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Thread: Quick 'n Dirty Arms Guide

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    Quick 'n Dirty Arms Guide

    Quick and dirty Arms guide
    For patch 3.1

    This guide is meant to be a basic introduction to Arms DPS. My experience with the spec is from my own theorycrafting, the ongoing discussion over at EJ, and of course, actually mucking around with the spec as much as possible on the PTR. If people find this useful, I'll try to update it with new developments, hints, etc. that come from playing it on live. Hopefully it'll help answer a few questions as people try DPSing without Fury in 3.1

    First, some benefits an Arms warrior brings to a raid:
    Trauma - 30% more bleed damage (Does not stack with a Druid's Mangle)
    Blood Frenzy - 4% more melee damage (Does not stack with a Combat Rogue's Savage Combat)

    How does it compare to Fury?
    From what I've seen, it's about the same, actually. A Fury warrior scales better with rage than an Arms warrior, and in a raid setting this ends up bringing the two to roughly the same level. Granted, my experience in this matter is limited, so take it with a grain of salt. It may very well be that Arms is stronger than Fury in some/many/most scenarios. Time will tell.

    Now then, on to the guide.

    Glyphs
    Rending/Execution/MS
    Glyph of Bladestorm is bad.

    Specs
    Single target - Talent Calculator - World of Warcraft
    Better AoE - Talent Calculator - World of Warcraft

    Tweaks
    As discussed below, using HS is an option in an Arms build. If you do find yourself using it, taking Imp. HS might be a good choice. It wouldn't make a huge difference, but every little bit can help.

    Similarly, you can be flexible with the point you put in Weapon Mastery depending on your expertise.

    Rotation
    Your basic goal is to use every GCD available. There isn't really a rotation in this, per se, but instead a priority queue:
    - Maintain Rend
    - Mortal Strike
    - Execute
    - Overpower
    - Slam

    This is not set in stone. You're going to want to adjust dynamically depending on what you rage intake is, movement, etc. With a bit of practice, you'll have a feel for it. Some notes:

    TfB deserves special notice, because it's going to trigger in a changing fashion. Here's a breakdown, assuming you're using Glyph of Rending (note that Rend ticks every 3 seconds, for 7 ticks with the glyph):

    Code:
    1 TFB
    2
    3 TFB
    4
    5 TFB
    6
    7 TFB
    -- Rend Reapplied --
    1 
    2 TFB
    3
    4 TFB
    5 
    6 TFB
    7
    This pattern repeats itself. Notice that the first time, TfB will proc off the last tick, while the second time, it won't. This means that the first time, you're going to want to let Rend fall off naturally. While you could go and reapply rend the third time right after your seventh TfB proc, you're not going to see a DPS gain from this. TfB won't proc any faster, you're reducing your damage per rage, and most importantly, you're reducing your damage per GCD. Arms is a GCD locked spec, so you need to make the most out of each one you get.

    I'm going to repeat that again to make it clear: let Rend fall off.

    The key with Arms is to make the absolute most out of every GCD, and letting Rend fall off helps you do that.

    Bladestorm
    Bladestorm is a nice little DPS increase for the time its up, assuming you're using it properly. Ideally you'll want to use it when your other abilities are on cooldown; specifically MS and Taste for Blood's internal CD. To this end, you'll probably want to use it directly after you use Overpower (ideally this OP comes directly after a TfB proc), and when MS is on CD. This way when your BS wears off you have a fresh OP ready to go (if you play your cards right, you shouldn't sacrifice a TfB proc), MS off CD, and with luck an SD proc from all the WW hits. You can then unload on the target and continue your rotation.

    Heroic Strike
    Should you use heroic strike? Maybe. It really depends on your rage intake, and if you're riding a lucky white crit streak. You'd only want to use it if you have more than around 70 rage (assuming you're expertise/hit capped), but you'll really have to try it for yourself to get the hang of it.

    Gearing
    First things first, you want to be expertise and hit capped. This is quite easy to do as an Arms warrior - you just need the 8% hit, and 14 extra expertise (for a total of 18 on your character sheet). Why do you want to cap these? First, they're solid DPS stats. I'm not going to say whether they're the best DPS stats for you, but they have one, huge, auxiliary benefit: guaranteed rage income. This is very handy to have when you've got the hang of your basic priority queue, as it allows you to watch a swing timer and plan based on that, safe in the knowledge that rage will be on its way.

    But why cap expertise when OP is always available?
    Because Arms is a GCD-locked spec. You need to make the most out of every GCD. While it's true that using OP after a dodge can make up for lost damage, the net effect is still a GCD you effectively spent doing nothing. This is a DPS loss. On the other hand, it does mean that expertise is less of a DPS gain to us than it would otherwise be. I can't put an exact number on it, since I haven't done the math and I don't intend to. It's ridiculously easy to cap expertise as Arms, so you should just do it.

    Stat Priority
    Note: This section is currently not as up-to-date as it could be. Since I wrote this, ArP theorycrafting has been refined a bit. See Lizana's quote below for a good rundown.

    Your primary DPS stat is going to be either ArP or AP (and subsequently, Strength). Focus on AP until you're above about 3.2k (rough number - you'll probably have to find the right value yourself), at which point ArP takes over as the best stat. Once ArP becomes better than AP your goal is to cap it while keeping your Strength/Crit levels reasonable. ArP gets better and better the more of it you have, so once you start stacking you should keep stacking - in fact, whenever you begin your ArP stacking, completely regem for it.

    ArP cap levels are as follows (there is no cap right now, but there's a good chance there will be in the future):
    Coming Soon (tm)

    After that, you're looking at Strength, then crit. Crit deserves special mention here as you really should try to keep it higher than 35% raid buffed in order to keep your buffs up and maintain a nice rage income. Don't worry too much if your crit takes a low dip, but do keep it in mind.

    Haste is a pretty bad stat for Arms warriors, for two reasons. First, our white damage just isn't that high in the first place. Second, we scale pretty badly with it due to Slam - it gets worse the more haste you have. You really don't want to be stacking Haste if you can find any other DPS stat.

    ArP
    There seem to be a lot of questions floating around the forums about ArP these days, and Lizana made a pretty good summary deeper in the thread. I'm going to quote him here, for those who want some more info.

    Heres a very basic and oversimplified view ( and incorrect in some situations for being basic)

    If you have 30% arp from gearing alone, then start geming ARP, continue to gem arp till aroung 65-70% even if you have an arp trinket. After aprox 65%-70% arp passive with an arp trinket it will be greater dps to gem STR , without an arp trinket it is still better to gem ARP than STR untill you hit 100%
    Weapon Spec
    Axes are the way to go, followed by Maces. If you have a lot of ArP, Mace spec is probably the better option. We don't talk about sword spec...

    The Axes vs Maces comparison is pretty simple. Maces will net you anywhere from a 3% to 8% increase in overall damage, depending on your ArP level. Axes get you a 5% increase to all damage (roughly), plus the damage from 5% bonus damage to crits. If you're taking a balanced approach to gearing, it's pretty clear that Axes will be more DPS; however, if you're stacking ArP out the wazoo, the Mace bonus will start to be pretty awesome.

    Misc.
    Random tidbits of useful information!

    Mods
    As an Arms warrior, you need to be keeping track of procs and Rend (and if you're unlucky, Sunder). I've found two mods to be useful for this:

    For procs, I use Satrina Buff Frames. I won't get into my UI setup too much, but what I like about SBF is that you can assign whatever buff you want to show up pretty much anywhere. I put Sudden Death and Taste for Blood as bars in their own little frame right in the middle of my screen, so that I can't not notice when they proc.

    For keeping track of Rend, I use Quartz. Another alternative is ClassTimer, though I personally prefer Quartz out of nostalgia.

    Interrupting
    Look, interrupting as an Arms warrior is bad. You either have to stance dance, or equip a shield and Shield Bash. Either way you lose DPS, so it's really preferable to have another class do it. However, sometimes situations arise requiring you to get in there and save the day - should that happen, this shield bash macro should be useful:

    Code:
    /cast [equipped:shields] Shield Bash
    /equip [noequipped:shields] 1H Weapon; 2H Weapon
    /equip [noequipped:shields] Shield
    (You're going to need to put your weapon names in there)

    Hit it once to equip your shield, and hit it a second time to bash and swap weapons back.

    That should about cover it.
    Last edited by shiz98; 08-14-2009 at 12:04 PM.

  2. #2
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    What exactly is the ArP cap?

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    The ArP cap is 100% armor ignored - won't really do you any good past that . I'll update the original post...

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    I'm not sure I understand why you specced that way in the Arms tree:

    1) why 5/5 deflection? Wouldn't it make more sense to take 3/3 HS for the times when you might get to HS?
    2) That would then allow you to take 3/3 TM, which seems to be more of a benefit for DPS warriors then 5/5 Deflection?
    3) Should you make clear that 2/2 WM might not be necessary, depending on gear?

    Other than that, thanks for the write up on the priority list though

  5. #5
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    True, HS would be an option if you're into using that. It's not really a significant difference - we're talking 3 rage off of an ability costing you 30 or 40 - but I suppose it's worth mention. TM/Deflection is a matter of preference, I suppose. I prefer the extra survivability, personally. There's definitely a little room for tweaking.

    I had actually forgot to mention the WM bit, thanks for pointing that out!

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    so if i have 10 gem slots that are 16 str as equipped, currently due to the ridiculous power of ArPen, I should turn them all into 16 ArPen instead? And unfortunately no maces for me, so I'm stuck using Axes.

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    Has anyone found any reports on exactly how/why imp execute is better than imp MS? It's really late and maybe I'm just a bit out of it... but imp execute doesn't seem like a clear winner to me.

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    so if i have 10 gem slots that are 16 str as equipped, currently due to the ridiculous power of ArPen, I should turn them all into 16 ArPen instead?
    Yep, exactly. It's a bit of a pain having to regem, but ArPen is just worth more DPS. Now, there might be a sort of "valley" you go through when regemming - with low ArP levels, Strength might end up being superior (especially if you're not running with Mace spec) for a little bit, causing you to lose DPS when you regem. It's needed though; ArP ramps up quite nicely, and you're going to be aiming for more of it anyway. Unfortunately we don't have rough SEP values yet, so the jury is till out on exactly when ArP becomes better than STR point-for-point. For now just stack it, and if you lose DPS keep in mind that you'll regain it later with interest when you get more ArP on gear.

    AFAIK pretty much every Arms spec takes both Imp. MS and Imp. Execute. As for why Execute is better than MS in general, that's just simple math (well, sorta). Execute hits for a base 2406 damage, and scales a 0.2 * AP. It costs 20 rage. MS hits for base weapon damage, and scales at roughly 0.3 * AP. Basically, Execute has a ~1500 damage (depending on your weapon) lead over MS. To overcome this lead, you'll need 15k AP - not going to happen this expansion, I think.
    Last edited by shiz98; 04-15-2009 at 05:56 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragaan View Post
    Has anyone found any reports on exactly how/why imp execute is better than imp MS? It's really late and maybe I'm just a bit out of it... but imp execute doesn't seem like a clear winner to me.
    You should be spec'ing into both.

    more thoughts here

    In-Depth Arms DPS Discussion - Page 28 - Elitist Jerks

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    what does FF stand for? probably gonna be something obvious but i'm racking my brain.

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    If i break it down by % to get to 100% is this the way to do it? I've been crit'n my brain all morning

    so if i check my hit it says i have 99 Apr, which is like 8.04% armor pen from gear (haven't re-gemmed yet)

    So to get my total armor pen i should

    10% battle stance
    15% mace spec
    8.04% gear
    20% from sunder armor

    FF = Faerie Fire = how much armor pen/ and it stacks with sunder?

    so like 53.04% (no ff)

    If i replace my 10 +16 strength gems with +16 arm pen i should gain like
    10% more armor pen (since @80 15.39 = 1% armor pen?)

    so 64.04% = if i re gem + FF = total armor pen?
    Last edited by Frosthorn; 04-15-2009 at 09:10 AM.

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    Based from what I have done so far this morning on a test dummy, here is what I have found. Please take note, I am not laying this infomration out to dispute anything, it is just the numbers I got. I am no expert when it comes to theroycrafting, I'm just throwing my 2cp in to the mix.

    Just like many a warrior, I was fury and respeced to arms to test for myself. I knew that arms would be better DPS then fury with this patch, there was no question there. But I had to see which would be better ... mace or axe.

    My first test was specced into Axes with my original gear. Mail helm/leather gloves from Maly, Drape of Deadly Foe, BoH, you know ... the standard stuff. I hit 2900+ on the test dummy. At this time I was just hitting what ever attacked popped. I never had to worry about rage.

    My second test was specced into axes, but I switched over to the ArP gear I had collected over time. Changed a trinket to Grim Toll, legs to Legplates of Double Strikes, gloves to Gauntlets of Combined Strenght, cloak to Aged WInter Cloak and helm to Valorous. This put my stats at 3280 AP, 40.03% crit and 309 ArP (25.09%). This also dropped my expertise to 7. On the Test Dummy I got to 3175 DPS.

    My third test was to spec to maces, change my weapon and keep all the same gear as the second test. The weapon I used was The Jawbone. My expertise was at 20 (I am a dwarf), but my crit dropped from 40.03% to 32.08%. MY AP was 3262. My DPS got just over 2700.


    So far test #2 is the best and it is what I am using. I just need to figure out now if I am gonna gem for all ArP or Str. None of the gear used in the 3 tests I did had ArP gems. I am also wondering that since I was able to use OP alot more in the second test if I should keep the low expertise or sacrifice 44 and 50 AP from gloves and bracers and enchant expertise.
    Last edited by Plenty; 04-15-2009 at 09:09 AM.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiz98 View Post
    Yep, exactly. It's a bit of a pain having to regem, but ArPen is just worth more DPS. Now, there might be a sort of "valley" you go through when regemming - with low ArP levels,
    I don't suppose you're factoring in the 19% loss that ArPen was suffering? Tooltip 100% armor penetration isn't 100% Armor Penetration, and the +25% ArP rating change didn't really go in.

    I've been hearing that ArP is currently doing weird things after the hotfix this morning, though.

  14. #14
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    If i break it down by % to get to 100% is this the way to do it? I've been crit'n my brain all morning
    From what I've read (haven't tested this myself), your personal ArP stacks additively (so 15% mace + 10% arms = 25%). Other ArP does not, and stacks in a different way. I haven't run the maths myself yet, or I'd have been more clear in the OP. It's a little wonky/complicated.

    FF, by the way, stands for Faerie Fire.

    Plenty, your results are actually exactly what you should be expecting . When Grim Toll procs in Battle Stance with full sunders and FF, you only need 304 ArP to be capped. With Mace Spec, that drops to 109 ArP. In short, you're wasting 200 ArP whenever Grim Toll procs by speccing Maces. So in your case, keeping Axe Spec is a good idea unless you have a trinket to replace Grim Toll with. The EJ post I linked actually explains it nicely in the table.

    I'm not certain on the whole ArP business and the proper values, the be honest. The ArP stuff I did use was pulled right from EJ and not my own theorycrafting, since I'm not fully up to speed on it. I'm 99% certain the numbers from that EJ thread factor in the lack of ArP buff going out in the patch.

    Edit: I've done some looking around, and it turns out ArP isn't losing any value. Rather, the tooltip states the value it would have if it was buffed, while the actual conversion it has is still the same, hence the 19% difference. Same as on the PTR
    Last edited by shiz98; 04-15-2009 at 04:31 PM.

  15. #15
    So, regarding rend ticks and TFB procs, it appears that arms build actually has less tolerance to lag compared to fury build's rotation based dps. In arms build, you need to be hitting those overpowers when rend ticks and TFB procs, and you will have some lag between your GCD and rend ticks, one might not notice that at double digit ms values, but it may result in dps loss with like 300+ ms ping times. I'm kinda speculating here, but do you people suppose this kind of thinking is actually a valid point and need to be considered by dps warriors in choosing which spec to continue?

  16. #16
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    Hrm, at least from a test dummy stand point my dps dropped when I regemmed from str to ArPen. Gonna have to test it out in a raid setting to see.. my best so far is around 4k dps with my current gear, with STR gemmed. Lets hope the ArPen swap shows changes.

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  17. #17
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    Kazey I am still not sold on the arp regemming. I know what the math says. On XT last night I was around 5k dps for every attempt. Still trying to get used to the spam of the spec. It just seems I could never get in a rhythm while dpsing. I am going to wait on regemming old gear.

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    I would hold off. My digging on the forums shows that there is a formulaic error with Armor Penetration. The tooltip is showing the correct % reduction, however, the actual in game combat calculation is wrong. This is due to the probable fact of a rounding error or a operator error in the formula for Armor Penetration. The math shows that Armor penetration should be buffed by 25% which is shown in our tooltip. However we're actually doing substantially less than the tooltip and can be reverse engineered to show that instead of giving us 25% buff ( Arpen * 1.25), they divided by 25% (Arpen / 1.25).

    I feel terrible having regemmed already prior to reading about this turn of events, and will probably feel it immensely in my next raid, but I have faith in Blizzard to fix this problem since they've known about it since months ago on the PTR.

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  19. #19
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    Yeah, I've run a bit of math on this myself, and it turns out the EJ recommended technique of gemming the crap out of ArP isn't so effective since ArP is still bugged. I feel pretty lame for posting it up there without checking myself .

    On the plus side for those of us who are ArP'd out, Sunder/FF will make a significant difference on raid DPS, so hope it not completely lost. And like Kaze said, when they do fix it the math will win out.

  20. #20
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    Will somebody please post here when ArP is properly fixed, so I know. Thanks =)

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