Continuing my series about how Windwalkers *would* look in the Beta if nothing else were to change. Today I will be looking mainly at the stat priority and how it is changing between each expansion. As with before; what follows is entirely based on today’s information and may not be correct even tomorrow, or whenever the next Beta build goes through.
Not much is changing about our stat priority, although some small changes are happening. Currently the stat priority in Legion looks like this:
Agility > Mastery > Critical Strike > Versatility >> Haste
And in Batte for Azeroth it looks like this:
Agility > Mastery > Critical Strike > Versatility > Haste
Now, obviously, not much has changed in the order. However, the small changes are in the degree to which each stat is better than the others. There are two things that have the biggest affect on how stats are balanced in Battle for Azeroth:
- Losing Strike of the Windlord – This is the biggest change to how our stats are balanced, as it has a cascading effect. Right now its roughly 10% of our single target damage, and is affected by everything except Haste. With it gone, that 10% then gets shifted around to other abilities. This means that damage sources like ToD, ToK, and Auto Attacks, which don’t benefit from all our stats, gain a larger % of the overall damage, increasing the effect of the stats that affect them.
- New Weapon Damage Formulas – Blizzard has sought to bring Weapon Damage, and thus the item level of your weapon, into the forefront. If you remember, Windwalkers were at the low end of the spectrum for caring about the item level of our weapons. This led to our best artifact traits from relics to be worth over 10 weapon item levels, whereas other specs had their best traits worth 3 item levels or so. What Blizzard has done now is worked Weapon Damage into the formulas for almost all our abilities. In Legion, the spell coefficients for each ability are multiplied by our Attack Power, which is 1:1 from Agility. In Battle for Azeroth, those spell coefficients are multiplied by our Attack Power PLUS Weapon Damage times 6.
These two things have an effect on all our stats. Probably easiest to list out each stat and how its been effected:
- Agility – With the loss of Strike of the Windlord, which was affected by Agility, and abilities like ToD and ToK, which don’t benefit from Agility, gaining a larger % of the overall damage, Agility is losing some of its ground. However, because our item levels are “reset” at the start of the expansion, Agility will remain the king stat, as it was throughout most of Legion.
- Mastery – This is affected the same way as Agility, with the addition of Auto Attacks becoming a MUCH larger portion of our overall damage. This leads Mastery to lose the most strength, relative to other stats. If we are using Xuen, which doesn’t benefit from Mastery, then Mastery’s strength is hurt even further, relative to other stats. It still will be the best secondary, but the point at which you’d favor other secondaries, which took just about 75% of Legion before we reached it, will be much lower. This means that we’d start favoring other stats over Mastery a little earlier into Battle for Azeroth than we did in Legion.
- Critical Strike – Crit has the “benefit” of only losing a little bit of ground to the other stats as the only abilities it doesn’t benefit from are ToD and ToK. This means that it will likely remain our second-best secondary, but fall behind Versatility a little bit faster than in Legion.
- Versatility – Vers remains largely the same, as it affects 100% of our damage, and will continue to do so in Battle for Azeroth. However, since the above stats are losing some strength, and as I’ve now said several times, the point at which we’d start gemming/enchanting for Versatility will be sooner into Battle for Azeroth than it was in Legion.
- Haste – Haste is the real winner in the changes from one expansion to the next. Strike of the Windlord was the largest portion of our damage that wasn’t affected by Haste; so with that gone, Haste affects a larger % of our damage than it does in Legion. It will still likely start out as the least useful secondary stat, but the gap between it and the others will be much smaller.
- Staminia – Because ToD and ToK are a larger portion of our damage, and both are based on our Health, which is based on our Stamina, Stamina is getting a huge boost, even more so with the Azerite traits
- Weapon Damage – Because the damage and DPS on our weapons now affects nearly all our abilities, the desirability of Weapon Damage is DRASTICALLY improved. Basically if you look at currently, WDPS is worth around 20% of our Agility; as it currently looks in Battle for Azeroth, WDPS is worth over 5x as much as Agility. From the brief discussions I’ve read, this is largely the case for most specs, so Windwalker won’t be hopelessly left behind in the scaling department, although ToD and ToK not being affected by WDPS will still put us behind specs that have 100% WDPS scaling.
Hopefully that explains a little bit of how stats are currently looking to shake out in the next expansion.
I’ll briefly touch on “scaling” since it has been an infrequent question, but one that is on many people’s minds; due to our stats like Agility, Mastery, and Crit losing ground, but Haste and Stamina gaining ground, its difficult to tell now how well Windwalker will scale with our item levels. A very rough, and likely incorrect, method of looking at it is that currently, excluding WDPS, Windwalker’s average benefit from stats is 73.49% in Legion, and 71.16% in Battle for Azeroth. The combined benefit of primary stats in Legion is roughly 95.54%, and 100% in Battle for Azeroth. I have no idea if those numbers mean anything at all, but from my guesswork it may mean that Windwalkers scale slightly worse with item levels in Battle for Azeroth than we do in Legion. However, because we seem to scale better with primary stats, which are a bigger portion of the stat budget for an item, this very easily could be untrue.
What is clear to me now is that if Windwalkers keep 10-12% of our damage unaffected by WDPS, we’ll fall behind other specs that have closer to 100% scaling with WDPS. This means that they’ll get more out of weapon upgrades than we will, which may be a problem as the expansion goes on. “Thankfully” if we’re restricted to personal loot, and everyone is always looking for the highest item level weapons, there won’t be as much need to worry about who can/should get a weapon that “drops”