Friday, February 13, 2009

The crit stops here.

My paladin dinged 80 last night. First order of business was to defense cap, and then run Heroic UP for a shot at the sword. Sword didn't drop, but I did a few times. Still, that was in part because my gear was kinda crappy (22k health and 23k armor buffed) and in part because my lovely wife would do silly things like Penance the mobs instead of me.

For those who are unaware, defense is the skill that makes things harder to hit and crit you. You need 140 defense over your level's base defense (which is 400 at 80) to be uncrittable. At level 80, 4.92 defense rating = 1 defense. Thus you need 140 x 4.92 = 688.8 defense rating to become uncrittable. Since defense rating doesn't come in fractions, you need 689 defense rating to truly be uncrittable.

Now, stats like stamina and armor are well and good for tanking, but defense is truly king (note this doesn't apply while you are leveling to 80; those instances are tuned with crittable tanks in mind.) The goal here is to reduce spike damage. You can have all the health and armor in the world, but if you keep taking crits, your healer isn't very likely to be able to keep up. And dead tank = dead group. Remember to gear for survivability first, and threat second. If you aren't uncrittable, no one will take you seriously as a survivable tank.

A quick look at what I did to defense cap:

When I dinged 80, I had ~580 defense rating. The defense rating cap is 689, so this meant that I had to cover an extra 100 or so rating to get myself capped. First stop was enchants. In my case, the guild enchanters had enough dust and shards that I only had to grab nonstandard enchanting mats.

Enchant Cloak - Titanweave - This required two Titanium Bars.
Enchant Chest - Greater Defense - This just required an Eternal Earth.
Enchant Shield - Defense - This was a scroll mailed to me by a guild enchanter who was leveling his enchanting. But if I had to buy the mats, I would have needed six Eternal Earth.
Enchant Bracer - Major Defense - This is a BC enchant, but we still had some mats in the bank for it.

That's about all you can do with enchants to boost your defense. However, that is only 70 defense rating. Where did the remaining defense rating come from?

Daunting Handguards
Daunting Legplates

Those pieces are both chock full of defense rating and are pretty easy to make (so says my Mining/BS friend.) While the gloves were technically a downgrade, becoming uncrittable is THE MOST important thing you can do as a tank. Not everyone has it as easy as Druids do.

While those pieces alone satisfied me, if you just hit 80 and are still strapping for more defense, there are some other easy to make blacksmithing pieces available with high defense. These pieces should be replaced reasonably soon, as they are rather low level, but never go below 689 defense rating.

One final note is gems. I personally prefer to enchant for defense first so that I can gem for stamina, dodge, or whatever else I need. But you can easily close the gap with defense gems. Thick gems offer +12 or +16 defense rating, while Enduring gems offer +6 defense rating/+9 stamina or +8 defense rating/+12 stamina. Additionally, there is a meta gem that provides defense rating, which is an especially good choice for paladins because of the 5% block value, as they pretty much always have a >40% block chance (>70% with Redoubt) and the block value also provides extra threat to Shield of Righteousness, one of the highest threat moves in a paladin's rotation.

Once you have geared yourself to uncrittability, it's time to get out there and tank! Heroics are fair game, though I would probably wait until you've upgraded about half of your gear from heroics before moving on to raiding (Sartharion is probably okay, though.) Good luck and have fun!


Josh said...


I put an alternate 10-man setup into my original 10-man raid comp post that includes a feral druid. I'd be interested to hear your ideas on the new problems that arise with the changes made in regards to class diversity.

Anonymous said...

The block value metagem is good, however the metagem that increases armor value is significantly better - even for pallys

Myze said...

The armor value metagem is only situationally better. For example, during large trash pulls, armor simply can't hold a candle to the mitigation of block value. And for Pallies, the amount of block value that goes into threat makes that metagem much more versatile.

If you can't survive the content you're working on, the armor gem will probably be better. Otherwise, I think the block value gem is nearly as good defensively, and much better offensively.

Anonymous said...

Block value is dwarfed by the damage received on Heroic trash. The bonus stamina is also significantly better than the measely d/r - especially if you are capped. Reduced damage and stamina is more important when relative to actual content and not trash pulls as trash in 10 and 25s is essentially run in, consecrate, and repeat assuming our AOE DPS haven't already killed the mobs which they should have by that point.

When you're up against Heroic Patchwerk and you're lacking the damage reduction and stamina you could have then it quickly becomes clear which choice is correct.

Block is only good trash and a very few bosses out at the moment and should you be caught at a crossroad theres easy alternative set pieces for a block set and regular set.

Myze said...

Block value may be dwarfed by trash damage, but that damage is still better dealt with via block as opposed to armor.

Incidentally, when you stop going to less the 350 health or so during fights is when the 32 stamina from that metagem becomes useless. Conversely, defense ALWAYS provides some benefit, even if you are uncrittable. Stack stamina until you stop dying, then stack avoidance and mitigation to make it easier on your healers.

I've already conceded that the stamina/armor value metagem is better defensively than the defense rating/block value gem. But I refuse to believe its better in all cases where your survivability is already guaranteed.

Anonymous said...

There is no such thing as a defense cap; only the defense minimum.