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Thread: Everyday Build: Toughness Vs Shield Specialization

  1. #1
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    Everyday Build: Toughness Vs Shield Specialization

    Toughness Vs Shield Specialization

    I want to start out by saying that this post is to get a bit more information from the community about spec choices I am thinking through. I am mostly new to tanking, Pre-Bc I was a hunter, then quit wow for a year or so and rolled a Prot War about 6 months before WOTLK.


    1. Everyday build - Ciderhelm 15/5/51
    I am very excited to have a chance to try this build out, it appears to be gaining traction and I didn't realize the changes to deep wounds and now I agree that my build should incorporate that talent.


    2. Armor and Shield block %
    But some of the trade offs don't quite sit well with me.
    I am going to discuss my first crack at some theorycraft.


    Toughness =
    Increases your armor value from items by 2% per point

    Shield Specialization = Increases your chance to block attacks with a shield by 1% and has a 20% chance to generate 2 rage when a block occurs per point

    Lets look at Armor and Shield block % in more detail.

    Armor suffers from diminishing returns and always has. The 2% increase armor is "worth less" at higher armor levels then it is at lower even though it is giving you more armor. (will include a spread sheet). Armor however is consistent and the damage reduction is spread out over every physical hit. Armor increases increase AP through Armor to the Teeth. But 2% reducation effectively is very little AP lost.

    Shield block % does not suffer from diminishing returns unlike armor,parry,dodge. SBV has many multipliers and critical block which 30% of the time doubles up the block value.

    3. The point

    Now I should probably get to my point which I have eluded to. For this Every day build I believe that AT SOME POINT Moving some points from Toughness to Shield Specialization will provide more survival. Currently I am not sure if the itemization is at this point yet but there will be a time where it would make more sense to shift 1,2, or 3 points from toughness to Shield Specialization. Trying to find a good way to compare them was not easy and I still don't think I compared them exactly.






    First note that I did not take into consideration Shield Block skill which can be used every 40 secs, in the 10 secs it is active Shield Block % will not matter and Armor is all that would matter since blocked damage is reduced after armor mitigation. But outside this 10 secs (3/4th of the time) block % does matter and is again the only stat for mitigation purposes that doesn't suffer from diminishing returns.

    Also note how the % differences of Armor value decrease the more Armor you have so this points to a specific tipping point where the increase of armor will not be worth enough to give up 1% block (dependent on SBV).

    The example I used I needed to get an example of damage from a boss so I used the 10 man
    Patchwerk example that on wowwiki says about 4500 damage on plate.As you can see that if your SBV was 2188 you would have effectively blocked more damage than if you kept that 1 point in Toughness oppose to putting it in to Shield specialization.

    Now the question "is 2188 SBV realistic?" I am not sure of but this is an example, for a faster / lighter hitting boss (the hitts should be greater than your SBV*2 for max worth from blocking) I believe there will be a point where it makes alot of sense to switch a few points to shield specialization.

    The questions I have to the community are:

    1) Do you agree there will be a point (even if only theoritically) where this trade off makes sense?
    2) What would be the factors of this point in gear itemization?
    3) Any idea of what would be some of the tipping point values to look out for?


    Thanks again for listening and happy tanking,

    Gajanator 80 Protection Warrior -
    Zuluhed

    Last edited by mabijaoude; 12-30-2008 at 03:04 PM. Reason: Table not formating Correctly

  2. #2
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    You need to be comparing physical swings in the range of 20k+ unmitigated, or more, which is likely what the bare minimum will be in Ulduar. A few Naxx bosses already hit for that much. Actually, you will probably need to look at 30k swings before mitigation before you do your comparisons.

    A 30k unmitigated hit would be, at 67% reduction from armor (ballpark figure raid buffed), a mere 9900 after mitigation from armor alone.

    A 40k unmitigated hit would be 13200, which is a bit more in line with what we should expect. It is likely it will only be higher, and naturally, get much higher the further along in progression you go.

    Because of this, Armor gets better the harder mobs hit, not worse. Conversely, Block Rating (and block value) get worse as mobs hit harder, not better.

    Block Rating / Block Value gain worth in overall mitigation once mobs are hitting for smaller amounts, or hitting at extreme frequency (multiple attacks a second, AoE tanking, etc).
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  3. #3
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    I agree but..

    I do agree with your estimates and conclusion but the main point I am trying to isn't what is better armor or Shield block value and % but will the marginal increase of 2% armor at large quantities of armor (keeping diminishing returns in mind) be of more value then getting 1% to block since the block damage is After armor mitigation.

    that amount of mitigated damage converted to unmitigated damage then reduced by the mitigation factor of 2% armor increase will the result be in favor of the block or 2% armor. Armor 100% is more consistent and is spread out over all hits, but taking a 100 swing sample set and add an extra block in there gives a good approximation.

    But you might be right since most stuff I have read seems to point towards armor but I just think itemization hasn't caught up and there will be a point that 2% armor increase less valuable then 1% to block.

    thanks again for the reply

  4. #4
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    I find blocking 6k worth of patchwerks dmg on berserk pretty nice with around 1k sbv, with shield block and trinket poped. He pretty much does 0 dmg to me that last 5% of his life. I think certain fights when bosses have a mini zerk every 30 seconds, a good sbv set will really shine.

    5% of 1k is only another 50 sbv with the meta. With the current gear in game, I find this not worth it.

  5. #5
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    Has there been any theory craft on something similar to Agility Equivalency Points (AEP) for rouges?

    Because looking at the post for 20 Def rating vs 40 SBV again there is a way to find a tipping point where taking a sample set of swings you can approximate which is better. I think the problem is there are a lot of variables that need to be considered. Current stats including parry/dodge/miss/block, boss damage (or just DPS), swing timers, diminishing returns, etc...

    I would like to get to the point where , under conditions X,Y,Z at point A you should take SBV over dodge/parry/def rating, or at point B you should take SBV / shield block % over armor etc.

    I will continue to look into this a bit more.

  6. #6
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    Even if it could be proven, that 1% block > 2% armor in terms of total damage taken, I would probably stick with armor for the EH it provides. block is still more an AOE stat in my eyes

  7. #7
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    Well If 1% block > 2% armor increase then yes your EH might be lower but your damage taken would be reduced enough to offset the EH lost. And I agree about the AOE stat but on fast (<2s) bosses then if 1% block increased your time to live more then 2% armor it would be silly to choose 2% armor for the EH. .

    Again I could be 100% wrong in this, and my math has been quite rough, but I do see potential.

    From what I see, I believe Blizzard is trying to show warriors this path, but the itemization has not yet shown this to us. ask yourself why block is the only stat that doesn't suffer from diminishing returns? And the fact that all pieces now have large quantities of Str and the new 2 str = 1 SBV. All these changes have made Shield blocking much better. I would go so far as to say that when the new content opens up you will be seeing tanks with decent avoidances but at the point where it doesn't make any sense to stack it. And when your EH pool allows you to take enough damage for healers to heal you there is really no reason to continue to stack EH. So what is left I would say hopefully huge SBVs which used with Shield Block, Critical block, and a non - dimishing returns Shield block % which is 30-40% (depending on where the aviodances is capped). I think that nearing the new content almost all attacks will be modified by a block of some sort.

    Back in BC I stacked Aviodance over EH, and didn't get to raid as much as I would like due to work but when I noticed the changes I realized that the only way to gear now would be a decent size EH and stack SBV and block gear (there are few pieces in current gear itemization with Shield block rating). Looking at some of the pieces they include 30-60 shield block rating per piece. now if you take 16.4 rating = 1% block you can see that with just 2-3 pieces you are getting 8% + shield block%, that is not including the talents etc. And the more you block the better SBV is for you. So I could for sure see huge block %.

    EH is a buffer the way I look at it, if you never need more then 8 Kbyte buffer for a program that sends data, why would you use 12kbytes ?

    just like Avoidances is dimishing armor does, means every point in armor is less valueable so really Shield blocking is the way to go imo.

    I would love to hear from others that have the same or opposite views, thanks for everyone that has given their two sense.

  8. #8
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    Don't forget as well that Toughness has good synergy with Armored To The Teeth. Which, is I believe, the main reason any spec built on the "core" (5/0/51) always has both.

  9. #9
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    Shields will never be better than armor in the long run.

    Shield block value is a completely nonscaling stat that is only effective on attacks you block. As mob damage goes up it becomes less and less useful. This is something I keep complaining about because shields are extremely useful at early level 80 (Dungeons/heroics) but incredibly worthless vs the end stuff (Sarth with twilight revenge, Malygos, etc).

    Armor doesn't really diminish persay. In a similar fashion to avoidance it becomes more effective as you approach the cap so the amount of armor needed to increase mitigation is curved. Think of going from 98% to 99% avoidance, your mitigation improves by 50%. Armor works the same way, if you go from 98% armor to 99% armor your mitigation increases by 50% so logically 99% armor should require twice the armor value of 98%.

    Vs the hardest hitting bosses a point of shield spec is equal to around .25% total mitigation. Armor on the other hand should be around 21800 without toughness and each point will increase you by .45% but that is out of the remaining 42% so in reality you are gaining nearly a 1% mitigation increase for each point of toughness. This "should" remain consistent at all levels, 5 points of toughness will make you take about 5% less dmg than without it. Shield Spec may win out in some incredibly low damage fights but do you really even need the advantage in those cases? In the high damage situations Toughness is 4 times as effective.

    Also that block value seems pretty unrealistic. The highest I've seen anyone hit currently is around 1500 and I just don't see us gaining another 1000 points of strength or 500 points of SBV on our items. The other thing you will need to think about is how monster damage is going to scale compared to our blocking. If blocking is already being dwarved by armor what is going to happen when bosses are hitting regularly for 16k, 20k, more? That just puts more and more favor on armor.
    Last edited by Lightmgl; 12-31-2008 at 03:02 PM.

  10. #10
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    I will quickly address the Armor to the teeth comment, 20K armor and 2% of that is 400 divide that by 180 leaves you with ~2.2 AP. That isn't enough AP loss to really change anything.

    To light,

    I see your point for sure. since Armor reduces damage as a % with hard hits you will mitigate more. And I see your point on how armor diminishes.

    if there was a way to stack a large amount of SBV your blocks will be bigger, and if it was possible to increase block % by a lot also, I still think that there will be a point maybe not now due to itemization that shield block value / % will be better.

    I feel that there is a way to convert SBV into equivalent armor. I am going to attempt to look into this a bit more, but I am heading out for new years. thanks again for your comments.

  11. #11
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    Just another question where did you get the 1 point in shield Spec = 0.25% mitigation?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by mabijaoude View Post
    Well If 1% block > 2% armor increase then yes your EH might be lower but your damage taken would be reduced enough to offset the EH lost. And I agree about the AOE stat but on fast (<2s) bosses then if 1% block increased your time to live more then 2% armor it would be silly to choose 2% armor for the EH. .

    Again I could be 100% wrong in this, and my math has been quite rough, but I do see potential.

    From what I see, I believe Blizzard is trying to show warriors this path, but the itemization has not yet shown this to us. ask yourself why block is the only stat that doesn't suffer from diminishing returns? And the fact that all pieces now have large quantities of Str and the new 2 str = 1 SBV. All these changes have made Shield blocking much better.
    1) Chance to block (shield block rating) diminishes just like armour does- it's just less noticable because it's much harder to get block rating.
    2) Talents don't themselves diminish. I don't know whether this means they "bump" up the curve so that your ratings convert to diminished chances at the same rate they would without the talent or not, but Toughness will always give 10% until you hit the armour cap.
    3) We're probably getting block value from strength so that we don't need it from as many items as before, freeing Blizzard up to itemise tanking plate in a more Death Knight-friendly manner.
    4) Shield Block Value doesn't diminish because it's a linear stat, (like stamina) not percentage-based like dodge, parry, block chance, or miss chance. This meant that without Diminishing Returns, these stats would get better with each additional point you added to them
    Last edited by Ari; 12-31-2008 at 03:12 PM.

  13. #13
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    Oh uhhh if you want a quick runout its very sloppy.

    I have 1300 sbv. 20% block rate and 54% avoidance so I block 20/46 attacks for an average of 1690 per block (accounting for critical block). Taking that into an average over the attacks blocking gives me an average mitigation of 734 dmg reduced per attack that lands (1690/46 attacks times 20 blocked).

    On a boss hitting for 12k that is a overall damage reduction of about 6.1%.

    If you add a point of shield spec it changes it to 21/46 which would change things to 771 damage reduction per attack that lands on average which would be an overall damage reduction of about 6.4%.

    I guess its closer to .3% not .25%. I only crunched the numbers in my head real quickly. It still leaves toughness over 3 times as effective though.

    In order to translate SBV into equivalent armor you would have to look at it at every level of monster damage output. The number would change as the monster's damage changes. If you want the current level where SBV and Toughness are interchangable with my 1300 SBV it would be for mobs that hit for 3600 dmg or so. Below that Shield Spec > Toughness and above that Toughness > Shield Spec. With 1500 SBV the number is ever so slightly higher, but not much. Theres very few mobs in the game in heroics and beyond that hit for so little.
    Last edited by Lightmgl; 12-31-2008 at 03:11 PM.

  14. #14
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    Using the working part of Rawr i realized that it's possible to push hit off the table and get a SBV of 2k+ and 55% avoid, ~36k hp raid buffed.
    (naxx10/25 gear, btw)

    that way you would constantly mitigate another 20% of an average boss hit. (bosses that hit ridiculously hard aren't discussible as "EH > all" will most likely be the way to go)
    for a 30k unmitigated hit that means our 67% constant mitigation goes up to 73,6%. this is roughly equal to what bears have with the next patch. critical block would then give another added 2.7% absorb (0.45block%*0.3Cblock%*0.2BV%)

    of course block gets worse with higher hits but not every boss has to be difficult to heal because he can 2-shot you. being able to take less healers to encounters that rely on dps, loatheb-like bosses and ofc our fast hitting friends like patchwerk can favor block, too.

    and warriors are THE scaling class so we'll have more SBV and will be able to get "unhittable" with more common gear in t8+ (more hp)

    just wanted to throw in that thought as nobody is actually able to say what's best without knowing what the tanking difficulties will be. we can only prepare for every situation 8D

  15. #15
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    Light I see what you are saying. That is the type of calculation I was looking for. But I believe with your calculation if you factor in shield block every 40 secs (double block value + crit blocks) you would get a bit closer to the effectiveness of armor. And that is great to get some numbers from a current tank with the current itemization. My question then comes down to if you SBV was much greater, you might see your numbers swing the other way not sure at what point but do you think at any point would the itemization favor sheild spec? I think there is a possibility. But I see your point, I might do some number crunching a bit later to see if I can come up with anything else.
    Thanks again.

  16. #16
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    Does that huge block value take sigils/trinkets to achieve? It also must leave warriors completely out in the dust. I guess blocking is something Paladins are supposed to do better though which makes me wonder what the Warrior advantage is now. I guess Blizzard needs to be real careful of any buffs to shields for fear of making paladins tremendously overpowered too. They're gonna have a fun time figuring this out without seperating the warrior and pally block mechanics.

    Also why ignore the really hard hitting bosses? Thats what you should be aiming at gearing up to survive. If you plan your gear around stuff that hits you for 7k you are gonna feel really dumb when you eat one of those 34k flame breaths at -25% max health.

    We're not THE scaling class. That title goes to DKs by a huge margin right now. Its gonna be laughable when we gain another 80 or 90 sbv from our strength and maybe a few more points from gear while the monster damage goes up by another 5000. They would have to give us thousands of points of strength or itemize every item with SBV to compete and that would completely kill our other stats.

    I exclude shield block because it is an active ability. Active abilities have one purpose, saving you. In my opinion they are already strong enough to do that so any extra boost to them is a complete waste. My shield block can be just as powerful as shield wall in many cases as it is.

    If you want shields to be favored over armor than shields have to scale in some way with monster damage. If a shield is to gain 1% effective dmg reduction per 1% blocked then you would need it to block somewhere around 40% of a monster's hit around the 20% shield block chance/55% avoidance marker. In my 12k example above that would be somewhere around 3900 block value. Good luck hitting that :/. Even if you could start raising it that high you need to look at the other stats you start losing to improve it. Any point of raw avoidance you lose is a very big hit.

    As I've said before shields are at a terrible disadvantage vs high dmg hits when unfortunately those high damage hits are what you need the best mitigation against.
    Last edited by Lightmgl; 01-03-2009 at 10:45 AM.

  17. #17
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    I quickly wrote a little script to model a 300 second fight against a boss that swings on 2 seconds for 30k unmitigated. Base block chance of 25%, and 2k block value. Assumed shield block on every cooldown for maximum mitigation instead of using it strategically, and factor in critical block. Loop that 1000 times and add up the damage taken (i.e. 1000x300 second fights). First run with 26% block and 32k armour, second run with 25% block and 32640 armour.

    I want to doublecheck the code to make sure all is correct, but the quick result is that 2% armour is better than 1% block by about 1.3%. Once I'm happy that it works correctly, I'll vary the parameters and make a nice chart.
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  18. #18
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    so what about the large bit of us warriors that are hovering around 15% block chance? I'm sure that changes the numbers a bit, but if you finalize the script can you check it at 12%, 15% and 18%?

    Thanks Satrina!

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  19. #19
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    Wow that sounds like an even bigger advantage towards armor. I was just screwing around I might have forgotten to take the extra mitigation from armor against the difference in remaining damage instead of the difference in total damage.

    I really feel that shields need something over what they current offer. For the gimmick that is supposed to make us different from Druids and DKs it really isn't all that exciting. The armor just evens us out with the other tanks and the blocking fails to scale well and is fixed mitigation.

    It feels like they are putting too much weight onto a mechanic that is not all too powerful.

  20. #20
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    Thanks a lot for all your replies it would be interesting to see what your script will produce with varying parameters.

    And I 100% agree with you light, the reason I felt that it could be the opposite result where shield spec would be better than armor is that since they made all these changes I thought that they would have addresses the issue of shields not being as useful as they should. Warriors I would like to see have their shields very useful and able to eat up incoming damage.

    Currently They don't scale well and really should. I am worried that warriors will fade to DKs with the upcoming 3.0.8 patch. But to balance us, shields could and should be the avenue for change.

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