Which item is better? How to compare items

Sometimes when a item drops it can be difficult to tell if it’s an upgrade over your currently equipped item. Especially if the secondary stats are different. Maybe haste is your best stat, and is on your current gear, and the new item has crit, which isn’t as good as haste, but the item also has more main stats. How do you tell if it is really an upgrade?

Luckily, there is a way to mathematically calculate if this new item is a true upgrade over you current gear i.e. increase your throughput. It is done using stat weights and some simple multiplication and addition.

What are stat weights?
A stat weight is the relative power of that stat vs other stats. Your classes main stat (strength, agility and intellect) are the most powerful for your class. They form the baseline for comparison and usually are normalized to 1. Secondary stats are given a value of relative power compared to this as a decimal. The higher the decimal (the closer it is to one) the more powerful it is. Feral Druid stat weights are below.

  • Agility: 1
  • Mastery: 0.65
  • Critical Strike: 0.63
  • Versatility: 0.51
  • Haste: 0.51

You can see here that 1 agility is just as good as 2 versatility (0.51*2= 1.02).

Comparing Items
To compare two or more items, you multiply each stat by its stat weight, then add up all the totals to get a final number score for the item. Which ever item has the highest number score is the better item. Let’s look at the example below.

Item 1 – Steelgazer Hide Leggings

Steelgazer Hide Leggings (Image modified from WoW Head)

Steelgazer Hide Leggings (Image modified from WoW Head)

(1238*1) + (805*0.51) + (476*0.51) = 1891.31

Item 2 – Mana-Sabre Hide Pants

Mana-Sabre Hide Leggings (Image modified from WoW Head)

Mana-Sabre Hide Leggings (Image modified from WoW Head)

(1238*1) + (503*0.63) + (777*0.65) = 2059.94

In this example, the Mana-Sabre Hide pants have the highest number score and are the better item. This method can also be applied to items with sockets. Simply add the stat of the gem you would socket to the stats already on the item, or add it to the equation using the stat weights if the stat isn’t already on the item. For example, if the Steelgazer Hide Leggings had a socket, I would use a +150 mastery gem. I add 150 to the equation, multiply it by the correct stat weight for mastery (0.65) and calculate the value.

(1238*1) + (805*0.51) + (476*0.51) + (150*0.65) = 1901.06

We can see that the number score improves, but it is still not has high as the Mana-Sabre Hide pants.

Final Thoughts
Best in slot lists previously reduced the need for this sort of comparison. However as warforged items reduce the ilevel between items, it could become more useful. I currently have some boots that are not itemised correctly. I’ve had a few drops that are lower ilevel, but have better secondary stats. Using this method, I’ve found that these drops haven’t been good enough to replace the current poorly itemised boots.

Note – This method also works for any class or spec. All you need at the stat weights for your role. These can be found in class guides listed on sites like Icy Veins.

Have you ever had trouble telling if an item is an upgrade before? Do you use the item comparison tool on WoW Head, and have you found it useful? Do you have another method or comparing items? Let me know what you think. Feel free to leave a comment on the post, send me an email at fileunderferal@gmail.com, follow me on twitter @Elamari_ or like and comment on the File Under Feral Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/FileUnderFeral.



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