Let’s Talk About Spirit

I’ve been getting a lot of questions about spirit lately. Which took me by surprise at first (while I love getting pally questions, I don’t get them often!), but it makes sense: we’ve gone a long, long time without having to worry about Mana Regen. Suddenly we’re bombarded with the notion that our infinite mana pools are a thing of the past and that spirit, spirit the stat we snubbed throughout our whole healing careers, is finally useful to us.

It’s ok, learning something new can be a good thing. Hey, I learned something new! I learned that intellect directly affects our MP5 or mana regen. Apparently it’s done that all along but because mana regen has always been something that took care of itself, I never paid attention. And no one ever thought to pull me aside one day and tell me “hey, you don’t care about this now, but one day you’ll be happy to know that intellect increases mana regen“. Anyway, as I was double checking my facts for this post by playing dress up with my paladin, I realized that “AAAMG MY SPIRITLESS BRACERS ARE UPPING MY MP5″.

No, I’m not embarrassed. I’m not embarrassed because, according to the replies I got when I asked on Twitter, many of you didn’t know either.

So what about ‘em Spirit.

Do I need to start stacking Spirit?

I can sense the panic radiating from that question. Cataclysm drops in 2 weeks. Most of us aren’t raiding anymore, those of who are raiding, aren’t raiding too seriously. So close your eyes and take a deep breath. You don’t have to spend tons of gold regemming gear you’re going to vendor in two weeks after you respec to retribution to zerg your way to 85.

Besides, even if you’re still raiding, if you’re managing your spells right, you shouldn’t be having trouble with mana. Remember, Holy Light and Holy Shock are cheap spells, Divine Light and Flash of Light are expensive spells.

From my experimenting last night in ICC, I could get away with a lot of Divine Light and Flash of Light casting on every fight but Lich King (where I did run out of mana very fast, but in my defense, I think we lost Replenishment when our ret pallies left). I have 334 Spirit.

If you are struggling with mana due to gear level or a stubborn need to spam Divine Light, then feel free to add some Spirit gems or do some reforging, but don’t panic. Don’t panic.

What about Spirit and Cataclysm? What about that?

I’m unfortunately not the right person to ask about Cataclysm gossip. I like to discover things on my own and because I wasn’t in the beta, I shy away from the spoilers.

That said, rumor has it that our mana won’t be flowing as freely as it did during Wrath, but with intelligent spell choosing, it shouldn’t be a disaster. The Thinkers over at Elitist Jerks seem to be suggesting that our custom of gemming for intellect will survive the expansion, or at least, the beginning of it.

How does Intellect help me get mana back?

Intellect helps with mana in a few ways:
- It increases your mana pool
- It helps you get more mana back from Divine Plea
- It helps you get more mana back from Replenishment (Replenishment is a raid buff that certain classes/specs can trigger passively- Ret pallies, Resto Druids, Frost Mages and Destro Locks are the ones I’m aware of.)
- If you’re a Blood Elf, it boosts the mana you get back from Arcane Torrent

It also works with Spirit to increase the mana that regens happily on its own while you’re not worrying about it.

How does Spirit work?

You’ve stacked all the Intellect in the world, you’re cautious about your spell casting and you’re still running low on mana. Maybe you need more Spirit.

Spirit and Intellect work together to boost your mana regen. When you open your character panel, you’ve got three types of mana regen.


Let’s be creative and start from the bottom:

a) Combat Mana is the speed you’re regaining mana whenever you’re in combat, including when you’re casting.
b) Mana Regen is the speed you get your mana back while you’re out of combat
c)The MP5 when you mouse over the your Spirit tab is how much faster you’ll regain mana 5 seconds after you’ve stopped casting. It adds on to your Combat Mana while you’re in combat and it adds your Mana Regen while you’re not in combat.

The formula by which Spirit and Intellect affect these numbers is complicated and I’m not sure if the exact formula has been figured out for Cataclysm so lets just settle with both numbers increase mana regen and Spirit increases it more than Intellect.

For the visuals, I made a graph! (Don’t be scared, I’ll explained it below.)

Ignore the equations. This graph shows the story of me playing dress up with my pally.

The bottom (blue) line shows my mana regen (the MP5 from the Spirit tab) with different amounts of Intellect while my Spirit was at the human pally base of 108 (EDIT: the graph says 106, it’s just a transcription error and doesn’t affect the results at all). The next (pink) line up is the same thing, but with 215 Spirit. Next (green) line is with 384 Spirit and the top (purple) line is with 431 Spirit.

If graphs aren’t your thing and you’re still lost, the bottom line is this:

The more Spirit you have, the more bang for your buck you get from Intellect. If you need more regen, you don’t have to swap all your Intellect for Spirit. Just adding 100 or so Spirit (probably a bit more at level 85) can make a huge difference in how much Intellect is contributing to your Regen. And the more Intellect you have, the less Spirit you have to add to see that difference.

And that’s my lecture about Spirit. May your Cataclysm experience be rich in lavish mana pools.

Note: Big thanks to Lodur and Naithin for their help in sorting out the Intellect and MP5 mystery.

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11 Comments on “Let’s Talk About Spirit”

  1. pockie Says:

    I have to put a disclaimer that I have not played WoW in more than a year and have not seen the new Cata talents for pallies…

    But as far as I know pallies do not have any talent that gives “x% mana regen while casting”. This means that the mana regen from spirit will only ever apply after the 5 second rule. Which, for pallies, is never. If there’s ever a situation where you don’t cast anything for 5 seconds, it probably means your group has too much healing.

    So unless things have really really changed, spirit is still relatively worthless for pallies when compared to intellect or any other mana regen stat.

    • Ophelie Says:

      Things have really changed.

      While I’m not 100% sure of the mechanics of “in combat regen” and casting (although I’m getting an idea of how to test it), the mana regen directly from spirit (in the spirit tab) is, yes, tied to the 5 second rule.

      Combat Regen
      (which is new from 4.0.1), however, doesn’t specify whether or not you’re casting. So I assume it doesn’t matter- it’s the mana you’re getting back while you’re in combat, period. According to the data I got when I made the graph, Combat Regen is always 219+half of the value of spirit based mana at level 80, due to our Meditation specialization. (I suppose that for a ret or prot paladin, Combat Regen will always be 219 at level 80)

      I still think Intellect is better, at least for now, but some guides were even telling paladins to completely regem spirit when 4.0.1 dropped.

      EDIT: Actually the Armory displays mana regen in terms of casting and not casting and yes, Combat Regen is mana regenned while casting.

      • pockie Says:

        Oops :P That’s interesting that spirit is so much better now for pallies (granted it was completely useless before…)

        I’m tempted to resubscribe for Cata so this is useful stuff!

    • Amy Says:

      Meditation/Intensity is baseline for all healers now. The 5 second rule priests and druids had is gone now, and there’s just in-combat and out of combat regen (still expressed in mana-per-5).


  2. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Windsoar, Ophelie. Ophelie said: New Blog Post on Spirit http://bit.ly/dXyElu [...]

  3. Oestrus Says:

    This is a really excellent post, Ophelie. I can tell you put a lot of thought and effort into researching this and you make the numbers and graphs seem less intimidating. Kudos!

    I can’t seem to get WoWHead or any talent calculators to work at the office, but I was curious about a couple of things.

    1) Do paladins have any talents that return mana based on the amount of spirit that you have? I know healers, in general come with the Meditation talent. I know holy priests have Holy Concentration. I was wondering if there were any more incentives other than Meditation, as far as talents that holy paladins had as inspiration to start using more spirit.

    2) What about enchants? There seem to be a good amount of spirit enchants that will be available in Cataclysm. Chest, bracers, etc. Do you feel that paladins would be using those enchants or do you feel they should be gemming for it (like a spellpower/spirit gem) or using the spirit already on their gear and not making room for more, etc.

    Same with weapon enchants. Do you feel that Power Torrent (the chance to increase intellect, based on heal/cast) would be the de facto choice for paladins or do you see them using Heartsong (the chance to increase spirit based on cast) like other healers probably will?

    I will certainly RT this when I get home. I can’t seem to do RT from the cell phone version of Twitter. Curses!

    • Ophelie Says:

      Thanks! I hope the post was as clear as I intended it to be. I wanted it to be accessible to anyone, but it’s always hard to tell how easy a post is to understand when you write it yourself.

      1) I don’t know of any other than our Meditation specialization (50%). I suppose talents might be added/changed over the course of the expansion if needed.

      2) Kurn would be a better person to ask since she’s actually seen what happens at 85. Right now I’m going to enchant/gear/gem with the mentality that I want a lot of Intellect. If I have mana issues, I’ll gradually add more Spirit. Where I’ll add that spirit- whether it be gemming, gearing, enchanting or reforging will depend on my needs or on what numbers are pegged as ideal by the Math Gurus.

      Intellect is a major throughput stat (since it increases spell power and crit) as well as a mana stat, so I don’t want to sacrifice more of it than I have to.

      I haven’t looked into weapon enchants yet (I like to experience things on my own), but between the two you described, I’d side with Power Torrent, unless there’s a major difference between the amount of spirit boosted by Heartsong and the amount of int boosted by Power Torrent.

  4. Skip Cocoa Says:

    *squints at graph*

    My god, you’ve become a theory crafter.

    I… I don’t think I know you anymore…

    • Ophelie Says:

      You can click on it to make it bigger :)

      I don’t think I’ll ever get the hang of theorycrafting, each time I fool around with numbers, I discover tons of stuff I didn’t know. Nothing is ever as easy at it seems! But on the bright side, if I don’t know something, chances are many other don’t know about it, so it makes for great blogging material.


  5. [...] many people don’t know is that the mana regeneration you receive from spirit actually scales with the amount of total mana you have. Because having more mana means you get more regeneration [...]


  6. [...] Control o control de masas) tenemos disponibles según la party en donde nos encontremos o una excelente guia de como afecta el Espíritu a los Paladines sagrados lleno de gráficos y ejemplos, un blog muy [...]


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