Death Knight General Changes – Patch 3.1.0

April 20, 2009

Surazc – Death Knight Tank

Now let’s turn our unwavering gaze on some subtle, or overlooked changes in the midst of all this 3.1 excitement…

Armor Penetration

Is it now worth it?
When Blizzard took a look at their current implementation of the Armor Penetration stat I think they realized a very important problem: Placing a worthless stat on tier pieces would make players unhappy. I say armor penetration is worthless because it simply does not scale in PvE very well and that’s going easy on the term “worthless.”

As a prime example let’s look at Patchwork (the DPS optimal scenario): He has enough armor to reduce the damage you do on your melee attacks by about 30% of their physical value. As a Tank, I pop obliterates with raid buffs for about 2300 non-crit on his dome; against a target with 0 armor (made possible with a cooperative warrior) the very same obliterate hit for about 3500 damage.

In relative terms Patchwork has less armor mitigation than your standard Naxx tank, half as much to be exact (As I cannot find a published value for Patch’s armor mitigation, I have no choice to assume my testing is accurate, if you have better numbers please let me know!). If you are one of those weird DPS people who decided to aim for ArPen and got your magic number up to 50% then you would be mitigated against about 15% less than everyone else hitting with physical abilities. Whoopdie freakin’ doo!

Compare your damage to the person who went with expertise and got around the 8% rear quarter dodge (assuming their hit capped). You will do 15% more damage but miss 8% more of your attacks. Total, you’re only getting away with an increase of 7%. If you would have just gotten up to the expertise line you would pump out 1% extra damage.

Now that Blizzard is giving all classes 25% more bonus from ArPen the question of worth actually comes into play. The benchmark by which I determine worth is always in the latest raid instance (Ulduar ATM) and thus far it seems like bosses have a marginally higher amount of physical mitigation which makes armor penetration just as worthless as it was before the patch. If Blizzard puts some more armor on their bosses then of course this opinion will change.

Flip Side: You could argue of course that with the bonus amount of ArPen you get that you can now squeeze out some more damage by jumping onto a fresh DR curve if you’re already expertise and hit capped. This is a very viable argument and the ONLY instance which I would recommend flipping into ArPen. The curve looks better than Haste…


Armor Pen is no longer viable!
… At least it did look better until you see the extra haste bonus. If you’re a DK then forget everything I just said above this section of the post: If you have to choose between getting your haste rating up and getting ArPen up, it looks like haste is the winner. The reason for this is simply that you will now get more of a bonus out of the haste than you will the ArPen; 5% more of a bonus to be precise.

Of course if you’re any kind of decent you will remember that Haste rating was sooooo nice that Blizzard took it off the DK epic sigil from Heroism Rewards and replaced it with critical strike rating.

The end idea is that even though Haste and ArPen are both getting buffs, both are still equally worthless to Death Knights as most of our attacks are yellow damage and bypass mob armor to an extent.


Changing the % based damage stacking really sucks. It used to be a great way to get the most amount of burst damage that you could if needed. I guess this just means that one physical DPS guy gets to have his +% damage buffs rotated instead of stacked.

Overall: a neutral change.