Strength, how does it work? More punching, less scratching in 4.2.

Posted by in Cat, Cataclysm, Patch Notes

After an apparently overwrought tussle about a “need” roll on an STR mace, a warrior[i] I know asked, “How good is strength for druids anyway?” “Complete shit,” I responded instantaneously. But that’s not entirely true. These days[ii], most druids know that it’s almost never preferable to take an item boasting STR rather than AGI, but STR still provides us with oft overlooked benefits. Currently, one point of STR grants us two[iii] AP. Come 4.2, that’ll drop to one point of AP per each point of STR. So if we’re not being morons and gearing with STR, how will this strength nerf actually affect our DPS?

Let’s take a look at Mark of the Wild and Horn of Winter[iv] using some made up STR values.

Buff Base Strength 4.1 4.2
Mark of the Wild 100 105 STR = 210 AP 105 STR = 105 AP
Horn of Winter 100 649 STR = 1,298 AP 649 STR = 649 AP
    Total AP: 1,508 Total AP: 754

Strength is also buffed by various enchantments.

Enchantment Strength Value 4.1 4.2
Enchant Gloves – Mighty Strength 50 100 AP 50 AP
Enchant Chest – Peerless Stats 20 40 AP 20 AP
    Total AP: 140 Total AP: 70

Most of you probably didn’t need charts to explain that the amount of AP we’ll receive from STR is effectively halved, but I spent five fucking minutes putting it together, so enjoy it. Now, assuming that one point of AP is approximately equal to 0.72 DPS, the STR nerf will result in a net loss of 542.88 DPS from normal raid buffs and a 50.4 DPS loss from chants. That’s a total theoretical DPS loss of 593.28.

Folks, this is not the end of the world. Unless you’re someone who always executes a perfect rotation, you can probably stand to boost your DPS by at least that much. It’s also important to remember that while AP from Strength is being halved in 4.2 Blizzard is giving our direct damage dealing abilities[v] some love:

  • Ferocious Bite damage has been increased by 15%. In addition, its base cost has been reduced to 25 energy and it can use up to 25 energy, for up to a 100% damage increase.
  • Mangle (Cat) damage at level 80 and above has been increased to 540% weapon damage, up from 460%, and bonus damage has been lowered to 302.
  • Rake initial damage on hit now deals the same damage as each periodic tick (and is treated the same for all combat calculations). Periodic damage now gains 14.7% of attack power per tick, up from 12.6%, and base damage per tick has been lowered from 557 to 56.
  • Ravage damage at level 80 and above has been increased to 950% weapon damage, up from 850%, and bonus damage has been lowered to 532.
  • Savage Roar now grants 80% increased damage to melee auto attacks, up from 50%. The Glyph of Savage Roar remains an unchanged bonus of 5% to that total.
  • Shred damage at level 80 and above has been increased to 540% weapon damage, up from 450%, and bonus damage has been lowered to 302.

Although I’m a little surprised that Blizzard is tugging us away from the MAKE EVERYTHING BLEED model, especially given Razor Claws, I don’t anticipate the shift to dramatically change current gemming or gearing notions. If direct damage is given preference over bleed damage over time, it stands to reason that mastery becomes less valuable and haste becomes totally awesome. Remember all that critical strike that you (hopefully) reforged into mastery? Reforge again and pick up haste instead.


[i] And no, it wasn’t my husband.

[ii] Even if you’re a seasoned changeling, you may not remember the brief patch in which socketing for STR was preferable.

[iii] Before talents and buffs.

[iv] Although MotW can be overwritten by BoK and HoW can be overwritten by Strength of Earth Totem, both paladins and shamans have different buffing options—hence why they’ve been left out of the discussion. I’m also ignoring Roar of Courage and Battle Shout.

[v] Stuff that isn’t a bleed effect.