Thursday, September 10, 2009


In case you haven't gotten tired of the various links from Vallen and Jacemora recently, I bring you Alaron of Fluid Druid - and his absolutely excellent, easy to read and understand FAQ on armor pen. It's the best post I've seen on the whole thing so far, and has some really great graphs illustrating how armor pen increases in value as you get more.

Seriously, it puts a lot of the debate to rest and makes it very simple. For now, the rules are easy: if you can get above 600 armor pen, it's the best stat. Otherwise agility is. In 3.2.2, this changes to about 850 armor pen.


Ironhyde said...

So here is what I'm still confused about. I'm not totally convinced that the shred idol has been replaced by the idol of mutilation. I seem to have more steady dps with the shred idol as compared to the mutilation idol. Right now I am sitting at 570 armour pen. with Grim Troll. Could you shed any insight into this Kalon? Thanks in advance.

Kalon said...

Ironhyde, you may be right. In theory the shred idol shouldn't be adding that much; 200 agility should easily trump 203 damage extra on shred given the higher crit, the added damage to everything, and the multiplication with other bonuses such as Kings.

But you're not the first person to state this.

I'm willing to believe there may be a bug in the shred idol. I think the only way to really demonstrate this would be to test it. I'll see if I can do some quickie testing of it later this week.

runycat said...

So, I've been screwing around with an ArP article for quite some time now. What's interesting is that I've created four different gear sets (one with two-piece T8/T9 and all normal loot, one with two-piece T8/T9 with hardmode loot, one without any tier/hardmode gear and finally, one that stacks ArP regardless of other gear stats) and, if you socket straight ArP in all but one socket, they still come up about even (between 750-820 ArP).

Now, obviously you'll tend to do more damage as the iLevel goes up and you've got that sweet hardmode gear, but it's not difficult to obtain all that ArP. If, however, you're sitting at 800 ArP and you've got Mjolnir equipped, you're actually going to overshoot your hard cap. 800 ArP and Grim Toll works better (theoretically).

I think that utilizing ArP effectively will require a little more micromanagement (and I'm still doing a little math on this, and you know that takes me twenty years), but thus far seems as though the rewards will still be greater than AGI. I'm not, however, sure that it's tremendously better.

Kalon said...

Runy, that's a really good point and one I tried to make earlier in a comment; armor pen is everywhere. Gemming for it only gets you about 250 armor pen. There's just a ton of it out there on the gear you want most, and even if you're not going out of your way to stack it you'll still end up with quite a bit if you take better pieces over worse ones. I mean, what are you going to replace it with - hit? Haste? None of these do what armor pen does for your damage, even at lower levels.

I think you're right for the most part; at the levels you're talking about armor pen isn't the OMG must have stat that (for example) agility was back in the day too. Agility and armor pen are going to remain close.

However, based on what I'm seeing from various superpro guilds, if you can reach the hard cap on armor pen it does become that way, or as close to it as you want. At 1200 armor pen it's about 30% better than agility on a per-point basis, and more importantly you get some really stupid results in short term from burst damage and swipe damage.

At lower levels it's really down to personal preference. And about 40% of the time, it'll be worse than agility due to RNG; agility allows for some really stupid things like massive crits and lucky streaks of FB, and in general tends to make you have more than enough CPs compared. Some people do better with that, some don't, and it certainly is favored in some fights over others.

You definitely shouldn't keep stacking it religiously if you've got one of the armor pen proc trinkets. At that point it becomes similar to hit at least some of the time; completely useless. It's not completely useless 100% of the time, but even an awesome stat useless 25% of the time starts to hurt. It also means that you have to do things like time FB hits and berserks when you proc, which is a lot of hassle. Agility doesn't force you to worry about that sort of thing, which can again help with certain play styles.

Alaron said...

Thanks for the kind words, Kalon.

There definitely is a level of gear at which ArPen is better then agi, but I'm not sure it's worth it. Heck, I hardly even worry when I pull aggro in heroics now, do to all the dodge from the agi. :) When I get the chance, I'll have to play around with Rawr and get some stats for a BiS kitty (can't at work) and see what I get.
This conversation will probably get more interesting in 3.3 when Icecrown gear becomes available, and it becomes easier to cap out ArPen. Overall, though, I can't see it staying in it's current form, as the incremental model of 'sucky stat...great stat! useless stat' is horrible design. (Yes, I know it's coming out for Cataclysm, but I wouldn't be surprised to see it nerfed again for 3.3.)

Zoblefu said...

Well I'm a bear first and cat second, but I do have a good cat offspec and decent cat gear... I had been gemming for ArP (but with blue +16 gems) and with gems it was right around 600.

I guess it's time to just swap back to agility... ArP is on a lot of gear but being a bear first I'm on the low end of the totem pole at times on getting the good dps gear :)

An interesting note though, when I was playing with the dps calculator linked from your link (Tossk's or whatever)... I plugged in all my stats, minus 8 gems worth of stats, and my normal buffs and all. At that point it said agility was worth more than ArP to my dps by a decent margin (at 451 ArP). However, adding 128 agility produced a LOWER DPS than adding 128 ArP for some reason? A bit baffled by that...

But I'll go with your basic... "if you can't get it over 800, go agi instead".

Also -- Very glad you're back to posting regularly, thanks!

Kalon said...

Zoblefu - the behavior of adding 128 armor pen vs. 128 agility and seeing it be a bigger dps increase is exactly what you'd expect. That's sort of the reason why armor pen is so awesome; it doesn't scale the same with every point. Each point makes all previous points more valuable AND makes itself more valuable.

At around 600 armor pen, each point is worth more than agility (currently). That's what you're seeing in Toskk's calculator.

Anyway, right now the basic threshold is 600. If you can't get above 600 don't bother. If you can, definitely do bother.

Zoblefu said...

Well with current gear I get close but don't quite get to 600. I'm just using the blue gems, and have 8 gem slots for my dps gear alone (some still share spots with tanking gear).

With all of it in ArP (which is how it currently is) I only get to 579. But from 451->579 still shows a larger dps increase than increasing my agility by 128 (from 1313 to 1441).

Anyway, I think I'll go back to Agility when I start to gem the new pieces. It's close enough as it is now to not bother paying to swap them all at once.

Jacemora said...

It's funny, just looking at the top cats on my server, none are stacking ArP currently.

Glad to see people examining this closer. My stand continues as ArP not enough of a bonus over agility to worry about swapping gems.

Also, the one time I did swap to all ArP I was under 600 so that explains it as well.

Also, I have better results with Shred idol and I want my Emblems back from the Mut idol... lol I don't know why either, but time after time my DPS is slightly higher with the shred idol on stationary targets... 100-200DPS. Doesn't make sense to me either.

Charles William said...


I imagine you might be seeing better results from the shred idol precisely because you are gemming agility. Recall that the value of agility decreases slightly once your crit passes 60%. I don't have the benefit of your raid-buffed stats, but if you are gemming Agi at this level I would guess you are well past 60% crit. So the Agi proc on the mutilation idol is worth less to you than to someone who gemmed straight ArPen and may be a touch below 60% crit. I'll have to check my raid-buffed crit % next time.


Alaron said...


I've posted part 2 of my look at feral ArPen vs. Agi, in which I determine that the decision to switch to ArPen gemming is based on several factors, not just your pre-gem ArPen levels.

P.S. Since you increase my traffic by about 1000%, another linkback would be great. :)

Kalon said...

Alaron - done!