Tanking used to be inaccessible because of the numbers game -- mitigation numbers that were hidden away in the great unknown. Players had to rely on the stalwart parsers and number crunchers over at EJ, Tankspot, Maintankadin, and all sorts of websites in order to inform the community about these magic numbers on defensive stats to let a tank do his job. Nowadays, hit and miss numbers are easily displayed for players, and defense as a statistic to worry about is gone forever.
That all being said, the tanking game is still a numbers game, but this time it is more nuanced with the introduction of mastery and the ability to mitigate most damage a tank takes. You've seen numbers being thrown around and you may or may not know what they mean. Well, Visual Combat Table (VCT) is here to make sense of those numbers for you. Tanking is soon to become another hot commodity role to fill in the upcoming Raid Finder, so arming new tanks with mitigation knowledge is always a good thing.
My introduction to VCT started with an email from its creator letting me know about its existence and the role he felt the addon played in the tanking community as a whole. While reading his email, I thought back to my first few weeks of tanking in Cataclysm and realized that for all of the information the game was showing and telling me there still was a great deal that I was struggling with. I wanted more information, and sifting through forum threads wasn't giving me a quick enough answer.
Here's the email that got it all started:
First of all, as both an oldschool WoW player and an addon junkie I enjoy reading your column very much. Seriously, good job there :) Now let me me cut the brown-nosing and get straight to the point. I've been working on an addon that started off as an attempt to visualize the combat table (or attack table if you'd like) in WoW. The idea was that it can show the player a simple multi-colored bar that represented the actual combat table values including attack precedence (and therefore combat table coverage, or the possibility of pushing certain attacks completely or partially off the table) and mob level changes. All of those are things that have been lacking in the WoW UI and to be honest they do sound like voodoo to most players.
As it stands now this addon is best suited for tanks. When you have a target and use auto-detecting the attacker level it will use the level of your current target. If you do not have a target it will use your own character level for reference. You can also set a default level and just use that all the time. With the recent additions to the addon it also shows your actual block/crit block values for the warrior tanks, as well as armor mitigation that works for all levels (as opposed to the DR value in the character sheet that only works at your own level).
Also, it is a very lightweight addon that takes little to no screen space, as the size of the bar can be adjusted and all the textual information is contained inside the tooltip.
Well, anyway, I hope that you would at least check out the addon, and if you decide not to mention it on your column I'd really appreciate some feedback.
Thank you very much for you time.
Ivan (aka BlaDeR, Bareideru, or Fangion of EU-Stormrage)
Making numbers fun
Numbers are fun to a lot of people. I'm not a numbers guy. I appreciate numbers and I follow number facts, but as for coming up with cool numbers, I am not your guy. We played more DrugWars and SFcave on our TI-82s than calculated calculus. WoW's numbers are not hard to comprehend, to be quite honest, but a lot of people feel that a numbers game is too time-consuming for what aims to be a user-friendly, accessible MMO. I agree. Numbers should be the backbone of the system with a happy, candy-coated shell of ease of use over it all.
VCT makes the number explanations easily understood, for the most part. The addon will show you your miss (when the enemy will miss you), dodge, and parry rates, and then a calculated total avoidance and block if you are a warrior or paladin. Damage mitigation is the real meat of the addon, and scrolling over the VCT bar will show all of your vital mitigation percentages.
The bar itself creates a green/orange/red visual representation of your vulnerability, so to speak. Anything in the green is a mitigated attack. Orange areas are you taking a normal hit from the boss. Red areas are your chance to be critically hit and face serious consequences. You don't want the red. As a tank with the right talents, you should never see the red.
VCT will automatically adjust the numbers and factors denoted by your attacker's level. If you're targeting a raiding training dummy, for instance, the addon will let you know your mitigation statistics against raid bosses. It's a simple concept but one that is very valuable to understand and be aware of. I'm not saying everyone should open up Excel and start crunching, but numbers are important. Respect the numbers.
A plea for new tanks
There is a code among tanks, a secret, unwritten constitution between tanks of a certain caliber. We are an ancient order, a brotherhood of fantasy soldiers who like nothing more than adversity, confusion, and chaos because, at the end of the day, we get to clean all of that up. That's our job. Without it, we would be unemployed. Here is my plea to all of you who wish to join this esteemed order: Respect the numbers.
VCT is a great way to have numbers available to you with little to no effort on your part. You will watch as you reforge dodge or parry into mastery as your effective mitigation rises (if you're a warrior). You will see the numerical outcomes of the drop-off percentages with diminishing returns. Even if you don't know how the numbers are calculated, be aware that they exist. Just the knowledge that there are different types of attacks and different chances that those attacks can hit you in different ways will make you a better tank, I absolutely guarantee it.
Thank you very much, Ivan, for showing me your awesome addon and sharing this knowledge with the world. I think it's a great setup that reminds me of the old Maintankadin addon that helped so many people through Wrath tanking on their paladins. VCT is good stuff, and every tank in the room should have it.
Download Visual Combat Table at [Curse].
How about a quick Addon Mailbag question, since we haven't had one in a while?
Huge fan of Wow Insider for a long time and I have an add-on question that I have not managed to get an answer to and I thought I'd throw it your way and see what comes back :)
What I need is an add-on that lets me buy more than 20 items at a time from a vendor. I use to have an add-on called BulkBuy, but it hasn't been updated in a long time and it has now stopped working. TSM does it to a certain extent, but sometimes it bugs out and I have ended up with about 1000 resilient parchment a few times too many :)
What BulkBuy did was that you shift click the vendor and you just put whatever number you wanted there instead of having to buy 20 at a time over and over again.
Buying 500 Jewellers settings, inks, parchments or whatever does tend to get a bit tedious and some kind of add-on would help a ton.
Atlas, lvl 85 Mage, Frostwhisper EU
PS. Also a HUGE fan of the podcast. I was never much into lore back in the days, but after you guys took over the podcast I have started reading more and more of the lore and I have been blown away by it. I have started actually reading quest text while leveling alts :) DS.You might want to check out BuyEmAll, a neat little addon that will let you purchase above the stack size right from the shift-click window. Sounds like just the thing for your Jeweler's Setting woes. Let me know how it works out for you, and glad you enjoy the podcast!
See you all next week for an awesome BlizzCon.
Addons are what we do on Addon Spotlight. If you're new to mods, Addons 101 will walk you through the basics; see what other players are doing at Reader UI of the Week. If there's a mod you think Addon Spotlight should take a look at, email firstname.lastname@example.org.