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Posts with tag avoidance

Something needs to be done about avoidance

Brutallus: The only fight avoidance has ever been the best stat for.
I've had a bit of a chip on my shoulder lately about avoidance stats in WoW. For the duration of the expansion plate tanks of all stripes have been spurning pieces with dodge or parry -- or heavens forbid, both -- in favor of more interesting stats like hit, expertise, haste, and mastery, which all provide some sort of hook to the new active mitigation paradigm.

It's weird, but in this case, Blizzard is a victim of their own success. They've designed a fantastic new way for tanks to perform their job, which has had the unfortunate side effect of neutering two of the oldest tanking stats in the game. Yet, Blizzard seems convinced that this is a situation that needs fixing, rather than a blessing in disguise, and across the various patches of Mists they have been making tweaks here and there to make avoidance stats more attractive for each plate tank.

I believe that this is an incorrect approach; they should instead embrace this happy accident. Much as how leather tanks get to enjoy DPS stats like haste and crit as their bread and butter, so too should plate tanks be freed from the oppressive yoke of bygone, obsolete stats like dodge and parry. The game has finally left those broken stats behind and this is the opportunity to usher in a new, more-perfect system of tank gearing.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Where does the pressure lie in healing?

Where does the pressure lie in healing
I used to be a healer, once upon a time. It was in the days of vanilla, when being a healer consisted largely of staring at 40 bars, pressing Flash Heal, and occasionally mixing it up with a bubble or Heal Rank 4 while swigging potions like they were going out of style. It was a very different time, and healing was by and large much less complex than it is today. My guild didn't use Vent, so I did all the healing rotation calls via macros on my keyboard -- that's how easy healing was. I had time to press macro buttons and pay attention to calling things.

But at some point that guild fell apart, as guilds are wont to do on occasion. And since server transfers weren't even a possibility at that point in time, I simply rolled another character on another server, vowing to take a break from any and all raiding. It lasted until paid server transfers were added as a feature, at which point my priest was promptly moved to my new server and I began healing again -- this time, in battlegrounds. I helped a lot of friends by healing them while they tried their hardest to get High Warlord in the original honor grind.

So what happened? Well ... healing happened.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

A look at avoidance balancing in Mists

A look at avoidance balancing in Mists
Theck, the paladin tank theorycrafter, has recently finished a series of posts at his blog looking at the state of avoidance in the upcoming expansion. He examined every aspect of the system with the help of a deluge of formulae to come up with some very helpful information for tanks to brush up on while waiting for Mists and all its new content to launch.

In particular, in the earlier parts of the series, Theck discerned the new formula for working out each avoidance stat after diminishing returns. As a result, he was able to plot out (for plate tanks in particular) the proper ratio that dodge and parry should be balanced at.

Right now, on live, we want to keep parry and dodge as absolutely close as possible. The two have the same diminishing returns curve, which means that x points of parry will be diminished exactly the same as x points of dodge. As such, if you have 3% more parry than dodge, you're losing a non-zero amount of avoidance to the gaping maw of diminishing returns that you might otherwise keep if it was reforged to dodge.

However, as Theck has discovered, the DR curves were bent significantly apart in Mists, to the point that we'll want much more parry to keep an even ratio with dodge -- about three times more parry, to be exact.

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Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

Lichborne: The effect of the new stat changes on death knights

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Lichborne for blood, frost, and unholy death knights. In the post-Cataclysm era, death knights are no longer the new kids on the block. Let's show the other classes how a hero class gets things done.

We're still a couple of weeks away from the dam burst that is the Mists of Pandaria press event, but in the meantime, Lead Systems Designer Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street has posted a new Dev Watercooler. He listed some stat changes coming in Mists that, while ostensibly not as complicated as those in Wrath, still hold some interesting and possibly major implications for class balance in the coming expansion. Let's dive right in and see what they mean for death knights.

Blocking takes a week

While it doesn't directly affect us, the blocking changes will certainly shake up the tanking hierarchy that we're a part of, so it's worth pointing out that the usual single roll combat table for dodging, parrying, or blocking a hit is gone. Instead, the chance to block will be calculated only after the dodge and parry chance is calculated. This essentially means that being unhittable is gone. You can't just stack to 102.4%. Of course, death knights and druids have never been able to do this, but they will now be joined by the shield tanks.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Lichborne: The great death knight Cataclysm tanking stat weight debate


Every week, WoW Insider brings you Lichborne for blood, frost, and unholy death knights. Join World of Warcraft's first hero class as we head into a new expansion and shed the new kid on the block label.

So here's the thing about figuring out your tank stat weights as you go into raiding: They're all subjective and likely to stay that way for a while. Between Blizzard's redesign of the way stats work, the way boss fights work and the newness of expansion, we're still trying to get the data we need to figure out the best exact way to min-max our gear. Right now, there are a few specific schools of thought on how to gear yourself for raid tanking, and right now, they all seem to be working for specific raid groups. Today, we'll take a look at the major tank survival stats and discuss the new quirks, benefits, and drawbacks of each of them as you start gearing up in earnest for the raid game.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

The Light and How to Swing It: No more avoidance caps


Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Please send screenshots as well as any comments to my email at gregg@wow.com. Oh, and I still love the Grand Crusader proc graphics even though they're unrelated to today's article.

One thing that we've been taught as tanks throughout most of World of Warcraft is that you had to be capped at something in order to not be insta-killed by bosses. Back when I started playing, this was referred to as reaching uncrushable. You would have to stack up 102.4 percent avoidance in order to push the dreaded crushing blows off of the boss's list of possible attacks he could hit you with. This also meant that all incoming hits were avoided or mitigated in some way, shape or form. That primary form was blocks, and abilities like Shield Block and Holy Shield at that time were custom tailored to this environment.

With the release of Wrath of the Lich King, crushing blows were deemed a thing of the past and bosses would no longer be employing them against tanks. However, we quickly had a new cap to deal with instead of that called the defense cap, aka reaching uncrittable. This meant accumulating 540 defense skill against raid bosses in order to remove bosses of being able to hit us with a critical melee attack. In early raiding tiers, this was a constant balance between gems, enchants and trinkets, as each piece of gear we accumulated could change how the scales tipped.

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Filed under: Paladin, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Mastery, threat decay and Cataclysm tanking

The Care and Feeding of Warriors is about warriors, who hurl themselves into the fray, the very teeth of danger, armed with nothing more than the biggest weapons and armored with the absolutely heaviest armor we can find. Hey, we're not stupid -- we're just crazy.

Last week we talked about tanking and Cataclysm beta patch 13033, which was superseded almost immediately by patch 13066. Hard upon the heels of that comes patch 13117. If there's one thing I'm sure of, it's that there will be more beta patches that will bring with them more mechanical changes to the class. But I wanted to take this time to cover a couple of interesting recent posts about the way the class is shaping up.

We'll cover the patch 13117 changes first, the move on.

Arms Obviously a nice little quality of life change but not a major dealmaker, I would think.

Fury
  • Slam now costs 20 rage, up from 15 rage.
  • Bloodthirst now restores 0.5% of max health, down from 1%.
I'm honestly not sure why these changes were made. I guess Bloodsurge was too easy to use? Or it's aimed at arms warriors using Improved Slam in their builds. The Bloodthirst change must be aimed at Field Dressing making it too good.

Protection
Not much to say, other than it's a welcome buff. More would be better, as initial threat is still somewhat wonky (once Vengeance stacks up, it's not a concern, but the initial seconds of a pull can be rough for a warrior without Bloodrage, shouts just aren't making up for the loss of that ability) especially if trying to hold more than one.

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Filed under: Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, (Warrior) The Care and Feeding of Warriors, Cataclysm

Blood Pact: Meet the minions, Part 6 - the felguard

Each week Dominic Hobbs brings you Blood Pact. "You gotta be a moron... you gotta be a moron to wanna be a fighter. " ~ Rocky Balboa

Over the last few months Blood Pact has had a mini-series running to introduce the various demonic accessories. "Meet the Minions" has covered imps, voidwalkers, succubus and felhounds as well as infernals and doomguards. Along the way we have also covered such game-play lessons as pet-use, threat, crowd-control and mage-hate. So that only leaves the one minion to cover, the mighty felguard.

Unlike almost all the other minions there is no quest to gain the ability to summon the felguard -- you simply pop a point into the talent and this demonic knowledge is dropped into your brain. The talent is currently on the ninth tier of the demonology tree, so you will need to be level 50 before you can learn it. Even at level 80 you will need to invest almost 60% of your talent points into demonology just to reach it, leaving little room for anything in the other trees. Because of this the felguard is pretty much only seen with demonology-build warlocks. Hybrid builds were popular at the start of Wrath, but changes to spell mechanics have meant that they are rarely used these days.

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Filed under: Warlock, Raiding, (Warlock) Blood Pact

The Light and How to Swing It: The low level tank part 1


With the Light as his strength, Gregg Reece of The Light and How to Swing It faces down the demons of the Burning Legion, the undead of the Scourge, and helps with the puppet shows at the Argent Ren Faire up in Icecrown. For the next couple weeks we'll be taking a look at low level dungeon runners.

Cross-realm instancing is coming in patch 3.3 and along with it will be the ability for low level characters to finally find those level appropriate groups for old world dungeons. Being that those parties will need tanks, we thought we'd take a look at what an up and coming paladin needs to know about dungeons as well as what types of gear and stats to be on the lookout for. We're going to start with tanking and then move on to healing and damage-dealing in the weeks to come.

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Filed under: Paladin, Analysis / Opinion, Leveling, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

A macro for stacking parry or dodge

I haven't played a tank in a while, so I haven't had to mess with stats at endgame for a long time. Though my paladin is slowly getting there, so this little macro over at Honor's Code might come in handy. Parry and dodge are very similar abilities -- both of them help you to completely avoid damage from bosses as a tank. But they do have a very few important differences (Parry speeds up your next attack swing, and is affected by diminishing returns at higher levels of the stat), so when you're gearing up at endgame, you want to make sure to balance them out in the right way.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Tips, How-tos, Death Knight

Arcane Brilliance: Patch 3.3 PTR changes for mages



It's the weekend, and that means it's time for another edition of Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column where the boys are boys, the girls are girls, and the warlocks are smoking husks that only vaguely resemble the humanoid shapes they once assumed.

We're taking a small break this week from our ongoing leveling guide parade. There are some things we need to discuss, you and me. We need to have a talk. Don't worry! It's nothing bad! We're getting a pretty sweet buff, actually. Well, arcane mages are, anyway. We just wanted to discuss it with you, that's all. Oh, we're sorry! Did you think Arcane Brilliance was breaking up with you or something? No, we'd never do that! Arcane Brilliance still thinks you're sexy.

See, it's this whole patch 3.3 thing that's happening right now. It's got Arcane Brilliance all hot and bothered. The other columns are too busy to talk to Arcane Brilliance about it. Totem Talk is all excited about "new totems" or some other such nonsense, Lichborne is too busy being overpowered, and Bood Pact... well, you didn't hear it from me but Blood Pact is written by a warlock. I know! Right here at this otherwise reputable website! Also, Blood Pact smells funny. I think it's a gland problem. It's very embarrassing. I shouldn't be telling you this. And Blood Pact drinks its own pee. Okay. That's enough. I'm done now. I've said too much. Keep this to yourself, all right? Loose lips sink ships and all that.

Jump on past the break and we'll discuss the patch 3.3 changes for mages.

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Filed under: Mage, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Features, Classes, Talents, Buffs, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Where the Action is Not


The Care and Feeding of Warriors once more shuffles forth clad head to toe in clanking metal, devoid of holy light, harnessed death magic or any of that fancy stuff, to bash things about until they cough up shiny pixels. Matthew Rossi has been bashing things about for their loot since January of 2005. He'll be doing an analysis of the Warrior Q&A soon, he promises, please don't stab him with pitchforks.

Honestly, I'd like to rant more about how Warrior DPS is still way too low in PvE. Especially since I keep seeing posts on the forums from the blues telling me classes with equal or better DPS are in fact too low. It's sort of maddening, really. But as much as I'd like to go on a written rampage about encounter design serving as an arbitrary limiter to warrior DPS in Ulduar, and how paradoxically my DPS is at its best on fights that are supposed to be hard mode fights (this week, for instance, my personal highest DPS numbers were recorded on XT - 002's Heartbreaker mode, where two Warriors including myself finally managed to break the top four and were ahead of the other hybrids) due to the mechanics of those fights actually allowing the warrior some uninterrupted DPS time.

But unfortunately, a whole lot has been said about tanking this past week. So as maddening, vexing, downright baffling as I find the encounter design limitations of Warrior DPS in some cases (really, not much can irritate me like knowing my DPS time was broken up by big chunks of having to run away, run around, get out of the way of lightning or exploding seeds or any of the sixteen things Mimiron does that make me unhappy to be alive) that rant's going to have to stay confined to these opening paragraphs. (For a simulation of what I sound like during a raid, get four angry woodpeckers and have them attack your keyboard while you scream "Oh, COME ON" every few seconds and imagine you're the Gravity Bomb again.)

So what happened with tanking this week, you ask? Well, more was said about block, about avoidance, and about tanking specced players as DPS and in PvP. So let's go over what was said.

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Filed under: Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, News items, Instances, Raiding, Bosses, Buffs, (Warrior) The Care and Feeding of Warriors, Forums

The Queue: Strategery


Welcome back to The Queue, WoW Insider's daily Q&A column where the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Alex Ziebart will be your host today.

Good afternoon, everybody! I apologize for missing yesterday's edition of The Queue, I sort of forgot about it in my rush to get our April Fool's joke pieced together. The entire team got together to bring that little joke to life. Getting it all put together was like assembling a jigsaw puzzle. Fun, but it took awhile! Hopefully you guys enjoyed it. If not, oh well! We had a good time bringing it to life.

I don't think you want to listen to me ramble about that, though. Onto the Q&A!

Ghola asked...

"Why would the Argent Tournament set up camp in Icecrown, at the back end of the glacier? This makes absolutely no sense to me. Crystal Song seems way better: no quests there, plenty of space, and much better weather!"

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Queue

Shifting Perspectives: Tanks, "Wrath," and crushing blows


Every Tuesday, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting Druids and those who group with them. This week, we examine the roots of the uproar over the proposed Heart of the Wild nerf, and also ask ourselves if it wouldn't just be easier to reroll a Death Knight and have done with it.

"Why would you title the column this way?" you ask, as you reach for your "Please fire _______ from WoW Insider" form letter. "Crushing blows are out of the game, dipwad."

Well, yes. The crushing blow is technically out of the game, but another and worse mechanic has taken its place.

In this article I'm going to try to explain the source of "shield tank" frustration over health pools -- and why they are correct to see it as a problem -- and the Druid tank's unhappiness over the nerfing of Heart of the Wild -- and why Druids are also correct to see it as a problem.

Why the crushing blow was important

One of the biggest differences between pre-Wrath and Wrath tanking is the absence of the crushing blow. If you're unfamiliar with the term, then as a very simple explanation: any given raid boss had a 15% chance per melee hit to perform a 150% damage attack, which was also known as the crushing blow. It was typically a big damage spike and could lead to a wipe on progression content, with healers struggling to compensate in the small window of time before the boss' next attack landed. Burst damage is very unwelcome as it's often the greatest contributing factor to tank death. This is why reaching crit immunity is still so important to all tanks, and why the ability to avoid or absorb crushing blows was a fundamental part of pre-Wrath tanking mechanics.

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Filed under: Druid, Analysis / Opinion, Expansions, Features, Raiding, Bosses, Classes, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives, Wrath of the Lich King, Achievements

Lichborne: A Death Knight statistics primer

Death Knight Itemization: This guy is doing it wrong.
Welcome to Lichborne, the weekly Death Knight column by professor Daniel Whitcomb, who totally has a PhD in Death-Knightology from Ebon Hold University. It's the truth, I swear.

I've seen a lot of people asking these questions as we've been getting into the expansion: Now that I am trying to gear by Death Knights, what stats should I get? What's good for a Death Knight? Which armor should I take. We've started getting in that somewhat in the last few columns, with advice on reputation gear and starting zone gear, but I figured today we should delve a little bit more into the why of Death Knight stats.

Today's column will double as a little bit of primer on how Death Knights get their power, and what stats you should be looking for on armor in general to make your Death Knight the best it can be. It's not completely in depth, but it should get you well on the road to understanding just how Death Knights get all that awesome power and sexiness.

We'll have 3 sections today. The Good are stats that are excellent choices for DPS, Tanks, or both. The So-So are stats which still do us some good, but are pretty situational or conditional in their usefulness. The Outcasts are those stats that you should avoid -- Well, I'd say avoid like the plague, but we're Death Knights. We like the plague around here. So I'll just say you should avoid them.

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Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Raiding, Leveling, Guides, Talents, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King, (Death Knight) Lichborne

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