- Author: Nevermore
- Date: August 21, 2022
- Expansion: WotLK Classic
The stat priority of Arms Warriors is very similar to that of other melee DPS classes, and particularly other Strength users. In the briefest terms possible, you will want to focus on Hit Rating until cap, then Expertise rating until cap, then Armor Penetration rating until cap, and then go all out with Strength after you’ve reached all the caps.
Just like Fury Warriors, Arms Warriors can use the Armored to the Teeth talent, which allows you to gain attack power from our armor value, incentivizing us to go for plate gear over leather or mail. This talent will help you gain a substantial amount of Attack Power in the long run!
- Hit rating
- Cap: 164 rating, or 131 rating if there’s a Draenei in your party
- Expertise rating
- Cap: 173 rating for orcs using axes & dwarves using maces, 189 for humans using swords or maces, 214 for others
- Armor penetration rating
- Cap: 1400 rating (100% armor penetration after raid debuffs)
- Attack Power
- Crit rating
- Haste rating
Hit rating will be your most important stat — if you can’t hit your targets, you’re not dealing damage. You gain a 1% increased chance to hit for every 30.7548 hit rating you have.
The soft-cap for dual-wielding melee hits versus level 83 (boss) enemies is 8%. You do not have to care about the hard-cap, as it simply takes too much investment to reach. This means that melee characters need 263 hit rating in order to reach the desired hit cap — but there are ways to reduce that.
As an Arms Warrior, you do not benefit from any talent that increases your Hit Rating, however, you will always benefit from Heroic Presence, increasing your hit rating by 1%, meaning that you will require only 232 Hit Rating if you have a Draenei in your party!
Expertise (and expertise rating) will be your 2nd most important stat — again, if you can’t hit your targets, you’re not dealing damage. You gain 1 expertise for every 8.1974 expertise rating you have. 1 expertise reduces the chance that your attacks get dodged or parried by 0.25%. However, expertise has an unfortunate quirk: you cannot have fractional amounts of it. For example, if your character has 111 expertise rating in total, you will end up with 13 expertise, rather than 13.54 which is what you get if you divide 111 by 8.1974.
The soft-cap for melee hits versus level 83 (boss) enemies is 26 expertise, reducing the chance that your attacks get dodged by 6.5%. You do not have to care about the hard-cap, which involves eliminating parries, as you should always be attacking the boss from behind, and enemies cannot parry from behind. This means that melee characters need 214 expertise rating in order to reach the expertise cap — but there are ways to reduce that.
Arms Warriors benefit from Strength of Arms, increasing their overall expertise by 4. Besides gear and this talent, we will also benefit from racial bonuses. Orcs using axes and dwarves using maces gain +5 expertise thanks to their racials, meaning they only need 21 expertise, or 173 expertise rating. Humans meanwhile get +3 expertise when using swords or maces, meaning they only need 23 expertise, or 189 expertise rating.
Armor Penetration is infamously the strongest stat for physical damage dealers in Wrath of the Lich King. Arms Warriors are no exception, with all of our damage being physical and thus gaining a massive damage bonus from Armor Pen.
Armor Penetration is one of the most “math-y” stats out there and it’s generally pretty difficult to understand, so we won’t go into details about how it works here. The only thing you really need to know is that it takes 1400 armor penetration rating in order to reach 100% armor penetration in raids.
Arms Warriors benefit from another special condition that enhances their Armor Penetration, requiring even less than 1400 to reach the cap: Arms Warriors will always be in Battle Stance, increasing their Armor Penetration value by 10% by default.
If you’ve reached the cap, you should switch your Armor Penetration gems, enchants, etc. to Strength equivalent versions. Don’t forget your armor penetration procs when calculating how much armor penetration you have.
Warriors are a strength-based class, meaning Strength will be your “bread-and-butter” stat, so to speak — you’ll be stacking it after you’ve reached your Hit, Expertise, and Armor Penetration caps. Strength-based classes gain 2 attack power per 1 point of strength.
Arms Warriors gain 4% extra Strength thanks to the Strength of Arms talent, and when you’re buffed with Greater Blessing of Kings, you’ll gain 10% extra Strength on top of that. Thus you effectively gain 2.28 attack power per 1 point of strength, making strength significantly better than raw Attack Power in many cases.
Attack Power makes your attacks hit harder — it is the core stat of all physical damage dealers, melee or ranged. For Warriors in specific, you’ll get the bulk of your Attack Power from Strength, as items with strength will generally offer more attack power than items that offer raw attack power. It is not a bad stat at all, you’ll simply gain more of it via Strength.
Crit Rating is a great stat for any physical damage dealer, increasing your chances of landing a critical strike. You gain a 1% increased chance to crit for every 45.91 crit rating you have.
Crit is a great stat for Arms Warriors, thanks to our multitude of crit-related talents, like Impale, Improved Overpower, and Poleaxe Specialization. Moreover, our Heroic Strike critical strikes generate 10 rage thanks to the Glyph of Heroic Strike, making Crit an exceptional stat for warriors all in all — though generally, an equivalent amount of Strength will be better.
Some may be surprised to see agility on this list, as it is typically associated with rogues and hunters rather than warriors. The truth is that it’s useful for every physical damage dealer, as it increases your crit chance, by an amount that varies between classes. Warriors in specific gain 1% increased chance to crit for every 62.5 agility they have, or 1% crit per 56.82 agility when buffed with Greater Blessing of Kings.
Moreover, you gain 2 armor per 1 point of Agility you have. This would normally not be worth mentioning, but Fury Warriors have the Armored to the Teeth talent, which increases our attack power by 1 for every 36 points of armor, meaning we get a tiny bit of Attack Power out of Agility as well.
In general, Agility will be a slightly weaker version of Crit Rating, like how Attack Power is a weaker version of Strength. It’s by no means a bad stat — don’t shy away from taking an item because it has Agility, as many strong Armor Penetration items will be leather or mail, and thus have Agility on them. Most Strength items don’t have Agility, however, so don’t go out of your way to grab Agility items either. Never gem Agility!
Haste is one of the most straightforward stats — it makes you attack faster. You gain 1% increased attack speed for every 32.79 haste rating you have.
You may be surprised to see Haste almost dead last on this list. It is by no means a bad stat — attacking faster is always good. It just doesn’t really offer as much damage as the previously mentioned stats do. Don’t reject a piece just because it has Haste on it — a lot of great items have Haste on them, in fact. You just shouldn’t go out of your way to improve your Haste rating like you should with Strength or Armor Penetration.
Arms Warriors benefit from the Armored to the Teeth talent, which increases our attack power by 1 for every 36 points of armor we have. This was Blizzard’s attempt to incentivize warriors to use plate items over leather or mail. It’s undoubtedly pretty cool that we get stronger when we’re tankier.
While your armor’s attack power contribution will generally not be massive, it is important nevertheless. You must always remember the armor factor when comparing two items in terms of stat increases. As an added bonus, we get to use otherwise defensive consumables, like Indestructible Potion and Elixir of Protection, in order to boost our offensive capabilities as well.