Let me see your spirit fingers!
Today we’re examining the value of spirit as a stat. Since cataclysm is dramatically changing this stat and what it does for us, this is something of a nostalgic post, with a Wrath of the Lich King reflective. That said, we don’t know where we’re going unless we know where we came from, so here goes.
Spirit is two things for us. Its a mana regeneration stat, and its an output stat. In simple terms, mana regeneration lets us continue to dps through a fight, and output increases the amount of that dps.
Spirit as an Output Stat:
Our spirit contributes to our spellpower (and thereby direct damage potential) in two ways. First, the talent Twisted Faith increases our spellpower by 20% of our spirit. This bonus is passive, meaning at the least each point of spirit is worth .2 SP.
Second, the Glyph of Shadow grants us a buff every time we crit with a non-periodic ability (as Mind Flay is non-periodic for these purposes, this buff stays active throughout most fights). This buff adds additional spellpower equal to 30% of our spirit. Assuming a normal PvE fight, this give spirit a dps value of roughtly .5 SP (still with me?).
Spirit Tap complicates matters slightly. We’re smart to assume, like the buff from the glyph, we’ll see an extremely high uptime on Improved Spirit Tap. Since the change where this will proc off Mind Flay, it has secured itself as a major regen talent and a marginal dps increase. With spirit buffed another 10%, we can value the stat at .55 SP now. It is worth mentioning that procing regular old spirit tap doubles the value of the stat, so if you can work out a way in a raid to get a killing blow, go for it.
Finally, we have to factor in raid buffs. As a good shadow priest, you should always ask your paladin for kings first. This increases all your stats by 10%, finishing spirit up at a value of roughly .605 SP. This is assuming no movement in a fight and a perfect uptime on buffs, so based on a fight with average movement and some personal testing, I’ve scaled the value back to .58 SP.
Spirit as Mana Regeneration:
If you’re going through a fight with no mana issues at all, you aren’t using dispersion for mana, you’re only using your Hymn of Hope for the healers, and you’re throwing up your shadowfiend as recommended, you only care about spirit as a DPS stat.
With that proviso out of the way, spirit does a lot for priests in terms of regeneration. Meditation, which we spec into the disc tree for, allows 50% of our regeneration to continue while casting.
Spirit Tap and Improved Spirit Tap both also increase our in-combat mana regeneration. This regeneration is tied directly to our spirit (and somewhat indirectly to our intellect). Mousing over your in-game Mana Regen will give you an exact personal measure of this.
The best policy is to look for dps upgrades in the form of stat values. Regeneration should be a secondary, but important consideration.
For a stat that’s going to be considerably less important to us in Cataclysm, I’m going to miss all the U-G-L-Y chanting!