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- resistance is independent of whether the spell "hits", which depends only on relative levels as modified by "to hit" bonuses
- if a spell "hits", the end result depends on the caster's level, not the target
- effect spells are either resisted or not; damage spells are resisted in such a manner that the average damage is reduced by the resistance effect
- basic resistance is given by Average Resistance = (Target's Resistance / (Caster's Level * 5)) * 0.75
- regardless of resistance level, the resistance effect caps out at 75%
The effect of the last two points is that you need resistance of 5x caster's level to get maximum (75%) protection. (Details are here if you wish to learn the details.) In other words, there is never a need for more than 315 resistance (corresponding to a lvl 63, or boss, encounter).
Resistances are generally very limited in how they stack. The following five sources of resistance are all independent, but whether they stack within each category depends on the category:
- Equipped items and enchants all stack
- Potions, auras, totems, and buffs all overlap - the maximum will apply
- Flask of Chromatic Resistance
- Racial bonus (Dwarves have +10 Frost Resistance, Gnomes have +10 Arcane, Night Elves and Tauren have +10 Nature, Undead and Draenei have +10 Shadow, Blood Elves have +5 everything).
For example: A hunter Aspect of the Wild with +60 NR will make any other potions or buffs useless (unless the hunter dies). It will however fully stack with equipment bonuses as well as a racial bonus (Night Elf and Tauren in the case of NR) and a flask.
Ok, the above is wrong, I'm working on it. --Sabelaide 17:22, 3 September 2006
NOTE: Magic Resistance Potion seems to stack with buffs such as Mark of the Wild, but not paladin resistance auras.
See Also / Links
There is some anecdotal evidence that increasing your resistance higher or lower than the exact mob lvl value x5 may actually lower the effect of the resistances. Thus 320, would be exactly the same as 310 would vs a lvl 63 mob (Ragnaros), and 365 would mean you actually have only an effective resistance of 265.
This is the widely accepted conception of how resistances work, and "agrees" with the official blizzard page explaining resistances, but expands the explanation to the more general rule:
At level 60 each 4 resist gives 1% damage reduction up to 300 resistance which gives 75% damage reduction, which is the cap. Against level 63 mobs it's 315 for 75% (4.2 per 1%). On binary spell that % is translated directly into a chance to completely resist the spell. On non-binary spells, that % is translated to chance to resist 0%, 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% of the damage, in a way that will on average give you damage reduction equal to the % I mentioned above. In contrary to common belief, the more resistance the stronger you will be in encounters that are resistance-based. Going up from 255 to 315 (just 60 resist) will change it from taking 41.3% damage to taking 25% damage - that's 37% less damage compared to what you'd take with 255, or in other words, that 60 extra resistance will make you live 57% longer! Going from 0 to 105 resistance will just give you a 25% resistnace, meaning living 33% longer. Generally non-crappy items that have resistance will increase your survivability % way more than the % of the DPS you'll be losing, especially if you already have good resistances. Living 50% longer means the healers can spend 50% more of their mana on the tanks, or your raid can handle it even if they're short on healers, while the % DPS lost is usually much lower. I have some pretty good gear and I end up losing ~2 spell damage for each 1 resistance I gain, but I need more than 10 spell damage for 1% damage increase while you only need 4.2 resistance (less if you already have more than 0 resistance) to live 1% longer. Fights where this comes into effect is Ragnaros, Vaelstraz, Firemaw, Vicidious, Princess huhura (not for casters though), the bug trio probably (if you do them the hard way). For farelina in nax it's debateable because the damage is kinda avoidable and the fight is timered. It's not the heavy damage you take on ragnaros and vael/firemaw if your raid is good, but still more resists do make you require less healing at the end of the day which is why some guilds do it one way and some do another. For ragnaros I've lead several pugs and was simply unable to kill him if I just picked people up according to their gear, while I killed him with ease first attempt when I put up a 150 FR requirement for melee and 100 FR requirement for casters.
Schools of Resistance
Arcane is primarily used by Mages and Druids. It is the least used resistance type currently. Gnomes, having an affinity for arcane energies, benefit from a permanent +10 Arcane Resistance as a Racial Trait.
- Druid: Moonfire, Starfire
- Hunter: Arcane Shot, Concussive Shot, Flare, Hunter's Mark, Volley
- Mage: Arcane Missiles, Arcane Explosion, Counterspell, Detect Magic, Polymorph
- Priest: Starshards
Example Items with Arcane Resistance
- Hunter: Explosive Trap, Immolation Trap
- Mage: Blast Wave, Fire Blast, Fireball, Flamestrike, Pyroblast, Dragon's Breath
- Warlock: Immolation, Searing Pain, Rain of Fire, Hellfire, Soul Fire, Conflagrate
Example Items with Fire Resistance
- Wizardweave collection
- Flarecore collection
- Volcanic Armor Set
- Corehound collection
- Molten collection
- Lava belt
- Black Dragon Mail set
- Fiery Chain cllection
- Dark Iron collection
- Runic Plate collection
A good cloak for Fire Resistance is the Onyxia Scale Cloak (+16 FR) if you add a Greater Fire Resistance Enchant you get +31 FR (16 + 15 from enchant).
- Hunter: Freezing Trap, Frost Trap
- Mage: Blizzard, Cone of Cold, Frost Nova, Frostbolt
- Shaman: Frost Shock
Example Items with Frost Resistance
- Cloth: Glacial Cloth item collection.
- Leather: Polar Leather item collection.
- Mail: Icy Scale Mail item collection.
- Plate: Icebane Plate item collection.
- Hunter: Serpent Sting, Viper Sting, Wyvern Sting
- Shaman: Chain Lightning, Earth Shock, Lightning Bolt, Lightning Shield
- Druid: Wrath, Hurricane, Thorns, Entangling Roots
- Rogue: All poisons (Deadly, Instant, Crippling, Blind, Mind-Numbing and Wound poisons)
Example Items with Nature Resistance
- Cloth: Sylvan item collection.
- Leather: Bramblewood item collection.
- Mail: Spitfire and Sandstalker item collections.
- Plate: Ironvine item collection.
Shadow resistance is the most useful resistance in Scholomance and Stratholme, and for the tanks on Ebonroc in Blackwing Lair. It is essential for Warlock Tanks in the Twin Emperors encounter of Temple of Ahn'Qiraj. It is also useful when fighting Shadow Priests and Warlocks.
- Priest: Shadow Word: Pain, Mind Blast, Mind Flay, Devouring Plague
- Warlock: Shadow Bolt, Corruption, Shadow Burn, Curse of Doom
Example Items with Shadow Resistance
Please add examples here. The Darkrune Set (craftable by Armorsmiths) is an excellent set of armor for tanks and paladins. Darkrune set includes: The Darkrune Helm (+25 Shadow Resistance) The Darkrune Gauntlets (+20 Shadow Resistance) The Darkrune Breastplate (+25 Shadow Resistance)
Runed Stygian Set (Tailoring) is an excellent set of stam/SR armor for mages, priests, and warlocks.
Runed Stygian Belt (+25 Shadow Resist) Runed Stygian Gloves (+20 Shadow Resist) Runed Stygian Boots (+20 Shadow Resist)
These items require Dark Runes to craft, so bank 'em early!