In a recent post by Ghostcrawler (GC) has announced that there will be a nerf on Armor Penetration in 3.2.2. This is an early notice to everyone so that they understand and can prepare for the forthcoming changes. In other words, when selecting gear and gemming keep this in mind for 3.2.2 as things will change (who wants to replace expensive epic gems right?). Before we get down to the nitty gritty lets go over exactly what has been announced. For a full view of follow-up posts by GC and massive amounts of QQ check here.
Quote from: Ghostcrawler (Source)
The nerf to armor pen in 3.2.2 is intentional. Compared to the recent buff where we increased the value of armor rating to 125%, this nerf would take it back down to 110%. While we are still evaluating the effects of this change in the 3.2.2 build, we did want to let you know of the possibility in case you were about to spend a lot on armor pen gems.In fact, this was really the point. Several melee specs (and Marksman hunters) had begun to focus on armor pen at the expense of all other stats. Gear without armor pen was being passed over and gem sockets were increasingly being filled with just this one stat. While every spec has stats that are more valuable than others, this one felt like it was starting to trump everything. Not coincidentally, characters stacking lots of armor pen were starting to do more damage than their peers and more damage than we were comfortable with.This change is largely for PvE reasons, though we won’t cry at all if melee damage in PvP drops a little as a result.We’re letting you know now so that this doesn’t feel like a stealth nerf, assuming it goes live. While you might disagree or be frustrated by the change (though I also suspect it won’t come as a surprise to many players), we ask that you try and keep your response to something appropriate for these forums.
So what does that mean to us kitties? Well lets break it down step by step.
What is Armor Penetration (ArP)?
With the way ArP is currently all feral druids have resorted to choosing gear that provides ArP and as GC as mentioned in his post, passed on gear that didn’t have ArP. I am definitely guilty of not taking gear that doesn’t have ArP and leaving myself below the expertise cap in favor of more ArP. Lets break down what ArP really is which is explained in depth here on wowwiki
, ArP is defined as the following:
(sometimes abbreviated ArP
or called armor pen
) is a value appearing on many items, talents, and abilities that indicates the percentage of armor that will be ignored by an attack. ArP is unique in that the more ArP you have, the greater the increase in damage becomes. Since Patch 3.0
, all items with armor penetration have been modified to a rating system that affects a percentage of armor ignored. This means that gear scales more cleanly with all bosses but has a side effect of becoming less useful on low armor ones.
In lamens terms, the more ArP you have, the more dmg your attacks do as it ignores more armor. Essentially you want to get your ArP as close to 100% as possible which requires a total of 1231.6 ArP (As of 3.2.0). This can be achieved in one of two ways, hard capping or soft capping.
- Hard Capping refers to reaching the 100% mark (1231.6 ArP) through ArP gained from gear and gems
- Soft Capping refers to reaching the 100% mark through Arp gained from gear, gems & a trinket that procs ArP such as Mjolner’s Runestone or Grim Toll. As an example, if you have a runestone equipped which provides a 665 ArP buff, you would only require 566.6 ArP from gear/gems to reach the 100% cap.
Now you may be asking which is better, hard or soft cap. Consider this, a runestone has an internal cooldown of 45s in other words once it has procced, it will go 45s before it will proc again. That leaves you with 45s where you will be below 100% ArP. Doing some quick math, 655 (runestone proc) / 12.31 (1% arp) = 54% less ArP every 45s, meaning you will only have 46% ArP for a large portion of your fight which is not ideal, whereas hard capped at 100% you would receive the benefits of ArP 100% of the time. If you’re a hardcore theorycrafter (which I’m not) you can take a look at GC’s mathematical equation behind ArP here
What does the 3.2.2 change mean?
Essentially what the change means is, the amount of armor penetration required to reach 100% will increase. This is highlighted through a post by Whitetooth from EJ located here
- In 3.2.0 at level 80, 12.31623993 ArP is required to get 1% ArP
- In 3.2.2 at level 80, 13.99572719 ArP is required to get 1% Arp
In simplified terms, instead of 1231.6 ArP for 100% ArP you will need 1399.57 Arp for 100% ArP. A total increase of 167.97 ArP. More ArP required to reach 100% means the less likely it will be to push for a 100% hard cap and less likely that people will choose ArP gear over other gear. Or as Blizzard states:
Quote from: Ghostcrawler (Source)
I wouldn’t focus too much on the issue of using too many of the same kind of gem. There are plenty of situations where that has been the case since BC (though it’s not ideal in a perfect world). Rather the case was that classes that had been using Agi or Str or whatever were now switching almost exclusively to armor pen and being greatly rewarded for it. Gear without armor pen was being passed over. Specs that benefited a lot from armor pen were outstripping specs in the same class. As many other players have concluded, it was just too good
What preparations should we make for 3.2.2?
This completely depends on your set of gear. If you’re on the higher end of progression raiding, you can still probably hit 1399.6 ArP with a trinket (hard capping looks pretty tough with these changes) and it probably will not affect you too greatly. You’ll probably still want to gem primarily into ArP as well (until you reach 100% where you’d switch to agility). If you’re on the lower end of raiding or a casual player, all this means is you probably shouldn’t purposely avoid any gear without ArP.
Take ArP when you can but understand that you won’t realize the full benefits of ArP until you get closer to 100% penetration which will be difficult for a casual player. A really good table to break down the scaling benefits of ArP can be found on wowwiki here
. About 3/4 way down, the table named “PERCENT DPS INCREASE TABLE”
Things I would recommend doing:
- Check to see what upgrades are available to you (realistically)
- Add your current ArP + plausible upgrades to get your ArP potential
- Determine the delta between your plausible ArP vs 100% in 3.2.2 (1399.6 – Your Plasuible ArP)
- If your delta is less than 0 or close to 0, you are probably ok to gem to 100%, if your delta is pretty high, you should probably consider gemming agil until your delta is lower.
That’s it for now, remember this change isn’t finalized and could change but it looks like it will go live. As well all of this goes away with Cataclysm so don’t get too worked up over it.