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Cataclysm Stat Changes

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been getting a drizzle of information regarding Cataclysm, either very directly from the developers or via data mined files in the new patch currently on the PTR. Blizzcon 2009 brought a lot of information forward about stat changes in Cataclysm. The developers told us how they felt there were too many different stats in live and balancing them at the high end game could be confusing. They stood ahead a gasping audience while telling then spell power, attack power and armour penetration were all a thing of the past come the expansion.

Tonight has seen a blue post both reminding us and elaborating upon the changes that will affect us all come Cataclysm’s launch. Elemental Shaman’s and Balance Druid’s receive some special mentions in this post but firstly I’ll draw attention to the more generalised caster changes.

For the DPS casters, Cataclysm will be bringing:-

  • A lot more stamina
  • Spell power being removed
  • Spirit is being removed for the DPS casters


An issue that was touched on at Blizzcon and has been elaborated on today is that of stamina. The difference between plate wearers and cloth wearers in terms of their hit points is being reduced drastically. For casters, we can expect to see much larger health pools than we have been used to in Wrath, tBC and Vanilla WoW.

Goodbye to Spell Power

When this was first announced at Blizzcon, it created quite the stir and it stills feels peculiar after months of adjusting to the idea. Intellect will be the main source of spell power for DPS casters. The exception to this rule, as confirmed today, are caster DPS weapons which will still contain spell power as an actual stat. The justification for this is to make them comparable to melee weapons in terms of what we gain from them.

No More Spirit

This stat isn’t being removed entirely, but will belong to the healers. Caster DPS will not regain mana via spirit and rather, will have a new system in place to deal with this mechanic. Elemental Shaman’s have never gained from spirit anyway and the only time are we seen with spirit items are when we’re forced the route of taking leather or cloth due to poor itemisation of mail pieces.

This is where the changes start to get a little weird in my personal opinion. Spirit will now be of use to Elemental Shaman’s and Balance Druids in that we’ll derive our spell hit from this albeit indirectly via the use of conversion talents. (Think in the same way Warlock’s derive spell power from spirit via their Fel Armor). I’ll come to this mechanic more shortly.

MP5 Removed

For those Elemental Shaman’s dabbling in the Restoration tree as an offspec, MP5 will be but a memory come Cataclysm. As with other healers, Restoration Shaman’s will now use spirit to regain their mana during combat. Admittedly for Elemental’s, it will be nice to not see our gear occasionally splattered with this stat.

Hello to Mastery

Where most stats are being trimmed and pruned away, mastery is a new stat to grace our gear in the expansion. This stat is directly tied to our talent choices and to quote the blue poster simply allows us to “become better at whatever makes their chosen talent tree cool or unique”. We’ve been promised a more thorough explanation of this in the up and coming weeks.

Elemental Shaman and Balance Druid Specifics

I’m going to directly quote the blue poster here. If you’re an Elemental Shaman or a Balance Druid:

  • You will still share gear with Restoration Druids and Restoration Shamans
  • Your gear will have spirit on it. It won’t have hit on it
  • You will have a talent that converts Spirit to Hit. We will adjust talents accordingly so that you will want about as much spirit as say, a Warlock wants hit
  • Hit on rings and other such gear will still benefit you.
  • Raid buffs will no longer buff spirit, so you shouldn’t find yourself unexpectedly over hit cap because of buffs

In what has meant to be a simplification of stats, I’m finding this move very bizarre.

Firstly, lets look at the healing class and spec combinations in the game. We have Holy and Discipline Priests, the Restoration Druids, the Restoration Shamans and the Holy Paladins. As spirit will no longer affect DPS casters, one would assume one primary differentiation on gear come Cataclysm will be the presence of spirit. If a piece of cloth has spirit, then it’s going to the healing Priests as priority over the Shadow Priest, Warlock or Mage. Yet here the Druids and Shaman’s will have that cross over of stats. Spirit won’t effect either of us directly, but it will benefit us indirectly via a conversion talent.

Rings, trinkets, necklaces, off hands and presumably caster weapons will still see spell hit being distributed to them. As we share these with our other caster friends, we’ll still be gaining spell hit from these avenues and not purely from our armour pieces. This for me, presents an interesting scenario. If we share armour with our healing counterparts we can not avoid having spirit on our gear. What happens if we gain a substantial amount of our required spell hit from these other miscellaneous items?

Will this see Elemental Shaman’s specing out of these spirit to hit conversion talents? If so we’re back to having utterly useless stats on our gear (as is the state if we take a cloth item or a piece with MP5 on it now).

Alternatively will we be limited in the selection of trinkets, rings and the like available to us as we wildly avoid taking any more spell hit like the plague? Again, being over hit cap is a waste, we derive nothing from it.

On the flip side of things, for those of us that dual spec between Elemental and Restoration, does this mean we won’t be carrying around complete sets of off spec gear? If spirit is converted to hit via an Elemental talent then presumably when specing Restoration, that spirit will be benefiting our mana regen for healing. Naturally this doesn’t account for tier bonuses and our Lava Burst’s hitting harder (as an example) wouldn’t help us much in a healing situation. It does, however, raise interesting questions for us dual spec Shamans.

While redesigning the many world areas being affected by the Cataclysm event, the devs have stated that they will be changing both the quests and the item rewards from these and taking into account the specs that weren’t so common when people levelled in Vanilla. This will hopefully give those players wishing to level as either Elemental or Balance a slightly smoother ride to 85.

Once again it feels like the itemisation for Elemental Shamans isn’t going to be quite right for the next expansion. Of course, it’s early days and I’m sure we’ll get a much better picture and feel for the idea as more information is released. Either way, I’m sure I’m not the only one starting to get that tingle of excitement about the new expansion (though for me, it won’t be related to gear itemisation!)

Categories: Cataclysm
  1. Hexlol
    March 2, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    Yeah, when i first read this blue post i thought: “well, now our BiS list will have items from every caster dps or healer in the game, be it mail, leather or cloth” …. wich also means we’re fighting again with more and more classes for gear.
    Our loot list will be the biggest one, that’s for sure. But i can’t see this as it takes time for ppl to comprehend why a dps will need spirit when everyone else doesn’t.

    • March 2, 2010 at 3:42 pm

      I was quite disappointed when I read the blue post last night (after re-reading it a few times to ensure I was grasping what they were saying). After all the concerns that have been raised over the last two expansions about the state of itemisation for elemental shamans and boomkins alike, this feels a peculiar move to me.

      I suppose on the other hands it’s early days to start complaining when the expansion hasn’t hit beta.. but still! 😛

  2. March 2, 2010 at 7:23 pm

    Great blog. 🙂 You’re now on my blogroll.

    • March 2, 2010 at 7:25 pm

      Aaw 🙂 Thank you 🙂

  3. March 3, 2010 at 12:39 am

    I actually quite liked the changes when I first read them, and I think I’m still generally positive towards them. I don’t really mind sharing gear with resto shamans if it means we get a lot of well-itemised drops, and if spirit hit is done properly – especially mindful of the planned increased chance to miss bosses later in progression – it could work really well. I just hope that not every resto piece has spirit on it, or that if they do, we really will benefit from that much hit rating.

    Of course the potential problems you’ve outlined are very possible and, judging by past itemisation history, perhaps even likely. But I sort of feel that (a) anything would be better than our current situation and (b) it’d be really nice to have an incentive to wear mail.

  4. Ditkal
    March 8, 2010 at 9:44 pm

    I know it’s been a week or so since you posted this but I’ve had a thought ratteling through my head. I wonder if the BOA leveling gear is going to continue to scale through to 85 or if they are going to somehow cap it at 80. And if it does continue to scale, will I be better off continuing to use my tier 9/10 gear or switch back to my 5 BOAs. I’ve attempted to see if there are any blue posts on the subject, to no avail, and was just wondering your thoughts on the subject?

  5. March 8, 2010 at 10:37 pm

    I’ve heard nothing about this but it’s certainly an interesting question. I can remember when they introduced the ring from the new(ish) fishing derby that I thought “oooh one of those might be nice for cata”.

    Should it scale… I’d be tempted to stack the BoA stuff where ever possible and at least for soloing. I’m all for making levelling as fast as possible but I don’t generally enjoy the experience and would prefer to get to 85 to start gearing for the first raids asap. Generally, I’d prefer to hit the instances as fast as possible and level with a guild group… and for that I’d be more likely to use my t10.

    I have my suspicions that they won’t make the items scale though, at least not at launch.

  1. March 9, 2010 at 2:27 pm

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