Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Facts of Life

Then this morning, I'm going through my normal routine on 1st break, which means catching up on my blog reading.

Raydz over at the Repair Bill had a very interesting analysis of the night I main tanked Gruul. The intent of his post was to examine HIMSELF. He was only using me because, lo and behold, I'm a guild tank. He wasn't happy with where he saw himself in the analysis. I'm not thrilled with where I saw myself.

I am what you'd call an Effective Health nut. I love stamina, armor, stamina, block value, and oh did I mention Stamina. Fully Raid buffed, I'm sporting 17.5k hp (can't wait for 2.3, baby).

What Raydz saw was that I get hit much more than our other tanks (who are better geared than me).

Next we’ll look at Gruul, out of 75 swings at me from Gruul, He missed 36 (missed 48% of his swings). When I first looked at this I thought that was pretty good, but again comparing to the other warriors it’s not so great.

He missed Brindle an amazing 57.2% of his attacks, Gruul missed 91 attacks out of 159! Lanorah also is right up there with 54.9%,Gruul missed 128 attacks out of 233.

These guys were missed more than hit! What is to be taken into consideration with this is that both of these tanks are avoidance tanks. Meaning they Gem their gear for parry and dodge, whereas I have been going for mostly stamina. At the moment I can’t decide which is the better route to go yet, Stamina or avoidance, from looking at these numbers I think an avoidance tank is pretty damn convincing.

Honors pointed me at a good article found here, it makes the argument that stamina is better than avoidance. Honors is going the health route and in a 25 man raid runs at around 17.5k health, but he also gets hit a lot more than the avoidance tanks, Gruul missed him only 40% of the time,but because he has more hit points he gives the healers more breathing room and less surprises. Still looking at Brindle and Lanorah’s numbers it’s hard to decide. Here is Honors explanation for the difference between an avoidance tank vs. effective health tank (that’s a stamina tank) which I found to be a good explanation. Avoidance tries to make the worst case scenario less probable, effective health tries to make the worst case scenario survivable.

I'm getting hit almost 20% more often than the better geared tanks in the guild. This is disturbing. It's also a bit disturbing that even though my buffed Dodge rate is 20%, I only actually dodged 15% of the attacks. Parry was much closer. My parry rate is 16% and I parried 15% of the attacks.

So I decided to look at not just the one long attempt that Raydz considered, but all 5 of my attempts on Gruul.

Looking at all my attempts changed the picture very little. Over the whole night my Dodge rate was 18% but Parry was only 12%. That's just the same as 15 & 15. I was only missed 40.8% of the time and mitigated 6.1% of the attacks.

I'm a firm believer in Effective Health, but one of the attributes I like about myself is that I'm not 'dogmatic', but instead, I'm 'coachable'. Show me a better way to do something, and I will do it that way. So I have to evaluate the situation being presented to me.

At any given point, there is a chance that your tank will be hit 3 times in a row. No matter how much (realistic) avoidance he has, this will happen. The difference between a stam tank and an avoidance tank is that the stam tank has a way to survive it.

Avoidance is great when you get a streak where you aren't touched. However, hit streaks will also occur and you need to be able to survive them. Also, despite spamming Shield Block, even on the slower hitting bosses a few crushes always sneak in due to parries or whatnot.

When (not if) you get a hit string, possibly with a crushing blow involved, will you live or die? The best way to survive these cases is by maximizing your effective health. You don't want to take it to an extreme and gimp all your other stats but it should be the priority for progression content.

The tank's job isn't to reduce their healing required (though that's helpful) the key task of a tank is to stay alive and hold aggro.

The key question in this analysis is this: Do our tanks have enough health to live when they DON'T avoid the hit. If they have enough hit points to survive the worst case scenario, then it makes sense to stack avoidance because you've met what's known as the Effective Health minimum for the fight. The boss can't kill you before you get healed up, even if you don't avoid a single attack.

One issue working against Mal Katai is that our healers and DPS change quite a bit from Raid to Raid. Both your healers and your DPS contribute to what the Effective Health minimum is for the fight.

What is very telling to me, is that in our kill, our Priest had about 40% overheal. That tells that the worse case scenario was avoided. The counterpoint to that being that each attempt Gruul was getting into the low teens at a minimum. Had our high dps created an Effective Health threshhold that the Tank had met, or did we merely get lucky?

As I analyze the logs of my attempts as MT, what I see was I was often been killed by lack of healing or hateful + hits (+ cave in). When I was a healer, I hated how the tanks always blamed us for wipes. I hope I'm not doing the same thing here.

This indicates to me that I haven't met the Effective Health minimum for that night. On 2 of those attempts we lost dps from the face we were 24 manning it. Also, of all the attempts I've logged on Gruul, the night that Raydz and I tried to MT were the lowest DPS attempts. Low DPS effectively raised the Effective Health minimum for the fight.

So what? So what am I going to do with the information presented to me. I'm dang well going to remember how low the DPS was in the attempts with me and Raydz compared to Lan. For better or worse, Main Tank is something akin to starting quarterback. You too much blame when you lose and too much credit when you win.

The one action item I have is I'm going to change my Jade Skull Breastplate out for my Vindicator's Hauerbek. I will lose a bit of health, but pick up almost 1% dodge. The other action I'm going to take is that I'm going to continue to upgrade my gear as much as I can. Brindall and Lanorah both outgear me, and moreso now that they have their T4 shoulders and Lan has his T4 Legs.

Having two well geared Warriors is a Good Thing, by the way. That will only help both myself and others to get my gear upgraded in the future.
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