New Theory of Gemming - Stamina vs. Mastery

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New Theory of Gemming - Stamina vs. Mastery

Postby vexryn » Mon Dec 13, 2010 12:17 pm

Having gone through the gearing up process this week, tanking a bazillion heroics and trying out a raid (Omnitron down - woot!), I'm quickly starting to re-evaluate the value of our good old friend, Mr. Stamina.

Thus far, I've been following basic gemming approach:
- Socket bonuses are nice. Get 'em.
- Stamina is still the most valuable stat
Therefore:
- Blue sockets = Stamina; Red sockets = parry/stamina; Yellow sockets = mastery/stamina (given the availability of different hybrid gem possibilities)

This approach stemmed from our historical challenges as tanks - to have enough health to survive the big hits, culminating in the evolution of a big focus on EH and the ability to survive 2-3 huge hits without dying while your healers were forced by a fight mechanic to move for a moment.

In Cata, though, my health bar feels very, very different. Blizzard has accomplished their goal of having my health bar spend a LOT more time somewhere between full and empty. My healer(s) being unable to heal for a few seconds doesn't get me 2-shotted. It gets me down to "low" health, and then my healers struggle to get my health back up - burning valuable mana in the process, and trying not to leave me low so long that a few more big hits really do finish me off.

But in this context, I'm finding that in essence, it feels like my most valuable statistics to be effective as a tank is not stamina and EH. It's my damage taken per second (dtps). Stats that impact my dtps seem to be radically more helpful than just stacking a bigger EH pool, given that for many bosses (at least in heroics and early raid bosses), what kills me is not being 2-shotted, but being "10-shotted" while my healers OOM trying to get my health back up.

Accordingly, I'm finding myself very tempted to shift my entire gemming approach to being mastery-centric, not stamina centric. This means the gemming would be:
Blue: Mastery/Stamina
Yellow: Mastery
Red: Parry/Mastery

And that in essence, we "stack" mastery (but not at the cost of juicy socket bonuses), as mastery (at least up to the block cap we may never reach) seems to be the most effective reduction in dtps per itemization point (at least if I've followed all of Theck's math correctly thus far).


I'm probably going to actually try a full regem tomorrow and see to what extent I can feel the difference. But having trying some raid bosses and done a ton of heroics, I have to admit that I feel little appreciation for most stamina stacking right now. Not that I want to trot around with only 110k health as a tank, but getting myself from 160k to 170k with raid buffs right now seems to be a totally trivial and irrelevant difference, while the mastery I could pick up for trading away the last 10k of stamina gemming feels very material. I just don't miss the bigger health pool. But every extra block I get is a glorious reduction in dtps.


Just curious what others who are tanking heroic bosses and (early?) raid bosses are finding. This has been quite a surprising shift to me; it seems to be an acknowledgement of just what a good job Blizzard did at making tanking and healing less about the 2-shot mechanic, and more about managing a health bar that spends a lot of time between full and empty.
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Re: New Theory of Gemming - Stamina vs. Mastery

Postby sculder » Mon Dec 13, 2010 12:34 pm

The problem with that theory is that (for now) it's fairly close to impossible to hit block cap. This equates (no matter how much mastery you stack) to a chance of being hit for full melee value at any time. Using stamina and stamina/mastery gems with one stamina trinket and one mastery trinket, I'm sitting at ~75% avoidance unbuffed. If I were to swap out the very few gems I have to straight mastery, I would gain a few percent avoidance, but lose a _large_ amount of health.

Until we get more gem slots, I really don't see this as viable. You're basically trading stamina for a reduced chance of being hit for full value, but that chance is still there. In the context of what you're talking about I don't really see that as a big enough gain.
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Re: New Theory of Gemming - Stamina vs. Mastery

Postby vexryn » Mon Dec 13, 2010 12:43 pm

sculder wrote:The problem with that theory is that (for now) it's fairly close to impossible to hit block cap. This equates (no matter how much mastery you stack) to a chance of being hit for full melee value at any time. Using stamina and stamina/mastery gems with one stamina trinket and one mastery trinket, I'm sitting at ~75% avoidance unbuffed. If I were to swap out the very few gems I have to straight mastery, I would gain a few percent avoidance, but lose a _large_ amount of health.

Until we get more gem slots, I really don't see this as viable. You're basically trading stamina for a reduced chance of being hit for full value, but that chance is still there. In the context of what you're talking about I don't really see that as a big enough gain.



Being at the block cap is only relevant if you're viewing a block as a contributing factor for effective health. I'm not talking about effective health here. In essence, I'm saying that I believe it's the wrong metric to use for at least most of these fights.

Every bit of stamina I give up gives me (at least on average) a reduction in dtps over time. As long as my stamina isn't so low that I just die "too quickly" (which seems very unlikely given the average boss hit at this time), if I give up 10k stamina for 5% block, then I may not be block capped, but I still get something (more block and lower dtps over time) in exchange for nothing (a higher stamina pool I didn't need because I'm rarely ever at 100% health anyway).

I can already see this in heroics as I gear up. As I pushed my average ilvl from 330 to 350, my mastery jumped dramatically, and my health jumped dramatically. I'm seeing virtually no value to my higher health pool; any fights I'm downing now I was downing with 20k less stamina with no change in mechanics or strats. However, I'm spending a LOT more time in the 60k-100k health range now than I used to, because bosses just can't pound me down as much with my higher dodge, parry, and mastery from more gear.


So in essence, the fact that block "only works sometimes" is pretty irrelevant in my opinion. The goal is "how do I avoid getting 10-shotted to death". In that scenario, stacking enough stamina to survive the 10th hit after taking 9 hits is, I think, far less effective on average than just getting a little bit mastery and avoidance so that the 10th hit isn't fatal. Yes, it's a little bit RNG, but we're not talking about using 2% block to avoid being 2-shotted; we're talking about 2% block to avoid being 10-shotted. Which means a 2% nudge in block increases the chance that I block at least one of those 10 hits by almost 20% across the full series of hits; and I'm surviving FAR more effectively with a 20% boost to blocking at least one of 10 hits, than I am trying to stack enough stamina to survive the 10th hit.


TLDR: It's not about EH now, it's about dtps. And in a dtps work, block (and avoidance) is a big deal, even if you're not block-capped.
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Re: New Theory of Gemming - Stamina vs. Mastery

Postby Thelmiance » Mon Dec 13, 2010 1:14 pm

This is essentially the approach I've taken in putting together my tanking gear spreadsheet: trying to reduce the average incoming damage. I've set the value for stamina to be just slightly higher than the (itemization point adjusted) level for mastery, but it could just as easily be slightly below. The difference would essentially affect only gems, since they are the only ones that are on that knife edge of exact, constant itemization point equality. It leads to a few interesting gearing choices, particularly by considering agility+mastery+hit/expertise rings, backs, and necks, and mastery+agility trinkets.
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Re: New Theory of Gemming - Stamina vs. Mastery

Postby vexryn » Mon Dec 13, 2010 1:22 pm

Thelmiance wrote:This is essentially the approach I've taken in putting together my tanking gear spreadsheet: trying to reduce the average incoming damage. I've set the value for stamina to be just slightly higher than the (itemization point adjusted) level for mastery, but it could just as easily be slightly below. The difference would essentially affect only gems, since they are the only ones that are on that knife edge of exact, constant itemization point equality. It leads to a few interesting gearing choices, particularly by considering agility+mastery+hit/expertise rings, backs, and necks, and mastery+agility trinkets.


Indeed, I'm finding this primarily to be a gemming issue. Enchants generally only have one "clear" survival option. Gear choices generally seem to be between threat/survival and survival/survival stats, so if I want survival and reduced incoming dtps, the choice is "clear" - just don't choose the threat piece.

So yes, I'm finding the biggest focus in this decision framework is on how to gem (stamina-centric versus mastery-centric), and to some extent may affect trinket decisions, although trinkets generally have passives, on-uses, procs, etc., that make the choice a bit more dynamic than just "choose the one with the ____ stat". To say the least, though, I don't necessarily think that "choose two +stamina trinkets above all else" will be as important now as it was in the past. Or conversely, given two HUGE +stamina ilvl 359 raid trinkets, I suspect that if/when I have both of those trinkets, I'll feel like I have so much "cheap" stamina from trinkets that I really don't need to push for it as much in gemming decisions.
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Re: New Theory of Gemming - Stamina vs. Mastery

Postby sculder » Mon Dec 13, 2010 1:51 pm

I'm not outright disagreeing with you, I'm merely playing devil's advocate and pointing out the fact that this theory will be difficult to quantify, especially right now. I can already see how incredible mastery is by looking through logs and recount parses, but the question at this gear level is 'how much health is too little?'

I'd guess that number is about 150k unbuffed, which should be a realistic benchmark for the average paladin starting raids. As for avoidance, mine is currently about 75% (with base miss and a mastery trinket), which could go up considerably with a few key upgrades. Because of the gap between my personal health benchmark and the stamina available from current gear I'm inclined to not gem pure mastery until I get a few more big upgrades. For now I've got a few mastery/stam gems to hit bonuses (and meta req) and I'll likely continue on that path for a little while longer.

I also plan on getting the BV meta once I get enough mastery, which should contribute nicely to lowering dtps :)
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Re: New Theory of Gemming - Stamina vs. Mastery

Postby Juugimus » Mon Dec 13, 2010 2:03 pm

I've been seeing similar things. In heroics it seems like my health stays somewhere in the middle of empty and full - until the healer goes OOM.

In fact healers going OOM have lead to many more wipes than me just being pummeled by damage. I'm thinking of switching out PoJ and picking up some WoG talents as well as switching to some mastery gems.

It looks like part of being a good tank in Cata means looking out for healer's mana.
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Re: New Theory of Gemming - Stamina vs. Mastery

Postby Thelmiance » Mon Dec 13, 2010 2:03 pm

I think once we see some more raids, it should be easier to argue about which approach is the more succesful. Essentially, it comes down to finding out how our deaths tend to occur. Is it being 3-shot or being 10-shot? If we're being 3-shot, that implies that we need more health (stam stacking) so that we can survive 3 hits without a heal. Essentially, an EH argument. If, however, we can take significantly more than that, say 10~ shots before dying, then stacking extra health to make it to an 11th is much less important. Instead, reducing the amount of overall healing becomes more important. That is, the average damage taken over a longer term becomes more important than the short-term string of hits. From trying Omnitron and Magmaw yesterday in 10-man, deaths were definitely more towards the 10-hits side than the 3-hits side. We'll definitely need more data, more actual logs, but that was my feeling from the one raid I've done so far.

Does anyone have a raid log so we could try to see some average hit numbers? I neglected to gather one yesterday, unfortunately.
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Re: New Theory of Gemming - Stamina vs. Mastery

Postby vexryn » Mon Dec 13, 2010 2:09 pm

Juugimus wrote:I've been seeing similar things. In heroics it seems like my health stays somewhere in the middle of empty and full - until the healer goes OOM.

In fact healers going OOM have lead to many more wipes than me just being pummeled by damage. I'm thinking of switching out PoJ and picking up some WoG talents as well as switching to some mastery gems.

It looks like part of being a good tank in Cata means looking out for healer's mana.



Yeah, I do a LOT of spot healing with WoG once I have a big threat lead, to help out my healer's mana. I've been considering picking up Eternal Glory to give me a chance for more WoG heals as a tank, and possibly getting it by swapping out PoJ given that there are a lot of enchant options that pick up a run-speed boost as well.
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Re: New Theory of Gemming - Stamina vs. Mastery

Postby vexryn » Mon Dec 13, 2010 2:12 pm

Thelmiance wrote:I think once we see some more raids, it should be easier to argue about which approach is the more succesful. Essentially, it comes down to finding out how our deaths tend to occur. Is it being 3-shot or being 10-shot? If we're being 3-shot, that implies that we need more health (stam stacking) so that we can survive 3 hits without a heal. Essentially, an EH argument. If, however, we can take significantly more than that, say 10~ shots before dying, then stacking extra health to make it to an 11th is much less important. Instead, reducing the amount of overall healing becomes more important. That is, the average damage taken over a longer term becomes more important than the short-term string of hits. From trying Omnitron and Magmaw yesterday in 10-man, deaths were definitely more towards the 10-hits side than the 3-hits side. We'll definitely need more data, more actual logs, but that was my feeling from the one raid I've done so far.

Does anyone have a raid log so we could try to see some average hit numbers? I neglected to gather one yesterday, unfortunately.



Indeed, I'll grant that we need to see more numbers and fights, and I'm sure there's some reasonable threshold - I'm not saying we should run around in raids with 100k health and 98% of the way to the block cap.

But I'm definitely seeing deaths as getting slowly mauled down by a LONG string of hits while my healer OOMs trying to keep me up. The 10-shot seems much, much more common than the 3-shot, and any 3-shot-style mechanics usually involve a predictable burst of damage that I can both use a cooldown to mitigate, and store a WoG to pop immediately thereafter to help my healer further.

Omnitron was definitely a 10-shot healer-goes-OOM kind of fight, and in our first-week gear even with the blue puddles to stand in we had to manage mana a lot. Magmaw was hitting a bit harder, but it still felt more like a fight where I'd get 6-shotted - not 10-shotted, but still not 2-3 shotted either.
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Re: New Theory of Gemming - Stamina vs. Mastery

Postby d503 » Mon Dec 13, 2010 2:19 pm

The minute I saw the damage in heroics, I went back and respec'd to a WoG-centric build. I've found more success in keeping the raid functioning by sniping near-death heals with WoG, and threat is comfortable enough at this point to drop things like JotP and 3/3 Rule of Law.

Currently I'm running 0/34/7. I may pick up PotI now for Raids, as typically I could use a random 6k heal when I'm WoGging, and I'm generally WoGging other people in raids.
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The significance of WoG is not in the amount healed, but in the clutch heals that you can do. Oftentimes, I can snag a healer that's at 5%, and hit him with an 18k-35k WoG (35k is crit, obv). That gives them breathing room to continue healing themselves, or others.

I never thought I'd be on the WoG train pre-Cata, but since getting in heroics, and killing the two bosses that we've killed so far, I'm totally committed to it, at least until our healers get more gear.

For shiggles, here's our Halfus parse: http://www.worldoflogs.com/reports/rt-5 ... 181&e=9514 (15 attempts, sadly, but we got Storm Rider, Whelps, and Time Warden, so a really shitty comp, especially for the frenzy phase).
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Re: New Theory of Gemming - Stamina vs. Mastery

Postby knaughty » Mon Dec 13, 2010 2:36 pm

Juugimus wrote:I've been seeing similar things. In heroics it seems like my health stays somewhere in the middle of empty and full - until the healer goes OOM.

In fact healers going OOM have lead to many more wipes than me just being pummeled by damage. I'm thinking of switching out PoJ and picking up some WoG talents as well as switching to some mastery gems.

It looks like part of being a good tank in Cata means looking out for healer's mana.

My suggestion is to drop threat talents. Heroics and especially some raid targets involve a lot of running around, so keep PoJ. Maximize WoG seems very much like the correct build right now. Threat is also not much of an issue.

@OP: stacking Mastery over Stamina might be viable, but I do think you want to hit about 150k health first.I've come across several abilities that hit for 100k. While they're all avoidable, it's nice to have a big enough health pool to make a mistake and not wipe the group.

@Devil's advocate: given it takes SO MANY hits to die, and we spend so much time between at partial health, statistical reduction is a big benefit even when it isn't EH.
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Re: New Theory of Gemming - Stamina vs. Mastery

Postby Juugimus » Mon Dec 13, 2010 3:09 pm

vexryn wrote:
Juugimus wrote:I've been seeing similar things. In heroics it seems like my health stays somewhere in the middle of empty and full - until the healer goes OOM.

In fact healers going OOM have lead to many more wipes than me just being pummeled by damage. I'm thinking of switching out PoJ and picking up some WoG talents as well as switching to some mastery gems.

It looks like part of being a good tank in Cata means looking out for healer's mana.



Yeah, I do a LOT of spot healing with WoG once I have a big threat lead, to help out my healer's mana. I've been considering picking up Eternal Glory to give me a chance for more WoG heals as a tank, and possibly getting it by swapping out PoJ given that there are a lot of enchant options that pick up a run-speed boost as well.



I'm thinking of putting one point in Guarded by the Light to make WoG keep Holy Shield up. Seems like that first point has a lot more second than the second.
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Re: New Theory of Gemming - Stamina vs. Mastery

Postby Juugimus » Mon Dec 13, 2010 3:13 pm

knaughty wrote:
Juugimus wrote:I've been seeing similar things. In heroics it seems like my health stays somewhere in the middle of empty and full - until the healer goes OOM.

In fact healers going OOM have lead to many more wipes than me just being pummeled by damage. I'm thinking of switching out PoJ and picking up some WoG talents as well as switching to some mastery gems.

It looks like part of being a good tank in Cata means looking out for healer's mana.

My suggestion is to drop threat talents. Heroics and especially some raid targets involve a lot of running around, so keep PoJ. Maximize WoG seems very much like the correct build right now. Threat is also not much of an issue.

@OP: stacking Mastery over Stamina might be viable, but I do think you want to hit about 150k health first.I've come across several abilities that hit for 100k. While they're all avoidable, it's nice to have a big enough health pool to make a mistake and not wipe the group.

@Devil's advocate: given it takes SO MANY hits to die, and we spend so much time between at partial health, statistical reduction is a big benefit even when it isn't EH.


Giving up threat stats is a good idea. I'm not having threat issues atm. Thanks.
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Re: New Theory of Gemming - Stamina vs. Mastery

Postby lythac » Mon Dec 13, 2010 3:36 pm

I am in agreement with not going for full out sta stacking, but trinkets have a greater part to play than gems. Given the worth of socket bonuses they should be met.

The new theory of gemming looks to be the same as the old one, but later wrath content has left us just sta stacking.

I always thought the gearing/gemming/trinketing was always -

Uncrit > Uncrushable > EH for encounter > Avoidance > Threat

Now with Wrath content and a certain boss sufficient EH wasn't reachable (Gormak). This also was the case for Brutallus, then you aimed for enough EH for MH*2 and 1 OH and stacked avoidance. Given we are uncrittable via talents, block cap is not reachable and we have enough EH for encounters then we should be going for avoidance following the old rules, mastery now it is available.

Early in Wrath content we did not dual sta trinket and we also matched socket bonuses. We should be doing the same now.


When it comes to it you should be able to get the maximum MEH from your gear (loldragon), which leads to sta gemming (but matching socket bonuses as they are good). If you are in favour of gemming for mastery over sta where possible (e.g. sta/mastery in blue) then you should also be wearing mastery trinkets.

Meet the EH, then stack mastery (the EH changes per boss so best to socket your gear for EH and wear mastery trinkets when you can).
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