When you find an item you will see its name, a description of what it is, any bonuses that it provides, its durability, a sale price and its level requirement and its item level. It’s important to recognize what the critical information about an item is. This really amounts to its colour (for quick reference) and the stats that it provides.
Colour of item
Items like this whose names are in purple are among the best in the game.When you get gear one of the first things you will notice is the colour of the text for the name of the item. This actually tells you quite a bit about the gear right off the bat.
Gray – Gray items are essentially junk items to sell to the nearest vendor for a bit of cash.
White – White items are the next step up in item quality and are essentially normal type items.
Green – Next up are the green items, these are the lowest quality of item with bonuses. They are essentially low level magic items.
Blue – This is your next step up and for many levels the best items you will find. These are rare item drops or items that drop from bosses in instances. They generally have good stat bonuses for the item level.
Purple – Last up are purple or epic items. These are ultra rare (at least until the highest levels in the game) and provide the best stats for the items level.
There are others such as artefacts and heirlooms but these are not nearly as common and don’t really need to be discussed for new players. By the time you run into them you will know all you need to know about them.
Type of Item
This is pretty self explanatory, this is the type of item that it is. This shows up as two separate descriptors, for example: Leather Helm or Two-Handed Axe. These descriptors are generally shown in white text, but will show up in red if you are not able to use the item.
While weapons can be tricky about who can use what when and with what training, armour is fairly easy and can be summed up as follows:
Cloth – Anyone
Leather – Death Knights, Druids, Hunters, Rogues, Shaman, Paladins, and Warriors
Mail – Death Knights, Hunters (level 40+), Shaman (level 40+), Paladins, and Warriors
Plate – Death Kights, Paladins, and Warriors (all classes at level 40+)
Basic Stats on Items
These are your basic character statsItems are capable of having both basic and advanced stats. Basic stats are the 5 main character stats that show up on your main character information page. Each one is important to a different type of character and provides different bonuses.
Strength – Best for Warriors, Death Knights, and Paladins. Strength grants attack power for these classes which raises your damage output.
Stamina – Best for Tanks of any class. Every point of stamina grants the player 10 health.
Agility – Best for Feral Druids, Hunters, and Rogues
Intellect – Great stat for all casters. Intellect grants you additional mana so that you can cast more spells before you run out.
Spirit – Spirit grants more mana regeneration so that you gain it back faster and run out less often.
Advanced Stats on Items
These are the additional stats that can be granted on items and are much more complicated to figure out how much you need and at what level. As a new player it is generally just important to understand what they do. By the time you get to the middle or late levels of the game you can do more research on them then to find out the exact bonuses they provide.
This is because many of them grant the bonuses on a sliding scale, meaning that as you gain additional levels you need more points in the bonus to grant the same end resulting bonus. A good example of this is +hit, at level 60 you need 10 stat points in +hit to grant a 1% bonus to hit, but at level 80 you need 15.8 points to get the same +1% bonus. Again, it is not critical while levelling to know the exact values, just to understand that they change.
Attack Power – Attack power equates to extra DPS output for melee classes. 2 attack power equals out to one bonus damage per second.
Crit – This raises your chance to critically hit when you attack or cast a spell. A critical hit does extra damage compared to a normal hit,
Hit – This raises your chance to hit a target with either melee attacks or casting a spell. There is a base chance to miss targets, so this helps lower that chance and therefore raise your total damage output.
Expertise – Expertise lowers the chance that your target will block or parry you. Because spells can not be blocked or parried it is useless for casters.
Haste – Haste works for any class and lowers your attack or casting speed. This allows you to attack, cast, or heal faster and therefore do more over a given period of time.
Spellpower can add up quickly and increases your casting abilitiesSpellpower – This adds to the effectiveness of your spell casts. In theory if you added 100 spell power your spells would do 100 more damage or 100 more healing. In actual fact there is a coefficient used against each spell to determine the actual bonus, where longer spells get more of the bonus, while fast or instant spells count less of the bonus.
Defence – Defence is a tanking bonus, it reduces the chance that you will be hit both regularly or critically.
Block Rating and Block Value – These are again stats for a tank. Block rating raises the likely hood that you will block an incoming attack with your shield. Block Value raises the amount of damage that you will prevent when you block.