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Thread: Which Abilities Count As Spells?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2010

    Which Abilities Count As Spells?

    The game mechanic this most often relates to, in my personal research, is spell hit rating. On this topic, many have discussed some fundamental abilities such as taunt or thunderclap. My interest begins with this, but goes beyond, so please do not limit the conversation to that. Once I began contemplating this, I wondered which other abilities may be affected by this, and also, which abilities am I unable to use because of being silenced?

    After searching through Google, another popular theorycrafting forum, and this site, I was not able to locate any source of information which documented all (or even most) of the abilities which count as spells; the conversations were limited to the most popular of those abilities.

    I am not opposed to doing some legwork on this subject myself, but before doing so, I would like to know if I am wasting my time (for instance, because such a resource already exists, despite my inability to locate it), and would like a place to share the results with those who share the same interest. Am I looking in the right place, or should I continue my search elsewhere?

    When searching on any of the wow database sites (wowhead, thottbot, etc), all that I checked listed every warrior ability as belonging to the physical school of abilities, which would seem to not be accurate if being silenced and spell hit rating affect them.

    Is there a simple way that I am missing (besides testing) to determine which abilities count as spells? Is this a line of questioning that has not yet been explored, and as such, needs testing?

    Testing methodology:

    If testing is required, there are two things to be explored: affected by silence, and at which amount of hit rating (melee or spell cap) they stop missing. Is there another facet that requires attention?

    For testing silence, it would seem to be easiest to have the cooperation of a shadow priest who would silence me, after which I would attempt to use an ability. Does this seem to be a valid test?

    For testing the miss rate, I could fight the heroic training dummy in Orgrimmar and check the combat log (or get an add-on which monitors this, but that discussion is best suited for another forum). Does this seem to be a valid test?

    Your feedback and support are appreciated. Thank you.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010

    Silence Test Results

    I had a shadow priest help me with some testing, as I indicated I would earlier, by having her silence me while I attempted to use the abilities in my warrior's spellbook. Here are the results. I've listed both the ones that could and could not be used while silenced for completeness, in case there was one I neglected to test.

    Could not be used while silenced:
    1. Battle Shout
    2. Challenging Shout
    3. Commanding Shout
    4. Demoralizing Shout
    5. Intimidating Shout
    6. Taunt
    7. Thunder Clap

    Could be used while silenced:
    1. Auto Attack
    2. Battle Stance (switch to)
    3. Berserker Rage
    4. Berserker Stance (switch to)
    5. Bladestorm
    6. Bloodthirst
    7. Bloodrage
    8. Charge
    9. Cleave
    10. Concussion Blow
    11. Death Wish
    12. Defensive Stance (switch to)
    13. Devastate
    14. Disarm
    15. Enraged Regeneration
    16. Execute
    17. Hamstring
    18. Heroic Strike
    19. Heroic Throw
    20. Intercept
    21. Intervene
    22. Last Stand
    23. Mocking Blow
    24. Mortal Strike
    25. Overpower
    26. Pummel
    27. Recklessness
    28. Rend
    29. Retaliation
    30. Revenge
    31. Shattering Throw
    32. Slam
    33. Sweeping Strikes
    34. Shield Bash
    35. Shield Block
    36. Shield Slam
    37. Shield Wall
    38. Shockwave
    39. Shoot
    40. Spell Reflection
    41. Sunder Armor
    42. Throw
    43. Victory Rush
    44. Vigilance
    45. War Stomp (Tauren)
    46. Whirlwind

    Are there any warrior abilities which I did not test?

    Two of those which could not be used while silenced are buffs for your group (Battle Shout and Commanding Shout), and are not applied to your target. As such, they will play no role in the next round of testing (which is miss rate). Two are taunts (Taunt and Challenging Shout, and AoE taunt). Two are debuffs (Demoralizing Shout and Intimidating Shout). The last is an AoE ability which also applies a debuff (Thunder Clap).

    These preliminary results lead to me believe that these would be the only abilities to which the spell hit cap, and not the melee hit cap might apply. I realize there has been testing done already on a couple of these, which suddenly seems much more relevant, considering the shortened list that was arrived at, but I will continue testing without allowing these assumptions to interfere. More test results will follow soon.
    Last edited by Komtah; 07-21-2010 at 06:20 PM. Reason: Corrected grammar.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010

    Miss Rate Results

    I performed the following tests against the Heroic Training Dummy in Orgrimmar. I was wearing only the following six items, which provided 328 hit rating (over the melee hit cap without reaching the spell hit cap): Rimefang's Claw, Neverending Winter, Blades of the Sable Cross, Ashen Band of Greater Courage, Shard of the Crystal Heart, Mark of Supremacy. These tests were performed in various stances, specs, and glyphs, as required to use all these abilities, but none provided hit rating. Expertise varied, but was not relevant to this test (it was never capped). For testing "Shoot", Blades of the Sable Cross were replaced with Dalaran Rifle, bringing the hit rating down to 306 (still above melee cap).


    1. Charge (95 hit; 5 missed; 0 dodge/block/parry)
    2. Demoralizing Shout (94 hit; 6 missed; 0 dodge/block/parry)
    3. Intercept (96 hit; 4 missed; 0 dodge/block/parry)
    4. Intimidating Shout (95 hit; 5 missed; 0 dodge/block/parry)
    5. Piercing Howl (95 hit; 5 missed; 0 dodge/block/parry)
    6. Taunt (98 hit; 2 missed; 0 dodge/block/parry)
    7. War Stomp (99 hit; 1 missed; 0 dodge/block/parry) (not actually a warrior ability, but tested while I was at it)
    Did Not Miss:
    1. Auto Attack (83 hit/crit/glanced; 17 dodge/parry)
    2. Bloodthirst (80 hit/crit; 20 dodge/parry)
    3. Challenging Shout (100 hit; 0 dodge/parry)
    4. Cleave (169 hit/crit; 31 dodge/parry) (hit two targets; ability was used 100 times)
    5. Concussion Blow (85 hit/crit; 15 dodge/parry)
    6. Devastate (81 hit/crit; 19 dodge/parry)
    7. Execute (77 hit/crit; 23 dodge/parry)
    8. Hamstring (81 hit; 19 dodge/parry)
    9. Heroic Strike (81 hit/crit; 19 dodge/parry)
    10. Heroic Throw (100 hit/crit; 0 dodge/parry)
    11. Mocking Blow (82 hit/crit; 18 dodge/parry)
    12. Mortal Strike (78 hit/crit; 22 dodge/parry)
    13. Overpower (100 hit/crit; 0 dodge/parry)
    14. Pummel (77 hit; 23 dodge/block/parry)
    15. Rend (78 hit; 22 dodge/parry)
    16. Shattering Throw (100 hit/crit)
    17. Shield Bash (79 hit; 21 dodge/parry)
    18. Shield Slam (76 hit/crit; 24 dodge/parry)
    19. Shockwave (100 hit; 0 dodge/parry)
    20. Shoot (100 hit/crit; 0 dodge/parry)
    21. Slam (78 hit/crit; 22 dodge/parry)
    22. Sunder Armor (88 hit; 12 dodge/parry)
    23. Throw (100 hit/crit; 0 dodge/parry)
    24. Thunder Clap (100 hit/crit; 0 dodge/parry)
    25. Whirlwind (80 hit/crit; 20 dodge/parry)
    Not Applicable:
    1. Battle Shout (friendly buff)
    2. Battle Stance (change stance)
    3. Berserker Rage (self-buff)
    4. Berserker Stance (change stance)
    5. Bladestorm (self-buff)
    6. Bloodrage (self-buff)
    7. Commanding Shout (friendly buff)
    8. Defensive Stance (change stance)
    9. Enraged Regeneration (self-buff)
    10. Intervene (friendly buff)
    11. Last Stand (self-buff)
    12. Recklessness (self-buff)
    13. Shield Block (self-buff)
    14. Shield Wall (self-buff)
    15. Spell Reflection (self-buff)
    16. Sweeping Strikes (self-buff)
    17. Vigilance (friendly buff)
    Did Not Test:
    1. Disarm (couldn't test at training dummy - invalid target)
    2. Retaliation (requires being attacked; couldn't test at training dummy)
    3. Revenge (requires being attacked; couldn't test at training dummy)
    4. Victory Rush (requires killing another enemy that gives honor or experience; couldn't test at training dummy)
    Last edited by Komtah; 08-09-2010 at 11:29 AM. Reason: Corrected an organizational error. Did not adjust abilities or results.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    There are some tricky language and game elements that may be misleading to what I think you are trying to figure out here. Maybe some of this will help:

    1.) Blizz internally refers to everything as a "spell" that is used by your character (i.e. Shield Slam is a spell). This might not be meaningful much, but in case you see some blue language you want to read into down the road...

    2.) Not everything that can be blocked by silence uses spell hit. These are not mutually identifying.

    3.) The school of damage has little to do with an ability's classification as a spell, although, off the top of my head I cannot think of any physical damage spells, usually those are melee abilities and bleeds, with the odd projectile/ranged attack (like Shockwave).

    Also, note, as they have a practical element in their design, that shouts cannot be done while silenced.

    So far as I understand, only Taunt actually uses spell hit for a warrior. Tclap was kind of recently changed to count as a ranged attack (i.e. melee hit chances with no dodge/parry), and no longer uses spell hit.

    Other than that, it looks like a fun project, thank you for sharing!
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Portland, OR
    Quote Originally Posted by Satorri View Post
    .off the top of my head I cannot think of any physical damage spells
    Thunderclap was until about 2 months ago =p

    Komtah - you should find that the only Warrior abilities that go off of spell hit are Demo Shout, Taunt and possibly Challenging Shout. All others should go off of melee hit (or ranged technically for some spells, but it's the same regardless).

    Heroic Throw, Thunderclap, and Shockwave fall under the same mechanics that Hunter shots do - they can miss (8% chance on a raid boss), but can not be dodged, parried, resisted, etc.

    As Satorri said, they should all fall under the "physical" school of damage, meaning they are all modified by the target's armor (except those that do no damage, such as shouts, etc obviously.
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Up until now, I've thought of Silence as the name that was chosen for "that spell that keeps you from casting spells" and not, as its name implies, that you have been physically silenced. Thinking of it this way came to me after seeing your post, Satorri. It makes sense, as all the warrior abilities which were affected by silence rely on sound to perform their function.

    I'm no longer looking at the physical descriptor as an indication of how the attack was made, but instead, as the type of damage the target receives. Thanks to you both for that.

    Testing is under-way but it will be at least one more day before I have the results (testing abilities with long cooldowns really slows down the process). I'll let you know how it goes. Thanks for showing an interest.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Quote Originally Posted by Komtah View Post
    Testing methodology:

    If testing is required, there are two things to be explored: affected by silence, and at which amount of hit rating (melee or spell cap) they stop missing. Is there another facet that requires attention?

    For testing silence, it would seem to be easiest to have the cooperation of a shadow priest who would silence me, after which I would attempt to use an ability. Does this seem to be a valid test?
    Maybe you should try if some of our abilities are usable while affected by blessing of protection. I know for sure that you can't cast icy touch, but maybe some "slightly magical" warrior ability works.

    As for your testing with a shadow priest, make sure that you don't use the ability a fraction of a second after the silence fades.
    its positively sickening...

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Blessing of Protection splits ability based on spell school (i.e. Holy/Fire/Frost/Nature/Arcane/Shadow against Physical). That doesn't necessarily relate to whether an ability is mechanically (what we call) a spell.
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    I've posted the test results for which abilities still missed despite being melee hit-capped. There were four abilities that I did not test (I do not intend to anytime soon, either, since these took so long) due to the mechanics not allowing it on a training dummy. I also now realize that I did not test Piercing Howl for it's ability to be used while silenced. Even though that now seems irrelevant to the original concept of this thread, I will follow up on that when possible and post the result.

    It's been a long journey. Feedback is appreciated. Thanks for showing an interest.

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