Last month, I linked to one of the more attractive-looking (stat-wise) craftable mail items that will appear in the game with the release of Patch 3.3 and Icecrown Citadel. The item, Draconic Bonesplinter Leggings, was notable as one of the few early pieces that didn’t have Armor Penetration. The post was under the headline:
Ah, but now it does. Hunters rejoice!
This will be the third tier of raiding gear in which mail gear is primarily itemized with Hunters in mind. Not only do almost all the raid drops — whether normal or heroic — feature Armor Penetration, but in this patch, every physical DPS mail item available from badges, and one out of two craftable physical DPS mail items, has Armor Penetration on it.
That means we can’t even save our badges to buy alternatives, other than set gear.
So what’s the deal? We know Enhancement Shamans have been raising this issue for a while. Have those complaints gone unheard by the development team? Nope. From the Shaman Class Q&A from early June of this year:
One recurring concern among all shamans, whether they are Elemental, Enhancement, or Restoration, is in regard to itemization… An example brought up regularly is concerning Armor Penetration being prevalent in Ulduar despite it not being the most desirable stat for shamans who choose to play as Enhancement. In addition, many shamans express concerns that the options for upgrades are more limited for them than other classes.
If that’s the case, and they really are receptive to itemization concerns, then why do we see an endless parade of gear itemized with Hunters in mind, without stats like Haste that benefit Enhancement Shamans? Supposing most of the raid drops in the upcoming Icecrown Citadel raid do feature Armor Penetration (and it certainly looks that way), wouldn’t it be a smart move to provide some Emblem-purchasable alternatives that have different stats?
It’s just not normal for raiders to pass on upgrades because the gear is so poorly itemized that lower iLevel pieces, with stats like Haste and Crit instead of ArP, provide a better benefit than the shiny new drops.
It’s been a couple of months since Blizzard announced they’d be simplifying stats for Cataclysm, the upcoming expansion, and Armor Penetration will be among those “odd” stats that will be removed from the game with those changes. So why, if it’s a stat the dev team admits is confusing and will eventually be tossed, is it emphasized so heavily through three consecutive tiers of raid and Emblem gear?
This kind of thing leaves me scratching my head.