Monday, June 14, 2010

DPS, Gear, and Metal by Numbers

I'm going to ramble here a bit about gear, both PvP, and PvE, and some pitfalls associated with them. I don't do any theorycrafting, but I do discuss some test dummy numbers and numerical stuff, so if you don't like that type of stuff, I guess I'll see you next post...

Wagons Ho!

The first upgrade to mention was my PvP belt; Relentless Gladiator's Girdle of Triumph. It's got some really nice stats, and, like every other PvP item I've picked up, it's a significant upgrade over my previous PvE item.

My PvP Gear summary If you look at each item, overall, they are an upgrade.

EXCEPT for hit. According to the sites I visit (wow-heroes among them) I 229 need points of hit, and I was at 223. So I gemmed my belt buckle with a +20 hit, and we're good to go. (if you look at the "summary page for my PvP gear, you will notice that I lose a fair bit of AGI, but that translates to about 1.5 Crit points (NOT %) so I am still at a net gain in Crit.

Now, even though they are clear benefits, there are a couple downsides:

1) As I noted with my waist, the PvP gear will have different stat allocation than PvP gear. So in my case, I replaced a waist that had moderate hit, with a waist that did not. GOTTA WATCH THAT!!

2) It is entirely possible that someone will inspect your gear and go "wtf up with your PvP gear?" Especially with me, where I have 4 pieces currently. All you can say is that the PvP gear you have is absolutely an upgrade over the item it replaced (it better be!)

3) PvP gear will give you a higher gearscore than you really "deserve", and your output (heals, DPS, whatever) may not meet expectations. With my 4 pieces of PvP gear, my gearscore is ~5,530, which looks nice. However, I would say I am only as effective (assume equal skill/class/spec player) as someone about 5,400. If you're reasonably skilled, it won't matter, but it is worth noting.

Moving On

So... I did a bit of raiding and a little acquisition this weekend. I was able to get the Blade-Scored Carapace from Saurfang 10 man. (One neat thing I learned is that mmo-champion's listing/links includes gems & enchants!) Since this would replace my T-9.5 chest, but NOT remove my 2 piece T-9 bonus, I was pretty jazzed.

I also had 95 frost emblems, which made me even more jazzed! Now, assuming I used the new chest piece, RAWR said the T-10 helm was the item to get. So, off to the vendor I go, and I get the new item.

A slight aside here.

I have noticed that since I replaced my old weapon; Orca-Hunter's Harpoon with Ramaladni's Blade of Culling, that I was not always proccing "Art of War" (AoW) which causes my next Exorcism (or Flash of Light) to be instant cast. If you look at the picture below, it should be kind of obvious why:

(Click on it for a larger, more legible version)

What it shows is that I lost 66 crit, and 112 Agility. I don't care if Agi is a Hunter stat or not, the Crit I got off that weapon was AWESOME. All together I lost about 69 crit points (~1.55%)


Now, if it were "just a stat" and had no real world benefit, I wouldn't care. BUT, as I have mentioned, I am actually losing out a bit on my DPS because AoW isn't proccing all the time. (usually at the beginning of a fight, but it occasionally happens mid-fight as well)

So, I did something NOT "called out" by Elitist Jerks, and I added a Crit gem to my new chest. The other 2 gems are standard Ret Pally: 2x +20 Str gems.

Back "On Topic"

So, with my gemmed and enchanted chest and helm, I headed over to a test dummy to see how the new 2 - piece T-10 set bonus (I now have Head & Shoulders lol) plus the new chest.



My DPS with my old gear was about 4835 (+/- a bit) and I could bash away on the test dummy essentially non-stop as long as I popped Divine Plea (DP) occasionally.

My DPS with the new gear?

4835 (+/- a bit)

AND I ran OOM before DP came off cooldown!

AND I had even more troubles with AoW not proccing.


*deep breath*

OK, what happened?

First off, I lost my T-9 2 piece set bonus (Your Righteous Vengeance talent now has a chance for its damage to be critical strikes)

So, I lost some critical strikes from my Righteous Vengeance. This lowered THAT damage, and also (probably) contributed to fewer crits overall, which then lead to AoW not always being up.

Um, overall, that isn't too good. It explains (possibly)a net "zero" for DPS gains.

What about the whole OOM thing? (OOM is "Out of Mana")

Let's see, losing the T-9 wouldn't have any effect. BUT, I GAINED the T-10 2 piece set bonus (Your melee attacks have a 40% chance to reset the cooldown on your Divine Storm ability)

Hmmm, this means that I will be casting Divine Storm a fair bit more. HIGH mana consumption, and only "so-so" single target.

Clearly, losing the T-9 set bonus and getting the T-10 bonus is Not worth it. (at least not on Bosses. I need to try it out for trash)

Moving On

So, what if I use the Helm, and store the chest, what sort of DPS will that get me?
4850 (+/-)

I'll be honest here and say that I have no effing clue why this didn't do better.
I expected this to really kick butt. No such luck.


The last combination of gear is the old helm, with the new chest. Keep the T-9 bonus, lose the T-10 bonus, but gain a bit of crit & other "stuff". Given the results of the previous, I won't hold my breath. So?

4995 (+/-)

Again, I have ZERO clue why this combo is better than the other 2. Not by a squinch, but by a LOT. (well, at this point 150 DPS seems like a large amount)

But What Does It All Mean?

The only thing you can really say about the whole thing is that number crunching, widgets (like Rawr) and other bits can only help so much. Training dummies are much better, and "in raid" testing is even better yet. Perhaps the best theory crafters out there can avoid this, but I don't play that game.

Anyhow, just because an item has better stats, it doesn't mean it will be an actual upgrade. Item interaction plays a big role in overall gear performance. Sometimes you will need to hold on to that piece until such a time when it WILL make a difference (like holding on to my T-10 helm, so that when I get another 2 pieces of T-10, so I cen get the 4 pc bonus)

Other times things can be a real upgrade, but you need to be extra careful about stat itemization. Some of this might be "core"stats for your class (like hit, or other hard & soft caps) that are easy to catch and adjust, other times it will be more subtle (like my own crit issue) where it will require you being aware of how your toon plays, and realizing that all things aren't behaving quite right.

Actually, on this point, it may actually be worth going back to the Orca harpoon and seeing if all that crit would improve the DPS. Or, perhaps, some combination of the above would be good/better for trash.

Test Dummies for Dummies, perhaps?


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