What Stats Do

September 11, 2009 at 10:41 am (5 mans, Gearing, Grouping, Mana, Raiding, Stats)

Another back to basics post because everybody can always ue the recap. I’ll get into some proper deep healing super advanced theory next week if I have some inspiration.

If you’re new to WoW, new to playing a caster, or just new to playing a Priest it helps a lot to know about what the different stats do.


Unfortunately for my blog work-flow the whole system is already destined to be utterly overhauled when World of Warcraft: Cataclysm comes out. So much of this will one day be very outdated. However, until that time, lets nail down exactly what each of the different stats do, why you want them, and how much you need.

Common wisdom is to put all healer stats into one of two groups: Mana stats, or Throughput stats.

Mana Stats

Mana stats are stats which improve how long you are able to cast for. If you run out of mana you can’t heal. If you can’t heal you might as well not be there because, apart from your witty banter and knowledge of internet memes, that’s your sole reason for being in the group. No matter how much your spells heal for, it won’t help if you don’t have enough mana to cast them when you need to.


Spirit returns mana to your character over time in a constant stream. The more Spirit you have the more mana is returned to you.

However, there is a restriction on this. Whenever you spend mana a countdown begins. For five seconds after that point Spirit returns no mana to you. This means that when you are casting spells regularly you may go for long periods of time without Spirit helping you at all. It is only when you stop casting spells for five seconds that you benefit from Spirit again. This is known as the five second rule.

Now, this is why Meditation is a necessary talent. Meditation allows you to still gain a reasonable amount of mana even when you are casting regular spells. Without Meditation Spirit is almost worthless, with Meditation you benefit from that steady mana return from Spirit.

There is also an interaction with Intellect. The more Intellect you have, the more mana Spirit returns to you. A rough rule of thumb is that 1% more Spirit will return 1% more mana. Whilst 1% more Intellect will cause your Spirit to return 0.5% more mana.


Each point of Intellect increases your maximum mana by 15 which gives you more mana to spend.

It’s a little more complicated than that because recently mana talents and abilities have been introduced which give you back mana depending on how big your maximum mana pool is. For example, Hymn of Hope, Shadow Fiend, Replenishment and Rapture all depend on the size of your mana pool. So for these abilities, 1% more Intellect means 1% more mana from them. So Intellect can in some cases help return a lot of mana as well as improve your mana pool.

Intellect also gives you a very small amount of free Crit rating. So it improves your healing a tiny bit as well.

Mana per five seconds

Mana per five seconds (usually just called Mp5) returns a flat amount of mana. It doesn’t stop when you cast spells, it doesn’t scale with your Intellect like Spirit does. It doesn’t change as you gain levels, it’s just a flat rate.

Comparing all the Mana Stats:

Intellect and Spirit work together very well. Think of a Healer as a train travelling along an unfinished track towards disaster. Intellect is how far that train starts from the end of the track. Spirit is how quickly builders are adding more track to the end. You could have a very long track, or you could have very fast builders, but probably you want a mix of the two.Train

When grouping or Raiding Intellect is really your best mana stat because it helps give you so much mana from Replenishment and Shadow Fiend. Discipline Priests also get a nice 15% bonus to Intellect from their Mental Strength talent.

Spirit is better and better as your Intellect improves but you have to have Meditation. Discipline Priests get a 6% benefit to Spirit from Enlightenment. Holy Priests get a 5% boost from Spirit of Redemption, a nice benefit from Spiritual Guidance, and they get extra Spirit regeneration from Holy Concentration. For a Holy Priest, Intellect is still better for mana than Spirit, but because of Spiritual Guidance, Spirit is the thing you ought to stack instead.

Shadow Priests also get more mana back from Intellect than from Spirit. However they also get 10% (20% when they Crit) of their Spirit as Spell Power so Spirit is not an awful stat for them.

Spirit is also very good stat when you’re levelling. In particular because whenever you’re running, chatting, collecting quests or gathering items you’re constantly regenerating mana from Spirit. You also can get Spirit Tap which is good when levelling (but don’t bother with the improved version).

If you’re not running out of mana in fights, stop collecting mana stats. If you end a fight with 90% mana, then you have more Intellect or Spirit than you need. This is a good sign to remove some of your mana gems and enchants and replace them with more Spell Power or Haste gems.

Throughput Stats

Througput stats are ones which improve how quickly you are able to heal. This may mean bigger heals, or faster spells. If you can’t do enough healing quickly enough people will die. If you can’t keep players alive your group will wipe and that boss won’t care you have a full mana pool when he stomps you into the ground.

Spell Power

Spell Power improves the size of your heals. Your Flash Heals will repair more lost health, your Renew ticks will be bigger, your Power Word: Shield will absorb more damage.

It’s not as simple as 1 more Spell Power increases your heals by 1. Different spells benefit different amounts. Spells which take longer to cast might improve by 1 or even 2 or 3 points per 1 Spell Power. Spells which are instant cast on the other hand might only improved by 0.5 points per 1 Spell Power. Also, certain talents may improve things, Borrowed Time and Empowered Renew for example increase how much your Spell Power improves PW:S and Renew.


Haste increases your casting speed. The more Haste you have the faster you are able to cast spells.

Strictly speaking Haste is increasing your casting speed, it’s not reducing the cast time of your spells. Those things sound the same but there is a subtle difference which won’t really effect anything except for if you want to work out exactly how fast your spells will be with a certain amount of Haste. If it takes me 2 seconds to cast a spell, then casting 10% faster would mean it would take 1.81 second. (2 divided by 1.1) whilst 10% less cast time would result in it taking 1.8 seconds (2 multiplied by 0.9). Haste does the former, not the latter. Mostly trivial, but there you go.

The other thing Haste does is reduce your global cooldown. The global cooldown is that little tick which happens every time you cast a spell and stops you casting another spell again straight away. For spell casters, Haste will decrease that time from 1.5 seconds down to a minimum of 1 second. This means that Haste will even improve instant spells with no cast time by letting you cast them more quickly one after the other.

Ultimately what it means is very simple. The more Haste you have, the faster you are able to cast spells. The more spells you can cast, the more healing and damage you can do.

Crit Rating

Some spells have a chance to Crit. If they do Crit they do 50% more damage or healing. Sometimes, with talents like Shadow Power, they can Crit for 100% more. Increasing your Crit rate increases the chance to Crit.

Now that’s only going to improve certain spells. Renew for example can’t usually Crit, nor can Power Word: Shield or Pain Suppression. However, Crit can have other benefits. Holy Concentration and Divine Aegis are both things which cause your Crits to have nice secondary effects.

Comparing Throughput Stats:

Spell Power is very straight forward and improves almost all your spells. It’s usually the easiest way to improve your healing. Equally, the more Spell Power you have the bigger your Crits will be, and unless you have good heals, it doesn’t really matter how fast you cast them.

Spell Power, as well as Crit, also gives you free healing. With two thousand Spell Power your spells heal for much more than if you had zero, but the spell cost remains the same. Similarly a Critical heal costs the same as a regular heal, but it heals for more.

With Haste on the other hand you cast spells faster but don’t do any more healing per spell so its more mana intensive than Spell Power or Crit. The upside of Haste is that it really does effect every single spell you have. Pain Suppression isn’t effected by Crit or Spell Power but it does benefit from Haste because the global cooldown gets lower.

Haste also scales very well. If you have lots of Spell Power and lots of Crit then having Haste means you can cast big spells with high Crit rates even faster.

There is an upper limit on Haste. Your global cooldown can’t get less than 1 second which means that once you have that much Haste (and you’d need a lot) it’s not worth getting any more.

Until then it’s a very good stat to get to improve your healing.

The down side with Haste is that a lot of good spells have cooldowns. So being able to cast them faster doesn’t help that much. Being able to cast Mind Blast a little faster is great, but you can still only cast it once every 5-8 seconds because of the cooldown. 1% faster Mind Blast casting will not give you 1% more Mind Blast damage. Whereas 1% more Crit would, or at least near enough. The same is true of things like Renew, or for Shadow Priests things like Vampiric Touch or Shadow Word: Pain.

Knowing is half the battle!

Once you know not to climb into fridges, and what all the stats do, you can use that knowledge. Think about the spells you use the most, would they benefit the most from Haste or Crit, is your mana pool big enough? Do you need more Intellect, or would you be better off with bigger heals? Are you using Shadow Fiend in boss fights? If you aren’t you could perhaps afford to lose some mana regen and collect more Spell Power or Crit.

When you’re levelling you might find that more Spell Power would actually help more than adding Spirit. Spirit will give you more mana, but with more Spell Power you might be able to kill a mob with fewer spells which would save you much more mana

I’ll freely admit, I’m not constantly thinking about these things. Every now and again however it’s worth stepping back and re-evaluating a little bit what stats you have, what you need, and where you can get those from. For example, I’m considering switching my Tailor cloak enchant from the mana embroidery to the Spell Power embroidery because I think I can afford to take the Spell Power instead.

If you’re levelling, check you’re grabbing the right stats. If you’re raiding, maybe take a moment and look at what you could tweak.


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