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Identify your Tank Level for Gear/Gems/Enchants

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Re: Defining Maintanka-Levels for Gear/Gems/Enchants

Postby Digren » Wed Dec 09, 2009 4:42 pm

Wrathy wrote:As for the dps, and the need to push threat, was it necessary? No, but if I had not done that, I would be threat capping my best dps, and that is not something I am ok with.

That makes a lot of sense. I'd even call that necessary, since as a content-on-farm tank one thing that can continue to earn respect is the ability to let your DPS be lazy. :D I didn't realize it happened.

Doing it with alternative gear also makes sense as well, as most people probably aren't willing to regem and enchant everything for farming, then do it all again when the next patch is out and the gear is needed for progression again.

In the 3.3 gem/enchant guide, I will indicate which option is best for each of level 1, 2, 3, and 4 tanks. But, I will also flag the best options for EH, block, and threat sets.* Someone building a threat set for farming would thus be able to spot the best choice quickly, regardless of his or her normal gear level.

* Should I flag the best avoidance option, too? I dunno yet.
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Re: Defining Maintanka-Levels for Gear/Gems/Enchants

Postby Wrathy » Wed Dec 09, 2009 4:50 pm

Digren wrote:* Should I flag the best avoidance option, too? I dunno yet.


I personally think that most of your avoidance is gained from proper selection of trinkets, rings and necks, however you could just make an annotation in reference to geming socket bonuses for avoidance by using the correct color gems (10 defense/15 stam for yellow and 10 agility / 15 Stamina for Red). Even as the avoidance advocate, I never went any further than hybrid gems.

Really though, I think it would have to be specified that it is part of a specific gear set and not a gem / enchant philosophy for a main set of gear. Avoidance philosophy requires more of specific gemming patterns for already established Level 4 tanks. From my point of view, unless you are a level 4/"5" tank, you would not have all of the gear sets that we have by farming the content enough to afford multiple sets of tier gear. I can see what you are saying though, when it comes to the philosophy of gemming and enchanting for avoidance. (maybe a link to my armory LOL)

ex:
Agility to gloves and cloak, Defense to shield, and chest, mongoose or blade ward to weapon, etc with the above mentioned gems.
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Re: Defining Maintanka-Levels for Gear/Gems/Enchants

Postby Dem » Thu Dec 10, 2009 2:51 pm

Ref Digren's questions, I mentioned this point in another post. As the chance of the tank dying ever in content tends towards 0, so does the usefulness of gearing up solely for EH. Survivability is our first priority, but threat is our second.

We have some really excellent dps and I like to give them as much headroom as possible. I didn't bother re-gemming everything personally but switching in threat gear like the greatness card and block libram you mention. Perhaps alternative items that you have with more strength and/or block value than your heaviest defensive stuff.

I don't really want to post stats as ToC fights are pretty gimmicky. Never had a threat problem on twins though and the 7 top dps are knocking out between 10 and 15k dps. Icehowl is more of a pain.

Switching dps in would certainly speed things up and it does happen, but we also need to think about gearing up our usual healers for coming progression so it's not an automatic win.

There is so much good information on this site and recommended standard gear sets is really useful. The real key though is the information about mechanics, including what generates threat. By understanding the mechanics, you provide the tools for a tank to decide for themselves just how to customise these standard sets (and talents, consumables etc.) to their situation. The strengths and weaknesses of the other raid members, raid composition, the encounter itself and plenty of other variables all feed into this.

You don't just switch from set to set though (for raiding anyway). As content becomes easier, it's a gradual transition from heavy defensive to a more threat based approach.
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Re: Defining Maintanka-Levels for Gear/Gems/Enchants

Postby Wrathy » Thu Dec 10, 2009 3:16 pm

Dem wrote:You don't just switch from set to set though (for raiding anyway). As content becomes easier, it's a gradual transition from heavy defensive to a more threat based approach.


I actually switch sets quite often in Raids. ToTC was not as prevalant for gear switching as Ulduar was, but I already found myself swapping gear around again in ICC. Usually once I have a good understanding of the fights, I will swap gear out based on the encounter, mechanics, and needs.

Dem wrote:The real key though is the information about mechanics, including what generates threat. By understanding the mechanics, you provide the tools for a tank to decide for themselves just how to customise these standard sets (and talents, consumables etc.) to their situation. The strengths and weaknesses of the other raid members, raid composition, the encounter itself and plenty of other variables all feed into this.


I wrote up a guild for what set to wear for what fight in ToTGC, and detailed why I selected the gear I did. I plan on doing the same thing for ICC. There are some people (and guilds) who have the luxury of going straight from progression tanking set (as meloree described the shiny thing that hangs in our closets most of the time) to their threat set, but that is not always the case.

I usually swap anywhere between three and four sets a night in a raid instance based on the needs of the encounter. All of the gear sets have always been outlined in my Gear Set Guide, and the actually set for each boss encounter was outlined on my blog.
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Re: Defining Maintanka-Levels for Gear/Gems/Enchants

Postby Digren » Thu Dec 10, 2009 4:00 pm

There is a tier of careful tanks that will read and contribute to mechanics and theory. (I read, but don't contribute.)

My biggest concern when I give advice is that it be understandable by everyone else who will read my reply. That means I try to stick to advice that is either clearly labeled for a person's unique situation, or advice that is based on the 90% use case theory developed in the advanced forum.

Specifically regarding threat gear, I fear that very few people are able to understand when it is safe to sacrifice EH for threat. From my standpoint, the safe method is to make sure I have just enough threat for my DPS, then push EH as high as possible. Others most certainly have different, equally or more valid methods.

The possibility of misunderstood advice exists when responses are too brief or too generic. Without specifically meaning to disrespect anyone, let me give a few examples.

In this first thread, a tank posts who says his healer complains he takes too many spikes. One of the replies reads, "Tank damage is spiky, you can't really change much about it besides stacking ungodly amounts of effective health so that those spikes would seem to be smaller." To me, that sounds like it means "you can't fix this, don't worry about it". A more in-depth look showed that the original poster geared too much for threat, and was seriously hurting both his avoidance and his effective health in the process. And, due to a talent mistake, he could fix his avoidance and EH problems without losing threat at all. And telling someone they can't fix it when their healer clearly knows other tanks who have just makes people frustrated.

In this topic, the poster talks about chest enchant options where the tank is "over the EH threshold", and then goes on to discuss threat options. I hesitate to say "yes, once over the EH threshold enchant for threat" because the "EH threshold" is an undefined term. I would argue that 90% of those reading such a thread would have no idea what the EH threshold might be for a given encounter, or would guess a value that was too low. Thus, my advice approaches it from the other angle, which is to point out that paladin tanks rarely if ever need to gear for threat. Thus, with threat bonuses useless in 90% of cases, the EH option remains the best choice.

The idea of when to gem and enchant for threat was something that I honestly didn't know much about. I created this thread because I saw repeated requests for help from people who needed more threat. Those requests were being met with responses evenly mixed between "you shouldn't have a problem, yer doin it wrong" and an "sure, put on threat gems". Why was there this discrepancy? Could I find and prove a condition where normal tanks need to gem and enchant for threat? I couldn't, and I was convinced by the responses to that other thread that threat issues, when they exist, are never the fault of gear choices.

At the same time, I made this thread to talk about gear levels. My original post had a level five (the text is still there, you can read it) where I talk about the need to maximize threat. Based on all the replies I received, I was convinced that this was wrong, and I removed that level. I have yet to see any reason to change that back the other way.

If anyone has parses that show end-game farming of the hardest content, where 969 is executed near flawlessly, all the players are talented correctly, TotT and MD are used when necessary, and the tank still has trouble or near trouble with threat, I would love to see them posted to the tracking threat issues thread. With that information, we could come up with guidelines to determine exactly when and how to create a LEVEL FIVE tank with threat as a progression stat.
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Re: Defining Maintanka-Levels for Gear/Gems/Enchants

Postby Wrathy » Thu Dec 10, 2009 6:36 pm

Digren wrote:If anyone has parses that show end-game farming of the hardest content, where 969 is executed near flawlessly, all the players are talented correctly, TotT and MD are used when necessary, and the tank still has trouble or near trouble with threat, I would love to see them posted to the tracking threat issues thread. With that information, we could come up with guidelines to determine exactly when and how to create a LEVEL FIVE tank with threat as a progression stat.


I agree with you 100% about your desire and requirements for giving advice. The problem with the parse aspect is that most of the times when I need to have my threat gear equipped, its not to combat a problem over the duration of the fight, it is short intervals when I need burst TPS brought on by encounter mechanics.

The best examples of this are Icehowl P3, coming out of a Massive Crash. You lose a lot of TPS out of that if you get nocked back, and cant get to the boss on time, couple that with a string of Ferocious butts, and freezing breaths, and you have TPS issues. This is where flawless 969 will do nothing for you because its interrupted so often. When you have issues like that, a End Game Threat set is a god send. However, most of the time (and this gets to your point about giving out advice), you will never need it. Also, it is important to know, that an end game threat set is only to augment speed kills, and does nothing more than ensure you are not threat capping your dps (or to see big numbers as Meloree says).

In the end, the tanks that are faced with "end-game farming" are mostly contributors, and not the ones seeking advice, so they know the finer points of gearing. So for now, I think level 5 is not necessary or warranted.
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Re: Defining Maintanka-Levels for Gear/Gems/Enchants

Postby Dem » Fri Dec 11, 2009 1:36 am

"I actually switch sets quite often in Raids. ToTC was not as prevalant for gear switching as Ulduar was, but I already found myself swapping gear around again in ICC. Usually once I have a good understanding of the fights, I will swap gear out based on the encounter, mechanics, and needs. "

I do this too, what I meant was that the set for any specific fight (and your base MT set) may tend towards more threat as the content becomes farmable.

Digren, I understand where you are coming from and truly support your efforts to provide good quality and clear information.
I guess I would tend towards providing as much information as possible and allowing people to make their own decisions though.

I don't agree with this though "I fear that very few people are able to understand when it is safe to sacrifice EH for threat."
I would speculate that a large proportion of tanks with any experience will have gained some understanding of this.

We have needed to gear for threat before - RoS in BT springs to mind. We have needed to consider balancing it with EH recently - Hodir HM where casters were buffed and were hitting above 15k and there was a time restriction. I've no doubt that it will come up again at some point and you could consider either of these encounters as evidence pointing to consideration of threat in a progression situation.

You're right that a lot of players won't experience farming end game content. Equally though, many players won't ever experience your pre-requisites for considering threat i.e. "where 969 is executed near flawlessly, all the players are talented correctly, TotT and MD are used when necessary"

What they will experience is imperfection. Some players in raid who will never do what's needed, dodgy PUGs, 5 mans with eager dps.

You have to ask yourself what is the best approach in these situations. Should you stick on your EH set and wipe safe in the knowledge that you're doing it right? Or should you try and tailor your approach to the situation in the short term to try and bring success to the group?

Anyway, it's your guide and I welcome the effort towards improving information :D
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Re: Defining Maintanka-Levels for Gear/Gems/Enchants

Postby Digren » Fri Dec 11, 2009 10:12 am

Thanks for both your replies. For now, I'll leave level five off. The few people in that situation are almost always the most thoughtful, considered tanks who honestly don't need my guide. I like to refer to this line because I think it applies to both of you and to everyone else who generates our theories and strategies: "Remember, only you, the experienced tankadin, knows what's best for you given your gear and raid role." We need people like you so the rest of us don't get stagnant in our advice.

I'll get back to my 3.3 guide update and back to work trying to figure out why my raid couldn't get past P1 on Lady Deathwhisper last night. =p My add side was going down ok, but the other tank's side kept getting overwhelmed with a tank death. We're a bit slower than most but will figure it out.
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Re: Defining Maintanka-Levels for Gear/Gems/Enchants

Postby yappo » Mon Dec 14, 2009 2:05 am

I disagree with leaving out a level five. I do agree, however, with the current definition having problems.

Level five is content on farm or close to farm. The tank is gearing for threat and/or dps to speed up farming.

As a matter of fact this is what we already do for most five-mans, something that has been mentioned in threads by multiple posters all over maintankadin forums. It doesn't matter if it is a "low-level" geared tank like me (several upgrades from ToC 25 normal still available) or someone who has already maxed out the theoretical drops from ICC 10/25 + Ashen Verdict. There is ALWAYS content on farming status.

Content on farming status also leaves us manastarved (yes, yes, pull more, I know, but that isn't always easily done in reality), so gearing for threat makes us take more damage, which, paradoxally, is a good thing.

Basically, what I'm saying is that overgearing content is an artform in itself.
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Re: Defining Maintanka-Levels for Gear/Gems/Enchants

Postby Barathorn » Mon Dec 14, 2009 2:33 am

Just to add something else into the mix, I think there is potentially a huge level of miscomprehension by a lot of tanks between 10 and 25 man raiding. This really doesn't help matters if you are a 25 man raider giving 25 man gearing advice to a 10 man tank without clearly thinking and understanding the needs of a 10 man tank because it can just add confusion.

A lot of the misunderstanding comes from there. EH levels and threat levels required vary in requirement a huge amount for the two types of raiding, this is why I am considering how this gear forum can move foward, as I feel we probably have not catered enough for the dedicated 10 man raider with our advice [other than perhaps Digren, Honor's and Petrus] and the advice that has been given doesn't always translate that well in general from 25 man to 10 man.

I agree as I do 95% of the time with Digren and would add that the understanding and requirements of a 25 man hardmode tank are very different to that of a 10 man normal tank. I think we forget that sometimes.

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Re: Defining Maintanka-Levels for Gear/Gems/Enchants

Postby Anorian » Mon Dec 14, 2009 2:41 am

Tbh its fairly hard to say what gear is needed for which encounter. First time going in i ususally wear max hp/survival gear but it really depends on your feel of the encounter. As soon as you see that you aren't close to dieing swap out EH gear for threat.

But on the other side, a threat set isn't that needed imo. I think my dps are fairly good but i never have threat problems even in maintank set besides icehowl when he stuns at bad times and charges to the other side of the room on hardmode. Heck i tanked twins hard 25 without picking a colour, granted some dps had to vanish etc but i was pushing around 10k tps on that fight sustained with only swapping in DMC:G and and 2.6 speed dps wep.
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Re: Defining Maintanka-Levels for Gear/Gems/Enchants

Postby yappo » Wed Jan 06, 2010 6:35 pm

Your edit due to us wading around in Triumph-emblems makes the distinction between level two and three a bit strange.

When the level two tank is finished farming heroics he/she already outgears the starting level three tank.

This should come as no surprise though.
Head, shoulders, ring 1, trinket 1 and possibly libram at ilevel 245. Arguably cloak or trinket 2 at ilevel 264 as well. Add chest, legs and hands at ilevel 232 and we're getting a tank with a rather low interest of running ToC 10 normal or Onyxia 10. VoA 10 is already outgeared.

http://eu.wowarmory.com/character-sheet ... &n=Therden shows what you end up with in reality without a single raid-drop. You'll probably shiver at my gemming/chanting picks, but that toon logs in once per day to run a random hc and smelt one titansteel bar + once per week, to, well :D

Anyway, that toon is pretty much what the tank edging from level 2 to level 3 will look like. Given a raiding guild (which I'm personally not that interested in), where would you drag him?
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Re: Defining Maintanka-Levels for Gear/Gems/Enchants

Postby Digren » Wed Jan 06, 2010 8:02 pm

Well Icecrown normal certainly hasn't been as hard as expected, so the level three tank may be ToC 25 / ICC 10 / ICC 25 Normal, with level four still reserved for ToC/ICC 25 Hard.

I'll let it ride for now, until ICC hard comes out, and then see if we can indeed shift things down, or if we need to make a new level for the new hard stuff.
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Re: Defining Maintanka-Levels for Gear/Gems/Enchants

Postby Digren » Mon Mar 15, 2010 12:50 pm

Original text for reference.

Digren wrote:Classifying tanks in levels to simply gearing and gem/enchant advice.

LEVEL ONE: NEW 80
A new 80 is wearing or buys a new set of crafted Tempered Saronite armor or equivalent. He or she has a lot of defense, but lacks in health (at least according to most PuG leaders) and is 10-15% away from the block cap. Total avoidance is relatively low. Whether this person is being geared up by a guild or working solo, he or she wants to run heroic instances for emblems and run dailies for cash, using that cash to buy iLvl 226 BoE epics (and a few iLvl 200 epics for slots like shield). For the most part this person should gem and enchant for stamina, dodge, and defense. Block gear and block enchants are useful.

LEVEL TWO: REACHING AVERAGE iLVL 227
The availability of higher-iLvl gear from instance-acquired emblems means that iLvl-213 / Naxx / T7 gear just isn't necessary when gearing up. With the exception of perhaps a shield or weapon, equivalent or better gear can be found via emblems or the auction house. Thus, a level two player with gear around average iLvl 219 actually has pieces that range from iLvl 200 (for shield, weapon) to 245 (shoulders). Yappo's Failsafe Gearing Guide has an average iLvl of about 227. A player at this level will replace a few defense enchants (such as cloak, for agility) and gems (where the bonus is a small amount of non-stamina), and should swap dodge gems for agility. Most other socket bonuses are still useful. The tank may drop below the block cap (even when raid buffed), but this is not a concern.

LEVEL THREE: PROGRESSING ULDUAR / ToC NORMAL
A level three paladin is starting with Naxx-or-better gear (iLvl 213-219) and is raiding with a guild that wants to progress through T8.5 and T9 normal mode content. He or she can continue to shift gems and enchants from avoidance to stamina as gear improves, following the guidelines to maximize the conversion. The tank will stay at the block cap with no effort made to seek out block rating gear.

LEVEL FOUR: ToC Hard / (Icecrown?) / End-Game
The end-game progression raider is trying to maximize health - all gems and enchants are pure stamina except those required to activate a meta or for +12 stamina socket bonuses. For some, threat may seem to be an issue, but this can usually be solved with Tricks of the Trade or Misdirect rather than a change to tank gearing. This tank maintains multiple gear sets (effective health, maximum health, threat, block) drawn from all their best T7, T8, and T9 pieces, tailored to each encounter as required. A threat set may feature strength/stamina gems in red slots along with capped hit rating and high expertise, while still maintaining a (relatively) high health and the block cap.

Additional comments?









Original Text

It's been a while since I've been working through heroics trying to get ready for Naxx. Actually, it's been nine months since I've done a heroic outside ToC. So I'm not as familiar with this as I should be, and I'd like to gather feedback as to whether or not this path of gearing is still accurate. Has the fact that T8 and T9 gear is so easy to get (badges, crafted, PuG VoAs) that these needs no longer apply?

------------------------

LEVEL ONE: NEW 80
A new 80 is wearing or buys a new set of crafted Tempered Saronite armor or equivalent. He or she has a lot of defense, but lacks in health (at least according to most PuG leaders) and is 10-15% away from the block cap. Total avoidance is relatively low. This person wants to run heroics and Naxx, and for the most part should gem and enchant for stamina, dodge, and defense.

LEVEL TWO: NAXX
A player that has progressed much or all of the way through Naxx is wearing a pretty solid set of iLvl 213 gear, with some 200 mixed in. This gear is pretty lacking on defense, so gems and enchants to cover the gap are critical. (This might even include pure defense gems in a few yellow slots for the desperate.) Health and avoidance are better but still low, so stamina and dodge are also priorities. Reaching the block cap, which is useful while farming this content, is about to lose all significance.

LEVEL THREE: ULDUAR
Upon entering Ulduar, the player no longer needs to worry about the block cap. Gearing for effective health (armor, stamina) is the best option, though the low defense of Naxx gear makes defense gems and enchants important. As Ulduar gear is acquired, defense gems and enchants can be slowly replaced, with the first being the cloak (to get the much better agility enchant) and then by swapping out to maximize stamina gained for defense lost. An Ulduar geared tank might be dancing around the defense minimum, but stamina is good and overall avoidance has probably reached back up to the block cap with only one or two incidental pieces of block rating gear. All dodge rating gems and enchants have been replaced by agility alternatives to maximize effective health.

LEVEL FOUR: ToC
A player moving into ToC will find that the available gear offers a lot more stamina, defense, and avoidance stats, but the stamina is never enough and the complete lack of hit makes threat (for the first time) an issue to consider. He or she will continue to drop defense and avoidance gems and enchants for stamina, and will likely build a gear set with hit rating.

LEVEL FIVE: ToC Hard (and presumably Icecrown)
The end-game progression raider is trying to maximize health and threat. He or she no longer values avoidance stats as highly, instead favoring expertise, hit rating, stamina, and armor. A threat set may feature strength/stamina gems in red slots along with capped hit rating and high expertise, while still maintaining a (relatively) high health.

----------------------

The next version of the gem and enchant guide, which I'll try to release around the time of 3.3, will try to better encompass the spectrum of tank needs. I think the current guide does well for most middle-tier tanks but does poorly for end-game raiders and has left new 80s behind. If I can understand the needs of those tiers better, I can try to improve the guide.

Thanks
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Re: Defining Maintanka-Levels for Gear/Gems/Enchants

Postby yappo » Fri Mar 19, 2010 1:14 am

A tank decked out according to the failsafe guide is already T9 (ten-man) or better. There's very little reason to raid ToC 10 normal at all. Entry-level raid is more likely to be ToC 25 or ICC 10 (first wing only) (both normal modes of course).

This should come as good news for raiding-guilds who need to quickly replace a tank. I've confirmed the viability to run these raids by, well, pugging them in full failsafe gear gemmed and enchanted for 'max tank-points'. Tank-death is not an issue. I'm afraid the Ulduar progression level has become as obsolete as Naxxramas.
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