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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 to anyone 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 is a term used to refer to all caster weapons (staffs, swords, daggers, shields and offhands), any melee weapon equipped by a hunter, and any ranged weapon equipped by a melee user.
- This is also true for the relic slot now as they no longer have unique effects or procs and are now just there to give the hybrid classes the same stat boosts that the other classes get from wands and ranged weapons.
- That said, Blizzard recognized this issue and will effectively reduce this by eliminating relics and 'unused' weapons in Mists of Pandaria.
- 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.
- Quite a few loadouts in Team Fortress 2 give a variety of stat boosts/penalties, with whole themed sets giving an extra boost.
- While most characters use their different weapons actively, this concept holds especially true for The Medic, since he only really uses his healing ability. This is the reason why the unlockable Blütsauger weapon is not used by most medics, since its ability to leech health off the victim seldom comes into play as much as its lower health regeneration rate compared to the standard Syringe Gun.
- Dragon Age 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 Kingdom of Loathing Cheffstaves. 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 Cheffstaves 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.
- Slight variant in Fly FF: 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.
- Vindictus: 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.
- While most weapons in Demons Souls 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.
- 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?
- Armour in Final Fantasy VII can become like this in certain instances; if you wear weak armour (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).
- The Guardian Forces in Final Fantasy VIII 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.
- Lulu's puppets in Final Fantasy X. 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 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...
- Angband has a weapon type specifically designed to do this--the Defender.
- Dungeons and Dragons generally averts this trope: most weapon enchantments provide bonuses and special abilities specifically for the action of swinging the weapon. But a few, like 3rd Edition's "defender", do work even when you're just holding the thing. In fact, defender works best this way, since what it does is let you reallocate some of your attack bonus to your defense - if you're not attacking, it's an easy trade-off. (But a common houserule requires you to attack to get the benefit.)
- ADOM zig-zags the trope a bit. The Sword of Nonnak, for example, 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. So why zig-zagged? Even spellcasters will end up using it as an actual sword against weak enemies, since running out of spells is all too easy.
- 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.
- Magazines in Dead Rising 2. As long as you hold them in your inventory, you get bonuses. (increased luck while gambling, hand-to-hand damage increase, food restores 1.5x health...)
- Genis Sage of Tales of Symphonia 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.
- 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.