Thread: Does avoidance give spiky damage or not?

1. Kind of a warrior.
Join Date
Jul 2008
Posts
1,193

Does avoidance give spiky damage or not?

In EH versus avoidance discussions I often see the argument that avoidance gives spiky damage.

But what is spiky damage?

You could say that the damage for a tank that avoids 75% versus a tank that avoids 50% is less predictable.

On the other hand the high avoidance tank will take exponentially less "connected hits" with more avoidance so less really big damage spikes of 2-3 or 4 consecutive hits. Which you could also call spiky.

While I fully understand the other arguments for going effective health (worst case scenario, unavoidable damage), I don't really get the "spiky damage" one.

2. Glowing Tank
Join Date
Aug 2008
Posts
1,405
You don't get it because it's fallacious. Taking less hits is taking less hits. Many talk about "avoidance tanks will have lower hp". The difference just isn't that big.

3. Established Registrant
Join Date
Jun 2008
Posts
718
Lets put a boss hitting 10 times 2 seconds apart for 10K as our baseline

Now lets have a 50% avoidance tank he would on average avoid 5 hits and take 5 hits .. so his damge to him is 50K and he avoided 50K of damage.

Now lets have a tank who has armour that reduces hits by 50% his armour resists 50% of each hit so drops 5K off each hit so he takes 50K damage and his armour absorbs 50K.

The two tanks are identical right??? They both require to heal 50K in 20 seconds don't they.

WRONG

Imagine the avoidance tanks 5 hits all came in a row the healers actually have to heal the 50K in 10 seconds not 20 seconds .... Thus they are called spikey.

The avoidance tank is based around averages and as hit sizes became big in relation to a tanks HP its hard to not get smashed by the random number generator throwing up multiple hits in a row.

The other area they arent equal is if the tank is stunned, hit from behind etc the avoidance disappears (you avoid nothing) .. armour and HP are there all the time no matter what.

4. Spiky is used in regards to healing as well. Take two tanks. Tank A has 50k HP and 55% avoidance excluding block. Tank B has 45k HP and 75% avoidance excluding block. These values are buffed and random, don't compare to an armory. Also this is hypothetically new content, a progression fight.

Tank A - Takes more damage overall but the stream of damage coming in is steady and predictable. Healers are spamming large heals in a rotation, heals are landing every 0.5 seconds or so. There is little overhealing because usually the tank has lost some HP between the cast and the landing of the heal.

Tank B - Takes slightly less damage overall but due to the randomness of avoidance and the RNG, the damage is less predictable. Healers are spamming large heals in a rotation, heals are landing every 0.5 seconds or so. There's much overhealing in this instance, and if you argue that healers should be canceling heals or healing re-actively, you must enjoy running back.

Now let's add this scenario, 2 healers get killed in a fire, 1 is healing a DPS who stood in it as well, and the tank drops low, the tank with 50k survived a 5k hit with 1k left and time to get a heal off, while the tank with 45k dropped like rock and cost you a 10 gold repair bill and 10 minutes of your life you'll never get back.

Edit: Let me add again, this is for progression fights. When you are farming an instance weekly, go ahead and take more avoidance if you want to give the healers a break. The hard part is over and your raid is used to the fight by now.

5. spikey damage is a and momentary and rapid increase in Incoming DPS.

it could come from a late or missed ability use in a CD rotation, a Boss ability, an avoidance failure, a cat landing on your keyboard or just plain getting unluckey, basically anytime your healers turn round and say "WOAH! WTF just hit you"

spikey damage is what kills tanks.

6. Originally Posted by uglybbtoo
Now lets have a 50% avoidance tank he would on average avoid 5 hits and take 5 hits .. so his damge to him is 50K and he avoided 50K of damage.

Now lets have a tank who has armour that reduces hits by 50% his armour resists 50% of each hit so drops 5K off each hit so he takes 50K damage and his armour absorbs 50K.
Except that isn't remotely accurate to game value trades.

You're not choosing between avoidance and armor offering equal reductions. If you were then the classic "spiky" complaint would be appropriate as you would take larger chunks of damage less frequently.

Usually "spiky" is a short-hand for saying "unpredictable." If the tank is frequently not taking damage, then suddenly will take damage, that is a "spike" even if it is not actually beyond the usual pale of damage taken.

The EH vs Avoidance argument is really a matter of perspective to healers/tanks based on the movement of your health bar.

You don't trade armor reduction for avoidance, you trade total health. So, if you have less health and more avoidance, it simulates the "spike" damage as your health bar will move more with each hit, even though you aren't actually taking harder hits. It is the non-numerical bar shifts that people tend to respond to more than actual damage taken numbers. The tank who stacks health obscenely will squeeze more numbers into the same length of color so each hit will appear to move the bar less.

You can't fault people for responding to the psychology of it, but the aspect that gets missed in that is that people have a tendency to focus on the fact that the tank's bar moves more as their metric for "takes more damage" and they don't see the part where their heals don't cover as much of the bar when they try to pick the tank back up.

If you have two tanks, both with the same armor, but one has 50k health and 25% avoidance, while the other has 25k health and 50% avoidance (using extremes to illustrate a point):

And we'll take a mitigated hit of 15k every 2 seconds, this is what the tanks will look like to a healer:

If all you see is the color bar move, tank B is taking WAY more damage, right?

If you consider how much they'll actually take, Tank A will only avoid 25%, so from 7500 potential dps taken (15k every 2 sec) he'll take 5625 dps.

Tank B will avoid 50%, so he will actually only take 3750 dps. Distinctly less than Tank A, but every time his health moves it will jump a larger portion of his bar. Even if it is less frequent, the perceptual psychology for the healer and the tank tends to favor the less scary nature of smaller bar moves, even when they're more constant, and the tank takes more damage overall.

This is allowed, supported by the current state of affairs where in most situations healer mana is not a concern, only healing output. So, many healers can/will just sit back and blindly spam heals on you if you're the tank. Taking less damage doesn't matter when being a mana sponge is not an issue.

It has not always been the case, won't be the case for that much longer (by Blizzard's stated design hopes), but for now, there is a popular movement that it is better to be a health sponge and appear to take less damage than it is to actually take less damage, and it is not unfounded or misguided.

7. Absolutely what Satorri said.

And to continue with it, a lot of times having more hit points and squeezing more numbers into your bar gives you a bigger buffer and margin of error for healers. Lets say they get stunned or silenced and you're out a healer for a moment, or your pally has to devine plea, or the healers have to move, you need to be able to give the other healers a buffer so you survive while the silenced healer catches up, and imo you can't rely on the RNG that you'll just avoid the attacks. While healers do "mindlessly" spam heals like holy light, they do have to stop for moments to keep up judgements, or sometimes use divine plea, or sacred shield, or refresh their beacons, etc.

It's not that avoidance is bad, it's that it's a trade off, like satorri said. If you had two tanks, both with the same HPs and armor but one had more avoidance, then ya, the one with more avoidance would be optimal, the problem is if you get rid of that extra stam and buffer, then you're relying on RNG to not allow you to take 2 or 3 hits in a row.

Last night our holy pally was looking over our logs. He and one of our dps were looking through it and saw that at one point I took 2 hits within 1.5 seconds for a total of 51k damage, but I have almost 56k hps raid buffed, so I was able to survive it. If I had swapped out for avoidance trinkets, that would have given me 5% more avoidance, but I also took a total of 100k damage in a 5 second span around then. switching out those avoidance tinkrets would cause me to lose about 5k health, dropping me under the burst amount, and I would have died, and only would have had a 5% chance of not dying, where as because I stacked EHP I had 100% chance of staying alive because my damage was predictable and healable.

8. Established Registrant
Join Date
Sep 2009
Posts
470
The other thing to consider is "how" you reach said avoidance values. The reason that I prefer stam or armor trinkets over avoidance trinkets isn't only the extra EH value, but also because you already get a large amount of avoidance on your gear, which limits the overall effectiveness of the trinket due to diminishing returns. For example, I can give up almost 2k health to equip my Purified Onyxia Blood Talisman, which gives nearly a 1% increase to each avoidance stat, but a 3% avoidance increase at the cost of 5% of my health isn't necessarily worth it, especially since it's still a random variable. Especially for warriors, where avoidance values are generally lower because of our lack of Holy Shield (or whatever the 30% block rating is called), jacking up the avoidance values is going to mean significantly reducing our health pool. Most tanks (warriors particularly again, since we don't have that handy 30% shield uptime) are still sitting at around 50-60% avoidance in EH gear, just from stat gains on the armor. There's very little way to get a something like a 25% avoidance increase at the expense of only 5k health. To reach that much disparity, especially with DR in effect, there are going to be significant regemming, regearing, etc. in play, which will reduce your health by a good deal. Just swapping trinkets will likely get you from a 60% to a 63-65% avoidance at a cost of 5k health.

Another thing to consider is that a large part of avoidance (for warriors and paladins) is Block, which doesn't keep damage from coming in, but rather reduces it by a set amount. To do simple math (which is my favorite kind):

Tank A has 50k health and 50% damage reduction. He takes a hit for 50k damage, which is then cut in half. He takes 25k damage, and loses 50% of his health.

Tank B has 30k health, and 50% damage reduction. He takes a hit for 50k damage, and blocks 5k damage. He takes 20k damage, and loses 66% of his health.

And that's ASSUMING that the damage reduction rates from armor are the same between the two, which they likely are not. That's the basic problem with stacking avoidance, in that you generally have to sacrifice health to the point where when you don't dodge or parry the attack, and even if you block it, you're taking less damage, but it's a larger % of your total health pool.

That's why it seems "spiky" as the others have said, because when you do get hit, your taking less damage, but usually it's a larger % of your health pool, since you have less health (generally).
Last edited by Eravian; 01-06-2010 at 07:15 AM.

9. Glowing Tank
Join Date
Aug 2008
Posts
1,405
Block is NOT avoidance. >.> Stop calling it that.

10. Established Registrant
Join Date
Sep 2009
Posts
470
Originally Posted by Synapse
Block is NOT avoidance. >.> Stop calling it that.
This is true, and that was sort of my point, but I can see how I didn't word it very well (although the argument could be made that it IS avoidance, because you avoid however much damage you blocked ;-) ). Usually when I hear people talking about going for avoidance, they're generally referring to the "passive unhittable," the 102.4% mark (especially with many paladins that I know). My point was that if you're trying to go for that, with the exception of one fight (Anub 25H, and that's just going by anecdotal evidence, because I haven't done Anub-25H), you're only going to be hurting yourself. In my post I think I defaulted to the original poster saying "Avoidance" and meaning "unhittable (from full attack)," and did the same thing that others often do... :-P.

That being said, I still think that warriors at least are better served stacking stamina, since even slotting in all dodge/defense/parry gems probably wouldn't raise my avoidance enough to make up for the amount of health that was lost. Now I doubt someone would go ALL avoidance gems, but you get my point. That being said, though, avoidance isn't bad either, and although I wouldn't gem for it exclusively, matching some sockets that have worthwhile bonuses with some avoidance is still a good idea. So I wouldn't avoid avoidance ;-), but between taking the stam on my armor and stacking avoidance gems or taking the avoidance on my armor and stacking stam gems, I'd rather do the latter.
Last edited by Eravian; 01-06-2010 at 09:27 AM.

11. Here is the beef
Join Date
Nov 2007
Posts
296
Spiky is used in regards to healing as well. Take two tanks. Tank A has 50k HP and 55% avoidance excluding block. Tank B has 45k HP and 75% avoidance excluding block. These values are buffed and random, don't compare to an armory. Also this is hypothetically new content, a progression fight.

Tank A - Takes more damage overall but the stream of damage coming in is steady and predictable. Healers are spamming large heals in a rotation, heals are landing every 0.5 seconds or so. There is little overhealing because usually the tank has lost some HP between the cast and the landing of the heal.

Tank B - Takes slightly less damage overall but due to the randomness of avoidance and the RNG, the damage is less predictable. Healers are spamming large heals in a rotation, heals are landing every 0.5 seconds or so. There's much overhealing in this instance, and if you argue that healers should be canceling heals or healing re-actively, you must enjoy running back.

Now let's add this scenario, 2 healers get killed in a fire, 1 is healing a DPS who stood in it as well, and the tank drops low, the tank with 50k survived a 5k hit with 1k left and time to get a heal off, while the tank with 45k dropped like rock and cost you a 10 gold repair bill and 10 minutes of your life you'll never get back.

Edit: Let me add again, this is for progression fights. When you are farming an instance weekly, go ahead and take more avoidance if you want to give the healers a break. The hard part is over and your raid is used to the fight by now.
Like others have said, this example is quite unrealistic, since you don't get that kind of trade-off from HP to avoidance. Apart from that though, you seem to be ignoring the fact that avoidance does not just save healer mana, but also prevents you from getting into those clutch situations in the first place. It always depends a bit on the incoming hit size / damage, but generally your tank B would be superior in almost any situation, this is no different for progression. I don't know why some people keep saying how EHP is always better than avoidance, because depending on the actual stat trade-off and the encounter at hand, it's simply not true.

12. krc
Established Registrant
Join Date
Feb 2009
Posts
643
Dots, EHP is better than avoidance because of the ways bosses are designed. Almost every tank-killer boss kills the tank with in a few seconds and usually with some unavoidable damage in there, think about how all of the dangerous bosses kill tanks.

Algalon: Can Burst down the tank down so quick and the healers have to move occasionally so there is always a chance you get insta-gimped. If you stack avoidance here you rely on RNG too much so you might as well give your self a bigger buffer for those situations.

Gormok: Kills you with a melee, Impale, Bleed combo. The only avoidable part of that combo is the melee so with avoidance you are relying on a melee dodge/parry/miss. When that melee hits which will happen eventually you will get burst down.

Marrowgar: Kills the tank by getting 3 hits in a row on a tank without heals. Again stacking avoidance here relys on RNG and when that situation happens and those melee hits will hit you eventually so you might as well give yourself a bigger buffer.

Don't get me wrong though avoidance is by no means a bad thing and if it comes down to a small portion of EH against loads of avoidance by all means take the avoidance it is just that EH relatively speaking is increased in value because there aren't any tank threats that kill a tank with a perfect 15k swing with a 2.4 swing timer with no other encounter mechanics to worry about.
Last edited by krc; 01-06-2010 at 06:31 PM.

13. Established Registrant
Join Date
Jun 2008
Posts
718
Originally Posted by Dots
. I don't know why some people keep saying how EHP is always better than avoidance, because depending on the actual stat trade-off and the encounter at hand, it's simply not true.
Because alot of the damage in ulduar and toc were unavoidable it was boss specials impales etc. So an avoidance tank got smashed because it didn't favour that approach.

This started out as a simple question about why are avoidance tanks called spikey and I gave an unrealistic example to simplify it down. Satorri gives probably a better example and also brings in the element that an avoidance tank will use less of a healers mana but the healing cant be blindly remotely spammed like on a EH tank. The fact is an avoidance tank still has armor and an EH tank still has avoidance its the quantities of each we are talking about.

The fact is while encounters have repetitive hits that are a massive proportion of a tank HP it doesn't favour avoidance tanks. What avoidance tanks want is alot of smaller hits and thats what blizz has promised in ICC so you will probably see the re-emergence of the avoidance tank.

14. Glowing Tank
Join Date
Aug 2008
Posts
1,405
Originally Posted by krc
Dots, EHP is better than avoidance because of the ways bosses are designed. Almost every tank-killer boss kills the tank with in a few seconds and usually with some unavoidable damage in there, think about how all of the dangerous bosses kill tanks.

Algalon: Can Burst down the tank down so quick and the healers have to move occasionally so there is always a chance you get insta-gimped. If you stack avoidance here you rely on RNG too much so you might as well give your self a bigger buffer for those situations.

Gormok: Kills you with a melee, Impale, Bleed combo. The only avoidable part of that combo is the melee so with avoidance you are relying on a melee dodge/parry/miss. When that melee hits which will happen eventually you will get burst down.

Marrowgar: Kills the tank by getting 3 hits in a row on a tank without heals. Again stacking avoidance here relys on RNG and when that situation happens and those melee hits will hit you eventually so you might as well give yourself a bigger buffer.

Don't get me wrong though avoidance is by no means a bad thing and if it comes down to a small portion of EH against loads of avoidance by all means take the avoidance it is just that EH relatively speaking is increased in value because there aren't any tank threats that kill a tank with a perfect 15k swing with a 2.4 swing timer with no other encounter mechanics to worry about.
Algalon and marrowgar are specific examples where the avoidance is very helpful actually. In both cases most if not all damage can be avoided, and it makes a big difference because the tank killers are more on the "healer cannot stop to heal" problem than actually being bursted down.

15. Here is the beef
Join Date
Nov 2007
Posts
296
Originally Posted by krc
Dots, EHP is better than avoidance because of the ways bosses are designed. Almost every tank-killer boss kills the tank with in a few seconds and usually with some unavoidable damage in there, think about how all of the dangerous bosses kill tanks.
I did, which is why I posted. I absolutely agree about bosses like Gormokk, Anub, hell even Lady Sacrolash for those that remember. For those bosses, I would always wear the highest possible EHP.

My point is that beyond those, 'EHP is better than avoidance' is too much of a generalization. I am not talking about full EHP vs full avoidance gemming/trinkets either, but rather the point at which you should gem for socket bonuses (+6 stamina in some cases, but probably not right now), change certain enchants like the choices for shoulders, shield, etc. There is always a point at which you shouldn't mindlessly stack EH anymore but also look into other options. Obviously you still need a certain amount of EH at the same time.

Both Algalon and Marrowgar are actually good examples for fights like this, they do not hit all that hard but very fast. Like uglybbtoo said, the design for ICC is supposed to have a lot less pure EHP fights, and so far that is true. There are always exceptions of course, like Festergut. Remains to be seen what the last bosses will be like.

Edit: Synapse beat me to the point on algalon/marrowgar

16. Glowing Tank
Join Date
Aug 2008
Posts
1,405
Originally Posted by Dots
There are always exceptions of course, like Festergut. Remains to be seen what the last bosses will be like.

Edit: Synapse beat me to the point on algalon/marrowgar
If festergut's meleeing for 30k and you can't reasonably reach 60k, then it's very little use to have 50k instead of 45k

17. Originally Posted by Synapse
If festergut's meleeing for 30k and you can't reasonably reach 60k, then it's very little use to have 50k instead of 45k
I've stacked EHP and have about 35k armor and 56k HPs on the festergut fight. My avoidance is just what is innate on gear, I hit 2 +9stam bonuess with +10agi/15stam. When I tanked this fight I (and our pally tank) got hit for 51k in just barely over 1 second and in that same area of time I took 100k damage in 5 seconds.

I was easily healed through it without having to use a cooldown because I stack EHP. It went from "hope ya dodge!" to "it doesn't matter if you dodge because you can take it to the face."

You're rolling the dice 100+ times a fight, and even with high avoidance eventually the dice are going to show up as getting hit 4 or 5 times in a row, and you've gotta be able to eat that. It's my contention that because of the RNG odds stack up and eventually the damage is unavoidable, even if it's just regular melee.

I actually tried the "balanced" approach in ulduar, and fights like steelbreaker and algalon freakin' rocked my world, I even got sat on general. I completely re-geared re-gemed for max EHP and have been able to easily tank every boss since then. I'll throw on avoidance trinkets for gunship captain if we're not doing achievements, but otherwise... MEH. Stacking EHP has worked really well for our healers and my guild. Obviously anub'arak requires a different approach which is why the general montra is "gear for the fight" however most fights require EHP, plain and simple. Algalon and Marrowgar ARE examples of where EHP is good. I tanked Algalon before all the fancy 245 gear, trust me, you NEEDED to stack EHP for that, the min requirement is ridiculously high.

18. Well, debating the value of EH isn't really an issue. There are.. what.. like 100 threads on that nowadays.

Realistically, the answer is no. Avoidance doesn't "cause" spike damage.

Having lower HP than you should can cause dangerously low dips in your health, but that is not caused by avoidance specifically.

All tanks have lots of avoidance. Some tanks may have more avoidance than others, but adding, say, 3-5% more avoidance isn't magically going to make you more "spikey" than the guy who has 43% avoidance already. You already "spike" in that fashion very regularly.

The least "spikey" way to reduce your damage taken or increase your EH is through Armor, rather than Avoidance or EH stacking, as that will actually lower the damage you take rather than padding or delaying it.

Either way, the "spike" argument has been inappropriately used against avoidance for years, even though it really has nothing to do with anything.

The main point being: make sure you have enough EH to survive stuff without popping down to 10 health every swing. Neither you or your healers will appreciate that and all the avoidance in the world won't save you if you don't have enough health.

As for Festergut, by looking at the logs I would wager the largest possible burst he can do on a well-geared tank is upward of 68k+ with 3 Inhales if you get two high-end melee swings (capable of being up in the 28-29k range without shields/cooldown) plus a 10k Bloat within 1 second. So, I don't think any EH is enough to assure survival during 3x Inhale without a cooldown--you're basically relying on luck anyway if you don't cooldown it, due to the high variation in his melee swing damage. (That said, I wouldn't be very comfortable doing that fight with less than 54k health or so, at the very least.)
Last edited by Kojiyama; 01-07-2010 at 07:54 AM.

19. Established Registrant
Join Date
Sep 2009
Posts
470
I think a lot of it is relative to your gear levels as well. Putting a stam gem in every socket I have except for two (one for a +12 Stam bonus, one for Meta activation), I have *just* over 40k health, and that's using two stamina trinkets. Personally, from what I've seen so far in ICC (which, due to the holidays, is unfortunately not much - just the first two bosses), warriors at least are probably going to be wanting at least 40k unbuffed health for 25-man. Now, as my stam goes up I'll be able to swap out some stam trinkets for armor (which is still EH, I know) and possibly an avoidance trinket (like Ony's, which is the best avoidance trinket I've got), but only if I can keep my health above 40k. Some fights I may have to swap the stam trinkets back out, but I think a lot depends on what your relative gear is like, and how much stam, avoidance, etc. you're getting out of it. That's why I think stacking stam in your gems can be very beneficial, or stam stacking in general, so long as you're not stupid about it.

Personally, my goal is to get 40k unbuffed health using the Glyph of Indomitability and the Ony trinket, and then swap out stam trinkets for fights that I need them. That should get me through normal 10-man ICC and much of 25-man, and as the gear comes in and that number goes up, I can be ready for Heroics (maybe... casual guild).

I do think, though, that paladins have a better case for avoidance, since they generally scale with stamina and avoidance values better than warriors do. Our MT is a paladin avoidance tank, and he does just fine (although, as I said, our guild doesn't do many Heroics, so I don't know how it would hold up in ToGC-25, for example).

20. Eravian, you're going to want to keep stacking EHP. The first 4 bosses hit like little kittens compared to festergut and rotface, imo. I didn't have huge problems with it since I used cooldowns wisely and have stacked tons of stam/armor and so has our pally tank, but I was getting hit for ~28k and our pally tank (who has more HPs but less armor than me) took at hit for ~35k at one point. We didn't have tank deaths, but I simply attribute that to us pre-emptively stacking EHP. If we hadn't, I think we would have had a much harder time in the instance.