Tuesday, November 3, 2009

[General, Druid] Icewell radiance part 2 -the 4 fallacious myths

I've been very busy in the last couple days, so I've got some comments to answer - but of the answerable comments, enough were odd that I wanted to address them specifically.

There were 4 statements made in the blog and elsewhere that I kept seeing, and they were specifically incorrect as far as Icewell radiance goes. I'll go with them all Matticus style and talk about them separately.

Myth #1: other tanks can stack parry to make up for the lack of dodge.

This looks reasonable, right? I mean, sure - other tanks lose dodge, but they can just go with parry. All is good. The problem here is that very few tanks were going for any kind of avoidance anyway; they'd get what's on their gear and just stick with that for the most part, with the occasional defense/stam or dodge/stam gem thrown in for metas and socket bonuses.

Here's the important thing to understand about this change: it doesn't make dodge less valuable, it makes all avoidance less valuable. As I pointed out, all avoidance now reduces less damage overall than it used to due to having less of it. But that doesn't say dodge - it's all avoidance. You have less avoidance period - it doesn't matter how you got at that avoidance.

Furthermore, parry is as valuable before from a diminishing returns standpoint as it is now. In other words most tanks would rather stack dodge than parry because they'll get more avoidance out of it. So they can't just switch out dodge gems for parry gems (even if they had them); they'll likely lose avoidance doing that. And if they didn't lose avoidance doing that, they probably should have been doing it in the first place.

Another way to say it is this: if it takes 70 dodge rating to get 1% avoidance now, it'll take 70 dodge rating to get 1% avoidance then. If it takes 75 parry rating to get 1% avoidance now, it'll take 75 parry rating to get 1% avoidance then. Those values aren't going to change.

Myth #2: block is going to make up for it

Block is definitely more scalable with respect to the number of incoming attacks. Savage defense does lose out here. At the same time, every block tank just lost 20% avoidance. Chances are they weren't unhittable (most paladins and warriors aren't in their normal gear, even with HS up), which means that they'll be blocking the same amount of hits as before; dodge didn't push their block off the table. So they'd have to be stacking block to compensate now, if they wanted to - except they've got 20% block to stack.

That's a lot. Now, it's not subject to diminishing returns at least, but at the same time the block gear that exists out there...kinda sucks. Most Anub hardmode tanks know this pain; they're wearing a blue trinket, a bunch of random pieces from Naxx and Ulduar...do you think that gear set is going to cut it in Icecrown?

And they can't gem for block rating either. So where are they going to get all this block?

Myth #3: Bears are going to be dying more due to more hits in a row.

The idea goes like this: let's say that a tank will die in x hits in a row. Tank A, with 40% avoidance, has a (1-.4)^x chance of dying then. The druid, with 31% avoidance, has only a (1-.31)^x chance of dying - which is much greater. For 4 hits, for example, tank A would die 12.96% of the time; the bear would die 22.67% of the time. Therefore, aren't bears going to be at a big disadvantage?

Well...no. Here's the thing - this was true before, right? I mean, tank A had an advantage over druids before. But how much? The avoidance values before were 60%, so assuming you'd die in 4 hits, tank A had a 2.56% chance - and the druid had a 5.71% chance.

So yeah, the chances that a druid takes 4 hits has increased significantly (15% vs 10%). At the same time, the relative chances that this occurs has decreased significantly.

But the most important thing here is that healers cannot assume either tank is going to dodge that many hits in a row any more. Healers have to heal both tanks the same way. As I showed in the previous article, bears are actually going to take less relative damage to other tanks than they do now. What this also means is that unlike in the 2% case, healers can't assume that tank A will avoid an attack every 4 attacks. They'd be wrong 12% of the time, which means 1 out of 8 times they'd be dead.

So they have to heal tank A as if they weren't avoiding. Which means healing the druid is functionally the same.

Myth #4: Because GC said so

Ghostcrawler's said basically that if you think avoidance was good before, it'll still be good. If you think it's bad, that won't change. He's also said that EH is important but not the be-all, end all of tanking. Here's one commenter on this:

Interesting view, but I'll go with what GC has posted about Chill of the Throne. Stamina is arguably less important, avoidance is still valuable, cooldowns matter and are not easily compared, and effective health does NOT = best tank. I love that you write a lot on bears Kalon, and I'm sure you're a great bear tank. But, you seem rather set on the idea that bears are the best tanks. They aren't. They're not dominating leading progression guilds, general opinion of them is certainly not "#1 tank" and the developers don't think so either. So, can you make this your last "nerf bears because they're so awesome" post for awhile?

So why am I so high on druids?

It's not because of EH, at least not solely. It's not because of avoidance being nerfed or that I think avoidance sucks. It's that I think that relative to other tanks, druids improved significantly. Whatever you think of EH, after this change EH is better than what it was. Whatever you think of avoidance, after this change avoidance is worse than what it was. Both of these things favor druids.

Now, it's possible that icecrown has a ton of tank-stressing fights that so happen to stress high avoidance and high block values. That's a possibility, and I don't deny it; I've often said that the best tank is not determined by the tank's values, but by the encounters.

At the same time, GC's come out and said that tanks are going to be dying in Icecrown due to taking huge amounts of damage. And really - what tank is better at taking huge amounts of damage than a bear?

I'm not saying bears are the best tank. I don't know enough about Icecrown's fights to say that reasonably. But I am saying simply that these changes improve the things bears are good at and reduce the things bears are bad at. That's it. That's a far cry from most of the druid population that I read, who continually were worried that bear tanking was dead because they were losing all their dodge.

Though let's go back to that 'best tank' thing. It's true that they're not dominating progression, though I'd say that a druid MTing Anub'arak for most of the top guilds in the world indicates strongly that this isn't entirely true. General opinion is that paladins are the #1 tank...but they just lost 20% avoidance. And developers have stated things like 'we think block tanks are going to be the best tank in Ulduar because of large physical hits', and they've also stated that they're worried about druid levels of power but aren't going to nerf them significantly because there aren't enough to care.

I'd take that general opinion with a big grain of salt. I'd take what developers say with more. Basically, a high sodium diet should be in your future. :)


Copey said...

I was laughing out loud, literally as every point in the article, the text got bigger. Like, the further I read, the more afraid I was to disagree with you yelling at me!

I fully agree with you Kalon, hell, you have the math right there to prove your thought process. But that’s not why I fully agree with you. The reason I agree is because people in a crowd are fools. Stupid, non-thinking, herds of cattle. They stampede at the smallest surprise, and they don’t bother to stop and ask why as an individual.

The fact of the matter is Blizzard provides a product for us. Those of us that raid, (which is a lot) all have to work as teams to continue to enjoy the product. Those teams require a tanking class. Blizzard is not going to break the tanking class, therefore making it impossible to raid. PERIOD. THEY WON’T DO IT. And you can bet your ass that they are working as hard as they can to make sure “all tanking classes can tank” as they promised before Wrath came out. They have done a hell of a job I think. If Blizz says to me “I’m gonna nerf the shit out you Copey, to make you even with all other tanks” I’m fine with it. If they tell me they will nerf all tanks in order to make the next raid a bit more challenging then regular TOC is, I’m fine with that too.

What kills the Bear Tank isn’t a nerf to dodge, or agility, or to armor multipliers. What kills the Bear Tank is the perception of stupid dumbasses that heard on trade chat that “lolz, RIP BEaR TAnkz!” and then proceeds to NOT allow bears to tank for him in his pugs. Lack of knowledge is a disease that spreads quickly, and is hard to cure. I have been stearing clear of pugs since my guild has been more successful, but just a couple months ago I was asked in a 25 man pug of Ulduar if I was defense capped.

Blizz has been doing this for 5 years folks, and we are still playing. Freaking relax already.

Posolutely said...

It really comes down to simple math.

If other tanks were getting hit 40% of the time, and now are going to be hit 60% of the time, that's 50% more damage.

If Bears were getting hit 60% of the time and are now going to get hit 80% of the time, that's only 33% more damage.

Nathanael said...

These two articles have been absolutely wonderful, though they do further worry me as a DK tank.

Bears get hit with the nerf the least, and the have awesome EH.

Paladins and Warriors get hit at about the middle, with Pallies still having great EH. While you are right about block not replacing the dodge nerf with comparison to bears, at the same time if boss encounters do change to faster, smaller hits, that's a buff to block as it will mitigate more damage.

Meanwhile, DKs, with the highest avoidance, get hit hardest with the nerf with nothing to make up for it. And there's a decent possibility it will hurt DK threat as well with Rune Strike, which isn't the DK strong point at the moment anyway. It'll also hurt Bone Shield for Unholy, though I don't use that spec to tank.

Frinkster said...

I agree with almost everything, but the only thing im worried about is the fact that you assume that we have infinite heals and mana.

Of course we all know the saying that druids are "easier to heal, but more mana", but with these changes, it seems like everybody is going to be "easier to heal, but more mana", which pushes druids further down the line into "alot easier to heal, but alot more mana". Im not very knowledgeable on helers, but will druids push them overboard?

Anonymous said...

Nevermind, that made absolutely no sense.

Michael said...

completely agree here as well - and similar I'd expect a BIG nerf to the Bear STA multiplier incoming

If your perception is right that tanks are swapped out on heroic Anub for Bears then this is the one thing GC mentionend they won't allow to have. Honestly - with these IC changes they have todo something, even if I hate it

another interesting aspect - I think with these changes trees get even better as main tank healers; keeping 3 hots ticking and adding nourish when/where necessary sounds far more like fun to me then the current overheal regatta

Rauxis, chosen of CAT

Gravity said...

On a separate note, do you use Twitter at all? Helps me keep an eye on good posts like this. twitter.com/gravitydk

Anonymous said...

Kalon have you made an article on where bear's as MT's are #1 yet as far as bosses goes?

Anub = Bear #1, paladin #2, warrior #3, DK #4

Twins = DK #1, paladin #2, bear #3, warrior #4

Copey said...

I’ve always been very intrigued as far as the whole “MT” thing. Some people get SO wrapped up in who is considered main tank, as if being the off tank or adds tank is a slap in the face.

I switch readily with the tanks in my guild depending on the encounter. Often times I’ll pick up the boss and they will pick up adds, or vice versa. Something I’ve noticed is often times the off tank who is picking up adds is the on that actually has to be better at tanking. The main tank sits and builds threat and takes damage, while the off tank is off busting his ass to keep adds off the healers and squishy dps.

I just don’t get it when I see “Um, NO. I’m MT” in pugs. It’s like an e-peen dick measuring contest. I’m just happy if everybody does their jobs and we kill something, I don’t care which tank I am as long as the boss dies.

As far as a who is best at MTing which boss…how would you do that, when skill and gear play into that just as much if not more the class dynamics?

Michael said...

An MT "comparison" like that could only be done on a boss-to-boss basis, and unfortunately would be unable to give you a real solution simply because some tanks just do more (e.g. does your tank move one of the twins back a few steps to avoid an orb crashing into melee? can the mobile tank on dreadscale get people debuffed without blowing up much of the raid?)

But as far as a class discussion, it would be interesting to see at what thresholds (physical swing timer, damage done, magic damage special) one class has in comparison to another, including cd usage and comparable gear. I seem to remember something on the wowforums where a purely mathematical model was done (at the time concluding DKs were OP), but it would be interesting to tray and model it more accurately per boss.

And now that I'm thinking about it, I realize how much work that is... eh I don't wish that on anyone, I'm ok not knowing.

doug said...

As for the MT/OT thing. I usually say I am the MT over the other guild tank as I am better at tanking and have more experience.

He tanks Icehowl and yet I do adds on Anub.


Because I do better DPS on Icehowl and am better at controlling mobs.

When it is a 2 tank encounter there is no MT/OT most of the time as both are equally important. to be honest sometimes the OT job is harder.

So does that make the OT the MT?

par said...

Think I've got your email someplace, but the movie is done so here goes!

Thanks for a great site, btw.

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Big fan of your site, just released a video that has a (very short, like 1-second short) plug of your website.

Number of bad words in this movie: 6
This is not for the elite of the elite.
This is for the average feral dps player who wants to improve and learn how to continue improving long after she's forgotten about this video.

English is my third language, doing voiceovers was a pain.

This movie is packed with info. WORKING AS INTENDED - or the movie would be 30min long.

Soundtrack (can't really hear it anyway):
Jonathan Coulton
Bruce Springsteen w/ Mike Ness
Rancid x2


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_nuc5MhpekM part ONE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eb5jMXJnv9k part TWO


Please EMBED this video by copying the following code and pasting into your forum or website:

(Embed code taken out, not accepted, hit up the Viddler page ffi.)

Wordpress embed code:
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Renaissance Guild website:

Kalon said...

Copey - that's what I get for using the silly blogspot editing software. Oops. Should be better now.

I wouldn't agree that Blizzard will automatically make it so that everything works just as they wanted it to right out of the box. Remember, their #1 concern going into WotLK - as far as post-Ulduar - was that block tanks were going to simply be Too Good compared to nonblock tanks because they had block, and they were afraid of putting out too much block gear.

Blizzard's goal is to make sure all tanks can do things reasonably, but they move slowly. And they aren't infallible.

Posolutely - absolutely :)

Nathaniel - they've improved DK threat a bit, which should offset some of the changes - but yeah, they had the highest avoidance and no block to fall back on. I can't help but think that they got hit the worst. Still, they're far and away the best tank to go to if you need higher avoidance, so that's a bonus.

Frinkster - I don't like to assume those things. That's what EH assumes, and so if you assume that EH beats all no matter what (which I don't) then yes, druid tanks are unequivocably the best.

But as we've seen consistently throughout WotLK, that's not been the case. We've had frequent issues where avoidance has been better, when cooldowns have been significantly more important, and where specific abilities were key to an encounter. I don't claim that this makes bears the best tank; I am only claiming that relative to other tanks, this makes bears better than they were. That's it.

Michael - I know a number of guilds who have used their feral for their MT on Anub, but I suspect strongly it has nothing to do with their being a feral (or little to do with it) and more to do with that tank having leatherworking. That barkskin is also good for this is a bonus, but that's the two big things a feral brings to the table.

Gravity, I don't use twitter. I'd recommend using a blog reader like google reader.

Anon - that sounds like both a lot of work, and more importantly sounds like a ridiculous amount of pain and trollbaiting. I might try it sometime in terms of my perceptions of where tanks are, but in general there's no 'this is the best tank no matter what'. I think there was back in 3.1 (that would be DKs), but since then I don't think that there exists a singular best tank for everything.

And honestly, if it did? It'd be a paladin.

The main reason that you were the MT back in the day is that you got to tank bosses when there was only one tank needed. Which meant you got first pick for tanking gear. These days I think having one undergeared tank out of a group is a recipe for danger, and I think that more often than not (like Copey mentioned) the offtank has just a hard a job as the guy on the boss. OTs before this also had the notion of them doing high threat/damage while not tanking - which is also something of an anachronism. Really, we have two 'main' tanks in our guild with two non-main tanks. Both roll and get prio on tank gear first, and both talk to each other about trying to maximize upgrades. We all figure out who would be best for an encounter in which role and use it. There's no epeenery. And that's likely how it should be.

Par - thanks for the links, and congrats on getting that done! I'll check it out soon.