Friday, October 3, 2008

The Classics: Mitigation Versus Avoidance

This is an excerpt of a conversation I had with another Tankadin on Altar of Storms.

We were getting ready to start a boss fight and I didn't think I could really explain my reasoning well in 25 seconds.

This conversation was talking about Gems specifically because it's one of the few places where tanks get to make an active choice of Mitigation of versus Avoidance. Specifically to this conversion we were discussing stacking Dodge gems or Stamina gems.

Tanks debated this in Vanilla WoW, they continue to debate it in tBC, and I'm sure they will debate it again in Wrath.

So allow me for a moment to outline why I feel that Stamina gem is the superior choice.

The 5 seconds that kill us are more important to us than the overall damage reduction during the 5 minutes we're in combat.

There are really only two ways to survive those 5 seconds. Either have enough health, armor and block value to survive the hits, or have enough Dodge, Parry and Miss so you don't take all those hits.

I argue the first approach (health, armor, and block value) is better because you never have to wonder what the RNG (random number generator, i.e. dice roll) is going to say.

Dodge, Parry, and Miss make the worse case scenario less likely. Stamina, Armor, and Block Value make the worst case scenario survivable.


Hegemonia said...

If your goal is to become easy to heal, you should try to balance effective health and avoidance. TankPoints is a good model to find out your expected lifetime versus a particular boss.

The problem with only stacking effective health is that it doesn't buy you 5 seconds to live. I bet you didn't even gain enough for one hit worth of HP between your avoidance and EH sets.

I've healed tons of tanks on my healer, and my experience is that a stamina stacked paladin is the hardest type of tank to heal, given equivalent gear.

Jacob said...

One possible way that LK may differ from BC is that the designers are trying to make OOM healers a possibility.

In BC, it is fairly hard to run your healer OOM. In LK, it will be easier, as an explicit design choice.

This may shift the balance of the gem discussion: because healers run OOM more easily, they may dislike tanks that stack too much stamina and too little dodge.

Darraxus said...

I try to balance it out a bit, but as far as Gems, I stack Stamina.

Honors Code said...


That is an excellent point.

One of the reasons I advocate stamina is that there are so many tools healers have to combat going OOM. Invervate, Pots, Mana Tide, Mana Spring, and healer rotations are just a couple of the tools they have.

Icarus said...

I think another important thing you are missing is that dodge rating does not get buffed by kings. It pains me to no end when I see druids stacking things like dodge rating crit chance or ap. It is much better for us to stack things like agility or stamina because we have a talent called heart of the wild that increases our stats by % this becomes even more vital in raids where druids get hit with kings and have another boost.

pallies dont have the talent but most will be toting BOK. In my opinion the best situtation is only stacking gems that can be buffed like this and that should go for any tank.

Honors Code said...

Protection Paladins have two talents (Sacred Duty, Combat Expertise) that increase our stamina by a combined 12%. Stamina is one of our best scaling stats.

2ndNin said...

EH only matters in an integer level, or close to it.

Tanks stack 23-24k buffed health for Brutallus, because stacking for a 5th hit is nearly impossible, same with Teron, you can take 3 hits (18-24k), a 4th typically will kill you because you just cannot stack enough health to beat it.

EH is important in those 5s, but getting the chances of those 5s down to the minimum and making them survivable is what counts overall. Taking a recent example of the Bear in ZA.

I tank Troll - no issues (6k lowest health floor)

OT takes bear, dies

I am now tanking both phases (no battle res), at this point having the EH to survive Mangle + Dots + at least 1 hit becomes the EH goal. He switches to troll and I wait it out, bubbling into the bear phase (remove mangle) and there is little issue. Stacking EH might help me here, but fundamentally if the Troll hits me, with Mangle + bleeds up, I will die, not taking 2-3 hits in a row is the key to my survival at this point because I cannot out EH the fight.

All stamina is typically what you stack from 102.4 -> BT because the fights can be out EH'd, 3-6k hits are nicely manageable with a little to spare, anything that starts hitting for 6k+, then EH becomes a thing you can and should stack, but only to the level you can afford to take a few hits, after that not taking them is more vital.

Gothyelk said...

As always, I think a smart balance is the best approach...

SuraBear said...

I have always been a mitigation/dodge stacker, and it has served me extremely well, for a number of reasons.

1: I'm a bear tank first and foremost. Which, in TBC design philosophy means "Cat". Stacking agility helped me in both my tanking and DPSing roles. In the sole context of tanking, however, this is a non-issue.

2: There is such a thing as enough stamina. If you had 100,000 health and 10% avoidance in current content, which would you stack? Sure, that's an exaggeration, but the point is, there will always be a break point where you no longer get much out of stamina.

3: As others have pointed out, stamina is really only useful in large chunks. The difference between 20k health and 21k health is, in any serious tanking role, a fraction of a second at best in terms of time to live (and if you die to 1k or more "overkill", it didn't afford you a damn thing). More avoidance/mitigation, however, is always a good thing. Mitigation makes the damage you take more uniform and predictable. Avoidance often gives healers the chance to take a short mana break (via cancel-casting), letting them regenerate some of the mana they blow when you're getting pounded on heavily.

In short, my philosophy has always been to get "enough" stamina, and then focus on mitigation and avoidance.

PS: If you ever want to see an example of a tank with way too much health, and no mitigation, try having Thrall tank Durnholde. Good luck finding a healer who can keep him up.