Classic Mage DPS Stat Priority
The Basics of Stats for Mages
Before we begin, it should be said that gear in WoW Classic tends to be very unique, and as such, you will often be chasing very specific items, rather than simply following a stat priority list. Still, a more detailed explanation on each of a Mage's relevant stats will help you understand why those pieces are so sought after.
The stat priority for Mages is as follows:
Damage-based Stat Priority
- Spell Hit Rating (you will typically need 10% to cap hit against bosses, see below for details);
- Spell Critical Strike (150% damage chance on spell hit);
- Spell Damage (some spells scale better with it than others, but for the most part you will be casting spells that benefit greatly from it);
- Intellect (grants spell critical strike and increases your maximum Mana).
Priority of Other Stats
- Stamina (more health per point);
- Resistance (strongly reduces Magic damage taken of a specific element);
- Mana every 5 seconds (for Mana regeneration while you are casting);
- Spirit (health regeneration outside combat);
- Agility (dodge);
- Armor (less physical damage taken).
Getting a Better Understanding of the Stats for DPS Mages
Spell Hit allows your spells to land more often, which is a huge DPS increase, but keep in mind that you will always have at least a 1% chance to miss with spells. Depending on the level of your enemy, you might need more, or less Spell Hit to reach this 1% cap:
- For an enemy of the same level as you, 3% Spell Hit is needed to cap.
- For an enemy 1 level higher than you, 4% Spell Hit is needed to cap.
- For an enemy 2 levels higher than you, 5% Spell Hit is needed to cap.
- For an enemy 3 levels higher than you, which is the case of raid bosses, 16% Spell Hit is needed to cap.
Due to Elemental Precision being prevalent in Mage PvE builds, you will usually only need 10% Spell Hit to cap against bosses.
Spell Critical Strike
Spell Critical Strike allows your spells to occasionally deal extra damage. Due to Mage's critical strike damage multipliers, Ice Shards and Ignite, dealing critical strikes is huge for Mage DPS.
Spell Damage is applied to each spell based on its casting time.
The coefficient is calculated by dividing the cast time of a spell by 3.5. This is because a 3.5 second cast benefits from 100% of your gear's Spell Damage. For example, if you have 20 additional Spell Damage from gear, then this will simply affect your spells as follows:
- Damage Increase per spell cast = n * 20
- n = spell's coefficient
Instant single target spells typically only get around 43% of the benefit, with area of effect spells having an even greater penalty, while a cast time spell like Frostbolt gets roughly 81%. Meanwhile, a longer cast spell such as Fireball gets 100% of the Spell Damage in your gear as added damage.
This means that 100 Spell Damage on your gear would cause Fireball to deal 100 extra damage per cast, but Frostbolt would only deal 81 extra damage, using the same gear. A table with the exact coefficients for all spells in WoW Classic can be found in this reddit thread, by u/RobertVests.
Intellect is a good stat for Mages, as it increases total Mana pool and spell critical strike. The Mana pool gain is very significant during leveling and while AoE grinding, but not so significant during raids, where Mana regeneration and Mana consumables will typically play a bigger part in your sustainability.
For Mages, Spirit provides Mana regeneration, mostly when outside of combat, which is very useful while leveling but not so much for maximum level content.
Stamina is the only stat that will help you survive all types of attacks, and as such, should always be valued. Do keep in mind that due to Mage's low armor, your HP will tend to be depleted very fast by physical attacks.
Resistance, while inherently niche due to different bosses dealing different magical damage types, can be very useful while progressing specific bosses. Wearing resistance gear of a type makes you take less damage or even completely avoid damage when hit by that type of magical damage.
- 11 Jan. 2020: Reworked Spell Power's coefficient explanation.
- 29 Jul. 2019: Corrected some text typos.
- 30 Jun. 2019: Page added.
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