Posts Tagged ‘Effective Health


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


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…


Icecrown Citadel is Upon Us

You are not prepared!

I am sure everyone in the blogosphere will be commenting on the drop of patch 3.3 today, and since I have nothing better to talk about today, I wanted to touch on two topics. First, with the advent of patch 3.3, Icecrown Citadel, and Chill of the Throne, I wanted to talk about my change in gear, gems, and enchants. I also would like to talk about the first boss, namely positioning, tanking strategy, and gear choices based off of the information that we have, as most of us will get in there tonight with out ever stepping foot on the PTR.

I need more STAMINA scotty!!!

After the announcement of chill of the throne, and subsequent lengthy discussion on the maintankadin forums, it has been identified that your best relative gains out of enchanting and geming your gear is pure stamina. There is a bit of a contradiction here when it comes to gearing philosophies, at our current levels of gear and avoidance in 245 to 258 gear, avoidance is a very attractive statistic for yours truly. Each additional percentage point of avoidance gets you that much closer to becoming passively unhittable with mostly avoidance (and not block rating). As your avoidance increases, each additional point of avoidance is more valuable. I slapped on a gimmick set to do Crazy Cat Lady a few nights ago and broke 70% avoidance while maintaining a respectable health pool.

However, with the advent of Chill of the throne, the opportunity cost of getting that next percentage point of avoidance is not worth the steep diminishing returns which are beginning to set in. Stamina, which does not suffer any diminishing returns, and also gives you a direct increase to your effective health, is the most attractive stat when it comes to TTL so far in ICC. With that being said, each one of my item level 258 items has pure stamina gems in then (Save one), and has stamina or armor on it as an enchant. Going forward I will be taking a bit more damage, but relatively speaking, the healers will see the hits getting “Smaller and smaller” as my health pool grows. I am currently walking around with about 44k unbuffed hp in my effective health set, and I plan on getting that up a bit more in the next few weeks with the new trinket and a few new pieces of gear.

So, in the end, the avoidance advocate of the MainTankadin community is finally stepping off his soap box and crossing the picket lines to the stamina camp. /nod mel.

Lord Marrowgar

The first boss of Icecrown Citadel is named Lord Marrowgar and he is a big ugly skeleton thing. He has several abilities of note, and most of them have to do with the “rest” of the raid. What we will be focusing on today is his damage intake on the tanks, and what we can do to properly prepare ourselves for this encounter. Below are his abilities in no particular order:

Bone Spike Graveyard – Hurls a massive bone spike which impales any enemies in the way. 3 sec cast
Bone Storm – Attacks nearby enemies in a whirlwind of bone, which causes them to bleed for until cancelled. Instant
Coldflame – Inflicts 9000 Frost damage every 1.0 sec for 8 sec. Instant
Saber Lash – Splits 300% of normal melee damage to an enemy and its two nearest allies. Melee range. Instant
Saber Lash – Prevents the target from being impaled while tanking. Unlimited range. Instant

The first thing that sticks out in my mind is FROST damage, as we are better at mitigating physical attacks, and we gear this way for the most part. However, upon closer consideration, we can predict that this is an ability that does not target the tank. While you can be targeted by it during P2 (we will get to that soon), when you are being hit by the boss, you will hopefully not have to worry about this. So, what do you have to worry about?

Saber Lash

Saber lash is a frontal cone attack that hits the tank and his two closest friends. What this means is that you will more than likely have three tanks for this encounter, and two of them can go /afk popcorn for 2/3 of the fight. Saber Lash is pure physical damage, and the only magical damage is avoidable, so an armor heavy, stamina heavy gear set is what I recommend, I will be going into this fight with my highest AC possible, ensuring that I can mitigate as much damage as I can. This seems like the perfect chance to test out Theck’s new formula, and my new spreadsheet.

During Phase 1, which is a tank and spank for us, you will be tanking the boss in his spawn location, and facing him away from the raid. The pull will be executed by running through his body and turning him 180 degrees. At this point, you and your off tanks will settle into a nice little tps rotation for 1 minute.

At the end of 1 minute, Phase 2 starts. Phase 2 is a 30 second whirlwind extravaganza with all of the goodies to boot. Marrowgar still sends out blue flames at random raid members, and uses bone spike (unconfirmed). You will have to spread your raid out, and for the three off tanks, it just means running to the back wall and spreading out. At this point, your job is to avoid blue flames and ensure that you are in range when the music stops, so that you can pick him back up and position him correctly. Once the thirty seconds of P2 is complete, you can rinse and repeat P1 and P2 until you have your very first ICC shiny purples.

Good luck to everyone tonight with both the first wing of ICC, and the more important and devastating boss, the hamster powering your specific server. I know that from personal experience, I should not expect too much out of tonight, and that I should have a movie in the BluRay player so that I am entertained through the “world server is down” messages, but I really want to see some server firsts tonight!


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.


The Effective Health Headache, part II

I’m back! After a long vacation and a subsequent holiday, I am back to blogging full time. Although I got one blog in on the couch while my parents watched some football, I really have not had much time for my blog. Well with the holidays gone, and the next one 24 days away, I have a few weeks of solid posts regarding my favorite flavors of the month. The Christmas Tree is up, I am back to work, and I am back to blogging! I wanted to talk a bit about a spreadsheet I have been developing.

Creating a user friendly interface

After breaking down all of the information that went into Theck’s new formula, it is now time to deal with real world application, sure the calculations and derivations that it took to get to those last three formulas, with all of the variables defined are interesting, however most of us do not see the Matrix as code, we just want something simple and easy to work with to understand if we should swap out a gear set in between fights. This is where I come in. I have begun to create a spreadsheet that the greater community can use to evaluate gear choices, and I wanted to discus it in further detail here so that people know what it is about and have the opportunity to provide feedback before its grand unveiling.

This is my first draft of the UI. It is a basic excel spreadsheet with the formulas already built in. It provides descriptions for all of the fields that you need to fill in and will export the final values to specific fields with in the spreadsheet. The spreadsheet is color coded to allow for a “gear evaluations for dummies” type feel. The pink (because we are paladins) is all of the information that you should get from both your character screen during a raid, as well as WWS, WOL, etc parses. The green cells are values that you must input in order to give you the calculation’s results, and the yellow cells are constants that MAY be changed but are pretty standard for normal gearing, raid buffs, and consumables. It is also important to note that I kept the yellow cells visible so that other tank classes could alter those values based on their talents, racial abilities, etc and still use the tool.

I just want to also provide the disclaimer that I am by no means an excel genius. In fact, I am no where near the expert levels of the program, however I do use spreadsheets on a daily basis at my job and I like them to be formatted, user friendly, and overall specific to the task at hand. So please be gentle when critiquing the simplistic nature of the sheet, as it only provides relative information for quick evaluation in between pulls and nothing more.

How to use the spreadsheet

There are three specific things that this spreadsheet can tell you, and all of them require a bit more interpretation once you have gotten the information that it provides. I would like to go over each of these important pieces of information one by one and tell you what they are and what we can do with our new found information.

Definitions up front:
X – Percent of total damage taken which was from Bleed Damage
Y – Percent of total damage taken which was from Magic Damage
H – Your total raid buffed health value
A – Your total raid buffed armor
Ma – Your total raid buffed reduction in incoming damage from Armor

Effective Health Calculator

The first and foremost thing that this spreadsheet gives you is an absolute value for your effective health which accounts for physical, bleed, and magic damage. This number is relative to the gear you are wearing, the encounter you are tanking, and all of the talents, consumables, and buffs that you have. When you input all of the values that are required by the spreadsheet, H, A, X, Y, and Ma, you will get a number at the bottom. This is your effective health. This value alone does not really give you much information, but what it does give you is a starting point.

What you should do with this information is compare it with different gear choices, armor and stamina values, as well as resistances to establish mathematically which gear set is the best set for a given encounter. Which ever set gives you the highest effective health value is the one that you should be wearing for a given encounter with set X and Y values. As each encounter has different X and Y values, your evaluations have to be done on a boss by boss basis.

Change in Stamina and Change in Armor Calcuators

The second thing that the spreadsheet will calculate for you is a change in stamina. We all know that the general rule for the stamina to armor ratio is that 1 stamina is roughly equal to 11.7 armor. However how do we evaluate this ratio with the new understanding of relative X and Y values during a given fight. The relative benefit we see from armor changes as X and Y increase, and this calculator will tell you what change in armor is required to give you the same effective health benefit as a similar change in Stamina. Specifically, if you know the relative X and Y values for a fight, and you want to compare pieces, you can plug in the change in Stamina and Armor of a given slot into the spreadsheet and it will give you relative values of the counter part which would provide the same amount of effective health.

To provide you with an example, If you wanted to check to see if a bonus armor piece of gear was as good as that piece with 15 more stamina, you would input your relative values of X and Y into the spread sheet and then type 15 into the dS (or change in Stamina) cell on the spreadsheet and the spreadsheet would output the relative amount of armor required to equal 15 stamina with respect to effective health. This is a powerful tool when assembling gear sets for progression content, where surviving burst is your most important job.

The third thing that the spreadsheet does is the exact mirror of the evaluation above. It will calculate a change in armor and give you its relative stamina value for any given fight, provided that you input X and Y values. So, you can see how much stamina a given piece of gear has to have to eclipse the bonus armor that you have on another piece.


As you can see, all of these calculations are relative, and they do not provide absolute answers, but guidelines. You can not type a few values into the spreadsheet and get out a best in slot, time to live gear set. This is a very specific tool for a very specific, however powerful, purpose. It will allow you to compare gear sets for given fights to tell you which one will provide you with the most effective health for surviving burst. It will also provide you with modified Stamina to Armor ratios for any fight, accounting for all magical and bleed damage that you take. And it will give you everything you need to understand if you can survive the burst that just killed you by swapping gear.

However, it is important to understand that if you provide the wrong data for the specific required fields, it will provide you with the wrong answer. You must evaluate where you want to obtain X and Y from the parses, and use the correct situations and values in order to get the proper outcome. If you do this, it will help you immensely in your struggles to get past tank checks, but only if you select the correct values.


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.


    What a difference a week makes

    I’m Back!

    After around 550 emails from work and 75 blog entries to read, not to mention guild and MainTankadin forums, I am no where near caught up from my trip. It seems as though the Icecrown Citadel has fueled most blogs in the past few weeks, and I am ready to jump into the fray so to speak. As I began to peruse the MainTankadin forums, I already felt out of place. When you have a forum community that is that massive, if you do not keep up on a daily basis, you fall behind and have to start all over again. I was always thankful that MT was better than EJ in the sense that there was more than one 100 page long thread to find your information, but it is still a vast amount of information and once you are more than a few pages behind, its a daunting task to catch back up.

    Theck strikes again…

    Theck has a very interesting and insightful post up on MT which mathematically outlines the effectiveness of armor in fights where magical damage is a percentage of your total damage taken. As we all know there are very few fights where you are sure that you will only take physical damage. The encounters now a days are throwing both boss melee swings in with aoe magic damage, and special physical or magic damage. The real game application of armor’s contribution to effective health is less than what we see on the tooltip. Theck sums it up…

    So for a purely physical fight, armor seems like a pretty good deal. But for even a fight with 20% magical damage, Armor becomes devalued by 20%. This will generally be enough to make a Stamina trinket provide more EH than an armor trinket.

    For an example, let’s look at the Glyph of Indomitability, since that’s what started this thread. It gives 1792 armor, which is equivalent to 153 stamina. However, for a fight with Y=20%, we get only (1-Y)=80% of that, or 123 stamina. For a fight with 30% magical damage, it’s only worth 107 stamina, and so forth. – Theck

    Icecrown Gear and You…

    Icecrown gear has a lot of bonus armor on it, and while it is never something you should pass up on, the question remains: With theck’s analysis under our belts, do we want to use off set pieces over four piece T10?

    I had every intention when I was on vacation to start writing about icecrown gear and encounters, as I have beaten Anub’arak and ToTGC to death on this blog. The data mining has provided us with more juicy pixilated morsels on MMO-champion, and we can start to gain a better understanding of our gearing options going forward. Now while we are being subjected to Chill of the Throne as well as our red headed step child of a four piece bonus, Theck’s work has thrown us a curveball when it comes to deciding what type of gear we should select going forward in ICC. It is important to remember that all of Theck’s conclusions were comparing stamina to armor, so that is the only thing that matters when comparing gear based on his assessments, I will weigh in on the other stats myself.

    While we will all walk into ICC with the same general ratio of statistics with respect to Stamina, Armor, and Avoidance, where your guild is in progression will dictate what exact pieces you are wearing. For some of us, that will be full 258. For most of the people it will be a mix of gear. Either way, every piece that drops from ICC is an item level upgrade. So, how do you chose what you should be gearing towards and when you should equip it.

    An initial look at our Tier Gear versus Off Set Gear

    This is going to be a long journey for us when it comes to gear selection. We have three chests to choose from in the iLevel 264 category, our T10 chest, the Blightborne Warplate, and the Cataclysmic Chestguard. All three of these have unique strengths and weaknesses which make them powerful pieces for compiling full sets, but as individual pieces, we can compare the relative gains and losses of wearing each piece. Each off set piece has a net gain of 23 defense from the tier piece, while there is some room for debate on whether or not stacking defense is still of benefit to us, it is still raw avoidance that you are gaining. Let’s take a look at each of these pieces and analyze their strengths and weaknesses…

    This beauty looks great from a holistic point of view. all of the chest pieces have over 200 stamina on them, this one has three sockets, defense, dodge and hit! While I am currently very excited about this hit rating, I don’t want to get ahead of myself. Part of the reason that hit seems so attractive to me is the fact that I have less than 50 hit rating currently. What this piece offers us are sound defensive stats and hit rating for threat. To me, this is the perfect chest for our threat set.

    This chest SCREAMS effective health, but then again I did just read Thecks post about armor and it’s reality in boss encounters that offer up more than 20% of their total damage as magical damage. This chest has the same base stamina, same number of sockets for 30 stam gems, and it has a 1176 bonus armor. With the expertise trade off for hit rating and the same amount of defense, you are trading 108 dodge rating for A LOT of armor. On the surface that seems like a pretty good trade off if you are not a hit junkie.

    Finally, Tier 10…. While the base stamina is 12 more than the off set pieces, you lose a socket bonus in the process, netting you a negative 18 in stamina. You are also losing 23 defense rating. While this is not a huge loss, as we will be well above the defense minimum of 540, defense is still pure avoidance, which I have always liked. This chest is the pure balance that I dreamed of until the day that Ghostcrawler came along and crushed my dreams with a zone wide debuf called Chill of the Throne. With out Chill, this is my favorite piece, because you can get more overall avoidance out of it, however with the advent of a 20% reduction in dodge, this piece has earned the bottom of the list. The only way I will wear this chest is if the Helm, Legs, Shoulders, or Gloves are worse.


    I will be picking up all three chest pieces for the sake of my gear sets, however as long as I am not threat capping my dps, I will be wearing the Cataclysmic Chestguard for progression. While I do not know where these things drop, my best bet is that they are off some of the latter bosses. If I have to pick up the Tier gear to get my stats up, I will, however if not, I will be spending my badges on other gear prior to picking up the T10 chest. Over the next few days, I will be looking at some more of the pieces, namely gloves, legs, shoulders, and helm, to compare what they have to offer us. From the pattern I am seeing, Icecrown will offer us three pieces for each slot, and each of those pieces is specifically tooled for a job. The itemization is a soggy wet dream come true for a gear set lover like myself. There is something for each of my gear sets, EH, Threat, and Balance.


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