Posts Tagged ‘Effective Health



03
Nov
09

Insight and Contradictions in reagards to Icecrown Citadel damage

More blue feedback on the fate of our gearing strategies…

Over the past few days the blue tracker on mmo has picked up a few more posts on the official forum that give us more clarity with respect to the Chill of the Throne. Essentially, the developers are starting to paint a clear picture of the purpose of the Chill of the Throne, and it’s part in how we as a tanking community will handle the damage that will be pumping out of Icecrown Citadel. I wanted to take some time to discuss the significance of some of these posts, and include some of my thoughts regarding the ramifications of these words. As I have already spent a few days talking about this, I want to make sure that I provide some fresh perspective while stressing that the following is also true:

The way that we geared in Trial of the Grand Crusade will not change with the introduction of Chill of the Throne. Any esoteric debates that the theory crafting community has had over the past few months regarding avoidance versus effective health is strictly with regards to min/maxing. The first duty of any tank is to ensure that they can survive the encounter, once you are confident that your mitigation and health are sufficient for any given situation, you can then apply your personal perspectives on item customization. Progression tanks will stack stamina until they are confident that they can survive the encounter.

A glimpse into Icecrown Citadel

Chill of the Throne

1. Can we expect more unavoidable, devastating melee-based attacks in ICC? If so, what point do they serve from a design stand point?
1. Probably. They serve as challenges that your group needs to overcome by making sure enough healers are focused on the big damage spike and cooldowns (the tank’s or external ones) are used appropriately. If you could avoid those attacks they would need to hit for even harder to compensate. If you could avoid those hits, then sometimes you would just let lucky and make it through the encounter unscathed and other times you’d get gibbed. Believe me; you want those to be unavoidable.

2. Are we finally going to get away from the 2 hits back to back will gib the tank situation we are in now?
2. The idea behind the Chill is to lower boss damage per hit but keep damage per time the same overall. The reason I caveat that statement so much is I know that we’re going to see lots of tanks that die in Icecrown and then ask us to nerf the encounters or buff their tanks. The purpose of these changes is not to prevent tank deaths. You will die. Probably a lot. You are going into the Lich King’s home after all.

These statements give us quite a bit of insight into the reason for the specific avoidance pentaly that they are enforcing upon us, as well as the fact that we can glean some insight into our gearing philosophy debates. It is very interesting to see the thought process that blizzard is using for implementing boss damage during encounters in Icecrown Citadel; and the most important part of all of the above statement lies with in the answer to the second question.

By creating the smoke and mirrors that is the faster, and smaller hits, they have sparked a debate over block value as a potent statistic for our gearing philosophies going forward. If you continue on, you can see that this may be a half truth. Block will be a powerful mitigation talent, however we should not gear towards it by downgrading our gear to previous tiers. Since T9 did not offer much in the realm of block value, we are stuck with what we have. My reasoning behind this is derived from the answer to the second question.

The response included the information that the bosses will deal the exact same damage over time. This means that regardless of avoidance or stamina we will be taking a significant amount of damage. This, at least from my perception, is contrary to the picture that most of the blue posts have painted in the past. They have tried to tell us that the bosses are going to hit for less, so don’t worry about losing 20% avoidance. From this very simple sentence, we can see that we will still be taking a significant amount of damage over time, whether or not this will be avoidable melee damage is yet to be seen.

The mechanics of our gearing philosophy

Effective Health
Well, to be fair most theorycrafting tanks on Tankspot and other places who really understand the concept of EH won’t tell you it’s the only thing that matters, just that it is very important. The problem is that some players who perhaps don’t understand the theorycrafting as well try to take the notion to illogical extremes….

…The discussion got distracted a little with the “GC says avoidance is better than stamina” nonsense, but the above was my original intent. (Source)

This is the essence of our gearing philosophy, and something that every tank should engrain in their minds as the most important thing to remember when it comes to selecting your gear set. A lot of tanks will stop by our site and look for the simplest answer to their gearing question. I will admit that when I first started tanking again, I just went into the old google machine and typed in Paladin Tank Rotation. It took me a while, but I found an easy answer that was not completely correct. If an ill informed tank is looking for the quick and dirty way of gearing, he or she will find many posts saying stack stamina, and nothing else.

This philosophy does not embrace the actual balance that all of the stamina stackers are still striving for. When we as a community talk about the great stamina versus avoidance debate, we are, as I love to reiterate, talking about min/maxing. Some tanks will see this philosophy as an absolute truth, and not a tweak to your gear sets. All of the theory crafters are well aware that there are inherent avoidance stats that come with gear, and that these stats make the gear more or less desirable based on the balance of their gear set. A properly geared stamina heavy tank will still sit at 60% avoidance.

Contradictions…

Bosses in Icecrown Citadel and effects of Chill of the Throne
1) Bosses won’t swing faster. More of their swings will hit.
2) Tanks that avoid less are generally easier for healers to heal (provided the numbers aren’t just too great).
3) Tank healing was fun in Sunwell, IMO. Sunwell was challenging. That’s what a lot of players are looking for in the final raid tier. If you don’t like the challenge of healing a tank then I’m not sure why you’d want to be a healer. Now as I’ve said, we’re not saying Icecrown is only for the Sunwell crowd. But I am pretty convinced there are going to be a lot of “Icecrown is too hard because my tank died” posts here when it goes live. (
Source)

A quick aside: Point three is painting a pretty picture for the tanks of the community. Sunwell was EXTREMELY difficult and stressful to heal, and was not exactly fun by any means. The challenge that it presented was fun, and the end result of a kill was rewarding, but even after a boss was on farm, your blood pressure was through the roof on any given fight.

This is an interesting counter to the first quote that I posted. They originally said that the bosses will hit for less but the damage over time will stay constant. Now they are telling us that the bosses will not swing any faster, however more hits will land. This statement really does not align with their original communications. This tells me that we still don’t fully understand the mechanics of the fights that they will be throwing at us in Icecrown Citadel, and neither do the developers. I take this to mean that they are still tweaking the fights and making decisions on how to sculpt the encounters.

One thing is for sure though, mmo-champion has posted a few of the skills sets that the bosses have at their disposal during the encounters, and avoidance would not have helped too much if we had it. There is a great deal of magic damage flying around this instance, and it seems that most of what we have been delegating about is physical damage. Below is some information from Maintankadin regarding the incoming damage on a main tank, I believe that this is in alignment with my statements above.

A true look at Icecrown Citadel Damage

Thanks to bluedeep for some of this information regarding the PTR and the bosses current abilities:

Sindragosa:
Average unblocked melee hit: 15k, slow attack speed.
Average Frost Breath: 30k (occurs every 22 seconds)

Melee damage on this encounter can be considered somewhat trivial. The tank stress test occurs at sub-35% HP where Sindragosa begins stacking a debuff called “Mystic Buffet” every 5 seconds. This increases your magic damage taken by 10% with every stack. Clearly in this case Frost EH stacking will provide the largest increase in survivability.

Festergut, Lord Marrowgar:
Festergut average unblocked melee hit: 16.7k; fast attack speed.
Lord Marrowgar average unblocked cleave: 26k; moderate attack speed.

There are no significant sources of unavoidable damage in these two encounters. The tank stress point of Festergut occurs when he receives a buff that increases attack speed and damage dealt by 90% every ~1.5 minutes. The hard mode of Festergut will probably be the focus of an EH vs avoidance debate. Even though Lord Marrowgar’s cleave is avoidable, my guess is that this encounter will err more on the side of EH given that the hits are so large.

In closing, it comes as no surprise that blizzard is coupling a decrease in avoidance with an increase in magical damage debuffs to increase the difficulty of our next tier of raiding.

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30
Oct
09

GC versus the Community, The avoidance debate explodes

Icecrown Citadel and the debate regarding gearing

I feel like a major crisis has happened and the first thing I do in the morning is turn on the news and wait to hear what we as a community are going to do about it. As I gingerly opened up the blue tracker page on MMO-Champion, I was pleasantly surprised with some of the responses that Ghostcrawler had for the community, and I was also happy to see that there is still someone on the picket lines, fighting for avoidance. However, his justifications and rationalization for the Chill of the Throne as well as his expectations for main tank gearing are partially skewed by the fact that he knows exactly what the bosses are going to do in Icecrown. From his responses to the raging threads on the official forums, I can only guess that Icecrown is not going to be the pushover that ToTC was, and the blues are feverishly downplaying what “softer and faster” hits will do to a tank.

Frost_wyrm_queen_Sindragosa_by_ethanol89

Ghostcrawler gave me subtle a goodbye present

From the blue tracker, I got a glimpse at the debate that most tanks are having with the developers right now. From our own little slice of heaven, Maintankadin, we have really only seen very reasonable and civilized punditry regarding the Chill of the Throne. It seems as though the greater community has not shown as much restraint when posting on the official forums. I find it interesting that there are some people that are such purists when it comes to stacking stamina. Even the paladin communities most vocal supporters of the stamina stacking camp understand that this is the philosophy you hold after reaching a significant amount of avoidance and survivability through your gear. The people that are sharpening their pitch forks on the official forums seem to believe that stamina is the ONLY thing that matters.

I found a few interesting comments that I would like to share with you regarding the Chill of the Throne and our gearing philosophies.

…However, you cannot directly translate effective health into best tank. Avoidance matters. If it didn’t, we would have no reason to nerf it in Icecrown. Good tanks don’t depend too much on avoidance, but great tanks understand its value.

Furthermore, your estimations of effective health become less and less accurate the more variables you try to factor in. Most saliently, you can’t easily account for cooldowns. You can’t compare a short duration that reduces damage by 80% to a long duration that reduces damage by 10%. Mathematically they might generate the same effective health number, but in reality they work pretty differently and each has their own benefits in certain situations, which vary depending on boss mechanics. (I’d generally take the first one though.)

We purposely made the cooldowns difficult to compare from class to class. You shouldn’t then be surprised when we take your effective health calculations based on direct comparisons of said cooldowns with a grain of salt.

It’s fine to compare health, armor, avoidance or cooldowns. I would not recommend putting too much faith in one ubernumber that you generate by combining all of them. – Ghostcrawler

I find this statement interesting. It gives us a bit of insight into Ghostcrawlers train of thought, or at least his attempt at diplomacy on the forums. What this shows me is that he is taking a “theory” that we use and assuming we place a practical number on it. I understand that there are some people that think they can create some sort of formula to estimate effective health; however, I see effective health as more of a theory and a gearing philosophy, and not as much of a number or an absolute value. His discussion on cool downs and their role in effective health really showed me that he is looking at our gearing philosophies and theories from a different set of rose colored glasses.

Now maybe I am the one that sees things differently from the tanking community, but I always say effective health as a theory and a set of guidelines when selecting gear, not a number that I would try to get higher and higher when swapping out gear. I appreciate his little tip of the hat to the avoidance tanks out there, but I think we all will agree that all of our discussions about effective health, stamina, and avoidance, represent our philosophies in min / maxing, and not a black and white stance on avoidance versus stamina.

The cries of the ill informed…

Q u o t e:
What he said was in fact 100% true. EH is all that matters AT THE MOMENT. – the ill informed

That’s just not true. If you turned your back on a mob, your armor and health would not change. The boss would hit you a lot more. You would be a worse tank. If you could somehow remove all of your dodge and parry, you would take more damage.

I think what is happening here is that some of you are adhering too tightly to the guideline that since bosses can potentially two-shot you that avoidance is unreliable and health * armor is king. I understand that logic. But don’t take it to the illogical conclusion that avoidance is irrelevant. If your 50-60% avoidance went to 0% you would notice quickly. – Ghostcrawler

As I said before, the most heated debates that took place over at Maintankadin never got to this level of absolute certainty. We never had any delusions that stamina and armor was all that mattered, we only had differing opinions on what to do with that last little bit of customization. It is shocking to me that there are people out there that will forsake everything but stamina, and are so vehement about the fact that avoidance is nothing. I believe that Ghostcrawler summed it up when he suggested the person preaching that effective health is all that matters to turn his back to the boss. For any of you learning the 25 man hard mode Anub’arak encounter, you know what that can do to you.

Q u o t e:
Great tanks understand that maximising EH is all that matters at the moment. You’ve designed encounters with major boss cooldowns that are undodgeable (Impale, Frozen Slash, etc.). Avoidance literally means nothing for these key moments. Saying that great tanks value avoidance is not only hyperbole, it’s untrue. – the ill informed

If that were true, then the Icecrown aura would be a Mortal Strike debuff instead of an avoidance nerf. – Ghostcrawler

I particularly like this discussion, because it shows two things. Firstly, it re-emphasizes that the purists of the tanking community are wrong. Ultimately, there are two boss fights in the game right now that employ these tactics, 1/3 of northrend beasts, and Anub’arak. While I will not try to convince you that effective health is not important, and that stamina can be the difference between living and dying during any difficult tanking situation, what is being outlined here as a justification that effective health is all that matters is a very small part of the fight. I find it sad to think that people are really under the impression that great tanks do not care about avoidance at all. I would have hoped that these people would take a look at the lengthy discussion on our forums regarding Progression MT gearing. Secondly, I am happy to see that based on Ghostcrawler’s response, they did think about more than just Sunwell Radiance when it came to the Chill of the Throne. I would have been much happier to see a combination of a Mortal strike debuf and a restriction on healers’ mana pools, but alas, the simplest answer is to lower our avoidance.

Our path forward, and our method of preparation for ICC

When all is said and done, and the dust has settled on each respective forum, we will all be headed in the same direction. We are preparing for Icecrown Citadel. And, regardless of what Chill of the Throne does, and how much stamina, armor, and avoidance we have, we will still have the same gear in our bags, and the same selection of said gear for our progression set. The only real difference in what we can do when the time comes to tank that first boss in ICC is how we customize that gear. To me, the gems and enchants are the icing on the cake, the min/maxing, the little things that will make the fight easier or harder. We are all going to be prepared (contrary to what Illidan thought), and we are just looking for that slight edge when it comes to speed of progression, and ease of learning an encounter. This has, and always will be a larger health pool. If you look at the trend of our health, regardless of gemming and enchanting, it has skyrocketed with each new patch. Icecrown will again give us a significant boost in our health pools, and we will in turn slay some dragons, and take home some shiny new epics to help make the transition to hard modes a bit less intense.

So, in closing, put away the pitch forks, enjoy the farmed content while you still can, and get ready for that last push towards the finish line…

29
Oct
09

The death of avoidance, the loss of a soap box

Chill of the throne

Quote from: Daelo (Source)
For Icecrown Citadel, we are implementing a spell that will affect every enemy creature in the raid. The spell, called Chill of the Throne, will allow creatures to ignore 20% of the dodge chance of their melee targets. So if a raid’s main tank had 30% dodge normally, in Icecrown Citadel they will effectively have 10%.
Why are we doing this?

The high levels of tank avoidance players have obtained is making the incoming damage a tank DOES take more “spiky” than is healthy for raiding. Ideally, tanks would be receiving a relatively constant stream of damage over time. This allows healers to better plan their healing strategy, broaden their spell options, and simply give more time to react. Tanks could use their cooldowns more reactively. Instead, the current situation is that if we make a hard hitting melee boss and a tank doesn’t avoid two successive swings then the tank could very well be dead in that 1-2 second window. The use of reactive defensive abilities instead becomes a methodically planned affair, healers have to spam their largest heals just in case the huge damage spike happens.

We’ve been trying to do a fair amount to mitigate the effect of high tank avoidance on the encounter side of things during this expansion with faster melee swings, additional melee strikes, dual wielding, narrowing the normal variance of melee swing damage, and various other tricks. There’s a limit to what we can do, however. So to give us a bit of breathing room we’ve implemented Chill of the Throne. Going forward past Icecrown Citadel, we have plans to keep tank avoidance from growing so high again.

We’ll have this on the PTR soon so players can see the effects inside Icecrown Raid.

sunwell_800

Let me start out by saying that it has been a long and fun debate with most of the tanking community over gemming philosophies and the balancing of stats versus the stacking of stamina, but after a long and arduous journey, I am stepping down off my soap box and crossing the picket lines. Blizzard has beaten me into the ground and my philosophies on gearing have changed to adapt to the times. Every piece of gear that I will get from now on will follow what most of the tanking community already does, stamina, stamina, and wait for it….

More stamina

With the advent of the Chill of the Throne, and the base reduction of dodge by 20%, my theories on avoidance are really going out the window. Currently I sit with about 65% raw avoidance and 53k hp raid buffed with food and flask. If you look at other paladin tanks in our community who gear for pure stamina, forsake the shoulder, chest, and shield enchants, and also dual stam trinket, they buff up to aroun d 60% avoidance for an extra 4-5k hp. With the reduction of avoidance by 1/3 of my total avoidance, it is no longer valuable for me to continue to strive to get that number up. Instead I should gear for pure stamina, and hang up my avoidance hat, so that I can take more back to back hits. Currently my philosophy is that if I can avoid taking back to back hits, then a smaller health pool does not matter. Now, I can say that I will be taking back to back hits quite a bit more often. As a result, I have to prepare myself for that, and give my healers breathing room to get me back up to full. The introduction of Chill of the Throne will place all of the value of survival in the theory of Effective Health.

Now I want to clarify that while I have been a very outspoken and passionate advocate for balancing your set and trying to gear for avoidance, this does not mean that I ever had pipe dreams of walking up to a hard mode ToTGC boss with 45k hp raid buffed and a ton of avoidance. The theory and the discussion was all in the name of min/maxing. When you look at the pure stamina tanks, they only have a few thousand more health than me at the cost of a few percent avoidance. The first, and most important role of a tank, is to ensure that you can survive the encounter with out giving multiple healers heart attacks. Once you understand that you have a cushion of health between the bosses attacks and death, what you do from there is your own opinion. I chose avoidance and armor, others chose stam, but we both made sure that we lived first.

Where to go from here?

I will not be regemming and re-enchanting the gear that I already have, for Trial of the Grand Crusade, it works, my healers are used to my damage, and I have never gotten a complaint that I was “Hard to heal.” However, from here on out, every item I pick up from Trial of the Grand Crusade will get stamina gems and stamina enchants. That means that my 258 gear set will be all stamina going into Icecrown. And in all honesty, I only have 5 or 6 pieces of gear left to be BiS in 258 gear, namely the trophies for the T9.258.

If I got my one wish…

I had hopped that blizzard would counteract the growing phenomenon of stam stacking by creating more fights like General, or even creating a raid wide aura for mana regen. This would be something that would truly reward the tank that gears for avoidance and mitigation, this would validate my hard fought battle with the paladin community. Alas, we are recreating the mistakes of the past and this time I fear they will be even worse than sunwell. The bosses are probably going to hit hard and fast, and our avoidance will be down to nothing. With the fact that healers have an infinite mana pool and the damage that is going to be put out will be considerable, the only option tanks have is to stack a lot of stamina.

My vision of Chill of the Throne would have been something along the lines of mana regen reduction for healers. I am not sure how you would employ such a technique, but you could work out some sort of equation that would work for healers only, because as much as our stamina and health pools are getting out of control, so are the healers mana pools and regen capacity. This seems more along the lines of what blizzard has done throughout the entire expansion. Their solution to creating difficult fights is more damage, more places, more often. The concepts to employ this may have changed, may have been resurrected from Council in Black Temple, and some of them are just plain old do not stand in the fire.

If we could reward smart play, the tanks ability to mitigate and avoid damage, as opposed to soak it, and mana management on the part of the elite healers, we would once again be in a nice balanced place where the talented players would see results when it came to progression, and the people who were along for the ride would be dead on the floor as they were in BT and Sunwell. I remember the days of split second decisions, heal the dps in the fire or heal the tank, one or the other, and make it an efficent heal because your potion is on cooldown and your mana pool is at 15%. I found that there was a different caliber of healer in a successful raid back in Sunwell.

Such is the way of the world. Change is good, and change happens for a reason. The truly successful are those who can adapt quickly to a changing environment and tanks are the best of the best when it comes to that. I will see you all in the “50k unbuffed health” pool…

19
Oct
09

What Gear For What Fight?

Ulduar is NO MORE!

A quick aside to the purpose of this post; I am finally free of Ulduar for good unless I want to level another character. Last night we finally took a group into a partially cleared Ulduar to blow up Yoggy with three keepers to get our next mace. Since we did not want to clear the entire instance, as most of us are beyond burnt out of that instance, we got saved to another guild on the server’s instance. Because we stole that instance, we invited a few players from the guild we borrowed it from to come along for the ride for some achievements. After basically 21 manning the instance, and a few wipes on three keeper because our brain blood lust was a pug, yogg was down, we had another mace, and I was a very happy camper.

Gear sets for each boss of the Trial of the Crusader

In response to Amico’s request, I wanted to highlight the encounters of the trial and what gear sets I prefer to use based on my role. After I start to think about this, I have noticed that even the tanks I know that have gear sets often forget to swap them around for different boss fights, trash, etc. Now thats not to say that I am not guilty of this, as my number one swapping error is usually going from General to Yogg. That A’HAH moment usually came around the first tentacle when I did not see heart of the crusader up on my target. Not a big deal for normal yogg, but when you are pushing the encounter with less keepers, the 3% crit really helps. But in the end, what is the point of having gear sets if you don’t use them to the fullest.

NOTE: for the purpose of this discussion, any time I talk about Hard Mode versions of these fights, you can assume that I mean progression fights. So, if you are working on normal mode, and it is a progression fight for you, you should be wearing what I outline in the HM fights. If you have anub’arak on farm on hard mode (mel…), then you can take these suggestions at face value.

Northrend Beasts

Normal Mode: For this fight the most important things that you have to gear for are the impale/ferocious butt and threat on P3. For me the trumping issue of this fight on normal mode is P3 and the aggro that is generated during the stunned part of the phase. My guilds dps is getting to the point where I am having a hard time keeping up on threat between the Ferocious Butt and being knocked across the room on the charges. The impale on normal mode does not hit hard enough that you should have to worry about stacking effective health.

Gear Set – Threat Set.

Hard Mode: For this fight, the amount of damage that you take from unmittigated hits due to Impale and Ferocious Butt are more than your threat set can handle. Needless to say, any fight where you are getting hit for as much as this fight dishes out should require your effective health set. This fight has a great combination of dps and tanking gear checks, and as a result you want to have as much effective health as possible.

Gear Set – Effective Health Set.

Lord Jaraxxus

Normal Mode: There are two different roles that a tank has to fulfill on this encounter, the role of meat shield for Lord Jaraxxus, and off tank or run around and pick EVERYTHING up. For normal mode, if your mages (and to a lesser degree shamans and priests) are doing their job right, then you should have no survival issues on either normal or hard mode. For tanking Lord Jaraxxus, I always wear my threat set. The way that our guild does the encounter, we have our melee dps riding my threat the enitre fight, with the ranged killing the adds. The biggest issue with this is the dps race on the boss and adds. Jaraxxus hits like a kitten, with the exception of his Nether Power, and as such survival is not much of an issue. As for the role of off tank, threat, quick pickups and landing your taunts is the most important part of your job. Because you are only tanking adds, and the pickups and quick burst of threat are important, being hit capped with a threat set is very helpful in doing your job.

Gear Set – Threat Set

Hard Mode: While the Nether Power creates more of an issue on hard mode, and you have a dps race to the portals where every single dps swaps to the portals, Surviving is more of an issue and priority over bursts of threat. Because of the continuous swaps, you will always have a healthy threat lead on your dps. I like to be conservative when it comes to survival on progression / hard mode fights, as there are many things that can cause you do be killed. For these reasons, I always wear my effective health set for this boss fight, with a bit more focus on avoidance (Here is where I am going to lose a few people). I swap out my Heart of Iron for the Ony trinket to give me a bit more avoidance, as I don’t get hit that hard and I still have over 50k hp raid buffed. I find that the less that the healers have to worry about me, the more they can focus on Incinerate Flesh, Chain Lightenings, and the adds damage.

Gear Set – Effective Health / Avoidance

Faction Champions

Normal Mode: This fight is 100% about control and focused dps. I do not swap from protection, and as a result I find that my best utility comes from cleansing, Divine sacrifice, and BoP’s/Freedoms, and above all, lots of taunts. For normal mode, the dps burst from the npc’s is not unmanageable, and dps is the best way to combat this both from the focused dps of your raid, and the amount of damage you can do to the target  you are assigned to distract the npc healers. I like to be hit capped so that my taunts land every time on the target that I am dragging out of the raid, I also like the 2 piece T9 set bonus to reduce the time on my Hand of Reckoning. Luckily my threat set is two piece T8 and T9 for the set bonuses. As long as you are attacking your taunt target, and you have Divine Plea up, you should have plenty of mana to cleanse your entire raid and taunt every time its off cd.

Gear Set – Threat Set

Hard Mode: As taunting is no longer an option in this fight, my main roles in this fight are cleansing, BoP/Freedom, and above all the use of my Divine Sacrifice on cooldown. Because the fights can last up to 20 minutes, the more times you can get your bubble sac off the better. I like to use a modified effective health set for this fight, as the more health you have, the more you will be absorbing by your Bubble sac. As long as you have your four piece T9 on, stack as much stamina as possible. With this, you can mitigate the initial pull’s burst damage on the raid, as well as every 1.5 minutes give the healers some breathing room. Cleanse liberally, BoP on cool down, and keep your mana up and you will serve your purpose for this fight.

Gear Set – Effective Health (4 Piece T9)

Twin Val’kyrs

Normal Mode: As this fight comes with some interesting dps buffs in the form or the orbs and the Light Essence / Dark Essence benefits, threat will be paramount to this fight. Depending on your strategy and the gear levels of your dps, you can be left with very few stacks from the orbs while your dps could be easily pulling 12k. From a tanking perspective, and a threat perspective, I like to compare this fight to Hodir’s threat gimmicks. As a result, producing the maximum amount of threat will help you. The damage that the twins themselves do is not enough to worry about being in an effective health set as they do not hit hard unless they are under the Power of the Twins buffs, in which cool downs can be used if you feel that you are taking too much damage.

Gear Set: Threat Set

Hard Mode: The fight is exactly the same on hard as it is on normal with the exception of the fact that they (both the bosses and their shields) have considerably more health, and the AoE damage is increased a LOT. The damage from the twins themselves is not something that should concern you enough to put on your effective health set, but when you introduce the AoE damage, and the fact that the tanks don’t switch colors during the vortexes, maximum stamina is the only way to go on this fight. While threat may become an issue, as you will have your dps pushing as hard as possible to prevent a 6th ability, your threat should be sufficient in your effective health set if you position yourself to get a lot of the orbs.

Gear Set: Effective Health

Anub’arak

For Anub’arak, instead of breaking it down into normal and hard mode, I am going to split it between tanking the boss and tanking the adds. The unmitigated damage from the freezing slash is enough for me to want to wear the same set on normal and hard mode if you are taking the boss. When you get to the point where you are killing Anub’arak on 25 man Hard Mode you can downgrade to your threat set for normal mode boss tanking, but until then, better safe than sorry.

Tanking the Boss: Freezing Slash is all that needs to be said. Threat is a consideration, but not at the cost of survival. The 2-3 seconds of unmitigated damage plus the constant damage in phase three is enough that you should be wearing as much health and armor as possible. I dont really know if there is anything more that needs to be highlighted about this role or the reasoning behind the gear.

Gear Set: Effective Health

Tanking the Adds: I have explained the mechanics behind the adds and their expose weakness debufs here, so I wont get into too much detail on this one. You have to stack as much block value and block rating as possible to try to get to passively unhittable. Even if you do not have the gear set, the more block value and rating you have the better to mitigate the damage. On 10 man Hard mode, if you have an unhittable set, you will literally tank 0 damage.

Gear Set: Passively Unhittable

29
Sep
09

Stamina versus Balance, the debate rages on

Faction Champions Down!

Once again, after one night of wiping and perfecting our strategies, we go back into the Trial of the Grand Crusade and one shot the next boss. After assigning out all of our crowd controls, interrupts, and dps order, we pulled with double hungering colds, and a bubble divine sac. One by one, the champs dropped like flies and we only had one person die the entire encounter, twice LOL. Once again, the loot gods were not smiling on the tanks, and we did not get a trinket or a belt for our sets. Oh well, next week.

More on Stamina versus the rest…

On to the meat and potatoes of what I want to talk about today. In response to some of the comments that have been posted on Rhidach’s post about the Onyxia trinket, I wanted to go into a bit more depth on my philosophy of Stamina vs. anything else. I know that I will more than likely disagree with the vast majority of the paladin community, and the tanking community as a whole, however I feel that my perspective warrants a bit more discussion. The concept of stamina stacking is a very simple one to understand, the more health you have the more damage you can take. But the real question is, why take the damage if you do not have to. I will concede that there are certain situations when having the largest health pool is an advantage, but in my opinion, these situations are few and far between.

Since most of us are pushing trial of the grand crusade in one form or another, I will make use of the encounter mechanics to show you my point of view. There are two fights in the entire instance where more stamina may save your life (if we are forsaking armor), and those are Icehowl’s Ferocious Butt, and Anub’arak’s Freezing Slash. These are two attacks where there is nothing that you can do to avoid the damage, and you will be taking all of it right on the chin. The only thing that will save you here is Stamina and Armor. To me, this is where the effects of stacking stamina are beneficial, and it is also where the benefit ends. For all other mechanics that we encounter as a result of the Trial of the Grand Crusader, there are better ways to survive as a tank. Since I have been engaged in this debate for a long time now, and have tried my best to articulate my point of view in many different ways, I am going to lean on a respected tankadin to explain the point at which stamina is no longer the best stat (in my opinion):

I think the “EH until AD ain’t proccin'” rule of thumb is probably a good one for tanks that aren’t sure where they fit in the progression ladder. – Theck

Now whether his statement was meant to align with my gearing philosophies or not, I do believe that this statement is really the heart and soul of why I chose to balance my gear sets, stats, and abilities.

Ardent Defender’s Guardian Spirit and your Stamina

The way that I see it, If you have had the experience with tanking a good amount of Trial of the Grand Crusade, you are well aware of the amount of incoming damage that you are going to take, and you have a plan as a result. When I tank the Hard Modes, I have an effective health set that I wear. This set has dual stamina trinkets, however, it is not comprised of pure stamina gems. I feel that the balance of stats is much more valuable. In my experience with tanking Northrend Beasts, Lord Jaraxxus, and Twins, I have yet to have AD proc during the fight unless it was already called a wipe. The one exception to this is also the reason that we have AD. I have on multiple occasions survived the enrage when icehowl hits someone because of Ardent Defender, quick CDs and long strings of avoidance.

With that being said, what is the true benefit of having more stamina if you are not dropping down into the 30% range, let alone activating the GS life saver that is built into AD. The answer is not much. The largest argument of stacking stamina in my eyes is to extend the range of ardent defender by increasing the amount of health you have at 35%. Beyond this, if you are not dying, and you are not dipping into that 35% range regularly, there is no benefit. At this point, you are willingly taking more damage than you have to. If you alter your gearing philosophy to allow for the inclusion of avoidance and mitigation statistics once you have reached a health pool that safely keeps you alive, you are purely decreasing the amount of damage you take. Sure you can say that by increasing the range of your ardent defender, you increase your mitigation considerably, however if you are not regularly dipping down into the 30% range, then you are not utilizing the skill and your justifications are flawed.

The benefits of Armor and Avoidance

When it comes down to it, if your healers are doing their job, you should rarely have to use your Ardent Defender, and as such, more stamina is really not worth anything to you from a mitigation stand point. At this point, you can start leaning towards avoidance and armor to increase your survival, and your ability to take damage. Really, regardless of the justification that “healers have infinite mana right now” they still have a finite amount of healing based off of global cool downs. There is a point at which a decision has to be made by a healer, heal the tank or heal the guy that got X debuf as a result of the current encounter. If you are taking less damage because you are better at mitigating and avoiding damage, then you are an easier decision. The pure stamina tank will be taking more damage regardless of the amount of stamina he has, and as a result will require more heals. You will still live a long time, and be able to take a lot of hits, but you will be consuming more of your healers global cool downs.

In the times where blizzard thinks that making encounters challenging means making the raid and the tanks take LOTS of damage and nothing more, you have to see healers global cool downs as a commodity that is not to be squandered. The less healing you take the more the raid can receive, and as a result, the longer your raid will survive. As always, in the end your gemming, enchanting, and gearing philosophies are all opinions and are part of each tanks unique situation, however, I think that as a whole, the tanking community has lost sight of one of their most important duties to their raid and their guild. Each tank has a duty to be the one that takes the damage for the raid, however they also need to understand that less damage is always better.

17
Sep
09

Wrathy’s Guide to Gear Sets

I originally posted this on the Maintankadin forums earlier today. I have been meaning to write a guide on this subject for some time now, and felt that I wanted to share it with both communities. I hope you enjoy it, but this one is actually REALLY long!

Maintankadin has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to gear, theory and the choices that you need to make to be an effective tank, however In all of my reading on this site, I have yet to come across a guide that puts it all together. Ratanna’s TTL guide has a great list of some of the best gear in the game, as does Jayson’s Best in Slot guide, however neither of them touch on the whole package and how to combine said items. I found that most of my contribution to the maintankadin forums comes in the from of advice for people that say EH is the way to go, or Hit is the essential, or you should only gem stamina. My advice was always the same, “it depends on the encounter you are tanking.”

I would like to set out to create a guide that outlines that threat is important, effective health is important, avoidance is important, and you should stack each and every one of these, just not in the same set. This is a guide to use your Equipment Manager, ClosetGnome, or Item Rack to its fullest. How you decide to equip your gear is up to you, but you should strive to maintain three to four sets of gear for any given situation that you face. Each “set” of gear will have a specific purpose and a specific time and place of use. None of these will be the one set that you will wear for all encounters, and any tank that wears one set is doing their guild a disservice.

The sets and the core theory behind each gearing philosophy:

The two most important things that you must understand when assembling any set of gear is as follows: You must ask yourself what is the end goal of the compilation of a given gear set, and when is it suppose to be used. For me, the understanding of when is a precursor to the what. From my point of view, and my experience of gear swapping, a farmed instance with hints of progression and a pure progression instance have very different demands, and different challenges that you must overcome. There is always a tool that is perfect for the job at hand. You must understand the encounter, its mechanics, and what you are facing, so that you can provide exactly what the rest of your raid needs to succeed whether it be threat, effective health, Time To Live (TTL), or a balance.

The Threat Set –

A set that is centered around maximum threat output while maintaining the ability to be a feasible tank. A threat set is used for three things, any trash that can not squash you like a bug, farmed bosses where your dps can let loose on auto pilot, and hard modes with time limits. The focal point of developing a threat set is your ability to produce the maximum amount of threat per second, and in turn damage per second, so that you can kill the boss in a set amount of time. What does this mean specifically in trying to select gear that will help you get this job done?

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: 263 hit rating and 26 expertise. While you can stack as much strength and crit as you want, if you are missing the boss, you are not producing any threat. Your ability to land a successful hit is paramount to this set, and as such your first goal is to achieve 8% hit or 263 hit rating. Expertise will further your goal of landing hits, and you can stack this as much as you like once you have hit the soft cap of 26 expertise. The less you dodge and parry, the better.

Once you have taken care of your first three stats, you can stack Strength, block value (up to ~3100) and even if you want crit. You have to look at the pieces that are available to you and select items that will produce the best bang for your buck in each given slot. It is also important to note that you do not have to equip something that has defense on it. I use DPS rings in my threat set, to give me extra hit, expertise, and crit. Finally it is important to remember that this is still a tanking set, so you still want to maintain respectable Armor and a descent health pool.

The basics of a threat set –
540 Defense
263 Hit Rating (no more than this, its wasted Itemization)
26 Expertise Minimum
3100 Block Value (no more than this, its wasted Itemization)
Stack Strength, Expertise, and Crit

The Gems and Enchants Specific to a Threat Set
Hit Gems until you are at 263
Strength/Stam Gems
Agility/Stam Gems
Armsman to Gloves
Icewalker to Boots
Accuracy to Weapon

The Effective Health Set –

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 this being said, effective health is something that is necessary for progression fights, and should always be equipped when you are tanking new content. When learning an encounter, you need to have the breathing room to be able to take the hits and be healed back up, as everyone in your raid will be focusing on a multitude of things that will distract them from helping you survive. The focal point of developing an effective health set is your ability to survive as much damage as possible through mitigation. You will more than likely be avoiding about half of the incoming damage in this set, however it is very important to reiterate that the goal of this gear set is to mitigate the damage you cannot avoid. What does this mean specifically when you are trying to select the gear that will help you achieve this end goal?

The two key stats to ensuring your survival and allow you to increase your effective health are Stamina and Armor. Stamina is as simple as it sounds, the more health you have correlates directly to how much damage you can take prior to dying. If your health pool is at 40k fully buffed, then you can take 40k worth of damage. However, if your health is at 48k then you can take 8k more damage. In addition to the simple fact that more health means you can take more damage is the fact that as your health pool increases, you are extending the reach of your Ardent Defender talent, which is one of your most powerful effective health talents available.

Armor on the other hand is a commonly overlooked statistic that is essential to your effective heath set, and it is something that you should strive to enhance any chance you get. Armor reduces the amount of physical damage that you take no matter what happens. You can be stunned, hit from behind, etc and you will still mitigate damage based on your armor. The last stat that will help you mitigate incoming physical damage is shield block value. While this is an important stat because of its ability to immediately decrease the amount of damage taken, it is not a stat that you will want to prioritize over Stamina and Armor, as you have to be block capped, and you cannot mitigate the damage from behind or when stunned.

Once again I will reiterate that your number one priority in gearing for any set is the become immune to critical strikes, and as such you must maintain the defense minimum of 540. Once that is accomplished, you will want to look to increase your stamina and armor as much as possible. Items with bonus armor are extremely powerful for effective health sets, as they have actually used some of their itemization budget on armor. Remember that any increase in armor is an increase in the ability to mitigate physical damage no matter what.

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
Armor to gloves and Cloak
Mongoose to Weapon
Blood Draining to Weapon

The Magic Effective Health Twist –

This set performs the same purpose as the effective health set, however it does not value armor in any way. The purpose of a magic effective health set is to stack as much stamina as possible with little to no regard for avoidance and mitigation. This is because armor does not reduce the amount of magical damage that you take. Usually this set is compiled with most of the pieces of your effective health set, only swapping out those items with bonus armor with pieces that have more stamina.

The Basics of a Magic Effective Health Set –
540 Defense
Stack Stamina

The Gems and Enchants Specific to a Magic Effective Health Set –
Gem for Stamina
Stamina to Gloves

The Holistic or Overall Set –

A set that maintains a balance of Avoidance, Threat, and Effective health. This is a set that I use quite often but may be the most controversial due to the fact that it is not far superior in any area, it is a combination of TTL gear and Hit/Expertise gear, to ensure general benefit for any situation. I use a set that is good at everything, but not excellent at any single thing for most encounters that are on farm but are still in your progression instance. There are fights where you need more threat than your effective health set can give you, but you can not equip your threat set due to the amount of incoming damage that you will receive, this is where the holistic set shines.

The goal of this set is to have a very well rounded balance of threat, survival, and avoidance. In order to do this, you will more than likely lean on your TTL best in slot items and bolster the stats that are missing with rings, trinkets, your neck, and cloak. Once again, with out 540 defense nothing else is possible, so your first priority is ensuring that you have met the defense minimum. After that you want to look for pieces that have a well balanced stat base of stamina, dodge, and parry. As you begin to create this set you want to ensure that you are sticking to the rule of thumb of 1.88 dodge to 1 parry ratio. This will ensure that you are maximizing avoidance. You should also be looking to maintain a healthy level of hit for offensive purposes and expertise for offensive and defensive purposes.

In the end you want a set that will provide you with more than 60% avoidance, a health pool that is substantial, and enough hit and expertise to ensure that your threat is great.

The Basics of an Overall Set –
540 Defense
Dodge and Parry ratio of 1.88:1
26 Expertise
>35k HP
>200 Hit

The Gems and Enchants Specific to an Overall Set –
Gem For Agility / Stamina and Defense / Stamina
Agility to gloves and Cloak
Accuracy to Weapon
Defense to Chest

The Block set –

A set that strives to mitigate damage by ensuring that you are unhittable and that your block value is as high as possible. Most of you should already know what unhittable is, however for the sake of completeness: the definition of unhittable is the ability to Block, Dodge, Parry, or Miss any and all incoming attacks. You can achieve this by having a combined 102.4% of the aforementioned stats. The block set is particularly useful for tanking a lot of adds, or soft hitting NPCs. The block value that you have corresponds to the amount of damage that you fully mitigate, so if you have 3000 block value and the 5 adds that you are tanking all hit for 2900, you can successfully tank 5 adds with out tanking any damage (assuming that you are blocking every incoming attack).

The goals that you want to strive to achieve when assembling a block set are fairly straight forward. Once again, with out 540 defense nothing else is possible, so your first priority is ensuring that you have met the defense minimum to prevent being critically hit. The most important part of a block set is to ensure that you are Unhittable, so you must have the avoidance and block percentages needed to reach 102.4%. After this you want to itemize for block value. Each point of block value corresponds to a point of damage you do not take.

Once you have identified all of the items that you can wear that have block value on them, you want to fill in the rest of your set with items that are high in strength, as strength also provides block value. You want to ensure that your health is not significantly hindered by using block value gear, however for the purpose of the set, you will not be tanking hard hitting bosses, and as such can have a significantly lower health pool than the other sets we have discussed.

One last thing to note about the block set and your selection of gear is that there is a very, very large difference between Block Value, which is the focal point of a block set, and Block Rating. Block rating increases your chance to block an attack, but does nothing to the amount blocked.

The Basics of a Block Set –
540 Defense
102.4% Combined Dodge, Block, Parry, Miss
Stack Block Value
Stack Strength
Stack Stamina

The Gems and Enchants Specific to a Block Set –
Gem for Strength
Potency to Weapon
Titanium Plating to Shield

The Unhittable set –

A set that is purely a gimmick set used for the Heroic Anub’arak encounter in 25 man Trial of the Grand Crusade. This set strives to mitigate damage done by the Nerubian Burrowers by ensuring that you are PASSIVELY unhittable and that your block value is as high as possible. The specifics of how the damage is dished out to you is as follows:

If you have a Nerubian Burrowerer hitting you for 4500 damage and you block 4000 of it, you take 500 damage. Now usually the way that the stacking debuf mechanic would work is that when you have 9 debufs, the mob would be hitting you for 4500*325% or 14,625. After blocking your 4000, you would be taking a 10,125 hit. However since the debuf is applied to you and YOUR damage TAKEN, you are only taking your unblocked damage (4500-4000) plus the modifier or 500*325% or 1,625 damage. The power of block value is immense on this fight. The amount of block value you have is critical in your ability to mitigate the damage. Now seeing as I am still on Twins in ToTGC, I cannot for certain say how much that the adds hit for, however when you are taking multiple adds, it is imperative to understand that the more block value you have, the significantly less damage you will take, and the easier it will be on your healers.

The goal of this set is to achieve 101.5% combined dodge, block, parry, and miss percentages so that you do not rely on holy shield to block every incoming hit. You can do this by stacking defense, dodge, parry, and block rating. The key to this set is the fact that block rating does not suffer diminishing returns like the other stats. If this is accomplished, your next goal is to have as much block value as possible so that you can mitigate incoming damage prior to the multiplicative buff. This set is very specific in its gearing, and there are a few ways to do it, however for the sake of simplicity I will list out the initial set that I created when pushing Anub’arak:

My gear set is Comprised of the following pieces of gear – T8 Helm and Shoulders, Necklace of Unerring Mettle, Shadow of the Ghoul, Tier 7 Chest, Bindings of the Hapless Prey, Handguards of the Enclave, Dragonslayer’s Brace, T9 legs, Inexorable Sabatons, Band of the Traitor King, Signet of the Earthshaker, the ony trinket and the Lavanthor’s Talisman. Everything is gemmed with defense, except two gems to satisfy the meta. Everything is enchanted with Defense or Agility (where no defense enchant is available). This set also requires the use of elixirs over a flask. You should use the defense and agility elixirs and agility food to push you over the top.

The Basics of an Unhittable Set
101.5% Combined Dodge, Block, Parry, Miss
Stack Block Value

The Gems and Enchants Specific to an Unhittable Set –
Gem for Defense, Defense, Defense (with a Nightmare Tear and a Defense / Avoidance orange gem for the meta)
Eternal Earthsiege Diamond
Agility to weapon
Block Rating to Shield

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

10
Sep
09

Northrend Beasts down, Lord Jaraxxus and his many adds, and Devastate Spam

Northrend Beasts are a notch on the bed post

It was a night of mixed emotions last night as we used up some more attempts in the Trial of the Grand Crusader. We walked in at the beginning of the night, after about 10 to 15 attempts the night before, with a sense of purpose. The dps was better, the positioning was cleaner, and the damn worms still were a pain in the butt. After about 10 more attempts, the beasts were slain, and in what our guild likes to call: true CF style. Our style goes back as far as I can remember being in the guild and has to do with the manner in which we get our first kill on a new encounter. Specifically in very difficult progression encounters (read sunwell, pre nerf Vashj, Kel’thalas, Illidan, etc), there are rarely more than 2-3 people left standing and that last 2 percent is gut wrenching.

Needless to say, everything was going well on the attempt in which we killed them, Gormok dropped like a fly in less than 2 minutes, the worms were pretty smooth, no one died during phase 2, and as icehowl came out we had a full raid up and dreadscale was dead by the time i got the big behemoth into place. We altered our strategy from the 10 mans for this because we read that too many guilds were having problems with the charge because they were clumping when they got nocked to the wall. We tanked him in the middle, which made dodging the charge a bit easier for our learning impaired, but dropped our dps time on target considerably.

I was having problems maintaining aggro during P3 because I seemed to always be all the way across the coliseum from where he landed on the wall. Finally, right before his last charge, he enraged and slammed into the wall at 16%. We got him all the way down to 4% before he came out of it, knocking me across the room and dropping my health to about 15%. Bubble wall was down, trinkets were down, ardent defender was down, and i died with about 15 people in the raid still standing. Dots ticking, healers dpsing, and a few mirror images taking one for the team were the last attempt at a kill, then all of a sudden he dropped and 258 loot was ours!

icehowl_0

Lord Jaraxxus and his many adds

Everyone in guild was elated by the kill, and there was already talk of the next two bosses dropping like flies, however the officers were less convinced of the perceived difficulty to come, and in the end, we were right. The hot fix to Lord Jaraxxus’ portals, add spawns, and overall damage of the encounter made it MUCH more difficult than some of our raiders thought. Last week this guy was a kitten, this week he is a gigantic lion. The dps on the portals has to be impeccable, the adds need to be focused down quickly, and well their damage was quite a bit more than expected. The Maidens were one shotting people that were not fully topped off.

Tanking the boss was a cake walk compared to what the healers, dps, and off tanks needed to do. My gear set was, as always on progression encounters, my effective health set. And, as a result, I was a champ and conserving our healers mana. I rarely took a hit, and when I did, it was no where near anything that we saw in the previous encounter. The only things that I needed to focus on were initial aggro, helping dps the portals as they spawned with my awesome hand of reckoning, and kiting the boss and the melee away from infernals. In the end, the encounter was deemed to be a bit out of reach with our current set up and we called the raid. I feel that this is once again a dps and coordination check, and one more week of farming 10 mans, getting badges, and getting some more upgrades from 10 man heroic will be the difference in this fight, as it was for the beasts.

Threat issues, and how to manage your tanks

The biggest problem I ran into last night as the main tank of the encounters was the complaints that I received from our dps about our warriors threat. This has been a regular complaint for the past few weeks, and it is starting to concern me. Part of me thinks that the dps is just spoiled with having a paladin tank and not having to use aggro reducing abilities. Let’s be honest, we are monsters when it comes to threat in our current build. I am cranking out 13k plus tps for the beginning of our encounters when my wings are popped, and that is in my effective health set with 68 hit (yeah I know, it is embarrassing, but I mitigate damage like a champ and don’t have threat issues so who cares). Part of me knows that there are some issues with our warriors threat based on his rotation and skill priorities.

I am not warrior, and have not been for quite some time, however I still like to understand what my other tanks have in their toolbox so that I can assign them to the best job for their skill set. Since I am assuming that most of my readers are not warriors either, I will not go into a ton of detail on each of their abilities and the priority that they should be used, but I would like to touch a bit on the issue my warrior friend is having so that you can apply it in your own experiences, both as a paladin (LOL no, we have 969), and to help your fellow tanks out.

Our warrior was prioritizing devastate over revenge and concussion blow. Devastate should only be used (after its initial application of 5 sunders) to refresh sunders once every 30 seconds, or when all other abilities are on cool down. Revenge, for those of you who do not know, is an ability that becomes available after you block, dodge, or parry an attack and has 5 second cool down. This ability produces a GREAT amount of threat and should be used as much as possible. Our tank was not using this to the fullest. When I asked him about it, he said that he uses it on cool down, but the parses and the recount breakdown say otherwise. How can we fix this? Well, first I have to look at our parses and see what he is prioritizing ahead of revenge, and it was devastate. The easiest way to fix this is to ask him to try using a few macros for his abilities, namely a /cast revenge (rank 9), /cast Heroic Strike (rank 13) macro, as well as macroing it into his other abilities.

This will hopefully increase the amount of threat generated significantly. Why is this important for me? Well, firstly I am the tanking officer in our guild, but more importantly, since his threat has been sub par, I have had to tank the focus target for the hard mode northrend beasts encounter for all of the attempts, this means that I tank gormok first, to build the most aggro, i tank acidmaw until he is dead, both rooted to the ground and movable, and then I swap to dreadscale until Icehowl comes out, and I get to tank Icehowl. Having to shoulder more responsibility like this goes directly against my most coveted theory that “there is no main tank.”

In the end, if you can help your fellow tanks succeed, you in turn will succeed. It is important to understand their ability and skill and leverage that to the fullest.




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