The random ramblings of a casual tankadin

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Reforging and regearing 4.2

Don't forget to hit a friendly reforger close to you before you venture out in the world. Make sure to ditch any agility gear where you already have access to better strength based gear first.

Getting the 200 more dodge rating than parry rating will be rather hard, but make sure you get as close as possible. If you're way, way down on the CTC curve you could as well ditch mastery for avoidance, but even a CTC as low as 80% makes this advice a bad one. If you can somewhat reliably block, then having access to an active block-bonus will be better for you.

If you're below 70%, though, stacking MDR should be better for you, and that means stacking avoidance up to some 13% dodge and parry is better for you. Thankfully the gear where you gain from stacking avoidance is quickly replaced. Napkin math has gear as low as ilevel 346 favouring mastery stacking.

New gear

Run the Thrall quest line as soon as possible if you haven't already done so. At the end you'll be rewarded with an ilevel 365 cloak that is a direct upgrade to the Hyjal reputation ilevel 359 one.

Some odd 4k Justice Points ought to make the previous 359 VP gear available to you. Even if you have already gathered up most of what you want you could still pick up the boots, the retribution legs and the tanking cloak to make your threat set a little better while still maintaining decent tanking stats.

Oh, do pad out your PvP set immediately if you already have a partial Vicious set. You want the spare room for gaining more honour to make sure you fill the set when you start grinding Conquest Points next week.

Apart from that it's time for the slow and boring grinding of dailies to unlock the 365 gear that is sure to be a benefit to us casuals. While it's mostly superfluos for hacking away in five-mans it's certain to come in handy when we start making serious attempts at the first Firelands bosses.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Maintankadin failsafe gearing guide

The version of my failsafe gearing guide on Maintankadin is as of now officially obsolete. I'll write a current one that takes 4.2 into consideration, but the version you find there is no longer valid.

Friday, June 24, 2011

No Swedes today

If you see one of us from the land where polar bears supposedly walk on the streets of our capital (incorrect, but a rumour we find quite humorous) logged on today, well, that's not a casual.

Today is Midsummer Eve. We're abandoning our proper homes and hitting outdoors venues, usually at some friend or relative who lives sufficiently close to nature. There we'll have an alcohol soaked dinner outdoors. Storms, blazing heat, rain or, if possible, snow, won't change that. Outdoors.

Flimsy plates of paper, flimsy glasses of platic and not so flimsy bottles with strong liquor will all compete to fall of the (you guessed it) flimsy tables we've chosen to drag outdoors for this one day of the year.

Sweden is officially closed. This is the day when network traffic drops by well over 50%.

So I'm writing this well before I plan to marinate myself in 40% alcohol and become incomprehensively incoherent. Sharing this experience with a large part of the local population, and tomorrow most of us will state, in broken voices, we'll never drink again -- just as we did last year, and will do next year again.

So what does this have to do with tanking? Very little, apart from a firm warning that if you do indeed get a Swedish tank later this evening, don't expect much in the form of performance. That the player was able to turn on the computer and type in the password to log on would be about the limit of performance you should expect.

For the occasional national out there. I raise you one. Cheers!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Saving money on expensive gear

This is a rather short advice for people, casual or not.

If you plan to keep your gear in order a week from now, start buying gems, and especially enchanting materials, now. Preferably you started yesterweek, but there's still time.

The same advice goes for whatever materials crafted gear which you plan to aqquire needs for completion.

With the new expansion a sudden influx of upgrades will swamp the servers, and whatever is currently stocked up on the AH will be woefully insufficient to meet the needs during the first weeks.

One item in particular will be very hard to come by, and that is the enchanting shard from disenchanting blue quality gear. Players tend to run the troll instances rather than the old Cata heroics, and the troll ones only drop green and epic quality gear. You may want to spread your VP grinding between old heroics and troll ones only to get a chance to aqquire the enchanting materials.

Oh, and do get the materials needed for the new tanking leg enchant. Plate tanks won't even have to wait for an upgrade to feel the need to get that enchant.

Head over to MMO Champion to get a heads up on which upgrades are available to you without you needing to raid. For the same reason, if you aren't already decked out in all the VP gear that you need, remember that those will be available for Justice Points in a week. Doing this will give you a rather good idea of what gems and enchants you're likely to want within the short future.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Update on parry and dodge 4.2

I had to edit my previous post on parry and dodge due to the increasingly commonly laid out feasts during raids.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Do you eat your food?

If you're tanking a raid I'll just assume you buff yourself with food. If not, then you're doing it wrong.

For a five man heroic, though, the answer isn't as clear cut. For a tank in 350+ gear it's simply not needed, especially not in the old heroics.

Now, the troll instances present an interesting dilemma. Threat can sometimes be an issue, because for us casuals the mobs still hit hard enough for us to wear a survival set.

So, how to get the good without paying too much for it?

The Tol Barad dailies is a very sweet help here. Killing crocs give us what we need to produce stamina/expertise food. Unless you're wiping a lot in five mans even the modest amount of food available from doing those dailies will give us a pretty nice chunk of extra threat.

Oh, and do kill the guy on the bridge in Zul'Farrak. Someone in the party will get the ingredients for a full stack of food. Maybe not you, but the mob dies in just about no time. After all, you do take the time to do the lottery for one Maelstrom Crystal.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

4.2, parry and dodge

After a forum conversation with Chicken on maintankadin (thanks for the info, btw) I can give a pointer on how to rebalance balance and dodge.

Currently we try to keep parry about one percent higher than dodge raidbuffed.

Come 4.2 we want them to be exactly equal raidbuffed.

For the tankadin standing by the reforger without raidbuffs this should translate to about 200 more dodge rating than parry rating.

The difference should be covered by BoK (or similar) and Horn of Winter (or similar).

Edit: If you're eating from a feast prior to pull, you'll get 60 or 90 stamina and 60 or 90 in another 'useful stat'. That useful stat is dodge for us tankadins.  You'll have to take that into account when you tweak the difference between your ub dodge and parry.

If you know you'll always eat a feast for 90 in two stats, then a bit more than 100 higher dodge than parry is a better goal than the 200 I've stated here.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A short piece of advice, Maintankadin

If you need to know anything about paladin tanking then Maintankadin is the place to go. While a place that's basically only a forum might seem lacking in general advice in the form of articles, the truth is that aspects of tanking change so fast that static articles tend to become dated very fast.

That's not to say there are not dated chunks of information on Maintankadin. There are, and they're all attributed with the time when someone wrote the advice.

The main sections of useful advice are Basic Training, Gear Discussions and Advice and Cataclysm Raids. For the five man farmer you could have some use for the Five man dungeon section, but due to the raiding progression of most posters on Maintankadin, it tends to be rather dated.

The main strength with Maintankadin is that it's likely to have an answer to just about everything you'd want to ask about.

The main weakness with Maintankadin is that it's (rightfully) renowned as the number one site for anything tankadin, and thus a partially dated guide will sometimes continue to be seen as gospel even when the information is no longer accurate.

Luckily most guides come with a changelog including the date when something was indeed changed. If the last date is prior to a patch you know has been added to the game, be careful.

You can ask questions and be pretty certain you'll get an answer, even though not maybe the same day you asked it. Note, though, that you are expected to have read the FAQ pertaining to each section.

Occasionally you'll get jumped on in an unwarranted way (even though more often than not it is indeed fully warranted). When you take flak with little reason it's usually a combination of a dated guide/FAQ, and associated multiple pages long discussions, and a responder who just happens to know that one of the posts during a chain of disputing posts includes the answer you were searching for.

My primary advice is that you get used to the site for a week or so before you start posting. A few of the other posters can be terse in the extreme, a few others take for granted that the in-house jokes are appreciated by everyone, but in the end basically noone is out to hang you out to dry.

Well, let me rephrase that. If you repeatedly try to actively make an arse out of yourself then we'll cooperate and hand it to you.

That said, pay that gold mine of tankadin information a visit.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

PvP for fun

Can I PvP as a protection paladin?

Yes, but not very well.

Since the nerf to our incessant selfhealing we became a lot less viable in arena. Battlegrounds, however, are a slightly different matter. Especially if we gear up as well as possible.

Now, being well geared isn't the same as showing up in your mid 350 tanking gear and thinking that it'll work. Casters will hand you your rear and even melee will be sadly uncooperative. By cooperative I'm referring to standing in the front of your shield like the targets you usually tank.

You'll need proper PvP gear, and that's easily gained from honor points alone. As we're likely to focus on getting our tanking gear come 4.2 the state of the art PvP equipment won't come fast. However, if you just happen to sit on a few thousand valor points you could as well convert them into their conquest counterpart and get started.

You want exactly the same gear as a retribution paladin, barring a one hander and a shield. Both are, luckily enough, available in PvP versions. Start with a trinket that gets you out of trouble once every two minutes, and try to get the gloves as soon as possible.

Now, somewhere above 3000 resilience the fun in battlegrounds start as a paladin tank. You'll primarily concentrate on carrying flags, defending objectives and tank the ocasional boss fight that occur. The latter is better done in your proper tanking gear though.

You'll soon notice that players are surpricingly easy to taunt. For some reason a lot of people take personal offence at someone who refuses to die instantly. If you back up into a corner you'll even be able to benefit from some of that shield blocking that is part of our normal procedure. However, you can't fight ranged opponents from a cornered position. Those need to be handled by either a corner pull or an outright assault.

Another fun job is the deliberate suicide, especially if you happen to have a healer who likes you. Just head into the thick of things and start using AoE like you were tanking trash. More often than not you'll get the attention of enemy players who start hitting you instead of doing something useful. A few heals are usually enough to keep people occupied for well over half a minute, which is time the opposing team sorely lacks.

Never expect to get a decent kill score. That's not your job when tanking, and that's not your job in PvP. You're there to be a meatshield and a general PITA.

There's even a marginal profit for your tanking to be had if you're inclined to push out as much damage as possible on content you overgear. The PvP gloves add a sweet 5% damage to all your CS attacks.

Also, if you're grinding materials, most likely as a miner, and play on a PvP server, gear with resilience will make ganking you at a node all that much harder. In a one one one match against someone who's hunting players in the open world you're very likely to come out victorious. The main reason isn't that the protection paladin is so fantastic at duels, but rather that gankers tend not to be overly well geared, and as a tank you're already a lot harder to kill to begin with. While you do pitiful damage you can usually just outlast your attacker.

The last, but maybe most important benefit, is that you'll grow a new kind of awareness to your abilities. When to use them, and how to use some that doesn't see as much use when you tank as they ought, well, at least not as a pugging tank. Removing snares, shielding that friendly healer of yours, swapping seals midfight, using trinkets, using potions wisely and pathing.

Pathing is knowing which way you're going to move, before you move. As a protection paladin you're suspectible to all kind of bad things slowing you down, but you move faster than most other players. That makes moving intelligently all that much more important.

Oh, and fighting with the information from your screen. No DBM telling you when to use what abilities. You'll need to act upon a lot more of the graphics that is provided by the game rather than addons.

Now go out and have some fun slamming that shield of yours into the face of other players!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

It's just a pug

I don't have to, because it's just a pug.

Then there's the long list of don't have tos.

I don't have to:

Perform at max capacity
Use my buffing spells
Use my cooldowns
Enchant my gear
Gem my gear
Reforge my gear
Run in an optimal spec
Know the content
Run in a spec that's suitable for my role at all
Disrobe my PvP gear
Wear gear that is suitable for my class, spec or role at all.
Pay attention during fights
Be physically present at my computer during fights

Do you see a trend?

Remove items from the list that are clearly absurd. If you have more than the three top most left for a five man or any at all for a proper raid, you're not casual, you're just bad.

Threat 2

Ok, now it's time to break the rule.

What rule?

To never ever gear away from survival.

Why would we ever gear away from survival?

Because it's damn fun.

OK, so it's fun. Even tanks like to watch big yellow numbers from time to time. Even a raiding tank could find pleasure with it. There are, however, a few rules we ought to keep.

Your fun shouldn't:

1) Make the run unfun for the others.

2) Disabling you from properly tanking the content.

3) Disabling an eventual co-tank from properly tanking the content.

So it all boils down to being distinctly overgeared for the content. How much is overgeared? I'd say it depends on you and your group. I have fun in the old Cata five man heroics during pugs. I also have fun in an average ilevel 355 set designed to kill stuff. That's grossly overgeared.

Some have fun in content at their own gearlevel, or at least not very much below their own gearlevel. Like having fun in 359 gear with the earlier bosses in Cata raids. I doubt they're pugging it.

That said, how do your start having fun?

Kick your hit-rating to whatever means never missing your target. I hiked it to 8% because I consider the BH 10-man raid to be distinctly easier than some of the old Cata hc:s, and hence I tank it as one. If you'd never consider tanking anything but five-mans in a threat set, then you only have to get hit rating enough to fight level 87 targets.

Kick your expertise to 16. That makes you soft-capped with glyphed SoT. Then kick it as high as you can without feeling squishy, but never higher than 46, because then you hard-cap expertise with glyphed SoT.

Rather obviously, glyph SoT.

Take the best weapon you don't need for surviving stuff that actually tries to kill you and enchant it with Landslide.

Take a very, very greedy look at the PvP gloves, especially if the Conquest Point version is available to you. +5% damage to the attack you'll use almost 50% on boss-fights is an appealing reason.

Glyph SotR and HotR if you feel like having really fun.

Go kill stuff and match DD dps.

There are ways of having even more fun, as can be seen from the link in this post, but this is The Pugadin blog, and pugging tanks don't get to have fun in proper raids, at least not until 4.2 is released.

Now to some stuff to keep having fun without getting kicked.

You'll take a lot more damage than you're used to. The difference between my MDR raiding set and my threat set is a hulking 19% CTC. That's a LOT more physical damage incoming. That's the main reason I don't have fun in the troll heroics. I'd give my healer a heart attack.

While things running away from you basically becomes a non-issue, that extra damage warrants the use of your stun just after you pull a big pack of mobs, and you do want to mark skull. The combined result of DD focusing on your target, your own higher dps and six seconds of target inactivity makes life a whole lot easier for your healer. In effect that target will die very shortly after it's allowed to attack you. Use glyphed Holy Wrath early on stunnable targets for the very same reason.

The above tactics will actually lower your dps a little bit as you take less than maximal damage, but I strongly advice you to follow them until you feel confident that you'll survive the extra damage anyway.

In difference from what I have done, which should work as a reminder to myself to get my act together, don't nerf mastery to increase hit and expertise. Now I didn't go and actively nerf my mastery, but I have been lazy.

When a piece of gear comes with avoidance and hit/expertise I simply don't reforge away from threat into mastery. That's stupid. Mastery is better than avoidance for survival, point by point. What I should do is to reforge, for example, hit rating into mastery and then reforge, for example, parry into expertise. That way I get the same amount of fun, but I effectively convert avoidance into mastery, which is a net gain in survival.

For the very same reason I should probably see if it is at all possible to keep one of my Tol Barad mastery trinkets, preferably the one with strength on-use, and convert 321 points of avoidance into hit/expertise instead of blindly slapping in a hit-rating trinket. This would also allow me to get rid of the inferior 'fun-trinket' with agility.

Then, of course, as gear become more and more grossly better than the content we want to eradicate, we can give survivability less and less of a thought. Eventually we'll tank the content in pure dps-gear, but honestly, I doubt it'll be as fun.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Threat 1

Threat is a joke -- don't flask, eat, pot, gear, gem, enchant or reforge to get more.

Well, that would make this a very short blog post. Especially as the above statement basically is all that you need to know.

That's also the short short version.

The short version is that if you don't know what to do, then you should follow the above statement.

Then there is a long version as well, and this is where my blog post stops being very short.

Threat is a joke unless you have zero vengenance and zero threat lead. That's usually just before you start pulling, but it sometimes includes tank swap situations, new adds that have to be picked up and fights with threat reset mechanics. While you should have some vengenace up at the moment when these exceptions occur, your vengenace could very well be low enough that threat initially isn't a joke.

If you can rely on hunters and rogues diverting threat your way, then you're potentially not being very casual about your tanking. Sure, member of a casual raiding guild where players still do their job, but those groups tend to be the exception.

Now, if you can't rely on anyone helping you during those moments when threat is not a joke, how should you handle my first statement in this post? Exactly the same way as if you could rely on help.

The thing is, if you're geared for threat in a fight that could kill you even if healers do their jobs decently enough, then you're gearing wrong. Does that mean you just have to bite the bullet and watch stuff run all over the place and then complain about careless dps? Well, both yes and no. Yes, you have to bite the bullet. No, stuff isn't allowed to run all over the place. It depends wether you should complain about careless dps.

Just bite it.

A dead tank generates zero threat. You absolutely have to cover the gearing needs to stay alive. That's simply not optional.

Don't allow stuff to run away.

You have two taunts on an eight second CD each, and they're off the GCD, and they can't miss. If you lose threat, just taunt. Effectively you just got a 10% threat lead against melee dps and a 30% leads against anything else (provided healers are standing away from melee range).

If you're raiding then pots are worth it. Break my initial rule and drink one for a big strength increase just prior to pulling.

Use Divine Plea and Inquisition pre-pull for some extra threat. Use glyphed SoT seal for the pull. When things are under controll you can swap to SoI for increased survivability.

If you know well before the fight that adds are going to pop up with the intent to eat your healers (and the occasional dps) for dinner, glyph dazing shield. While it delays the time it takes the adds to reach you, it also delays their dinner preparations.

Taunt. The two taunts are still there long after your initial pull. Be careful with the RD though. You might taunt something you didn't want to.

If you're tanking one caster add and you realize you have to walk over and disrupt that dinner making mob, there are a few options. AS available? Taunt the far away mob, AS the one you're tanking and start walking. No AS? Stun your current target and walk away. Either you'll have to get back to the caster, or your AS came off cooldown and you can order it to come over to you.

You're truly stuck in place with your current target. There is simply no way you can walk away from it for one reason or another. And a caster chef just popped up a bit away. And AS is on cooldown. Taunt the new mob. Divine Plea, Inquisition, taunt it again and Judge it. AS still off cooldown? Stun your current target and cast Exorsism on the far away mob. AS still on cooldown? Your first taunt just came off cooldown, use it again. AS still on cooldown and that mob starts working on your healer? Well, HoP your healer.

And then there are the oddball situations when you're seemingly out of options. You're getting swarmed and nothing could possibly make you collect all those adds. Well, there are oddball solutions. They're likely to fail, but if the alternative is a guaranteed fail, well. You have two instant heals. Lay on Hands is a nice threat spike, and while Holy Radiance only ticks for about 1k health per second, if you're standing among melee dps it stacks up pretty decently. You're having RF turned on, but your healers aren't. Instant healing might be enough to make anything in the area lose interest in them.

And finally there are the situations where you're simply doing it wrong. You have AoE attacks for a reason. What works on a single boss doesn't always work on a group of targets. You also have a tab key. Noone's going to yell at you for changing target, get in a good smack and continue to the next, all while keeping your AoE attacks up. Just make sure to get back to your primary one rather quickly.

To complain or not complain, that is the question.

If you haven't tried beefing up your initial threat, then you have no right to complain. Now, if you truly believe you've done your part (and haven't been proved wrong) then some complaints might be in order.

If the dps are hysterically outthreating you during pull and they still want you to tank the content, then they should take it easy at the start.

If the dps are still outthreating you after thirty seconds of the fight has passed, then either you can't tank for them, or they'll need to accept to perform under their level. This would most likely be a bad case of tanking, ie you need to learn how to tank, or they're outgearing you badly. The latter might be the situation when you're replacing a previous tank in a guild but simply lack the gear to do the job as well as they're used to.

If you're outthreating every dps minus one, who isn't doing noticeably higher damage than the rest, then that tank wannabe should be told to turn off threat increasing abilities.

But what about threat gear? Well, the exceptions to my first statement is not a topic for this post, but I'll cover that later.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

High latency 2

Seeing the latency dropped to around 450 ms I gave tanking five mans a try. To make certain I wouldn't be too much of a liability I hit two of the original Cata heroics.

To give you a reference point, I'm used to around 60 ms latency for actual game data, and as low as 35 ms for chat and other low-intensity WoW-utilities. That would be the world and home data on your interface.

I ran quite a few of the original five mans earlier to test out a threat set of mine, one that hasn't particularily changed since then.

The result was a decent overall 10 - 12k dps no matter which instance I ran. A bit higher if there were numerous groups of mobs, which shouldn't surprise anyone given how the paladin tank does AoE.

While two runs doesn't constitute a statistical sample, a drop to around 8k overall dps seems significant. Obviously I was aware high latency would have a negative impact on my dps (not to mention overall tanking performance), but the rather drastic difference still came as a surprise.

Some of it can be accounted for by a greater damage intake. Ie, I'm slower to move out of The Green Pool of Doom. Hence I'm likely to hit WoG more often than before, and that's one SotR less. Still doesn't account for somewhere between 2 and 4k loss of dps.

So most of that dps loss has to have latency as the culprit, and as a protection paladin I'm not even dependent on a crapton of procs for my attacks. I'm bashing most my abilities in according to a GCD based schedule, and thus I should pretty much be able to keep my rotation intact.

If I lose that much to a mere 0.4 seconds latency overhead, then I don't even want to have nightmares about what it'll do to someone who relies on procs.

Monday, June 6, 2011

High latency

I'm stuck a long way from home. In Japan to be more exact.

While the local infrastructure is perfectly decent, the overall latency to my EU server definitely leaves a lot to wish for.

So, what should I do at some 800 ms latency?

Raids are right out of the question. While it would be possible to run ten people all guessing what has already happened server side, you can't have your tank being the only one catching up almost a second later.

Grinding five mans for VP I really don't need is an option. I'd just be a sucky tank. There is, however, something that keeps me from deliberately being sucky.

So I guess I'm stuck with doing some dailies, running an occasional instance with a levelling alt and reading up in general. Wait a minute! Didn't I just say I wanted to avoid deliberate suckyness? Well, the primary alt in question is a dps running WotLK content, and there's a limit to how sucky you can be compared to the atrocities you run into. Besides, it's a ranged dps. There's not much in the way of Green Pools of Doom to stand in.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

On giving personal advice

So, you're standing there and one of the members is rigged in ungemmed and unenchanted PvP gear, in a spec that would make your grandmother weep in shame. And swims around in The Green Pool of Doom. While pulling the next group of mobs.

You're now in the position to give advice.

Before doing so, decide what kind of result you want.

1) You want the offending player to vanish.
Your advice should be formulated in the terms of: You suck!

2) You don't really care if the offending player vanishes, but if staying performance had better improve.
Your advice should be formulated in terms of: Your ability to perform sucks!

3) You really do want the offending player to stay, but performance had better improve.
Your advice should be formulated in terms of: If I played your role I'd do the following to have less sucky performance.

4) You really do want the offending player to stay.
You shouldn't advice. Apparently performance isn't an issue.

I doubt there's much to say about points 1, 2 and 4. Possibly that you can get your point through as far as 1) and 2) goes without references to elderberries and other non-humanoid attributes concerning heritage.

But if you truly want the player to improve?

If you're standing there in combat, regearing and respeccing really isn't an option. You'll have to satisfy by getting the player out of The Green Pool of Doom. That is, strangely as it might sound, not best done by telling the player to move the hell out of said pool. At least not the first time. The fifth time you just yell: Get the **** out of the pool!

Point out the non-pool areas. You want the player to focus on the right way of doing it, not on avoiding the wrong way to do it. Even if the pool pops up in your own face from time to time wherever you happen to tank the target, there are still non-pool areas. Often behind the target.

The same strategy goes for hepling with specs and gear, with one huge difference. If you don't really know what is the best setup for the player, then you should preferably introduce that player to someone who does. Don't guess and give wrong advice.

Now, if you do indeed know the best setup, then you could say, to take a prot pally example: You should place two talent points into Seals of the Pure. It provides both higher overall dps and better reliability than Eternal Glory. You want that reliability during the first seconds of the fight when you still need to establish aggro. Later on threat becomes a non-issue, so reliable extra threat is prefered over random spikes of threat.

The same goes for gear: My primary job as a tank is to survive and keep aggro. The reason I prefer the tanking chest enchanted with 75 extra stamina is that it helps me to survive. While your dps chest with +20 on all stats give you better initial threat than mine does, the extra threat gained is unlikely to help you enough during the first seconds of the fight to compensate for the extra damage you take for the rest of the fight. Besides, occasionally those 55 more stamina I get allows me to survive an attack which would otherwise have killed me. When I go down I generate zero threat.

Start with the short time goal you want the player to achieve, argue for it, and only after that point out the deficiencies standing in the way to reach that goal. That's the roundabout way of getting the player to suck less without resorting to: "You suck!" And the elderberries.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

A short piece of advice, reforging

Reforging is the mechanics which can drastically change how a piece of equipment work. Basically you remove 40% of an unwanted stat and gain those 40% as something you want.

There is a caveat. The piece of equipment can't already include the stat you want.

So, how do we reforge?

I'm assuming you're fixing up your best set of gear for the hardest content you're currently tanking.

Always reforge away from threat stats. Those would be hit-rating, expertise-rating, crit-rating and haste-rating. There is an exception to this. If the piece comes with an unholy bulkload of avoidance (dodge/parry) and a very meager amount of threat stat, then it might be better to reforge away from the avoidance stat. The break point should be about when the threat stat is 60% of the avoidance stat in raw numbers.

Always reforge into mastery. If it's impossible to reforge into mastery, then reforge into avoidance.

As for avoidance, you should aim at having around 1% more parry chance (not rating) than dodge chance after buffs.

While you can theoretically hit 102.4, if you're a casual tank reading The Pugadin, don't worry, you won't. At least not during this expansion.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Cheaper enchanting from pugging

If, for some reason, you're short on gold, short on crafting materials and short on time, getting your gear to the level you want might seem a daunting task.

While doing dailies is a requirement for getting reputation gear, and certainly helps with netting you some needed gold, they do very little to mitigate the cost of crafting materials.

This is where pugging five mans come into the picture. The troll heroics should see you set with maelstrom crystals, but they're also generally a gold sink due to repair costs.

So, rather than doing all seven troll heroics per week, you might consider doing four, or even three, and pad out the valor point cap from running four or six old style heroics. Not only will you statistically receive quite a few extra satchels of exotic mysteries, but the old style heroics are likely to be your main source of heavenly shards. As an extra bonus you're unlikely to wipe as often there, and they generally take far less time to complete.

All in all I'd estimate your netting an extra 500 gold weekly on top of getting the occasional crafting material to help you alleviate the cost of enchanting your gear. You'll also receive the occasional blue quality uncut gem.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Some terminology


The holy grail of shield tanks. A boss level opponent (during this expansion usually level 88) has you needing 102.4% CTC (see below) to remove unmodified hits from the possible outcomes of a physical attack.


It's the sum of miss, dodge and parry. In percent. There's an inherent 5% miss built into the game, and you can find your dodge and parry percentage by looking at your own character interface. Very often players tend to add block into this number.

How do you know? Well, if they quote an avoidance number above 50%, then they have added block.


Combat Table Coverage. It's simply avoidance plus block. Again in percentage.


Mean Damage Reduction. You won't encounter this acronym as often as CTC (or a wrongly used use of the term avoidance for that matter). It stands for how much physical damage you'll avoid taking statistically. Maximizing MDR is not the same as maximizing CTC.


Casually means the very moment when you (or someone else) activates the opponent, usually by attacking.
In raids the term pull very often includes the first thirty second of the fight. The reason is that this is the period where a tank risks losing aggro to someone else.


Damage Dealer. Often called DPS. Any member of the raid/party who's not a healer or  a tank.


Raid Damage Per Second. The total sum of all dps. If a boss has an enrage timer, then you can easily calculate the RDPS needed to down it in time. From that number you can estimate the dps needed for every DD involved. Observe that ths number may not be sufficient in reality. There might be parts of the fight where hammering away at the boss is impossible for one reason or another.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A short piece of advice, enchants

As for gems, just do it. Enchant your gear. There's nothing flashing a red light of warning as an unenchanted tank. If you can't be arsed to enchant your gear, do the rest of us a favour and don't pretend to tank content.

That said. What should I enchant where?

Head: Get your reputation to revered with Earthen Ring and buy Arcanum of the Earthen Ring. 90 Stamina and 35 Dodge Rating is one of the most powerful enchants available to us.

Neck: Can't be enchanted.

Shoulders: Therazane reputation first to honoured and then to exalted. Exalted gives us Greater Inscription of Unbreakable Quarts. 75 stamina and 25 dodge rating is a very strong enchant.

Cloak: Protection. 250 armour is a pretty lackluster enchant, but it's the only one for us in this slot.

Chest: There are two stamina enchants here. I'll list the expensive one, but be warned that it's a lot more expensive than the secondary option. Greater Stamina. 75 stamina is a good enchant. A bigger health pool allows us to concentrate on mastery.

Bracers: Only one good enchant for this slot.Dodge. 50 dodge rating. We want to pad out that CTC. You shouldn't be so health starved that you want to apply the old WotLK stamina enchant here.

Weapon: If at all possible you should have a variety of weapons available, all with different enchants. I'll only list the obviously tanking oriented ones. Cheap one is Mending. Occasionally heals you for a small amount. The expensive one is Windwalk. With a close to 30% uptime 600 extra dodge rating and 15% increased movement speed is a fantastic enchant.

Shield: Mastery. 50 mastery rating is exactly what we want.

Boots: Mastery. 50 mastery rating is exactly what we want.

Legs: One cheap and one expensive option here. I'll list the expensive one. Charscale Leg Armor. 145 stamina and 55 agility is a huge increase in stats. Currently the agility is worth 35 dodge rating. With patch 4.2 it'll be worth nothing, so I hope it's changed into straight dodge rating.

Edit: Looked up MMO Champion. The PTR notes indicates that a new leg enchant is indeed incoming. 145 stamina and 55 dodge rating. That would be a net gain of 20 dodge rating then.

Belt: Belt Buckle. Gem with 40 mastery rating.

Hands: One expensive and one cheap option. I'll list the expensive one. Greater Mastery. 65 mastery rating.

The above are the default enchants. For specific jobs other enchants might be better, but if you're pulling those stunts you really didn't need to read this guide in the first place.