Interesting Places (and Other Crap)

Horde-Babies.preview

Not exactly a paladin or tanking related post, but I found this interesting: Someone on my realm forums started a, “cool places only accessible via flying mount” thread. I can’t believe that I’ve missed this one: Fly to 51,14 in Nagrand (the “G” in “Laughing Skull Ruins” for those who do not have a mod that gives out coordinates). Nestled in the hills is Challe’s Home for Little Tykes. Well, you have to see for yourself, just…lol. So we know that Humans, Orcs, Draenei, elves, Tauren, and Trolls have children, but what about the Dwarves and Gnomes?

Beef-Mobile.preview

The instacast bug is being fixed in the next patch. Explanation: Whenever you do not have a sword or shield in your hands, you cannot parry or block. Unfortunately this rule applies to the short casting animation that occurs during consecration, cleanse, etc. So if you are getting crushed by normal attacks with 102.4% avoidance, this could be a reason why. Also, taunt will correctly work through crowd control. Can’t tell you how many times I have taunted a sheep, only to have it break free and gank a clothy while my spells were on cooldown

Rumor is that 2.1 will go live this week. But, hasn’t that been said every week for the past month?

Random Bits 2

Meh, been busy/lazy/website apathetic lately, thus the lack of postings.

  • I have been healing a little more lately, so I am (err was) thinking about doing a temporary respec to put a bare minimum amount of points into Holy. I would essentially be sacrificing 5% parry (and one of the prot talents likely) to gain 10% int and the healing bonus.
  • Not convinced that would be a worthwhile return. I don't have the gear to make up for the 5% avoidance drop anyways (Crushing Blows bad).
  • Been reading some interesting articles and musings on avoidance vs block. Tanks with really high levels of avoidance seem to succumb to spike damage whereas tanks with really high levels of block seem to succumb to the priests going OOM
  • Even though the healing is smoother with higher mitigation (over avoidance), the tank is still receiving more overall damage. It seems to me that finding a balance between the two would be more appropriate (and possibly adjusting the avoidance/mitigation balance on a per fight basis).
  • "The big announcement" from Blizzard is tonight. Starcraft 2 anyone?

What IS a Crushing Blow Exactly?

Please note that this [b]only applies to normal melee hits[/b], aka white damage. [b]Not yellow damage[/b]…yellow damage comes from special attacks and use a different calculation methodology all-together.

Okay, I think some people are confused about what exactly a crushing blow is and why it happens: A crushing blow is a hit that is 150% of normal damage and can only be dealt by mobs (not by players). It occurs whenever a mob has 15 or more points in Base Weapon Skill over a player’s Base Defense (in other words, a level 73 mob vs a level 70 player :P).

So if you have skilled your character’s Base Defense out to 350 (base means 350 WITHOUT any gear and WITHOUT any talent bonuses), only a mob with a Weapon Skill of 365 will be able to hit you with a Crushing Blow; in other words, a mob of level 73.

Also, remember that all possible attack outcomes on your character are mutually exclusive. In other words, a block is a block and a crit is a crit. You cannot block crits or dodge crushing blows….that is simply not the way hits are calculated.

That Extra 2.4%…

I’ll make this addition to my existing guides later today or this week but: In order to become completely uncrushable you need to have a total of 102.4% avoidance/block(not just 100%). The reason for this is that for each level a mob has over you, 0.2% needs to be subtracted from each of your avoidance/block stats. Just think of it this way: Every point of defense that you have increases all of your avoidance/block stats…it’s something similar with mob hit rating (I don’t think that made much sense but meh, starving).

All Burning Crusade boss mobs are at level 73, that is a 3 level difference. So you need to subtract 3*0.2% from your dodge, defense, parry and miss. That is a total of 4*3*0.2% = 2.4%. So for warriors and paladins, your goal should be 490 defense and 102.4% avoidance/block (with Holy Shield and the warrior equivalent up).

My paladin is currently at 500 defense and 102.5% mitigation/block. The trick is to time your Holy Shield so that it is *always up.* That means, taking the global cooldown into account. I got Crushed to death for 8k ~ 9kish the other week because I timed my spells poorly and had less than a half second where Holy Shield was down. Boo lol.

Site Stuff & More Tanking Observations

There are several article updates that I will make whenever I have time and interest to write stuff.

  • I forgot to link and give credit to Thoughtlover when I mentioned the Itemstats Drupal module in the previous posts. If anyone is running Drupal, they can find it here: http://drupal.org/node/138726
  • If you are interested in linking to my WoW postings, I have all of the WoW related articles filtered to this address: https://www.hokage.org/wow …not that I post anything non-WoW related, but I don’t think that too many people are interested in my personal drivel 😛
  • Whenever I have the chance this week, I have several updates that I need to make to The Attack Outcome Table & Damage Mitigation article, mostly continuing the discussion on Crushing Blows as well as several minor changes.
  • Use the Paladin Threat Table information as approximate values not as precise numbers. I am almost 100% sure that some of the calculations are wrong because I left off a few things (SoR mostly). The point though is that, our threat scales incredibly well with spell damage.

On a similar note, I worry about how effective my current spell damage will be in regards to threat generation as the DPS in the raid gears more. I say 200 to 250ish as a general guideline for Kharazan tanks, but I am wondering if I will need to up that number to around 300 in the future? (Either that or everyone else can not be aggro whores, but me generating more threat means everyone else being able to DPS more without pulling).

Also just as a general observation, it is much harder as a paladin to off-tank than it is to main tank because of the way Spiritual Attunement works. I suspect that warriors have a similar problem with rage (except for the fact my problem is with losing mana and theirs with gaining rage).

For example, I was the third Gruul tank on Saturday. Gruul uses an attack called Hurtful Strike on the next person on the threat list within melee range. The second tank is in charge of soaking those up, the third tank needs to build aggro along side just in case either tank dies. In order to stay above the rogues on threatmeter, I had to throw everything I had at Gruul…but since I wasn’t receiving a signficant amount of healing, I had to pot to keep my mana pool up. It wasn’t really that big of a deal I guess, but something to keep in mind?

Yay, Tier 4!

T4I got a new paladin toy last night: Justicar Shoulderguards off of High King Maulgar, just need to decide exactly how I am going to socket it. Lucikly, I got another crafting commission last night after the raid, otherwise I would have been too poor to afford two blue gems in addition KoT helm enchant (and healing gems/chant for the other shoulders).

I can’t seem to find official release notes or screenshots of paladin Tier 4 set changes on the 2.1 PTRs (browsing limited at work), but from what I read, the Justicar Shoulderguards will have 33 stamina and 12 intellect. I skimmed the post, but it looks like they removed the MP/5 and some of the int in favor of more useful stats.

Total Changes: (From this post).
+31 Stamina
-4 Intellect
+14 Defense Rating
+4 Block Rating
+2 Parry Rating
+52 Block Value
+1 Spell Damage
-8 MP/5
+1 Yellow Socket

Tanking: Paladins vs. Druids vs. Warriors

Please note that this post is written from a paladin perspective. I neither have a druid nor a warrior :P. Warriors have a bunch of tools at their disposal: stance dancing, disarm, etc…but I don’t really feel like listing every little thing. I’m just trying to cover the basics to give a general idea regarding the differences between Bear Druids, Prot Paladins, and Prot Warriors.

Mitigation & Avoidance
Paladin and warrior mitigation/avoidance is almost entirely gear based. In fact, both have the very similar gearing goals, with the exception that paladins need to be somewhat mindful of their spell damage and mana pool. Ideally, warriors and paladins will want 490 defense with 102% block + parry + dodge + miss. Paladins will want around 200 spell damage and around 4,000 to 5,000 mana.

Druids have a significantly higher dodge rating but can’t block or parry in bear form, making them unlikely to completely push off crushing blows. Also, because of the lack of leather +def gear, they aren’t likely to reach the magical 490+ defense in order to avoid crits. Druids though, have by far the highest HP and AC of any tanking class. They don’t try to completely avoid crits and crushes like warriors and paladins, they just take them. For example: At least pre-nerf, many well geared tanking spec’d druids were AT the 75% AC mitigation cap with 20k HP.

Threat Generation
Paladins and druids have scalable threat generation, warriors do not (druids scale with strength/AP, paladins scale with spell damage). Warrior threat, on the other hand is based off of fixed value talents and abilities. It’s a trade off: Paladins and druids can control how much threat they generate, but at the cost of stat/gem/gear slots. Though warrior threat is fixed, it’s all skill based so they are free to focus on gearing mitigation and stamina.

Paladins can also front load a significant amount of threat because they start off with a full blue rage bar. Avenger’s Shield + SoR/JoR + Consecration = thousands of threat in seconds. The fast a tank can generate threat, the faster the DPS can start nuking. On the other hand, paladins LOSE mana while warriors GAIN rage. Even with Spiritual Attunement, a paladin will expend more mana they they will get back.

Multi-Mob Tanking
Warriors can Demo Shout in order to gain initial threat on a group of enemies, but it doesn’t generate a significant amount of threat. To my knowledge, they pretty much have to constantly switch targets in order to hold aggro on multiple mobs.

Druids are a little better: Demo roar will generate a small amount of threat (similar to Demo Shout AFAIK) and swipe will generate a significant amount of threat on up to 3 mobs. Any more than 3 and the druid will have to tab switch targets ala warrior tanking.

Paladins are ideal for multi-mob tanking. Righteous Defense will taunt up to 3 mobs off of a friendly target and Consecration will generate around 200 threat per tick for 8 seconds on anything it hits. Also, the more the paladin is being hit, the more Reckoning, Holy Shield, and Redoubt will proc.

Random Bits

Meh, busy lately. Oh, Heroes is back! If you haven’t seen it, all of the episodes are available online at the official NBC site. A few other things that I have been up to when I’m not in the office or on WoW:

  • Watching: Stargate: Atlantis, & Ergo Proxy. Ergo Proxy is an anime series that I’ve started recently. Sylistically, it’s very similar to Witch Hunter Robin (not surprising, same director). Contextually, it reminds me of GITS + Blade Runner + maybe a smattering of Matrix? I wouldn’t say that Ergo Proxy is an instant classic, but it’s interesting…worth a watch.
  • Reading: Finished Into a Dark Realm by Raymond E. Feist (favorite fantasy author). I have to wait an entire year to read the next one 🙁 This book is actually the latest installment in a fairly long line of books; The Riftwar Saga being the first trilogy (Magician, the first book, was broken up into Magician: Apprentice and Magician: Master in some releases).
  • Playing: WoW, Peggle, and Kingdom Hearts II. I have a stack of unfinished games that I set down for the Burning Crusade. I would like to finish some of them before I lose my place and have to start over.

Paladin PTR Changes
Several paladin changes were made in a recent PTR patch. Well, it’s a start but I’m not going to start cheering until Illumination is at 75% :P. I actually haven’t had a chance to take a gander into the test realms. Perhaps I will this weekend, I want to see exactly what changes were made to the talent trees (paladin = poor, I don’t want to respec).

  • Illumination now returns 60% of base mana cost, up from 50%.
  • 1h weapon spec is now working, and is causing 5% more damage to spells like consecrate and holy shield while a 1 handed weapon is equipped.

Tanking Notes

  • Your heroic tanking gear goals should be roughly similar to your raid tanking goals. Technically, if you are talking absolute bare minimum: since heroic bosses only go up to level 72, you can do with 485 defense. Also remember that mob only deal Crushing Blows when they are 3 levels higher.
  • I rescind my comment regarding never running out of mana. The more geared you are, the less mana you get back because you aren’t getting nearly as many heals (as of 2.1 over healing doesn’t return mana). Hasn’t been that much of a problem in heroics/raids yet (still have to budget mana during certain fights though).
  • If you are seriously considering being a raid or heroic tank, collecting Arcane Resistance gear is a worthwhile endeavor (Tempest Keep, Curator). The Enchanted Adamantium set gives 140 total with all 4 pieces, 30 from the JC neck, 30 from each of the JC rings, there is a shield that drops in heroic Ramparts for 20 (I think). Aim for 200…don’t be like me, who spent a crapload of gold rush buying at the last moment.
  • Rep: Tanks will want to get revered Keepers of Time (best pre-epic tanking legs, 1-handed spell damage sword, the head enchant) and exalted Sha’tar (epic slotted shield and epic healing mace) for the goodies. Make sure to complete the Keepers of Time quest line, the last part (Black Morass) gives 8,000 rep.

To-do: Site
Though honestly, the only time I really work on stuff like this is when I am procrastinating or have had too much coffee.

  • A short guide to pre-raid tanking gear.
  • Cheat sheet for Kharazan (for my own sake, I swear wowwiki goes down whenever I am looking shit up mid-raid).
  • A tanking “cheat sheet” that is, a reference for stat formulas and what not without the 10 pages of babble.

To-do: WoW

  • Farm mats for the Bracers of the Green Fortress
  • Get +40 spell power chanted on my tanking sword (lol been using the exalted HH one just because it was epic…though the revered KoT blue sword has more stam :P). I am a bit below where I want to be spell damage wise. I put +30 int on all of my weapons for the sake of skilling Enchanting.
  • Farm Primal Mana for more Arcane Resist items.
  • Get exalted CE…2.5k off. Close to exalted for KoT as well.

Tip of the Moment: Lucky Charms (aka Target Icons)

I promise that I have an actual non-WoW related post coming one of these days. Overdue for a short anime or book review. I like how all of my posts are either when: I am eating lunch at work, right before I go to bed, or at 2pm. One huge ass trick to making just about every instance smoother is crowd control. Especially important in heroic instances where you can't realistically tank more than one mob at a time (depending on the mob and instance I suppose).

The raid icons make it stupid easy to let individual party members know exactly what spell needs to be applied on what mob. Make sure to define the icons clearly before the run starts and to use them consistently. Only the party/raid leader or promoted raid members are able to use the icons. The icons can be applied on both friendly and unfriendly targets. I think the targeting icons are unbound by default so you will need to hit escape, go into the key-binding options and bind them to a set of unused keys. Otherwise, you can just use the WoW API to make a macro:

[code]/script SetRaidTargetIcon("target", x);[/code]

Where 'x' is a number that corresponds to the following symbols:
0 = Clear
1 = Star
2 = Circle
3 = Diamond
4 = Triangle
5 = Moon
6 = Square
7 = X

Most people for example, denote the skull as "DPS this target." Make sure to change the DPS icon mid fight so your party members know which target to focus on.

10 Raid Guild Application Tips

Edit: June 17th, 2008: What the fuck happened to the formatting? Fixed.

…because guild applicants and guild officers don’t always see eye-to-eye in terms of membership application and evaluation procedures. Raiding guilds take themselves very seriously, perhaps too much so in many cases. If you don't like that, you don't have to apply.

1. Follow directions!
Some guilds have really specific application procedures, read the forum stickies, etc. Here's a protip: How well you follow read and follow directions is often a part of our prospective member evaluation procedure. Also, some guilds like long apps, some like short apps…it really varies.

2. Read the guild documentation
This includes, the guild guidelines, the charter, DKP rules, anything stickied, etc. When you apply to a guild it is assumed that you have read all guild information provided and have agreed to all terms. If you have a question regarding loot rules, guild policies, or whatever, ask an officer for clarification.

3. Read the schedule and raid times
What time zone is this guild in? What times and days do they raid? Can you consistently make all guild events on time and for the entire duration? Can you make a long term commitment? No one likes new members who vanish a week after being ginvited due to real life situations that they "forgot" to mention.

4. Learn about the guild's culture before applying
Some guilds are prudish, some spout sex jokes every 5 seconds, some are composed of adults, some are composed of 12 year olds, some are casual, some are not. Guild officers not only want good decent, but people who will mesh well with preexisting players. Hint hint hint: a guild isn't going to get up and change just because dick jokes make you feel uncomfortable. Deal with it or don't apply.

5. Don't apply or trial for multiple guilds at the same time
I know it may seem more efficient, but this offends many guilds…who will instantly deny you any chance of membership for applying on another site. Remember: Guilds are looking for members who are committed to their guild, not every guild on the server.

6. Don't schedule multiple trials
Basically the same answer as above. I've had people schedule multiple trial runs with multiple guilds at the exact same time and wonder why their application was denied. WTF?

7. Don't make a "copy and paste application"
Most guild sites have a specific form that they wish to be filled out. Use that format, not your own. There are two reasons why: 1. It shows that you can to some extent read and follow instructions, 2. Having all applications in a standard format makes it easier for the officers to read.

8. Spell check
Use properly punctuated English, spell check and make sure that your application isn't one huge block of text. Most guild officers have an instant bias against applications that they are unable to read. If you can't give me the time of day to write a readable application, I'm not likely to give you the time of day for a trial. (By extension, please please don't write Walls of Text. Paragraph = friend).

9. Don't lie
Why do people outright LIE on applications? We can see your gear and spec in the armory, we can determine approximately how much experience you have in certain instances by looking at your rep, and we can also find your REAL guild history as well as interview your former GMs. Honesty, even from people with colorful guild histories, is appreciated.

10. Don't omit information
If there is a question that you can't answer or wish to keep private, just say so. Omitting important information looks suspicious.