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.

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.