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View Full Version : Tanking Armor. Why I love it, and why you should too.



Martie
02-23-2010, 08:16 PM
Greetings tankspotters.

I'm one of our guilds two mainspec tanks, and I've noticed people coming to me for advice. One of the things I've noticed is people not knowing what to gear for, and more importantly, why to gear for it. I've explained the merits of armor to several people now, but it's excessively hard to properly go over the math in game. Realizing that this question probably isn't unique to my guild mates, I've decided to make this post to explain why armor is so good.

To understand why armor is so good you have to know a bit about the mechanics behind armor. Armor mitigates most physical damage by a percentage, found when hovering your mouse over the armor stat in your character screen. To make this number workable, you need to turn it into a damage taken percentage. Doing so is quite simple, simply substract the number given from 100. So if your tooltip tells you you have 65% damage reduction from armor, your damage taken percentage is 35%. I'll be using damage taken percentages throughout this post. You can also express your damage taken percentage as a decimal number, in which case it is 0.35 for the example used - your armor reduces each point of damage taken to 0.35 points of damage.

The first reason why armor is so good is due to it's effect on effective health (EH). If you remove all static modifiers from your EH calculation, you are left with two factors, health and armor. Divive your health by your decimal damage taken, and you have your EH. If the tank used in the previous example has 40k health, he would have 40,000/0.35 = 114.3k EH. The more armor you have, the more EH you have, and since EH determines how long you will live against virtually all bosses, having more EH is a good thing.
When choosing what to wear, the choice is almost never armor versus stamina (only trinkets give you that choice), so choosing gear with bonus armor on it will allow you to double dip for EH purposes. You get the EH boost from the stamina and you get the EH boost from the armor.
Now, I can hear you wondering "but what about my other stats?" This is slightly more tricky. Armor usually comes at the expense of avoidance, hit or expertise ratings. Hit and expertise can pose a slight problem once you focus on armor enough, but we tanks need little enough of both stats to really worry about it. As for the avoidance, that's a good question. What would prevent more damage in the long run? The little bit of extra attacks you avoid, or the little bit of extra armor mitigation you get? Since avoidance is affected by DR, giving you an exact number is hard - it depends on your other gear. When comparing rimefang's claw and the ardent guard on my paladin, I found that the avoidance would prevent slightly more damage over all, but that the difference was surprisingly small.

The second reason why I like armor so much comes due to my mind for numbers. When I look at logs from our fights, I see a lot of numbers flying around, and sometimes they speak to me. What I see happening is the following. There's a big static number (the boss hitting me). I apply a percentual modifier (my armor mitigates the blow). Then several other static numbers are applied (blocks and heals). The net result of these three steps should be neutral. That is, Swing/armor=block+heals. Then it dawned on me. The more damage my armor mitigates, the more potent my heals and shield blocks became when compared to the boss swing.
So that's the second reason I love armor so much - it empowers my other defensive measures.

Edgewalker
02-23-2010, 09:03 PM
Actually armor more often comes at the expense of Stamina or Defense with current gearing options. The highest armor increases you can generally make are the staminaless trinket options from badges or in ICC. You also have to consider the diminishing returns on armor, and the (several) bosses that do large magical bursts with physical damage too, not large physical bursts with magical damage too.

Dreadski
02-23-2010, 09:22 PM
Actually armor more often comes at the expense of Stamina or Defense with current gearing options. The highest armor increases you can generally make are the staminaless trinket options from badges or in ICC. You also have to consider the diminishing returns on armor, and the (several) bosses that do large magical bursts with physical damage too, not large physical bursts with magical damage too.


Armor is subject to diminished returns but it isn't. The thing to look at is effective time to live. Your time from full to zero health goes up steadily with armor, even though you get less DR from each point than the last. And funny you mention trinkets, as you can switch them out easiest for fights.

Must also consider that the magic fights generally come with a large amount of melee as well, so putting armor on your gloves instead of stam still has some benefit, as well as using the Glyph over say Heart of Iron or Corroded Skele Key.

Proletaria
02-23-2010, 11:34 PM
Maximize your armor without cutting so much stam that you go from 3-shot to 2-shot by whichever boss' fist you happen to be under. (Assuming most dmg is physical)

Ignore armor and stack stam. (Assuming most dmg is non-physical)

Laugh at avoidance stacking. (Always)

Tips to live by.

Edgewalker
02-24-2010, 12:10 AM
Armor is subject to diminished returns but it isn't. The thing to look at is effective time to live. Your time from full to zero health goes up steadily with armor, even though you get less DR from each point than the last. And funny you mention trinkets, as you can switch them out easiest for fights.

Must also consider that the magic fights generally come with a large amount of melee as well, so putting armor on your gloves instead of stam still has some benefit, as well as using the Glyph over say Heart of Iron or Corroded Skele Key.

I hate time to live, it's pretty outdated for the way fights are currently designed.

Edit - And yup Prolet. Definitely the way to live.

swelt
02-24-2010, 04:04 AM
Actually armor more often comes at the expense of Stamina or Defense with current gearing options. The highest armor increases you can generally make are the staminaless trinket options from badges or in ICC. You also have to consider the diminishing returns on armor, and the (several) bosses that do large magical bursts with physical damage too, not large physical bursts with magical damage too.

I see what you are trying to say but I think it's potentially misleading. The way I see it, there are two distinct classes of items:
- non-trinket slots with bonus armour trade avoidance/threat stats for armour. Stamina is normally identical across equivalent slot options at the same ilvl (some variance with sockets), but in short these items are almost universally good because in effect they have been itemised with a "double dollop" of effective health.
- trinkets, which is the point you were making, are significant because they are either stam or armour (ignoring the unidentifiable organ) and thus great candidates for switching to suit the encounter

The organ originally looked like it could be the best trinket ever - a pure EH stam and armour trinket - but anecdotally at least, the stamina stack drops off too easily to be reliable?

Fledern
02-24-2010, 05:30 AM
I still prefer the full monty...

http://www.tankspot.com/showthread.php?41522-Diminishing-Returns-Armour
http://www.tankspot.com/showthread.php?41526-AC-and-Stamina
http://www.tankspot.com/showthread.php?40003-Diminishing-Returns-Avoidance

As for choosing trinkets, if you've got the bonus armor armor pieces on, chances are a stam trinket will yield more EH (both physical AND magical EH) than an equal ilvl armor trinket. At least that's been the case for me since towards end of Ulduar. Unidentifiable Organ with its weird proc is a wild card though.

Bosk
02-24-2010, 07:07 AM
Surely there is a time and a place for each gearset, not a blanket one-size-fits-all?

I had 63.54% physical reduction (yes by the character sheet against a 80 opponent) and changed my gear + indestructables + black heart to an average 68.36%.

In terms of the actual damage I am taking (and needing heals for) it is reduced over 10%. I think that is a massive degree of flexibility in choice of gear.

No, it is not a great choice for tanking Keleseth, but it is for Festergut - or am I badly missing the point?

Satorri
02-24-2010, 07:16 AM
Surely there is a time and a place for each gearset, not a blanket one-size-fits-all?

NO! That would require thought and consideration!! We only operate in absolutes here!

In my opinion, the best tanks tailor their gear sets to the situation if they want to make it count.

That said you can often get away with whatever you come in wearing if your team supports you well enough, less so in hard modes, of course.


Part of the trick of tanking is that 90% of our survival is based on preparation of gear and consumables. We are the one role that can benefit most often by adjusting our gear to match the situation (it is very rare these days to see Healers using endurance sets).

Bosk
02-24-2010, 07:24 AM
Ah I feel better now :)

I swap at least both trinkets between different encounters, often a few more pieces. My guild is not 'skill-capped' (a gentle and kind way to phrase it) so every bit of extra help I can get out of basic maths is welcome!

Satorri
02-24-2010, 08:32 AM
I think the all-stam-all-the-time movement is actually strong for the sake of supporting the people who don't adjust their gear for encounters (which I expect is fueled as much by people who don't have access to more gear, as much as people who don't care to).

Health can be applied to any combination of avoidable, unavoidable, physical, or magic damage.

jere
02-24-2010, 10:11 AM
I hate time to live, it's pretty outdated for the way fights are currently designed..

Even if TTL is on the order of 3-5s? I don't know if it is, but am asking. If the window were small enough, would TTL have more meaning in tank burst scenarios?

Edgewalker
02-24-2010, 10:25 AM
Even if TTL is on the order of 3-5s? I don't know if it is, but am asking. If the window were small enough, would TTL have more meaning in tank burst scenarios?

Well most situations that kill a tank now are magical + physical bursts back to back. Festergut and DBS are great candidates for armor/eh/ttl mashing, but for most bosses it really is best to not think about it too much and stack that stamina. I always like to gear for the max burst I suppose. You could also make arguments for Putricide and Marrowgar, but neither fight is really designed to stress tank life.

jere
02-24-2010, 11:34 AM
I was thinking about fights that might put more pressure for healers to swap from the tanks to help with the raid. It probably wouldn't be as big of an issue in 25m as it could be 10m where you only run with 2 healers typically. In a fight where tank healers had to swap to help out with the raid because it was just too much for one person to cover, it might be an interesting way to make TTL more viable, at least in 10m.

Talking hypothetically here. Putricide P3 almost gets this way and so could BQL if it were changed a bit.

Papapaint
02-24-2010, 03:09 PM
Actually armor more often comes at the expense of Stamina or Defense with current gearing options. The highest armor increases you can generally make are the staminaless trinket options from badges or in ICC. You also have to consider the diminishing returns on armor, and the (several) bosses that do large magical bursts with physical damage too, not large physical bursts with magical damage too.

I disagree entirely. Very few pieces offer armor vs. stam--bracers/trinkets are really the only slot with that option. Legs/Chest/Cloak/Belt/Hands all have you choosing between armor or avoidance.

Satorri
02-25-2010, 07:21 AM
Stamina budgeting is usually standardized, but they made a point of not adding as big a step of Stamina going from t9.5 level gear to t10 gear. I believe you're right that they don't trade itemization away from Stam to other things, but I don't think that is what he meant.

The usual trade is added armor for lost avoidance and/or hit/expertise, as you will actually lose dodge/defense/hit/expertise to pick up the high armor gear.

Xequecal
02-26-2010, 12:30 AM
STA vs. armor can easily come into play on lots of gear pieces, depending on where you are on progression and your loot system. Say you don't have access to heroic modes because you can't beat Lich King. So which tank bracer is better? http://www.wowhead.com/?item=49960 or http://www.wowhead.com/?item=50802? 18 Stamina and some avoidance vs. 580 armor.

Even beyond that, some of the bonus armor pieces don't have hardmode upgrades. Is http://www.wowhead.com/?item=50991 better than http://www.wowhead.com/?item=50691?

gacktt
02-26-2010, 01:34 AM
I currently use glyph + organ on every physical fight(uh that's all of icc other than sindragosa/LK/Deathholler I guess), with indestructible pot and armor elixir I get about 43500 armor and 73% DR. I'd like to know if it actually is higher EH than using key + juggernaut.

4k armor vs 5k hp.

Xequecal
02-26-2010, 02:51 AM
I currently use glyph + organ on every physical fight(uh that's all of icc other than sindragosa/LK/Deathholler I guess), with indestructible pot and armor elixir I get about 43500 armor and 73% DR. I'd like to know if it actually is higher EH than using key + juggernaut.

4k armor vs 5k hp.

4k armor increases EH by 7.125%. So if you have 70,000 HP or more in your armor gear, the armor is more EH. I doubt you have that much, so the "5k HP" is more EH. However, it doesn't win out by much, and remember that armor actually reduces damage taken, stamina is just more HP. Personally, I'd go with the armor.

gacktt
02-26-2010, 03:00 AM
I only have about 55k hp with 2 armor trinkets before organ stamina stacks, might need to stick with a key+organ for now.

Arekkusul
02-27-2010, 03:05 AM
STA vs. armor can easily come into play on lots of gear pieces, depending on where you are on progression and your loot system. Say you don't have access to heroic modes because you can't beat Lich King. So which tank bracer is better? http://www.wowhead.com/?item=49960 orhttp://www.wowhead.com/?item=51901 (http://www.wowhead.com/?item=51901)? +0 Stamina and some parry and str vs. 714 armor.

Even beyond that, some of the bonus armor pieces don't have hardmode upgrades. Is http://www.wowhead.com/?item=50991 better than http://www.wowhead.com/?item=50036 (http://www.wowhead.com/?item=50036)?


Fixed. If you really want a comparision, compare same ilvl items at least. Of course you are allowed to not trust everything and make your own testing. Record some combat logs. Compare them. Then welcome to the world of armor lovers.

About what having access to: what if I don't have the drop for several weeks also on any mode? Just asking.

bmd
02-27-2010, 08:18 AM
Although it may not make a huge difference, extra armor for Warriors and DK's means more Attack Power which translates into more dps and threat done.

Dragaan
02-28-2010, 01:55 AM
Fixed. If you really want a comparision, compare same ilvl items at least. Of course you are allowed to not trust everything and make your own testing. Record some combat logs. Compare them. Then welcome to the world of armor lovers.

About what having access to: what if I don't have the drop for several weeks also on any mode? Just asking.

Not sure why you "corrected" that post. Xequecal said "say you don't have access to heroic modes because you can't beat lich king". The heroic gargoyle bracers are obviously superior to the dark reckoning ones. He/she was basically asking just how valuable the bonus armor is on some of the lower ilv pieces when compared to higher-ilv pieces with less armor but more stam. Completely valid question. I think you totally missed the point.

There are many ways to answer that question, Xeq. Every fight is different. The short answer is that the pieces with bonus armor are usually better for surviving physical damage than slightly-higher ilv pieces with a tad more stam. Different bosses kill tanks in different ways, tho. Most fights dish out more physical damage than anything else, but it's not always the main culprit in a tank's death.

Arekkusul
02-28-2010, 05:26 PM
No, I didn't missed the point of what he was asking. Did you got the point of my last part of post?

Dragaan
03-02-2010, 06:39 AM
I don't think that has anything to do with his question. He was just asking which is better, even tho there's an obvious ilv difference. Not having something drop doesn't change his question or the answer.

Pied
03-14-2010, 07:24 AM
"Divive your health by your decimal damage taken, and you have your EH. If the tank used in the previous example has 40k health, he would have 40,000/0.35 = 114.3k EH"

This is an incorrect analysis. You only mitigate hits taken, so you need to multiply your armor mitigation by (1-avoidance %). For example, most ICC tanks have around 50% avoidance so the marginal benefit of armor is half what you are suggesting (or 70% in ICC b/c of debuff).

To illustrate this, suppose you had 100% avoidance -- according to the above analysis, you would still somehow gain an EH bonus despite the fact that you would never get hit.

Edit: That's not to say armor isn't good, but as you give up avoidance to take more armor it affects the marginal benefit of armor.

MellvarTank
03-15-2010, 09:04 AM
It isn't incorrect, it is stating how many consecutive hits you can take (how much damage) before you die. It does not calculate avoidance or block, just how much damage until you are dead. The idea is that your avoidance/block will help this number (ie. extend the pool farther by avoiding/mitigating more damage), but it cannot be relied upon as it will change based on RNG. EH is much more important, because the reality is if you can't take 'X' amount of damage without heals, you will die in some fights (Onyxia P3 anyone?).

That is why avoidance is not factored in.

TL;DR - EH calculations are used to show how much damage you can take before you die. Avoidance is damage you don't 'take'.

Xequecal
03-15-2010, 04:10 PM
You can't find EH by just dividing HP by percentage of damage taken after armor. You also have to factor in damage reduction from talents, which is different for every tank. Paladins and DKs (in 3.3.3) also have semi-random EH-boosting talents in WotN and Redoubt.

MellvarTank
03-16-2010, 07:15 AM
No, you need to understand that EH is only a representation of how much damage to kill you. ie. Onyxia P3/P1, Cleave, Melee hit, Wing buffet all land at the same time (yes, it has and does happen) can you survive it? You don't have time to hit a cooldown in that situation, that is where a raw EH calc will help you.