Another Look at Stat Priorities in Warlords

As we drive closer to actual release, we want to know more about what stats we’ll actually need to look for. The tank squish messed some things up, and we still don’t know how hard bosses are actually going to hit, but we can still make some educated guesses.

As a reminder, here are the secondary stats we have to pick from:

  • Haste (Unchanged)
    • Defense: Increases energy, and indirectly increased chi, generation. Ideal for more frequent Purifying Brews.
    • Offense: Increases auto-attack speed and usually more energy means more opportunities to use damage-dealing abilities (but not always).
  • Critical Strike (Unchanged)
    • Defense: Increases Elusive Brew procs, indirectly increasing avoidance via higher dodge uptime.
    • Offense: Increases your chance to critically strike, dealing double damage
  • Mastery: (Small change)
    • Defense: Increases stagger percentage, basically making damage intake “smoother”. Also has the potential for damage reduction through Purifying Brew.
    • Offense: Increases attack power by a percentage.
  • Multistrike (New)
    • Defensive: Increases chance to proc Gift of the Ox healing orbs. Also gives all our heals the chance to fire an additional time at reduced effectiveness.
    • Offensive: Increases the chance for damage abilities to fire an additional time, each at 30% effectiveness
  • Versatility (New)
    • Defensive: Pure damage reduction and increase to healing potency.
    • Offensive: Pure damage increase.
  • Bonus Armor (New, tank-only)
    • Defensive: Increases armor
    • Offensive: Increases attack power

Number one choice will very likely be bonus armor. The developers’ intent is for bonus armor to be somewhere between primary and the other secondary stats in value. However, bonus armor will also be limited in availability. We only get it on rings, necks, trinkets, and cloaks. We will probably want it in every slot we can get, except trinkets since those are picked for situational usefulness over pure stats.

After bonus armor, our choices will be more subjective. At the beginning of the expansion, all our statistics will be relatively low. Luckily, we gain some flexibility because we don’t have to dump most of it into expertise and hit anymore, but we still don’t have a lot of wiggle room.

Very early on, when you’re still upgrading from quest gear, you’ll want any gear with agility and bonus armor. It doesn’t look like any of our secondaries will be poor choices, so you’re safe with almost anything. Be an agility and armor loot sponge. Soak it all up without discretion.

Once you can afford to be more picky about upgrades, then it will take some thought. Mastery scales best when you already have a lot of it. It will still be our best smoothing stat, but it won’t enjoy quite the same potency as it does at the end of Mists. Critical hits will be infrequent, but they’re still equally valuable whether you have a lot or a little. We will want to work toward our haste comfort levels early, as they will be more difficult to meet than they are late in Mists. Multistrike’s value depends on how powerful those little ox orb heals feel and how often you remember to use them, especially in relation to Resolve. And finally, Versatility, while boring, is our most reliable stat and the only one capable of reducing magic damage.

The great thing about stats for brewmasters is that they all specialize in different things and rarely compete with each other in a single niche (other than dps, but let’s just stick to survival for now). Mastery for smoothing, crit for avoidance, haste for indirect physical damage reduction, multistrike for healing, and versatility for, well, a little bit of everything. As long each stat’s contribute to its niche is roughly in the same ballpark as the others, then our choices will depend largely on playstyle and situational needs.

Our stat priorities are going to be subjective. And that’s pretty great. It’s still valuable to provide starting points, but experimentation, both on a personal level and on a community level, will undoubtedly change these preliminary priorities. Simcraft will also provide some guidance, once the bugs are worked out.

Before Tier Bonuses

Based on my experience with low end gear in Mists, plus limited experience in Warlords and common sense, I expect our first stat priority to look something like this:

  1. Bonus Armor
  2. Haste (to comfort level)
  3. Versatility
  4. Crit
  5. Multistrike
  6. Mastery

If you’re used to running with a moderate amount of haste in Mists, you’re going to feel energy starved in the beginning of Warlords. It’s still not a great stat for pure damage reduction or dps, though gaining more makes your rotation less vulnerable to energy-pooling mistakes. If you like, you can keep your haste relatively low and focus more on versatility and crit. Versatility is boring, yeah, but it’s well rounded and dependable. Crit is valuable at low gear because with some smart usage you can still have Elusive Brew up when you need it.

Or if you favor a more reliable, but less overall damage reduced, set up:

  1. Bonus Armor
  2. Haste (to comfort level)
  3. Versatility
  4. Mastery
  5. Multistrike
  6. Crit

Multistrike can be rated higher as long as you remember to use it. With a recent change, Ox orbs will heal you once they expire as long as you’re in range, so it’s not totally useless if you forget to strafe for the orbs. But there are better stats out there if forget about them.

I’m hoping to see a lot of variation as the expansion matures, but I feel like these are good launching points to figure out what playstyle you may like in the first tier of content.

With Tier bonuses

Crit loses value with the T17 four-piece bonus, which grants you 4 stacks of Elusive Brew whenever you use Purifying Brew. Combined with Serenity, that means Elusive Brew uptime will be quite high and crit will be less valuable.

While the two-piece bonus, which grants energy on dodge, sort of devalues haste as well, that’s balanced by later needing more haste/energy to make best use of the four-piece.

Our stat priorities will be similar to the above, except with crit lower:

  1. Bonus Armor
  2. Haste (to comfort level, enough to regularly purify)
  3. Versatility
  4. Multistrike
  5. Mastery
  6. Crit