3.2.2 ArP Nerf & You

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:
Armor penetration (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. :)
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14 Responses to “3.2.2 ArP Nerf & You”


  1. 1 Kal September 9, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    Great post!

    I would add that even if you’re not using the trinkets with a proc, you can get very good returns on stacking armor pen – and that’s even with fairly meh gear. If you can get 600 armor pen or more, every itemization point of armor pen does about as much as agility does – and this keeps increasing significantly as you get more.

    I do agree that if you can’t get above 600 you shouldn’t bother at all. Between 100 and 600 the armor pen value per itemization point is less than agility, which makes it fairly suboptimal since agility also has a smoothing effect on rotations. This threshold will change to about 720 armor pen in 3.2.2. The thing is though – that’s still eminently obtainable via gear.

  2. 2 Beable September 15, 2009 at 10:31 am

    Thanks for this. I’m definitely being lazy by not switching to Arpen gems. But I do pretty good DPS without it (about 4k unbuffed dummy), and it would cost a ton to switch if I have to switch em out again for agility in 3.2.2.

    However, I am going to have to spring for epic gems soon, so if I didn’t have to switch back after 3.2.2, I’d consider going arpen instead of agility. Choices, choices. It’s kinda nice to be able to use your cat gear for bear in a pinch, though.

  3. 3 Moon September 22, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    the 100-600 threshold and the 720 threshold from 3.2.2, does that number include the gems or doesn’t include the gems?

  4. 4 Vallen September 22, 2009 at 2:06 pm

    To answer your immediate question, the #’s are in reference to the ArP cap (1399). So however you reach your # would be based on gear + gems.

    However, I would say try not to think too much about a magical threshold number and think more about what is available to you. Think realistically when you are considering gear upgrades.

    Lets try a few examples:

    If you have gear that gives you 20% penetration (1399*0.2 = 279.8) then you definitely don’t want to gem for ArP as you won’t see much benefit seeing as your % penetration is so low.

    If you have gear that gives you 20% penetration (1399/2 = 699.5) and you have a ArP trinket (grim toll/runestone) you would hit 100% penetration (1399) which means you don’t need any gems

    If you have gear that gives you 75% penetration (1399*0.75 = 1049.25) and you don’t have any trinkets, then it is probably more worthwhile to gem Agil as mass stacking ArP gems won’t push you to 100% and you’ll get more value out of Agil gems.

    This really also depends on how many SOCKETS you have available to gem ArP with. The point I am trying to make is the answer to your question is extremely variable depending on what gear you have. I promise I will try and elaborate in a post soon as I’ve been working on a “ArP gearing for dummies” type post without a lot of #’s or theorycrafting.

  5. 5 Moon September 22, 2009 at 2:54 pm

    well with my current gear I have roughly 800 arpen with gems and that’s with 11 sockets that has arpen gems.

    http://www.wowarmory.com/character-sheet.xml?r=Bleeding+Hollow&n=Moonaura

    • 6 Miiz September 28, 2009 at 10:00 pm

      Hmm seem the new patch out my dps going down…i dunno why can anyone help me to inspec on my geared is there anything i can improve on it?

      http://www.wowarmory.com/character-sheet.xml?r=Thaurissan&n=Miiz

      • 7 Vallen October 2, 2009 at 9:28 am

        Hi Miiz,

        There are lots of factors that can decrease your dps, some things to consider from looking at your armory:

        1) Different fights? are you using the same fights as comparisons?
        2) I noticed you’re using 3pt8, did you drop your 4pc? Are you keeping Savage Roar up 100% of the time?
        3) Look like you have 563 ArP with 612 Arp from the grim toll proc for a total of 1175 which is well below the new 3.2.2 ArP cap (1399)
        4) Is it going down in relation to other classes? I am noticing a lot of classes (specifically hunters) are doing a lot better with new gear etc.

        On a complete side note, you’re sitting on 344 hit (10.49%) which is way way way over hit cap

  6. 8 Miiz October 5, 2009 at 9:08 pm

    Hi vallen,

    Ya i have diff fights and recently i have regem my gears and wear diff set gears. Currently, im using t8x2 bonus instead. Still waiting for my t9.25 trophy to get my 2nd piece of t9.25 helm. Im working on regeming other slocket gear to +20arp and trying to get more +crit on my gear. The hit cap over capped because dude to my geared that i wear i cant help it lol.

    • 9 Vallen October 6, 2009 at 9:05 am

      Hi Miiz,

      I’m in exactly the same boat, I’m waiting for a second piece of 245 T9 before I swap to 2pt8+2pt9. In the interim my gear is a complete mess that really isn’t that maximized and looks quite embarrassing from a gem point of view. I wish some items would drop so that I can start regemming and fixing my set!

  7. 10 CrzyToaster November 4, 2009 at 2:33 am

    ok i have around 652 arp, only 1 20 arp gem, rest are agi, i can pull around 4k-5k dps, should i regem to arp? or keep the agi? (all epic gems)

    • 11 Vallen November 11, 2009 at 1:47 pm

      Saying you can pull 4-5k dps is kind of vague as your dps will scale up and down depending on the fight.

      As a general rule of thumb, the more arp you have, the more effective it is. Personally I’m sitting at over 900 with a runestone to push me over the 100% threshold. I would recommend that you regem arp but that’s just my opinion and I know there are those out there that would disagree. If you have a arp trinket (grim toll or runestone) that may be more effective to get closer to 100% while avoiding regemming.

      You also want to consider what sort of upgrades are available to you and how close you can get to 100% (1399 arp) in the near future. If you’re already maxed out and you can’t get many more upgrades, it may not be worthwhile to regem purely for arp.

  8. 12 Udasile. December 13, 2009 at 6:54 pm

    Hallo. I was wandering what is best.

    Getting hardcapped (788arm pene)+GT or shall i use all time 1100 arm pen ( full gems arm pene + jc gems)? thank u

    • 13 Vallen December 14, 2009 at 2:29 pm

      Hi Udasile,

      It’s somewhat of a loaded question. Lets consider your situation:

      Soft Capped: 788 + 613 (GT) = 1400 (100%)
      Hard Capped: 1100 (78.6%)

      The answer really comes down to, what gear you have available to you. I don’t want to make a definitive judgement for you b/c I don’t know what gear you’re wearing or what you have access to.

      With 3.3 and ICC out there is that fantastic trinket Needle-Encrusted Scorpion from FOS which is a big upgrade to your GT. Not to mention the Deathbringer’s Will, the awesome trinket from Saurfang! Also as you begin to pickup T10 your arp totals will change as well.

      For me, I prefer to stay soft capped as the raw gear stats of the items I have outweigh the arp I could gain from alternative arp heavy gear for the same slots.


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I’m Retired!

As of 04/04/2011, I have officially retired from WOW. This blog will remain as a archived resource for those who know that CAT DRUID IS 4 FITE!

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A blog for the ramblings and thoughts of Vallen, a full time raiding cat druid from Auchindoun-US with a passion for raiding & achievements. An avid wow player since 2004.

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