Using wands – with some recent theorycraft thrown in
I started to just give tentative conclusions of my wand use analysis, and realized there was a MUCH more useful post connected. So let me start with the generally useful…
When wandering around the lower levels, I frequently see questions along the lines of “how do I use a wand?” Let me start with these basics.
Any priest can use a wand – the skill is in your initial set. Your character doesn’t have to learn a darn thing – no training. What YOU have to do is two-part – maybe three.
First, you have to get a wand. Go to the Auction House and spend the silver – it’s an outstanding investment. You’ll want any wand you can afford, but I’ll say right now that the crafted wands from enchanters are very good compared to drops for the level – you won’t get the stats, but the damage is higher. And… it being an easy and inexpensive level up, the wands are usually overstocked and very cheap. You buy it, you get it from your mailbox, and you equip it. Equip it?
Open your character sheet (click the button on the toolbar or press C). You should be seeing a picture of your toon with some boxes around it. On the bottom, in the middle, are three boxes. You will drag your wand from your bag to this spot. It is now equipped.
To actually shoot the wand, open your spell book and go to the general spells (the ones tabbed with a boot). Look for “shoot”. Pick an enemy target, and click this button. Off it goes. It stops when you kill the target OR when you move OR when you interrupt it. You can copy/move this button (like all spells) to your toolbar so you can get to it without having to open your spellbook. I recommend this, actually, as it’s a much faster way to get it in combat.
Up to about level 20, your wand will do more dps than any other spell you’ve got. And it doesn’t use mana. This is why so many guides say to use something and then finish the mob with the wand — the big splash plus dot enhance the wand’s effectiveness, and when you’re done your mana is pretty much topped off for the next fight. GREAT grinding method. After level 20… it depends on the wand and the mob. Eventually, the wand is basically a stat/ability carrier that can be used to add some token quantity of damage in a pinch.
One last thing that comes up frequently. If you have talents that enhance, or something that procs on, spells – they won’t interact with the wand. Gear that adds damage to shadow won’t do a darn thing for a shadow damage wand. Sorry.
That’s the basics, and you can quit here. I’m going into some technicalities now.
My tests give me a high confidence the wand uses the spell attack table, not the ranged attack table. The primary reason for this assumption is that crits proc near the rate of spell crit, not ranged/melee crit. Supplementing this reason are two less definitive, but still telling, facts. First, misses are labeled “resists” – a spellbased label. Second, crits do 150% damage, not double.
Because it’s the spell attack table, the base to-hit for an equal level target is 96%. For the spell-table, we know that +/-1 or 2 levels in relation to your target is an equal percent change in hit — if you’re two levels higher, you will hit 98% of the time. UNTESTED AND NO LONGER TRUSTED is what happens if you’re four or more levels above your target. The existing information is that starting at level 3 the amount changes by quite a bit – differently for PVP and PVE targets – and that you always have a hard-capped 1% miss rate. This is on my list of thing to test.
PROVEN UNLIKELY is the existing information that crits are ‘fixed’ for wands. The rate of crits changes if your level is different. Because there is a possible question as to whether the tables are one- or two-roll tables I cannot be definitive, but a two-level difference will give you a + 0.3-0.45% increase (estimating 0.4%, or 0.2% per level) in your crit rate. IT IS POSSIBLE but untested that gear which increases your spell crit rate will increase the crit rate of your wand. Increases for greater ranges are untested.
As a final diversion, I am putting my determination of whether spells are one- or two-table attacks on hold. I cannnot comfortably account for the modification of crit range given by the difference in level, and this obscures the SMALL difference caused by small-crit-rate players casting spells. I suspect what is required is a high-crit spellcaster — a mage, for example — who is ideally level 68 and is willing to spend a couple of hours casting spells instead of throwing bombs at Dr. Boom. Since I don’t have such a mage to hand, I will seek alternatives and techniques to get a better handle on the issue.