Taking a hasty and critical look

A recent post at Hots&Dots caught my eye – it concerned stat weighting for Shadowpriests. In this post, Cassandri explains why we prefer Spellpower over Haste, Haste over Crit and Crit over Spirit. This post is very informative, but I feel that there is a slight nuance that needs to be made on the difference of Haste vs. Crit, and how these two stats relate.

Note that this is a post concerning how I value these stats, and my personal opinion. There’s a slight bit of math inside, but don’t expect an outcome of “Always do X”.

Spirit

The point is that Spirit (the stat itself) when combined with Improved Spirit Tap and the Glyph of Shadow provides spellpower and mana regen. This is the reason Spirit even has any use for us at all. But on its own it’s not powerful enough compared to crit and haste, so we don’t really look for it (except if we have no other choice). It is a “positive mana” stat – with Meditation, our Spirit gives us mana back over time even when we are casting spells.

Haste

Haste is a “negative mana” stat – it speeds up our casting, meaning we deal more damage, but draining us dry on mana. We have many ways of dealing with this, but as our Arcane mage friends know, if you stack Haste over everything else, eventually you will hit the point where you go Out of Mana without continuous Innervates and Power Infusions.

Crit

Crit is a “positive regen” stat – it comes tacked on with our casts, enhances our damage and – when combined with Improved Spirit Tap, Meditation and the Glyph of Shadow – enhances both our DPS and mana regains. While the increase in our damage is not immediately as great as Haste (hence the slightly lower stat weightings given to Crit) and increase in Crit also gives us more chances to proc Improved Spirit Tap, which means secondary DPS and additional Mana regeneration through Spirit.

Balancing the act

If you take the above three paragraphs together, it shows that we not only must stack Haste over Crit, and Crit over Spirit – we should probably hunt for items that combine Crit and Spirit in one as much as we can. Because as Cassandri says, the item budget is a static value and Blizzard weighs things differently than we do. In fact, having lesser values of two stats is cheaper than a single high stat.

Imagine a choice of 3 items for each item slots, and 4 slots to fill:

Item 1 has 65 Int, 65 Sta, 70 Crit
Item 2 has 65 Int, 65 Sta, 70 Haste
Item 3 has 65 Int, 65 Sta, 40 Crit, 40 Haste

If you would gear only for Haste, your choice is obvious. You would go for 4xItem 2 and end up with 280 Haste. If you wouldn’t mind mixing pieces and go for 2x item1 and 2x item 2 you would end up with 140 Crit and 140 Haste. Going for 4x item 3 however, would get you 160 Crit and 160 Haste.

Because I value Crit for its mana regeneration and DPS increase in combination with Spirit Tap, I prefer to get as many pieces with both Crit and Haste as I can, even if a higher-haste piece presents itself, unless that was of a higher Ilevel (and thus a much greater improvement overall).

Currently I have 35% Crit and 25% Haste, meaning my DPS is quite acceptable and my mana does not run out unless it is a very intense fight with many adds (Valithria) or an especially long fight (such as Faction Champions with good control but low DPS, which can go over 15 minutes before the kill).

I feel like I could go to an even balance (such as 30% Crit/30% Haste) and I’d still be fine, but if I were to run with 10% Crit and 50% Haste I’d suffer from mana deprivation – and it might actually be a loss in DPS as well. Try to avoid any gear with Spirit on it for your active DPS set, for 2 reasons:

1) Spirit in itself does little for us without decent Crit rating
2) We will evolve into Spirit-less casters when Cataclysm comes out, and it can’t hurt to prepare a bit
3) Spirit pieces you do happen to have (or will get in the future) will still be viable healing pieces.

And as Hit will become necessary again while leveling (expect to keep your ICC gear until 75 85 I bet) and with the increase in Hit requirements for T11-T12 raiding, I heartily recommend keeping Cassandri’s advice to heart:

“Every time you choose an item with Spirit, that item budget could have been spent on additional Critical Strike Rating, Haste or Hit. Keep an eye out for items that drop with zero Spirit, but with Hit or Critical Strike Rating. You still need Hit and some Critical Strike Rating in some of your gear slots so don’t discount these items just because they don’t have Haste.”

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2 Responses to “Taking a hasty and critical look”

  1. Thanks for your point of view. :)

    Just a little correction :
    “And as Hit will become necessary again while leveling (expect to keep your ICC gear until 85 I bet) […]”
    (85 not 75 ;) )

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