Lament of Avoidance-Loving tank
Ok, this is my first post on tankspot, and its going to be a long one. I've come to respect you guys here, and over my tanking career i've turned to the guides here and data presented by alot of your members to help me decide what to do.
A little background, i've played a tank warrior since december of release (2004 if i recall). Pre-BC i tanked tons of 5man content (its all we had) cleared MC and the 20mans ZG and AQ20, also stuck my feet into AQ40 and BWL (guild at the time wasn't a raiding guild).
Now post-BC i've done alot more 'serious' tanking as it were. Cleared all of Karazhan and Zul'Aman (2nd on server i might add :-D), also cleared Gruul, and we've got a majorty of bosses down in SSC / TK as well as the world bosses. I'd like to think i've come into a more serious raiding situation that pre-BC, but at the same time, nothing has really made me stop and say "Woah! i'm in over my head!". Often i'm requested to tank heroics and/or raids as often as possible, and i enjoy it. I enjoy challenges.
Now that THATS over, here is my dillemma.
My tanking style of choice favors avoidance over effective health. Its the way i've learned to tank and its the style i prefer (i've tried going damage-soak all stam/AC/blockval and didn't enjoy it much). I've learned to overcome the spiky rage generation -thus- my threat is above where it needs to be. Also my healers tend to be reactive and not proactive healers, so by dodging and parrying i don't get excessive overheal.
Now, i'm no fool, each boss fight had a gear set that can optimize the fight for you, and even in full avoidance gear i have enough health to survive bad luck. Heavy avoidance rocks on the Lynx boss and Tidewalker, but heavy stam is great for fights like Void Reaver and Lurker. I've build a gear set of each. In full avoidance i'm sitting at 58% passive avoid with 30% block. In full stam i'm sitting over 16k unbuffed HP with 17,050 AC and 500 block val(sorry i didn't do the effective health math on that). I've got a meet-in-the-middle set with a healthy helping of both.
My problem arises in what to do now. Everywhere i go for tanking gear advice tells me i'm an idiot and don't know what i'm doing. I'd like to push myself to higher levels and do better, but i've hit a brick wall with avoidance tanking as few people actually use it to the extent i do. I'm strongly tempted to shelve my fancy avoidance set, re-socket all with star of elune, and wear my full effective health gear 24/7, just so that i know how to improve.
Are there any other tanks out there who prefer the avoid-style of tanking? I know my healers appreciate the style, and i know that i can hold aggro above our DPS easily enough (and they're no fools either), but i've come to a brick wall with the community. Any advice or suggestions on how to improve or where to look for info? If you'd like more specifics i'd be glad to give them.
Thanks for taking the time to read the wall of text. :-) If you're interested in armory-ing me, feel free, if i remember i was wearing my Mixed set when i logged out.
Edit: Blah, i posted in the wrong section of the forums. Please move this to the General Section since i can't delete this one and repost. Sorry about that.
I used to love avoidance when I was doing 5 mans, and when I started kara. It was gruul and nightbane that tought me otherwise, especially gruul. I was sick of long periods of no rage as an OT on gruul when Id dodge a couple, and I couldnt make any threat. And even as MT on him early on there was almost no rage.
The better your avoidance gear gets the worse it screws your threat. I like to heroic strike on like 60%+ of autoattacks, and you cant do that with high avoidance.
I have 14% dodge 15% parry and about 470 defense (with some resilience for uncrittable) in my effective health gear. 17250 hp 18300 armor 650 block value. With Tier 5 level gear.
With my more standard tanking gear Its like 16khp/17.5k armor/825 block value with some more avoidance and very high block%, for trash/5mans.
To me there is value in an effective health set, and value in a 'multimob block set', which eventually becomes your uncrushable set with enough block rating.
As long as you have enough EH and threat, there is nothing wrong with avoidance tanking.
BTW, I still prefer EH tanking. :P
The streaks of no-rage i've come to deal with and now can get around without difficulty. I've spec'ed for improved bloodrage and burn it every CD, i've got anger mangement for some passive rage gen, also i'm scoring both Focused Rage and 2/3 in imp devistate and imp HS. All that combined with a good 1h threat weap and totally damage-less i can still output good TPS.
If i don't blow my avoid trinkets until after i'm a good cushion ahead on threat, i generally don't have an issue. I've just now started to put together a "passive uncrush" gear setup. i've already got one for duel-wield bosses (was honestly very easy to make with all my avoid gear), and of coarse i've got a pure threat gear setup for heroics and trash mobs.
What should i do now? Focus on pushing my avoidance over 60%? Try to get 16k unbuffed HP with my hefty avoidance? I'm just like "well, now what" as far as improvements
reactive healing whether your healers are smart or if you have a ton of avoidance will fail on raid bosses.
They will wait, they will wait, then you'll get hit, and they'll start the heal, then normally you'll avoid some mroe and the heal will go through, that's fine, but in the situatoins where you get hit 2 more times after that, you're dead, they'll never get the heals off and if they do you won't get topped off in time. you're healers won't overheal as long as they do a pro-active/reactive mix. Start casting the heal, and cancel it at the very last moment if you are already topped off. That is what makes a smart raid healer different from your spamming flash of light healer.
There is nothing wrong with wearing avoidance if you meet a minimum health requirement for a fight. What is that minimum health requirement? No one truly knows yet since there's not enough testing, but its as Wanderlei mentioned on the U.S. Forums. Stacking stamina to reach a certain health minimum is smart. Stacking stamina beyond that certain health minimum for no reason isn't. His theory was something along the lines of: "if i have x hp, i can survive y # of hits. If increasing my x hp by even more, will it increase the y# of hits for me to survive? If not, then x hp is good enough for now and more avoidance will in fact help smooth out my chance of getting hit y # of hits in a row." Combine this with Joanadark's article on EDF (Effective Damage Frequency) and it all makes sense. What joana basically says (and this is a very broad summary) is that having more avoidance, makes it more reliable. At 20% dodge, you have 20% dodge, that doesn't guarantee that 1 out of 5 hits will be avoided. However, having 35% dodge, doesn't guarantee that 1/3 hits will be avoided either BUT the odds are far more in favor of it happening. What you effectively do then with avoidance, is not use it as a means to survive hits, but rather to space out the # of hits you WILL in fact be taking. Combining this with smart Effective health stacking and you can see how quickly this subject gets complex. But Joana says it perfectly: "EH cannot survive without at least a minimum level of EDF and EDF cannot survive without at least a minimum level of EH" The true mastery is figuring out what is the balance and for which encounters.
So is avoidance bad? By no means. Is it smart to stack? Not at the expense of hp in "most" scenarios.
Is stacking nothing but hp at the expense of tons of avoidance bad? Sometimes it doesn't hurt but you gotta weigh your gains and losses!
Solution? Have tons of gear, gem them for avoidance, gem them for stamina, gem them for threat, have all 3 handy and be ready to swap them in and out and wear multiple pieces for various fights. Doing this will be prove to be tried and true better than anyone can yell at you to stack one or the other.
When I am overgeared for a fight I DONT like to swap out effective health for avoidance. I swap it for more threat.
Generally these fights your raid is overgeared for and people want to go all out. You need MORE threat not less. Avoidance = less threat. That is the main problem with avoidance imo. It destroys your ability to heroic strike on most attacks.
For me there are basically 3 reasonable tanking gear sets (not counting resist sets)
There is all out Armor/Stam. This is for very hard hitting bosses when threat is no issue becuase you get a threat lead. (Magtheridon for example, or Karathress).
There is Armor/Stam/Block Value. This is for general raid boss tanking.
There is Block Value/Expertise/Hit. This is for doing maximum threat on stuff youre overgeared for, and trash. Versus trash this set probably also has high block rating, which with high BV is great mitigation for 5mans/trash.
Gotcha, thanks for the replies.
The comment you quoted about EDF and avoidance is one i remember, it reminded me that i wasn't a fool by doing what i was doing, if you don't have enough health to survive that 1 more swing, the difference between 1000 hp and 50hp is zero if he overkills you for 1100 damage.
I'll try to keep an eye on average boss damage output, and then try to find the break-even point for health and gear for it. Like you said having a set of each can't hurt at all, just more time consuming.
What's a good health minimum you'd suggest? Or a better question since that one is too complicated, whats a good number of hits i should be able to soak in succession without being healed? 3-4 seconds? Long enough to cast a heal if my healers arn't afk?
Example: I'm tanking Lurker. He's swinging for an average of 4k. Through a block thats down to 3.5k. If i don't avoid at all for 4 swings i'll take 14k damage, so fully buffed i better have over 14k HP or i'll get 4-shotted. If i don't block at all, those 4ks become 6k, so now to avoid 3 crushes in a row, i'll need over 18k fully buffed HP, so a good average would be 16k and off i go. Like that?
I do the same thing.
Originally Posted by Crimsonstorm
TPS and health is the prot warriors epeen. ^^
Saying "Man, I totally put up sustained 1300 TPS on that mob" is way cooler than "Man, I totally dodged 5 attacks in a row" :P
But at the same time my TPS/EH are usually overkill and some avoidance would probably help the healers relax a bit.
My running best is 14 in a row
14 totally avoided attacks in a row, and didn't lose threat.
If i remember, it was on the Bear boss in ZA when we were learning him. Opened up with a trinket, and i began to wonder if my trinket ever wore off. :-)
But yea, if i talk to another tank they're always like "Dude, i totally have 17k unbuffed hp, what about you?" and i get to respond with "uh, i have 30% dodge?" Its fun for fights like Prince watching the healers anticipate an overheal spam fest, only get get bored out of their minds during axes.
Tho i just got my Aquir artifact from ZJ last week, i'm hoping to break that record soon.
Any idea on a # of hits or # of seconds i should shoot for to soak in a row?
I'd say a good baseline HP/armor for T5 is 20K HP and 17K armor fully buffed. You should be able to easily tank every boss in SSC/TK with numbers like that.
That's definitely a smart way to think of it, but as crimson said, if you outgear a place, gearing for threat will normally lead to good outcomes, but if you're progressing and all the hp in the world isn't helping, try doing what you're doing.
Originally Posted by Maddox
Joanna,s numbers are a little bit better for the average, I'm in full T6 and raid buffed I hit 21.5ish with commanding and 20k armor with out a pally and my shield sucks...
Originally Posted by Joanadark
How about we meet in the middle. 19.25K!
I started off the same way, I got as much dodge as I could and then once I started getting gear with parry that fit in, I would use that too. Most of my tanking through kara was a mix of what I would call an avoidance set, about 25% dodge and 22% parry. I would socket with def stam gems, agi stam gems, or 12 stam gems in any blue sockets. I had what I felt was a good balance, but not a max stam set by any means. I have been working on my new gear as a stam set, but still have my old gear for the avoidance. I do feel the same way, I think my guild is use to how I tank, and I usually don't have a problem with aggro at all in my set in raids, smaller instances where I get hit less and have less rage is different, and I think my healers appreciate the number of avoidance as well. I have spent enough time on here to try out the EH set that a lot of people talk about and that is what I am working on now so I can max my health and armor to prepare for the harder hitting bosses. It is hard to give a solid number for what to have, but as long as your healers are comfortable and you are making progress then you must be doing something right.
In our farming raids the healers have so much mana and so much +heal they are falling asleep healing me in my EH gear.
I'd rather have healers in a nice flow of incoming EH damage flow then jumpy like over caffeinated poodles with itchy trigger fingers hovering over the heal the tank button waiting for for me to get hit.
We do have an equally well geared avoidance tank but it's hard to see a huge benefit one way or the other where we are which is clearing kara and just cleared GL.
How much do they stack for Tidalvas and Morogrim?
Originally Posted by Joanadark
Rather than quote health and armor minimums, maybe we should be quoting EH minimums.
For instance, I'm at a solid 35k unbuffed (my gear right now is destroyed, didn't bother to repair after my last raid as I didn't have enough gold on the toon), nearly 40k fully buffed. I've reached ~19k health fully buffed. I got three-shot on Maulgar twice in a row the only time I've been in Gruul's on Norrath. That was ... rather distressing. (~6k hit, ~7k special, ~6k hit, dead. Within two seconds. Twice in a row, almost exactly the same hits.)
My armor is rather low as my shield is crap, but I don't feel that it's low enough that I should die this fast. Was I just unlucky or is my EH really that much too low?
Dovie'andi se tovya sagain - it's time to roll the dice
The questions you need to ask at that point are of your DPS: Did you have to hold back? How much?
Originally Posted by Maddox
On Fathom-Lord, I am usually the Karathress tank. When the rest of the raid finishes the first 3, they come in on Karathress when I have about 300K threat already built up. This is when I watch our hunters and enhancement shaman light it up to 1200-1300TPS - with Salvation on! - in a scenario where there is no threat cap for them to worry about. The DPS warriors and warlocks are usually right behind that in the 900+ TPS range.
I'm not saying avoidance is bad by any stretch. However, when you're looking at streaks, someone is almost certainly paying the bill for it.
Edit: On the other hand, it's possible to over-EH yourself up to the point where so much healing needs to be focused on you that others suffer if there is raid-wide damage happening.
Thanks very much everyone for your well-thought out advice and explainations.
I'll keep working on my tanking (as always) and try to get a feel for a good effective health baseline to shoot for and then throw avoidance on top of that.
to answer your previous question - no, luckily i don't panic my healers with accordian health bars that go from 10% to 100% and back every 5 seconds, often my damage is very steady along the lines of dodge, dodge, 4k thru a block, parry, dodge, 4k through a block, dodge, dodge, dodge, 4k through a block, parry . . . etc. If anything the tanks i run with have very unstable health bars. The other tank i'm often with is a solid EH tank, but her health bar fluctuates a great deal - so much that we didnt' beat lynx boss until she soaked saberlashes instead of me, go figure.
I can't say for a minute tho that i don't get unlucky streaks of hit hit hit crush dead. It happens, but very rarely.
And satrina to answer your question, when i took 14 avoids in a row, yea i'd almost gaurentee our DPS had to hold back a bit (bear boss has alot of transitions), but from taunting off our bear-tank i had a huge huge aggro ceiling to work with, then couple taht with my 700 hit-less TPS i was more than able to keep above the DPS until the next transition. I'll keep a closer eye on Omen and see if my avoid-streaks are causing our DPS to run on the edge of my threat or if they are safe. From just glancing on occasion i'm often 10-20% above the 2nd on threat, but i'll keep an eye on it.
Thanks again everyone
I <3 my 23k hp 22k armor fully buffed (5/6 & 3/4 progression)
Originally Posted by Wartorn