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WoWFeb 18, 2015 1:00 pm CT

Explaining stats in Warlords of Draenor

Every WoW expansion, Blizzard tends to mix up core gameplay elements in an ongoing quest for perfect balance. Whether they’ve hit that balance with Warlords of Draenor is up for debate, but if you’re jumping in to World of Warcraft again or starting for the first time then whether this is the best system ever really doesn’t matter: what you need to know is what all those stats and numbers on your character sheet mean. We won’t be digging into end-game theorycrafting or stat simulations here — we’re just trying to help players who are getting started find their feet.

If that sounds like you, follow along, and we’ll lay out the stats you’ll find in Warlords for players old and new.

You’ll find your current stats listed in your character panel, which you can open by pressing C. To improve these stats, in standard RPG fashion, you can level up or acquire better gear — but since you can’t customize your stats as you advance, the primary means of improving your attributes is by equipping better gear. Once you pass level 90 and advance into Warlords of Draenor content, you’ll find most gear has two sets of stats which switch when you switch between talent specializations — meaning hybrid classes no longer have to collect two sets of gear to be able to tackle two different class roles.

Not sure if a piece of gear is better or worse than what you’re wearing? Just like characters, each item has its own level, or item level (often abbreviated ilevel or ilvl) — the higher the level, typically the more powerful the gear. Though item level isn’t a sure-fire way to tell if a piece of gear is better — at max level, especially, you’ll find you want to pay close attention to the exact stats you’re gaining or losing by equipping new gear — it’s a good rule of thumb. Many raids (including LFR) require a certain ilvl before you can dive in, so often you want to equip your highest ilvl items. But ilvl aside, what do all of those stats mean? Let’s take a look.

Primary stats
The game’s primary stats will be familiar to old-school WoW players, though you’ll notice that spirit has dropped off the list (it’s now considered a secondary stat). But for anyone who’s played an RPG-style game in the past, these stats are pretty basic:

  • Agility: Increases attack power, which improves your physical (rather than magical) damage dealt. This is a key stat for druids (feral and guardian), monks (brewmaster and windwalker), hunters, rogues, and shamans (enhancement).
  • Intellect: Increases spell power, which improves your magical (rather than physical) damage dealt. This is the most important stat for healing and casting classes, including druids (balance and restoration), mages, monks (mistweaver), paladins (holy), priests, shamans (elemental and restoration), and warlocks.
  • Stamina: Important to all classes, stamina is a measure of how much health you have — and you’ll find stamina on gear suitable for every class and spec.
  • Strength: Increases attack power, though strength is particularly important to the plate-wearing classes — death knights, paladins (protection and retribution), and warriors — for which it also improves parry. Instead of agility, these classes and specs will prefer strength to maximize their damage output.

Secondary and other minor stats
Though the previously mentioned stats are the largest and most important in the game, there are a number of more minor stats that you’ll find on gear. While the term “secondary” may make it seem like these stats are unimportant, they still play an important role in increasing your in-game abilities. Here’s what they do:
Avoidance: Reduces the damage taken by area of effect attacks.

  • Bonus armor: A stat you’ll only find on non-armor gear (such as rings, trinkets, etc) designed for tanks, this stat increases your armor.
  • Critical strike: Increases your chance to critically strike a target when healing or attacking, dealing double damage or double healing.
  • Haste: Affects how quickly you can cast spells, use abilities, and swing your weapon. More haste means you’re faster, which typically means you’re doing more damage or healing. Haste also means classes with energy, runes, and focus regenerate those resources more quickly.
  • Leech: Causes a percentage of your damage or healing done to also heal you.
  • Mastery: Different for each class talent specialization (and thus of varying value to each class), mastery improves your spec’s mastery ability.
  • Multistrike: Gives your abilities two extra chances to hit their target for reduced damage or healing.
  • Spirit: Another stat that you’ll only find on non-armor pieces of gear, spirit improves mana regeneration and is primarily important for healers.
  • Versatility: Increases damage and healing, while decreasing damage taken. Though it’s a stat which seems to help anything, this jack-of-all-trades stat gives you a bit of a bonus across the board — but doesn’t help you as much as a more specialized stat might.

Not sure which of these stats is best for your character? Each specialization is “attuned” to a different secondary stat and receives 5% extra of their attuned stat…. and sometimes extra passive abilities as well. Check your spellbook for a passive ability giving you that 5% bonus (most classes get it at level 90), or refer to this list for a full rundown.

But what if I don’t like my stats?

Warlords of Draenor has attempted to simplify stats, and part of that means fewer ways to tweak them. While this might seem annoying when you’re trying to customize your gear to your playstyle, it also means you’re no longer required to spend time tediously perfecting your gear to make it its best. Still, there are a few ways you can modify gear to make it suit your needs:

  • Gems: Some items will have gem slots (though these are more rare in Warlords gear) into which you can socket gems created by jewelcrafting or found on the auction house. Each gem will improve different stats.
  • Enchants: Most gear can be enchanted to increase stats or offer other benefits.
  • Reroll: Though this isn’t an option for all gear, some Warlords of Draenor crafted gear can be “rerolled,” with its random stats changed to different (also random) stats. To do so, you’ll need another crafted item, like the Leather Refurbishing Kit for leatherworking gear. Be warned, however, that the random stats you get may not be any better than the random stats you have.

Looking for some help getting into — or back into — World of Warcraft? Send us your questions and we’ll try to answer them next week. But until then, have fun!

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