Posted by: TheLastDeadMouse | April 29, 2010

Gearing: PvE vs PvP

Before I get too far into breaking down the results of my latest testing, there’s many qualifiers that need to be made. First is that my spreadsheet is far, far from a perfect tool. Its also heavily relies on outside sources that aren’t perfect. Its also modeling a fight as though it were a pure tank and spank fight with no movement, no adds and no disruption of dps. Finally I’m only presenting three different scenarios for gearing, and what’s right for you will change heavily on what gear is available to you and what content you plan on tanking.

That being said lets jump in and take a look at the most basic of gearing decisions, PvE gear or PvP gear?

To start, I used my own raid tanking set, which almost entirely consists of PvP gear, as the base standard for a PvP tanking set. This set and the others refereed to in this article can be accessed at by clicking on Public Settings and typing in “Durante” in the “Made By:” space. First I took my set and removed all the gems (listed as the set PvP Set – Gemless) then plugged in the gear stats into the Defense tab of the spreadsheet and offensive totals into the blue spaces of the Threat tab. This gave me the baseline attributes of this set with 13 empty gem slots as a blank slate where I could test the effect of any number of stats.

Given this baseline, I then plugged in straight Agility gems into each slot and recorded the results, then repeated the process for with AP gems and Stamina gems.

As we’ve suspected for quite some time, AP proves to be a much more effective threat stat than agility. The additional armor from the Agility gemming is also fairly insignificant. One surprise to me though is that gemming AP is almost as potent at increasing threat as gemming stamina is at increasing health. In this particular gear set filling those 13 gem slots increases total TPS by 8.76% while gemming stamina increased effective health by 9.94%.

In order to compare to a set of similar PvE gear, I constructed a set where every piece was the same iLevel as the PvP piece it replaced. I had to make judgment calls between a number of items of the same level for the same slot, so I picked whichever item had the most beneficial stats like AP, stamina, gem slots and agility, and stayed away from those with mostly useless stats like Armor Pen and Haste. Two pieces of PvP gear were left in the set to provide the resilience required to keep the pet crit immune. I eventually settled on the set listed as PvE Tank – Gemless.

Much as I expected a PvE and AP build gave considerably more threat that an PvP and AP build while a PvP Stamina build gave more survivability than its PvE counterpart. What’s much more interested however is when you look at more balanced builds, gemming PvP gear for threat and PvE for survivability. If you’re trying to build a set that has both adequate threat and effective health you’d be better off with PvE gear, as it only had .620% less threat while giving 6.41% more effective health. That’s a trade off I’d take any day of the week. The biggest cause of this disparity is the huge number of gem slots in the PvE set, nearly double that of the PvP set. This allows us to take a larger portion of that items stat budget and apply it to the two stats we love most and avoid junk stats.

So what’s the moral of this story? At least thus far, is seems like if you don’t need 25 man raid levels of health, PvE gear is the way to go.



  1. For me, this is also a matter of personal preference. I think I would go blind if I tried to get enough arena points *and* rating to get the major pieces of PvP Arena armor. I’m considering poking at a PVP gun, but that’s a much different consideration, and one I’m still weighing the options of (and involves a lot of horrible luck with weapon drops lately).

    However, there’s still the occasional time I’m the only hunter in a raid, and I’m the only BM hunter in the guild at *all*, let alone among the raiding members. This means that I *can* get some quite decent PVE gear out of the deal. Plus, some of the good PVE tanking gear is BoE nowadays, if people are considering the option. Yes. It’s expensive. If you’re considering raid tanking, it can definitely be worth it, though.

  2. Yeah, current PvP polearms require 2200 ratings. Not too many hunters are in that category. Non-current ones are not available.

  3. Not everyone is necessarily going to have access to a full set of PvP (or PvE for that matter) but there is quite of bit of excellent gear you can get without ever winning a match or even stepping foot in the arena.

    You can buy several ilvl 264 offpieces for honor without any arena requirements, wrists, cloaks, rings, and necks. ilevel 245 boots and belts don’t require rating, and neither do the main pieces though they require arena points. Though weapons remain restrictive with the lower tier items requiring a 1800 rating, its pretty easy to fill the rest of your slots with 245 or better gear.

    Its mostly a matter of personal preference, and fortunately when you know what you want there’s some easy ways of getting some fantastic gear.

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