Archive for the ‘Gear’ Category

Stamina over all?

30/11/2009

As you can see in this thread, the great “stamina over everything” debate has yet to be put to bed in any meaningful fashion.

I’m not necessarily linking this to continue a debate, but more as a mark of posterity to a topic that I’ve contributed to heavily.

The language is often colourful, but many valid points are made and it’s worth keeping an eye on it.

Enjoy.

Warrior: the metal-bound juggernaut

16/11/2009

We tanks are currently living in a world of effective health. Come Icecrown Citadel, the general view is that stamina stacking is going to be an even more important part of gearing up, due to the inclusion of Chill of the Throne and the 20% hammering our avoidance is going to take as a result. Irrespective of whether I agree with that assessment or not (I don’t), it’s worth having a look at the real implication as opposed to the simple one and how, as a warrior tank, we should approach it. Basically, the notion is that tanks are going to be hit more often, but for slightly less damage than they have been; depending on the scaling of gear and the appropriate content, of course. So, logically speaking, stacking stamina is the best way to make sure we’re surviving for decent periods of time when we’re not avoiding. This sounds great on paper, but it’s not exactly big news – warriors have generally been the worst tanks for taking damage throughout this expansion, so a certain amount of cushion has been required throughout. But the cushion is called effective health and not just health. There is another facet to effective health that seems, to me, to be continually overlooked.

Armour.

Warriors have access to plate, the heaviest armour type in the game. Our shields have a pile of it stapled on, we can enchant for it, we can gear for it and we can find loads of gear with armour where you wouldn’t normally expect to find it. Armour is effective health – it’s the X to the stamina Y. The question, I suspect, is how good armour actually is for a warrior tank when compared to other stats that you may look for on your gear. And as anyone who looks at my profile will be able to see, I’m pretty aggressive when it comes to stacking armour. I’ll tell you why.

Armour lessens the amount of damage you take per hit. No, really; I’m not kidding. If you look at your character sheet and hover over your armour value, you’ll see just how much physical damage you’re lessening with the armour you’re wearing. When you consider that the vast majority of damage you take in this game is physical, the correlation is fairly obvious. Those with more stamina have a higher health pool, but will take a bigger hit. Those with more armour have less of that health pool, but take less of the hit. What’s the difference? Feel free to ask your healer who they like healing more. Back during The Burning Crusade, healers weren’t often fond of the “mana-sponge” tank that constantly needed topping off.

The second and most important part of armour, however, is the added benefit of DPS. Just as paladins were previously getting more spellpower from stacking stamina, warriors get more damage from armour through the talent Armored to the Teeth. Only an idiot would underestimate just how big this passive increase to their DPS is and ignore it purely for stamina. In my case, I’m currently running with 27599 armour on my gear. Purely from the aforementioned talent, I’m picking up an additional 766 attack power (rounded down) unbuffed. In anyone’s book, that’s a pretty substantial damage buff to be picking up from gearing for the other side of the effective health coin.

I’m probably labouring the point. Suffice it to say that armour, for a warrior, is an extremely good stat to be picking up. Not only does it provide constant mitigation, you can grab an awful lot of threat from it when you take the points, as everyone should, in Armored to the Teeth. I appreciate that armour is no defence against large or prolonged magical damage, but these mechanics are typically dealt with by using cooldown rotations and should not be a hindrance to going for armour when you get the chance.

Get more armour. Go on. You’ll love it.

Let me wipe your tiers… Some considerations on armour sets

03/11/2009

You know, it’s amazing how many times my guild mates and I get involved in discussions about gear; particularly class sets and how good, bad or indifferent they are. I would imagine most guilds with a few chatty people have discussed the same issue at length, but perhaps my guild is also fairly common when lampooning the sets as poorly itemized and not very compelling. Either they don’t like the bonuses, they don’t like the stats or they just don’t like the look of the armour (placed in order of importance). Overall, however, I get the feeling there is a general misunderstanding of what Blizzard are trying to do with armour sets and why they itemize them the way that they do.

Personally, I really like the class armour sets and have been very happy with what Wrath of the Lich King has served up so far. Therefore, I’m starting from a position of positivity on them. Those who tend not to like them, however, seem to be forgetting one major point:

It’s a set and, therefore, should be treated as such.

The set is designed to compliment itself, not just for the actual bonuses, but also for the range of stats that you’ll find on the set as a whole. What that means is, that the set should not be compared statistically piece-by-piece, but as a group of pieces with a range of stats that you should want. Let’s look at the protection warrior tier 9 (iLevel 232) as an example:

Head: Defence rating, dodge, block value.
Shoulders: Defence rating, dodge, expertise.
Chest: Defence rating, dodge, parry.
Gloves: Defence rating, dodge, parry.
Legs: Defence rating, hit rating, block value.

So, what we actually have is defence rating (obviously), dodge and parry for avoidance, expertise and hit rating for threat, and block value for both. In short, every stat a balanced protection warrior could possibly want is present on the set. Ignoring the argument based around encounter mechanics and current values of certain stats for the moment, everything you would expect to see on a tank’s gear is there, with the exception of block rating. So, why not block rating? Well, you have to look at the 4-piece bonus to figure that out.

Decreases the cooldown on your Shield Block ability by 10 sec.

In short, you have a higher uptime of Shield Block from the set, meaning you’ll mitigate a lot more damage if you’re wearing it and actually using the talent consistently.

Ultimately, this is how we should be viewing the armour sets; as grouped baselines of gear that the rest of your slots should be built around, and not in lieu of. This is so that you can use the set regardless of whether you’re actually gearing for threat or for endurance and, of course, depending on what you’re going to be tanking.

Now, obviously, I’ve concentrated on the Protection warrior; but the same is true of all classes and specs. People are looking to upgrade a particular slot, looking at the set option and saying, “I can’t use that, I’ll lose to much [desired stat]”. They are not appreciating that if the set was worn as a whole, said stat would certainly be present and free up other options elsewhere in your gear.

Lastly, I can pretty much guarantee that set bonuses on all sets will see use. Whether it’s something you’ll get a lot out of is potentially up to how you choose to play, but I’d be very shocked if a set bonus popped up that was of absolutely no use to anyone, whatsoever. Therefore, on top of your balanced set of gear, you’re getting two (generally) passive bonuses to abilities that your spec uses, free of charge.

In short, like everything, picking up gear sets is a choice; just don’t be fooled into thinking the sets are bad on account of that one piece not having the exact stat you want.

Grab the full picture before making your judgement.