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Thread: Tanks should never stack stam in Cataclysm. (Actually, it's a question.)

  1. #1
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    Tanks should never stack stam in Cataclysm. (Actually, it's a question.)

    Before i begin, I should post a bit of background--

    My main is a priest healer, not a tank. My priest is currently pre-raid geared (with an equipped average ilevel of 348). I've healed every heroic dungeon multiple times successfully.

    I have two alts that are level 80+, both tanks--a paladin (lvl 84) and a DK (still 80). I tanked AND healed everything in ICC10 except heroic LK during WOTLK. ...I have been playing WoW for a grand total of 8 months, so I have no real experience with BC or Vanilla, but I progressed very quickly from a total noob to an experienced raider in WotLK (and, beyond the first 6 normal mode in ICC, I was raid leading even as I learned the fights -- for my guild, it was progression.)



    That said, I have a very simple statement that is really more a question.

    Simply this: Tanks should never stack stam in Cataclysm.


    These are the SURVIVABILITY stats for tanks: Stamina, Dodge, Parry (for plate tanks), Block (For warriors/pallies), Mastery, Armor
    These are the purposes of those stats:
    Stamina - Provide a "cushion" to absorb damage (This is the "safety margin"). Basically, it extends the health bar so the healer has time to refill it.
    Armor - Mitigation, reduce incoming damage total
    Block - Mitigation, reduce incoming damage total
    Parry - Avoidance, reduce incoming damage total
    Dodge - Avoidance, reduce incoming damage total
    Mastery - Varies, but usually mitigation/avoidance



    What's behind this? Well, as a healer I'm seeing first hand what causes tank deaths in the new cataclysm dungeon environment. The primary factor is my mana. ...The only time I have ever seen a tank get one-shotted is from "standing in the bad." Two-shotted? Same story. Heroic dungeon bosses might hit for 1/3 of a tank's health, MAYBE. (In BRC, the evolved adds hit harder, true, but that's probably the most tank damage I've seen.) This is no longer ruby sanctum, where baltharus would two-shot a tank before I could get a heal off. ...Total tank damage taken is not much higher than it was in WotLK from what I've seen.

    The way I've heard the situation best summed up is this: "Healer mana is now the main soft enrage timer in WoW."

    It is very rare in a fight that I can't keep a tank healed up if the DPS aren't taking massive damage also...Yet, when I do research on what tanks are stacking, it's always stamina. ...Oh, sure, it might be half stam half parry or half stam half dodge now instead of PURE stam (or half mastery for pallies) but people are STILL stacking stamina on every gem and every enchant, and the only purpose of that is to increase health pool, not to reduce incoming damage.

    Now, admittedly, I haven't had the ability to raid in cata yet (my guild is slow to gear and level) but it seems to me that no tank should ever take stam as a survivability stat other than what comes native on their gear (I'll leave threat values aside here) except as a half stat for a blue socket to get the socket bonus. Health pool means so little now compared to mitigation/avoidance that I can't take a tank seriously if they're stacking stam.

    I expect this situation to be magnified, if anything, in raids. Yeah, the bosses will do more tank damage, but with a healer focused primarily on healing the tank(s), that should balance out. (note this is speaking from inexperience regarding raids)


    So what I need is INFORMED opinions (preferably from people with real experience) to agree or disagree with this viewpoint.

    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
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    I've chosen to gear as much as possible towards mastery. As a protection warrior, mastery increases your chance to block (and critically block). I definitely agree with you on the way tank damage and tank deaths happen now but its not as simple as taking less damage over the fight.

    If you gear for pure stamina, or at least largely for stamina while ignoring avoidance/mastery, you well get hit (for full amount) noticeably more often. The way a healer copes with this is using bigger heals more often just in case they get too far behind on tank healing. This is of course very mana inefficient.

    If you gear for pure avoidance (dodge and parry) you will take the least possible amount of damage throughout the fight. This isn't necessarily the best solution though. High avoidance means that tank damage looks like - avoid, avoid, avoid, followed by a string of unavoided hits. The tank drops low suddenly when this happens and healers end up using expensive heals because the damage has came quickly and you want to pick the tank back up quickly in case another burst of damage comes in the same way.

    Per point, you get higher % chance to block an attack (mastery) than you do for avoidance (dodge or parry). This means that if you stack mastery to high enough amount, you can smooth out the way you take damage. You will take more damage over the course of a fight than an avoidance stacking tank, but you will be easier (more predictable) to heal and thus the healers can comfortably use their cheap heals on you with the occasional bigger heal if they think its needed, and end up saving more mana this way. Block was reworked to be a guaranteed block of 30% of the damage, which is now why it "smooths out" incoming damage.

    Gearing for mastery this way also means that you can obtain 75% combined block, dodge and parry chance and when you use Shield Block (increases block chance by 25% for 10s) you are guaranteed to never take a full hit. This in effect is a 30% shield wall to physical hits. In later raid tiers it may be possible to gear for 100% combined block and avoidance, and could even be absolutely necessary in the way that warriors would keep up Shield Block the whole time in TBC, to make sure a portion of any hit taken was blocked (avoid crushing blows).

    Someone will have to confirm things like chance to be missed (if it still exists) but this is the theory behind gearing for block and avoidance. But remember that stamina is never a *bad* stat, some heroic mode bosses are bound to burst pretty high and you need the health to survive certain encounter mechanics. I would probably also not favour a particularly small amount of mastery over an exceptionally large amount of stamina, in the way that in ICC we chose any amount of stam or armour over huge amounts of avoidance.

    Hope this helps.

  3. #3
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    That was exactly the sort of answer I was looking for.

    Thank you.

    ...And yes, I can see how mitigation can be >>> avoidance, though in the case of bears/dks, I'll still take avoidance >>> stam.


    Also, to clarify, I didn't say that stam was an actively bad stat, only that it is not as good as mitigation/avoidance.

    From what I've seen, as you progress through normal dungeons to heroics the native stam on the gear increases enough to prepare you for the increase in damage. I would hope the same is true in raids (and damn I wish my guild would hurry up and gear up).

  4. #4
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    in raids its much different, like if u have an avoidance stacking tank on magmaw it can get difficult when he does his mangle since to my knowledge that damage is unavoidable and if your health pool is too low you will die, no ifs ands or buts. however avoidance and mitigation are alot more important now than they were in wrath

  5. #5
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    I think the real question, captanmurdoc, is 'How much health does a tank need to successfully survive in X raid'

    After that, it should be pure mitigation/avoidance. No?

  6. #6
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    It would seem that your conclusion is based on the premiss that all damage is melee damage.

  7. #7
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    My conclusion is based on the observation that in every heroic dungeon I've been in thus far, I've had better success rates with tanks who stacked mitigation/avoidance than stam.

    ...I'm not theorycrafting here. I'm trying to come to a reasonably quick and dirty conclusion on what direction to go when my pally hits 85 in a couple of days. (and what to recommend to our OT)

  8. #8
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    In heroic dungeons you don't have massive unavoidable bursts (Like Ozruk, you can eat 180k damage or not eat anything, depending on how you run). In raids you do. Whether it is Terrastra's earth spikes combined with melee swings or Magmaw's mangle, stacked up frost buffet while tanking Nezir in Tot4W or Cho'gall's fury, you will end up taking damage which you cannot block and which, for the greater part, ignore armor and/or block. In these situations you need a certain hp buffer. This is probably somewhere in the region of 175k raid buffed, which you have when full 346 with a couple of 359s. Don't get me wrong, block is freaking amazing right now, reducing melee swings by 40% is like having a shieldwall up half the time, but it has its place right next to stamina.

    Both are needed, both have their weak points, both need to be present in somewhat balanced amounts. I would not go as far as to forsake stamina to get block capped, as there are still things that will hurt a lot as they ignore block mechanics, neither would I ignore mastery and avoidance to go for max hp, but yes, mastery is very important to protection paladins.

    "How much health is needed" is a hard question to answer, it can vary wildly depending on stuff you can control and stuff you cannot. You can take a paladin healer to your raid as tank healer instead of a druid, shaman or priest, that is something you can control, you can also control the level of gear they have. You cannot control for the paladin healer having a bad internet day and his casts having 0.1 seconds more delay, you cannot control for the paladin being distracted by his own health dropping and him needing to react to that. The "right" amount of health varies constantly, you can never be "safe" with a certain amount of hp. Which is very good, as the game would become really, really boring if you could say "get 185k life and you will never die as this is enough health for the instance you are raiding".

    So bottom line is, go for a balanced approach. Don't go sticking 40 or 67 mastery gems in every gem socket and reforging the biggest stat on your gear to mastery to get a massive amount of block. Don't go sticking 60 or 101 stamina gems in every socket and use two stamina trinkets (although having a second stamina trinket is always a good idea for magical damage bosses). Go for mixed stamina + stat gems (puissant dream emerald and guardian's demonseye are my favourites) if you want to unlock a socket bonus (which you should). Take one stamina trinket and an avoidance/mastery trinket (Porcelain Crab reforged to mastery is really, really awesome). Enchant stamina if you cannot find an avoidance or mastery enchantment. Balance your avoidance values and reforge threat stats to mastery if you have a choice between dodge or parry and hit or expertise (or crit and haste if you take a much higher level dps item such as the belt from hyjal rep).
    Last edited by Fetzie; 01-01-2011 at 09:19 PM.

  9. #9
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    Everything is relevant to the content you're doing. In heroics, you want a mix of avoidance/stam, probably leaning towards avoidance and especially Mastery (at least for plate tanks - I have no clue about bears). My understanding is, you'll still want to gem to socket bonuses and perhaps wear an avoidance or mastery trinket for most of the raid content, but stamina is much more important there. (I say "my understanding" because I have yet to do more than a handful of bosses)

  10. #10
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    Yeah as I said, tank gearing should vary between encounters in order to survive whatever mechanics each fight poses. In encounters with high burst moments I would definitely take two stamina trinkets to make sure I had a large enough health pool to survive these during early attempts. Remember though, while magic damage can be high, tank deaths specifically are usually down to a combination both and high avoidance/block chance work in the way that armour was great on Sindragosa (remember her? ).

    Also, bears' mastery scales with attack power and a large amount of a tank's attack power comes from vengeance, which scales with maximum health, so in a way stamina for bears is mitigation; though exactly how effective I'm not sure.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eldil View Post
    Before i begin, I should post a bit of background--

    My main is a priest healer, not a tank. My priest is currently pre-raid geared (with an equipped average ilevel of 348). I've healed every heroic dungeon multiple times successfully.

    I have two alts that are level 80+, both tanks--a paladin (lvl 84) and a DK (still 80). I tanked AND healed everything in ICC10 except heroic LK during WOTLK. ...I have been playing WoW for a grand total of 8 months, so I have no real experience with BC or Vanilla, but I progressed very quickly from a total noob to an experienced raider in WotLK (and, beyond the first 6 normal mode in ICC, I was raid leading even as I learned the fights -- for my guild, it was progression.)



    That said, I have a very simple statement that is really more a question.

    Simply this: Tanks should never stack stam in Cataclysm.


    These are the SURVIVABILITY stats for tanks: Stamina, Dodge, Parry (for plate tanks), Block (For warriors/pallies), Mastery, Armor
    These are the purposes of those stats:
    Stamina - Provide a "cushion" to absorb damage (This is the "safety margin"). Basically, it extends the health bar so the healer has time to refill it.
    Armor - Mitigation, reduce incoming damage total
    Block - Mitigation, reduce incoming damage total
    Parry - Avoidance, reduce incoming damage total
    Dodge - Avoidance, reduce incoming damage total
    Mastery - Varies, but usually mitigation/avoidance



    What's behind this? Well, as a healer I'm seeing first hand what causes tank deaths in the new cataclysm dungeon environment. The primary factor is my mana. ...The only time I have ever seen a tank get one-shotted is from "standing in the bad." Two-shotted? Same story. Heroic dungeon bosses might hit for 1/3 of a tank's health, MAYBE. (In BRC, the evolved adds hit harder, true, but that's probably the most tank damage I've seen.) This is no longer ruby sanctum, where baltharus would two-shot a tank before I could get a heal off. ...Total tank damage taken is not much higher than it was in WotLK from what I've seen.

    The way I've heard the situation best summed up is this: "Healer mana is now the main soft enrage timer in WoW."

    It is very rare in a fight that I can't keep a tank healed up if the DPS aren't taking massive damage also...Yet, when I do research on what tanks are stacking, it's always stamina. ...Oh, sure, it might be half stam half parry or half stam half dodge now instead of PURE stam (or half mastery for pallies) but people are STILL stacking stamina on every gem and every enchant, and the only purpose of that is to increase health pool, not to reduce incoming damage.

    Now, admittedly, I haven't had the ability to raid in cata yet (my guild is slow to gear and level) but it seems to me that no tank should ever take stam as a survivability stat other than what comes native on their gear (I'll leave threat values aside here) except as a half stat for a blue socket to get the socket bonus. Health pool means so little now compared to mitigation/avoidance that I can't take a tank seriously if they're stacking stam.

    I expect this situation to be magnified, if anything, in raids. Yeah, the bosses will do more tank damage, but with a healer focused primarily on healing the tank(s), that should balance out. (note this is speaking from inexperience regarding raids)


    So what I need is INFORMED opinions (preferably from people with real experience) to agree or disagree with this viewpoint.

    Thanks in advance
    Magic damage is not mitigated by anything on your list but stam.

    You may be healing but you have not tanked, so you do not know what is the cause of all the damage. A lot of what tanking now in raids is proper use of cooldowns, and knowing or having the experience of when the most appropriate time to use them is.

    Having said that pure stam stacking isnt the smartest thing to do, but your critisism of tanks that stack stam and another stat also seems unwarranted.

  12. #12
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    As near as I can tell the smart thing to do is this:

    1) Figure out how much health you need to comfortably soak any major major attacks coming in. Get to that.
    2) Build up mititgation/avoidance as high as you can beyond that.

    or alternately, go back to the old vanilla "Here's my healh set, here's my dodge set, here's my nature resist set.." God help us all.

  13. #13
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    Stamina = best survival stat, gives us threat, gives us more damage.

    Lets compare our trinket slots at 346ilvl.

    285 mastery = 2.20 block and Cblock, 3% block for pallies.

    427 stamina = 7500 hp with all modifiers, and 750 attack power on tough bosses. This also scaled with blood craze and enraged regen.

    There's no way in hell I would trade 10% block for 40k hp. Also almost every boss does 75-80% of his total damage as magic damage on the raid, avoidance does nothing about this, and having 100k hp with a low health raid means you can focus on raid healing, having 60k hp means you need to get healed, 10% block won't reliably change anything.

    There's not a single fight where I would choose another stat over stamina.

  14. #14
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    I can only comment on the content I've done so far so don't hang me for my ignorance deeper in. Our raidlogs from our four hour venture into Blackwing Descent (Magmaw and Omnitron) showed that 62.2% of all damage taken by me (warrior tank) was from melee swings. Of the 1167 swings that connected, 938 were blocked. In my books, that's no insignificant amount of damage reduceable by blocking. Not to mention the hits that never even connected.

    I for one will keep my balanced approach where Stamina = Mastery > Parry + Dodge.

  15. #15
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    Reading thru and using the ole adage "never" is the wrong choice of words here.

    There is a few things at play here and now for us normal players (I say normal becuase most of this and anything in game the elite players don't need to worry about this)
    - we are all learning how to play our classes. (this doesn't mean learning how to move out of fire)
    - Cooldown useage is still being adjusted and understood
    - mana managment and healers learning not to "keep the tank topped off" but instead learning how to judge incoming damage
    - gear is getting better
    - players are starting to learn "I can't round them up and down them" and as other wrath habits disappear
    - shield tanks are learning the block from mastery is better mitigation than dodge/parry
    - Most of all, we can't base our conclusions from guild tanks or even better pug tanks in the way damage is distributed

    There is alot of fighting left in this Xpac to say "NEVER" when it comes to stacking a stat.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chasey View Post
    Reading thru and using the ole adage "never" is the wrong choice of words here.

    There is a few things at play here and now for us normal players (I say normal becuase most of this and anything in game the elite players don't need to worry about this)
    - we are all learning how to play our classes. (this doesn't mean learning how to move out of fire)
    - Cooldown useage is still being adjusted and understood
    - mana managment and healers learning not to "keep the tank topped off" but instead learning how to judge incoming damage
    - gear is getting better
    - players are starting to learn "I can't round them up and down them" and as other wrath habits disappear
    - shield tanks are learning the block from mastery is better mitigation than dodge/parry
    - Most of all, we can't base our conclusions from guild tanks or even better pug tanks in the way damage is distributed

    There is alot of fighting left in this Xpac to say "NEVER" when it comes to stacking a stat.
    A very wise statement. My current thoughts on the matter are a mix between yours and Eisen's in that:
    - We will need a Certain amount of max HP to survive certain abilities
    - Stam provides no reduction in damage taken, only time until death.
    - Dodge/parry seem to provide more overall damage reduction
    - mastery (for warriors and paladins) seems to be the best way to even out our damage taken
    - As long as healers have time to keep us from dying, additional stam is not necessary. Because of ^, it may actually be...maybe not undesirable, but perhaps not ideal.

    Basically, I think Cata has provided a new paradigm. I'm not sure if damage reduction is better than damage soaking (effective health). However, I don't think you can ignore one and focus entirely on the other like you usetocould.

  17. #17
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    I have pretty much found the opposite to what the OP is saying, 2 days ago I changed from majority of stam stacking to mastery/avoidance and dropped around 8-9k hp in doing so ... going from around 194k buffed in a raid to around 185k buffed and I had lots of trouble staying alive after this change I was constantly calling for heals and getting complaints from my healers that i was some reason a lot harder to heal then i was a few days ago.

    What I think is that the avoidance stats are just to low atm to be relied upon in any way shape or form to keep you alive, I mean I am in almost full 359 atm and I have 11% dodge 15% parry and 51% block after dropping stam for avoidance and it is just not working, from what I have seen at least for a warrior tank I think avoidance stats should almost be ignored and we should go for massive health pools with tones of mastery because it really seems to work especially in heroic 10 mans. Id much rather have a 55-60% chance to block 30-60% of the dmg backed up by a large health pool then around a 25% chance to avoid physical attacks only.

    There is almost no raid bosses in the game that only attack with physical dmg and that is the only thing avoidance with protect you from where as a large health pool with protect you from dying to magical attacks.
    Last edited by Sirloinsteak; 01-02-2011 at 06:31 PM.

  18. #18
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    The best would be to have different sets for different encounters. It's "easily" done with trinkets but you probably want to regem everything for every boss. What we have done before is to have one tank focus more on stam/EH another focus more on avoidance/mitigation. That does not mean that either tank ignores everything else and does not try to get backups. But this way one gets two gear sets more easily.

  19. #19
    I have pretty much found the opposite to what the OP is saying, 2 days ago I changed from majority of stam stacking to mastery/avoidance and dropped around 8-9k hp in doing so ... going from around 194k buffed in a raid to around 185k buffed and I had lots of trouble staying alive after this change I was constantly calling for heals and getting complaints from my healers that i was some reason a lot harder to heal then i was a few days ago.
    Losing 9k HP doesn't make you any "harder" to heal, don't let one night's experience color your perceptions.

    Also, bears' mastery scales with attack power and a large amount of a tank's attack power comes from vengeance, which scales with maximum health, so in a way stamina for bears is mitigation; though exactly how effective I'm not sure.
    It's extremely tiny at best. Bears doing raid progression right now are reporting that they rarely - if ever - actually hit their Vengeance caps. Further complicating the issue is the fact that there is some evidence suggesting that the rate at which your Vengeance stack decays is related to the maximum that the stack has reached.

    Not to mention the fact that any bonus to Savage Defense via stamina is going to be something like 50% of 35% of 10%.
    Last edited by Bovinity; 01-03-2011 at 07:56 AM.

  20. #20
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    Tanks should never stack stam in Cataclysm. (Actually, it's a question.)

    I have to get back to work soon from lunch so I apologize if anyone has said this already. At the moment, I have a combined 25% parry/ dodge. If I totally stack avoidance, I can only increae that by maybe 3%. Bear in mind, that does not equal 3% reduced dmg in any given fight. Only statistically over a long enough period does it average out that way. The numbers are simply not high enough to make them statistically relavent in such a short iteration.
    "he doens't need healing, he doesn't need healing, he doesn't nee-WHAOSHIT!wtf was that man!". Please stop leaning on TDR. -Teng

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