Expose Armor Could Use Some Love

With Feburary approaching and Valentine’s Day on the horizon, I’m thinking of a Rogue ability that could use a little love.  Expose Armor, I’m looking at you.

There are Rogues that have never used this ability, and it’s not hard to understand why.  It’s a hassle for a Rogue to put up, and under most scenarios where it would be useful, you can usually survive without it.  For the sake of those of you who are unfamiliar with it off the top of your head, here’s the tooltip:

Finishing move that exposes the target reducing armor by 20% and lasting longer per combo point

I left off the rest due to formatting, but basically, you get 6 seconds of this debuff for every combo point you use.  For you to keep this Expose Armor active, you need to completely alter your rotation taking out 2-3 of your Envenom or Eviscerate cycles per minute. 

Warriors also can use this debuff (Sunder Armor), but their version is a stacking debuff.  While it will usually take a warrior longer to get the full 20% on a boss than a Rogue, they can refresh it (30 second duration) with one use of the button.  Protection Warriors apply Sunders through their natural rotation, and the other two specs can use it as a Rage dump.  Either way, it’s significantly easier for a Warrior to apply and keep this debuff up than a Rogue.

Where is this a problem?  Certainly not in 25 man raids.  The likelihood of forming a 25 man raid without a warrior is pretty slim.  It’s really not an issue in 5 mans either, as the bar is generally set too low for it to matter whether the bosses lose 20% of their armor.  However, in 10 man raiding with the current DPS requirements, there might be situations where the lack of a warrior is very detrimental to your group…

I’m in one of these situations right now; in fact it’s actually worse.  My 10 man raiding group just lost its Warrior (Prot) and its Shaman (Ele).  On Tuesday, we plugged in what we could and the following comp was achieved:

  • 2 Tanks – Paladin and DK
  • 3 Melee DPS – Assassination Rogue (gee wonder who that is), 2 Blood DK
  • 3 Ranged DPS – Marks Hunter, Affliction Lock, Shadow Priest
  • 2 Healers – 1 Druid, 1 Priest (The Mrs.)

Things went well for the first 3 bosses, and then the 1000+ latency hit.   Tonight I’ll be able to see just how much DPS we lost, but I’m thinking that missing out on Heroism, Windfury Totem and Sunder might be too much to overcome without asking a few people to respec or shuffling the group around again.

Back to the original point, I won’t be using Expose Armor on Saurfang.  With the current group comp, it appears that the net gain from keeping that buff active at all times will not be greater than the DPS lost from interrupting my rotation.  If however, Blizzard would throw a little love to a very underused but sometimes necessary Rogue ability, I think 10 mans without a warrior would be better off.

There are a few different ways they could go about this change.  Expose armor could be moved entirely off of the combo point system, or used as a combo generating move.  Or leave it the way it is, and make a way to refresh it, similar to the way that Cut to the Chase works.  If they were to follow that idea, I’d love to see it tied to Rupture, as that’s another ability that seems to be losing its effectiveness.

Warriors, I’m not saying replace you.  I’d rather have a warrior in a group to take care of Sunders.  I’m just pointing out one of the many deficiencies that can exist in a 10 man raid.  “Bring the Player Not the Class” only goes so far.  It seems like most comps are  acceptable provided that you’ve got Heroism, Replenishment, and to a lesser, but still important, degree Sunders.  In the best case scenario, you’ve got a Prot Warrior and an Resto Shaman with 1 DPS covering Replenishment.  In the potential worst case scenarios, you might be benching players that have earned the spot for the sake of group comp.

I guess I’ll see tonight how much losing those two really hurts.  Oh yeah, and Blizzard, please make Expose Armor more user friendly for the times that it’s really needed.

– Sam

6 Responses to Expose Armor Could Use Some Love

  1. Blah says:

    Have you done the math behind this?

    I imported an exclusively 10 man marks hunter into femaledwarf.com’s hunter simulator. With only enabling Sunder as an external buff/debuff, the hunter gained 288 DPS.

    I imported a T9 geared blood DK into teamrobot.com’s DK simulator. With only enabling Sunder as an external buff/debuff, the DK gained 340 DPS.

    Without any additional buffs, you are costing the raid 1k dps by being selfish with your rotation. When you take both of these simulators, enable all of the buffs except sunder, its more like 2k dps that you are costing the raid by not tossing sunder.

    Any DK tank worth his salt is either Blood or Frost specced, both are heavily dependent on physical attacks for threat. Blood, more so than Frost. So you are also costing your tanks threat and damage.

    Swapping a single eviscerate to expose armor every 30 seconds is easily worth it for 2k DPS additional raid dps.

    You should seriously rethink your decision to exclude sunder from your rotation. In addition, you should investigate via the mutilate spreadsheet if speccing into improved expose armor would be worth it based on your raid composition.

  2. Samueltempus says:


    You make very valid points, and I’ll address them in a second, but you’re commenting on something that’s not the main point of the post.

    It is inherently easier for a Warrior to put up Sunder armor than for a Rogue to use Expose Armor. A prot warrior loses nothing for keeping sunders active and gains threat. An Arms / Fury Warrior loses significantly less total DPS than a rogue from keeping it refreshed.

    Back to your point.

    In a simulator everything is perfect, and that’s not the World of Warcraft that I play. In my group, I’ve actually tried providing the buff myself over about 10 attempts and overall damage was slightly less. Also on attempts that I just flat out DPSed, I pulled an about 1.5k more on Saurfang.

    It looks like we’ve got another warrior tank that can step in tonight, so it’s a moot point. Our hunter was willing to get a Wasp and see how much the 5% mini sunder helped.


    Everything you said is absolutely true. It is selfish for me to leave out Expose Armor, but in my group, using it didn’t produce the same results as it did on those simulators. If I can get all of the people in my group to the point where my buff is worth losing the DPS, I will.

    – Sam

  3. Stonedrake says:

    “Expose armor could be moved entirely off of the combo point system, or used as a combo generating move. Or leave it the way it is, and make a way to refresh it, similar to the way that Cut to the Chase works.”

    This *AND* this.

    Brilliant ideas. I think the last time I used Expose Armor was when I was two manning some Vanilla 5-man with a bear tank and we were taking out a high armour mob. It’s amazing how much of our stuff really doesn’t see much use anymore.

  4. Dylan says:

    I’ve never used Expose Armor because it was never any good and there was no reason to use it, it would make my dps look worse and nobody would even notice me doing it, why should I start now?

  5. Samueltempus says:


    The point is to fix it so that it’s less of a DPS loss to use. If you’re in a 10 man with 5 or more people that are either melee or a hunter, your group’s overall DPS should be much higher than if the sunder/expose debuff isn’t applied. Granted, if a Warrior is there, they should apply it.

    Also, If you’re in a guild where dropping your own DPS to up the total group DPS isn’t noticed and appreciated, you need to find a new guild. If you’re helping to get a job done right, you should be praised, not chided.

    – Sam

  6. chmelyk says:

    *POOF* And your (Ele) Shaman is BACK!

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