24 October 2010

A case for DPS jewelry

With patch 4.0.1 shuffling up stats quite a bit, Bear Druids get the endless pleasure of re-gearing part of their equipment. Where previously we used AGI/STA leather and STR/DEF jewelry, with the new patch, we'll be using AGI/STA stuff in our jewelry (and cloak) slots as well.

The might of agility
Since the patch, each point of AGI provides 2 AP in bearform (before buffs and talents and such). This was 0 before the patch. Consequently, agility is now just as good as strength when it comes to attack power. But, agility also provides crit and dodge. Dodge is gained at approximately the same amount with agility as with dodge rating (dodge rating is slightly better). And while you get crit a bit faster with crit rating, the difference isn't large. The only thing that's less awesome is that agility no longer provides armor.

Now AP and crit are nice for threat, but since the patch, Savage Defense plays a much larger role in our survival. The shields can go up to 15K or more with a maximized stack of Vengeance in high-end raiding gear. And that really takes the edge of those big hits.

And while agility has become more awesome, the removal of defense rating means that the classical tank jewelry now has more dodge rating. In itself, this isn't bad, but the conversion defense -> dodge isn't 1:1, since most of those items already had some dodge-rating and the itemization formula makes stats more expensive the more you get of them.

An example
So all the pieces line up for DPS jewelry/cloak to strike a decisive blow at their tank counterparts. Lets look at an example to see what's up:

The tank-cloak:
Royal Crimson Cloak (heroic), item level 277.
599 armor, 78 strength, 141 stamina, 102 dodge rating, 44 hit rating, 1 socket

The dps-cloak:
Shadowvault Slayers Cloak (heroic), item level 277
599 armor, 102 agility, 141 stamina, 60 crit rating, 68 haste rating, 1 socket

The armor, stamina and the socket are equal, they cancel out. The dodge from both cloaks is close, but the DPS cloak actually gives slightly more with raid buffs. The AP from the agility outweighs the AP from the strength (to be fair: Most comparisons between equal level tank and DPS jewelry/cloaks will show the same agility and strength, giving equal AP in both cases).

So the main difference we're left with is a whole truckload of crit (from agi and crit-rating) and some haste versus a little bit of hit on the tank cloak. Both threat-wise and survival-wise this massively favors the DPS cloak. Losing the hit can be a bit unfortunate, but it can be reobtained by reforging for example.

And that's just this specific example. If you run the numbers and compare tank-jewelry with their AGI/STA equivalents, then the DPS stuff wins every time. There's only a little over 1 month to go before Cataclysm, so it may not be needed to go all-out on regearing. But this trend will most likely carry on into Cataclysm, so it's good to know. And if you're planning to level as kitty, then you will have a very nice overlap between your leveling DPS gear and you instancing tank gear.

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