September 6, 2009

Armour Penetration Nerfed for 3.2.2

In the latest build of WoW 3.2.2 on the PTR, it seems that Armour Penetration, after only recently being buffed to 125% has been nerfed to 110%. I went to the forums to see if I could find anything, and of course our lovely crab friend Ghostcrawler shed some light on the matter.

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.
As a warrior I don't see this as a huge nerf, especially as I don't ArP stack at all, in fact I prefer to rely on pure AP and crit for my damage. However some people (Marksman Hunters and Arms Warriors for example) have done the ArP stack and are, well, let's just say "not too happy"

GC then followed up with this post.
There is rarely an ideal time to announce a nerf. In the case of e.g. the Prot paladin healing nerf, we had already decided we were going to fix it and how we were going to fix it so we announced it relatively early. The armor pen decision included more debate. I am sorry if the timing was bad for any of you personally, but we certainly can't promise that future nerfs or buffs won't necessitate gear changes.

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.

That said, we don't think it will be a trash stat if we make this change. If you could beat plate-wearers in PvP before we don't think that will suddenly flip overnight. We don't think you'll feel the need to shard your items with armor pen.

We also think the change is good for both PvE and PvP. My earlier comment was to try and discourage players from thinking their PvE got nerfed for PvP reasons, though that absolutely happens sometimes when we can't avoid it. Some players have been concerned about the power of melee classes in Arenas. While this change alone isn't likely to sway their opinions, chilling out melee damage in PvP probably isn't a bad thing.

Yes, armor pen is gone in Cataclysm, at least as a rating on gear. Until then we want it to be a good stat but not one that trumps every other gear consideration.
I for one welcome the changes to the World of Warcraft and see this change as a change for the future, at least until Armour Penetration is removed.

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