View Full Version : Effective Health Through the Tiers

08-04-2007, 06:55 AM
Hello Cider; hello everyone. :)

Since this is my first post here (/waves), I thought I'd share something that everyone might find interesting. Not long ago while I was bored I made lists of the pre-Karazhan, Karazhan, T4, and T5 gear sets that gave the most effective health. What I found was very surprising.

The actual lists of gear are at the very bottom of the post, for those wishing to skip ahead. These lists are based purely on effective health. For this reason, you may see a few oddball pieces of gear that no tank would ever want to use as a part of his/her primary set of gear, but the point is not to be practical -- the point is to have as much effective health as possible. For example, the best pre-raid boots in terms of effective health are Inferno Tempered Boots, and the second-best chestpiece is Inferno Tempered Chestguard -- only Bulwark of Kings is better.

The Effective Health calculations were done by looking at only Armour and Stamina against a level 73 (boss) mob. Block Value was not taken into account, neither was Defensive Stance.

There were a few rules that I followed in making these gear lists:

1.) I had to maintain enough Defense/Resilience to be uncrittable.
2.) I had 5/5 Anticipation (+20 Defense Skill).
3.) I had 5/5 Toughness (+10% Armor from items).
4.) I had 5/5 Vitality (+5% Stamina).
5.) I had 5674 base Health. (This is the base Health of a level 70 Orc Warrior with 5/5 Vitality.)
6.) I included crafted items.
7.) I did not include PvP/Arena gear.
8.) I did not include pre-BC raid drops.
9.) I did not include World Boss drops.
10.) I included Heroic drops, as well as BoJ rewards.
11.) I used Powerful Earthstorm Diamond for all meta sockets.
12.) I used Solid Star of Elune for all other sockets, except for the Tankatronic Goggles, which have an Enduring Talasite in the Yellow socket.
13.) All Boots and Bracers have +12 Stamina enchants.
14.) All Chestpieces have +150 Health enchants.
15.) All headpieces have the ZG Presence of Might enchant (+10 Stam, +10 Defense Rating, +10 Block Value)
16.) All leggings have the Nethercleft Leg Armor (+40 Stamina, +12 Agility) kit.
17.) All cloaks have +120 Armour enchants.
18.) All shields have +18 Stamina enchants.
19.) All gloves have +8 Stamina armor kits.
20.) All shoulders have the Scryers +15 Defense Rating, +10 Dodge Rating enchant.
21.) My professions were Engineering and Blacksmithing (Armorsmith).
22.) I listed tanking weapons by speed and DPS, not pure effective health.

After everything was said and done, what I found was very interesting and at times shocking. For example, would you believe me if I told you that, without ever stepping foot into Karazhan or beyond, you could have 15,386 Health and 15,104 Armour completely unbuffed and all while remaining uncrittable? It's very hard to believe, but it's true; it's actually possible to have those kind of stats without ever seeing the inside of a raid.

Here are the results of all my gear lists:

Pre-Karazhan stats*
Armour: 15,104
Health: 15,386
Effective Health: 33,754

Karazhan stats*
Armour: 16,251
Health: 16,348
Effective Health: 38,562

T4 (KZ, GL, Mag) stats*
Armour: 16,941
Health: 16,464
Effective Health: 39,784

T5 (SSC, TK) stats
Armour: 17,498
Health: 17,070
Effective Health: 42,042

A few things that came to my mind after I had finished doing all of this: A tank with the best pre-raid gear at level 70 will have enough Effective Health to tank raid bosses in SSC and TK. In other words, this person can bypass the first 3 tiers of raid progression entirely (Karazhan, Gruul, and Magtheridon), although it certainly wouldn't be suggested. The other thing is simply just how small the difference is between pre-raid Effective Health and T5 Effective Health. The difference is only 8,288 Effective Health, or 19.71%. At first glance that might seem like a lot, but just think about the comparison being made: One tank has never been to a raid, all of his gear is from quests and 5 man instances; the other tank has completed the vast majority of raid content in the game -- content that a lot of players will never even be able to see, let alone conquer.

This says a lot about gear itemization. It seems as if Blizzard put in a ton of easily-accessible gear at level 70 that had tremendously high Effective Health values, and then instead of rewarding progression by giving even more Effective Health, tanks were rewarded with Avoidance. Although I haven't done the math myself, it wouldn't surprise me at all if the T5 tank had ~20% more avoidance than the pre-raid tank.

This makes me want to ask the question, "How much of a limiting factor is Effective Health anymore in terms of progression?" When the difference is so small, does maximizing efficiency through Avoidance become a better choice? Perhaps that's a discussion for another thread, but I think it's an interesting question given what we've seen so far.

Finally, the actual lists of gear.

Pre-Karazhan Gear
Head: Tankatronic Goggles
Neck: Thalodien's Charm
Shoulders: Shoulderguards of the Bold
Cape: Resolute Cape (Thoriumweave Cloak has the highest effective health, but I couldn't include it because I would fall under 490 Defense)
Chest: Bulwark of Kings
Bracers: Bracers of the Green Fortress
Main-hand: The Sun Eater
Shield: Azure Shield of Coldarra
Ranged: Gyro-Balanced Khorium Destroyer
Trinket: Darkmoon Card: Madness
Trinket: Darkmoon Card: Vengeance
Ring: Ring of Unyielding Force
Ring: Yor's Revenge
Boots: Eaglecrest Warboots (Inferno Tempered Boots have the highest effective health, but were excluded for the same reason as the Cloak
Legs: Timewarden's Leggings
Belt: Girdle of Valorous Deeds
Gloves: Felsteel Gloves

Karazhan Gear
Head: Tankatronic Goggles
Neck: Thalodien's Charm
Shoulders: Mantle of Abrahmis
Cape: Gilded Thorium Cloak
Chest: Bulwark of Kings
Bracers: Vambraces of Courage
Main-hand: King's Defender
Shield: Shield of Impenetrable Darkness
Ranged: Gyro-Balanced Khorium Destroyer
Trinket: Darkmoon Card: Madness
Trinket: Darkmoon Card: Vengeance
Ring: Violet Signet of the Great Protector
Ring: Shermanar Great-Ring
Boots: Battlescar Boots
Legs: Wrynn Dynasty Greaves
Belt: Girdle of the Indomitable
Gloves: Iron Gauntlets of the Maiden

T4 Gear
Head: Tankatronic Goggles
Neck: Thalodien's Charm
Shoulders: Shoulderguards of the Warbringer
Cape: Gilded Thorium Cloak
Chest: Bulwark of Kings
Bracers: Vambraces of Courage
Main-hand: King's Defender
Shield: Aldori Legacy Defender
Ranged: Gyro-Balanced Khorium Destroyer
Trinket: Darkmoon Card: Madness
Trinket: Darkmoon Card: Vengeance
Ring: Violet Signet of the Great Protector
Ring: A'dal's Signet of Defense
Boots: Battlescar Boots
Legs: Wrynn Dynasty Greaves
Belt: Girdle of the Indomitable
Gloves: Iron Gauntlets of the Maiden

T5 Gear
Head: Tankatronic Goggles
Neck: Frayed Tether of the Drowned
Shoulders: Destroyer Shoulderguards
Cape: Gilded Thorium Cloak
Chest: Bulwark of the Ancient Kings
Bracers: Vambraces of Courage
Main-hand: Mallet of the Tides
Shield: Aldori Legacy Defender
Ranged: Gyro-Balanced Khorium Destroyer
Trinket: Darkmoon Card: Madness
Trinket: Darkmoon Card: Vengeance
Ring: Violet Signet of the Great Protector
Ring: A'dal's Signet of Defense
Boots: Boots of the Resilient
Legs: Wrynn Dynasty Greaves
Belt: Belt of the Guardian
Gloves: Royal Gauntlets of Silvermoon

* If your server has a guild progressing through T5 content, you might have early access to Red Havoc Boots and Belt of the Guardian. These items change the Pre-Karazhan, Karazhan, and T4 lists somewhat. I'm not updating the original lists to include them because those lists were meant to represent gear obtainable through individual progression, not server-wide progression. However, for the curious, this is what the stats look like with the Belt and Boots added. (Thanks Klimpen for reminding me about these.)

Pre-Karazhan Stats w/ T5 BoEs
Health: 15,890
Armour: 15,334
Effective Health: 36,263

Karazhan Stats w/ T5 BoEs
Health: 16,443
Armour: 16,447
Effective Health: 39,055

T4 Stats w/ T5 BoEs
Health: 16,559
Armour: 17,137
Effective Health: 40,286

The T5 stats remain unchanged.

08-04-2007, 07:02 AM
So this is what's taken you so long to post. :)

Great analysis, now let me throw this out there in response: you've nailed the reason raid content was completed so quickly. The bar for Effective Health was set high, but the ability to reach that level was made possible early on.

It is a near perfect correlation to the Effective Health theory. That is, the first gear you get when you are undergeared should be for Effective Health. As you reach the minimums, build Avoidance. I was not aware of the pattern, and thanks for putting it this way.

Quick Warning: If you edit in Item Links for the bottom links at any point, re-edit the Item Links in the top ones at the same time. Every edit renders the current Item Links unusuable.

Quick Question: Do you plan on doing anymore gear analysis threads or anything along the line?

08-04-2007, 07:04 AM
you are the Uchuwars champion too? :(

08-04-2007, 07:20 AM
I didn't know you were waiting for me to post. :o

I thought about adding item tags to the lists but it lags my screen quite a bit when I put in a lot of item links. I didn't want to make anyone else spend 5-10 minutes trying to load the thread. Thanks for the heads-up though.

08-04-2007, 07:48 AM
Wasn't aware of the loading issue.

That may very well signal I better start installing the WoWhead or Armory links, and optimize a bit of the code. I was planning on doing it in a few weeks, I may get it done over the next few days.

08-05-2007, 03:59 AM
merc glad shield wall > aldori for effective health i believe.

08-05-2007, 04:13 AM
Yep, in virtually all situations, the Merciless Gladiator's Shield Wall will provide more effective health than the Legacy Defender. However...

7.) I did not include PvP/Arena gear.

The reason I don't have PvP/Arena gear listed is because I wanted these lists to represent effective health potentials and gains through PvE progression.

08-05-2007, 05:08 AM
sorry, didnt see that.

08-05-2007, 06:28 PM
The more interesting analysis is what is effective health across the tiers given geming & enchanting for mitigation vs avoidance. That is where you see the significant difference and the choice that most warriors are faced with given an almost linear upgrade path.

08-06-2007, 05:07 AM
wait... since when is avoidance a choice? lol :P

08-10-2007, 12:32 AM
Where does Red Havok Boots fall into the line up?

For Red Havoc Boots, I compared them to the other T5 boots as well as the top tier 4 boots (Battlescar).

All comparisons were done assuming a tank with 14,000 Health, 14,000 Armour, and 300 BV as base values; Solid Stars of Elune in all gem sockets, as well as a +12 Stamina enchant. Since your tanking main is a Paladin, I also assumed 2/2 Sacred Duty (+6% total Stamina) and 5/5 Toughness (+10% Armour from items), as opposed to the Warrior equivalents. :D These were tested against a level 73 (boss) mob.

Base Effective Health (14K Armour, 14K Health, 300 BV, no boots): 31,039

With Red Havoc Boots: 34,030

With Boots of the Protector: 33,938

With Boots of the Resilient: 34,588

With Battlescar Boots (Top T4): 33,885

Red Havoc Boots add 0.43% more effective health than Battlescar Boots, and 0.27% more than Boots of the Protector.

Boots of the Resilient add 2.07% more effective health than Battlescar Boots, 1.91% more than Boots of the Protector, and 1.64% more than Red Havoc Boots.

"Adds X% more effective health" can be translated into "allows the tank to survive X% more raw damage."

These values aren't perfect, but should hopefully be somewhat accurate estimations. If your stats (Armour, Health, Block Value) are significantly different than the ones I used, then you might see different results. Block Value can also be tricky to factor in, and the effective health gain from wearing Red Havoc Boots is the one value likely to change the most.

08-10-2007, 08:15 AM
Tankatronic Goggles, Gyro-Balanced Khorium Destroyer, and the Darkmoon cards all represent items that were not there when guilds progressed quickly. Along with the Bulwark of Kings you have an impressive lineup of stuff that is going to take an eternity to acquire. To me this stuff really skews the results and is a large part of the reason why we aren't seeing a more aggressive scaling from one tier to the next.

In fact, other than the Chestpiece, I'd have to say that the gun, helm and trinkets were a mistake on Blizzards part. Their approach in general to making Engineering more viable has made the pre-raid gear simply too strong with far too much longevity.

Anyway.. just my thoughts. It's an impressive list. Just curious why didn't Grom'tars Charge make the first list? 490 defense?

08-11-2007, 03:28 AM
You have a valid point, and the decision to include items such as the Darkmoon Cards and crafted gear basically came down to what George Carlin said in one of his skits: "Because if I don't, it's kind of like the elephant in the living room that nobody mentions." Other professions such as Leatherworking and Tailoring have their own uber, easily acquirable gear that lasts for a long time (Spellfire, I'm looking at you). Maybe it was Blizzard's mistake; maybe not, but that's no reason not to take advantage of it! :D

The way that I factored crafted gear & world drops into the lists:

1.) I wanted to include only PvE-acquirable pieces of gear; no PvP/Arena gear. To fit crafted gear in, I looked at where the materials necessary to make the gear dropped from. For example, I consider Bulwark of Kings to fall into the pre-raid category, because all of the components to craft the item can be acquired outside of a raid. On the other hand, something like Blazefury or Bulwark of the Ancient Kings are listed as T5 items, due to Nether Vortexes not dropping before Tempest Keep or Serpentshrine Cavern. They are all, however, considered PvE items because all of the components needed to craft them come from PvE. The same applies to the Darkmoon Cards -- you get them from PvE.

2.) Everyone is going to have 2 Professions, and if there's an item they can craft from them that is very good and better than what they're wearing, they'll get it. So I just chose the two professions that are best suited to tanks -- Blacksmithing and Engineering.

In response to the items taking an eternity to acquire, I find that it is much easier for a tank to get the Blacksmithing/Engineering gear than some of the instance drops. I'm sure everyone has a small list of elusive upgrades that simply never dropped for them in instances -- the Aldori Legacy Defender comes to mind for me personally. The crafted gear is a "guaranteed drop" once all of the components are collected.

Similar to your argument against including certain non-instance gear (Darkmoon cards) due to how long it would take to acquire, one might also argue against including some of the instance gear because it, too, can take an eternity to acquire. I didn't want to restrict the lists by something as subjective as "How easy/hard is it to get the item?"

The list isn't meant to be practical, it's just to show what can be done given a certain amount of progression, and not necessarily what should be done. How many tanks will we find wearing Inferno Tempered Boots because they provide more Effective Health than any other pre-raid boots? My guess is none. It's not me saying, "Here's a list of gear that you should get to put yourself at maximum effective health," instead it's me saying, "Here are all of your gear slots, and here is the gear that will give you the maximum possible effective health given your current PvE progression." It's a slight difference, but there is one.

It's virtually impossible to come up with a comprehensive list of "the best" gear at any point in the game without doing it on a case-by-case basis. That's why this list doesn't attempt to do that -- it's just a list of the gear with the most effective health, with a few restrictions of course. ;)

... this stuff really skews the results and is a large part of the reason why we aren't seeing a more aggressive scaling from one tier to the next.

I'm sure it changes things -- I wouldn't call it skewing the results though, as I don't think the differences are that drastic. The values will change depending on where you want to draw the line; it seems you would've disqualified crafted gear and world drops; for me, it was PvP/Arena gear, as well as pre-BC raids and World Bosses (didn't know how to accurately rank them by progression outside of using ilvls, since technically they can be attempted whenever).

However, before I ever made these lists, I compared certain tier items as well as some of the crafted stuff I included, just to see what the difference really was. You might find the analysis somewhat interesting. :)

If we remove Tankatronic Goggles from the list, Helm of the Stalwart Defender slides into first place, beating both T4 and T5 helmets in Effective Health. In addition, the T4 helmet gives more effective health than the T5 helm.*


1.) Tankatronic Goggles (0.74% more than stalwart, 0.97% more than T4, 1.47% more than T5)
2.) Helm of the Stalwart Defender (0.23% more than T4, 0.73% more than T5)
3.) Warrior T4 (0.5% more than T5)
4.) Warrior T5

And the breastplates:

1.) Bulwark of Ancient Kings (0.35% more than T5, 1.02% more than Bulwark of Kings, 1.83% more than T4/Panzar, 4.48% more than Inferno)
2.) Warrior T5 (0.67% more than Bulwark of Kings, 1.48% more than T4/Panzar, 4.13% more than Inferno)
3.) Bulwark of Kings (0.81% more than T4/Panzar, 3.46% more than Inferno)
4.) Warrior T4/Panzar (2.65% more than Inferno)
5.) Inferno Tempered Chestguard

The biggest differences are, not surprisingly, seen when transitioning between Pre-Karazhan to Karazhan gear. Once a tank has Karazhan-equivalent gear and upwards, the Goggles and Bulwark make much less of an impact.

Trinkets are another topic. There are few trinkets that are instance drops/rewards that have +Stamina on them. The only three that I can think of are:

Argussian Compass, from Heroic Slave Pens
Violet Badge, from Karazhan
Solarian's Sapphire, from Tempest Keep.

I didn't do a comparison with these, but I expect that the differences will be slightly higher, although nothing too extravagant. Again, going from pre-Karazhan gear to Karazhan gear will show the largest discrepancy, simply because the Violet Badge will provide a 'free' 378 health to a Prot Warrior (assuming 5/5 Vitality). Once a tank has acquired Karazhan gear, the advantage of having two Darkmoon cards as opposed to a Violet Badge/Argussian Compass combo becomes somewhat irrelevant because for all subsequent tiers, there are no trinkets that provide more effective health than the Violet Badge or Argussian Compass but less than a Darkmoon card.

Just curious why didn't Grom'tars Charge make the first list? 490 defense?

My original intention was not to include weapons, and the slot for weapons on my Notepad copy of the lists has "<blank>" written in it across all tiers. The decision to throw in weapons was a last-minute one, because I thought to myself, "It's silly not to include weapons, because certainly every tank will have one, and all those stats on them are definitely doing something to contribute to effective health." What I ended up doing was including the weapon with the most DPS for each tier of progression, and using its stats (Armour/Stamina) as a baseline. But I never included that at the beginning of my post. You are right to say that Grom'tor's Charge should be in place of The Sun Eater if we are looking at pure effective health, since it does have more. It's my mistake, I'll make sure to go back and add a line explaining the reasoning. Thanks for pointing it out. :)

* I'm assuming a tank with 13,000 Health, 13,000 Armour, and 300 Block Value as base stats without a helmet equipped.

08-15-2007, 02:19 AM
Commander's Badge
is a nice, easy obtainable stamina trinket too.