Thursday, 7 May 2009

Understanding Stats

Elemental Shaman are casters. We cast spells that do damage to the enemy: Lightning Bolts and Lava Bursts and alike. It is the most important thing for us to make these spells as powerful as they can be and we achieve this by stats. All the gear you wear contributes to your stats.

The two tabs most that contain all the stats and numbers I am referring to are located under the Base Stats and Spell tabs on your armory page and in-game on your gear page.

Base Stats:
The majority of the gear we wear will have Armor, Stamina and Intellect and to a lesser extent Spirit. Armor and Stamina is not of much concern to us as they only affect how much of a beating we can take. In PvE we should not be tanking (shammy-tanking may be talked about later down the road but don't hold your breath) or taking much direct damage at all, so never aim to increase these stats. If you gear yourself reasonably these will always be at a healthy level.

Intellect (Int) is the only base stat that will directly affect your damage output. Firstly, and most importantly, Intellect will determine your mana pool. Mana is used to cast your spells and as such more mana = more spell casts available before you need to refresh. Every point of Intellect = 15 mana. Intellect also affects some of your spell stats: 1 Int = 0.00602% Crit Chance, or in a more user friendly form 166 Int = 1% Crit. Intellect also boosts your Mana Regeneration. Mana Regen. is commonly referred to as mp5 (Mana regenerated every 5 seconds), and is not really useful for us elementals as we generally have plenty of mana due to various abilities and features of our talent trees that provide us with abundant amounts of mana.

Finally, Spirit is sometimes attached to gear we will use. Spirit increases health and mana regeneration rates. This stat is awful for us in that, unlike almost every other caster class, we have absolutely no benefit from spirit. It should be avoided wherever possible; If you are wearing any gear with this keep your eyes peeled for comparable gear without this wasted stat as there is usually a better alternative out there.

Spell Stats:
Increasingly with top-end gear there will be 'green stats' or 'equip bonuses' on your gear (found under the base stats and all that other junk, preceded with the word Equip:). These will directly affect your spell stats.

Bonus Damage is the key stat that increases the amount of damage every spell does when it hits an enemy. It will be listed as spell power on your gear (ie. Equip: Increases spell power by x). This is a hugely important stat for us! As you become increasingly geared and we get to gemming and enchanting we will aim to increase this stat as much as possible. This spell power stat also increases your bonus healing which increases the amount every heal does, but this is only important for restos.

Hit Rating is the chance you will hit your target when you cast a spell. We can 'cap' this stat, meaning we have a 100% chance to hit our target. I will talk about this stat in the coming posts as I need a whole post to explain the calculations. Until we are capped this is by far our most important stat.

Crit chance, mentioned briefly earlier, is the chance we will deliver a critically damaging strike to our target. Critical Strikes (or simply 'crits') deal 150% damage. This stat is valuable to us as inherent talents in our tree make crits help conserve mana, and the bonus damage is pretty nice too!

Finally, haste rating increases the speed at which we can cast our spells. More spells = more damage, so this is pretty valuable to us. Back in the Burning Crusade expansion lots of top end elementals would stack this stat, although it is now not as beneficial.

So, in summary:
  • Armor and Stamina increase survivability.
  • Intellect increases mana pool; mp5 and crit to an extent.
  • Spirit is bad!
  • Spell power increases bonus damage, meaning more damage with every hit.
  • Hit increases chance our spell will hit their target.
  • Crit increases the chance we deal a critical strike.
  • Haste increases the speed of our spell casting.

This concludes my basic overview of the stats you will see in your various elemental gear. These numbers will be used repeatedly in this blog as they control how good we can be.

For further info about these stats, check out WoWWiki (link in sidebar). They are a great resource for understanding all these numbers.


  1. Spell penetration ?

  2. Good point, I will add in a section on it. I tend to just forget about it in game, so I guess I did here too. Thanks for the tip.

  3. Spell pen is only for a pvp setting as bosses no longer have any base resistences.

  4. Haste also decreases global cooldown?

  5. Hit capped> Spell Power> Haste = Win


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