Saturday, February 21, 2009

Ask Coriel: The Value of Strength

Zack writes in:
My question specifically has to do with a neck slot item: [Titanium Earthguard Chain]. At first glance, it appears to be a tank item (note the 34 defense rating). However, I've been investigating, and compared with all the other endgame gear, this item may be (at least from my opinion) the best item that a raiding DPS Retadin can get.

My reasoning for this is that socketed with a +16 Strength gem, this neck gives a total of 65 base strength for a Paladin. Once you add the bonuses from Divine Strength (+15% Str) and Blessing of Kings (+10%) that translates to 83 Strength or 166 Attack Power.

Compared to the other alternatives ([Gem of Imprisoned Vassals], [Fool's Trial], [Collar of Dissolution], [Favor of the Dragon Queen] , etc.) for the neck slot, the Titanium Earthguard gives a Paladin 54-56 more Attack Power, albeit at the expense of some serious Crit % and in some cases Armor Penetration and Haste.

Since you seem to be one of the more knowledgeable and vocal Pally Bloggers out there, I was wondering if I could get your perspective on this issue. SO I guess in a broader sense my question is a question of ret theorycraft - which is better Crit % or AP and to what extent?

P.S. While writing this post, I found a tanking necklace with even more strength: [Nexus War Champion Beads]. 100 total Strength after socketed and Divine Strength and Blessing of Kings.

Strength is the best stat for Retribution. However, it is not the only valuable stat. The other stats such as crit, hit, agility do increase your damage, just not as much as Strength.

To see this, let's actually put dollar values on each stat. (This is just an estimate.)

1 AP = $1.00
1 Strength = $2.50
1 Crit Rating = $2.00
1 Armor Pen = $1.50
1 Agility = $1.50

Now, you can clearly see that Strength is still the most valuable stat. Let's compare [Favor of the Dragon Queen] to [Nexus War Champion Beads] for Retribution.

[Favor of the Dragon Queen]:
42 Agi = $63
63 Sta = $0
110 AP = $110
31 ArPen =$46.50
41 Crit = $82
Blue Socket = 8 Str = $20
Total = $321.50

[Nexus War Champion Beads]:
94 Sta = $0
63 Str = $157.50
28 Def = $0
34 Parry = $0
28 Block = $0
Red Socket = 16 Str = $40
Total = $197.50

The Favor of the Dragon Queen is massively better than the Nexus War Champion Beads. If you look at the values, you see that all those extra stats contribute to the total, while the Beads only have Strength. It has a lot of strength, but not enough to outweigh the other stats.

If something is "not the best", it doesn't mean that it is automatically worthless. It still has worth. You should never take statements like "Strength > All" to an extreme.

Now, how do you come up with the values for each stat? I just estimated values above. You can also do a lot of math and theorycraft values, or you can look up values on sites such as Elitist Jerks. But in general, an item that has several stats that increase your damage is usually better than an item which only has a lot of one stat.


  1. your current stats also determines how important each stat is. for example if you already have 35% crit chance unbuffed but only 4% hit chance, then crit rating loses value and hit rating gains value.

    stat importance isn't a linear, you have to take into account all other stats (variables somewhat) that have any effect on your dps.

    its also not static. just because hit rating is the most important stat when you have none doesn't mean it'll always be the most important stat.

  2. how much hit does a paladin need to do effective dps? Not rating, but %, since I'm still leveling mine, and I tend to solo elites, and duo instances.

  3. you need 8% at 80 against a raid boss (3 levels above you). aside from that i think 5% is the most you need against targets your level and 6% against targets 1 or 2 levels above you.

  4. Just a quick point: you don't need any fixed level of +hit% to do effective DPS. Getting hit capped is not the cast in stone necessity it once was. Hit is, for now, like any other DPS stat and should be weighed accordingly: more is better (up to the cap) but you shouldn't be afraid of ditching a piece of gear with +hit for gear without any if that gear provides better overall dps contribution. How you figure out if Item A is better than Item B is up to you, but Rawr is a good indicator.

    This may change if SA mana regen is nerfed and JotW regen is buffed, depending on our mana constraints in 3.1.


    Note that the DPS contributions from Crit Rating and Hit rating for melee classes are mutually independent due to the one-roll melee combat system. As you stack Strength, the value of Crit and Hit rating relative to Strength increases. However stacking Crit doesn't increase the relative value of Hit, nor visa versa. The same is not true for casters, who use a 2-roll combat system.

  5. Good answers, all, but I think rather incomplete and leaves others asking even more questions. I believe in giving peope tools so that they can find the answers themselves, and possibly answer more of their future questions.

    People wondering the topics being discussed in this entry would be well served to visit the following links:

  6. Urgh, don't use Maxdps, it's almost invariably wrong.

  7. It's actually much closer than that for the necks, the weights you use are off for the secondary stats. EJ has some properly theorycrafted weights for PAWN calculators which use the following:


    so the necks are actually more like:

    Favor of the Dragon Queen]:
    42 Agi = 26.88
    63 Sta =
    110 AP = 67.1
    31 ArPen = 12.71
    41 Crit = 27.47
    Blue Socket = 16 Str = 25.6
    Total = 159.76

    [Nexus War Champion Beads]:
    94 Sta =
    63 Str = 100.8
    28 Def =
    34 Parry =
    28 Block =
    Red Socket = 16 Str = 25.6
    Total = 126.4

    So yes, the DPS necks are indeed better for DPS (surprise surprise), but using a tanking neck is still viable, especially if it's much easier to obtain. In fact there's an 80 tanking blue neck that both my pally and DK used for some time before I found a decent upgrade. ALso, the tanking neck will give you more survivability, and dead = 0 DPS. is what I use for PAWN, an addon whose only purpose is telling you the overall value of an item for your class/spec. All you do is assign each stat a value (or more likely, get those values off EJ) and it will tell you what it is "worth" in damage value (or tanking or healing value too).

  8. i never thought about adding value to stats like that. This should help hugely for me!

  9. @zebra:

    that's right, i always forget about that lol. still i think my point was made... right?

  10. Elladrion and others,

    My question is about the weight ratio of strength to AP.
    Is the weight of 1.6 in the PAWN calculations taking into consideration imp might and kings?
    Or does it not matter for the base calculation.

  11. @MsBungleXX

    The relative stat weightings for Retribution mentioned by Elladrion assume that you have taken the Divine Strength talent (15% increased Strength) and BoK applied (for the 10% boost to all stats).

  12. I really like the idea of adding monetary value to stats, it's a way of keeping straight relative values and total values that's intuitive (because I, for one, think about money all the time... real world money, in game money... you name it).

    Right now I'm still midlevel, so the stat values on gear aren't as important as they will be, but it's a neat trick to put in the back of my head for later when I actually have to decide what to wear.

  13. Amusingly enough, I won the T7.5 tanking gloves in a Archavon PUG. At the time I was still wearing some quest blue gloves in my Ret gear, so they are now my DPS gloves. Since I've gone Holy for raiding / heroics, I have a feeling it will be awhile before I get an actual DPS piece for that slot.

  14. I have a question actually, I am playing my protection paladin and of course got for Defence till capped.

    Do i go for pure stamina after that or do i grab some strength, spell power ?

  15. Strength after defense. Helps with your threat generation and shield use.

    That is, unless you are seeing yourself drop below 30% health frequently during fights. If you are dipping that low more than once or twice every 5 minutes, then go for the stamina to give your healers some breating room.

    Think of Stamina like Hit. You need *enough* but having extra isn't all that useful, and can be wasted itemization.

  16. Armor pen isn't worth shit to a paladin.

    We deal all holy damage, which is spell damage. Spell damage ignores armor. The only physical damage we deal is our auto attacks.

  17. @ Zebra

    This is going back a year, but your comment about not needing to get to the Hit cap is flat out wrong. The first priority is to get to 8% hit period. Anything beyond that doesn't hurt that much, as Consecrate and Exorcism still use the spell hit table.

    Telling people "but you shouldn't be afraid of ditching a piece of gear with +hit for gear without any if that gear provides better overall dps contribution." is very bad advice if switching to something without hit will put them below the cap.

    Being at the hit cap means your special attacks that are melee (aka anything you hit a button for besides Exorcism and Consecrate) will never miss the target. Note, this is for raid bosses here. That said, you go below the hit cap, you don't hit at all, that means NO damage is done to the boss. At that point it doesn't matter how much strength you stack. You don't hit the target, you don't do any damage to the target.