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PvP Power, PvP Resilience and PvE gear

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For any readers who don't know, Mists of Pandaria brought about a fairly substantial change in PvP gear. Resilience and Spell Penetration were removed, and replaced with two shiny new stats: PvP Power and PvP Resilience. PvP Resilience is essentially the same as the old Resilience stat, reducing your damage taken from other players. It's active all the time, whenever you're wearing your PvP gear.

PvP Power is not, as many believe, a direct 1 for 1 counter to PvP Resilience. PvP Power increases your damage against other players. So, if you're a player who has 0 PvP power, hitting a player who has 50% damage mitigation from PvP Resilience, and your hit does 100 damage, it will only hit them for 50 damage.

Say you are that same player, only now you have a 100% damage increase against other players from PvP Power. Your 100 damage hit now hits another player for 200 damage. But, the player with 50% damage mitigation is still resisting 50% of that damage, so it hits them for 100 damage.

Of course, these values are not correct in-game, but we're getting to that. They're just for illustration!

Why have the changes been made?

The purpose behind PvP Power and PvP Resilience is to remove, or massively diminish, the effectiveness of PvE weapons in PvP. One of the biggest gripes I had about the last few seasons, which I know was shared by others, was the fact that the best weapons and trinkets for many classes and specs in the arena was gear obtained from high-end raiding. Examples include Vial of Shadows, particularly pre-nerf, Cunning of the Cruel, and of course, both Dragonwrath, Tarecgosa's Rest, and the rogue legendary daggers.

Of course, the addition of 40% base resilience for every player should not be forgotten, and nor should the lowering of the item level of PvP gear to below that of PvE gear of the same tier, and the addition of the standard number of stats to PvP gear, where PvP Power and PvP Resilience no longer replace a main stat like they used to.

PvP Power: Healing

PvP Power's application to healing has been a hot topic and a tricky problem for the devs to solve. PvP Power's damage component is easily to design, logistically, as whenever you're doing damage to another player as opposed to an NPC or mob, PvP Power's damage increase is active.

PvP Power, PvP Resilience and PvE gearWhen you're healing, however, you're always healing other players, apart from in some very unusual circumstances. So, if PvP Power were to apply a 50% +healing bonus whenever it's on your gear, that would make it almost certainly the best choice for all healers, all the time. This would lead to all manner of other changes, stat escalation, goodness knows what. So, the proposed solution was to make PvP Power only applicable in PvP-specific instanced content, namely Battlegrounds and Arenas. MVP Eldacar, who we're going to be talking about and with a lot today, had a twitter conversation with Lead Systems Designer Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street about how PvP Power's effect on healing is applied everywhere. On checking this out myself, I today discovered the above tooltip. I don't know quite what this means, to be completely honest. On a PvP server is the entire world outside sanctuary zones a PvP zone? Or does this mean that PvP Power's healing component is only active in Battlegrounds and Arenas?

PvP Power and PvP Resilience Scaling

Everyone's favorite MVP, Eldacar, has posted a fantastic and very thorough guide to PvP Power and PvP Resilience. This can be found on Eldacar's Blog, as well as various other places. This guide, which is relevant for level 90 players, is incredibly detailed, and provides as much information as you could ever hope to need. If you want the full story, please do check it out, because while I'm trying to pull out the most pertinent facts here, my column pales in comparison!

PvP Power, PvP Resilience and PvE gearWhat is scaling? Scaling is how the stats increase. PvP Resilience scaling is rather complicated, again, do check out section 1 of Eldacar's guide if you want a full understanding, but what you need to know is this: At level 90, the gap between undergeared PvPers and fully geared PvPers is far smaller than it was in Cataclysm. However, in Mists, aiming for PvP Resilience via gemming and gearing is still viable. PvP Resilience's diminishing returns do not outweigh the increases in effective health given by each percentage point of PvP Resilience.

This is pretty easily explained. If someone hits you for 100 damage, and your reduction is 1%, they're hitting you for 99 damage. Going from 0% to 1% takes out 1% of incoming damage. However, if you have 90% damage, meaning the 100 damage incoming hits you for 10 damage, adding 1% means it hits you for 9 damage. This is a 10% reduction in incoming damage in return for a 1% actual increase.

For every additional point of PvP Resilience, you get ever less percentage damage mitigation. But due to the aforementioned increase in value, the diminishing returns can't keep up, so there's no point (yet) where adding more resilience has no use.

If you check out this graph from Eldacar, you can see that while each point of PvP Resilience offers only a very small percentage increase, the more percentage reduction you have, the more value every percentage point has. The blue line of the graph shows your percentage damage reduction, while the red line shows your effective health.

What is effective health? Well, if you have 100k health, and 0% damage mitigation, your effective health is 100k. If you have 100k health and 50% damage mitigation, your effective health is 200k. Why? Because if someone's hitting you, and nothing else is happening at all, they will have to do 200k damage to kill you. You're mitigating 50% of their damage. On the graph, 150% effective health, i.e. the red line, means that the effective health of our player with 100k health is 150k.

PvP Power scaling is far more simple, although there are some minor diminishing returns to factor in, they are mostly mathematical rather than actual. Adding 265 PvP Power will add 1% additional damage or healing. There are diminishing returns, but these are really just based on how much of a percentage of your total PvP Power damage increase that 265 PvP Power gets you. If you have 1 PvP Power, 265 PvP Power is a 265% increase. If you have 2650 PvP Power, 265 PvP Power is a 10% increase, if you see what I mean. Eldacar has another helpful graph if pictorial interpretations work for you!

How do they work together?

This is the important question. Effective health is increased by PvP Resilience, as we saw, but then decreased by PvP Power in the hands of your enemies, as someone hitting you is doing more damage. This graph plots out the effective health of someone with a static PvP Resilience value, against someone who has increasing PvP Power. Effective damage in these charts is how much damage you're doing against a target of the relevant resilience level, of course, as you get more and more PvP Power this increases more and more. The red line, again, is effective health. You can see how PvP Power diminishes it. But, in our final graph for today, you can see how PvP Power increases don't really keep up with PvP Resilience increases.

Due to the large increases in effective health offered by PvP Resilience, PvP Power's damage increases get less and less powerful against higher PvP Resilience targets. However, this doesn't mean you should ignore PvP Power, a lower PvP Power level only serves to increase your opponents effective health even more! But, this leads us to the really big question...

What about PvE gear in PvP?

Will these stats mean that PvE gear is no longer viable in PvP? Well, I am not mathematically competent enough to confidently answer that question, so I asked someone who is. Who was that? Eldacar, of course! He replied as follows:

Regarding PvE gear in PvP, this is one of the most complex questions to answer but I will tell you what I know. The way the stats currently sit on everything it is likely we will still see top end PvE melee weapons in particular and possibly trinkets finding their way into top end PvP. There just isn't enough PvP power on the S12 weapons to make up for the difference in DPS between them and their PvE counterparts.

Looking at the normal raiding axe versus the S12 conquest axe, the conquest axe boosts PvP DPS by 8.4%. The normal raiding axe does 27.4% more DPS, as well as offering higher stat values and a socket. The raiding axe is so clearly a better choice. The PvP gear does offer more resilience, but a minor survivability increase isn't worth the DPS loss. The gap is less on the elite S12 weapons vs. the heroic raiding ones, but it's still there.

PvP Trinkets as well as caster weapons could also potentially be subpar compared to some heroic PvE options but the line isn't as clear cut for them. On the armor side PvP gear should be better in general, the increased stats provided by top end PvE armor are easily negated (and then some) by the PvP Power and Resilience on S12 PvP armor.

However, Eldacar adds an excellent point, being that the new stats enable Blizzard to far more easily adjust PvP gear's performance against PvE gear. If Eldacar is right, and PvP Power on current PvP gear is too low, Blizzard can now easily adjust this, far more easily than they ever could before. They simply ramp up the PvP Power, without needing to worry about PvE balancing issues.

If Blizzard want PvP weapons to be the best choice for PvP, they'll need to.

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