Posts Tagged ‘Effective Health

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

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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!

24
Feb
10

Effective Health Gear Breakdown

In response to a request I got, I wanted to take today to discuss gear sets. While I have long since wrapped up the posts on gear set theory, how to select the gear, gems and enchants, and when to use them here and here, I have never provided the specific gear which I use for any of these sets. The reasoning behind this is that each person has different gear to work with, and different chances at obtaining said gear. Also, the benefit of being general is that you can apply this theory to someone who is just getting gear via the emblems, and decked out in T9.232 and someone who has full 264 gear.

I wanted to start with the progression set, the set which strives for the most effective health possible, and will boost your stamina and armor up to the 44th floor while dropping your hit down to the basement. The concepts of the effective health set are simple and finite: Gear for as much survival as possible, ensuring that you can take the biggest hits possible and survive. To cheat and quote myself from my gearing post:

A set that is centered around the theory of effective health, and it’s main purpose is to ensure that you can take the most amount of damage possible with out heals or avoidance. Most of the population that come to Maintankadin understands the concept of effective health, however for the purpose of a complete guide, effective health:

“…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”. – Ciderhelm

With that being said, Below is the compilation of my Effective Health gear set. I want to clarify up front that this set is the one which stresses overall effective health, so it is a stamina stacking set, and does not necessarily give you the most effective health for any given fight. I also have an armor set which buffs up to almost 42k armor pre pot. Here is the wowhead profile and below are screenshots to view for stats. The profiler looks a little off because of the fact that I have more armor than that by  a significant margin, and not that much health.

Now that you can see exactly what I wear for my max stamina effective health set, you can understand the correlation between the theory behind my gear sets, which I have listed below, and the application based off of the gear we have at our disposal in ICC.

The Basics of an Effective Health Set –
540 defense
Stack Stamina
Stack Armor
Stack Expertise
Shield Block Value (to a much lesser extent)

The Gems and Enchants Specific to an Effective Health Set –
Gem for Stamina
Enchant for Stamina
Armor to Cloak
Armor to Gloves (Alternate)
Mongoose to Weapon
Blood Draining to Weapon (Alternate)

I made some minor modifications to this based off of data which has been proven to be false with in the past few weeks in the theorycrafting community, namely that expertise can be considered a damage reducing ability in ICC. While Expertise does reduce the chance to parry, and as a result parry haste, it has been estabilished that parry hasting is not turned on for the vast majority of bosses in ICC.

As for the gearing, what you see is what you get when applying this theory to the gear which drops out of ICC. Now it goes with out saying that there may be upgrades to quite a few of the slots which I filled with non optimal gear, however I would like to reiterate that your gear sets are limited to the drops you can acquire, so you have to make do with what you have.

When do I wear this set?

I wanted to close the post by giving some perspective on when I wear this particular set. Now you have to understand that this is what I consider my general progression set, and I will wear this for first kills of ANY boss, or until it is identified that another gear set will better suit the encounter. Currently I wear this gear set in ICC 25 man for Festergut, Putricide, and Lich King. For the most part, the other fights are no longer considered progression, or have other sets which will benefit more based off of encounter mechanics.  In ICC 10 I wear this for every hard mode which we have killed in the past two weeks, and for Lich King on Normal.

I will hopefully follow up this post with one in which I outline what I wear for my Threat set, as well as the special consideration sets for Sindragosa and Blood Queen.

26
Jan
10

Armor and Egos

The internet is full of egos

I wanted to discuss something that I tested with quite a bit of success this weekend, however there was a thread up on MainTankadin which bothered me enough that I need to address it prior to continuing on. Most of the contributors to MainTankadin are very civil and reasonable people who like to discuss tank gearing, mechanics, and philosophies based off the the scientific method, e.g. I have a theory, I test said theory, and I provide data to support conclusions surrounding said theory. Well this past weekend we had a new member from the warrior community, JamesVZ who decided that numbers, facts, and data are not necessary to prove a point.

This person claims that if you have been tanking for 5+ years, that stamina sucks, armor is king, and all of the theories on gearing and stat prioritization that Theck has worked so hard on are false, and that Theck is just posting lots of numbers to stroke his internet ego. Well I was two pages into the discussion before MT went down and I have yet to see a single shred of a legitimate argument from the original poster. His arguments are full of heresy and lacking any sort of data driven conclusions. He furthermore does not understand the concepts for which the new Total Effective Health formula and concept should be applied.

In the end, he comes off as pompous and egotistical, as well as uneducated as he has based his accusations on less than all the facts, and has yet to back them up with evidence to counter our general beliefs on gearing. While I assume that 90% of everyone who reads this has been to MainTankadin and contributed in one form or another, I feel that it should be emphasized that these arguments are quite baseless and childish in that they simply seem to be for the fact that the poster wants to yell at the wind.

Blood Queen and Armor

Unfortunately I wanted to talk about how awesome armor is for particular fights, but this dilettante seems to have overshadowed my thoughts on this subject. I was thinking about Blood Queen and the best way to mitigate incoming damage for both myself, and the damage I do to the off tank, and it occured to me that either avoidance or armor would be the best course of action.

My motivation for reducing damage was so that the healers could focus on the raid as much as possible, as it is a very healing intensive fight. After looking at our parses from the 25 man attempts, I decided that the amount of damage that was coming in would better be mitigated by armor. I set up a gear set of my best effective health gear, and then swapped out what I had to wear the Cataclysmic Chest, Guantlets of the Kraken, Pillars of Might, Unidentifiable Organ, and Glyph of Indomitability. I was buffed to the teeth with bonus armor, and still sitting in a comfortable position with respect to my health pool.

If you look at this parse where we wiped (yeah we sucked last Tuesday), you can see that the average hit size I took was 22k.

Now if you look at the damage from a fight with a different gear set, one that increased the amount of armor by ~7k, I took an average of 18k damage. These are unmitigated hits. Most hits had absorbs and blocks added to them. There was a relative damage decrease of 19%. That is quite siginficant. Now once you incorporate those numbers into the fact that you have actually reduced incoming damage by 6k and not just 3k, it becomes much more obvious that armor is a very powerful stat for this boss.

While this is only one instance of the application of armor and its relative benefits, it is a powerful one. As we double our benefits based off of blood mirror, this is a perfect example of a fight where armor is extremely powerful. This will however, not translate into armor being king on other fights. In conclusion, if you understand the mechanics of the fight and tailor a gear set to augment your ability to perform to the best of your ability during said fight, you will be a better tank and a better player as a result. There is no end all be all for gear, each encounter will have different mechanics which will make that BiS set better or worse.

Oh and don’t be a douche, it is really just not worth it, rise above antagonistic pre pubescent teens who feel they need to exert a force for which they do not have.

22
Jan
10

Icecrown Gear Set Analysis

Why cant we define a BiS List

I should send Theck some cookies for continually giving me great topics for discussion on this blog. Yesterday he did a great analysis of the different options for each gear slot and broke down some great gear sets. The problem we as a community have faced is that there really is not one best in slot list. While some of our newer contributors are trying to compile lists and get posts stickied, they all fall short of Theck in their analysis because of one thing, there is too much gear. What I mean by this is that blizzard has graced us with three different pieces for almost every slot, and each piece is tailored to a specific purpose, threat, avoidance, or effective health.

My habit with Thecks posts is to read the conclusions first, as he loves to write more than me, and then read the main body of work, so I will provide you with his conclusions first, which I completely agree with….

The EH enthusiast – T10 Helm/Shoulders, Cat/Kraken/Pillars for massive Armor. The off-set shoulders can be subbed in if you don’t want the set bonus.

The Stam enthusiast – T10 Helm/Chest, Boneguard/Taldaram/LostHope. Unconcerned with armor, they pick up the 18 stam bonuses while trading as little avoidance as possible. Possible variant is T10 Helm/Chest + Boneguard/Taldaram/Pillars if they care about armor a little bit.

The Avoidance Lover – T10 Helm/Shoulders/Chest/Legs, Taldaram’s gloves. Gives you the highest avoidance possible along with the 4-piece bonus.

The Tightrope Walker – T10 Helm/Chest + Boneguard/Kraken/Pillars. This guy likes balance, and makes the most efficient ratio trades for armor (Kraken/Pillars)

This is the TLDR version of his analysis, but I think it is important to know why we got to this conclusion, and not just what pieces of gear you should pick up. I honestly think this is valuable information when it comes to gearing choices and the selection of how to spend this months most precious commodity, an Emblem of Frost.

Our options and choices

Since Blizzard was generous enough to give us three different pieces of gear for almost every slot, they have made it very hard for those people in the community who love the concept of a BiS gear list to create or find one. The fact that we have a significant amount of gear which is very specialized makes the assignment of Best in Slot a very difficult one. With that being said, the specialization of gear has allowed us to create close to BiS lists for specific functions. In previous tiers, you had a few options for rings, cloaks, necks, and a few pieces of gear, to craft your Effective Health set or your Avoidance set, however now we have a piece for almost every slot.

I wanted to focus on our progression set, because that is what most of us will be wearing for a majority of the encounters in the next few months. As the final wing opens up, and the Lich King’s defeat unlocks hard modes, we will need to focus on gearing for a few tank check encounters. What this means is that we need to increase our ability to take unmitigated damage, and mitigate the rest. There are bonus armor pieces galore, and a few pieces that offer ungodly amounts of stamina on them, which we will want to focus on when compiling this set. As you can see in Theck’s suggestions for the EH lover, we can squeeze a lot of bonus armor out of two badge pieces and a crafted piece. This means that these pieces of gear are available to everyone and we do not have to worry about the rng of loot dropping off of a specific boss.

Special Considerations and Caveats

Theck also pointed out in his post that there are some caveats to your gearing strategies. These caveats come from the fact that the pieces that you can acquire are so full of stats such as expertise and hit that you can not just slap on all of the hit and expertise pieces because you will be WAY over the hit cap, and probably even over the expertise hard cap. With that being said, when compiling these sets there are even places where you will need to trade out some expertise or hit for a lesser piece simply because it is wasted itemization.

When comparing some of the pieces, you will notice that Theck points out that you have the ability to drop below the soft cap for expertise, and this is something you should NEVER do because of the relative gains that it will give you. It is interesting to note that some of the better pieces at the 264 item level are then eclipsed by the T10 at the 277 level. What I mean by this is that there are three pieces of T10 that are best in slot once upgraded to the 277 item level. For those of you who never think you will see hard modes, or will not see them for some time, the choices become much easier for you. For those of you who will be attempting them in the first week and believe that you can get your hand on a piece of 277 T10, it gets a bit more difficult.

Armor versus T10

To quote Theck once again –

As an interesting side note, let’s look just at Pillars and Cataclysmic. If you had to choose one of these to replace T10, Pillars is almost hands-down the better choice. It sacrifices less avoidance and gives you slightly more armor. Both pieces are roughly threat-neutral provided you’re soft-capped without either – the expertise gain from Cataclysmic offsets the STR loss, and the STR gain on Pillars offsets the expertise loss.

Cataclysmic is superior only if:

  1. You’re below the expertise soft-cap, in which case it’s threat positive, or
  2. You lose uncrittability by using Pillars

This is a very good point which shows the very dynamic nature of trying to assemble gear sets. This is an ideal example of the balancing act you have to do when selecting an item for any given slot, and your decisions ramifications on other items you may want to use. The Cataclysmic Chest and the T10 legs both have 82 expertise on them. If you have to make the decision between these two, and you lean towards the Pillars, you have just effectively lost 164 expertise.

You have to take this into consideration because if you want to go with a balanced set, where you use the T10 chest and the Pillars of Might, you will have to find your expertise other places, namely the boots and the gloves. We can use this as an example for any other combination of gear. If you decide to forgo a stat on two pieces, you have to see what it has on the effect of your overall gear set. For me, If I chose to use the EH set that theck outlined, I am going to have to wear the ToTGC bracers and Cloak (off jaraxxus), to make it to the soft cap. Now this isn’t to say that you cant do your job with a measly 16 expertise that is granted by talents and glyph, however your threat will take a dive because Expertise is the best threat stat when you are below the soft cap.

My choices

I agree with Theck on his assessment of the EH set (I would be an idiot to ever disagree with the man), and Will more than likely sport the same type of gear set for my progression Hard Mode encounters. For my personal gear selection, I will more than likely continue to hold off until I know that my gear needs an upgrade. This is because the longer I hold out, the more likely it is that I will have some other pieces drop from the bosses, such as the boots, which would change my decisions on order of acquisition.

Good luck to all of you on your gearing selections, and may the tank drops be plentiful…

12
Jan
10

The power of knowledge

Raiding Pains

This past week was an interesting one. First off I had to raid on Sunday on a laptop because I was at my company holiday party and a long ways away from my home desktop. It was amazing how much harder it was for me to see certain things with the blizzard UI. I had to drop my addons down to practically nothing so that my computer could handle the raiding environment. I was getting like 2 fps in ToTGC and that was not going to cut it for Putricide.

In the end, it was a painful night; we had quite a few new people in the raid, so Anub’arak was left up with 45 attempts because people sucked at kiting the spikes. One of our guildies put up a really funny youtube clip on our forums from Austin Powers where the guy dies to a Steam Roller. It basically summed up that encounter. The spikes are slow, and you get a BoP, how hard is it to just run to the patch and stand there. It wasn’t even that the new people were the sole source of bad play. We had people that have been there every week for the kill playing poorly, and there was just no excuse.

After ToTGC, we went into ICC to clear out our putricide attempts, and I am sad to report that the end of my night finished with my raid dead, me alive hacking away at the boss, one attempt remaining on the counter, and Putricide at 2%. Next week folks, next week…

Knowledge is power

On to the bread and butter of what I wanted to talk about today. This is not a topic of discussion that is exclusive to tanks, but it is one that I feel is more important for tanks to understand. So, once again I digress from theory craft, gear discussions, and thoughts of guild management to discuss something that every great player should be doing, but seldom maintain. I am talking about the power of knowledge, more specifically research, preparation, and understanding of mechanics.

We can specifically talk about the mechanics of fights, knowing what is coming so that you can be able to react, and be better for those first few nights of progression. Or, we can talk about a more general discussion of knowledge based off of class abilities, gearing strategies, and understanding of mechanics and statistics. However, in both cases this is what separates a good player from a great one. I know people that can pull 10k dps consistently, or can tank and hold great threat, but if you do not understand gearing philosophy, encounter mechanics, and general strategies, then you are not a great player, because knowing these things could make you that much better.

There are people with in my own guild, casuals, raiders, and officers alike, who do not play at the level that they should because they are not knowledgeable about these things. They think that at the level that we play, you can still log on, hop into a raid and hope for the best. Now while the demand on proper, prior preparation is more essential at the end game progression level for cutting edge guilds, it makes any player who is good, better.

Ignorance is not bliss; the intelligent suffer

Knowledge is the key to success. The more you know, the better prepared you are for the unknown, and the quicker you can react to dynamic conditions. I am astounded at some of our dps for not knowing the mechanics of a fight. I have heard responses such as:

I just have to sit back here and cast my spells, who cares what the boss does.

Now while I am confident in my assessment that this statement and mentality alone is not the reason that this raiders is one of our lowest performing on a daily basis, but the attitude in general is the main contributor to the lack of performance.  If you do not understand the most recent gearing philosophies, rotations of abilities and management of cool downs, then you are wasting the gear that your guild gives to you.

Exceptions to the rule

Now while these thoughts reach those of you who do not need to hear this, and fall on deaf ears to the ones who do, I still feel that it is an important topic to bring up given the push for progression that we are facing over the next few months. Almost everyone who reads this is already well versed in researching abilities, skills, and encounter mechanics. If you weren’t, you wouldn’t be reading a blog or MainTankadin, you would be online, gabbing away in trade chat that you have the highest gear score on your realm, but have 5 points in Divinity and none in judgements of the just.

We are the exceptions; we are the unique snowflakes that shoulder the responsibility and progression of our guilds.  I wanted to talk about this today because I had a conversation with a few of my guild mates that opened my eyes to the fact that even in very progressed guilds, there are people who don’t know their head from their ass. It started with our one of our very best dps talking about armor trinkets and how OP they are on a fight where there is quite a bit of magic damage.

It never dawned on me that people do not have the resources that we do at MainTankadin. The information is out there, but not for most. Tankspot is a great place to go for warrior theory crafting and boss strategies, however I feel that theck and our brain trust at MainTankadin goes a bit further when it comes to analysis.  It took me 15 minutes to explain why he was wrong, explain the new equations for effective health, and the role that armor plays in our damage mitigation.

This lead direction into one of our casuals talking about how much chill of the throne sucks and how he is now the worst tanking class. I almost choked on my drink, because he is a druid. I began to explain to him that he is sorely misinformed and that he is currently playing one of the best tanking classes in the game for progression, and that his effective health is greater than any other class when you take into account cooldowns. This is where it got down right scary (and the true ah-ha! Moment for why I wrote this thread). I started to tell him about the druid T10 four piece set bonus, its uptime percentages, and its ability to mitigate a substantial amount of damage.

He replied: oh, well what is my T10 four piece set bonus? Well that’s just 12% that’s nothing.

For those of you who only play a paladin and missed my discussion on 4 piece set bonuses, here is a link to the blog post where I outlined why druids are king of the mountain when it comes to effective health and being able to take the hits like a champ. This guy didn’t even know what his own set bonus was, or why it was so important, or that he had two stacking cool downs that were both on a 1 minute timer, or that he had a 20% uptime of a 32% damage reduction, making him more powerful at taking a hit than any other tanks in the game.

The moral of the Story

As most of you know, research and discussion of mechanics, abilities, and rotations is important to your ability to play the game to the best of your abilities. What I learned last night is that, while I am a contributor to the paladin tanking community and the blogosphere, where many people may consider me an expert in gearing philosophy and tanking, my own guild was not receiving the same level of information. How can I love teaching complete strangers and not teach my own guild mates. So I leave you with a final thought:

While most people in your guild will probably get tired of your theory and discussion if you are as active in gchat as you are on forums and blogs, the occasional educational session will benefit your guilds greatly.

06
Jan
10

Thoughts on Rotface and Festergut

Time for fun?

After killing Rotface and Fetergut on both 10 and 25 man, I will have to say that so far so good in Icecrown. Blizzard has made some fun encounters and some brilliant art work and mechanics. Last night was void of any tank gear, and we actually disenchanted quite a bit of loot as well, which is always disappointing because upgrades are good, and if no one wants them, then we aren’t benefiting from the loot that is dropping as a raid. I always love new encounter nights, they are long and painful, but very much enjoyable. I was up well into the wee hours of the night raiding because of the server lag and its influence on the speed at which we could clear the instance. We walked into the instance at our usual raid time, and immediately began to pull trash. That is when it happened, the lag set in and before we knew it, we had all 6 packs on top of me. We called for the raid to reset the pulls through the door, and I stayed back to be the meat puppet.

All of a sudden, everyone is running away, and I am at 0 health. My Ardent Defender proc’ed but I didn’t die, and I didn’t get healed back up. I was standing there tanking, and I looked like I had just popped an Ironshield potion. I was all blacked out, and taking no damage, so I decided to run, to save my repair bill. Through the first archway I went, and as I passed under it, the heal from AD proc’ed twice, two more animations, and 60% hp on the health bar. This was a sign that it was going to be a beautiful evening of oddities.

To tank or to kite

We started the night clearing up to the new content, and then starting to pull the trash. Contrary to some reports out there, the trash is AoE’able. Now we didnt do this on purpose, however the lag on the night caused a few more careless pulls, netting us two abominations, and ALL the adds behind them. It was an AoE fest with a few deaths, but nothing too serious. The real fun came with Precious and Stinky. After a wipe on Precious due to the fact that we pulled him along with a few adds who seemed to buff his damage, we had no problem with him. His counterpart, stinky was another story. I am pretty sure our healers were not ready for the decimate plus poison pulse, and we ended up killing him with most of the raid dead.

We picked ourselves back up, walked over to Rotface, and I went over the information that was known about the fight. Since I didn’t know how hard the boss hit, I put myself on the boss on our warrior on the adds. That was my first mistake. Our warrior was trying his best to kite the oozes, but was getting hit like a truck and went down. He got a battle rez and went down again shortly thereafter. At this point we made a bit of a switch. I went on the adds and our warrior went on the boss. The adds were a bit easier for me to handle between pursuit of justice, avengers shield, and my cds. The most difficult part of the first few kites is getting the first two oozes together. This is where your trusty mage comes in…

PRO TIP – The small oozes can be frost nova’ed by mages, if you are having problems with the first two oozes merging into a Big ooze, have a mage follow out the first person who gets mutated infection. When you cleanse it off of the person, the mage frost novas and the ooze is rooted in place. All you have to do is have the second infected victim run on top of the frozen one, and you get an instant Big Ooze

Once I moved onto ooze duty, the fight got a lot smoother. There are still a few more things you have to know about the off tank job. First off, the ooze floods are not completely random. They will only happen in a section of the room that has not already had a flood. This means that you want to start away from the nearest ooze flood and run towards it. By the time you get there, it should have disappeared, the ooze should have about 3 to 4 stacks on it, and you should not have taken any damage. If you have a problem with the randomness of what corner of the room has an ooze flood, it is better to freedom yourself and run through the ooze than to take the big ooze into the raid (as they have a AoE damage aura). Thats about it, rinse and repeat for nice shiny epics.

Somebody light a match

Festergut took about the same learning curve and Rotface for us. A few wipes to clean it up, and then a kill. Because the room starts off with all of the gas in it, and the shadow damage is quite potent, we opted to Bloodlust off the bat to give the healers a bit of extra power for keeping the raid alive till the first round of spores showed up. It is important as a tank to get the spore debuff, but not vital. You should not run away from the boss to try to get to a spore at any time. For tanks this is a simple taunt when i have X stacks type fight (similar to gormok’s bleeds or gluth’s ms stacking debuff). After we worked out all the kinks in the plan, we sent our less geared tank in first to take the damage when Festergut hits the lightest. He starts out hitting quite soft, but quickly ramps up to taking 30k off your life every swing, so it is imperative to have your better geared tank taking the damage when he has done his last inhale.

This fight is pretty straight forward and is more of a dps check and coordination check. While I say that, it is just as much of a tank gear check with the damage numbers that were flying around for us last night. There are a few things that you can do to help your raid out if you are in trouble. On the 10 man that I ran later in the night, Our warrior got rocked and died and we did not have a battle rez. The stacking debuf that festergut puts on you is cleared by your bubble. When I was at 8 stacks, the spores spawned and I called for everyone to move to the ranged spores (as they were both out there). At that point, I quickly mashed my /cancelaura DS macro, and cleared the stacks. This allowed me to tank him for over two minutes straight, and enough time for our dps to kill him before the enrage timer went off. This is more of a last resort thing for now, but later I am sure that our guild, and many others, will try to single tank it to see how fast we can kill him.

Gear Sets for the fights

While a few of my colleagues at MainTankadin were fortunate enough to be able to wear their threat sets to these fights, I was in full effective health gear with a double pot of an Ironsheild potion. Unless you are in a cutting edge progression guild, I would suggest that you go into the fight in your full effective health set, to see if your healers can handle the damage, and then move on to your other sets if you feel that your survival is not in danger. I may be completely off in my estimations of survival from last night because our server was lagging a lot (and as a result our healers may have been slow to get heals off), but its always better to be safe than sorry.

On to Professor Putricide tonight, as the encounter is “working as intended…”




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