Getting awesome loot is one of the most fun things in WoW, but many people put emphasis on the wrong things when it comes to gearing up and getting upgrades. Here, I’ll outline a few traps and pitfalls players frequently fall into.
Item Level is a big deal. Only trinket slots and in very rare cases, set bonuses, aren’t completely ruled by Item Level.
Secondary stats don’t matter much.
Every spec has its own secondary stat priority, with something being favored and something being viewed as weak. Secondary stats are the only area where you have any real freedom to make choices, and because of that, they get a lot of attention from players. The reality, though, is that the range in value of secondary stats isn’t very big for most specs (Warriors and Fire Mages excluded), and overall volume of stats nearly always means more than which stats are present on a piece of gear.
Because of this, the value of an armor piece is almost entirely determined by its item level. A 566 Hit/Crit piece will be an upgrade over a 553 Haste/Mastery piece 95% of the time as a damage dealer, regardless of which spec you’re playing, because the gain in your primary stat and the volume of secondary stats will outweigh a more favorable selection of stats.
Stamina matters more than you think.
Raiding during progression puts a significant emphasis on survival. While difficult to quantify, this means that stamina found on gear is important and should never be ignored.
Stamina is directly tied to a piece of gear’s item level. Because of this, you should always err on the side of using a higher item level piece even if you’re not sure it’s an upgrade over what you’re using.
Spell Power and Weapon Damage are a really big deal.
The important parts of a weapon are the damage per second for melee and hunters, and Spell Power for casters and healers. These stats are tied directly to a weapon’s item level with no variance. 20% or more of a character’s throughput potential comes from the spell power or damage of a weapon. Because of this, a weapon’s other stats mean relatively little.
- Agility-based melee will often find Strength weapons of a higher item level to be better than what they are using. A 535 Strength weapon will often outperform a 522 Agility weapon.
- Mages and Warlocks will nearly always find Spirit weapons of a higher item level to be better than what they are using. A 496 Spirit weapon will outperform a 483 without Spirit.
I don’t suggest taking these weapons from the classes and roles they are intended for, but they are very often a lot better than what you have, so don’t let them go to waste without looking into it.