Part 5 of a guide for new, beginning, or returning players in World of Warcraft Shadowlands.
In the first four parts of this guide for new players, we set up an account, created a character, discussed the user interface, and learned how to move/quest/fight. This guide will continue to build from there are we learn more about gear in World of Warcraft.
In the last guide, we completed our first quest and earned a new belt as a reward. Equipping it on our character is as easy as finding it in our bags and then right-clicking on it.
We can confirm that the gear was equipped by pressing ‘C’ on the keyboard or clicking on the Character Info icon in the quick menu. Perfect, it looks like our character is wearing our shiny new Chaser’s Belt.
In this case, we did not have a belt on before so it makes sense to put our new belt on ASAP. Sometimes, however, you may already be wearing a piece of gear in that armor slot. What do you do then?
Well, you want to compare your new piece of gear to what you are already wearing. Fortunately, there is an easy way to do this. If you navigate to the new piece in your bag and hold Shift while hovering over it, it will show the equipped and new pieces side by side.
When comparing the pieces, you want to look at the gear details, particularly the “stats” it has. You can then select the one with higher stats. Which raises another question, what are these stats that you should compare?
Stats on Gear
Each piece of gear you collect in World of Warcraft (with the exception of shirts, low quality or cosmetic items) have stats on them. These stats directly contribute the amount of power your character has. You can see your character’s total stats on the right side of the character info window.
Now let’s talk a little more about what these stats do. Our new hunter has a few stats but will gain many different stats as she levels. In general, we can break these stats down into three categories: primary, secondary, and tertiary.
Primary Stats (Attributes)
There are two primary stats which every class and spec have in common:
- Stamina – impacts the amount of HP you have
- Armor – reduces the amount of physical damage your character takes
Additionally, there are 3 other primary stats which vary based on your current specialization and class.
- Intellect – increases mana regen and damage dealt by casters
- Strength – increases damage dealt by swordsman/bruiser specs
- Agility – increases damage dealt by other specs like hunter, outlaw rogue, etc…
- Mana regen – how quickly your mana is restored when not at 100%
Gear in World of Warcraft also can have secondary stats. These are not specific to a particular class or specialization. However, it is important to note that various specializations have one or two secondary stats which are better for them. The major secondary stats include the following:
- Critical strike – gives your abilities a chance to hit or heal for more than normal
- Haste – increases rate of spellcasting
- Versatility – reduces the amount of damage you take and increases damage done
- Mastery – Spec dependent stat that increases your power in some way
Tertiary stats are the final category of stat enhancements to your character. Unlike primary and secondary stats, these stats are more focused on utility like how fast your character moves. There are three main tertiary stats which include:
- Leech – returns a portion of the damage you deal or heal to yourself as health
- Speed – increases your characters rate of movement
- Avoidance – reduces damage you take
Tank spec specific tertiary stats:
- Block – chance to reduce incoming damage by amount equal to block
- Dodge – chance for attack to miss you entirely
- Parry – chance to reflect attacks and take no damage
Gear Stats and Attributes
In addition to the primary, secondary and tertiary stats, your gear also has its own stats.
- Item level (iLvl) – Level of the gear, important for end game content
- Armor type – Depending on your class you can wear mail, plate, cloth or leather (see image below)
- Ownership – Soulbound means it can only be equipped on your character, binds-when-equipped means it can be traded to other players.
- Durability – amount of beating your weapon or gear can take before needing repairs. Finding a place to repair is as easy as clicking the magnifying glass by your minimap and toggling Townsfolk -> Repairs on.
- Weapon damage – damage done by your auto attacks
- Weapon speed – time between auto attacks
- Indestructible – makes it so that piece of gear has no durability and does not need repaired.
Armor and Weapon Type
The armor type shown for classes is the best choice of armor type. Technically… you can wear a lower, softer armor type but why would you want to be a warrior wearing a cloth robe?
In addition to your class determining armor type, it also impacts what type of weapons you can use. Since there are many weapons, and it would be overwhelming to list all possible combinations, we will look at where you can find the list of usable weapons for your class. First, open the Spellbook & Abilities menu by clicking on it or pressing the ‘P’ key. Next, navigate to the book icon tab on the right side of the window. Finally, find the ‘Weapon Skills’ icon and hover over it. It should look like the following:
Gear and Item quality (rarity)
In addition to stats, gear in World of Warcraft also has a color coded indicator which represents its quality. Additionally, the color code applies to items in the game as well.
Higher quality items or gear are generally more difficult to obtain but come with extra stats or special abilities that make them worth seeking out. These colors are displayed when hovering over an item or piece of gear in your bag. A list of the quality names, associated colors, and a cheat sheet are found below:
- Poor (Gray) – Generally worthless gear or item, good for selling to a NPC vendor which buys items.
- White (Common) – Has some value, early level gear, reagents required for various recipes.
- Green (Uncommon) – More difficult to obtain than white items but still pretty easy to find.
- Blue (Rare) – Slightly stronger version of green items, pets are typically blue items.
- Purple (Epic) – Will comprise most of your gear at higher levels, hard to find early on.
- Orange (Legendary) – Extremely powerful items, usually a limit on how many can be equipped at one time.
- Light gold (Artifact) – Only applies to a few items: weapons in the Legion expansion and Heart of Azeroth necklace in Battle for Azeroth.
- Light blue (Heirlooms) – After reaching the maximum level you can buy this type of gear which can be used by your lower level characters (called alts) and grants bonuses like additional XP.
Great, we now know how to equip and evaluate gear on a basic level. Since you will change gear so frequently while leveling, we will save a discussion on gear optimization for a future guide. In the next part, we will talk more about items.
If you have already feel comfortable with items, feel free to jump ahead to whatever guide looks the most helpful below: