Hello Guardians!

In a bit of a departure from what I normally talk about here, I wanted to take a minute to discuss something that potentially causes a game breaking problem: Stat Inflation. Specifically I’m referring to inflation that occurs in the middle of an expansion – such as with the VP upgrade system. A long time ago – right after our Mastery buff was announced – I looked at the possibility that we could actually armor cap vs. raid bosses sometime this expansion. I concluded that it wasn’t very likely, and if it happened would only be near the end of the expansion in full heroic gear.

A couple of things made me want to return to this topic. First Ion Hazzikostas was interviewed by Method. In this interview Ion talks about how the valor upgrade system has introduced a problem with regards to gear upgrades from tier-to-tier, and how that affects balancing encounters. Then it was mentioned on Legendary that they had planned on introducing this system since Beta. Clearly they have to come up with a solution sometime between now and 5.2, but your guess is as good as mine as to what that will be.

That being said, this does alter my projections on Armor/Mastery capping for Guardians. First I added an additional 8 item levels to my original table:

You can see this reduces the required Mastery Rating to cap in theoretical T17 upgraded heroic gear to 26000. Now before we throw that out as unfeasible let’s look at our tier chest Eternal Blossom Tunic. This chest piece can have up to 1621 Mastery Rating (assuming gems and socket bonus). More when epic gems are released. Suddenly the armory cap doesn’t seem so unrealistic.

However if we hit it at the very end of the expansion in full heroic gear, who really cares. What troubles me more is that the gap between tiers may be increased as a result. Let’s look at what happens if the item upgrade system forces a full tier gap (13 item levels) between heroic gear of the current tier, and normal of the next tier:

This is bad. Really really bad. For that reason alone I doubt it will happen, but if it does we’re looking at potentially going through the entirety of T17 armor capped vs. raid bosses. What makes it worse is that there aren’t really any viable solutions to this problem. You can check out the math behind these two tables here.

  1. Nerf Guardians: Makes other tanks stronger than they were intended vs. Guardians.
  2. Buff Encounters: Makes DKs especially more prone to spikes than they already are. Also gives every tank even more Vengeance than was originally intended.
  3. Nerf Armor Scaling: Unless they introduce a special armor formula just for Guardians, this nerfs every other tank more than Guardians.

What they could do is completely cut an entire tier. However that would mean the next expansion would have to be announced at Blizzcon next year. Not only that, but we would likely be stuck with another final raid tier for 10+ months. Given how painful that was last time, I don’t see that happening either.

I also promised Wens that I would mention Crit. Even in this tier we’re seeing Crit percentages reach north of 70% with trinket procs. Pretty soon we’ll reach a point where Crit will function similar to ArPen. If you played Feral back in Wrath, you’ll remember how there were certain ArPen breakpoints you wanted to reach but not exceed. Well Guardians have such a breakpoint too. Going over 76% Crit is a complete waste of time for RPS.

For that reason, expect to hang on to Terror in the Mists until you replace it with a Crit proc trinket from the next tier. You may also end up reforging away from Crit during T15 if you manage to break that 76% point when the trinket procs.

I’m also working on trying to spreadsheet T&C. It’s actually very fucking difficult – however I recently realized that the chance it will do something follows the same rules as the old Savage Defense used to – except in a more simple way. We all know it will never actually surpass SD or FR, but I do want to analyze it nonetheless.

I feel like I just rambled a bunch of incoherent nonsense.



  • William says:

    Interesting stuff, haha funny thing, with H Infinite Bottle, synaspe spring, and terror of mist, I think I saw my crit at ~76% (crit elix as well). Pretty crazy during a pull w/ berserk… all I see are huge numbers and my rage bar moving sporadically.

    I am worried about crit and armor cap as well, I definitely do not wish for bear nerfs.

  • Moonspelled says:

    Why is going over 76% Crit a waste? Is there a crit hard cap?

    • Arielle says:

      It’s not technically a hard cap. However white attacks have a maximum Crit chance of 76% (79% on your character sheet vs MoP bosses) due to glancing blows. This means you gain very little additional benefit from Crit once you reach that point – as it only affects Rage gain from Mangle.

  • Elamari says:

    I know at the end of BC and the very start of WOTLK bears could armour cap. IIRC they nerfed our armour and HP as a result just after WOTLK released.

    Do you remember this Arielle? And do you think that since they nerfed Druids only back then, that they would do the same thing this time around?


    • Arielle says:

      Different eras, you can’t really compare the two.

      If we were able to armor at all while content is still relevant I would definitely expect a nerf of some kind. But that depends entirely on how Blizzard decides to solve the double upgraded heroic gear -> normal of next tier problem.

    • Elamari says:

      Generally speaking, a tier is 13 ilevel points. I read that Blizz said the next tier of LFR would be a higher ilvl than normal HOF & TES. I would put next LFR at around 503, 7 points higher.

      In this tier of content there is 13 points between LFR and normal. If it continues this way, I would put normal mode gear from the next tier at 516. This is equivalent to Terrace Heroic Elite. If you fully upgrade Terrace Heroic Elite gear you will be at 524 item level. If heroic next tier is 13 points above normal like it has been, it would be 529, which is higher than Terrace Heroic Elite with max upgrades.

      I think that the impact from this heroic gear being better than normal gear will be minimal. Mainly because;

      * the difference in item level is minimal – only 8 points
      * will only be possible on certain gear slots
      * with the speed at which content appears to be coming out at, there will only be a small number of players with all possible 524of double upgraded heroic gear.
      * the problem will only affect a very small percentage of the player base. And those people affected usually always end up with strange / doing strange things to progress.

    • Arielle says:

      Right, but that isn’t the problem.

      The problem is that they tune heroic assuming world first guilds will come into it being undergeared. If they come into it with exactly the same amount of gear (HT14 = NT15) then they have to tune it accordingly.

      If they do that, then everyone who isn’t a top 50 guild has serious issues progressing past normal modes until nerfs are introduced.

      The easiest way to solve this problem is to increase the gear gap to account for the upgraded gear and keep tuning the same. But this introduces inflation issues (and not just with Guardians) that then have to be rectified later.

  • Mowse says:

    @Elamari I really hope not. That was very depressing.

  • Grievers says:

    Hey, still just leveling my baby bear, but with the possible 20% increase in armor gained from mastery announced in the 5.2 patch notes how much earlier are we looking at this being a problem?

  • Fasc says:

    Oh boy… 5.2 changes will make this all kinds of fun to tally up now. With buffs to FR and TaC coming… and the ability to jack our EH even higher… blah. I need to not be busy and fully update my SS.

    You need 108.333% Haste to hit the average point for TaC to be used every available Maul. Not at my home computer so I can’t say how much rating that is, but undoubtedly a lot. With all that Haste though… and likely Critical Strike… FR would probably be absurd self-healing.

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