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Eldacar's Guide to PVP Power & Resilience

This guide is written by Eldacar and was posted in the General Section of this forum. I think however that it's worth to put it on the frontpage again as many players did not see the updated version, yet. Thanks to Eldacar for an amazing guide.

Hello everyone, I have written this guide to provide the player base with an in-depth understanding of how the PVP Power and Resilience stats work for level 90 players in Mists Patch 5.2.

- This guide is written for level 90 players, the numbers are different at lower levels.
- Resilience scaling was changed in Mists patch 5.2 from increasing returns to linear. For a comparison of the old vs new scaling see Appendix C.
- The guide just underwent a major update and revision, if you notice a typo or error please let me know!


-Resilience has linear returns, +100 Resilience rating increases your effective health by 1.42% relative to displayed health. (+70.425~ increases EH by 1%)
-PVP Power has linear returns, +265 PVP Power gives you +1% damage/healing in PVP)
-PVP Power does not "cancel out" a target's Resilience but it will still help you hit them harder.
-You can get a significant increase in Resilience through gemming.
-Resilience is better than Stamina for increasing survivability.
-Resilience is stronger than PVP Power point for point by a fair margin.
-I cannot tell you definitively if you should gem PVP Power, Resilience, or something else, it depends on your class, spec, and playstyle. Look at guides written by pros of your class for gemming advice.

Table of Contents:

Section 1 - Resilience

1A - The Exponential Returns of Damage Reduction
1B - The Diminishing Returns of Resilience Rating
1C - Baseline Damage Reduction
1D - Effective Health
1E - Resilience Graphs and Independent Scaling

Section 2 - PVP Power, Stat Interaction, and Combined Scaling

2A - The Absolute vs Relative Returns of PVP Power
2B - PVP Power's Interaction with Resilience
2C - PVP Power Vs Baseline Damage Reduction
2D - Combined Stat Scaling of PVP Power and Resilience

Section 3 - Gemming for PVP

Section 4 - Closing Thoughts and Remarks

Section 5 - Appendix

Appendix A - Valuation and Frame of Reference
Appendix B - Formulas

Appendix C - Resilience Change in 5.2

Section 1 - Resilience

Everyone reading this likely already has at least a general understanding of how Resilience works, it's fundamental purpose is to provide percentage based damage reduction against all damage done by players, the more Resilience you have the less damage you take. That is fairly straightforward and easy to understand, however understanding how the stat scales and all the factors at work is more complicated.

There are four main factors that go into how Resilience scales, first is the exponential returns of percentage based damage reduction, second is the diminishing returns of Resilience rating, third is the baseline 40% reduction that all players have in PVP, and fourth is it's interaction with PVP Power. Only the first three factors will be examined in this section, the fourth; interaction with PVP Power is looked at in Section 2.

Section 1A - The Exponential Returns of Damage Reduction

The effects of percentage based damage reduction scale exponentially, the more you have the more valuable additional damage reduction becomes. For example, let's say someone is hitting you for 100 damage, if you have 0% damage reduction and you add 1% that 100 damage is reduced to 99 damage, a 1% effective reduction. However if you already have 90% damage reduction and you add another 1% that 100 base damage which was already reduced to 10 is now further reduced to 9. That change in incoming damage from 10 to 9 is a 10% reduction in actual damage taken by adding just 1% of damage reduction.
Here is a graph that shows how the value of damage reduction increases as you gain more:

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As you can see at 50% damage reduction additional reduction is worth twice as much as normal, at 90% its worth ten times as much as normal. This kind of scaling isn't unique to Resilience, armor and any other percentage based damage reduction (even in other games) function the same way, games control the overall scaling of these mechanics by manipulating how fast you are awarded the damage reduction.

One additional note on this, in World of Warcraft different damage reduction mechanics have multiplicative relationships NOT additive, what that means is that the value scaling for any one of these mechanics is only accurate within that one mechanic. At 50% damage reduction from Resilience an extra 1% from Resilience is effectively worth 2%, however none of this has any bearing on the value of additional damage reduction from say armor, that scales totally independently but in a similar fashion. Because these defensive stats scale independently from each other and have a multiplicative relationship they can each be examined and valued independently.

Section 1B - The Diminishing Returns of Resilience Rating

For Resilience the main factor that counters the exponential scaling of percentage based damage reduction is the diminishing returns on Resilience rating. The more Resilience rating you have, the less damage reduction is awarded by each additional point of rating. This is how Blizzard controls the overall scaling of Resilience as a whole, and it is what they change when they want to alter the way Resilience scales.

Currently at lvl 90 the rate at which the returns from Resilience rating diminish exactly cancels out the rate at which the relative value of damage reduction increases, as a result the net effect of Resilience has linear returns. Adding 100 Resilience rating will always increase your effective health by 1.42% relative to your displayed health.

Section 1C - Baseline PVP Damage Reduction

Mists of Pandaria added two new factors to the way Resilience scales, one of them is the baseline 40% PVP damage reduction that all players have. What this has effectively done is significantly shrink the damage reduction gap between under geared players and fully geared players compared to Cataclysm. In Cataclysm the damage reduction range on gear before gems was roughly 0-45.5%. In Mists that range shrank to 40-59%, so while the gear is still providing a solid increase in survivability it provides fully geared players much less of an advantage compared to Cataclysm.

Section 1D - Effective Health

Before you can understand most of the graphs in this guide you need to understand what effective health is. Effective health is essentially how much pre-mitigated damage it takes to kill you. If you have 100k health and 0% damage reduction your effective health is just that same 100k. However if you have 100k health and 50% damage reduction your effective health is 200k, because someone would need to do the equivalent of 200k pre-mitigaged damage to kill you.

It is also important to note that more than just increasing the size of your effective health pool, that damage reduction also increases the relative effectiveness of heals on you. With 50% damage reduction a 1k heal actually restores 2k of effective health, this is one of the reasons why having a larger effective health through damage reduction is better than having a larger displayed health through stamina.

Because effective health is such a great indicator of survivability it is also a great metric to use for evaluating the overall effectiveness of Resilience, which is why I used it in these graphs. It is really the stat that best indicates the value you are getting from Resilience and the stat you need to be paying attention to in the graphs. Effective health is displayed on the graphs as a percentage relative to displayed health, an effective health (EH) value of 150% for a player with a 100k displayed health pool would mean that player has an effective health from just Resilience of 150k. (When you factor in other effects like armor and damage reduction from talents your EH is higher but we are just looking at Resilience by itself here)

Section 1E - Resilience Graphs and Independent Scaling

Now that we have gone through all of the critical factors at work it is time to get into the graphs. This first graph displays the scaling of damage reduction and effective health based on Resilience rating at level 90 in patch 5.2. Keep in mind these graphs show the scaling of Resilience before the effects of PVP Power are factored in, so it is effectively your damage reduction and effective health vs a player in full PVE gear.

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As you can see in this graph, as you gain more Resilience you get less and less damage reduction per Resilience rating, however your effective health continues in a linear fashion anyway. Make note of the fact that there is NO Resilience cap, you are only limited by the amount of Resilience you can actually manage to get on your gear.

Section 2 - PVP Power, Stat Interaction, and Combined Scaling

PVP Power is a new stat introduced to the game in Mists of Pandaria which acts as the offensive compliment to Resilience. The idea behind this new stat is to encourage players to use PVP gear in PVP by putting major PVP-only offensive gains onto PVP gear (or in the case of healers, healing gains). PVP Power increases all damage done to players (under all circumstances), and healing done (while outside PVE-instances), by a percentage that increases based on how much PVP Power rating you have. There has been a lot of confusion on the forums as to how PVP Power works and particularly how it interacts with Resilience, hopefully I can clear some of that up here.

Before we dive in thought I would like to note that this guide focuses primarily on the +damage aspect of PVP Power because the +healing aspect does not have an easily quantifiable relationship with the other aspects of the PVP stats. However I want to point out that you will only get a fraction of the damage bonus as a healing bonus depending on your class and spec.

Section 2A - The Absolute vs Relative Returns of PVP Power

Unlike Resilience, PVP Power's scaling is very straight forward. It has linear returns when looking at it in an absolute sense, adding 265 PVP Power will always give you another +1% damage/healing in PVP. So every additional point of PVP Power will increase your damage/healing by the same amount. However I have seen some players around the forums describing PVP Power as having diminishing returns, and they are correct to an extent.

If you evaluate the returns of PVP Power in a relative sense it does have diminishing returns, going from 0%-1% will give you the same absolute damage increase as going from 30-31%, but in the latter case that damage increase is smaller relative to the damage you are already doing. This is a valid way of evaluating the data mathematically, but it is not very useful in practice.

Virtually everything in the game operates the same way, think about primary stats for example; +300 strength would give a warrior a pretty nice bump in damage right now, but if Blizzard said "Hey we like you random warrior!" and bumped their strength up to 100,000 that +300 strength would suddenly be worth a lot less to them even though it would still increase their damage by the same amount.

The  reality is that in order for a stat to offer you consistent relative gains as you gear up the stat would need to have increasing absolute returns, in other words it would need to give you more and more damage the more of it you got.
(For more info on absolute vs relative valuation see Appendix A)

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PVP Power's returns are perfectly linear, you gain 1% damage/healing for every 265 PVP Power.

Section 2B - PVP Power's Interaction with Resilience

The most common misconception that most players seem to have about PVP Power is that it acts as a kind of "Resilience Penetration" which counteracts the target's Resilience 1 for 1, that is simply not true. PVP Power increases your damage by the percentage shown in your stat pane, it always increases it by that same amount regardless of how much Resilience the target has. The target's Resilience then mitigates that incoming damage based on how much damage reduction that target has.

Take for example a warrior who's swing always does 100 damage per swing in PVE. This warrior gets a +50% damage increase from PVP Power in PVP, so that 100 damage get's increased to 150 damage in PVP. This warrior has now decided to attack a paladin that looked at him the wrong way. The paladin has +50% damage reduction from his Resilience, so when the warrior's 150 damage hits him it is reduced to down to 75. That is how PVP Power and Resilience interact, the outgoing damage is boosted up by PVP Power, then the total incoming damage is mitigated down by Resilience.

Section 2C - PVP Power Vs Baseline Damage Reduction

This next graph shows the effective damage of various PVP Power amounts against a target that has nothing but the baseline PVP damage reduction of 40%.

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What is immediately apparent here is that you need an enormous amount of PVP Power (pretty much the max possible) in order to cancel out just the BASELINE damage reduction all players have.

Section 2D - Combined Stat Scaling of PVP Power and Resilience

This final graph is a bit more complicated than the previous graphs, it shows the combined scaling of PVP Power and Resilience. The metrics represent the effective damage and effective health of two players with roughly equivalent gear fighting each other across the entire gear scale. At the left end it shows a player with no PVP Power vs a player with baseline Resilience. At the right end it shows a player with the typical max PVP Power vs a player with max Resilience.

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This graph indicates that as players gear up Resilience is boosting up player effective health faster than PVP Power is boosting up player damage. Which also means that Resilience is still a stronger stat than PVP Power by a fair margin, even when comparing just 10K Resilience to 18K PVP Power Resilience is still stronger, meaning point for point it isn't even a competition.

Section 3 - Gemming for PVP

One of the most popular questions I get is "What should I gem for?" Unfortunately I cannot provide a clear cut answer to that question. The answer is dependent your gear level, class, spec, playstyle and more. My recommendation is to check how the pros of your class/spec are gemming, and then experiment to see what works best for your personal playstyle. The only thing that I can definitively state is that Resilience is SIGNIFICANTLY better for increasing your survivability than Stamina. So if boosting your survivability is the goal, gem Resilience.

Section 4 - Closing Thoughts and Remarks

I hope that this guide has been illuminating for everyone that has taken the time to read it, I have tried to provide as much accurate and detailed information as possible about the way these stats work. If you have questions about these stats or about anything written here feel free to ask and I will do my best to get you an answer.

I error checked this guide many times however I am still human, so if you believe you see an error please let know and I will look into it. I also want to make it clear that although I am a member of Blizzard's Forum MVP program I am NOT a Blizzard employee and nothing in this guide is based on any kind of inside information. All the data in this guide was all generated based on direct in-game observation and calculations based on that observed data.

Section 5 - Appendices

This is some additional information about some of the ideas, concepts, and data discussed in this guide. Additional appendices may be added over time as needed.

Appendix A - Valuation and Frame of Reference

Absolute valuation compares numbers based on addition and subtraction, IE going from 30% damage reduction to 60% damage reduction is an absolute gain of 30%. Relative valuation compares numbers using ratios, IE going from 30% damage reduction to 60% damage reduction is a relative gain of 100%. Why is this important? Because taking the example a step further, going from 60% to 90% is an absolute gain of 30%, exactly the same as before, but it is a relative gain of 50%, half as much as before. So if this trend were to continue, it would signify linear absolute returns but diminishing relative returns. This guide primarily uses absolute valuation because it is much easier to understand and work with when comparing a large number of data points to a common baseline.

Frame of reference is another critical concept for evaluating data, particularly when most of the data is in percentages. There are two basic methods that can be used to evaluate a string of data points; constant frame of reference, or progressive frame of reference. Constant frame of reference uses one common baseline value as a reference point, every data point is compared to that baseline. In contrast a progressive frame of reference compares each data point to the data point before it. Take for example this set of data points: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. On a graph using a constant frame of reference they would be displayed as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 (all data points were compared to a baseline of 0). However on a graph using a progressive frame of reference they would be displayed as 1, 1, 1, 1, 1 (each data point was 1 larger than the number before it).

Using a constant frame of reference makes it much easier to evaluate the actual changes in the progression of a data set, where as using a relative frame of reference allows you to better evaluate changes in the rate of change over the progression of a data set. Since we are more interested in the actual changes than the rate of change when viewing the scaling of stats I chose to use a constant frame of reference for the graphs in this guide.

Appendix B - Formulas

The formula to calculate damage reduction from resilience in patch 5.2 is:
Reduction %  = ((11724*0.4)+x)/(11727+x)
x represents resilience rating, credit for this formula goes to Erdluf (Echo Isles US)

The formula to calculate damage increase from PVP is:
Damage increase %  =  x/265
x represents PVP Power rating

Appendix C - Resilience Change in 5.2

The formula for Resilience was changed in patch 5.2, changing its net scaling from increasing to linear.
Effective health returns from Resilience in 5.2 are now perfectly linear. Anyone with less than 10k Resilience should have seen a slight bump in effective health from the patch, anyone with more should see a slight loss. Going forward Resilience will still be a great, lucrative stat, it will just scale more evenly instead of getting more and more valuable at the high end.

Here is an interactive graph illustrating the difference in resilience scaling between 5.1 and 5.2:

Here is another focusing in on just the changes in damage reduction:
Posted in: News


#1 dnaiel

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 01:15 PM

Is there even anyone interested in this? So much effort for something you barely need to know. Just go full resi :warrior: :hunter: :paladin:

#2 dionim

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 01:18 PM

im interested

#3 ardnut

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 01:51 PM

I read it all apart from the appendices.  I read it the first time also when 5.0 came out.  It's good information to have, but I feel the most important thing to note is that you should gem according to your own situation, not to what everyone else says.  I gemmed almost full pvp power last season because I was hardly ever targeted in my team.  If you are always focused then you should go resi ... it's quite simple really.
* RBG/PvP Guild * Stormscale EU * Recruitment Thread * Click Below *
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#4 Flöt

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 01:56 PM

Nice guide!

#5 Donald

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 04:37 PM


why is it when i click the post on the front page i get this terrible format on the left? i have to click on the poster, go to his topics and then click the thread there to get the normal one on the right.

also, the content of the OP could be totally made up and no one would know. we will trust blindly.

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#6 Hoodzx

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 05:31 PM

great as usual,


#7 fraga

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 06:54 PM

Thanks for this. I was right about the formula

#8 Udderly

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 07:05 PM

[quote name='dnaiel' timestamp='1363007719' post='3860174']
Is there even anyone interested in this? So much effort for something you barely need to know. Just go full resi :warrior: :hunter: :paladin:

Thanks for this insightful post, bringing such value to the sight.  If only we had more posters like you....oh wait....

#9 Donald

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 07:45 PM

also, why am i able to do this


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#10 Asmodean

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 08:07 PM

If anybody is interested in a calculater for the damage reduction by resilience as of patch 5.2, you will find one below:

Just enter your resilience value, it will calculate the damage reduction percentage.
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#11 WildeHilde

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 09:14 PM

[quote name='Asmodean' timestamp='1363032444' post='3860273']
If anybody is interested in a calculater for the damage reduction by resilience as of patch 5.2, you will find one below:

Just enter your resilience value, it will calculate the damage reduction percentage.

Good work!

#12 usb20

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 02:38 AM

Still feel crit is more viable? As it is right now we get sat on all day -
Anyone tested these new vaules out?
I'd be interested to see how poeple feel about the change in play style