Monday, November 2, 2009

Solve the Avoidance Problem, Eliminate Tank Gear

I got this idea after reading Blessing of Kings excellent post on Chill of the Throne (aka Icewell Radiance).

Basically the best way for Blizzard to address the high avoidance problem is to remove Plate Tank gear in the next expansion, and put all Tanks in the same position of sharing DPS gear that Druids find themselves in today.

The first steps towards this have already been taken by Blizzard's announcement at Blizzcon that Defense is going away in Cataclysm. All Tanks will have a Survival of the Fittest type talent that makes you uncrittable. So already we won't see any Plate in Cataclysm with Defense.

Defense adds Parry and Dodge so already Cataclysm tanks will have lower avoidance. But it won't be enough. Let me show you why.

A naked Level 80 Blood Elf Paladin has nearly 11% avoidance, and that doesn't factor in another percentage or two from the 400 defense you get. (Every character gets 5 defense per level.) So already we're at nearly 13% avoidance. Combine that with talents like Deflection and Anticipation and a Tank is already sporting near 25% before he puts on his first piece of gear. Let's add in some raid buffs like Kings and Mark of the Wild. Let's also debuff the Boss with a hit debuff like Insect Swarm or Scorpid Sting which gives the Tank 3% more avoidance.

We can see that before you add one lick of Dodge or Parry from gear, a tank is already at or near 30% avoidance. This is actually MORE than GC said he'd like to see in the first tier of Cataclysm raids.

So what if, as Rohan suggested, the Developers do not put any Parry or Dodge on Cataclysm tank gear.

Then what stats do you have left to put on the 'tank' gear?

Yes, there are 'block' stats. Remember that the Developers are also changing Block to be a flat percentage, so we don't know how Block Rating/Block Value will work.

If we ignore Block for the moment, or assume Block will scale off of Strength, then what does that leave us with?

Expertise, Hit, and Strength.

What's remarkable about those stats? Yep, they are ALSO DPS stats. In fact, the only DPS stat you are missing is Critical Strike.

Now, how could we address Critical Strike in a way that would work for both DPS and Tanks?

What if we put Critical Strike on gear in the form of Agility? Now the Plate gear in Cataclysm is itemized with Strength, Hit, Expertise, and Agility. It should work for both Tanks and DPS. So in the same way that Rogues and Ferals share DPS Leather, Plate Tanks and Plate DPS can share all Plate gear. There would be much less 'wasted' gear in raids, and less gear to clutter up the loot tables.

Tanks will still prefer one handers while most Plate DPS wants two handers. Tanks will still be the only ones going for Shields, at which point it might make more sense to put them on vendors considering that only 1 spec of 2 classes even uses Tank shields.

So how would this affect avoidance? I believe it would keep Avoidance from going up too much each raid tier and the Developers can better keep it under control. If it starts to get away from them, they can tweak the Agility to Dodge conversion again like they did earlier in Wrath.

So what do you think? Would the 'Druid' solution work for Plate Tanks?


Gravity said...

In this idea, how would you make the tanks' dps low enough so they are not unkillable AND dps machines?

Honors Code said...

Keep in mind that even today Tanks have these stats on their gear. Also, they are already doing this for Druids today, so there is a precedent.

Also remember that Tanks and DPS use drastically different weapons. You could shift more of the Plate DPS into scaling from the 2 handed weapon.

Tanks also tend to use different spells from DPS. Hammer of the Righteous, Devastate, Maul for example are tank stables. You simply tweak the AP coefficients so your tanks do the threat you want them to do while doing the DPS you want them to do.

If that wasn't sufficient, you might have to look into a defensive stance like 10% DPS reduction.

I'm not familiar with DK mechanics (mine is all of 58) so I can't speak to how they would work, but I trust the Devs could figure it out.

Mister K said...

I totally agree with this solution.

most of that would be handled by talents and abilites, most tanks don't have access to the high damage abilities of their dps counterparts.

Dorgol said...

Seems innocent enough.

Amusingly enough, a change like this would mean that the Holy Paladin would be the only class / spec that has a set of gear that cannot also be used for DPS.

So maybe Blizzard should finally get rid of spell power plate!

Then Paladins would need one set of gear to do everything - tank, heal, and DPS!

And I think that is why we won't see this happen.

Honors Code said...

I don't think the application to Holy Paladins would have any influence. Spell Power plate is a seperate issue. However, I wonder if Spell Power Plate is any worse than any other spell power item that isn't cloth. Only Druids use Spell Power Leather (though 2 different specs) Only Shamans use Spell Power Mail (again two specs).

Josh said...

Haste is also a DPS stat.

I think this needs to be thrown to the druid crowd - has the "druid solution" worked out for them? It seems like a good idea on paper, but I'm not sure if it's worked out to everyone's liking.

Kaziel said...

Not a big fan.

First problem: While you point out that Defense will be going away in Cataclysm thanks to a talent which will make tanks uncrittable, you forget about the other half of the equation which is Blizzard has said that they generally want to steer away from passive talents if they can. In their own words, passive talents like Deflection and Anticipation aren't fun. They are "mandatory" (10% avoidance? Who in their right mind would turn that down?), but when compared to "interactive" talents like Reckoning.

I'd say there's a decently high chance that Deflection and Anticipation, in their current incarnation’s will just be gone in Cata.

Now, that's not to say we won't get something similar. For example, the DK Blood Talent "Blade Barrier" is an example of a talent which is both "permanent" and "interactive". I could imagine Prot getting a talent in this vein, such as "Every time you use your SotR spell you gain 5% chance to be missed/dodge". It could be justified as you blinding them with the divine radiance your power or some such nonsense. The talent could be tied to some other spell, but most of the other ones either aren't good options (HotR is too high a talent) or already have damage reduction tied to them (HS... duh, and Judgement's has the attack speed decreasing effect on it).

Additionally it's entirely possible that we won't even get that type of talent that gives us more avoidance. This is the biggest issue with your idea is it hinges on the idea that in Cata we will have 25% avoidance naked and 10% of that will be from talents. For all we know, we could end up with the 15% base and that's the only avoidance we get other than additional avoidance you get from gear. And by properly tuning the amount gotten from dodge/parry rating, they can make sure avoidance grows at the rate they want this time.


Minor-nit-pick: You get no additional parry/dodge avoidance from 400 Defense. You only get additional avoidance from Defense when you go over whatever is the current level’s cap (400 in WotLK and probably 425 in Cata). By having max Defense, that puts you at 5% Parry and 5% Dodge to form the baseline 11% you mentioned (with the additional Dodge coming from your AGI).

BUT! Max Defense does give a static 5% chance to be missed, so at level 80, naked, a BElf Paladin will have approximately 15-16% avoidance. I realize we're talking semantics since the end result is the same, but just wanted to point it out so that you're stating your facts correctly. :)

To be continued in second post

Kaziel said...

For me, I'd like us to keep having distinct Tanking and DPS plate. Personal experience has shown me that when you move two different roles into using the same armor (for this I refer to the change of making Spirit a useful stat for DPS casters, but Hit not so for healers, when going from tBC to WotLK) to cause more drama amongst looting than otherwise.

While gear homogenization does have its perks (greater chance of something you want dropping), it also increases the chance of either unfair actions (officers hogging it for themselves or showing favoritism) or fights over whether gear is better for DPS or Tank and who should get it.

I realize that not everyone has these problems, so to some they will seem stupid, but these are the experiences I've had with a group that is, generally speaking fairly mature. And if it happens there, in other places I'm sure it's much worse.

Also an addendum on the AGI idea: Unless Blizzard makes it so that AGI starts boosting critical strike chance for both attacks and spells for plate wearers (possible talent?), this idea is going to be viewed with less than enthusiasm by DKs and Paladins. While Warriors wouldn't note the difference as they are entirely physical attack based, the loss of spell crits would be a moderate to huge hit for Ret Paladins (Exorcism and Hammer of Wrath(?), along with Holy Wrath to a lesser degree)and all DK DPS (Icy Touch, Howling Blast, Death Coil, and Blood Boil). Obviously looking at that list it'd be more of a hit for DKs than Ret Pallies... Anyway, if Blizz does make talents or maybe a baseline ability which makes AGI give physical and magical crit for those classes, I have no complaint here.

Yeechang Lee said...

As a longtime paladin tank who now has an equally well-geared druid tank, I would answer Josh's question by saying that I believe using rogue/cat gear has worked out quite well for druid tanks. Advantages:

* Being able to share many pieces between tanking and DPS sets.
* Loot liquidity. In general, the more players who can roll on an item means more people are happy. Yes, there is more competition for a piece, but over multiple runs there is a net benefit to all.
* Not all homogeneity is lost. Beyond weapons, a leather piece with a lot of stamina and relatively little agility will still likely be seen as a "tank" piece. Stamina and armor trinkets will still go to tanks. Expertise on a two-handed polearm will imply that it's a tanking weapon.

No question, some significant modifications to shield tanks' mechanics would have to be made. To expand on Honor's weapon comment, the concept of "feral DPS" might have to extend to other tanks. Block value and armor would become stats that benefit from some DPS-related multipler (STR, AGI, and/or crit), even more than the current 2 STR=1 BV equation. If Blizzard goes in this direction, plate tanks are likely to go in the direction ferals are today--tanks that deemphasize avoidance and emphasize STA and other effective-health stats--and, presuming that bosses' attacks will adjust accordingly, that's not a bad thing. Blizzard clearly thinks so; as evidence #1 I show you Icewell Radiance!

klenta said...

I can't say I'm too keen on that idea, speaking from a druid tank pov.

I'm fighting with just about everyone except casters for one piece or another. Fight with rogues for leather gear. Fight with hunters / paladins for weapons. Fight with other tanks for non-leather pieces (which generally aren't even optimized for druid tanks, strength doesn't figure into my survivability very much)

On top of all that, still keep it fair for everyone to get their chance at the various pieces.

It's not so bad to know you're losing pieces to other tanks. It's just disheartening to see a tank piece and go, oh, I can't use it or see it go to a dps. I guess the first problem won't be as big an issue for the plate tanks (except for the DKs who can't use shields either).

Sempx said...

This is a very interesting point.
Alot of beeing a tank is knowing what stats to go for and how to specc.

When blizzard removes defence rating they will remove alot of the fun as a tank.

I think alot of WoWs good tanks will change spec and start DPsing or maybe even reroll some other class. It will leave us with noob tanks :P

I hope they wont give us a DPS gear sulution because i think itäs really fun to organize my gear and stats.

Ironhorn said...

I dont like this idea at all. It works for feral druids because how many classes actually roll on leather gear? Them and rogues right?(ok maybe the odd enhancement shaman or hunter as well)

Now look at how many classes and specs of classes would be rolling on this one size fits all plate. 3 specs of DK, 2 of paladin and 3 of warrior.

Now look at the sheer number of these classes that are currently present in the game (specifically rets, dps DK's and DPS warriors) and in most raids, and what you end up with is a situation where it takes longer to gear a raid than if you have seperate plate for tanking and DPS.

We all know what a b*tch the RNG can be, weve all spent weeks/months waiting for that one tanking upgrade to drop. Hows it gonna feel when it finally drops and you lose it to a DPS'er?

Call me cynical but Im unlucky enough with drops, the last thing I want is to make it harder on myself to gear up.

Gravity said...

It's an interesting idea. You're right that talents could nerf the dps so a tank is not a killing machine with 50k hp.

Anonymous said...

One set of gear?... Sweet! That will go well with my FCFS rotation.

Capn Skillet said...

I think armor and blocking should play a larger role for plate tanks than dodge. Parry makes sense, but nobody wearing their own body weight or more in armor will be dancing around dodging a whole lot.

I think Blizzard understands this with the move toward more health and less avoidance. Moving toward more armor might be another good step.