor type). There will still be some items with more mana regen on them that healers will probably prefer, but it won't be such a huge difference between healing and DPS caster items anymore.
  • As far as the worries about more classes competing for drops, I argue that there are more drops that are useful to your class now. If a boss currently drops one item that's useful for a priest, and two that are useful for the two DPS cloth classes, it'll now drop 3 that are useful for all three classes. Each player has the same chance to get an item as they did before.

Any questions?

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