Stat sticks are weapons carried or equipped by a character primarily or solely for the statistics they give.
This happens when possessing a weapon gives bonuses to a character even if it is not used. In extreme cases, the weapon will provide these bonuses even when held by a character who cannot
legally use it. If that sword gives additional MP
who has it in their inventory, then why not give it to your mage? Your mage can't use the sword as a weapon, but he can certainly use the MP!
This also happens when weapons are used to house valuable types of inventory in such a way that more of that type can be carried with the weapon equipped than without. Your character may have the Diamond Sword in his inventory even though he never uses it, simply because it's a convenient place to store power diamonds.
May also be used to clear stat requirements for Level-Locked Loot
- In World of Warcraft, this term refers to all weapons equipped by spellcasters and healers. In previous expansions, it also referred to any melee weapon equipped by a hunter or any ranged weapon equipped by a melee class until the Mists of Pandaria expansion removed the ranged weapon slot and turned guns, bows, and crossbows into two handed weapons, turned wands into main hand weapons, and removed throwing weapons from the game (warriors and rogues now have an infinite supply of throwing knives in their pockets instead).
- This also somewhat inaccurately referred to the Relic class of item during the Cataclysm expansion. Although relics were not weapons, prior to Cataclysm every relic had a unique effect on one or more of the wielder's class abilities, such as raising the damage of a spell, adding a side effect, or increasing the area of effect, which made them a more dynamic tool than standard pieces of armor (the relic item slot also occupied the same spot on the character sheet as the ranged weapon slot for those classes that could equip ranged weapons) until Cataclysm replaced their unique effects with straightforward stat bonuses. Like throwing weapons, relics were removed from the game in the Mists of Pandaria expansion (although relics and throwing weapons in players' inventories were merely downgraded to unequippable Vendor Trash, which some players still hold on to out of sentiment).
- The Monk class introduced in Mists of Pandaria has most of their attacks consist of unarmed punches and kicks, while weapons reside on the monk's back and only get drawn for a weak "Jab" attack used to generate resources for everything else. A cosmetic glyph allows the monk to forego this as well and jab with their fists. A highly requested feature by monk players is to at least allow the display of fist weapons during unarmed attacks.
- Also done in Diablo III. As seen in the page's image, most of the Monk's weapons are cosmetic, leaving swords, maces, axes, etc. around his waist while still allowing them to provide the stat bonuses, including actual weapon damage. As the Wizard and the Witch Doctor classes are primarily reliant on spellcasting and have no incentive to use their weapons in melee, only the Barbarian and Demon Hunter actually are seen using the weapons they have equipped. The Crusader, introduced in the Reaper of Souls expansion, is also surprisingly reluctant to swing his weapon around for an armored knight; while a melee build is possible, most of his attacks are based on casting holy magic from a distance.
- Of notable mention, the Sorceress supporter uses her free hand to cast most of her spells (and she wields a two-handed staff in her other hand) and the Demon Hunter can put her crossbows away to throw grenades as a primary attack.
- In Torchlight equipping two weapons of the same type doesn't increase the speed at which you fire them, so the offhand weapon becomes useful only for the stats and gemslots it provides you with.
- Certain items in Team Fortress 2 can be used to attack with, but the main draw are effects you either get when the item is out or just equipped. The Pain Train when used by the Soldier is probably the best example: the only difference between it and the Soldier's default shovel is that having equipped makes you take extra bullet damage but cap points faster. Since the shovel is almost useless to begin with, you'll probably never even take it out when you have it.
- Dragon Age: Origins has this trope in the case of dual-wielding backstab rogues. Normally dual-wielding attacks alternate hands, so both weapons are equally important. However, rogues only ever backstab with their right-hand weapon; their left-hand weapon can therefore be used as a Stat Stick.
- This is the idea behind Chefstaves in Kingdom of Loathing. Since Mysticality classes attack using spells, attack power is useless to them; Mysticality related enchantments are much more important. Most utensils are weaker than other weapons while increasing Mysticality or spell damage, but the Chefstaves exemplify it. They all have the same power as the starting weapons, but they great percentile spell damage increases, as well as 2-3 of the following: MP regeneration, bonus power to certain elemental spells, direct and/or percentile Mysticality increases. Of course, KoL is unusual for an online game in that a weapon's power doesn't act as a limiting factor to the damage you can do with it, so the trope's only intended. It's eventually possible to hit powerful enemies with a Chefstave about as effectively as with an axe, even though "if Jarlsberg were here to see this, he'd probably say 'You're doin' it wrong.'"
- Slight variant in Flyff: Billposters carry sticks around, since Assist buffs can only be used with a stick equipped. Thus, if one can afford it and has money to spare, there is no reason not to get one that gives additional MP or INT while it's equipped.
- Mabinogi allows player characters to apply enchantments to their equipment, allowing you to make weapons that increase your intelligence or MP scores to make you a slightly better spellcaster. Wands, however, can make a kind of double-inversion: they're intended for use in spellcasting, but they're... acceptable for hitting things with. But you can use them as a weapon, combined with their meditate-while-running attribute (drastically increase MP regeneration) and Mana Shield (absorb damage as MP damage), to make a low damage output blood tank.
- Magic-user Evie starts out only wearing cloth; and building sufficient skills for even light armour is difficult and time-consuming. Since she relies primarily on innate magic armour to avoid being a Squishy Wizard, any armour that she does wear is almost entirely for the stat boosts.
- Also, as of the Labyrinth expansion, Staff Evies can no longer use their staffs for melee, only for magic, making their staffs essentially this.
- Demon's Souls:
- While most weapons give bonuses according to stats (which is the inverse of most RPG weapons), some weapons fall straight into this trope, such as the Kris Blade, which is a medium sword mostly wielded by mages thanks to their magic-enhancing property (while being absolutely useless for melee).
- The Morion Blade is this for a Hyper Mode user. The Adjudicator's Shield is also often used as one, as it provides substantial health regen, but as an actual shield it's kind of cruddy, meaning that most people just wear it on their backs while wielding their weapon with both hands.
- The Grass Crest Shield in Dark Souls is nothing special at actually preventing damage, but increases the rate of stamina regeneration when out, which is incredibly useful. Basically anyone who two-hands weapons equips a Grass Crest Shield worn exclusively on their back, including the infamously broken"giantdad/Haveldad" builds.
- This is often recommended for Final Fantasy VI for characters whose effectiveness is not dependent on their basic physical attacks (which is most of them); why does Sabin need the weapon with the highest physical attack power (in the GBA version, the Godhand) when his best skills are all powered by his Magic stat (raised by Tiger Fangs but NOT the Godhand), for instance?
- Final Fantasy VII: Armor can become like this in certain instances; if you wear weak armor (or use a weak weapon) with lots of materia slots, and fill it with HP/MP Up materia (or lots of summon materia for magic boosts).
- Final Fantasy VIII: The Guardian Forces can be seen as an abstract version of this, if you never use the summon command. They allow you to junction magic to stats (like strength and HP), making you much stronger than normal.
- Final Fantasy X: Lulu's puppets. Her only use for the attack command is amusement.
- Final Fantasy XI has a number of these, but the most famous of them are the eight level 51 elemental staves. Each of them has a number of significant stat boosts themed around its element (for example, the Fire Staff boosts Attack and the Wind Staff boosts Evasion), as well as far-more-important hidden effects that increase the potency and accuracy of spells of its element at the expense of the same for the element that it beats. Needless to say, any mage worth their salt buys the ele staves and swaps them to match every spell they cast.
- Final Fantasy XIII temporarily does this to some of the characters, whose primary attack is disabled while they're locked into one-to-three classes, some of which don't ever attack physically directly. This trope ends, at least technically, around the halfway mark, when all classes are unlocked for all characters. Even though Hope, for example, can attack physically, he really shouldn't be.
- This gets played up later as you find weaker weapons with added effects, such as making debuffs more successful or boosting your healing skills, making their abilities more worthwhile than their lackluster stats.
- Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII continues the trend. Each Schemata has its own individual weapon, even if that Schema doesn't even possess any attacks. A Schema with the Ghostly or Preta Hood accessories will likely carry around a BFS not for actually attacking, but because it gives an HP boost.
- Final Fantasy Tactics has some early-game daggers and swords that increase your Magic Power stat by one. Doesn't sound too great, but when 10 is considered a fairly high magic stat and most early-game staves and rods don't increase it...
- In Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light, since your Black Mage will usually be hurling basic-level blasty spells at your enemies and have a Strength penalty anyway, they might as well carry something that grants a massive Magical Attack. The same is true of the White Mage, only with healing spells instead of fireballs and ice blasts.
- Angband has a weapon type specifically designed to do this—the Defender.
- In Dungeons & Dragons 3.5ed most weapon enchantments provide bonuses and special abilities specifically for the action of swinging the weapon. But a few such as Defending, Warning, or Eager apply as long as you are wielding the weapon. This is easily abused by applying them to Armor Spikes, which are technically always wielded while still leaving your hands free (or leaving your weapons free for actual weapon enchantments). In fact, it's common for spellcasters to get armor solely so they can apply weapon enchantments to armor spikes.
- The infamous Nightsticks provide their benefit as long you possesses them, even if you aren't holding them. Theoretically, you could have an entire vault of Nightsticks somewhere and keep the benefits while out adventuring.
- Dungeons & Dragons: 4th edition has implements. The non-magical versions are only useful if you have some special feature or ability that gives benefit for using them (as general implements provide no bonuses.) Otherwise, they're only useful for the enhancement bonus for more accuracy or damage. 4th edition also subverts it with an optional automatic enhancement bonus rule, which makes magic items only useful for the powers they give rather than through statistical benefit.
- Dungeons & Dragons Online does oppositely. Wizards, sorcerers, and occasionally other caster types will usually run around holding two scepters just for the passive bonuses to spells, at the cost of making melee attacks inaccurate and weak. High-level crafting (like the highly customizable greensteel) can also make weapons with fantastic passive bonuses.
- Ancient Domains of Mystery's Sword of Nonnak is a slightly above-average sword (can't be upgraded through blacksmithing, though), but for mages it's a viable choice for even a late-game weapon, as +5 Willpower is very handy for a spellcaster, and immunity to cold and death attacks is always nice.
- This will happen to you in Disgaea games when you start creating high-powered gear in the post-game. A high-leveled, high-tier sword will still give huge, HUGE boosts to intelligence, meaning that if you want to train a low-level spellcaster, give her a really awesome sword and watch her destroy absolutely everything.
- Tales of Symphonia:
- Genis Sage fights with a Kendama, a Japanese children's toy. It enhances his magic power, and he mentions that having something to focus on helps him concentrate on spellcasting in combat. He can hit things with it, but... there's a good reason he mostly uses magic.
- His sister, Raine, is a through-and-through White Mage, who holds onto a staff to enhance her magic (and thus, healing) powers... except she's an aversion, since she's apt to run onto the frontlines and beat people up with it. She's not too bad at it, either, due to her Ex Sphere. Raine can even be seen smacking the hell out of several armed solders with just her staff in the opening.
- In Dragon Quest IX, wands do very little damage, but, if you buff your wand skills, your magic using classes gain huge bonuses to Mana. This is essential for the Squishy Wizard classes.
- Mario Kart Wii, a racing game, has the lightning cloud. Normally, its only use as a weapon is to pass it on to someone else so that they get zapped with it... but your speed increases slightly while you hold it, meaning the best strategy is to not use it as a weapon for as long as possible and then pass it off at the last second.
- In Star Wars: The Old Republic, the iconic lightsaber becomes this for the Jedi Sage and the Sith Sorceror. Since both classes are based on using Force Powers, you quickly lose the need to use the two lightsaber attacks available to you.
- This applies to some companion characters as well: a number of healing companions can be equipped with a vibroknife in their offhand slot, but will never be seen using it.
- If you have the luck to find a bow (or crossbow) that enhances statistics rather than the weapon itself, they can become this in the endgame of Might and Magic VI and VII — due to how the combat and inventory system works, blasters always take precedence when it comes to attacks, but stat-enhancing enchantments only requires you to carry the weapon, not actually use it.
- Rogue Legacy: Swords for the Dragon class, since their only attack is magical. Can also be the case for Archmages if you have enough mana / Siphon to be able to rely largely on spells.
- The Legend System allows players to design mundane weapons by choosing three properties from a list. Some aspects of these rules lend themselves to Stat Sticks:
- Defensive weapon properties function as long as the weapon is wielded. Natural Weapons always count as wielded, making them ideal for carrying defensive properties while you do your actual attacking with something else.
- A weapon with the [Arcane] property doesn't gain increased accuracy from being enchanted, and can't benefit from certain properties like damage bonuses; instead these are transferred to any magical attacks made by the wielder.
- In Planescape: Torment, reaching the specialization levels (7 and 12) in your primary class allows you to buy unique weapons from Coaxmetal in the Lower Ward. For a mage, these weapons are the Runeblade and Karlaac's Knife. The former gives 50% magic resistance, while the latter allows memorizing twice the amount of first-level spells you normally can. Both are utterly useless in melee due to lack of Enchantment (which nearly all later enemies require to be hurt), low damage, and in case of Runeblade - deliberately terrible accuracy.
- Appears in Dungeon Crawl in two forms. Magic staffs can be used as weapons, but their accuracy and damage ratings are based on the user's skill with the magic school they enhance and can't be improved with scrolls of enchantment. Thus, by the time they could be used as a decent weapon they are nearly useless compared to magic. Casters will also frequently equip randomly-generated artifact weapons with useful properties even if they attack with them.
- Used by casters in Path of Exile. Spell damage has no relation to weapon damage, so casters will usually use wands (which increase spell damage), scepters (which increase elemental damage), or daggers (which increase the Critical Hit chance for all attacks made while equipped). These weapons can also generate with modifiers to increase spell damage, mana, cast speed, or spell critical chance.
- Force weapons in Phantasy Star Online are usually this, seeing as the strength boosts for canes, rods, wands and cards are very low and some increase magical strength. Oddly enough, even the most common rare weapons are staples for Forces since they'll usually boost a specific technique's power more than some of the higher end weapons, making weapons for them more crucial that Hunters who rely on weapons.
- In many MOBAs such as Defense Of The Ancients and League of Legends, characters can hold a certain amount of items in generic slots, and benefit stackingly from these items even if it makes no logical sense (Although for balancing reasons shoes tend to be an exception). This can lead to such ridiculousness as a Stripperific character wearing two full sets of heavy armor at the same time, a swordsman using a crossbow, or an archer triple-wielding swords, while their attack animation remains unchanged.
- Defense Of The Ancients also has LITERAL stat sticks in the form of Iron Branches, cheap items which for some reason give 1 to all stats when equipped.