Posts Tagged ‘Gear

13
Aug
10

Dear Ghostcrawler, I love gear sets

Ghostcrawler had a post a few days ago talking about tanking, vengeance, and his thoughts on the the new skill and tanks lack of desire to put out dps. He said the following (source):

Now, it would be awesome if tanks did consider dps stats more seriously, and maybe outside of the instagib environment of Lich King, they will. Back in the day, tanks at least have say swords and rings for +threat fights even if they didn’t use them all the time.

Ghostcrawler seems to be under the impression that tanks don’t want to do lots of dps, and that we do not carry around an extra sword and ring for threat sensitive fights. I would love for him to fall upon Meloree’s bleeding edge of TPS thread on Maintankadin, Anafielle’s post on Rhidach’s blog about her threat set, or even just some of the blogs that I have done here regarding itemization, gear sets, and knowing how to gear for any encounter. There are plenty of people out there who love gear sets, have multiple ones, and wear them every week. And sadly, while I am sure he was trying to simplify his statement by saying that rings and swords are what we swap out, we can do so much more than that.

Gear Sets and their purpose

Currently the newest encounter in the expansion employs a fire breathing, parry haste enabled, dragon. One of the common theories as to why parry haste is turned on for dragons is because the breath is suppose to be the instant gib, threatening attack which healers and tanks should plan for. However as many of use have seen, the breath is the nice part of Halion hard mode. The evil part is the 30-35k swings that he employs in concert with breaths, cleaves, adds, and laser beams of death. This brought up a discussion on MainTankadin at one point, and more recently in my guild forums. A few of our more outspoken dps (some of whom happen to have tanks as alts), Brought up the fact that the tanks should just gear for expertise.

This movement to gear towards expertise came off of a night of wiping on Halion to parry hasting gibs. The theory, based off of the facts at hand, from the point of view of a dps player, was sound and obvious. If parry haste is killing the tank, eliminate the threat by gearing or even gemming for expertise. However the deeper seeded issue with this theory is that it is not taking into account all of the facts. When you look at the fight there are a few things that stick out in my mind as the essential moments to gear for. First and foremost, Halion hits like a truck so stamina and armor is key to survival. A very high level of effective health will help with a tanks survival. However on hard mode there are multiple other things to consider.

Depending on the tank role you are assigned, there are three gearing philosophies which should be employed, and this will transition perfectly into a discussion on gear sets. There are two “main tanks” and one “off tank” in this fight. Firstly, you have the tank who is assigned to Halion in the physical realm. This tank has two different end objectives of his or her gearing strategy. First and foremost, you need to survive. Health and defensive statistics which will help mitigate and avoid damage will be key. However there is a second component to the gearing philosophy which should not be completely overlooked. You need snap threat for the add pick up and sustained threat to ensure that you can tank both the boss and the add. From my perspective, this is a perfect situation to maximize survival while maintaining hit cap and threat statistics. I would personally wear my Max HP set, which has a nice balance of 253 hit and 26 expertise, while boosting my HP raid buffed to 60k.

The second tanking role in the encounter is the add tank in the physical realm. The most important thing for the add tank is to be able to maintain threat on as many adds as possible, while pumping out a good amount of dps in the process. The adds need to die as fast as possible, and with the number of raiders going all out on dps because of the tight timer in between meteors, a threat set is essential. There are of course caveats to this, but for the most part, a tanking set which focuses on threat and dps output would be ideal for this situation. The tank should easily be putting out 8-9k dps because of all the adds that they are responsible for holding off of your melee who are cranking out 16-17k dps.

Finally the Twilight Realm tank needs to focus on one thing, and only one thing, and that is survival. They will need to be able to produce the best effective health set possible, in concert with a cool down heavy spec , because the challenge in the twilight realm for the tank is to stay alive taking 30k hits while the healers are moving for about 10 seconds. The major key to success in the twilight realm is cool down usage, but this is only good if the gear on your back can withstand the beating. You want a full effective health set, which is focused on pure survival. Threat should not be that much of an issue, as you will have a good head start on your dps due to your early entry into the twilight realm, as well as the fact that you should have some tricks and MDs when your dps get down there.

Threat Matters, Gear Solves the Issues

Back when the buff in ICC was pushing from 15-20% I noticed a trend in my tps output. I was starting to lose the large gap I had between myself and the dps when it came to threat. I blogged a few times about it, and even went as far as posting some screen shots from World of Logs to illustrate why my threat was not as good as it could be. My threat was hindered by the lack of hit and expertise on my gear, however the gap in threat between myself and the dps was caused by the gradual increase of 277 gear in the raid and the zone buff increasing every month. As our dps started putting out larger and larger numbers due to gear and buffing, my threat did not follow suit. I knew that something had to be done, and it was not something that would be solved by swapping out a ring and a sword.

After pouring over parses, and looking at the gear I had available to me, I went ahead and constructed a high health threat set, not the one that I use to smash faces with on Festergut, but the one that I would use for pumping out threat when I knew that my healers could not keep me up in my threat set. While we have seen amazing things from tanks, that also comes with an amazing raid. The more talented the healers, the less you have to bring, the more dps you can bring and the quicker the fight ends. Because the fight is quicker, your cool down and bloodlust / Heroism buff is a larger percentage of your over all dps. I did not have the luxury of other tanks, so I needed to keep my survival, but up my threat. This set consisted of not only a swap in rings and weapon, but also trinkets, pants, cloak, glove, belt, boots, and libram. This is not a small undertaking as Ghostcrawler suggested in his post, this is a methodical and premeditated swap of an entire gear set to achieve the maximum desired result.

Finally, I wanted to share something with the rest of you who dont read Rhidach’s blog, or saw Meloree’s comment on that. I am working on it myself, but unfortunately I have quite a few holy paladins who soak up all the ret gear, so I do my best with tank gear and originally had a top 20 spot, which has now dropped down to a top 70 spot. Alas, I digress. This directly shows evidence of one of the best examples in the world of why Ghostcrawlers comment above is outdated and out of touch.  I give you Meloree on festergut!

My set:
http://chardev.org/?profile=424400

How well it works:
http://worldoflogs.com/guilds/17108/rankings/players/

Maintankadin post on doing truly absurd tank dps:
http://maintankadin.failsafedesign.com/forum/index.php?f=6&t=29208&rb_v=viewtopic

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07
Aug
10

Discussions on Halion Tanking

WoW Versus my Job

My job has been getting in the way of my ability to main tank all of our progression runs for the past few months. My transition to a new (old) role in my company has hindered my attendance and my concentration when it comes to raiding, preparing for raids, blogging about raids, and everything else that had to do with my obsession with WoW. I have gotten to the point where I get my WoW fix only three days a week, the rest of the time, baring a huge guild scandal (which has been known to happen and require me to log on early in the morning to talk to our other Co-GM) I am away from the game and away from my ability to talk and think about it.

As a result, we have had some new tanks working on halion hard mode, and more specifically being the shadow realm tank. From my understanding, as I have never tanked outside in phase 3, it is a fairly trivial tank and spank job for one of the tanks, and add duty for the other. As for the inside, and the shadow realm, there are all sorts of fun things that you have to deal with. Over the few weeks our guild spent on Monday nights wiping in 10 man learning the fight, I got a good look at the fight from all aspects, and learned what gear to wear, how to use it, and when to use your cool downs.

It was interesting to hear that quite a few of our tanks, dps posing as tanks, and everyone in the raid in general had a hard time with the cutters. The laser beams of death are a simple mechanic which is only muddied by two factors: your tanks ability to rotate on a dime, and your raids ability to react quickly when they get the mark. From my perspective, the only difficult time a tank should face is when one of your tank healers gets the mark and has to run when trying to heal you. This is intuitively the best time to use cool downs, health stones, trinkets, etc.

Back to our tanks trouble though. I have been hearing that most of our stand in’s have been having issues with confidence when it comes to rotating the boss. I guess I have to explain all of the different tanks we field and when we use them to understand how this is such a broad based problem. I have been the main tank of the guild for quite some time, and have been part of the tanking rotation for the entire expansion. As tanks have come and gone, I have done my best to replace them. We currently have a talented tanking roster of two protection paladins and a protection warrior. This is bolstered by a trial druid tank, and three dps capable of tanking (DK, Warrior, and Druid).

Each of these players has been asked to step up at one time or another on this fight, and each of them have had an issue with either wanting to tank or being an effective tank. We have had issues with single target threat, being able to execute the rotation in the shadow realm, lack of gear to handle hard mode 25 man hits, in ability to pick up the adds, and general sub par play by some. In the end our other main spec tanks are doing their job well, and a few of our very talented players can sub in from a skill stand point but their gear is not up to snuff. This brings me to the topic at hand that I wanted to discuss. If you thought that was a long winded intro, I have apparently been away too long!

Gearing for Hard Mode Halion

A discussion has broken out on our class forums between myself and one of our best players (a shadowmourne wielding death knight who used to MT back when his guild was a top 100 progression guild in the TOTGC days). The discussion centered around his concern that he was getting gibbed by halion on phase 2 inside the portal. He saw that there was some parry hasting leading to his demise, but overall he was not geared enough to take back to back hits.

This lead to an evaluation of his gear, and a personal reflection on what I would wear to the party when I get a chance to walk in there and tank. For me, armor has always been an attractive stat, and should not be discounted, however with the impending breaths that the boss pumps out, you want to consider stamina a great option as well. The gear set that I am leaning towards will put armor in the forefront of my mind, however at a certain point, the DR will become too steep and I will rather use stamina to bolster my survival and effective health.

If you look to combine the priority of stamina and armor, and in addition try to increase your expertise to respectable levels so that you have the threat to not threat cap your dps and prevent a good percentage of parry hasting, you can create a fairly well rounded gear set. Most of the gear that we will wear for the encounter will be best in slot gear from an effective health perspective. The areas where we can manipulate gear to achieve an elegant solution to threat, expertise, and survival, are few and far between, however important to understand. Legs, trinkets, weapon, cloak, and rings are slots which will give us the opportunity to modify gear to achieve a desired outcome.

What I was looking for when it came to assembling a set was to trade up some of the armor pieces for large chunks in stamina. With the issues that our guild has been seeing, trickle down deaths are not as prevalent, it is the burst damage you need to sustain when a healer is preoccupied with saving themselves. While armor is still very powerful, there is a balance which needs to be considered before going for all of one or all of the other. If I can manage it, I will work on putting together some testing on Halion hard mode, where I will wear full armor for a few fights and break down the damage, and threat out put, and then swap over to a more balanced set with more stamina, hit and expertise to see how that shapes up.

More to come!

25
Jun
10

Tanking Caps and You

Gearing Philosophy and Necessities…

I received a tweet this morning regarding hit and expertise caps and what one should focus on first, and I thought that the 140 character limit of twitter was just not going to cut it for a proper response, so here is a more detailed and informational (hopefully) response to the question:

AndrewAnderson5 Wrote: @AvengingWrathy I got a question in regards to pally tanking. is it better to be hit capped, exp capped or both?

Well the short and simple answer is Neither. It depends on your gearing philosophy and goal of the gear set. Hit capping will help with your threat, and ensuring that your taunts land every time (if glyphed and melee hit capped). Expertise is a threat stat first, and on bosses where parry haste is enabled, a defensive stat as well.

Hit rating

With a hard melee cap of 263 hit rating or 8% hit, you will never miss a hit which you attempt. In addition, if you are glyphed for Righteous Defense, then you will never miss a taunt either, as your taunts are spells and the glyph will give you an extra 8% hit to get to the spell hit cap. With the advent of 3.3, we have new threat stats which sit at the top of the charts, and your question has some merit for the changes we have seen. First and foremost, it is important to understand that if you cap hit, you will remove the chance to miss from the attack table. What this means is that your swing is left with three options, land (hit or crit), dodge, or parry. In order to eliminate dodge from the attack table, you have to get to the soft cap of expertise, or 26 rating. This will leave only parry on the attack table. Parry is quite a bit more expensive to remove from the attack table because of its added threat of parry hasting.

While we have proven that all but two of the bosses in ICC have parry haste turned off, and the two that do are for the most part more threatening with their frost spells, it is still worthy of note to understand that there is a defensive characteristic to the stat. Theck has proven that Expertise is 83% as good as Dodge when it comes to pure avoidance. This only is applicable for bosses which parry haste. However there is always the added bonus of removing dodge and parry from the attack table. Once you have reached 56 expertise, you will land every hit you attempt on a boss.

Now on to the pretty pictures, because that is really what helps me understand things. Hit rating is something that will obviously help us with our threat, however it has no effect on our ability to mitigate damage. Hit is something that you want to start stacking if you are having problems with threat capping your dps . Hit has a great relationship with threat, and is the second best threat stat out there, and  is illustrated by this lovely graph I ninjaed from Theck over in the 3.3 Stat Threat Analysis thread at MainTankadin. If you observe the graph you will find the following:

No surprises here. Hit drops off when you reach the melee and spell hit caps. Everything else is pretty much the same, with slight scaling of damage-increasing stats until you reach the appropriate caps.

The interesting thing to note is that after about 50 hit rating, STR increases enough to equalize the two stats. Note that this is with 0 expertise rating from gear; at the expertise soft cap this number will go up. What this means is that if you’re really optimizing for threat on a limited budget, you’d want to balance hit, expertise, and STR. On the other hand, it’s hard to come up with a rule of thumb for this, since it will depend on your current STR, hit, and expertise values. In practice it will be more common to just gem STR if you want sustained TPS, and hit if you want snap threat. The difference in sustained will be small enough (~2-3 TPS per 10 points of rating or stat) that hit is probably the better choice. – Theck

Expertise Rating

As you can see, This graph is a great example of how hit is one of your best threat stats out there, and even better, a great seg-way into how great expertise is for threat! Expertise has long been established as a threat stat, and all of your melee have been soft capping since day one of Wrath of the Lich King. Why haven’t we really concerned ourselves with it as much though, is because until 3.3 ShoR was not able to be missed, parried, or dodged. And as it is one of our best snap threat generators, it was something we didn’t have to worry about. Now that it can be dodged, parried, and missed, expertise has shot up into the best threat stat out there. As you can see below, expertise is by far the best threat per second stat that we have out there.

…Expertise has risen to top dog status with the change to ShoR. As always, expertise loses effectiveness when you hit the soft and hard caps (82 and 328 rating or 26 and 56 skill after talents, respectively), and damage-increasing stats scale differently above and below those caps (see the different slopes on the STR and BV lines in the three regions).

Past the soft cap, expertise drops back down to be roughly equivalent to AP for threat purposes. That would put it at a “don’t gem” level as far as threat is concerned, though there are also avoidance benefits to consider. – Theck

So as you can see, both of these stats are valuable but the question still remains, which one first?

Hit or Expertise First?

This question has to only be answered after you have asked yourself another question, what am I trying to achieve? What I mean by this is that you have to ask yourself if you want to just increase your threat generation, do you want to ensure that your taunts never miss because you are tanking adds on LK or doing DBS, or is it that you are concerned about the stats from a survival stand point. Because the two stats bring two different benefits to your character, and remove specific things from the attack table, they have a situational purpose, and they are both powerful when employed properly. Hit capping your tank will ensure that you never miss a taunt. This would be something that is essential when taunt swapping is very, very important (such as Deathbring Saurfang), or if you need to pull adds off your main tank (as you would in the OT role of the first phase of the Lich King encounter).

If you are strictly trying to produce more threat because you are threat capping your dps, then it has been proven above by Theck that Expertise is now the number one threat stat for paladins until they reach the soft cap of 26 expertise rating. After that you would want to focus on Hit Rating to the 263 mark. If you take a look at the graph below, you will see that each of these is increasingly important as your strength gets higher.

The amazing news here is that STR has finally been un-seated from the top spot [with respect to TPS increase]. Above 1942 unbuffed character sheet STR, both Expertise (up to the soft-cap at 26) and Hit (up to the a few %, see hit graph) give better TPS per point of rating.
We had already expected this would occur for hit, but the real news is expertise. The ShoR change has drastically changed our reliance on expertise. Soft-capping expertise at 26 becomes highly recommended.- Theck

So, Theck has taught us that Expertise is now the most valuable threat stat up to the 26 rating soft cap. But it is also important to note that the more strength you have the more valuable your hit and expertise are. From a gearing stand point, you should probably try to get to the expertise and hit caps via gear itemization, and gem pure stamina if you want a kick butt threat set.

The third, and for the most part irrelevant (because parry hasting is turned off in most of ICC) option: if you are looking to increase your survival via one of these two stats, then you want to focus on hard capping your Expertise. This is possible in current gear levels, and is quite easy as a matter of fact. However, you will be sacrificing overall mitigation and effective health to reach the plateau of 56 expertise rating. I have two different options of gear sets when it comes to hard capping, however both of them sacrifice a lot of armor and health to get there. If you are looking for plain survival, I would stick to the effective health gearing philosophy of stamina and armor stacking.

Hope this helped!

11
Jun
10

How a gear set junkie vents…

Time for a rant

While I know that I should not be complaining so soon after returning to my blog and the game after my month long hiatus, but there are a few things that are absolutely frustrating me, and it all has to do with my vanity. While my guild is still trucking right along with our hard modes, killing everything in basically a day, there is an issue that I have with the loot tables that blizzard has bestowed upon our little guild. It has been two months since I have recieved a piece of gear which I would even consider using for progression fights, and there are literally multiple slots which have NEVER dropped in the history of our guild.

For one, I am wearing a 258 shield, not a 264, and deffinately not a 277 shield. It is depressing being one of the best tanks on the server and walking around with a shield that you can acquire in a PUG. There are also a few other peices of gear that I would have loved to have, but I passed to our other tank. Right now I am about 4-5k lower in HP than most of my brethern on MainTankadin who are at the same level of progression. We have been farming ICC for months upon months, and the tank drops have been non existant. I feel that blizzard has a GM sitting in our instance and silently chuckling away as he alters the loot table to remove any cool gear I could use, simply because I am a gear set junkie.

Do I need the gear?

No, the simple answer is that I do not, with the 20% buff, I have plenty of health to tank any encounter in the game, including heroic Lich King, however it would be very nice if I could buff up a few more thousand health so I could move some pieces of gear around and get some more threat. In the end, it is not that big a deal, but for the short term, it is a frustrating situation when you play a game week in and week out for rewards that never really come. I would say that it is rewarding just playing but we all know that gear helps you feel that sense of accomplishment when you dont have that much more in the way of kills for progression.

I sit and look at some of the tanks I talk to on MainTankadin and in the blogosphere, and they have all those juicy little loose ends of my gear sets that I dont have. It’s not that big a deal, because If I can do what most guilds in the world can not in one night, then it is better than nothing, but all the same, I want my shiny purple pixles damnit!

/end rant

29
Apr
10

Increasing threat while maintaining survival

The next tier of instance nerf has arrived!

It was announced Monday that the 15% buff has been activated. While I am sure that most people will be talking at length about this, and what it means to them, I wanted to touch briefly on our gearing strategies as a result of this development. What this means to us, primarily, is that we have gained 5% more health. To some this means that they can finally push over the effective health minimums for some bosses. For other, myself included, this means that we can shed some effective health gear for more threat, or mitigation, or even avoidance. While most people will lean towards the first option, that is not to say that there are instances where more mitigation will benefit a tank. Avoidance has pretty much gone to the graveyard from a gearing perspective.

My personal preference, as some of you have read in the past few blogs, is to lean towards more threat. I was having threat issues as it was because some of our dps are very geared, however with 5% more dps out put, they will be even closer to my threat ceiling. This means that we can take a look at what gear we wear for hard modes and how we can tweak it to help with threat issues. Each tanks situation is different, as you will be at different points on the progression curve. A tank who is pushing Lich King Hard mode will welcome the extra health and keep on going with his effective health gearing. This will help paladins get closer and closer to 70k buffed hp. A tank who is working on hard modes with in ICC 25, will want to gear for what they have issues with. And finally, a tank who is looking to get those normal mode kills will have yet another perspective on the necessary gearing philosophy to attain their goals.

When Survival Doesn’t Matter

I have observed over the past few weeks that my survival is no longer an issue with in 11 of the 12 ICC hard modes. Because of this, and the fact that I have been given 5% more health, I can work on dropping some more stamina for threat. There are many ways we can achieve this, however we have to be mindful of a few things. Your healers have been used to the way you take hits over the past month, and as such you do not want to drastically alter your gear set for maximum threat and then try to tank Festergut at three inhales. What you can do is alter your gear set slightly to ensure that you are not losing any of your health based off of the 10% buff while bolstering your stats at the same time.

My EH gear health pool fully raid buffed was around 62k. This means that with another 5% increase in my health, I can confidently shed a little over 3k hp for threat stats, and maintain the same level of relative health. In order for me to effectively increase my threat, I need to drop some stamina for hit and expertise so that I can do more damage, all while swapping out my weapon for a slow threat weapon. In the end, I swapped a few pieces of gear and bumped up to 240 hit and 32 expertise, while buffing my strength marginally. It made a significant difference in my threat out put and my ability to continue to be well ahead of my dps on threat.

While everyone’s situation is a little bit different, based off of the available gear that you have in your bags, the theory on what you want to do is the same. You want to trade off some effective health for threat stats. The major thing that you want to consider is that you need to be aware of the pieces you are replacing so that you can see if you have dropped both armor and stamina, or if you are using pure dps gear, if you have lost too much defense. In the end, with 15% increase in your health, you can tank most things in the game right now with out effective health gear.

23
Apr
10

A new issue arises, Threat Deficiencies

Generally Slacking

It only occurred to me today that I have been less that diligent about my blog over the past few months. I have seriously been so swamped with work because of a project which has deadlines looming on the horizon, that I have not had any time between work and Raiding to write down anything. I have a few things I wanted to talk about, and will more than likely rock a double post today because I have a little window of opportunity to do so. The first thing I wanted to talk about was an issue that has cropped up in the past few weeks for me. If you read a lot of MainTankadin, you may have already read about it, but since I can post pretty screen shots and show you my world of logs parses here, it will be a bit more complete.

Issues with Threat

WHAT?!?! I know what you are thinking, I am a prot paladin, I don’t have threat issues, I have a face roll class which produces enough threat to walk away from the computer to get a drink mid trash pack (by the way, I have done this before). Well sadly, I have been running into some major issues with my threat production lately, specifically I am threat capping some of my dps. This frustrates me more than almost anything, because it means I am not doing my job.

At first, I thought it was because of the lack of tricks and misdirects that I was having so many issues, because they are a significant amount of threat when you break it down. But alas, that was not the case. After the second week in a row of threat issues, I went to world of logs and took a look at the parses which highlighted some of the issues which I was having. There were a few things that I wanted to do to solve this problem, before I found out the root cause, and they were pretty spot on when it came to solving the issues.

After examining two boss fight parses, it was clear what the issue was. I needed more chance to land attacks. My expertise is below 26 in my end game progression set, and my hit is extremely low as well. If you take a look at the log, you can see that there was a significant amount of dodges, parries, and misses.

I apologize that we can not line up the abilities with the statistics, but I could not maximize my window enough to get both the abilities and the misses on the screen (side note, WOL should have a freeze panes function). The top picture is a summary of my missed abilities on 25 man hard mode fester gut on the 13th of this month. The bottom picture is a breakdown of my Hammer of the Righteous ability. As you can see, I have some major issues with landing my attacks. While hit alone, or expertise alone can probably mitigate the issue, to solve it, I needed to gain a good deal of both. Part of my issue is I was thinking in the past. My gearing philosophy for almost all of the fights in ICC is stuck in the past.

A change of perspective

One of the things that I had not taken into consideration regarding the solution to my problems was the 10% buff, both from an increase in dps and an increase in health. The fact of the matter is that our dps are pumping out quite a bit more than they were a month ago. We have been showered with 277 dps gear, and painfully short on healing and tank gear. While this has proven to be beneficial to fast clears of the instance, it does not help with our looming progression of heroic Lich King, or the fact that I am out geared by my dps counterparts. In addition to my dps doing more damage, and increasing their throughput, I have been getting more health from the zone wide buff.

I know what you are thinking, “well duh dummy.” With the increase in health, I have been quitely enjoying the massive health pool that I have and thinking about all of the increased effective health I have gained over the past few months. However, at the same time, I have not been taking into consideration the fact that my increases in effective health have not translated into increased threat as well. I am not  gaining any new gear, so I am not gaining marginal increases in strength, hit and expertise on my gear. This has been part of the problem that has blindsided me.

To counter this, I had to convince myself that I was no longer in danger of causing a wipe by tank death. I successfully did that after forgetting to swap out my threat gear, which places me painfully low in terms of effective health gear, during one of the encounters later that week. After tanking a hard mode boss with less than 40k hp unbuffed and 30k armor, I guess I had proven that my healers can handle some small sacrifices in survival for threat purposes on the farmed content.

Changes in gear and changes in threat

After my abysmal showing that week, and my analysis of the parses that came out of it, I decided to modify my gearing philosophy for all but a few bosses. For the bosses in the lower spire, Rotface, Festergut, Blood Princes, and Dreamwalker, I was going to wear a more threat centric gear set. Now, I am not talking about my pure threat set which sacrifices all effective health for pure strength, crit, hit, and expertise, but a set that trades a bit of armor for hit and expertise. To do this, I only switched three pieces of gear. I dropped out the Pillars of Might, My Winter Cloak, and my weapon, to pick up a significant amount of hit and expertise. In place of those three items, I used the heroic version of the  Legguards of Lost Hope, The heroic Version of the hit Cloak  and the Heroic Facelifter from ICC 10. This put me comfortably at 243 hit and a bit over the expertise soft cap.

While this may have not been the ideal decision if I was looking to maximize my effective health, it has become clear that my survival is no longer in question for most bosses in the instance on hard mode. As soon as I made the switch, I noticed a marketable increase in my threat production and my ability to stay ahead of the dps. As you can see below, there was a drastic change in my total miss rate by just swapping out two pieces  of gear. Now while there may have been a bit of luck in this comparison (as there are not enough data points to make this a statistically relevant evaluation), it shows generally that a few pieces of gear will make the difference, and increasing your expertise and hit will help with threat.

Other thoughts on the matter

When I first started to notice that I had issues with threat, my mind immediately thought of all of the threads on MainTankadin where people say they have threat issues. More specifically, it went to the replies that tanks like Meloree and I make to them explaining that it is more than likely an issue with their rotation and that a WoL parse would show us that. I was worried for the first time that I was not as good with my rotation as I had previously thought. I was worried that I was selling something I couldn’t do myself.  That was the first thing that drove me to scrutinize the parses, and I was relived to see that it was not the case. However, for anyone who is having threat issues, I would suggest that you try and find out the root cause of the issues on your own at first. If you can not figure out how to solve said root cause, then there is a wealth of knowledge to help out with that, but nothing can beat you solving your own problems because you learn so much and grow from the experiences.

22
Mar
10

Post ICC buff gearing philosophies

EDIT: I want to clarify that this discussion holds merit for every boss in ICC 25 man Hard Mode, save three: Hard Mode Lady Deathwhisper and Sindragosa (because you will be wearing frost resist gear), and Hard Mode Lich King (because he hits Significantly harder than anything else in the instance).

In response to a discussion that has started to brew in my comments, as well as a nice long discussion I had last week with Meloree, I wanted to take some time to discuss the current and future gearing philosophies in ICC as well as what the breaking points are. This is something that is quite difficult to define in pure numerical values with out a lot of math (which I unfortunately do not have the time to do yet), so we will have to settle for hand waving, theory, and overall general statements.

Disclaimer – This is a discussion regarding tanks who are in full swing in ICC25 man Hard Modes, where the normal buffed health pool is sitting in the 60k plus range while buffed armor is in the 44k plus range. These tanks make up less than 0.5% of the population. However as the Buff in ICC grows, so does the population where this philosophy is applicable.

If you do not have these types of statistics, or you have not started to progress deep into ICC hard modes, you probably do not have the gear to start gemming for anything but stamina, as your EH minimums are not high enough.

Prelude to the Hellscream Warsong

With the advent of Strength of Wrynn (5%)Hellscream’s Warsong (5%), we have the opportunity to re-evaluate our gearing philosophies, however prior to this buff there was one general philosophy when it came to tank gearing. With the advent of Chill of the Throne, we saw a very large decrease in our ability to avoid damage. This prompted the theroy crafting community to understand what we could do to combat this. Generally speaking, an end game tank in full 258 gear had about 65% avoidance in ToTGC. This meant that they were deep into the diminsihing returns on dodge and parry, and as such, they were not getting as much out of said stats when gemming for them.

The relative damage reduction which one could gain from boosting their avoidance form 65% to 66% was quite a bit more powerful than if you raised your avoidance from 45% to 46%. Simply put, with Chill of the throne, the relative damage reduction went from good to bad because of the fact that you were still suffering from the diminishing returns of a tank in the high 60s even though you only had an avoidance percentage in the mid 40s. This made every point of avoidance harder to get, and relatively speaking, a weaker stat when we are talking about Time To Live (TTL).

This prompted most end game tanks to lean on the one stat which did not suffer diminishing returns, Stamina. With the focus on stamina, we lost some avoidance in the process, leading to a net increase in overall damage taken, however that damage taken was much more predictable, leading to healing throughput which was manageable and predictable. To combat this increase in damage taken, we were rewarded with a significant number of bonus armor pieces. While Naxx gave us a Cloak, Ulduar gave us legs, and ToT(G)C 1o gave us a weapon / 25 gave us a neck, we were only seeing a few pieces every  patch. This changed in 3.3. We saw a myriad of pieces which would allow us to get near the armor cap!

This is the current state of end game tanks, Stam and armor stacking mana sponges. The reason for this is two fold. It provides for a foolproof and manageable tank health pool for hard hitting bosses, and healing in Wrath of The Lich King has deviated from a mana management game to a healing throughput game. Healers do not run out of mana at this point of WoW, and if they are, they are managing their healing poorly, or the raid is taking too much unnecessary damage.

A glimpse into the future

With the increase in raid wide buffs from 5% to the Strength of Wrynn (10%)Hellscream’s Warsong (10%), end game tanks have the opportunity to re-evaluate their gearing philosophies, as the buff itself is compensating for the stamina stacking that we have been doing to compensate for hard hitting special attacks such as Soul Reaper, Full Runic Power DBS, and 3 inhale Festergut. While most cutting edge tanks have surpassed the EH minimum for two hits, they are quite a large amount of health away from a three hit EH minimum. As a result, we can lean on the 10% buff to keep us above that threshold where we can confidently take two hits back to back with out a heal, and start to move towards other gearing options.

What I mean by that is that we can start matching socket bonuses again, staring using more Agility/Stam gems (to a point) and more Defense/Stam Gems so that we can boost our avoidance, armor, and move more towards a preventative gearing philosophy. To show you what I mean by the two hit effective health threshold, let’s take a look at the best example of spike damage in the game, Soul reaper. The mechanics of soul reaper alone are not that threatening. It hits hard, however it is not to the magnitude (on normal) where it is a one shot to the tank with out a cool down. The problem is when soul reaper and a melee hit line up at the same time.

You have to understand that these numbers are based off of my gearing and cool down usage, so they will be different from your tanks numbers but they will serve their purpose. At the time I had approximately 38,000 armor and 58,000 health, and I always had a cool down up for it, whether it be bubble wall, DS/DG, or Hand of Sacrifice. As you can see, his average melee was about 14,000 damage and his average Soul Reaper hit was 22,500 (while the tick at the end was close to 35.5k). So the worst case scenario, which we should be gearing for, is a melee swing for 14k and a soul reaper tick for 35.5k. This is an overall chain which nets a 49.5k damage taken. This is the absolute minimum stamina which would be required to survive said hid, however you will have a problem with tank death’s if you send your tank in there with 50k hp. The three hit scenario for this (considering that a defile or a valk call could line up with this) is Soul Reaper Tick, Melee x 2. This is the conservative gearing health pool, and equates to a tank with 49.5k + (14 * 0.7)= 59.3k hp. This is the magic number which I have geared to for Lich King. (it is important to understand that this is one scenario, with one boss. Do not assume that 59.3k is the magic number for ICC 25. There are Hard Modes to consider, and different bosses which prove to hit harder).

After this number, the only thing you gain is a larger health pool, as you will need another 14,000 health to overcome the next swing and have an EH threshold for a 4 hit scenario. Also, a 4 hit scenario should be complete unlikely as you should be getting heals more frequently than every 5 seconds, and you can also take into account the heal that you get from JoL, HoTs, imp LoTP, and a Spriest if you have one. This means that Stamina is no longer the best statistic for survival after this, as it is wasted until you can reach that next hit threshold.

I’m Back! Holistic Theory Gemming

As we pass this threshold based off of encounter progression and maximum effective health needed to survive that arbitrary number of hits with out a heal, we can start considering our gemming and enchanting philosophy to further mitigate and completely avoid damage. There are some other breaking points when it comes to gemming theory which are worth mentioning, but the general rule of thumb should be that for a red socket, you should put a 10 agility / 15 stamina gem, and a yellow socket should contain a 10 defense / 15 stamina gem. There are still relative priorities and net gains and losses from gemming every socket per its color, and it is up to you to make that decision as to the breaking point of benefit. What I mean by that is that some tanks will consider a +6 stamina socket bonus worth it, while some will not. More will consider the +9 Stamina bonus worth it, and everyone should consider your helm’s +12 worth it.

In order to understand your relative priority, Digren over at MainTankdin has a great stickied post about it, where Meloree, Theck and Digren put the work in so that you don’t have to. The basic principals are as such, each gem and relative trade off for a net increase in stamina has a value. The more you value stamina and the less you value the other statistics, the lower the relative gain number you are willing to take. Most end game progression tanks are willing to drop that number down as low as possible, as we socket one red gem in our helm and the rest are stamina, as are our enchants. However, as we reach that stamina threshold with the aid of the 10% buff, we can start considering a higher value for avoidance. While avoidance has always been powerful, if we could not guarantee TTL, then we did not want to take that chance of a random string of attacks killing us.

There are a few other numbers which you want to concern yourself with when you start to trade stamina for other statistics. While Defense will never go out of style, and you can stack that to your hearts content, there is a point at which Agility is no longer as attractive to us as Dodge is, and that point is:

Theckhd wrote:Agility gets weaker as you gain armor, finally dropping below 100% at around 42.6k armor (fully-buffed). Note that once we hit the armor cap (49905 armor fully-buffed), the armor contribution of agility is no longer giving us any benefit, so the value of agility drops back to the 83.1% value expected based on our agi->dodge conversion ratio.

This is important to consider because of the fact that if you are going to be doing this, you are a Min/Max’er and you will start to gain more out of the dodge gem than you will out of the agility gem. After I finish some number crunching, I will put up a follow up post detailing the relative gains and losses from regemming a tank which is sitting on a hand full of 277 pieces and has past the EH threshold. For now, I hope this has satisfied your craving for the return to a holistic gearing philosophy.




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