Archive for the 'Gear' Category

13
Aug
10

Dear Ghostcrawler, I love gear sets

Ghostcrawler had a post a few days ago talking about tanking, vengeance, and his thoughts on the the new skill and tanks lack of desire to put out dps. He said the following (source):

Now, it would be awesome if tanks did consider dps stats more seriously, and maybe outside of the instagib environment of Lich King, they will. Back in the day, tanks at least have say swords and rings for +threat fights even if they didn’t use them all the time.

Ghostcrawler seems to be under the impression that tanks don’t want to do lots of dps, and that we do not carry around an extra sword and ring for threat sensitive fights. I would love for him to fall upon Meloree’s bleeding edge of TPS thread on Maintankadin, Anafielle’s post on Rhidach’s blog about her threat set, or even just some of the blogs that I have done here regarding itemization, gear sets, and knowing how to gear for any encounter. There are plenty of people out there who love gear sets, have multiple ones, and wear them every week. And sadly, while I am sure he was trying to simplify his statement by saying that rings and swords are what we swap out, we can do so much more than that.

Gear Sets and their purpose

Currently the newest encounter in the expansion employs a fire breathing, parry haste enabled, dragon. One of the common theories as to why parry haste is turned on for dragons is because the breath is suppose to be the instant gib, threatening attack which healers and tanks should plan for. However as many of use have seen, the breath is the nice part of Halion hard mode. The evil part is the 30-35k swings that he employs in concert with breaths, cleaves, adds, and laser beams of death. This brought up a discussion on MainTankadin at one point, and more recently in my guild forums. A few of our more outspoken dps (some of whom happen to have tanks as alts), Brought up the fact that the tanks should just gear for expertise.

This movement to gear towards expertise came off of a night of wiping on Halion to parry hasting gibs. The theory, based off of the facts at hand, from the point of view of a dps player, was sound and obvious. If parry haste is killing the tank, eliminate the threat by gearing or even gemming for expertise. However the deeper seeded issue with this theory is that it is not taking into account all of the facts. When you look at the fight there are a few things that stick out in my mind as the essential moments to gear for. First and foremost, Halion hits like a truck so stamina and armor is key to survival. A very high level of effective health will help with a tanks survival. However on hard mode there are multiple other things to consider.

Depending on the tank role you are assigned, there are three gearing philosophies which should be employed, and this will transition perfectly into a discussion on gear sets. There are two “main tanks” and one “off tank” in this fight. Firstly, you have the tank who is assigned to Halion in the physical realm. This tank has two different end objectives of his or her gearing strategy. First and foremost, you need to survive. Health and defensive statistics which will help mitigate and avoid damage will be key. However there is a second component to the gearing philosophy which should not be completely overlooked. You need snap threat for the add pick up and sustained threat to ensure that you can tank both the boss and the add. From my perspective, this is a perfect situation to maximize survival while maintaining hit cap and threat statistics. I would personally wear my Max HP set, which has a nice balance of 253 hit and 26 expertise, while boosting my HP raid buffed to 60k.

The second tanking role in the encounter is the add tank in the physical realm. The most important thing for the add tank is to be able to maintain threat on as many adds as possible, while pumping out a good amount of dps in the process. The adds need to die as fast as possible, and with the number of raiders going all out on dps because of the tight timer in between meteors, a threat set is essential. There are of course caveats to this, but for the most part, a tanking set which focuses on threat and dps output would be ideal for this situation. The tank should easily be putting out 8-9k dps because of all the adds that they are responsible for holding off of your melee who are cranking out 16-17k dps.

Finally the Twilight Realm tank needs to focus on one thing, and only one thing, and that is survival. They will need to be able to produce the best effective health set possible, in concert with a cool down heavy spec , because the challenge in the twilight realm for the tank is to stay alive taking 30k hits while the healers are moving for about 10 seconds. The major key to success in the twilight realm is cool down usage, but this is only good if the gear on your back can withstand the beating. You want a full effective health set, which is focused on pure survival. Threat should not be that much of an issue, as you will have a good head start on your dps due to your early entry into the twilight realm, as well as the fact that you should have some tricks and MDs when your dps get down there.

Threat Matters, Gear Solves the Issues

Back when the buff in ICC was pushing from 15-20% I noticed a trend in my tps output. I was starting to lose the large gap I had between myself and the dps when it came to threat. I blogged a few times about it, and even went as far as posting some screen shots from World of Logs to illustrate why my threat was not as good as it could be. My threat was hindered by the lack of hit and expertise on my gear, however the gap in threat between myself and the dps was caused by the gradual increase of 277 gear in the raid and the zone buff increasing every month. As our dps started putting out larger and larger numbers due to gear and buffing, my threat did not follow suit. I knew that something had to be done, and it was not something that would be solved by swapping out a ring and a sword.

After pouring over parses, and looking at the gear I had available to me, I went ahead and constructed a high health threat set, not the one that I use to smash faces with on Festergut, but the one that I would use for pumping out threat when I knew that my healers could not keep me up in my threat set. While we have seen amazing things from tanks, that also comes with an amazing raid. The more talented the healers, the less you have to bring, the more dps you can bring and the quicker the fight ends. Because the fight is quicker, your cool down and bloodlust / Heroism buff is a larger percentage of your over all dps. I did not have the luxury of other tanks, so I needed to keep my survival, but up my threat. This set consisted of not only a swap in rings and weapon, but also trinkets, pants, cloak, glove, belt, boots, and libram. This is not a small undertaking as Ghostcrawler suggested in his post, this is a methodical and premeditated swap of an entire gear set to achieve the maximum desired result.

Finally, I wanted to share something with the rest of you who dont read Rhidach’s blog, or saw Meloree’s comment on that. I am working on it myself, but unfortunately I have quite a few holy paladins who soak up all the ret gear, so I do my best with tank gear and originally had a top 20 spot, which has now dropped down to a top 70 spot. Alas, I digress. This directly shows evidence of one of the best examples in the world of why Ghostcrawlers comment above is outdated and out of touch.  I give you Meloree on festergut!

My set:
http://chardev.org/?profile=424400

How well it works:
http://worldoflogs.com/guilds/17108/rankings/players/

Maintankadin post on doing truly absurd tank dps:
http://maintankadin.failsafedesign.com/forum/index.php?f=6&t=29208&rb_v=viewtopic

Advertisements
07
Aug
10

Discussions on Halion Tanking

WoW Versus my Job

My job has been getting in the way of my ability to main tank all of our progression runs for the past few months. My transition to a new (old) role in my company has hindered my attendance and my concentration when it comes to raiding, preparing for raids, blogging about raids, and everything else that had to do with my obsession with WoW. I have gotten to the point where I get my WoW fix only three days a week, the rest of the time, baring a huge guild scandal (which has been known to happen and require me to log on early in the morning to talk to our other Co-GM) I am away from the game and away from my ability to talk and think about it.

As a result, we have had some new tanks working on halion hard mode, and more specifically being the shadow realm tank. From my understanding, as I have never tanked outside in phase 3, it is a fairly trivial tank and spank job for one of the tanks, and add duty for the other. As for the inside, and the shadow realm, there are all sorts of fun things that you have to deal with. Over the few weeks our guild spent on Monday nights wiping in 10 man learning the fight, I got a good look at the fight from all aspects, and learned what gear to wear, how to use it, and when to use your cool downs.

It was interesting to hear that quite a few of our tanks, dps posing as tanks, and everyone in the raid in general had a hard time with the cutters. The laser beams of death are a simple mechanic which is only muddied by two factors: your tanks ability to rotate on a dime, and your raids ability to react quickly when they get the mark. From my perspective, the only difficult time a tank should face is when one of your tank healers gets the mark and has to run when trying to heal you. This is intuitively the best time to use cool downs, health stones, trinkets, etc.

Back to our tanks trouble though. I have been hearing that most of our stand in’s have been having issues with confidence when it comes to rotating the boss. I guess I have to explain all of the different tanks we field and when we use them to understand how this is such a broad based problem. I have been the main tank of the guild for quite some time, and have been part of the tanking rotation for the entire expansion. As tanks have come and gone, I have done my best to replace them. We currently have a talented tanking roster of two protection paladins and a protection warrior. This is bolstered by a trial druid tank, and three dps capable of tanking (DK, Warrior, and Druid).

Each of these players has been asked to step up at one time or another on this fight, and each of them have had an issue with either wanting to tank or being an effective tank. We have had issues with single target threat, being able to execute the rotation in the shadow realm, lack of gear to handle hard mode 25 man hits, in ability to pick up the adds, and general sub par play by some. In the end our other main spec tanks are doing their job well, and a few of our very talented players can sub in from a skill stand point but their gear is not up to snuff. This brings me to the topic at hand that I wanted to discuss. If you thought that was a long winded intro, I have apparently been away too long!

Gearing for Hard Mode Halion

A discussion has broken out on our class forums between myself and one of our best players (a shadowmourne wielding death knight who used to MT back when his guild was a top 100 progression guild in the TOTGC days). The discussion centered around his concern that he was getting gibbed by halion on phase 2 inside the portal. He saw that there was some parry hasting leading to his demise, but overall he was not geared enough to take back to back hits.

This lead to an evaluation of his gear, and a personal reflection on what I would wear to the party when I get a chance to walk in there and tank. For me, armor has always been an attractive stat, and should not be discounted, however with the impending breaths that the boss pumps out, you want to consider stamina a great option as well. The gear set that I am leaning towards will put armor in the forefront of my mind, however at a certain point, the DR will become too steep and I will rather use stamina to bolster my survival and effective health.

If you look to combine the priority of stamina and armor, and in addition try to increase your expertise to respectable levels so that you have the threat to not threat cap your dps and prevent a good percentage of parry hasting, you can create a fairly well rounded gear set. Most of the gear that we will wear for the encounter will be best in slot gear from an effective health perspective. The areas where we can manipulate gear to achieve an elegant solution to threat, expertise, and survival, are few and far between, however important to understand. Legs, trinkets, weapon, cloak, and rings are slots which will give us the opportunity to modify gear to achieve a desired outcome.

What I was looking for when it came to assembling a set was to trade up some of the armor pieces for large chunks in stamina. With the issues that our guild has been seeing, trickle down deaths are not as prevalent, it is the burst damage you need to sustain when a healer is preoccupied with saving themselves. While armor is still very powerful, there is a balance which needs to be considered before going for all of one or all of the other. If I can manage it, I will work on putting together some testing on Halion hard mode, where I will wear full armor for a few fights and break down the damage, and threat out put, and then swap over to a more balanced set with more stamina, hit and expertise to see how that shapes up.

More to come!

11
Jun
10

How a gear set junkie vents…

Time for a rant

While I know that I should not be complaining so soon after returning to my blog and the game after my month long hiatus, but there are a few things that are absolutely frustrating me, and it all has to do with my vanity. While my guild is still trucking right along with our hard modes, killing everything in basically a day, there is an issue that I have with the loot tables that blizzard has bestowed upon our little guild. It has been two months since I have recieved a piece of gear which I would even consider using for progression fights, and there are literally multiple slots which have NEVER dropped in the history of our guild.

For one, I am wearing a 258 shield, not a 264, and deffinately not a 277 shield. It is depressing being one of the best tanks on the server and walking around with a shield that you can acquire in a PUG. There are also a few other peices of gear that I would have loved to have, but I passed to our other tank. Right now I am about 4-5k lower in HP than most of my brethern on MainTankadin who are at the same level of progression. We have been farming ICC for months upon months, and the tank drops have been non existant. I feel that blizzard has a GM sitting in our instance and silently chuckling away as he alters the loot table to remove any cool gear I could use, simply because I am a gear set junkie.

Do I need the gear?

No, the simple answer is that I do not, with the 20% buff, I have plenty of health to tank any encounter in the game, including heroic Lich King, however it would be very nice if I could buff up a few more thousand health so I could move some pieces of gear around and get some more threat. In the end, it is not that big a deal, but for the short term, it is a frustrating situation when you play a game week in and week out for rewards that never really come. I would say that it is rewarding just playing but we all know that gear helps you feel that sense of accomplishment when you dont have that much more in the way of kills for progression.

I sit and look at some of the tanks I talk to on MainTankadin and in the blogosphere, and they have all those juicy little loose ends of my gear sets that I dont have. It’s not that big a deal, because If I can do what most guilds in the world can not in one night, then it is better than nothing, but all the same, I want my shiny purple pixles damnit!

/end rant

23
Apr
10

A new issue arises, Threat Deficiencies

Generally Slacking

It only occurred to me today that I have been less that diligent about my blog over the past few months. I have seriously been so swamped with work because of a project which has deadlines looming on the horizon, that I have not had any time between work and Raiding to write down anything. I have a few things I wanted to talk about, and will more than likely rock a double post today because I have a little window of opportunity to do so. The first thing I wanted to talk about was an issue that has cropped up in the past few weeks for me. If you read a lot of MainTankadin, you may have already read about it, but since I can post pretty screen shots and show you my world of logs parses here, it will be a bit more complete.

Issues with Threat

WHAT?!?! I know what you are thinking, I am a prot paladin, I don’t have threat issues, I have a face roll class which produces enough threat to walk away from the computer to get a drink mid trash pack (by the way, I have done this before). Well sadly, I have been running into some major issues with my threat production lately, specifically I am threat capping some of my dps. This frustrates me more than almost anything, because it means I am not doing my job.

At first, I thought it was because of the lack of tricks and misdirects that I was having so many issues, because they are a significant amount of threat when you break it down. But alas, that was not the case. After the second week in a row of threat issues, I went to world of logs and took a look at the parses which highlighted some of the issues which I was having. There were a few things that I wanted to do to solve this problem, before I found out the root cause, and they were pretty spot on when it came to solving the issues.

After examining two boss fight parses, it was clear what the issue was. I needed more chance to land attacks. My expertise is below 26 in my end game progression set, and my hit is extremely low as well. If you take a look at the log, you can see that there was a significant amount of dodges, parries, and misses.

I apologize that we can not line up the abilities with the statistics, but I could not maximize my window enough to get both the abilities and the misses on the screen (side note, WOL should have a freeze panes function). The top picture is a summary of my missed abilities on 25 man hard mode fester gut on the 13th of this month. The bottom picture is a breakdown of my Hammer of the Righteous ability. As you can see, I have some major issues with landing my attacks. While hit alone, or expertise alone can probably mitigate the issue, to solve it, I needed to gain a good deal of both. Part of my issue is I was thinking in the past. My gearing philosophy for almost all of the fights in ICC is stuck in the past.

A change of perspective

One of the things that I had not taken into consideration regarding the solution to my problems was the 10% buff, both from an increase in dps and an increase in health. The fact of the matter is that our dps are pumping out quite a bit more than they were a month ago. We have been showered with 277 dps gear, and painfully short on healing and tank gear. While this has proven to be beneficial to fast clears of the instance, it does not help with our looming progression of heroic Lich King, or the fact that I am out geared by my dps counterparts. In addition to my dps doing more damage, and increasing their throughput, I have been getting more health from the zone wide buff.

I know what you are thinking, “well duh dummy.” With the increase in health, I have been quitely enjoying the massive health pool that I have and thinking about all of the increased effective health I have gained over the past few months. However, at the same time, I have not been taking into consideration the fact that my increases in effective health have not translated into increased threat as well. I am not  gaining any new gear, so I am not gaining marginal increases in strength, hit and expertise on my gear. This has been part of the problem that has blindsided me.

To counter this, I had to convince myself that I was no longer in danger of causing a wipe by tank death. I successfully did that after forgetting to swap out my threat gear, which places me painfully low in terms of effective health gear, during one of the encounters later that week. After tanking a hard mode boss with less than 40k hp unbuffed and 30k armor, I guess I had proven that my healers can handle some small sacrifices in survival for threat purposes on the farmed content.

Changes in gear and changes in threat

After my abysmal showing that week, and my analysis of the parses that came out of it, I decided to modify my gearing philosophy for all but a few bosses. For the bosses in the lower spire, Rotface, Festergut, Blood Princes, and Dreamwalker, I was going to wear a more threat centric gear set. Now, I am not talking about my pure threat set which sacrifices all effective health for pure strength, crit, hit, and expertise, but a set that trades a bit of armor for hit and expertise. To do this, I only switched three pieces of gear. I dropped out the Pillars of Might, My Winter Cloak, and my weapon, to pick up a significant amount of hit and expertise. In place of those three items, I used the heroic version of the  Legguards of Lost Hope, The heroic Version of the hit Cloak  and the Heroic Facelifter from ICC 10. This put me comfortably at 243 hit and a bit over the expertise soft cap.

While this may have not been the ideal decision if I was looking to maximize my effective health, it has become clear that my survival is no longer in question for most bosses in the instance on hard mode. As soon as I made the switch, I noticed a marketable increase in my threat production and my ability to stay ahead of the dps. As you can see below, there was a drastic change in my total miss rate by just swapping out two pieces  of gear. Now while there may have been a bit of luck in this comparison (as there are not enough data points to make this a statistically relevant evaluation), it shows generally that a few pieces of gear will make the difference, and increasing your expertise and hit will help with threat.

Other thoughts on the matter

When I first started to notice that I had issues with threat, my mind immediately thought of all of the threads on MainTankadin where people say they have threat issues. More specifically, it went to the replies that tanks like Meloree and I make to them explaining that it is more than likely an issue with their rotation and that a WoL parse would show us that. I was worried for the first time that I was not as good with my rotation as I had previously thought. I was worried that I was selling something I couldn’t do myself.  That was the first thing that drove me to scrutinize the parses, and I was relived to see that it was not the case. However, for anyone who is having threat issues, I would suggest that you try and find out the root cause of the issues on your own at first. If you can not figure out how to solve said root cause, then there is a wealth of knowledge to help out with that, but nothing can beat you solving your own problems because you learn so much and grow from the experiences.

02
Apr
10

New Theory on ICC Gemming

Transitions in Gear Enhancement

What does the  Strength of Wrynn (10%)Hellscream’s Warsong (10%) do for you with respect to gearing philosophy? For me, and a few select other tanks in the world, it will do nothing. There are a few fights which we are still facing where pure effective health, pure stamina stacking, and piling on as much armor as possible will still be the paramount goal of our gearing, gemming, and enchanting philosophy. However, for everyone else, there is an opportunity to be had here with respect to a more balanced gear set.

The crossing point where you can start to evaluate your gemming and enchanting philosophies, and return to a holistic and balanced way of placing gems in your gear, has to be an individual decision however the decision just got easier with the arrival the 10% buff. Any tank who is not currently working on cleaning up the last few hard modes in ICC can more than likely trade pure stamina for a more comprehensive balance of gems. I have at present run into tank death issues on only one fight, Sindragosa 25 man Hard Mode and Lich King 10 man Hard Mode. All of the other fights which I have killed do not present a large enough threat to my survival to warrant gemming pure Stamina. However for me, and the handful of tanks who are knocking on Lich King Hard Modes door, we can not change our stam stacking ways. This is due to the sheer size of melee hits, special attacks and overall damage which we will take on these encounters.

Gimme a number, whats the breaking point

For those of you who are working on normal mode or the early hard modes in ICC, it seems that the two most threatening attacks come from a Festergut Three inhale melee hit and Lich King’s Soul Reaper. Both of these are along the same lines when it comes to TTL as Festergut hits harder but Soul Reaper/Melee combos are very deadly with out proper cool downs. Last week, unknown to my guild, I tested something on our Lich King kill to prove a point to the greater community. In my previous blog about the EH minimum for three hits during the normal mode lich king encounter, I was using data which was slightly skewed because of the fact that I was diligent about using cool downs during soul reaper. Don’t tell Kitty (our Holy Paladin) but I didn’t blow cds last week at all, just to get a nice data set, since I knew that I out-geared the fight.

Now unfortunately, our WWS parser’s computer was taking a crap so he turned off his add on to parse the fight, however if you would like to take my word for it, I did not die, we one shot the boss, and everything is right with the world. I had 58.1k hp and 39k armor. These are stats which are above the EH minimum for the Lich King Normal encounter in 25 man ICC. I got close, quite a few times, and by close I am talking 5% or lower. While this is a lot of hand waving, and I am definitely not one who condones that on the MainTankadin site, this will have to do for now, until I can provide you with a WWS parse at a later time.

Stamina is King, why should I switch?

The benefit of being above the effective health minimum is that from the perspective of TTL, you are no better off by adding 300 hp as you are by adding threat or avoidance. Until you can overcome that next hit, you will be killed by a lot or by a little, but you will still be dead. This means that we want to gear towards the EH threshold which we set based on our healing and progression, and then we can enhance our gear as we see fit. Lets take a look at the benefits and tradeoffs of gemming holistically. This first link is my current gear set for hard mode encounters. I have almost exclusively gemmed and Enchanted for Stamina. There are a few exceptions which are either relics of ToTGC (my shield) or movement towards the new philosophy (my chest).  Click on the picture to take you to the Chardev link…

As you can see, I have 45k unbuffed health, with a significant amount of armor and reasonable amounts of avoidance. Now what I will do is change my gems around to a holistic approach for maximum survival (aka defense and agility gems as opposed to threat gems) and see what we get from those modifications. The important thing to remember is that while we have been in an era where stamina trumps all other stats (save armor in most situations), the ability to transition away from max stamina is possible. For most tanks, it may even be a wise choice to do so, because you will avoid more, or be able to produce more threat.

The trade off that we see here is 1290 health for almost a full 1% avoidance. While that does not seem like much, we are first and foremost talking about min/maxing our characters. Secondly that is 1% avoidance that you didn’t have before which you are getting for stamina that will not save your life from a pure TTL stand point. You are also gaining 60 armor and 0.57% crit. These are small numbers, but when we consider that we were all willing to trade off our gemming philosophies for 6 stamina here, and 9 there, it is the same value increases, only we are going from stam stacking where it was readily visible on our health bars to a slightly more intangible benefit.

Lastly, we can see what happens if we gem for something other than survival and avoidance. What happens if you are not concerned about your survival, as we rarely see tank deaths, but your dps is getting very geared and you are starting to have threat issues. Or from a different perspective, you just want to increase your threat output so you can brag about it. Lets swap all the red sockets with strength/stamina gems and the yellow sockets with hit and crit / stamina gems.

And now, we have gained attack power and block value, as well as a substantial amount of hit to increase our threat output while not sacrificing too much survival. In the end it is up to you to decide what you want to do with your gear, how you want to enhance it, and to what end. It is important to understand why you are modifying your gear. Is it to ensure that you are taking less overall damage and give your healers a bit more breathing room, is it because of the fact that your dps is very geared and you are having trouble out threating them, or do you still die to encounters as a result of your lack of health. Once you have answered these questions you can start to think about how you want to alter your gear to achieve these goals.

Modifying gemming is only the beginning. We can start to swap out our Gladiator’s shoulder enchants, our Chest, gloves, boots, shield and weapon enchants as well. These were sacrifices which we made in the name of stamina stacking which we can now change. While I did not provide these changes in the discussion above, as I wanted to focus on gemming, they are worth while and powerful modifications which will further trade health for avoidance or threat. If enough interest is shown for a complete overhaul, I will mock up two gear sets based off of gemming and enchanting changes.

22
Mar
10

Post ICC buff gearing philosophies

EDIT: I want to clarify that this discussion holds merit for every boss in ICC 25 man Hard Mode, save three: Hard Mode Lady Deathwhisper and Sindragosa (because you will be wearing frost resist gear), and Hard Mode Lich King (because he hits Significantly harder than anything else in the instance).

In response to a discussion that has started to brew in my comments, as well as a nice long discussion I had last week with Meloree, I wanted to take some time to discuss the current and future gearing philosophies in ICC as well as what the breaking points are. This is something that is quite difficult to define in pure numerical values with out a lot of math (which I unfortunately do not have the time to do yet), so we will have to settle for hand waving, theory, and overall general statements.

Disclaimer – This is a discussion regarding tanks who are in full swing in ICC25 man Hard Modes, where the normal buffed health pool is sitting in the 60k plus range while buffed armor is in the 44k plus range. These tanks make up less than 0.5% of the population. However as the Buff in ICC grows, so does the population where this philosophy is applicable.

If you do not have these types of statistics, or you have not started to progress deep into ICC hard modes, you probably do not have the gear to start gemming for anything but stamina, as your EH minimums are not high enough.

Prelude to the Hellscream Warsong

With the advent of Strength of Wrynn (5%)Hellscream’s Warsong (5%), we have the opportunity to re-evaluate our gearing philosophies, however prior to this buff there was one general philosophy when it came to tank gearing. With the advent of Chill of the Throne, we saw a very large decrease in our ability to avoid damage. This prompted the theroy crafting community to understand what we could do to combat this. Generally speaking, an end game tank in full 258 gear had about 65% avoidance in ToTGC. This meant that they were deep into the diminsihing returns on dodge and parry, and as such, they were not getting as much out of said stats when gemming for them.

The relative damage reduction which one could gain from boosting their avoidance form 65% to 66% was quite a bit more powerful than if you raised your avoidance from 45% to 46%. Simply put, with Chill of the throne, the relative damage reduction went from good to bad because of the fact that you were still suffering from the diminishing returns of a tank in the high 60s even though you only had an avoidance percentage in the mid 40s. This made every point of avoidance harder to get, and relatively speaking, a weaker stat when we are talking about Time To Live (TTL).

This prompted most end game tanks to lean on the one stat which did not suffer diminishing returns, Stamina. With the focus on stamina, we lost some avoidance in the process, leading to a net increase in overall damage taken, however that damage taken was much more predictable, leading to healing throughput which was manageable and predictable. To combat this increase in damage taken, we were rewarded with a significant number of bonus armor pieces. While Naxx gave us a Cloak, Ulduar gave us legs, and ToT(G)C 1o gave us a weapon / 25 gave us a neck, we were only seeing a few pieces every  patch. This changed in 3.3. We saw a myriad of pieces which would allow us to get near the armor cap!

This is the current state of end game tanks, Stam and armor stacking mana sponges. The reason for this is two fold. It provides for a foolproof and manageable tank health pool for hard hitting bosses, and healing in Wrath of The Lich King has deviated from a mana management game to a healing throughput game. Healers do not run out of mana at this point of WoW, and if they are, they are managing their healing poorly, or the raid is taking too much unnecessary damage.

A glimpse into the future

With the increase in raid wide buffs from 5% to the Strength of Wrynn (10%)Hellscream’s Warsong (10%), end game tanks have the opportunity to re-evaluate their gearing philosophies, as the buff itself is compensating for the stamina stacking that we have been doing to compensate for hard hitting special attacks such as Soul Reaper, Full Runic Power DBS, and 3 inhale Festergut. While most cutting edge tanks have surpassed the EH minimum for two hits, they are quite a large amount of health away from a three hit EH minimum. As a result, we can lean on the 10% buff to keep us above that threshold where we can confidently take two hits back to back with out a heal, and start to move towards other gearing options.

What I mean by that is that we can start matching socket bonuses again, staring using more Agility/Stam gems (to a point) and more Defense/Stam Gems so that we can boost our avoidance, armor, and move more towards a preventative gearing philosophy. To show you what I mean by the two hit effective health threshold, let’s take a look at the best example of spike damage in the game, Soul reaper. The mechanics of soul reaper alone are not that threatening. It hits hard, however it is not to the magnitude (on normal) where it is a one shot to the tank with out a cool down. The problem is when soul reaper and a melee hit line up at the same time.

You have to understand that these numbers are based off of my gearing and cool down usage, so they will be different from your tanks numbers but they will serve their purpose. At the time I had approximately 38,000 armor and 58,000 health, and I always had a cool down up for it, whether it be bubble wall, DS/DG, or Hand of Sacrifice. As you can see, his average melee was about 14,000 damage and his average Soul Reaper hit was 22,500 (while the tick at the end was close to 35.5k). So the worst case scenario, which we should be gearing for, is a melee swing for 14k and a soul reaper tick for 35.5k. This is an overall chain which nets a 49.5k damage taken. This is the absolute minimum stamina which would be required to survive said hid, however you will have a problem with tank death’s if you send your tank in there with 50k hp. The three hit scenario for this (considering that a defile or a valk call could line up with this) is Soul Reaper Tick, Melee x 2. This is the conservative gearing health pool, and equates to a tank with 49.5k + (14 * 0.7)= 59.3k hp. This is the magic number which I have geared to for Lich King. (it is important to understand that this is one scenario, with one boss. Do not assume that 59.3k is the magic number for ICC 25. There are Hard Modes to consider, and different bosses which prove to hit harder).

After this number, the only thing you gain is a larger health pool, as you will need another 14,000 health to overcome the next swing and have an EH threshold for a 4 hit scenario. Also, a 4 hit scenario should be complete unlikely as you should be getting heals more frequently than every 5 seconds, and you can also take into account the heal that you get from JoL, HoTs, imp LoTP, and a Spriest if you have one. This means that Stamina is no longer the best statistic for survival after this, as it is wasted until you can reach that next hit threshold.

I’m Back! Holistic Theory Gemming

As we pass this threshold based off of encounter progression and maximum effective health needed to survive that arbitrary number of hits with out a heal, we can start considering our gemming and enchanting philosophy to further mitigate and completely avoid damage. There are some other breaking points when it comes to gemming theory which are worth mentioning, but the general rule of thumb should be that for a red socket, you should put a 10 agility / 15 stamina gem, and a yellow socket should contain a 10 defense / 15 stamina gem. There are still relative priorities and net gains and losses from gemming every socket per its color, and it is up to you to make that decision as to the breaking point of benefit. What I mean by that is that some tanks will consider a +6 stamina socket bonus worth it, while some will not. More will consider the +9 Stamina bonus worth it, and everyone should consider your helm’s +12 worth it.

In order to understand your relative priority, Digren over at MainTankdin has a great stickied post about it, where Meloree, Theck and Digren put the work in so that you don’t have to. The basic principals are as such, each gem and relative trade off for a net increase in stamina has a value. The more you value stamina and the less you value the other statistics, the lower the relative gain number you are willing to take. Most end game progression tanks are willing to drop that number down as low as possible, as we socket one red gem in our helm and the rest are stamina, as are our enchants. However, as we reach that stamina threshold with the aid of the 10% buff, we can start considering a higher value for avoidance. While avoidance has always been powerful, if we could not guarantee TTL, then we did not want to take that chance of a random string of attacks killing us.

There are a few other numbers which you want to concern yourself with when you start to trade stamina for other statistics. While Defense will never go out of style, and you can stack that to your hearts content, there is a point at which Agility is no longer as attractive to us as Dodge is, and that point is:

Theckhd wrote:Agility gets weaker as you gain armor, finally dropping below 100% at around 42.6k armor (fully-buffed). Note that once we hit the armor cap (49905 armor fully-buffed), the armor contribution of agility is no longer giving us any benefit, so the value of agility drops back to the 83.1% value expected based on our agi->dodge conversion ratio.

This is important to consider because of the fact that if you are going to be doing this, you are a Min/Max’er and you will start to gain more out of the dodge gem than you will out of the agility gem. After I finish some number crunching, I will put up a follow up post detailing the relative gains and losses from regemming a tank which is sitting on a hand full of 277 pieces and has past the EH threshold. For now, I hope this has satisfied your craving for the return to a holistic gearing philosophy.

05
Mar
10

Gear for Tanking Hard Modes

Gear is not everything…

Since I am so obsessed with gear, and its designed applications for different encounters and situations, I may go a bit overboard with the use of gear sets. I talk a great deal about how you should tailor the gear that you wear to the encounter which you are about to tank. This is a great philosophy for progression encounters, because it shows not only that you understand what is about to happen, but you are trying to maximize your survival. This is important when pushing the envelope of your progression, because a tank death is very very hard to recover from, but what you may not see is the healing stress that you cause from wearing the wrong gear, which adversely effects the rest of the raid healing.

All that sounds perfect, and will more than likely be the case for the top guilds in the world, but what about the rest of the guilds? Tengen over at Firstandtengen wrote a very nice post about the recent buff that Blizzard added to ICC. In his Price of Pride post, he outlines the internal conflict over this 5% buff and whether or not the people who are still killing bosses should feel like they should turn off the buff. I threw a comment up on his blog to relay my thoughts on the buff, and I will share them with you as well.

The thing to remember about the buff is that, while it is there and it is enflating your dps, there is really no reason that you should not use it if you still have bosses to kill.

The difference between the first few 100 guilds and the rest is quite substantial. You have to remember that top 100-200 guilds clear content in the previous tier of gear. The buff is the same as being a few weeks behind. The relative gain in raid dps/healing/ tank survival increases every week with the introduction of gear.

Think of the buff as that perfect week of gear dropping for you.

Now this comes from the perspective of a tank on the very precipice of that cliff between raiding in previous tier gear and current tier gear. When we killed Lich King, I had one more piece of 264 gear than the MT of Vodka did when they got their LK kill, however we did it two weeks later so our raid as a whole was more geared.

It is easy to say Gear isn’t everything if you have all the gear

I wanted to share a story with you today to show you that if you are a guild who is behind on progression in comparison to the best in the world, and you think that your roadblock is gear, you may be mistaken.

Aside: While I am aware of Gevlon’s experiments, and although they are intriguing, his perspective does not align with mine when it comes to people and this game.

A few nights ago, our 10 man group stepped into ICC 10 with the goal of knocking out every hard mode and any leftover achievements we could do on hard modes for our drakes. Our main competition from the alliance side, Crisis got theirs very early on and we feel that its time to push some hard modes so they are not the only ones with shiny new toys. Now I do not want to denounce what Crisis did, they are a great guild who out of no where snagged a top 20 world wide ranking in 10 mans and a US second Drake, if any of you happen to stop by, a congratulations is well deserved.

When we walked into the upper spire of the instance, I always swap back to my AoE spec and threat gear. This is just because of the amount of trash that is there and the fact that it is an AoE fest. Nothing says tanking is fun like 12k dps on trash. Soon enough, we found ourselves face to face with Festergut, and the Instance was set to Hard Mode. I will agree with some of the elite out there that once you understand the new mechanics of the fight, Festergut is quite easy to kill. However, that does not discount the fact that he hits like a truck.

The ready check came back, and I pulled the boss. About 10 seconds into the fight, I noticed that he was hitting a lot harder than usual, and my health was dipping quite a bit lower. It took a few more seconds to kick in that it should of because of the beer I had been drinking, but I was still in my threat set. That means I was about 5000 armor and 6000 health down. That is a very, very big difference when it comes to tank survival during the third inhale. The hidden bonus for me was my numbers were larger than life when i hit 9 stacks, dropped Righteous Fury, Salved myself, and went to town on the boss. I am happy to report that no one said a thing about my ease of healing, and the boss was one shot.

Reflection on gear and encounters

While I would never recommend to a tank who is new to this encounter to nerf themselves by that much (almost 10k effective health), it doesn’t mean that you need to be very geared to do this fight. A lot of people, myself included, thought that the 10 man version of ICC was a bit overturned for players in strict 10 man guilds. However, after that experience, I would say that this is a misconception. While I understand that my healers and dps were still geared to the teeth, it is important to note that I never got into AD range, and was able to manage the damage with properly timed cool downs.

I hope that people who are in the position of progression, struggling on a fight in ICC, understand that gear is not everything, and in fact it is a very small part of the contribution to your overall success. The more gear you have, the easier the encounters get, however they are doable in what ever you are wearing currently, you just have to play effectively.




Tweet-adins

  • What is this nonsense? HoPo and a total overhaul. It's going to be a long weekend of playing around.. 7 years ago

Categories