(Armor) Penetration: How hard will it be in 3.2.2?

Posted in Cat, Feral, Guide on Sep 16, 2009

For the past two weeks I’ve essentially been MIA as I finished up a series of massive projects at work and took a high-fiving trip to Chicago. During that time, of course, we’ve learned that in 3.2.2., the value of Armor Penetration will decrease to 110%, down from 125%. Has the so-called stat-of-the-gods fallen from its golden pedestal? Hardly. What we’re seeing is approximately a 12% nerf, if the old ArP hard cap was 1,230 and the new hard cap will be 1,399.57. Druids everywhere have bemoaned their long ride on the ever-changing stat train—from stacking STR to AGI to ArP and now to, what? Agility again? Sure, that’s probably the easy way out.

Me? I’m here to represent obsessive re-itemization. Lately I’ve seen “min/maxing” demonized, deplored as the paragon of all that’s not fun in WoW. A time waster. An exercise for elitists. A means to a picky, allegedly uninteresting and not-altogether useful end. Say it isn’t so! In a game where there’s little character progression beyond gear, tending to the fiddly-bits for even minor upgrades still feels to me like progress. Although there’s been much paw-wringing, it is still very possible to reach the Armor Penetration soft-cap if you’re a Druid with decent gear.

What’s decent gear? Without being too vague, most gear from Ulduar (iLevel 219) and upwards. Consider the following before proceeding:

  • What’s my critical strike chance, unbuffed, in Cat form? If you’re rocking over 50% critical strike chance, you’re definitely on the right path. Without enough critical strike, which feeds you combo points via 2/2 Primal Fury, your already complex rotation will fall apart.
  • How much Hit Rating do I have? When stacking AGI, you can gloss over a few misses here and there because you have combo points coming out of your ears. When using a heavy ArP armor set, the penalty for a miss is much higher. You can get by with approximately 245 (or greater.)
  • How much Expertise do I have? The Expertise soft-cap is 6.5%, which is equivalent to 213.135 Expertise Rating. Primal Precision automatically gives you 10 Expertise (81.975), which brings the aforementioned number down to 131.16. Although I place a much higher emphasis on Hit Rating rather than Expertise Rating (for DPS purposes), it’s still important.
  • Do these pants make me look fat? Yes, you’re a cow.

If you’ve ascertained that the previous numbers check out and you’re willing to do some work, read on. Have some basic math, too. In 3.2, 15.39529991 ArP Rating = 1% ArP. In 3.2.2, 13.99572719 ArP Rating = 1% ArP. Thus, to now reach an ArP soft-cap with trinkets, you need the following:

Grim Toll = 612 ArP Rating (~43.72%). To reach soft-cap, you need 787.57 ArP (~56.27%).

Mjolnir Runestone = 665 ArP Rating (~47.51%). To reach soft-cap, you need 734.57 ArP.
To reduce an enemy’s armor by 50%, you need approximately 700 ArP rating.

Let’s look at a relatively easy list of gear that you could acquire, right now, to get yourself on track for 3.2.2.

Option 1 – Includes easy weapon and two-piece T8 and T9.

Total AP

ArP

Total% Crit

Haste

Hit

Exp

Sockets

Slot

Source

Conqueror’s Nightsong Headguard

249.52424

50

2.7139008

0

0

0

2

Head

Ulduar 25 (Thorim), Vendor

Broach of the Wailing Night

158.92716

46

1.6093872

0

0

0

0

Neck

19 EoC

Malfurion’s/Runetotem’s Shoulderpads of Conquest

215.33492

52

1.0509264

60

0

0

1

Shoulder

30 EoT

Drape of Icy Intent

178.11648

0

0.8303616

41

40

0

1

Back

Ulduar 25 (Hodir)

Armor/Vest of Shifting Shadows

280.33976

59

3.3129792

0

0

0

2

Chest

TotC (10) Normal, Twin Valkyrs

Death-warmed Belt

194.06308

0

2.1272336

0

40

0

2

Waist

LW

Conqueror’s Nightsong Handgrips

231.0922

43

1.102824

33

0

0

1

Hands

Ulduar 25 (Mimiron)

Armbands of the Wary Lookout

160.16988

39

0.7654896

0

40

0

0

Wrist

TotC (5) Heroic

Malfurion’s/Runetotem’s Legguards of Conquest

252.68928

0

3.1093376

0

64

0

2

Leg

50 EoT

Treads of the Icewalker/Icewalker Treads

245.60676

69

2.6806192

0

0

0

1

Feet

TotC (25) Normal, Faction Champions

Dexterous Brightstone Ring

191.38832

50

0.9860544

50

0

0

0

Ring

35 EoT

Plainstalker Band/Signet

174.54852

39

0.7914384

0

38

0

1

Ring

TotC (10) Normal, Jaraxxus

Marrowstrike

2,339

57

2.46344

0

0

0

1

Weapon

TotC (5) Heroic

Total:

4,870.801

504

23.54399

7.2956 % Haste

222

0

14

Total with Grim Toll:

4,870.801

1,116

23.54399

7.2956 % Haste

305

0

14

Total with Mjolnir Runestone:

4,870.801

1,169

25.78799

7.2956 % Haste

222

0

14

Total with Banner of Victory:

4,870.801 + 1,008

588

23.54399

7.2956 % Haste

222

0

14

If you socket straight Fractured Cardinal Rubies and one Nightmare Tear, your total base ArP = 764. This places you squarely in the range of the ArP soft-cap, assuming you’re using either Grim Toll or the Mjolnir Runestone. Even without those two trinkets, you’re still reducing your target’s armor by ~54.58% (60.58%, if you have the Banner of Victory.) You’re also utilizing two-piece T8.5 and T9.232 and gear that can be entirely farmed from normal raids. Assuming the appropriate Cat talents, ~24% critical strike chance becomes 40% in Cat Form, and with the usual enchants, accidental socket bonuses (excluding profession bonuses) and various trinkets, you can expect to pick up another ~12% or so. This brings you to ~52% critical strike chance, unbuffed. Not bad, eh? This shit gets even easier if you have access to better gear. What happens if you have access to some of the best gear in the game?

Option 2 – ALL PENETRATION, NO WAITING! Includes Heroic Loot.

Total AP

ArP

Total% Crit

Haste

Hit

Exp

Sockets

Slot

Source

Hood/Mask of Lethal Intent

307.7184

74

1.556928

0

82

0

2

Head

75 EoT

Collar of Unending/Ceaseless Torment (Heroic)

189.2524

40

2.052208

0

0

0

1

Neck

TotC (10) Heroic, Northrend Beasts

Heroic Malfurion’s/Runetotem’s Shoulderpads of Triumph

277.06792

68

1.3752864

76

0

0

1

Shoulders

1 Regalia

Cloak of the Silver Covenant/Cloak of Serrated Blades (Heroic)

199.0922

49

2.356824

0

0

0

1

Back

TotC (25) Heroic, Tribute

Vest/Armor of Shifting Shadows (Heroic)

311.85432

67

3.6807744

0

0

0

3

Chest

TotC (10) Heroic, Twin Valkyrs

Belt of the Merciless/Pitiless Killer (Heroic)

251.55336

0

1.2714912

76

68

0

2+1

Waist

TotC (25) Heroic, Twin Valkyrs

Armbands/Bracers of Dark Determination (Heroic)

172.06308

0

2.1492336

0

49

0

2

Wrists

TotC (25) Heroic, Anub’arak

Heroic Malfurion’s/Runetotem’s Legguards of Triumph

334.93684

0

4.0214928

0

86

0

2

Legs

1 Regalia

Icewalker Treads/Treads of the Icewalker (Heroic)

251.55336

68

1.2714912

0

76

0

2

Feet

TotC (25) Heroic, Faction Champions

Planestalker Signet/Band (Heroic)

206.57764

44

0.9990288

0

44

0

1

Ring

TotC (10) Heroic, Jaraxxus

Dexterous Brightstone Ring

191.38832

50

0.9860544

50

0

0

0

Ring

35 EoT

Lupine Longstaff/Twin’s Pact (Heroic)

3,540

94

1.7774928

102

0

0

2

Weapon

TotC (25) Heroic, Twin Valkyrs

Total:

6,233.058

554

23.49831

12.0536% Haste

405 (lol)

0

20

Total with Grim Toll:

6,233.058

1,166

23.49831

12.0536% Haste

489

0

20

Total with Mjolnir Runestone:

6,233.058

1,219

25.74231

12.0536% Haste

405

0

20

Total with Banner of Victory:

6,233.058 +1,008

638

23.49831

12.0536% Haste

405

0

20

If you notice, even with some incredibly ridiculous gear, your critical strike chance will end up approximately the same unbuffed. The obvious difference is that you can get over 2,000 more AP from the crazy-go-nuts gear, and 934 ArP through gear and gemming alone. Here, I’d recommend dropping Grim Toll (obviously—have you seen how much Hit Rating this set boasts?) and the Mjolnir Runestone in favor of the Banner of Victory (giving you 1,081 ArP) and some other shiny trinket (even a Greatness card!) At this point, you could also use an Elixir of Armor Piercing (45 ArP) and Hearty Rhino (40 ArP) to lower the gap between your gear and the ArP hard cap to 233.37 ArP. You’ll even notice that three pieces of gear don’t even have ArP. Theoretically, if you went fishing for pieces of semi-inferior gear with ArP, you could hit the hard cap without using any special foods or elixirs.

Or, you could choose to socket Delicate Cardinal Rubies in that gear set and run with Banner of Victory and either Grim Toll or the Mjolnir Runestone. You’d be working just below the ArP soft-cap, but you’d gain ~4.93% critical strike. Blessing of Kings brings this to ~5.42%. Which is the better option? If you plug all the appropriate numbers (and raid buffs) into Tossk’s Cat DPS Calculator for 3.2.2 for both of those scenarios (feel free to use the Cat DPS Gear Spreadsheet and try out some numbers yourself), you’ll notice that you get very similar DPS numbers, with ArP only slightly edging out AGI (by a couple hundred DPS or so). However, the closer you move to the ArP hard cap (i.e. if you took that 940 ArP and added Elixir of Armor Piercing and Hearty Rhino, bringing you to 1,166), the gap widens even more.

Ultimately, it comes down to playstyle, as Kalon recently discussed. But my take on ArP? I’m going to be milking it for as long as I can.

I realize that the tables are so big that they break in the browser window. If you’d like to download these tables, along with the rest of the article, click here.

10 Comments

  • At 2009.09.17 00:33, Jacemora said:

    Moooooo

    • At 2009.09.17 12:14, Spectrum said:

      Nice post. It seems a bit odd that you said, “3.2, 15.39529991 ArP Rating = 1% ArP. In 3.2.2, 13.99572719 ArP Rating = 1% ArP.” Which looks to me like a buff instead of the nerf I had been hearing about. Isn’t a buff if we would now need less ArP?

      I’m sort of sad that they’re getting rid of ArP. To me it was a fun stat. I like math.

      • [...] to point out that the pro theorycrafters have covered this as well: Kalon here and here, Runy here. (Runy- how many cows were harmed in the making of that post?)  Me? I’m just a dude with [...]

        • [...] the skyrocketing prices of Delicate Cardinal Rubies, please take a look at the previous post: (Armor) Penetration: how hard will it be in 3.2.2? Although stacking ArP becomes a much more expensive endeavor, it’s entirely possible to pull off [...]

          • At 2009.09.23 10:00, spw said:

            How do you feel about the lack of expertise? Going with 0 from gear would make me a bit nervous. I’d like to equip the badge helm but I’m using the T9 one now for the expertise.

            • At 2009.09.23 10:14, Runycat said:

              Well, I think it’s pretty clear that in both gearing instances, they’re really just examples. As I mentioned, I don’t think it’s a great idea to drop well below the Hit or Expertise cap (and if you look at that second set, for example, you’re overbudget on Hit Rating by about thirty million). Now, there are a few obvious ways to get around this, if you’re up for it.

              1) Mixing and matching gear.
              2) Primal Precision = 81.975
              3) Elixir of Expertise = 45
              4) Rhinolicious Wormsteak = 40

              That’s not super-fantastic, but without gear at all, you can bring yourself up to 1.5% short of the soft-cap. I’m actually rolling at 5.5% myself. If I just look back at the last 25 man VoA I did, and I found that only one boss dodged one of my white damage attacks. That’s really not too shabby.

              • At 2009.09.23 12:46, spw said:

                We are probalby the best at min/maxing right now, min exp uber max hit!

                I call this ilvl gear the hidden nerf. You want arp? No set bonuses for you! Expertise?? Bah who needs it. Fun stuff :)

            • At 2010.01.19 19:02, Toladolza said:

              now crit is 13,9966273187183.

              • At 2010.01.19 19:04, Toladolza said:

                ops! not crit ARP is 13,9966273187183
                sorry

                • At 2010.01.19 19:16, Runycat said:

                  Just as an FYI, this site is no longer being updated. Check out the first post on the home page.

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