The nerf to armor pen in 3.2.2 is intentional. Compared to the recent buff where we increased the value of armor rating to 125%, this nerf would take it back down to 110%. While we are still evaluating the effects of this change in the 3.2.2 build, we did want to let you know of the possibility in case you were about to spend a lot on armor pen gems.
In fact, this was really the point. Several melee specs (and Marksman hunters) had begun to focus on armor pen at the expense of all other stats. Gear without armor pen was being passed over and gem sockets were increasingly being filled with just this one stat. While every spec has stats that are more valuable than others, this one felt like it was starting to trump everything. Not coincidentally, characters stacking lots of armor pen were starting to do more damage than their peers and more damage than we were comfortable with.
This change is largely for PvE reasons, though we won’t cry at all if melee damage in PvP drops a little as a result.
We’re letting you know now so that this doesn’t feel like a stealth nerf, assuming it goes live. While you might disagree or be frustrated by the change (though I also suspect it won’t come as a surprise to many players), we ask that you try and keep your response to something appropriate for these forums.
Assuming this stays, this is a 12% nerf to ArPen. It’s worded a bit oddly…essentially they’re rolling back the previous 25% buff to make it only 10%.
What does this mean? I’m sure Kalon and Runy will weigh in, but as it stands now, ArPen was insane for geared melee classes, because it scaled up rather than scaled down. Basically, every point of ArP was worth more than the point before, so once you start getting high levels of ArP, adding more ArP was giving HUGE dps gains. (Sims were showing cats in full BIS gear at 10k DPS, since they were able to hardcap ArP.) The theorycrafters are still checking, but I’m almost positive that stacking agility will return to being the best strat for almost all gear levels.