Saturday, December 20, 2008

Paladin: Hit, Crit, Agi, Expertise and Armor Pen.

With the advent of Wrath of the Lich King, we've had a lot of itemization changes.

Spell Damage and Spell Healing have been merged into Spell Power.

Melee Hit and Spell Hit have become Hit.

And most of the plate has merged to become: Tank, Melee, Healer.

Lucky holy paladins. :P

What does this mean for us Ret Pallies? We're sharing armor with DPS warriors and now DK's. Neither of the two of them use intellect (which I mean in so VERY many ways!) and so a lot of the gear that's floating out there for us to use also has no intellect.

Which means a magical shrinking mana pool!

But that's besides the point. That's why we have Replenishment and Divine Plea and Seal of Wisdom and Judgement of Wisdom. You start getting low in mana and you do something and poof, back it comes. The bad part of having a small mana pool is also the good part of it - you don't need a lot to fill it back up!

The other thing of note is the scarcity of gear that makes us sit up and jump. All of a sudden we have all these new things being thrown at us. Expertise and Armor Penetration, Hit Rating? What?

With the loss of Precision, suddenly we paladins need to start thinking of our hit ratings.

And how do we handle this expertise and armor penetration? How important is it over our tried and true crit rating?



So here are some K-Derived numbers (take as truth at your own risk!, all my numbers were generated through wowwiki or worldofwarcraft forum research).

Hit Rating
If we can't hit, we can't crit. (or do damage, really...) so hit rating, especially at the level of 80 heroics and raids, is very important.

The hit rating assumes that you have maxed weapon skill.

Lvl 80 requires 5% hit. Lvl 81 requires 5.5% hit. Lvl 82 requires 6% hit. (Lvl 82 is, iirc, the level of most heroic bosses.)

Lvl 83, the level of all raid bosses in Northrend, requires a whopping 9%!

So, I hear you say, those numbers are the same as they were in BC! We always needed a 9% hit.

Ah, but as we all know, the amount of stat required goes UP UP UP the higher level you are. Which is why people wearing their Uber-Classic gear at level 70 were always looked at sideways. Yeah, real cool that you have it, and sure, it LOOKS like it's got stats that are equivalent to what gear that drops for you now appears to have... but the gear level is too low and so those numbers don't mean what the numbers seem to mean!

Blizzard likes to screw with our heads this way.

So, not only do they take away our pretty pretty Precision (which gave us ret pallies at 3% hit), but they then increase the amount of hit rating points we need!

A 32.79 hit rating is equal to 1% hit.

So at level 80, with 400 weapon skill, you need 295 hit rating to hit a level 83 boss.
At level 80, with 400 weapon skill, you need 197 hit rating to hit a level 82 boss.

And by hit, I mean 'not miss'. This doesn't stop parries or dodges however. So don't attack from in front of the mob. Not only do you piss off the tank (because who knew! Mobs hit faster after they parry! So if you're causing them to parry, they're hitting the tank more often. Which incidentally will probably irritate the healer, even if they don't know that you're the cause. Be a good little DPSer. Go stab the mob in the ass.) but you get parried.

If you're a draenei or always run with a draenei and have access to Heroic Presence (1% hit rating), you need 262.21 hit rating to be hit capped.

Agility or Crit? Or both?
Wrath has been very stingy with the drops of pure crit gear. I have seen my % crit plummet from in the 28% range to less than 20%. This makes me a very sad sad person.

However! We have a bunch of talents that increases our critical strike chance!

Heart of the Crusader at max rank will increase our critical strike chance by 3%.
Conviction at max rank will increase our critical strike chance by 5%.
Sanctified Seals at max rank will increase our critical strike chance by 3%.

So just by talents alone we have 11% critical strike chance.

To keep Vengeance up at all times, it is recommended to have about 25% critical strike chance.

At level 80, it takes 52 agility to get 1% crit. At level 80, it takes 46 crit rating to get 1% crit.

We need to 'make up' 14% crit from our gear.

Now, just looking at Kvasira, she has ~6.7% from crit rating and agility. But according to her tooltip, she really has ~19%. Is this the other 11% from talents? Or some other source? I DON'T KNOW! *aieeeah*

I plan on getting nekkid when I get home today and seeing what crit% I'm at wearing no gear whatsoever.

Regardless, it is easier in terms of stat to % to stack critical strike rating. However, a lot of gear out there seems to have a lack of critical strike rating at all... and then when you do find one with lots of crit rating, it's worse in all other areas than what you're currently using.

Such as Brann's Lost Mining Helmet that dropped for us last night. However, I am wearing the Faceguard of Punishment... which is great in terms of crit! That's 2% increase in crit! ... but oh, yeah. A huge drop in stamina and strength. Poop. (For those interested, Strength increases our attack power by 1 str = 2 AP.)

If someone out there knows, does the tooltip on the character sheet take into account talents or not? I had thought it did NOT (hence why Heroic Presence doesn't show up in hit rating on the tooltip). If so, where is that extra 13% crit coming?

I WILL revisit this idea when I have a chance.

Regardless to say, you need to look at the gear overall to determine if taking that tasty tasty crit rating is really an overall upgrade in terms of the other things we need to have.

One of the new kids on the block, Expertise decreases your chance of being parried and dodged. There's not a ton of information on this out there, other than 'it's good.'.

Gee thanks!

As near as I can figure it's another 'rating to actual expertise' stat. So 8.2 expertise rating really gives you 1 expertise?


214 is listed as the 'soft cap' for a decrease of 6.5% dodging. Melee DPS don't have to worry about avoiding parries (because why class? That's right! Melee DPS stab in the ass.)

People used different terms, one person saying you need 26 expertise to avoid dodges and 60 if you want to avoid parries. I'm ASSUMING they're taking of actual expertise, rather than expertise rating.

So, expertise is also an important stat in terms of not getting dodged. Dodge is not the same as a miss. You can be hit capped and still get dodged.

In terms of what is more important however, it is still advisable, imnsho, to stack strength, crit and hit before you worry about expertise.

Armor Penetration
So, one day long ago I had discussed Spell Penetration. And that is still true. Spell Penetration is NOT armor penetration. Armor Penetration is not necessarily the melee version of Spell Penetration and is useless for PvE.

Because otherwise Blizz is telling us all to get off the carebear server and go PvP with as much armor pen they're throwing at us.

Is it good for PvP? Yes. Does that mean it's useless for PvE? No.

Armor Penetration reduces the amount of armor your attacks have to actually deal with. It's an ability that doesn't 'stack' additively, but exponentially (according to Retlol).

Yet another 'stat to rating' stat. 7 Armor Penetration is equal to 1 Armor Penetration Rate.

1000 ArP = 142.8 ArP Rate = 9.2% ignoring of armor.

In the past, this varied with the amount of armor you're dealing with. Against things with low armor, the % bypassed was higher. It's now a flat rate.

15.39 ArP = 1% armor ignored.

This is another 'new kid' for us in terms of how useful it is. WoWWiki indicates that it's useful for bosses as well. Retlol says that it gets better the more you have. Bully for us! I'm old school. I want my crit. :(

This is another stat that doesn't have a lot of immediately useful applications that you can read about. However, the more armor you ignore, the harder you hit. This is a good thing.

And last but not least, Haste.

I know the title doesn't say it. But meh. Haste is another new-old friend that we're seeing more of. To my knowledge, Haste does not reduce our cooldown of Crusader Strike or Divine Storm or Judgement or anything else.

But it does make us swing that big ol' two hander faster. And if you have Seal of Command (or your seal of choice) on, then that means it has more of a chance to activate.

Haste is both additive and multiplicative.

Meaning multiple pieces of haste gear add up, 10 haste here and 14 haste there = 24 haste.

But it is multiplicative with other sources of haste.

Yeah, I don't know what those things are. The example they give on wowwiki is hunters... they get haste from Serpent's Swiftness (ability) and their quiver. The SS gets multiplied by the quiver haste which gets multipled by the additive values of your haste rating gear.


So it makes us swing our big two-hander faster. Yay!

That isn't really sarcasm, because a good portion of our damage comes from when we whack things with our weapon and our seal of command (or whatever you're using!) goes off. Which is not to say that Crusader Strike still isn't our baby, but hey, we take DPS where we can get it. :)

Haste additionally improves our casting speed and GCD on spells cast. With Art of War, even Flash of Light takes forever when it isn't instant, so imagine casting Holy Light? Oy. Can a spell take any longer to cast? Geeze!

Now, to make life easier for everyone, there's a nice addon called Rating Buster. It compares what you're looking at with what you're wearing in terms of percentages, etc.

However, nothing beats the human brain.

Let me repeat.

Nothing beats the human brain.

Do not just look at what the tooltip tells you and say, "I take shiney." because it looks better in terms of that particular item. What do YOU need? If you're hit capped, will trading out that piece cause you to unhitcap? Or will it drive you over hitcap and free up points you can use for something else delicious?

Take care with what you're wearing and what you're looking for. Know what you're shy in, what will help you better, what you need to work towards and all that fun stuff.

Now, to go home and get nekkid.


  1. Finally, someone puts forth a comprehensive "Guide" to help the mostly ignored, nearly forgotten Retribution Paladin. Thank you for these explanations as no one I know can give me real information about Ret... "Look for AP" the scream! And then ignore me till they need the death brought swiftly and effectively!!!

  2. Finally, someone puts forth a comprehensive "Guide" to help the mostly ignored, nearly forgotten Retribution Paladin. Thank you for these explanations as no one I know can give me real information about Ret... "Look for AP" the scream! And then ignore me till they need the death brought swiftly and effectively!!!

  3. I would place this guide as far from comprehensive. I merely skimmed the content and already noted a few errors: haste does not increase SoC proc rate and in-game research has determined the physical hit cap to be 8% on raid bosses. (see EJ site)

  4. I'd have to say meh to haste, it's doesn't affect the GCD timer anymore and given the amount of holy damage we do...

    basically it's not a stat for everyone. there are certain class/spec combos that love it... others (like ret pallies) think it's a waste of itemisation.

    the story is similar for armor pen, if you do mostly physical damage, great! otherwise, while i wouldn't say no, i wouldn't rate it as highly as a blood dk or warrior

  5. @wgdbatman: Wow, thanks?

    @Gislason: Hehe, I'd agree with you! There are probably typos too. I think somewhere I pointed out that this is just my own imagingings and all subject is content to the 'take with a grain of salt and confirm with another place'. This is my own personal guide as I'm learning all the new ropes. Nice to know the hit is 8% instead of 9%. I can drop some hit rating! Woot woot!

    @avery: I'd have to agree with you to a point on the haste. Will I turn it down if it's on gear? No. Will I deliberately look for it? No. Does it help? Sure. Swinging a two hander faster is nice. I'll have to look at my recount and see how much of my overall damage is due to melee attacks as opposed to special attacks.