Archive for the 'Gear' Category


Icecrown Citadel Gear Set

Updates to my Gear Sets

I recently amended my thread on MainTankadin about gear sets to include a general set for use when tanking progression encounters under the influence of Chill of the Throne. This set is compiled with the intention of main tanking progression content in ICC. The philosophy and reasoning behind the higher value of stamina is due to the fact that the relative benefit of avoidance ratings are less as you avoid less attacks from the Chill of the Throne. As a result, stamina is the most powerful stat due to its lack of diminishing returns and ability to directly increase your survival.

The Chill of the Throne Set

This set is being introduced to deal with gearing and gemming philosophies and gear choices while under the influence of Chill of the Throne. Chill of the Throne automatically negates 20% of your chance to dodge when you enter any of the Icecrown Citadel Raid instances. The concepts of this gear set are mostly geared around Effective health, and Theck’s new formula for Effective health. This differs in regards to the normal “effective health” set above in the fact that we are forsaking avoidance and buffering for a combination of magical and physical damage. Based on a detailed discussion on Chill of the Throne, the vast majority of the paladin tanking community agrees that maximizing your ability to take the hits (aka stamina stacking) is the best course of action.

This set can be altered based on the encounter to provide the best amount of “Effective Health” as long as you understand the types of damage that you are going to face (e.g. Physical, Magic, Bleed). There are certain goals that you want to achieve in order for your ICC set to be effective with Chill of the Throne Active. Above all, Stamina is king. While the understanding that if you were in favor of avoidance before, you can still favor it and do well is true. The best relative increase in your time to live is from pure stamina, as it does not suffer from harsh diminishing returns.

There are certain goals that must be achieved in order for your threat set to be effective. I will say this as part of each and every set, but you must maintain your defense minimum of 540, there is no way around this. Once this has been achieved, you can start to look at your other priorities: Stamina, Stamina, and then some armor. The set will contain dual stamina trinkets, and all of your sockets save one will be gemmed for stamina. You will also want to place stamina enchants on most of your gear, as long as you stay above the defense minimum.

DISCLAIMER – It is important to know that there will be times when the other sets listed above will be better for tanking encounters in Icecrown Citadel. Each set has its time and place for use. This is a general utility set to maximize time to live while under the influence of Chill of the Throne, not the only set you should wear in ICC.

The Basics of a Chill of the Throne set –
540 Defense
Stamina Stack
Bonus Armor when possible
Ensure Double Stamina trinkets
Ensure 26 Expertise

The Gems and Enchants Specific to a Chill of the Throne set –
Gem for Stamina
Austere Earthsiege Diamond
Armor to (gloves and) Cloak
Mongoose to Weapon
Stamina / Resilience Shoulder Enchant
Super Health to Chest
Stamina to Bracers and Boots
Agility or Stamina to Gloves


Badges for Crafted gear?

Deviating from the plan

I wanted to talk about trash packs, their abilities, and the best way to counter them, so that people have some solid information on the first few rooms of the instance, and what you as a tank should know and do about them. However, I forgot to take a few screen shots while dpsing the crap out of the trash on my hunter this past weekend. As a result, I still dont know the names of any of the trash packs, and I do not have enough visual aids to give my “Presentation” to you guys, so that post will have to wait another day. Instead, I would like to talk about primordial saronite, its uses and benefits to both us as tanks and our guilds as a whole. My reasoning behind this digression is a current debate that my guild is having in our forums. The problem is that currency is scarce during these first few weeks of the patch, and everyone wants a cookie from the cookie jar.

Primordial saronites are used for crafting some very nice gear as well as purchasing the patterns for said gear. They are also used to start up the Shadowmourne quest chain which will ultimately get one of your guildies a juicy legendary. As the proud owner of a legendary (Hand of Ragnaros) back when it was still the Best in Slot item, I have to tell you that it was part of some of the most fun I have ever had in this game. The numbers were huge, and I loved every  minute of it. Alas I continue to digress. Back to the topic at hand, the currency known as primordial saronite. While the item is used for cloth, leather, mail, and plate crafted items, I want to focus on the tank loot, as that is what we care about, and ultimately what will probably be put on the back burner for other things.

The boots and the legs

We have the option of crafting two different pieces of gear which aid us in completing two very different gear sets. The boots, also known as the Boots of Kingly Upheaval are a great upgrade for your threat set. Thats right, these are only really good for your threat set. While you may have to wait a bit for your progression set boots, they will come and they are much better for overall survival. The Grinning Skull Greatboots are in all ways superior for your main tanking set to the craftable boots. If you compare the boots, you gain 80 defense, and trade 72 parry for 53 Expertise. Both of the craftable items this patch have zero defense on them, and while we can easily reach the 540 minimum with out having all of our gear itemized with defense, you have to remember that defense gives you pure avoidance, plain and simple. And we have already seen that there are quite a few fights in this instance where avoidance is rewarded.

In the end, what you can see here is that you are trading hit for expertise. After my last post, and Thecks great work showing its importance, I believe that the zone drop boots are far superior to the craftable ones. This means that we do not have to worry about spending our precious badges on primordial saronite this early on in the instance. It goes with out saying, that once you have this place on farm and you are getting tons of badges a week, the Boots of Kingly Upheaval are very nice threat boots and should be crafted at some point.

On to the Choices in legs. We actually have three choices when it comes to the legs, and they each serve a different purpose. I first want to discuss the two legs that you do not have to craft, the T10 legs and the Legguards of lost hope. They both have identical values of armor, strength, and sockets. The Tier gear has more stamina, more defense, and dodge and expertise while the Legguards of lost hope have hit and more dodge. With the current gemming philosophies, the socket bonus is lost on the T10 legs, however, if you are gearing for threat, you already out gear the encounter and can pick up the socket bonus of the Legguards of Lost Hope. This is a clear case of threat versus avoidance pants.

Now if we move on to the crafted pants, we can see that the bonus armor that they provide is amazing, and will be a step in the right direction when creating a pure physical damage mitigation set. However these too do not have any defense itemization, and as a result will more than likely be a piece for a physical mitigation fight, and not your main tanking or progression pants. If you look closer at these, the 1190 bonus armor will be great, they still have three sockets and 207 stamina as well as a descent amount of avoidance. These scream physical mitigation for heavy melee.

Why the rant?

I wanted to get some things on paper regarding this so that we can make some educated decisions for the first month or so of the instance. As Emblems of Frost are scarce and we need them for everything from our belt, cloak, and trinket, to all of our tier gear, it is important to know the relative priority of things such as crafted items and primordial saronite. My conclusion is that it is not worth it for us to spend our badges on primordials as we have better options for our progression sets. As we get deeper and deeper into the instance, and we get more and more badges per week, these things can be of value to us, but not before we gear up to clear the instance first.

As promised, I hope to have a post tomorrow on the Trash in the ICC instance, proper pulls and abilities, as well as a few tricks of the trade so that you can make your runs go smoother.


New thoughts on threat

Who Doesn’t Want More Threat?

I was reading MainTankadin a few days ago and I came across Theck’s newest calculations on the best weapons for threat in 3.3. While I will have to say that we are a long way from having the instance on farm and as a result, letting me crack some heads for 10k sustained tps, it got me to thinking about the gear and when I want to pick it up. As most of you know, I am an avid gear swapper. I probably swap gear as much as anyone else in the game, and I consider it a testament to the knowledge of the encounters that I possess as well as a greater understanding of my role and when and what I should be doing. I love it when I see other tanks swapping out their gear. When we get a new recruit and they all of a sudden have a different gear set on, it makes me smile.

Back to the topic at hand. I wanted to discuss the options we have for threat weapons and I noticed that because of the boss where our best in slot tps weapon drops is already available, it would be important to get that information out there sooner than later. I started a discussion on my guild forums regarding the Bloodvenom Blade, asking our rouges if any of them would want it for their main spec. The responses I got brought out the loot whore in me. The overwhelming response from our guilds rogues is that they would rather stick with mutilate, and not go for combat till it proves to provide more sustained dps. This means that I don’t feel as bad if I take one the next time it drops (as one already has and went to a rogue for offspec). Why all this discussion about a rogue sword and who cares, well I will elaborate. Here is the Bloodvenom Blade:

It has a little bit of everything. It is slow, with nice top end damage, and comes along with all the stats you want for a threat weapon, hit, attack power, and agility.  While it has armor pen, and that is not ideal for us, it is still by far our best option when it comes to threat weapons. Now before you go and post a comment that asks “Where is the defense?” Well you don’t need the defense on this weapon. You will have plenty of defense from your gear alone to keep you over the minimum, and besides that you only use a threat weapon when you have gimmick fights like Hodir Hard mode, or if you have something on farm. I personally will be using one of these bad boys for most of ICC normal once I pick it up, as the fights seem pretty straight forward and I wont need my Progression MT set for a lot of them. Before the second question pops into your head, that one where you wonder well why not any of the other dps weapons? Here is your answer. Theck did his usual great analysis for all of the different weapons that are available to us and posted this graph in the MATLAB TPS thread:

I also posted this in my guild forum thread when someone asked what is 1V, 3C, 3R? While I would think that most of us can interpret the meanings of this legend, there are some people that come here that are not seasoned paladins. For clarity’s sake, 1V refers to placing one point into Conviction, 3C refers to placing three points into Crusade, and 3R refers to placing three points into reckoning. What this graph shows us is that the Bloodvenom Blade is best in slot when it comes to threat producing weapons. The good news for us is that it is not a weapon that is currently used by rogues in their main raiding spec, and it drops off of Deathbringer Saurfang. Since we already have access to the normal version of this weapon, which happens to be second best over all, we have the ability to pick this up.

I would suggest that anyone who builds multiple sets, especially a threat set, should think about getting this if no one else in your guild wants it. I have used a DPS weapon as my threat weapon for quite some time now, and I have always been happy with the results.

Expertise and 3.3

I also wanted to use this post to talk about some new perceptions when it comes to expertise. While we have always stressed that expertise is a good stat when it comes to threat and “avoidance,” there have been some discoveries about Shield of Righteousness in the past few days. With the changes to Shield of Rightousness, expertise has moved into position as the most important threat stat until you are soft capped. For those of you who have not been following the discussion on MainTankadin, there was a stealth change to SoR that made it act like a physical attack which could be dodged or parried, meaning that our biggest snap threat skill is effected by expertise. The graph below shows that expertise has the highest threat per point until you hat 26 expertise (also known as the soft cap).

It is important to know that while it drops off after you hit the soft cap, and it is no longer considered the best threat stat, once again strength becomes the most important threat stat past the soft expertise cap. Although expertise is no longer the best threat stat once you hit 26, it is sit a very powerful stat when it comes to damage intake prevention, so for your main tank set, more expertise is always ok, until you hit the hard cap of 56 (which is very hard if not impossible to do while maintaining tanking stats).


What to do with Emblems of Frost

Badges, we don’t need no stinkin’ Badges (part Deux)…

There has been a lot of discussion on Icecrown Citadel, the bosses, the trash, the gear, the reputation grinds, the primordial saronite, and the patterns, and I am sure that these discussions will continue for quite a few weeks to come. However, there are a few things I would like to focus on, for both my own personal gain as well as my desire to inform our community of our upcoming decisions. Before I get into the options we have for our badges, I wanted to give everyone a heads up that I am looking to throw up a post regarding the trash in ICC, and how to best handle it. But, since we blew through it and AoE’ed it down, I have forgotten more than I remembered.

Back to the topic at hand. Currently we are limited in our ability to acquire badges. For me personally I run both the 10 and 25 man Icecrown Citadels on Tuesday, the weekly Raid quest, and one to two heroic dailies a week. One of my biggest concerns is not being able to gear up quick enough to stay ahead of the gear curve. At that pace, I will be earning approximately 25 badges a week. While that is not something that I would give up, it is still not enough to actually give me enough gear before the second wing comes out. Because of our nature as tanks, and my specific need to get all the gear from the badge vendor that I would use in any of my five gear sets, I need a lot of badges. Couple that with the fact that you need them for your tier gear and you are placed in a difficult dilemma.

We have three more weeks of farming the instance. After that, the next wing will open up and we will have three more bosses to accumulate badges from. Until then, we have to make a wise first choice on what we should spend our badges on. Below I will discuss our options, the pros and cons of each piece, and my personal recommendation for what to pick up first.

Come meet your newest Quartermaster!

For myself, Magister Arlan will be getting a lot of business in the coming weeks. He has quite a few things to offer us, and should we choose to purchase the goods that he has to offer, we also do so at the expense of our tier gear. So we will choose wisely…

Corroded Skeleton Key

I will start with the no brainer. Even if you are running around yelling “I’m the JUGGERNAUT BITCH” because you have the 245 and 258 trinkets from the Champions Cache in Trial, this is still a juicy upgrade netting you with a 36 stamina upgrade. For anyone that is using anything less, you are just benefiting more from using this BiS trinket. This trinket costs 60 Emblems of Frost, and will for me be my first acquisition.

Sentinel’s Winter Cloak

For those of you who are starting to ask yourselves about all the bonus armor flying around and what you should do about it, here is your answer (in my opinion): pick up any and every bonus armor piece you can get your hands on. Most of them have comparable stamina values, and just sacrifice some avoidance or expertise/hit for bonus armor. While it would not be the greatest idea to go in there with all bonus armor pieces in there and no avoidance,  a mixture of bonus armor pieces will allow you to increase your ability to mitigate damage. If you take a look at the stats, you have ample defense and dodge to go around, as well as a yellow socket. This will net you, with a 30 stamina gem, 154 stamina and 737 armor from a CLOAK!

When you compare this cloak to your other options, it seems like a very nice upgrade. For anyone but the few that are running around with a Pride of the Demon Lord (heroic) and a Cloak of the Unflinching Guardian (sorry I dont know the alliance terms, but the two 258 cloaks), this cloak is also a no brainer. If you are using anything but the 258 cloaks this will be a massive upgrade in stamina and armor, with little to no loss in the avoidance area. This is exactly the itemization we are looking for in a progression set as we charge towards Arathas.

Libram of the Eternal Tower

There has already been some discussion on this topic over at MainTankadin, and I am in agreement with most of them. 30 badges for 19 dodge rating that needs a ramp up time is not worth it. Eventually you may want to get this one, but for now, I will be sticking with my trusty Libram of Defiance. I would say that this goes towards the bottom of the list when it comes to upgrades that will require badges (almost everything!). Remember this libram will be competing with your Tier gear when it comes to Emblems of Frost. You will get a much better return on investment by upgrading to T10.

Verdigris Chain Belt

Now we are getting to the meat and potatoes of the currency controversy. The plate items. While I chose to talk about the belt first because its a great item, the chest and the gloves will be a bit more difficult to figure out. You will want to pick them up, however if those are two pieces that you want for your T10, then you have to make that decision on whether or not you are willing to go with out our juicy threat from the two piece T10 set bonus. Alas, I digress. Back to the belt, this bad boy has got some great itemization, and by the looks of the gear in ICC, parry will be somewhat attractive because of teh 1.88:1 ratio issues we may run into. What I mean by this is that the gear out of ICC has a lot of dodge on it and we will more than likely face a point at which parry will give us more per itemization point than dodge.

If you compare this to the Belt of Bloodied Scars, you gain everything! They swapped dodge for parry, so that you can take advantage of the diminishing returns on dodge that you will be facing. And they gave you 688 bonus armor over the Belt of bloodied scars. With an 11 stamina and 6 strength gain to boot, I don’t see how that squeezed that much out of a small item level upgrade but they did. This should definitely be second or third on your list, depending on what your bigger gain is, belt or cloak.

The rest of the pieces

As I stated above, there is a chest and gloves with bonus armor on them from the Emblem of Frost vendor, and I will be picking them up eventually, however with the methods in which you pick up tier gear, you may want to start on gathering some T10 before you go for off set pieces. Unless you are wearing full 258 gear, the T10 will be a nice upgrade for you, especially if you can get your hands on some “Trophies” to change a 251 piece into a 264 piece. Really what we are looking at with the chest and gloves is bonus armor over other stats. I personally love the fact that the T10 gloves have tons of Stamina, dodge, and hit on them. As these pieces are more for gear sets and not direct upgrades that I would want to take before gathering my T10 set, I wont touch as much on them. By all means if you have a very weak piece in the chest or glove slot they are very good pieces of loot, but they are marginal upgrades when it comes to T9.

My order: Corroded Skeleton Key > Cloak > Belt > T10 pieces…


Four Piece Set Bonuses

I logged on briefly last night to chat it up with the guild and see if any of our newer recruits needed anything, only to talk to one of my friends over whispers about an interesting topic, the four piece set bonus. Now while we had a brief discussion on the merits of the Druid tier 10 four piece set bonus versus the paladin four piece set bonus, the discussion digressed into something that sparked my interest enough to blog about it. Specifically there are some classes where the tier 9 set bonuses are far superior to the T10, and there are some classes where the tier 10 set bonus is just godly. While this shouldn’t really pose that much of a problem for almost all of the guilds in the world, we are sitting on the cusp of the new patch having killed Anub and will only have four to five weeks of kills before we phase out ToTGC and start running ICC hard modes.

Because of the fact that we will have somewhere between 10 and 20 tokens for 258 gear, it is essential that we give them to the right people, and not just the person with the highest dkp. In preparation for the great debate that will ensue over this mini loot council that will take place, I wanted to do some research into the four piece set bonuses and which one is better for each class. Now, it is important to know that the purpose of this is to evaluate the tier 10 251 item level gear with the tier 9 258 item level gear, as everyone will be swapping over by the time we have the normal instance on farm and we are accumulating a good deal of trophies. I for one will be spending my first badges on the trinket, so I am not too concerned with the fallout of not picking up 251 gear. The tanks and their set bonuses are as follows….

Paladin four piece Set bonuses:

T9 – 4 pieces: Decreases the cooldown on your Divine Protection ability and reduces the duration of Forbearance by 30 sec.

T10 – 4 pieces: When you activate Divine Plea, you gain 12% dodge for 10 sec.

Initially, my intuition says that I would love to have 12% dodge for 1/6th of the time, with my current dodge percentage I would be pushing 80% Pure avoidance. However, we all know that Chill of the Throne is coming, and as such, this set bonus is much less attractive than a reduction in our bubble wall. To me, for new content, as long as the fight is longer than five minutes, the T9 set bonus gives you more utility and survival than 12% dodge for 1/6th of the time. Now we will not know this for certain until the patch hits and we can actually see the fights, the amount of magic damage being thrown around, and the amount and frequency of melee hits that we are taking, but I believe that dodge will just not do as much as a flat damage reduction. This leads me to believe that the 258 T9 is superior to the T10 until you have the ability to pick up the 264 gear. Now that does not mean that you couldnt wear all offset gear, and in fact that will more than likely be my road, a max armor / stamina set from all of the bonus armor pieces.

Druid four piece set bonuses:

T9- 4 pieces: Reduces the cooldown on Barkskin by 12 sec and increases the critical strike chance of Rip and Ferocious Bite by 5%.

T10 – 4 pieces: Your Enrage ability no longer decreases your armor and instead decreases all damage taken by 12%, and the periodic damage done by your Rake ability can now be a critical strike.

When you look at these, you can see that there is no contest that the T10 four piece bonus is far superior to its T9 counter part. A 12% decrease in all damage taken every minute coupled with ensuring that you do not decrease your armor value during enrage is huge. This is going to be the most powerful tier 10 tanking bonus. For those of you who do not know anything about druids, and this includes myself, Enrage is on a 1 minute cooldown and has the following instant activated ability: Generates 20 rage, and then generates an additional 10 rage over 10 sec, but reduces base armor by 27% in Bear Form and 16% in Dire Bear Form. So, Druids gain a 12% damage reduction once a minute, couple this with the fact that barkskin also has a 1 minute cooldown and has the following instant activated ability: The druid’s skin becomes as tough as bark.  All damage taken is reduced by 20%.  While protected, damaging attacks will not cause spellcasting delays.  This spell is usable while stunned, frozen, incapacitated, feared or asleep.  Useable in all forms.  Lasts 12 sec. These abilities can be used in tandem with T10 four piece, and as you can see, just reducing barkskin by 12 seconds is no where near as effective.

Warrior four piece set bonuses:

T9 – 4 pieces: Decreases the cooldown on your Shield Block ability by 10 sec.

T10 – 4 pieces: Your Bloodrage ability no longer costs health to use, and now causes you to absorb damage equal to 20% of your maximum health. Lasts 10 sec.

Warriors are a bit trickier, because of their set bonuses, skills, and scaling of their ability. Shield block is very nice because of the talents that warriors have to give them the chance to critically block. Shield block Increases your chance to block and block value by 100% for 10 sec. This is a very powerful physical mitigation skill, and as it is on a one minute cool down, the T9 four piece brings that down to 1/5th up time you will be mitigating a SIGNIFICANT amount of damage. On the other hand, warriors are the only ones who have a T10 set bonus which scales with the gear. Their bonus will allow them to absorb damage, giving them a mini shield once a minute, which scales with health. This means that the more gear a warrior gets out of Icecrown Citadel, the more their ability will absorb. A typical warrior in full T9 (ilevel 258) is probably sitting at about 56k (don’t quote me), giving them an 11,200 absorb. While this absorb is a one time deal, it works on physical, magical, and bleed damage, making it a very powerful damage mitigator.

Death knight four piece set bonuses:

T9 – 4 pieces: Decreases the cooldown on your Unbreakable Armor, Vampiric Blood, and Bone Shield abilities by 10 sec.

T-10 4 pieces: When you activate Blood Tap, you gain 12% damage reduction from all attacks for 10 sec.

Deathknights also have a more grey distincition between their four piece bonuses. The T9 bonus is very nice in that it reduces their one of their damage mitigation cool downs by 10 seconds, however you have to take a look at these cool downs to understand what relative benefit you get. Unbreakable armor is on a 1 minute cooldown and has the following instant activated ability: Reinforces your armor with a thick coat of ice, increasing your armor by 25% and increasing your Strength by 10% for 20 sec. This can also be enhanced by a major glyph that gives you 30% increased effectiveness. While this is nice, it is a pure armor increase, meaning that it does nothing for magical damage or bleeds, but is a very powerful physical damage mitigation factor. Vampiric Blood is also on a 1 minute cool down and instantly activated, and it gives you: Temporarily grants the Death Knight 15% of maximum health and increases the amount of health generated through spells and effects by 35% for 10 sec.  After the effect expires, the health is lost. This can also be glyphed to increase its duration. Lastly Boneshield is, as we see the pattern forming here, also on a 1 minute cool down and has the following instant ability: The Death Knight is surrounded by 3 whirling bones.  While at least 1 bone remains, <he/she> takes 20% less damage from all sources and deals 2% more damage with all attacks, spells and abilities.  Each damaging attack that lands consumes 1 bone.  Lasts 5 min.

As you can see each of them are specific for a different situation, and most high end dk tanks should have a dual talent spec with two different trees so they can take advantage of these abilities. While 15% health seems to be the nicest, and it can be there for up to 15 seconds, the T10 offers something similar. Blood tap is an instant spell on a one minute cool down that offers the following: Immediately activates a Blood Rune and converts it into a Death Rune for the next 20 sec.  Death Runes count as a Blood, Frost or Unholy Rune. To me, DKs will also benefit more from the T258 gear and the 4 piece T9 if they are blood, but I am sure gravity can provide more insight into that than I can.


If you are faced with a similar situation as my guild and have to decide where those last few pieces of gear go, this analysis shows us that Paladins and Death knights will be wearing their T9 deeper into ICC than their Druid and Warrior counterparts. So if you have to distribute loot from Anub’arak’s cache and you have a choice between your members and who should get the trophies, Dks over druids, Paladin tanks first, and warriors, well give it to the non tanks.


Breaking down Theck’s newest headache

I briefly touched on Theck’s new formula  a few posts ago, and Rhidach and Honors have done the same, but I wanted to discuss its benefits in the near future a bit more. Currently there is probably only one encounter that you would use this on, and that is the encounter you are wiping on. The problem with this current situation is that there are plenty of smart tanks that are easily available who have cleared the content and can help you with your gear questions. There are no fewer than 5 to 10 posts a day in the Gear Questions and Advice forum on MainTankadin, and these do not include the daily whispers that most top Tankadins get on a daily basis regarding strategy, gearing, and philosophy.

The formula courtesy of Theck, bringer of numbers and pounding headaches…

I don’t know about the rest of you, but just looking at that formula gives me a headache, so why have we been giving this so much attention over the past few days? The values of X and Y in that formula are very easy to obtain via World of Logs or WWS or what ever parse application you use, and they provide for some very powerful information. What we can do with this formula is calculate our effective health for any given death situation. Some of the variables are defined below by Theck, and these account for our specific gear sets, making this formula universal.

The formula uses the following mitigation factors:
Ma is the mitigation due to armor, defined as M is in section I.
Mt is the mitigation applied to physical damage due to talents
Mg is the mitigation applied to magical damage due to talents
Mr is the mitigation applied to magical damage due to resistances

Here X is the percentage of our damage intake that’s from bleed effects, Y is the amount of damage taken from magical sources, and 1-X-Y is the “leftover” amount due to regular physical damage.

Why do you ask is this an important thing to understand? Well as you very well know, I am a fanatic when it comes to gear discussion and theory, and It is where most of my expertise lies when it comes to theorycraft. And, this formula gives us a direct insight into our gearing choices and whether we should be altering our progression gear set for a specific encounter. For those of you who have the same level of math savvy that I do, the following breakdown clears somethings up for us:

The take-home message of these formulas is that armor loses effectiveness linearly with the percentage of “regular” physical damage intake for a given fight. In other words, for a fight with only 50% non-bleed physical damage, armor is reduced in effectiveness by 50%. If an armor trinket is worth 100 stamina on a purely “regular” physical fight, it will only be worth 60 stamina on a fight with 15% bleed damage and 25% magic damage (60% “regular” physical). – Theck

This gives us some insight into whether or not we should be wearing those juicy bonus armor pieces from Icecrown Citadel when fighting progression encounters with in that instance. We have all come to the consensus that bonus armor is a great weapon, and even more over, the armor trinkets that most tanks refuse to wear will have their day in the sun, however, they will be few and far between. The armor trinkets that we have access to through the badge vendors in this tier, and even the upgraded armor trinket with a stamina stacking proc in the next tier, will have specific times to shine, as our block rating gear has on Anub’arak.

It is important to understand though, that the use of these trinkets will be purely situational and most likely in a gimmick set, and not as part of our progression main tanking set. For that set, we will have the Scarab/Juggernaut trinket and the 228 stamina from the badge vendor in ICC. Once again, I give you Theck:

  • Stam is better in general, because it works everywhere. It’s the VISA of EH.
  • Armor is American Express. More exclusive, but very powerful in the few places it should be used.
  • This wasn’t intended to imply that Armor needs to be reworked. I think that Blizz is better off leaving armor as-is. But we need to be able to make intelligent gearing decisions as tanks, and knowing when to use or not use armor trinkets helps us do that.
  • Is this going to benefit the Greater community, or just the number crunchers?

    The true power of this equation is that it will help both sides of the community. First and foremost, this is a better evaluation of the formula and theory of Effective Health. This does not, in any way, change our view on effective health, or how it is achieved. What this does is show us the tipping points in certain encounters where the magic damage or bleed damage has become great enough that armor is no longer as powerful as stamina at a 11.7:1 ratio.

    For the number crunchers, we can analyze our death logs and evaluate our X and Y values to see if we need to modify our gear set to include more or less armor versus stamina, and we can do so in real time with irrefutable data. For those of you that do not do that, but still want to be prepared for the fights to come, The gear gurus of the community are beginning to work together to compile a list of damage sources which result in “spike” damage. What I mean by this is, we are starting to comb through our parses and get the damage numbers for our spike damage events for each applicable fight, and we will, when confident that we have a large enough sample size, publish the X and Y values for each encounter.

    This will provide a great wealth of information which will empirically define what gear sets you should wear for your progression encounter. If you are dying on Northrend Beasts to Gormok’s impale, then you can come look at those relative X an Y values and see if you need to shed or gain some armor for stamina. What is important to understand though, is that this formula is used to provide insight into those burst damage situations, not overall damage mitigation throughout the fight. Meloree and Brekkie brought this up half way through our discussion and they were spot on with their assessment, it is important to understand the following:

    People hear the term EH and they think “that number = my survivability”. In the way you are modeling EH, that is not strictly the case. Tanks gear for EH-contributing stats for progression, this is true, but the ultimate goal is not to maximize your absolute EH. It is to maximize your chance of survival against the primary “tank-killer” scenario of the current fight.- Brekkie

    Conclusions and a path forward?

    The formula gives us a very logical source of theorycraft from which we can make gearing decisions. It requires a bit of manipulation and data gathering, however when that is complete, we can effectively make on the fly decisions during progression encounters about our gearing choices. Where most great tanks do this already using the trial and error method, coupled with a vast amount of knowledge and gut feeling, we can empirically answer the question with a mathematical formula that should be fairly easy to do in between wipes.

    For now, We can go back to Trial of the Grand Crusader and analyze the parses for values of X and Y. As a community we will more than likely come up with an acceptable sample size and get some great values for effective health with respect to the gear we wear. Going forward, I would like to create a spreadsheet for dummies (read myself when I say dummies), which uses simple excel formulas to mimick Theck’s equation and allow anyone to plug in their values to give you your outputs. If the work is on the back end, you can easily create a format where you can plug in your mitigation factors, values for X and Y, and you will have your effective health. Tweaking those mitigation factors will give you a good idea on whether or not you want to stack more armor, more stamina, or even consider a resistance flask.


    Why is Chill of the Throne Dodge reduction?

    I just got finished responding to some questions on Maintankadin regarding the mechanics of Chill of the Throne and why exactly blizzard chose dodge as their target reduction. While I understand some of the mechanics of our tanking brethern, this explaination will be specifically tailored to Paladin Tanks, as that is what this blog is about. If we take a closer look at the debuf that we will recieve, we must ask ourselves, why would you select one over the other? What follows is a detailed hypothetical situation of the effects of our gearing philosophy if Chill of the Throne was a 20% flat reduction in parry…

    Arathas' Chill of the Throne

    The benefits of Dodge and Parry

    If we want to understand what we will be losing based on a flat 20% reduction in either parry or dodge, we first must understand what these mechanics give us, and their diminishing returns in general. Dodge is plain and simple. You completely avoid an attack. Dodge’s diminishing returns are less stringent when compared to parry, and as such, we as tanks always have more of it. A fully unbuffed paladin with best in slot gear will have more than 20% (Typically 26-28%) dodge standing in Dalaran regardless of gemming and enchanting philosophy.

    Parry on the other hand, has two components to it which factor into its value and reasoning behind the steeper diminishing returns. Parry gives us the same flat avoidance that dodge does, if the attack table deems that we are to parry an attack, the attack completely misses us and we have suffered no damage. In addition to the built in avoidance that parry provides, it also speeds up our swing timer, creating an additional threat component. The hasting that we are granted following a parried attack is one of the reasons that parry is on a much steeper diminishing returns curve. Going back to that fully unbuffed paladin I mentioned above, That same tank can, based on gear selection modify his or her parry percentage to be anywhere between 17% and 23% parry regardless of gemming and enchanting philosophy.

    This disparity between parry and dodge gives us some insight into why the developers would choose dodge over parry. This is completely forsaking the threat component of parry that all tanks use. I will provide you with some raw numbers that a tank will have based on their selection of “Best In Slot” gear to minimize parry while maximizing stamina and armor. There are only four pieces of gear that will need to have substitutes in order to go from all 258 gear Best in Slot to a minimum parry gear set.

    The gear set

    The following gear is what I used to calculate the relative values of dodge, parry and stamina. Also keep in mind that, because we are talking about theoretical situations with in Icecrown Citadel, all gems save one are stamina, all enchants are stamina.

    258 T9 Helm, Shoulders, Gloves, and Legs, 258 Legionnaire’s Gorget, 258 Pride of the Demon Lord, 258 Hauberk of the Towering Monstrosity, 245 Saronite Swordbreakers, 245 Heroic Belt of the Nether Champion, 258 Dawnbreaker Greaves, Band of the twin Val’kyr, Clutch of Fortification, 258 Juggernaut’s Vitality, 245 Juggernaut’s Vitality.

    Here is the Chardev Link for this set…

    As you can see, unbuffed, you have 28.31% dodge, 17.5% parry, and 45.1k HP. The gear that you had to trade out to get to this point is a net loss of 1k stamina from pure best in slot items, and 2% avoidance. Clearly the set linked above would be in response to the environment, as best in slot gear gives you a much better bang for your buck in all areas. By switching out the cloak to the Tribute Chest cloak from 10 man Hard Mode Insanity, the Bracers to the Bracers of the Shiledmaiden, the belt to the Belt of the Bloodied Scars, and the Ring to the Band of the Traitor King, you have lost a good deal of avoidance and stamina, but you have gained your four piece set bonus.

    The trade offs are fairly even when it comes to the grand scheme of things, however the effect on chill of the throne is quite noticeable.

    What if Chill of the Throne effected parry?

    As you can see from the chardev link from above, you would be sitting at 17.5% parry. Your total avoidance in that set is 61.07%. If Chill of the throne was a 20% reduction in parry, your parry percentage would drop down to 0, and you would receive a net GAIN of 2.5% avoidance because you were below the 20% mark. This gives you effectively 44.2% total avoidance. Conversely, if you chose to use all best in slot items, your gear would be giving you a total avoidance of 63.4% total avoidance, before you step into Icecrown Citadel. Post Chill of the throne would place you at 43.4% avoidance. This is a swing of 3.2% lost avoidance, so the relative benefit is quite significant.

    Empirically speaking, while 1% avoidance for 1000 hp does not see like a reasonable trade off with what is looming ahead in Icecrown Citadel, you have to remember that as we start to get into the 264 item level gear, you can pick and chose even more and extend that discrepancy between your parry and dodge. Your parry will still suffer steep diminishing returns, while your dodge percentage will continue to climb. In order to push past that Chill of the Throne reduction in avoidance, it would require more parry than dodge per point of avoidance. Now I must clarify that Chill of the Throne does not change the diminishing return formula, so the previous statement holds true no matter where you stand, however if you chose to eliminate parry from your gear sets, then it would take you more parry to start seeing an avoidance benefit than if it were dodge.


    In the end, these differences are as small as the gearing differences between the Stamina tanks an my own gear sets. When we have discussions based on stamina versus avoidance, it was for that last few percent after you ensured your survival. To me, and I may once again be alone on this, the trade off of 1k hp is more than worth get net gain you would get if you had a parry reduction from the Chill of the Throne mechanic. While I don’t believe that the developers were strictly looking at this as a justification to select dodge, I believe that with their current knowledge of the gear stats coming on the T10 items (which we currently do not know), this gearing philosophy could be achieved and chill of the throne could be partially avoided, thus the underlying motivations behind reducing dodge by 20%.


    • What is this nonsense? HoPo and a total overhaul. It's going to be a long weekend of playing around.. 8 years ago