Saturday, July 18, 2009

Arms DPS 3.1

Lately I've been getting a lot of people asking me about arms DPS, and it seems that my normal explanation of "Take your face, apply it to keyboard then roll like you mean it." just isn't enough for some people. So I thought I would write a better guide here . I will try and make it less of a "Wall of text crits you for 9000000" by highlighting important sections and linking appropriate talents, anyway here we go.

First lets talk about statistic caps. There are three of these that you should know.

Hit Rating.

This is 8% or 262.32 hit rating. After this point hit rating gives no benefit to your dps and is wasted itemisation. Please also note that if your at around 250 hit rating don't bother to gem for it as nobody gives a damn about such a small miss percentage, no really, it's not a big deal.

Expertise Rating.

There are actually two of these but there is only one you need to worry about since you should always be behind the boss, and if your not please take yourself out back and give yourself a sound thrashing, trust me you deserve it. The expertise cap for dodges (which is all you have to worry about) is 6.5% which is 26 expertise or 215 expertise rating. Again any expertise rating after this point is wasted itemisation. There are other things to consider when looking at expertise rating.

The first of these is that you will be specced into Strength of Arms, which will provide 4 expertise meaning you only need 181 expertise rating or 22 expertise (please note that the 4 points from SoA will be added to the tool tip on your character sheet so that it will read 26 expertise with 181 expertise rating).

The second thing is that for each 1% you are under capped by (refer to the tooltip on your character page for this), you can put a talent point into Weapon Mastery, up to a maximum of two.
This means 165 expertise rating with 1/2 WM and 148 expertise rating with 2/2 WM.

Armor Penetration (ArP)

This is probably the most complicated of them all so I will try to keep it as simple as possible. The cap for ArP is 100% after sunder armour and other debuffs have been applied. The only realistic way to reach this cap is with the help of a trinket proc, either Grim Troll or Mjolnir Runestone. My recommendation would be to go for the Grim Troll first as it is so easy to get. I want to keep this a easy to understand as possible so I'm not going to bombard you with a big list of numbers instead I want you to mouse over your hit rating on your character sheet and look at the percentage of armour ignored by your Armor Penetration.

This should be (when capped) about 41%. This is because you get 10% ignored by battle stance and 49% from your trinket proc.

If you are using mace spec ... go get an axe. If you can't get an axe it should read about 26%, as you will get 15% from mace spec.


First off a couple of rules.

1) Never gem for crit. Just no, ok?

2) Don't make me want to beat you, so go find those attack power gems in your gear and replace them with Strength gems. These scale with talents and with blessing of kings so go get 'em.

3) Once you hit 30% passive ArP from gear and battle stance (so that's 20% from gear) it's time to start gemming for ArP as it provides a greater dps increase than strength at this point. Once you reach the soft cap for ArP go back to gemming for strength.

4) The only time you should be putting anything but red gems in all your sockets is to activate your meta gem or if the socket bonus is really fricken awesome.

Ok that about covers it on gems.

Weapon Choices.

This is a simple one. When you look at the bonus from specialisation
Axe/polearm > Mace > Sword.
Yep that's about all you need to know on this section.

Talent Build.

This is unfortunately not as simple as take this build and own the dps meter. So I will start by showing you my favourite build then talking about the variations you can take.

Now it's time to talk about the various changes you can make you your build based on personal preference.

The first is the three point's I've placed in Iron Will, these can be placed into Tactical Mastery if you find yourself changing stances a lot. And this is something I will probably change next time I respec.

The next is the 5 points I have in Commanding Presence. These points can be spent on Unbridled Wrath if your having rage generation problems or placed into Improved Demoralising Shout if your tanks are not specced into something similar.

Lastly are the two points I have in Improved Execute. One of these can be spent on Anger Management if your short on rage. Also you remember where I was talking about expertise? Well this is where you get the points from to put them into Weapon Mastery.

That about covers the talent build.


These are the major and minor glyphs you should be using.

Some people prefer to use Glyph of Bladestorm but it provides a dps boost on only a few fights.

The Rotation (kind of).

Arms dps doesn't use a rotation rather it uses a set of rules to determine which ability you use next. So I will now go through each ability you use on a boss fight and the rules that determine when you use them.

Rend. This is the very first ability you use at the start of the fight. Let it run it's full duration and refresh it as soon as possible afterwards preferably within 2 seconds of it falling off.

Mortal Strike (MS). Keep this baby on cooldown as much of the time as possible. The only reason to delay using MS is to refresh rend, or to avoid wasting a Taste for Blood proc, more on that later.

Execute. When using Execute through a Sudden Death (SD) proc the only time you should delay using it is if you have less than 30 rage or if by using it you will then prevent yourself from using MS i.e. using it will put you on less than 30 rage while MS is off cooldown and an auto attack will not land within the Global Cooldown (GCD), a swing timer is a valuable tool in helping you manage your SD procs.

Overpower. Because you are using this through a Taste for Blood (TfB) proc you have a 6 second window in which to use it before you get another TfB proc and effectively lose the first one. This means that you can realistically use at least 3 other abilities before you have to use Overpower. This means that while it is one of your higher damage abilities it has a lower priority than most of them because of it's ability to be used anywhere within the 6 seconds without delaying the next one.

Slam. This is you "Fill the gaps" ability, you use this only when you have no SD or TfB procs and MS is on cooldown. As arms you should be using every GCD and this is what you use to fill up you "spare" ones.

Bladestorm. You should keep this on cooldown as much as possible, but there are a couple of conditions to fill before you use it. The first is to ensure that rend won't fall off your target in the middle of your Bladestorm. The second is to make sure that you have used your TfB proc before casting Bladestorm and that the next one wont occur for at least another 3 seconds. The third is that you have MS on cooldown, you will always delay MS by using Bladestorm, just try to minimise the delay as much as possible. The fourth is to make sure you not going to be hitting anything your not supposed to i.e. pollymorphed mobs or creatures that have to be killed at a specific time.

Heroic Strike (HS). You use this ability only to ensure that you don't waste rage also referred to as a "rage dump". What I mean by this is that when you are at high rage and you get another auto attack it will often take you over 100 rage. As you can only have 100 rage this means that most of the rage you would have gotten is wasted, this is not good, it makes me a sad warrior when rage is wasted. So what we do instead is when we are at over 75 rage we cue a heroic strike thereby boosting our damage slightly instead of wasting rage, this makes me a happy warrior.

Additional notes on Arms DPS.

The Execute Phase. When the boss get to 20% you can now use Execute whenever the hell you want to. This is a bad thing because just spamming Execute will actually lower your dps. So what you do instead is continue with your normal rotation, keeping rend up, keeping MS on cooldown, using your TfB procs, the difference is you no longer use Slam and never use HS, instead whenever you would normally use slam you use execute instead. Another tactic is to switch to two good one handers, keep Rend up, use your TfB procs and Execute the rest of the time as you should generate enough rage to Execute on every GCD. I haven't tested enough to tell you which tactic works the best so take your pick and hope for he best :)

Multi target dps. When you have several targets to hit that are close together continue with your normal rotation but switch out HS for Cleave and use Sweeping Strikes (SS) on every cooldown. On a side note to using SS make sure that it is off cooldown just before you use Bladestorm. Pop SS and Bladestorm at the same time and each Whirlwind attack will hit each target twice. To make the most of this turn off you auto attack just before you do this as each auto attack will eat up a SS charge but only generate 1 additional hit. This means you will need 50 rage before you stop auto attacking and use SS and Bladestorm. Start your Auto attack again as soon as the last SS charge has been used.


Quartz - good for swing timer and nice target cast bars.

Power Auras Classic - use this to track you TfB and SD procs. Some people find it too flashy but I like it.

Auracle or Buttontimers - these provide an easy way to track your rend duration

So until next time this is Stuntyone the Incompetent Warrior signing off.


BiggSquishy said...

This article is great for the budding Arms DPS. Also useful for an old Arms as well. Thank you so much for breaking down the ArmPen stuff. most sites go into the math and totally lose me on it. Thanks for the info man, keep it up.

Stuntyone said...

No problem. I spent hours and hours poring over those incomprehensible numbers until I found the basic values, and decided I didn't want to give anyone else that much of a headache.

I will probably do a fury dps guide in the future once enough people bug me about it.

BiggSquishy said...

Would dig seeing a fury guide. I've been prot for god knows how long, and starting to get into DPS'ing thanks to duel speccs and a ton of offspec DPS gear collecting dust. I tank for raids but for dailies and farming i go dps. Past couple of raids i've gone in as DPS as a break from looking at boss crotches all night long. now i get to stare at boss butts all night long. WOOT!

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