Attributes

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For information on attributes prior to Patch 6.0, see Attributes (pre-6.0).

Attributes, often referred to simply as stats, are the basic building blocks for a character's combat ability. The four primary attributes are strength, agility, stamina, and intellect. These attributes appear on the character sheet under the "Attributes" section. Equipment with primary attributes on it has the unique property of swapping between the active attribute based on whatever primary is most useful to the current player's class specialization. For example, a plate helm will have equal amounts of strength and intellect on it, but only holy paladins will use the intellect, while protection and retribution paladins (and the other plate-wearing classes) will use the strength. Primary attributes also affect secondary attributes and the derived combat attributes.

All characters inherently have a base amount of the four primary attributes that increases with level depending largely upon their class. For example, a mage will have more base intellect than a rogue, whom instead has more base agility. Beyond the base level of attributes, players can increase their attributes with equipment (from items' base attributes, as well as improvements from enchantments and gems), talents, temporary effects such as elixirs and auras, and many other means.

A number of secondary attributes also appear on gear. Secondary attributes include critical strike chance, haste, mastery, and several others. Secondary attributes also affect the derived combat attributes, typically more directly than the primary attributes.

Rarely, minor attributes may also appear as a bonus property on gear and include such effects as reduced area of effect damage taken, getting healed from doing damage, or movement speed increases. Individual copies of a piece of gear may or may not have a minor attribute on it.

Nearly all combat mechanics rely in some way on one or more attributes, many of which are not directly on gear but are derived from attributes that are. Increasing the appropriate attribute will increase damage done, reduce damage taken, increase healing done, affect a character's health, or other benefits. Understanding how these derived combat attributes work is important for effective combat.

Primary attributes

The four primary attributes are found on items equipped in the eight armor slots: head, shoulders, chest, wrist, hands, waist, legs, and feet; and additionally on weapons and shields. Non-armor gear (items in the neck, back, finger, or trinket slots) does not have primary attributes.

Each of the four armor types is assigned one or two non-stamina primary attributes: plate has strength and intellect, mail and leather have agility and intellect, and cloth only has intellect. Non-cloth armor has equal amounts of intellect and strength/agility. In class specializations that use intellect, players will get their attributes from the intellect, else they will utilize the other primary stat. Players cannot utilize both attributes at the same time.

Stamina

Stamina is the source of all health. All armor has stamina on it, and all classes and specializations wear armor with stamina on it, but tanks generally have the most. Players convert stamina into an increasing amount of health based on character level, scaling up to 30 health per point of stamina at level 100.

Before Warlords of Draenor, players had base health that was independent of stamina, but this is no longer the case. As with the other primary attributes, players still have base stamina at all character levels that provides an innate level of health, even while not wearing any gear.

Strength

Strength increases attack power and is the most important stat for plate armor-wearing classes in the damage-dealing or tank role. This includes:

For plate-wearing classes, strength also converts into parry.

Agility

Agility increases melee and ranged attack power, and is the most important stat for leather armor and mail armor-wearing classes in the damage-dealing or tank role. This includes:

  • Druid Druid: feral and guardian
  • Monk Monk: brewmaster and windwalker
  • Hunter Hunter: beast mastery, marksmanship, and survival
  • Rogue Rogue: assassination, combat, and subtlety
  • Shaman Shaman: enhancement

For mail- and leather-wearing classes, agility also converts into dodge.

Intellect

Intellect increases spell power and is the most important stat for mana-using classes wearing any armor type in the damage-dealing (ranged spell caster) or healer role. This includes:

  • Druid Druid: balance and restoration
  • Mage Mage: arcane, fire, and frost
  • Monk Monk: mistweaver
  • Paladin Paladin: holy
  • Priest Priest: discipline, holy, and shadow
  • Shaman Shaman: elemental and restoration
  • Warlock Warlock: affliction, demonology, and destruction

Secondary attributes

There are five all-role secondary attributes: crit, haste, mastery, multistrike, and versatility; two role-specific secondary attributes: bonus armor (for tanks) and spirit (for healers); and two PvP-specific attributes: PvP power and PvP resilience. Unlike primary and tertiary attributes, if any one copy of a piece of gear has a secondary stat on it, all copies of that gear have the same secondary stat. The five all-role attributes may appear on any piece of gear, but the two role-specific secondary attributes only appear on non-armor items: necklaces, cloaks, rings, and trinkets.

The intent is that all five all-role secondary attributes are close, but not necessarily equal, in value to each other for all classes and specializations.

Crit

Crit changes the percentage of damaging attacks and healing spells that result in a critical strike for generally 200% of the effect in PvE. That is, if an attack on a creature normally lands for around 1,000 damage, a crit will land for 2,000 damage. While in PvP, critical hits and heals will land for 150% of the effect. There are exceptions, as various abilities can crit for more or less than the baseline.

Players have 5% base crit chance without any gear equipped at all character levels. Additionally, agility users have the passive Critical Strikes, which increases their crit by an additional 10%.

Haste

Haste affects the rate at which melee and ranged auto-attacks are dealt, the cast time of spells, the tick rate of damage over time, heal over time, and channeled spells, the channel time of spells (but not the duration of DoTs/HoTs), and spells' global cooldown. Additionally, haste increases the regeneration rate of energy, runes, and focus. There are no haste breakpoints, as DoTs and HoTs get a partial tick at the end, equal in damage/healing to the ratio of that time and the full tick time.

Mastery

Mastery is an attribute that has different effects for each class specialization. For instance, the unholy death knight mastery, [Dreadblade], increases shadow damage dealt, while the arcane mage mastery, [Mana Adept], increases the mage's damage done in proportion to how much mana it has. Masteries are learned at level 80 for all classes and specializations, and any mastery on gear will not have an effect before that point.

Multistrike

Multistrike gives most abilities up to two separate chances to hit their original target an additional time for 30% of the original amount in PvE. For instance, if a player has 25% multistrike, abilities have two chances at 25% probability to strike again. In PvP only one such chance is available. This chance applies to damaging attacks, either single-targeted or area of effect, and also to heals, but not to status-affecting attacks like [Polymorph] or [Fear]. Additionally, each tick of a DoT or HoT has an independent chance to land a multistrike. Multistrikes crit independently of the original attack—that is, the main attack does not have to crit for the multistrike to crit.

Multistrikes are treated as procs, not additional casts. In general, multistrikes will not proc other effects, but there are a few class abilities that depend on a multistrike landing, much like the handful of class abilities that react to crits landing.

Versatility

Versatility increases outgoing damage, healing, and absorbs and to a lesser extent, reduces incoming damage. With 5% Versatility, players do 5% more damage and healing, enlarge their absorbs (like [Power Word: Shield]) by 5%, and take 2.5% less damage. The healing increase applies to self-heals like [Recuperate] as well.

Bonus Armor

Bonus Armor is the tank-only stat, and provides armor that would not normally appear on non-armor items. It largely exists to give tanks items useful only to them, as tanks are generally vastly outnumbered in groups. Bonus Armor was re added in Warlords of Draenor to fill the role that dodge and parry used to. Bonus Armor also provides attack power through the passive ability [Bladed Armor].

Spirit

Spirit is the healer-only stat, and increases their mana regeneration. As with bonus armor, spirit largely exists to give healers items useful only to them. Spirit has changed drastically since launch, and over the years has drifted from being a primary stat to a secondary. Spirit's status as a secondary stat was formalized in Warlords of Draenor.

Spirit is of no use and should be avoided for any class or spec in a mana-using damage-dealing role (such as balance druids, mages, shadow priests, elemental shaman, and warlocks) due to how their classes' mana regeneration works.

PvP attributes

In addition to the other secondary attributes, there are two PvP-only attributes that function as counterparts to each another:

  • PvP Power increases damage done to other players and their pets and minions in PvP situations, and increases healing done in PvP zones and outdoors. PvP power has no effect on monsters or bosses. PvP power can only be found on PvP gear, and added through gems and enchantments.
  • PvP Resilience decreases damage taken from enemy players and their pets and minions, and is of no benefit against monsters or bosses. All characters have an innate level of resilience, as PvP resilience generally does not appear on gear.

Minor attributes

Added in Warlords of Draenor, minor attributes are one of three rare bonus properties on gear. Each individual Warlords-level piece of gear crafted or looted has a slim chance to come with a maximum of one minor stat on it.

The other two bonus properties are extra item levels (à la Thunderforged and Warforged gear in Mists of Pandaria), and a gem socket. Extremely rarely, gear may have any two or all three bonus properties on it. For example, one copy of an item may have avoidance and a gem socket on it, while another copy of the same item may have speed and bonus item levels, while a third copy may have no bonus properties whatsoever. See Warlords of Draenor gear changes for more information on bonus item properties.

The design intent of these bonus properties is to limit the prevalence of "best in slot"-seeking in players. Over the course of WoW, players have increasingly perceived the obligation to always be optimal in their gearing, when playing their class better would have had much more of an effect on killing the boss. Instead, players should "aim for what upgrades are most practical and useful".

Avoidance

Avoidance reduces the amount of damage taken from Area of Effect attacks, much like how most player pets and minions already have [Avoidance]. Players will not have nearly as much avoidance as pets — the goal is to soften the blow of AoE attacks a bit, not to allow players to stand in the fire.

Indestructible

Indestructible pieces of gear are immune to durability damage in any form.

Leech

Leech causes players to gain health from a proportion of outgoing damage and a larger proportion of outgoing heals.

Speed

Speed increases players' movement speed. Speed is calculated additively (not multiplicatively), and most movement speed buffs will stack. For example, two separate 50% movement speed increases will result in 200% movement speed, not 225%. Prior to Warlords, increased movement speed as a property existed in the form of enchants like  [Enchant Boots - Pandaren's Step], but now appears directly on gear.

Derived combat attributes

Many attributes do not appear directly on gear, but are instead derived from other attributes. These derived attributes are what actually affect combat. Derived attributes are split based on role. Damage dealers either attack using physical attacks (either from melee or at range), or spells. Healers as a rule cast spells, so their attributes are also listed in the spell category. Tanks are primarily concerned with defensive attributes.

Physical

Most physical attributes are split into a melee and ranged version of the same stat:

  • Weapon damage is a property of the equipped weapon(s), and is listed as a range. Weapon damage is increased with enchants for melee weapons, or scopes for ranged weapons.
  • Attack power (AP) increases the damage of the equipped weapon(s), and is derived from strength and agility. Many attacks also increase their damage from some proportion of attack power. Attack power itself is split into two sub-attributes, (melee) attack power and ranged attack power, the latter of which affects bows, crossbows, and guns, but not wands.
  • Attack speed is a function of the weapon speed of the equipped weapon and haste. As with attack power, attack speed is split into (melee) attack speed and ranged attack speed, both affected by the appropriate sub-attribute of haste.
  • (Melee) and ranged critical strike are derived from crit on gear.

Spell

  • Spell power derives from intellect and increases the power of all spells to a varying degree. Generally, the longer the base cast time (before spell haste), the higher the spell power coefficient, but exceptions exist.
  • Casting speed is a function of individual spells' base cast time (which may be instant) and spell haste. Casting speed also reduces the spell global cooldown down to a minimum of 1 second (from 1.5 seconds).
  • Mana regeneration affects the rate at which mana is refilled. All mana-using classes have a base rate of mana regeneration, but healers (and only healers) can increase their mana regeneration with spirit.
  • Spell critical strike is derived from crit on gear.

Defense

  • Armor decreases incoming physical damage. Armor always appears on gear that fits in the eight armor slots (head, shoulders, chest, wrist, hands, waist, legs, and feet), and also on weapons and shields. Bonus armor can also appear on some non-armor gear (e.g. necklaces, cloaks, rings, and trinkets) to signify that it's intended for tanks.
  • Dodge provides a chance to dodge incoming melee attacks, but not ranged attacks or spells. All characters have an innate chance to dodge, and agility increases dodge for some classes.
  • Parry provides a chance to parry melee attacks with a weapon, but not ranged attacks or spells. All melee classes with the exception of druids have an innate chance to parry, and strength increases parry for some classes.
  • Block provides a chance to block melee and ranged attacks (but not spells) with a shield. This is only relevant for paladins, shaman, and warriors, as these are the only classes who can equip shields.
  • Resistance provides a chance to resist spells. Resistance as a stat was common and important in various older encounters, but was removed from the character sheet in Mists of Pandaria, and still exists in a vestigial form on pre-Mists items.

Patch changes

  • WoD Patch 6.0.2 (2014-10-14):
    • Hit, expertise, dodge rating, and parry rating removed.
    • Each point of Agility or Strength now grants 1 Attack Power (down from 2).
    • Agility and Intellect no longer provides an increased chance to critically strike.
    • The amount of Dodge gained per point of Agility has been reduced by 25%.
    • The amount of Parry gained per point of Strength has been reduced by 25%.
    • Amount of health gained per Stamina point has been doubled.
  • MoP Patch 5.0.4 (2012-08-28): Spell Penetration has been replaced by PvP Power on existing items.
Undocumented changes:
  • Intellect: No longer affects mana pools
  • Spell Resistance no longer displayed on character sheets.
  • Mastery is no longer measured in points, and is instead converted directly into a percentage bonus. Accordingly, there is no longer a standard rate of conversion for mastery.
  • Cataclysm Patch 4.2.0 (2011-06-28):
    • Agility: Death knights, paladins and warriors no longer gain dodge from agility.
    • Strength: Death knights, paladins and warriors now gain parry rating equal to 27% of their extra strength (up from 25%)
  • Cataclysm Patch 4.0.1 (2010-10-12):
    • Mastery rating has been added as a new stat which provides unique benefits for characters based on class and talent specialization. Mastery rating does not currently exist on items in the game, however, Reforging can be used to add Mastery rating as a secondary stat to existing items.
    • Resilience: No longer reduces chance of receiving a critical hit and is now a flat reduction on damage taken from other players.
Undocumented changes:
  • Strength: Now gives 0.25 parry rating per point to plate wearing classes.
  • Stamina: Now gives 14 health per point (up from 10).
  • Agility: Now provides 2 melee attack power per point to rogues, shamans and druids and no longer increases armor.
  • Intellect: Now provides Spell power.
  • Spirit: No longer increases Health regeneration.
  • Defense: Stat has been removed from gear.
  • Block value: Stat has been removed.
  • Armor Penetration: Stat has been removed from gear, all previous items with ArP have had it converted to Crit or Haste depending on which attributes was not present in the item. (Still exists in skills, debuffs, etc.)
  • Mana Regeneration: Stat has been removed, all previous items with MP5 have had it converted to Spirit.
  • Spell power: Has been removed on most items. (Usually found only on weapons now.)
  • WotLK Patch 3.2.0 (2009-08-04):
    • Agility: The amount of agility required per percentage of dodge has been increased by 15%. This change required recalibrating the amount of dodge a player has with 0 agility by a slight amount as well, so all players will see their dodge percentage vary a small amount.
    • Block rating: The amount of bonus block value on all items has been doubled. This does not affect the base block value on shields or block value derived from strength.
    • Dodge Rating: The amount of dodge rating required per percentage of dodge has been increased by 15%. This is before diminishing returns. Combined with other changes, this makes dodge rating and parry rating equally potent before diminishing returns apply.
    • Mana Regeneration: All items that provide "X mana per five seconds" have had the amount of mana they regenerate increased by approximately 25%.
    • Parry Rating: The amount of parry rating required per percentage of parry has been reduced by 8%. This is before diminishing returns. Combined with other changes, this makes dodge rating and parry rating equally potent before diminishing returns apply. Parry still diminishes more quickly than dodge.
    • Resilience: No longer reduces the amount of damage done by damage-over-time spells, but instead reduces the amount of all damage done by players by the same proportion. The other effects of resilience (reducing critical chance, critical damage and mana drain effects) have not changed.
  • WotLK Patch 3.1.0 (2009-04-14):
    • Armor Penetration Rating: All classes now receive 25% more benefit from Armor Penetration Rating.
    • Haste Rating: shamans, paladins, druids, and death knights now receive 30% more melee haste from Haste Rating.
    • Mana Regeneration: The amount of mana regeneration derived from intellect and spirit has been reduced by 40%; however, talents that allow for mana regeneration while in combat have been increased. As a result, in-combat regeneration for classes with those talents will stay the same, while out-of-combat regeneration will be lower.
  • WotLK Patch 3.0.2 (2008-10-14): Resilience: The damage reduction component of resilience has been increased from 2 times the critical strike chance reduction to 2.2 times the critical strike chance reduction. In addition, the maximum damage reduction to a critical strike from resilience has been increased from 30% to 33%.
    • Hit Rating, Critical Strike Rating, and Haste Rating now modify both melee attacks and spells.
    • Spell Power:
      • All items and effects which grant bonuses to spell damage and spell healing are being consolidated into a single stat, Spell Power. This stat will appear with the same values found on items which grant "increased spell damage and healing" such as on typical Mage and Warlock itemization.
        • For classes which do not heal, they should see no change in the character sheet other than new tooltip wording.
      • Healing characters will see their bonus healing numbers on the character sheet decrease, however, all healing spells have been modified to receive more benefit from Spell Power than they received from bonus healing, with a net effect of no change to the amount healed by their spells. Some talents have had to be rebalanced to accommodate this change, but the amount healed will remain roughly the same. In addition, some talents will provide only healing spell power.}}
  • TBC Patch 2.4.0 (2008-03-25):
    • Spell Haste: Spell haste now reduces the global cooldown on spells, down to a minimum of 1 second. This change does not apply to melee and ranged abilities.
    • Resilience: Now reduces the magnitude of mana draining effects by the same amount that it reduces critical strike damage. The Tooltip has been revised to reflect this.
    • Spirit-Based Mana Regeneration: This system has been adjusted so that as your intellect rises, you will regenerate more mana per point of spirit.
  • TBC Patch 2.3.0 (2007-11-13): All items have had their bonuses to Weapon Skill Rating converted to a new stat called Weapon Expertise Rating. Each point of Weapon Expertise reduces the chance for your attacks to be dodged or parried by .25%.
  • TBC Patch 2.2.0 (2007-09-25): Haste: Haste has been rebalanced. It has returned to the ratios from the launch of Burning Crusade. Melee attacks and spell casts will now benefit at identical rates from haste. This change results in a reduction in the benefit of haste for melee attacks and an increase in the benefit for spellcasters.
  • TBC Patch 2.1.0 (2007-05-22):
    • Spell Haste: The amount of spell haste rating needed per percentage of haste has been increased substantially. However, spell haste will now affect channeled spells, increasing the rate of their effects and decreasing their total duration. The same amount of damage/healing per casting will occur, but will take less time.
    • The amount of parry rating needed to get 1% parry has been reduced by 25%.
    • Dodge Rating: Low level players now calculate dodge from dodge rating at the same rate as level 34 players.
    • Health Regeneration: This effect on random property items has been renamed to Health per 5 sec.
  • TBC Patch 2.0.7 (2007-02-13): The amount of haste granted by a point of haste rating has been increased by about 50%.
  • TBC Patch 2.0.1 (2006-12-05):
    • New item property "Resilience" has been introduced. Resilience reduces your chance to be the victim of a critical strike, and reduces the amount of damage critical strikes do to you.
    • Items that give bonuses, such as critical strike percentage, have been modified to adhere to a combat rating system.
    • All current items will provide the exact same benefit from ratings at level 60 as they provided before the ratings system.

References