This past weekend, I started a 10-man Naxx run with my wife and other guildies as well. We downed Loatheb and the Sulfur Stave dropped. I still have the rep-based Flameheart Spell Scalpel. Blue vs. Purple. The staff must be an upgrade, right? Of course it is. I was trying move the raid along quickly, so I rolled a Need, won it, and then moved on.
But then... I looked at the full package. On my off-hand, I'm holding the Ward of the Violet Citadel. So, in wielding the Sulfur Stave, I'd lose 13 hit rating, 6 spell power, and 50 Crit. Sure, I'd gain 13 Stamina, 23 Intellect, and 89 Spirit (lolSpirit4Mages), but it's not really an upgrade. Yeah... bad mage.
Luckily, nobody else wanted it in the raid.
Except for the fact that my wife (currently running shadow on her priest) was wielding the Screw-Sprung Fixer-Upper and the Lantern of Enchanted Flame, and had also hit Need. That means she would have gained 26 Stamina, 41 Intellect, 89 Spirit (dual use as a healing priest), 59 Hit Rating, 90 Spell Power, and would have lost 21 Crit and 10 mp5. Yeah... huge upgrade. It's a good thing she really doesn't care about loot, or else I'd probably still be sleeping on the couch.
You'd think I'd understand this by now, but... Morale of the story: Just because something is purple doesn't mean it's better than your blue.
On another note, I finally got the Mark of the War Prisoner to drop from H-VH. Yeah, hit raiting!