Armor vs Stamina

September 8, 2008 at 2:29 pm (World of Warcraft)

There’s a good question as to which is better: Stamina or Armor.  I thought I’d do some thinking into the matter and came up with some interesting results (I think).  From my review, I could tell you that I now value stamina over armor, so that’s what I started with, but it turns out that the truth is much more complex and interesting.

So lets start out with some numbers and an example.  At level 70, 462 armor = +1% mitigation, and 62 HP = +1% HP.  Looking at the training point costs of Natural Armor and Great Stamina, 430 armor and 13 Sta both cost 50 TP, so 1% armor = 2% stamina according to Blizzard’s values.  How does that stack up?

Well, let’s simplify.  Suppose we have a pet with 1000 HP and 40% mitigation.  How does it hold up against a mob dealing 200 base DPS?

Time 1000 HP/40% 1020HP/40% 1000HP/41%
1 880 900 882
2 760 780 764
3 640 660 646
4 520 540 528
5 400 420 410
6 280 300 292
7 160 180 174
8 40 60 56

Armor almost catches up, and would if starting HP was higher, and the battle longer.  Now, I tried this with a couple different numbers as well. Higher base HP puts the the time of death further down, and gives armor more time to catch up. Lower base DPS, makes it harder for armor to catch up, and higher DPS causes armor to catch-up and surpass Sta faster. Also, this assumes starting at max HP, but if a fight starts before that, additionally health does nothing. For instance, starting at time 7, let’s let the pet heal 200HP (time between fight, or mend pet, or bandage) and continue fighting. Armor continues its march ahead as follows:

Time 1000 HP/40% 1020HP/40% 1000HP/41%
7 160 180 174
8 360 380 374
9 240 260 256
10 120 140 138
11 DEAD 20 20

So, as with everything else in the world, the answer as to which is better is: ‘it depends.’ Here’s a good list of pros and cons to see which is better for you:

  • Extra Stamina is only effective if starting stamina is above what it would have been otherwise
  • Extra Armor is only effective against physical damage
  • Extra Stamina is effective against both magic and physical
  • Extra Armor is better in long battles where HP doesn’t get maxed out after start (raiding/fast gringing)
  • Extra Stamina is better for frequent short battles where health gets maxed out over and over (PvP/arena/ high DPS or slow soloing)
  • Extra Armor makes healing more efficient / less frequent
  • Extra Stamina makes sure your pet is still alive to heal
  • Extra Armor is better when DPS of opponents is very high (bosses / elites)
  • Extra Stamina is better when DPS of opponents is lower (regular mobs)

Those last two points and the 2nd/3rd are the ones I think are the most relevant.  While I was grinding with high stamina pets, the time in battle was not sufficient to let armor get ahead, and the time between was long enough to cause the out-of-battle healing factor to put health back above base often.  Similarly, I found that having extra armor while trying to solo elites was a huge help in keeping my pet alive.  My crab and scorpid were much more effective than my raptor when I was soloing “Crazed Colossi.’

One last thing.  DPS.  Having higher DPS enhances both of these stats.  Lowering the duration of fights saves mana (mana free out of combat healing) thereby keeping your HP higher for stamina and lengthening the table for armor to become effective.  I thing even in WotLK DPS is going to be king, and Ferocity pets are going to be just as effective solo pets as raiding pets.  That’s going to be one of the first things I try out in beta this week (hopefully).

Just something to think about as you’re spending the first few points of you pet talents.



  1. Itsnoteasy said,

    I did a post on this a while back; put together a spreadsheet where you can plug in you and your pet’s stats, and it will tell you what your pet’s total damage absorption is. It’ll also tell you how much of an increase you’re getting for your training points.

  2. Brajana said,

    Really great post! I’ve always been kind of curious about this, and this will help me decide how to spend my points.

  3. ihlos said,

    Nice post, the effects of armor and stam are always hard to weigh! Recently they upped the hunter contribution for stamina in the beta, giving it more value on the hunter gear. Armor is still whacky and I can’t figure out the new formula =(

    Kudos on a clear post on a difficult comparison!

  4. Mania’s Arcania » Community Round-Up: I’m Not at BlizzCon said,

    […] at The Mystic Hunter wrote a really nice summary of the considerations that go into choosing stamina or armor for your pet. (He also wrote a great summary of Brewfest that illuminates one of the several […]

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