Friday, March 12, 2010

Tanks and +STA

Every blue post I see these days is talking about the proposed changes to STA on gear, and how there basically won't be a huge gap in stamina levels between dps and tanks anymore.

This worries me for two reasons:

1) I'm a garbage healer, and on top of that I'm a lazy healer. I don't ask who the tank is, I just click around in Grid until I come across someone with a bloated health pool, then I heal them over everyone else.

2) Jokes aside, blue posts keep talking about how "awesome avoidance trinkets [implied: with no stamina] are" ...since dodging attacks will help keep tanks alive and conserve healer mana, which is kinda crap.

If tanking gear had thousands and thousands of Stam, tanks would still socket Stamina because it's reliable. If your health is low, then even if your avoidance is 99% that means sometimes you're just going to die and no healer can save you. Now, if healers can generally heal you through damage but then eventually gas out, then avoidance becomes more attractive because it lets healers heal you longer. Does that mean you gem it? Not sure, but at least a trinket with all avoidance might be pretty exciting.

When a tank is low on health, and I'm low on mana, I don't cross my fingers and hope for a dodge.

I either

a) pot

b) get ready to release and run back

I understand the arguments against huge health pools. If a tank has 46,000 HP, but never dips below 50% health, then 23,000 HP is essentially pointless. I'd much rather run out of mana with 23,000 HP to go, than run out of mana with 280 HP left on the tank and 5% chance to dodge.

Let's math!

Me at 0 MP, with a boss hitting for 2k every second means our tank's spare 23k pool is depleted in 11.5 seconds (12, since each swing is 2k... the last swing would overkill the tank by 1500). Adding a 5% chance to dodge to the tank instead of this "wasted HP" means that he has a 95% chance of being one shotted (remember, he has 280 HP). I'm not super good at statistics, but the chance of /roll-ing, and having it be 5 or less, 12 times in a row... uhhh... that's like .05^12, which has like a .0000000000000244140625% chance of ever happening.

Sweet. 5% won't save you.

A tank with 40% dodge has a much better chance of living, right? I mean, they could dodge 12 straight attacks like .0016777216% of the time. Hot damn, now we're getting somewhere.

I'm not trying to say I have the magic solution, but in these situations, even having a trinket with 200 STA will save you GUARANTEED for one extra hit. 40% dodge may save you, but if you're at 280 HP, that heal is coming (or it's not and everyone dies regardless). The dodge MAY or MAY NOT save you, but the 2k extra health will let you live for one more second. Hopefully it's long enough for the heal to go out.

This is the biggest thing I have about dodge vs STA. Blue claims is will save healer mana, but tanks are always being healed regardless. The Holy Paly in our guild regularly runs around with 70+% overheals. He just spams heals on the tank, and never runs out of mana. If the tank dodges, who cares? He's getting healed anyway. If it's a question of the tank dodging a blow that he can't handle at 100% HP, then he shouldn't be tanking this content. More dodge will push that killing blow off to a random time, but more STA will allow him to take it and hopefully be filled back up before another one comes along. I guess in this case you may be saying "well, say he TOOK the first, then DODGED the second, hooray for dodge right?"


That's almost the exact same situation as him not being able to take a single one to the face. Relying on the POSSIBILITY of dodging to rescue you from the encounter's incoming damage doesn't demonstrate a mastery of anything. It demonstrates that you're going in and hoping you get a lucky dodge. A trinket that provides 100% dodge might be nice, but we don't get those. We get THIS or THIS.

I will take THIS or THIS over those two any day. My tank wears the two beerfest trinkets, because they're better than Eitriggs or Ick's thumb. My tank won't even get invites without a decent healthpool.

If they can find a way to change that, great. Give rogues 50k healthpools if needed, but they need to stop pretending tanks won't want to have 90k pools if that happens.


I guess we'll see in time...


Klepsacovic said...

I might have missed it in there somewhere... but the idea seems to be that health will be large enough compared to incoming attacks that effective health won't be the biggest most important measure of a tank. If incoming attacks are only 25k and the tank has 100k and the attack speed in only every 2 seconds; you have time to cancel heals, time heals, switch to higher efficiency, see if the next couple get dodged, etc.

If I tank can survive 10 seconds with no heals, then they can afford to worry about saving healer mana. Until time to live goes up significantly, we're not going to see anything change.

Wolfblitzer said...

The other side of the equation is that they plan on nerfing healer mana regen a bit. The devs have stated that their goal is to have healer spell choice mean something. Say you have a mana efficient spell that has relatively lower HPS, and a mana hungry spell with greater HPS. A good healer will be able to manage his spells and balance both his mana pool and the tanks health. A bad healer will either be too conservative and let the tank die, or too aggressive and run OOM, then the tank will die. This is a huge deviation from today's "ZOMG spam the biggest heal you have for the entire fight."

Additionally, there's always going to be a level of tank health that is "enough". Once the tank has enough health to not be one shot and be able to eat enough damage that the healer has a buffer, he's better off moving to avoidance.

Rich said...

... but the heal is still coming regardless. Unless they plan to move to reactive tank healing (IE nerf the living fuck out of paladins) then dodging or not dodging doesn't really matter.

Don't get me wrong, I don't actively avoid avoidance (c whut i did therr?), but EH has trumped avoidance for a billion years now, and I just don't see a radical shift coming soon.

Rem said...

I'm sorry to say it, but you're going off on an errant path, because you pull out a single aspect and discuss it without regard for the intended bigger picture.

The whole idea is that they want to slow fights down a lot, to move away from the "tank dies in 3 hits max" model. They want a scenario where tank health depletes over time, and gets replenished over time, as opposed to "GCD or wipe". The current 60-70% overheal quota result from the choice effectively being only between overheal and underheal, without the option to "heal appropriately". So, the slower combat pace and the healer mana restrictions are really tied into one tight packet. You won't be playing a pure throughput game, but a throughput-and-efficiency, where the first part is reduced to make room for the second.

In the current state of things you are 100% right. Avoidance is, while not useless, an often wasted stat, because a long as we can't assume guaranteed avoidance, we can't rely on it to prevent "that one hit", so you have to heal regardless, and if we dodge, you just overheal more. The whole idea of Cataclysm, however, is to get away from the situations where "that one hit" is basically every second swing. Of course, when you see the tank one-shottable, you will blow your CDs, only, you'll see him one-shottable maybe once or twice a fight, rather than every 5 seconds. Avoidance will still be worthless for the one-shottable state, but that very state will significantly lose in relevance, thus increasing the relevance of avoidance in turn.

Tanks will still love EH (especially EH, not just H, which many fail to differentiate), and healers still won't gamble on tank avoidance. But when "tank at 60%" isn't code red, but actually quite an acceptable state of things for a few more seconds in most settings, then avoiding a hit or two does, indeed, save healers some work. Healers won't wait for a dodge at 10%, but at 60%, they may well hold back, let HoTs tick and see which way the green bar goes. And, by all accounts published so far, no, not even pallies will be capable of GCD-spamming throughout the fight.

Rich said...

Rem: It's an ideal, and one I'm hoping takes hold, but the bloated health pools of Burning Crusade were hoping for the same effect, and look where we are with Wrath.

I'm not trying to be overtly negative, and I tend to write a bit over the top, but honestly... if tanks aren't in fear of dying, then encounters become trivial.

When encounters become trivial, people get bored.

Dwism said...

Remember that the plan for Cata is that Mana will become an issue. So that smart healing and stop-casting is required to not go oom. I know they said that when wrath was hitting but that is the plan.

And then (adding onto what Klep wrote about health) dodge/parry will become interesting again.

Kyff said...

On a side note it's always helpful to look at other games.
In EQ2 there are 4 so called Mitigation Tanks (Tanks running around with lots of armour and huge health pools, capable of mitigating a certain percentage of every incoming damage). These are Berserker/Guardian and Paladin/Shadowknight. In the other corner there are the so called Avoidance Tanks (Tanks who have less Health and less armour but the ability to completely avoid incoming damage with a certain chance). This is the Monk/Bruiser combo.

Now its kind of okay to have a Monk tanking in a group. But no one right in his mind ever uses a Monk as MT in a raid. Simply because as an avoidance tank you are subject to damage spikes and will easily get killed by them. As a mitigation tank you have a much better chance of surviving damage spikes.

I suspect the avoidance trinkets will be as useful as avoidance tanks in a raid situation.

Hatch said...

I would like it better if they set up the design in such a way that other stats are interesting. But they need to not fail at it.

Anyway, unrelated, but here's an interesting article about breaking into the game industry (read Sirlin's talk):

You are doing the right things according to him, Ixo.

Sage said...

Lets look at history here. In BC, mana was an issue for everyone, in HUEG-LIEK-XBOX proportions. Remember how important a shadow priest was (One priest decided to swap to healing gear in our Kara run to help with a boss, when he swapped back, we did better, due to his raid healing & mana regen)?

Remember chain potting?

Remember downranking?

Well, chain potting is gone(mana regen is high enough to compensate for this & then some), downranking is gone (and heals are giving both good HPS & HPM).

What Blizz did was removing stuff that made the game hard/a challenge, but failed to add something back in.

On the avoidance issue, the problem with avoidance is that it is by definition random, and therefor, something you have but do not care about/bank on. Armour/Bonus Armour is better(resistances are the spell equivalent, although they're kinda in between avoidance and armour). It takes damage off of all attacks, and scales with boss damage(it's effect is debatable, but so far all we have to debate is health vs. avoidance, so anything new is a relief).

It's not an end-all solution, but armour does avoidance's job better.

Sage said...

Oh, and fun fact about 5% avoidance. There is a ~54% chance that over 12 attacks it will have no effect what-so-ever.

The problem I see here is that Blizzard is swapping out parts in the game constantly, and wondering why nothing works afterwords. I'll also see if I can find the blue post that says Blizz <3 large damage on tanks, and so Gormok/Festergut is the kind of fight they like.