Posts Tagged ‘Basics

11
Sep
09

Macros versus Individual Key Binds

As I was saying in my previous posts, I have been having some trouble lately with my guild’s DPS and their incessant complaints about our warriors threat and the fact that he does not use revenge. This got me to thinking, and I went into the handy dandy world of logs and took a look at his ability usage. There were some glaring issues from the combat log that shed some light on his lack of ability to hold threat over our top DPS. I would like to take a little time to discuss the issues, the break down of his skill usage, and my suggestions going forward on how to fix it. Enter a long digression on warrior tanking, turn back if you must…

Of Warriors and Threat…

His break down of abilities shows that he highly undervalues three of the most essential threat generating moves available to a warrior and in turn only truly uses 3 to 4 moves. His main rotation consists of Heroic strike and devastate spam with intermingled shield slams. The fact that our dps are bringing up lack of revenge as the culprit show that they are only looking for an excuse to bitch about his threat, and don’t truly understand a warriors priorities when it comes to threat. Part of their argument is that our warrior only used 12 revenges the entire night. Now while this is grossly over the top when it comes to the issue (as he only tanked 7 encounters and not the entire night), it is still abysmally low.

Looking at his parses, where none of them were less than three minutes long, the most he used the revenge ability was 4 times, equating to roughly 45 seconds in between revenges. There were two attempts around 3 minutes long where he did not use it ONCE. That is unacceptable. Now while he was only tanking a third of the time in Phase 1 and half the time in Phase 2, this still does not add up. During phase one he has 80 seconds of tank time, and during phase two he should have roughly half the time as the focused tank during the encounter (average 40 seconds). at 120 seconds, he should have theoretically used the ability 24 times. But this is only half the story of his poor threat.

When you look into the parses a bit more, you start to see why his threat is extremely poor. He undervalues concussion blow and shockwave as much as revenge. These three abilities combined make up the second, third and fourth priority in a warriors rotation. He uses all of them about once ever 50 seconds at the most, where as they should be used on cool down (20 and 30 seconds respectively) in place of devastate (which he spams constantly). His parses indicate that he uses three buttons, and usually nothing more during the course of a fight – Devastate, Heroic Strike, and Shield Slam. Even his Thunder Claps are sparse (although they are not needed for anything but threat, as I take care of that debuff, as does our dk).

My suggestions to him going forward are as such. Macro revenge into his heroic strike, devastate, and Shield slam abilities and use it on cool down (meaning if he is tanking he should use it every 5 seconds). Prioritize Concussion Blow and Shockwave WAY HIGHER than he currently is, and if he is rage starved (which he shouldn’t be due to the massive amounts of damage he is taking in hard modes) he should drop devastate for the former suggestions.

Macros and Pallys

While macros are a very easy way to ensure that your on use abilities are taken advantage of and kept on cool down, I highly disagree with using macros for our main paladin abilities. There are a lot of posts on different forums out there that tell young protadins that the 969 rotation is as easy as macroing your HoTR and SoR to one button, your HS, Judgement, and Consecrate to another and play chopsticks on your keyboard. The lack of flexibility that this provides for our class truly hinders your ability to tank effectively in a dynamic situation. What happens if you want to SoR something that is running away, or if you want to open up with a different rotation, starting with HoTR, then Consecrate as you are tanking an AoE pack?

The sad truth is that macroing most of our abilities is a crutch that any paladin should get away from. We have far fewer talents to worry about when tanking than do warriors or dks, and our tanking rotation really consists of five buttons that can, at times be substituted out. How can you work that into a macro? Now with that being said, there are some very useful macros that you should have on your action bars to assist you in your ability to react quickly.

The Cancel Aura Macro: the divine shield /cancelaura macro is a powerful one that has many applications. Since we have been discussing trial of the crusader so much in the past few weeks, the best examples of this are during the Northernd Beasts encounter when you have a too many stacks from Gormok, or when you are poisoned from Acidmaw, you cant move, and your guildy with the fire is an idiot. This macro also works wonders if you are an off tank on Anub’rakan and you have a dot ticking for 30k.

Focus Macros: Any macro that uses the /cast [target=focus] Hand of Protection (enter what ever spell you want there) is also a great macro that you should have somewhere on your bars. This macro allows you to continue to tank your mob, not drop target and instantly BoP your focus target. I use this during the last 10% of the Gormok stage of Northrend Beasts, to clear the stacks off my fellow off tanks. You can also use it on a ranged or healer that pulls aggro off you, you just have to modify your macro to assist your current target, being the boss.

Mouseover Macros: I healed all thorugh Sunwell, and I did a pretty good job. One of the things that made me and imensely better healer was mouseover macros. I carried this into my tanking days to help with Hands, Taunts, and Cleanses. The cleanse macro is especially helpful for the Faction Champions encounter, remember you are the most powerful “dispeller” in your raid because you can take off magic, disease, and poison with one click of a button. Here it is:

#showtooltip Cleanse
/cast [target=mouseover] Cleanse

There are many more ways that you can use macros to your benefit, but I am personally against string macros that limit your ability to select the skill that you mean for the instant it is needed. Having the freedom to chose will make you a better tank in the end. So macro till your heart’s content when it comes to your utility, but keep your bread and butter on your action bar, right out of the spell book.

20
Aug
09

Back to Basics: The User Interface, aka UI…

So in my writers block this afternoon, I opened up my trusted google reader and started checking out all of the new posts that have popped up in the past day on the protadin blogging circuit. As I was reading a post by Rhidach titled Four Characteristics of a Great Tank, Part 1: A sense of ownership, I found my inspiration for my next senseless digression, the user interface or UI for short. A players UI is something that is unique and special to them, and for those of us that love to tweak the way our game looks, it is a passion and necessity.

When you first start out on your adventures in Azeroth, your UI is more often than not the standard Blizzard UI. A bar at the bottom that has (at the time) more buttons than you know what to do with, a few green and blue bars, and a map. Thats it! I really dont think that much more is needed to level all the way to level 80. Once you get there though, you have the opportunity to start custimizing your interface to provide you with pertinent information that will help you be a better tank, react quicker, and understand more mechanics of an encounter.

The Essential UI modifications

There are a few mods that every person should have if they ever want to set foot in a raid instance. The first and foremost is BigWigs or Deadly Boss Mods. These are mods that inform the player of specific abilities that the encounter is employing to try to get you to have a lovely run back from the graveyard. Another near essential mod is called Omen, or something similar if your guild uses a different threat meter. I as a tank rarely spend more than a split second looking over at omen, however the fact that I have it installed means that my threat is showing up on my DPS’es meter and they know where they are. It is also useful to understand who to salv and if you need to start concentrating more on your rotation and less on other things.

Other than that, you can probably get away with nothing more than the standard blizzard UI and be a sufficiently successful tank. But, what can you do to increase your knowledge of an encounter, enable better play, and become successfully as an all around player? There are a few mods that I use, that I cannot raid with out any more, and I will discuss them in a bit more detail later on in this post.

Your UI and your awareness – managing your Real Estate

One of the first things to consider when compiling a UI, or selecting a pre made one from someone who has much more experience making them than the normal player, is to understand what the purpose of your UI is. No matter who you are, and what you do, your UI is there to give you the important information that you need in order to do your job. Whether it be knowing what skills are on cool down and when they will be up next, if you have all of your buffs, how much health you have, who the boss is targeting, etc. However if you have too much information in front of you, you will not be able to see the most important part of what you are doing, the encounter.

I have seen too many tanks with UIs that have tons of bars, and scrolling combat text, and useless junk so close to where their character is positioned on the screen. The general philosophy is to arrange your most important information where you would find your eyes resting on the screen. For most of us that is the center, where our character is, however that doesn’t mean that you should ever obstruct the view of your character. You want to arrange things around your toon but at the same time, in a logical place.

What I use to keep me informed

Power Auras – this mod is handy little add on that allows you to fully customize a heads up display of sorts to let you know when a certain buff or debuff is active, in active, on cool down, ready for use, or anything else that you can think of. Personally have two things set up for this mod on my paladin, Holy shield, which is a gold glowing translucent shield in the bottom middle of my screen. And more importantly, Divine Plea, which is two blue crescents on either side of my character. If either of the buffs fall off the graphics are triggered and i have a visual cue that i have to refresh them.

Omni Cooldown Count – This is a simple mod that places a time value over the icons on your action bar that are on cooldown, so you know just how long you have until they are up again. nuff said…

Pitbull / Grid – This is a very customizable modification to your unit frames that allows you to color them, move them, alter their size, the information that the provide, etc. I believe this is almost as essential to a tank as omen, however you can very easily succeed with out them. One of the greatest benefits of having this mod is that you can move your player, target, and target of target bars so that you can see them at all times. Default position is way up in a corner where you would have look away from the action, this way you dont even have to glance away from what you are doing.

Bartender – This is also a highly customizable modification that removes the blizzard default action bar and replaces it with up to 10 bars that you can size and place anywhere on the screen you would like. In addition you have the option to have modifers, so if you hold down control, a new bar will appear, showing you a whole new set of 12 actions if you so choose to set it up that way.

Pally Power – This mod is also borderline essential. it tracks your blessings and with a click of the button buffs each class with their designated blessing.

In the end you want something that works well and provides all the information you need right at your fingertips at a moments notice. Below is a screenshot that I took in the middle of a yogg saron encounter about two months ago. I am of the mindset that you give credit where credit is due, and not claim that it is an adaptation or your own. My UI was created by Caith, is his and will always be, but I loved the organization, feel and simplicity. All I needed was a few tweaks and I made it my own, but I would never claim to have put a 1/10 the effort into it as he has.

Happy UI tweaking!

ScreenShot_060709_190640

10
Aug
09

Back to Basics – Gear Sets

Gear choices – the gear set that you wear is dependent on the content that you are tanking –

This may seem like a very simple concept but too many tanks get caught up in making a set that is only good for certain content. What I mean by this is that as your progresses through a new instance, your priorities on gear itemization change drastically. At the beginning of a new instance, in a type of raiding most people call progression raiding, tanks want to gear for effective health and avoidance.

Effective health is really a theory and combination of stats more than the number that you have on your health bar. It is a combination of your Armor, mitigation, and health pool. “This is basically a measurement of how much raw damage a creature has to deal to kill you. It is a measurement of Armor and it’s relation to Stamina. Effective Health is the measurement of how much breathing room your healers have to keep you alive assuming all other factors fail — assuming you do not avoid or block attacks or have a mana shield active. Effective Health is important for tanking heavy hitting creatures because of Murphy’s Law — if you can have long strings of not Dodging an attack, it will definitely happen. Raid tanking, ultimately, is about stability.”

Avoidance stats are as simple as they sound, the ability to complete miss an attack. For the purposes of our discussion, that means the percentage of dodge and parry that a tank has (both of these stats now suffer diminishing returns). When starting out in an instance, prioritizing these two “stats” are what tanks should strive to do. At a certain point the raid begins to out gear the instance and avoidance and effective health become less of a priority for tanks. At this point, threat and mitigation are key priorities. As your raid becomes more and more geared, the tanks will start running into problems with performance. As the abilities of the healers and dps increase with the volume of gear that your raid soaks up, the necessity for avoidance and effective health gear drops substantially.

This drop in need for avoidance gear is mirrored by an increase in the need for threat gear. As the dps out put of the raid increases, and you start attempting dps hard mode bosses, threat becomes an issue. The accumulation of both sets of gear simultaneously will substantially improve your raids ability to progress faster. For paladins threat gear is anything with Strength, Stamina, and Shield Block Value.

The most obvious stat is strength, as it gives you the following:

1 strength = 2 attack power (AP) = 0.14 dps weapon (white) damage.

2 strength = 1 block value before talents, 1.3 block value with the Redoubt talent.

Shield block value is the modifier by which the Shield of Righteousness spell gains damage. And Stamina effects your spell power through the talent: Touched by the Light (rank 3): Increases your spell power by an amount equal to 30% of your Stamina and increases the amount healed by your critical heals by 30%.Why AP and spell power combined? Because your judgements are affected by both as seen below:

Judging your Seal of Vengeance does the following: Unleashing this Seal’s energy will deal [1 + 0.22 * SPH + 0.14 * AP] Holy damage to an enemy, increased by 10% for each application of Holy Vengeance on the target.

08
Aug
09

Back to Basics – the 969 rotation

Rotation of Abilities, their significance and their role in threat, and mitigation –


The first question I asked myself when I was approached by the other officers to become a prot pally is what abilities do I use and in what combination. After a bit of research, the answer was simple, efficient, and effective. Any prot pally that does two minutes of research finds that we use what is called a 969 rotation. What this means is that you have certain abilities (3) that have 8-9 second cool downs, and certain abilities (2) that have 6 second cool downs. Taking into account that the global cool down is 1.5 seconds, this equates into a very efficient rotation with absolutely NO downtime in use of abilities.

The rotation consists of five abilities. Protection paladins use each of these abilities on a very specific and measured time table. The abilities are holy shield (8s cd), hammer of the righteous (6s cd), judgement (9s cd with 1 point in improved judgment), Shield of Righteousness (6s cd), consecrate (8s cd). Because each of our abilities cool downs is close to a multiple of the global cool down, you can base your rotation off of it, meaning that if you open up in the order I listed them, all you have to do once you have performed your first 5 abilities is hit the button that is not on cd and you will have your optimal rotation, e.g. 9696969696969.

This ideal rotation works wonders for consistent and effective threat per second. You have a holy damage ability that is used every 1.5 seconds continuously with out fail, as well as DoTs that are ticking continuously on the enemy as well. This plays a very important role in the ability of a protection paladin to gain an increasing amount of threat against the mob that is being attacked.

The only ability that I would like to discuss in terms of “significance” when it comes to the unique nature of a protection paladin is holy shield. The reason this ability is of more significance than the others is because it provides paladins a way to be “unhittable” 100% of the time that they are fighting a mob. This is quite significant because it increases our ability to mitigate all incoming physical damage by an amount equal to our shield block value. This makes block value exceptionally good for trash packs and mobs that hit for less but hit very fast.

Definition: Unhittable – the ability to Block, Dodge, Parry, or Miss any and all incoming attacks.




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