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On Progression MT Gearing

Warning: Theorycraft inside.

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Re: On Progression MT Gearing

Postby Soralin » Tue Sep 01, 2009 1:59 pm

Knaughty wrote:So you're in guild at roughly 50th, US. Call it 100-ish world.

Basically by definition, you're under-geared for the content you're doing.

The more under-geared you are, the more effective "gem stam" becomes.

Balanced gemming and gearing is only viable once you're at the EH minimum for the content you're attempting. For your progression level, that will mean "gem stam".

You're also at the progression level where there's typically ONE MT and ONE RL. That tends to thin out pretty rapidly, especially the former - I'm not "guild MT", we have a tanking team.

As a data point, my Guild only got Firefighter last night, haven't tried Algalon-25 yet (10-man down weeks ago) and only Yogg+3/-1 in 25 man (+1 10-man). From memory, Theck is roughly the same progression level.

So when we're offering "advanced tanking advice" it's from the viewpoint of people who are further down the gear-vs-difficulty curve than you. My gear is likely to be near as good as yours (well, except I haven't bothered with epic gems yet), but we can't kill the same content. Tanking checks aren't the issue, it's stuff like 25 people having to dodge fire AND shock blast AND laser barrage AND rockets, all at once, while not being able to stack healers to deal with the damage, etc, etc. Thus, my guild has to have better gear to defeat Mim-hard than you had to get Yogg-0 (probably).
Meloree wrote:It's certainly not inevitable. I'm also not sure that this doesn't argue into my point pretty effectively. What if a tank isn't 2-shottable at 70% health? What is 70% health? How much does the boss actually hit for? If it's anywhere under 50% of your healthbar, there's no reason not to expect enough healing to land in the time between hits to survive said 2-shot, no matter what the time between hits is.

You healers are better than mine. This is a "tank death" situation for me. Two reasons for this:
(1) They're just better, you're in a US50ish guild
(2) 250ms Ping is considered excellent in Australia.

There's also situations like Thorim, where his special and his melee attack are (or were) completely de-coupled, and you could wear a special followed by a melee attack (that can crit) in with a 0.01 second gap.

Anyway, if you're healers a nigh-perfect, gem stam, and you can beat tank-checks in worse equipment by meeting the most critical benchmark: Minimum EH. If your healers aren't perfect, gem balanced, as lucky avoidance will save you when your healers make a mistake where 1k more health won't.

At US 500ish, balanced gemming works well.



What difference does it make where your guild is ranked as to whether you gem Stam or not? Whether or not my guild is US 93rd (which I believe they are) or US 493rd (which has downed Vezax HM and is working on Firefighter/Freya+3 according to wowprogress) - why would you choose to "balance" your gemming?

With the way that Ardent Defender works stacking stamina arguably gives you a bigger threshold against "bad" healers - and personally I much prefer having more of a buffer against big hits than relying on "lucky avoidance" which MIGHT save me when healers make a mistake.

I'll admit I'm in a similar position to the one described by Theck and Knaughty - wipes are very rarely caused by my death, they're more often than not caused by DPS dying and being unable to meet inbuild dps checks, my DK Co-tank getting gibbed and dying on something like Algalon, or co-ordination stuff like not pulling out beacons on Yogg-0 (for 10 hours over two nights... argh surely it can't be that hard!).

But because I am rarely the cause of the wipe doesn't mean I say "ok well I'm geared enough so I can start changing the way I gem now". I'm surprised that a tank whose guild is at Firefighter-level progression "hasn't bothered" with epic gems... we run a large raiding roster and anybody who hasn't regemmed with epic gems is sat until they do. I'm not saying this is right or wrong - but surely tanking is about gearing for the "worst possible situation", and not "the normal". This in my mind means stacking maximum stamina and making the most out of Ardent Defender, epic gems, enchants, the works. Relying on balanced gemming and higher avoidance that "might" save you is something I certainly wouldn't advocate.

Case in point is our first Algalon25 kill. We had several DPS die early - as a result we got the final "enraged" big bang at the end that ardent defender saved me from. All of our healers died, and the remaining health I had left following the ardent defender heal was enough to last until the DPS finished him off (actually, just before. I died a couple of seconds before he "became friendly").

Anyway all that aside, the way I see "balanced gemming" as its been put is the whole "do I gem stamina or avoidance" argument all over again, simply on a smaller scale. And just like with that question my opinion/response is: stamina all the way.
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Re: On Progression MT Gearing

Postby Playdoh » Tue Sep 01, 2009 2:21 pm

I like colors :).

All of this Stam vs. balanced gemming is reaching to the point of silliness.

There isn't a right or wrong answer here, do what you feel more comfortable with, but don't necessarily change mid streams. Healers get used to how a tank they run with frequently gears. It's a team effort, and they will tell you if you switch your style up on them.

I like gemming for balance, keeping the stats where I think they should be. I am not in a top100 US guild, but I feel like my guild is progressing at a very good pace in 10 man's.

If EH is only 43k then having 50k health is wasted Stamina, that could be used somewhere else. And yes Stamina can be a wasted Stat too.

I don't like to see my health yo yo, so I have always liked balancing the stats better than high stamina, but that is just how I like to play. I don't mind seeing my health get low, just not yo yo, going crazy.

If my health is very spikey it's usually an indication that I don't have enough avoidance, If I am having spikey damage and die alot, it means I don't have enough of either one.

If your health isn't spikey, and you live then play around with your stats until you get what you like.

So I balance it on what I see happening, usually works for me.
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Re: On Progression MT Gearing

Postby theckhd » Tue Sep 01, 2009 4:16 pm

Soralin wrote:But because I am rarely the cause of the wipe doesn't mean I say "ok well I'm geared enough so I can start changing the way I gem now". I'm surprised that a tank whose guild is at Firefighter-level progression "hasn't bothered" with epic gems... we run a large raiding roster and anybody who hasn't regemmed with epic gems is sat until they do. I'm not saying this is right or wrong - but surely tanking is about gearing for the "worst possible situation", and not "the normal".


I'm not trying to be argumentative, but suggesting that gemming priorities are static and never change ("ok well I'm geared enough so I can start changing the way I gem now") is pretty straighforwardly refuted. I suspect when Wrath started, you weren't gemming straight stamina in everything. You probably gemmed Defense to hit 540, just like the rest of us, before pushing your stamina up to meet/exceed EH requirements. So right there is an example of gem priorities changing as content and gear level changes.

Soralin wrote:This in my mind means stacking maximum stamina and making the most out of Ardent Defender, epic gems, enchants, the works. Relying on balanced gemming and higher avoidance that "might" save you is something I certainly wouldn't advocate.

....

Anyway all that aside, the way I see "balanced gemming" as its been put is the whole "do I gem stamina or avoidance" argument all over again, simply on a smaller scale. And just like with that question my opinion/response is: stamina all the way.

The thing is, you haven't provided any empirical reason for why stamina is better. Stamina gives your healers more wiggle room, yes. Does it do that well enough that it's better than avoidance (or at least better than balanced gemming) at all gear levels, in a statistically significant sense? I suspect none of us in this thread have any solid evidence to prove that statement either way.

Keep in mind that in BC, the "stamina or avoidance" argument was pretty solidly in favor of avoidance once the EH threshold was met. Encounters and game mechanics have changed a lot since then though; for one thing, the diminishing returns on avoidance make it less attractive a stat than when we were gearing for fights like Brutallus. But "less attractive" and "far inferior" are not the same thing.

It's also a hard question to answer with anecdotes. Your algalon kill, for example, seems to suggest that EH is the way to go. But what are the odds that there was a wipe before that attempt where you died to an unlucky spike, that might've been prevented by extra avoidance? You remember the situation where the EH saved you, because it's when you succeeded. I can remember similar situations where I survived due to a lucky string of a few dodges to hold out for those last few seconds, but am probably overlooking cases where I died by a few hundred hit points. That sort of bias makes anecdotes fairly limited help, because we have no way of knowing whether you would've gotten the kill a week earlier if you had an extra 1% dodge instead of 1k health.
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Re: On Progression MT Gearing

Postby Meloree » Tue Sep 01, 2009 4:21 pm

theckhd wrote:The thing is, you haven't provided any empirical reason for why stamina is better. Stamina gives your healers more wiggle room, yes. Does it do that well enough that it's better than avoidance (or at least better than balanced gemming) at all gear levels, in a statistically significant sense? I suspect none of us in this thread have any solid evidence to prove that statement either way.


This, exactly this, is why I started this thread. I know stam stacking currently works for me. I don't know that something else might not work better.

theckhd wrote:It's also a hard question to answer with anecdotes. Your algalon kill, for example, seems to suggest that EH is the way to go. But what are the odds that there was a wipe before that attempt where you died to an unlucky spike, that might've been prevented by extra avoidance? You remember the situation where the EH saved you, because it's when you succeeded. I can remember similar situations where I survived due to a lucky string of a few dodges to hold out for those last few seconds, but am probably overlooking cases where I died by a few hundred hit points. That sort of bias makes anecdotes fairly limited help, because we have no way of knowing whether you would've gotten the kill a week earlier if you had an extra 1% dodge instead of 1k health.


It's actually not even an argument for EH, it's an argument for avoidance. Post-enrage Algalon's offhand hits for north of 30k, if I remember correctly. The amount of time you survived post-Enrage is almost straight up "the number of hits in a row you avoided", especially if your healers were all dead.

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Re: On Progression MT Gearing

Postby Salamandra » Tue Sep 01, 2009 4:39 pm

Even with bias in anecdotes making them pretty useless with regards to stamina/avoidance, even if you didn't have bias in that regard, they'd still be not very helpful. Sure, a string of dodges may happen which save you, but those string of dodges may have still happened if you had 5% less avoidance. You could have died by 100hp, but if you had gemmed more stamina you might have not dodged a hit in the middle of that and still died anyway.
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Re: On Progression MT Gearing

Postby Soralin » Tue Sep 01, 2009 6:05 pm

My reasons for stacking stamina rather than avoidance are mostly that the extra hitpoints from stamina will always be there whereas avoidance by its nature means its' possible to die due to a bad avoidance string. The more stamina you have the higher the AD threshold is too which contributes to further damage reduction from hits taking you under the 35% or taken while under the 35%.

Past a certain point I'll concede that this theory doesnt hold up - for example if you are being hit for 80% of your health, stamina won't save you from a second hit (without healing) whereas avoidance might. But the emphasis is on "might".

I certainly don't advocate 70,000 HP tanks with no avoidance at all other than the base+talents (not that this would be possible with current gear) but in terms of customising existing gear, I tend to prioritise gear that will give me the most EH/Stamina and gem/enchant accordingly.

In short it's ultimately going to come down to personal preference. It's very difficult to model with any degree of accuracy how avoidance will help (or not) you when taking hits from a boss - its random nature means that while you can have an averaged result, even with 75% avoidance there is a chance you will take 4 hits back to back, despite the models suggesting you would avoid 3 of them. My personal preference is stacking stamina/eh for its consistency and being able to rely on it being there always, rather than leaving myself open for RNG gibs. I'm open to discussion and suggestions why I shouldn't be doing this but I suspect as Theck has said - nobody will be able to provide solid evidence one way or another.

I suppose the caveat would be calculating how much the boss hits for, gearing EH to meet a 2 (or 3) hit scenario and then stack avoidance past that point, but that level of gear customisation (per boss) is something I'm unwilling to do and I suspect a little too extreme even for "bleeding edge" guilds as you put it. Because bosses are hitting for such large percentages of tanks health (even when stacking stamina) healers are healing anyway and letting overheal through. If bosses were hitting for 25% of my health and not 50%+, I would consider gearing for avoidance. That way my healers could be cancel casting and still have enough reaction time to top me up if I took several back to back hits.
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Re: On Progression MT Gearing

Postby Candiru » Wed Sep 02, 2009 1:31 am

So we got Starcaller yesterday \o/

Did it in 4 pulls too. On none of the occasions did my AD proc. (well, other than when we were wiping already.) On the kill our healers were healing with their last 2k mana though. To me, that means gearing for a balanced mix of avoidance and stamina seems to be the way forward. Although, we do out-gear the fight now with epic gems and 245 loot etc.

The only time the wipe was down to me dying, was when I didn't notice a cosmic smash during a big ban (the big bang sparklyness hid it from me :( ) This resulted in me being flung high into the air on half health as the big bang cast. I hit shieldwall and lay on hands, but the bigbang took me low on HP, and then the fall damage killed me. I should have used DivineShield I guess, since AD would have ate the bigbang and the bubble would have prevented the fall damage. That was me being stupid though, rather than a EH issue!
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Re: On Progression MT Gearing

Postby Nadir » Wed Sep 02, 2009 2:39 am

Yeah, Anub'arak on heroic mode is definately a repeat of Yogg 0 in terms of tank burst. The 10m version is fairly well tuned. I look forward to the 25m version. Looks like pure EH stacking is the way to go for the most difficult heroic ToC encounters.
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Re: On Progression MT Gearing

Postby theckhd » Wed Sep 02, 2009 5:33 am

Soralin wrote:I suppose the caveat would be calculating how much the boss hits for, gearing EH to meet a 2 (or 3) hit scenario and then stack avoidance past that point, but that level of gear customisation (per boss) is something I'm unwilling to do and I suspect a little too extreme even for "bleeding edge" guilds as you put it. Because bosses are hitting for such large percentages of tanks health (even when stacking stamina) healers are healing anyway and letting overheal through. If bosses were hitting for 25% of my health and not 50%+, I would consider gearing for avoidance. That way my healers could be cancel casting and still have enough reaction time to top me up if I took several back to back hits.


Despite being an advocate for the "gear to the EH threshold and go with avoidance" paradigm, I will admit that encounter design has changed enough since BC that it's getting a bit long in the tooth. For one thing, raid damage is far more widespread in Wrath, which throws a wrench into all of this; Sure, that extra 3k life may not get me to the next full-swing EH threshold, but it might save me from the stray 2k raid damage. And it's not hard to imagine where that raid damage would come from nowadays: Snobolds, impales, poison clouds, burning bile, whirlwinds, infernal hellfires, Surge of Dark/Light, floating orbs-'o-death, and so on. Many of those sources can't be dodged/parried either.

Looking at my gear again, the only gems I ever seem to use are Agi/Stam and straight Stam. Yellow sockets have tended to get blue gems anymore, simply because there's so much defense on gear at the moment that I don't actually need more of it. And Agility isn't pure avoidance either; it's 97-99% as effective as dodge for reducing damage intake, but only 83% of that is due to dodge, and the remaining 17% or so is via armor (EH). Note that a 10 agility gem is worth around 24.6 armor, or around 2 stamina at my gear level. So that 10 Agi/15 stam gem gives me around 8.3 dodge rating and (effectively) 17 stamina, in addition to 9.7 crit rating for threat.

What does that mean in practice? Well, if you're going to use it to match a 6-stamina socket bonus, you're only giving up 7 stamina for 8.3 dodge (and crit, which we'll ignore), back up to a 1.186 factor for stamina's worth. A 9-stamina socket bonus would be trading 4 stamina for that 8.3 dodge, for a factor of 2.075. So perhaps gemming Agi/Stam is still worthwhile to EH-chasers if they can pick up a stamina socket bonus, simply due to the favorable exchange rate.

<edit> Also, I like your 50% benchmark as a break point. I'm at the point where things hit me for <50% of my health; the largest hits I tend to see are in the 18-20k range, and with 45k+ buffed health (51.8k+ after AD is taken into account), we're already getting into the range where it takes 3 hits to kill me. If things were hitting me for around half of my health though, which I suspect will happen with Coliseum hard modes, I'd probably be pushing the stamina much harder myself.
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Re: On Progression MT Gearing

Postby theckhd » Wed Sep 02, 2009 6:10 am

Just so we have all the numbers here to work with, I wanted to double check the enchant ratios:
Shoulder: 30 stam for 20 dodge/15 def, for an effective weight value of 35/30 = 1.1667 for stamina
Chest: 22 Def or 275 Health; 275 health is equivalent to 275/(1.1*1.08*1.6*10)=21.8 stam, for a 1.0092 weight value on stam
Wrist enchant not even worth considering
Gloves: 20 Agi vs. 18 Stam, weight value = 1.1857
Shield: 20 Defense Rating vs. 18 Stam, weight value = 1.1111

Compared to:
Matching a 6-stamina socket bonus: 1.111 (1.186 if an Agi gem)
Matching a 9-stamina socket bonus: 1.667 (2.075 if an Agi gem)
Matching a 12-stamina socket bonus: 3.333 (8.300 if an Agi gem)
Matching a 6-avoidance socket bonus: 1.0667 (1.100 if an Agi gem)

Note that the higher this number, the more you value stamina. Higher ratios mean that by switching from the stamina option to the avoidance option, you're giving up less stamina per point of avoidance rating. So if you're picking up avoidance at the cost of EH, you want to do it in order of highest weight to lowest weight (e.g. picking up the T9 helm set bonus with an Agi/Stam gem will cost you far less than using the glove enchant or picking up a 6-avoidance socket bonus).
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Re: On Progression MT Gearing

Postby Venoseth » Wed Sep 02, 2009 10:19 am

If it comes down to a guide I think that giving people their options and the information about why you could make one of many choices is all you can do.

I, for example, match 9 / 12 stam socket bonuses and ignore 3/6 stam and 6 avoidance bonuses. Before epic gems came out, I matched 6 stam sockets as well (that was when my gear was worse).

Socket bonus isn't the only metric you should go by. For example, you should be tailoring gem choice to the piece of gear, and where it falls into your set (ie. if I get a piece that's EH oriented, I'm more likely to gem stam and ignore socket bonuses so that I can use it in my maximum EH set if it has other, worthwhile stats).

Which "set" a piece of gear is for and making your enchanting / gemming choices accordingly is important to me. I have a maximum HP set (w/ the highest stamina/eh pieces I could find that comprised a cohesive set) as well as a threat/BV set (that I change some of the pieces around for certain encounters, like popping a stam trinket in for DMC:Greatness and a helm that has the armor meta instead of the BV one for things like tanking Thorim.

Making a gemming guide seems difficult because anyone who cares enough that it matters what gems they're using should be tailoring their choices to their play-style and set of armor, IMO. ^^

For me, choosing gems/enchants its:
1) Which set does this piece go to
2) Make sure appropriate metas will activate when I use it
3) What's the socket bonus

Some random tidbits to keep in mind:
1) The two different metas we use have similar but different requirements (the BV meta requires 2 reds, so my TPS set is required to have 1 more red)
2) What you put in red sockets is your preference, I use AGI/Stam.
3) Defense over the cap isn't wasted, especially if you optimize it's stepped-nature (according to the most recent theorycrafting I've heard).
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Re: On Progression MT Gearing

Postby Meloree » Wed Sep 02, 2009 10:47 am

theckhd wrote:Just so we have all the numbers here to work with, I wanted to double check the enchant ratios:
Shoulder: 30 stam for 20 dodge/15 def, for an effective weight value of 35/30 = 1.1667 for stamina
Chest: 22 Def or 275 Health; 275 health is equivalent to 275/(1.1*1.08*1.6*10)=21.8 stam, for a 1.0092 weight value on stam
Wrist enchant not even worth considering
Gloves: 20 Agi vs. 18 Stam, weight value = 1.1857
Shield: 20 Defense Rating vs. 18 Stam, weight value = 1.1111

Compared to:
Matching a 6-stamina socket bonus: 1.111 (1.186 if an Agi gem)
Matching a 9-stamina socket bonus: 1.667 (2.075 if an Agi gem)
Matching a 12-stamina socket bonus: 3.333 (8.300 if an Agi gem)
Matching a 6-avoidance socket bonus: 1.0667 (1.100 if an Agi gem)


Alternatively, if you're "partially" stacking stam, then the "correct order" would be:
Enchant health to chest
Skip avoidance socket bonuses picked up with a yellow gem
Skip avoidance bonuses picked up with a red gem
Skip 6 stam socket bonuses picked up a yellow gem, enchant 18 stam to shield
PVP Shoulder enchant
18 stam to glvoes over agility, Skip 6 stam socket bonuses picked up with a red gem
Skip 9 stam bonuses picked up with a yellow gem
Skip 9 stam bonuses picked up with a red gem.

That's interesting, because I have a feeling the order there goes somewhat against most people's gut instinct on where the cheapest stamina comes from. I did half of the calculations on the first page and still didn't really think that chest was going to turn out to be the bar none best place to pick up health. I knew my personal value for stamina was north of the 1.667 we already quoted, but I find myself wondering if it reaches all the way to 2.37. Thanks, Theck. I have to go think about this a bit.

Side note, Theck, you undervalued agility to gloves, you didn't give it bonus weight for armor. I think.

EDIT: Requoted Theck's updated rankings, changed order around, not much changed, but it was worth doing.
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Re: On Progression MT Gearing

Postby theckhd » Wed Sep 02, 2009 11:08 am

Meloree wrote:Side note, Theck, you undervalued agility to gloves, you didn't give it bonus weight for armor. I think.

Thanks, I went back and fixed it. I actually updated all of the numbers, because I re-worked the numbers to check my armor:stam conversion, and it comes out closer to 12:1 rather than 10:1.

But I agree that the best avoidance->stam conversions occur in the order you posted. I was a bit surprised by these numbers too; I may need to do some re-enchanting or re-gemming, at least for heroic CC.
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Re: On Progression MT Gearing

Postby Steve » Wed Sep 02, 2009 12:46 pm

I suppose you could include the 225 armor cloak enchant versus the 22 agility, but the 225 armor enchant doesn't fare particularly well.

For my current situation I peg the difference at around 14 stamina (180 health or so), but that was including the armor from agility in the calculation.

(Of course armor is not the same thing as stamina -- pesky magic damage -- so you may not want to include it at all for that reason. I only bring this up because you included the armor value of agility in your calculations.)
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Re: On Progression MT Gearing

Postby Meloree » Wed Sep 02, 2009 4:12 pm

The more I look over that list, the more solid it seems, in regards to the cheapest places to trade avoidance for health.

An obvious but important note is that the very best passive avoidance trinket (ilvl 245) at 126 dodge rating, comes in as the absolute best place to trade avoidance for stamina, even the ilvl200 epic trinket, The Black Heart, has a better stamina to avoidance ratio than any gem or enchant trade.

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