Spell power, Universal spell power, Potency explained

When I started playing DDO, not too long ago, I was confused about how all the spell power stuff added up, and talking to my guild members I got conflicting answers. So I've put together this post to help out other new players figure out how it works.

I am in no way an expert on the game, and there could be exceptions to what I've learned that I don't know about. I will not go into enhancement trees, but these will stack on top of everything else (except if they have a kind, like "Action Boost" - that would not stack with other "Action Boost" buffs). If you see errors or something missing please comment!

TLDR
Spell powers stack like this for each spell power type: Universal + (which ever is higher between potency and the specific spell power type)

TLDR example:
  • I have a staff giving me 10 Universal spell power.
  • I have a cloak giving me 50 Potency.
  • I have a helmet giving me 100 Fire spell power.
  • I have gloves giving me 40 Cold spell power.
  • I have no other equipment of effects giving me any bonus to any spell power.

In this example, I would end up with spell powers like this
Acic : 60 (10 Universal + 50 Potency)
Cold : 60 (10 Universal + 50 Potency, as the 40 from Cold is less than the 50 from Potency)
Electric : 60 (10 Universal + 50 Potency)
Fire : 110 (10 Universal + 100 Fire)
Force : 60 (10 Universal + 50 Potency)
Light : 60 (10 Universal + 50 Potency)
Negative : 60 (10 Universal + 50 Potency)
Poison : 60 (10 Universal + 50 Potency)
Positive : 60 (10 Universal + 50 Potency)
Repair : 60 (10 Universal + 50 Potency)
Sonic : 60 (10 Universal + 50 Potency)

Generally, be aware that only different kinds of any type of buff will stack with each other if they are buffing the same. So an "equipment" buff will not stack with another "equipment" buff if they buff the same thing. Only the higher of the two would be taken into account. However, if you for example have an "equipment" and an "insightful" buff that buff the same thing, they would add up. This goes for all buffs as far as I know, and therefore also for spell power buffs.


Most of the spell power types are only used for one thing, damage spells, but some are a bit special, these are:
  • Negative: heal undead, damage living
  • Positive: heal living, damage undead
  • Repair: heal machines, damage machines
  • "Potency": is not actually a type, but acts as if it's all spell power types. Does not stack with more specific spell power types (except if they are different kinds, like Equipment and Insightful)
  • Universal*: apply to all spells, and does stack with more specific spell power buffs unlike "Potency"
*Be aware that some old items that say they grant "Universal" and all items granting "Exceptional Universal" will actually grant potency. If you want to be sure, open the combat log when equipping a "Universal" item and read the messages it gives about what it is applying to (thanks for the enlightening comments G.J., Bjond, and QuantumFX).

Potency in effect acts as Acid, Cold, Electric, Fire, Force, Light, Negative, Poison, Positive, Repair, and Sonic spell power, and stacks like an item/effect normally would if it had all of those spell power types in it individually. Potency buffs are usually lower than specific spell power buffs, and will likely not appear in many optimized gear sets.

Universal adds on top of all spell powers (though 2 universal implement bonuses would not stack to give more universal spell power, they follow the normal stacking rules).


On top of this, the names on gear isn't called the same as the spell power, and some of the names on items buff more than one spell power.
These are the multi-purpose names:
  • Nihil/Nullification: apply to Negative and Poison
  • Radiance/Brilliance: apply to Light, Chaotic, Evil, Good, Lawful
  • Reconstruction/Mending: apply to Repair (Repair is used both for repair and rust spells)
  • Impulse/Impact: apply to Force, Piercing, Slashing, Bludgeoning, Untyped (spells, not melee/ranged)
  • Potency/Efficacy: apply to all spells powers, but does not stack
  • Universal: apply to all spells powers, and does stack

These are the single-purpose names:
  • Combustion/Inferno: Fire
  • Corrosion/Erosion: Acid
  • Devotion/Ardor: Positive
  • Glaciation/Freeze: Cold
  • Magnetism/Spark: Electric
  • Resonance/Cacophony: Sonic

To my knowledge these are the different kinds of buffs that can apply to spell power:
  • Equipment: What you normally see on gear (can be any type, except Universal as far as I know)
  • Insightful: Available on gear, but not as prevalent as "Equipment"
  • Exceptional: Also available on gear, but even more rare than "Insightful"
  • Alchemical: From potions and clickies
  • Action Boost: From action boosts in enhancement trees and the alchemist spell "Bottled Boost: Spell"
  • Implement: Grants universal spell power and is found on weapons/offhand
 
Last edited:

G.W.

Well-known member
One thing to watch out for is that a lot of old items claim to give "Universal Spell Power", when they actually give Potency.
 
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Misadventure

Killing everybody on Hardcore with pleasure.
This should be in game play not new players, but good job, an exact break down, many old players changing from melee to spell cater also do not know this.
 
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Bjond

Well-known member
One thing to watch out for is that a lot of old items claim to give "Universal Spell Power", when they actually give Potency.

Not only old items. Every single item I've checked with "Exceptional Universal Spellpower" is bugged and actually grants "Exceptional Universal Potency", including Isle-of-Dread items. This is a fairly tiny issue on the power-scale, but it's rather insidious in it's full effect. It also completely destroys the utility of all regular exceptional spellpower items, since they don't stack as they would with universal; ie. it effectively deletes those items from the game by making them worthless.
 
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ash

New member
One thing to watch out for is that a lot of old items claim to give "Universal Spell Power", when they actually give Potency.

Not only old items. Every single item I've checked with "Exceptional Universal Spellpower" is bugged and actually grants "Exceptional Universal Potency"

Thanks for this additional info! I've added it to the original post :)
 

PURPLETIMB

Active member
Thanks for this. I kind of understood these but it's nice to have a clear explanation of how it all fits together.
 
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QuantumFX

Well-known member
Just to add to the "Certain sources of USP, don't actually grant USP" discussion: You can see which sources are screwed up by consulting your combat log. When you equip the item, you will see a bunch of messages about an exceptional bonus being applied to each spellpower except universal. The best examples of an artifact set being screwed up is the Epic and Legendary Saltmarsh Explorer sets.

Also, you should do a post on spell crits just so you can learn how many forum idiots don't know how Elyd Charm works.
 
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ash

New member
You can see which sources are screwed up by consulting your combat log. When you equip the item, you will see a bunch of messages about an exceptional bonus being applied to each spellpower except universal.
Ah, that's a nice way to check it. Added!
 

rabidfox

The People's Champion
To my knowledge these are the different kinds of buffs that can apply to spell power:
  • Equipment: What you normally see on gear (can be any type, except Universal as far as I know)
  • Insightful: Available on gear, but not as prevalent as "Equipment"
  • Exceptional: Also available on gear, but even more rare than "Insightful"
  • Alchemical: From potions and clickies
  • Action Boost: From action boosts in enhancement trees and the alchemist spell "Bottled Boost: Spell"
  • Implement: Grants universal spell power and is found on weapons/offhand
Profane, artifact, & psionic too.
 
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