Monday, February 2, 2009

Classification of encounters based on tanking

Khalon's recent Anti-Tank series is an interesting idea as to how the 3.0.8 armour changes might be used to our advantage. However, viewing his talent spec, I realized he hadn't actually changed much of anything compared to a normal tanking spec, which made me question the premiss of his anti-tank gear. Are there really encounters in which it's advantageous to have a cross between feral dps and feral tank gear?

Single Tank Encounter
Examples: Maexxna, Heigan, Loatheb, Sapphiron

These are encounter in which the only circumstances under which a OT will be required to tank is if the MT dies. Pure DPS gear is recomended.

Multiple Tank Encounter
Examples: Razuvious, Patchwerk, Gluth, Sartharion

These encounters require multiple tanks for the full duration(or close there to) of the encounter. OT's will take significant damage during the encounter and therefore full tank gear is required.

Optional Multiple Tank Encounter
Examples: Anub'Rhekan, Faerlina, Noth, Grobbulus, (Kel'Thuzad), Malygos, VoA

These encounters are most commonly done with a limited time OT, or an OT who will take very litle damage. In each case if sufficiently geared, the MT can take the adds which are normaly the OT's responsability, or the OT can be replaced by generic plate-dps who equips a shield for the situation(Malygos, VoA). Even if using an OT, argueably on all of these encounters the OT can wear pure DPS gear for the entire fight(although the advantages of this on Noth are questionable).

Limited Time Multiple Tank Encounter
Examples: (Anub'Rhekan), (Faerlina), Gothik, (Four Horsemen), Thaddius, (Kel'Thuzad)

These encounters are typically phased encounters or encounters with one-time-only adds. During phases without adds or once initial adds have been disposed of, the OT is free to DPS. This type of encounters usually has quite low damage on the OT and therefore the OT can either be replaced entirely, or the encounter can be OT'd in DPS gear.

Damage Mechanic Multiple Tank Encounter
Examples: Four Horsemen, Kel'Thuzad

These encounters have some mechanic which constitutes a threat to players or a burden on healers the more players are involved in an optional situation.
In the case of Four Horsemen, a tank who has finished with his job on Baron/Thane might decided to run in and start tanking or DPS'ing Zeliek. However, due to the nature of the fight, he now presents one more target for the healers to heal. Also, whilst moving away from Zeliek he may cause further links, increasing the chance of that his Holy Wrath will jump to multiple targets and insta-gib someone.
In Kel'Thuzad, whilst during Phase 2 no OT is required, each additional melee dps increases the number of targets for Frost Blast and increasing chane of Shadow Fissure in a highly crowded area.
What possible additional DPS the OT may provide in said situations is far outweighed by the additonal risks to the raid he constitutes. In such encounters, it is therefore better for the OT to simply stand off to the side than when not needed.

So my findings are that there is no situation, atleast in the current content, where the Anti-Tank gearset which Khalon suggests is actually useful. You are better off having two seperate sets of tank and dps gear.


Marino said...

I made a similar comment on the first post as well. However having such a set might prove useful in the future. And I think it could be very useful tanking trash.

Kalon said...

Hey, Shamad. Nice post. :) And a really good breakdown of the situations you might find yourself.

I think I didn't explain myself or my methodology before, because I wasn't ever particularly advocating a hybrid set of gear. It isn't the most optimal (at least according to Rawr/Toskk), but the only real concession to tanking that I made was in choosing agility over strength and not being perfectly capped for hit and expertise, necessarily. Everything else was pure DPS, with a possible eye towards slightly favoring items with a bit more stamina.

So it's really not a hybrid set. It's a DPS set that switches out the weapon and idol when you change forms. All of the enchants and gems are at least good for DPS if not optimal.

The thing I think I disagree with you most is the idea that a plate wearer can strap on a shield and be fine. That's true - but it doesn't make what the feral brings any worse. You have to admit that a plate-wearer putting on their prot set is not going to be nearly as durable or set up so well as a feral doing it, particularly if that feral is mostly talented for bear. In cases like Malygos, where it's very useful to have two tanks dealing with the adds in P2 it's much better to have a feral do this; they can do fine DPS in P1, and not be particularly hard to heal in P2. And (this is the important thing) not harm their DPS in either phase.

Whereas a plate wearer would have to get uncrittable, etc, and totally gimp their DPS. In that case you've traded a good DPS class for a bad tank. Why would you do that? Why not trade a good DPS class for a good tank?

Fights where this makes sense are things like Thaddius, KT, Malygos, 4H, Gothik.

Furthermore, I think this is flat-out wrong:
What possible additional DPS the OT may provide in said situations is far outweighed by the additonal risks to the raid he constitutes. In such encounters, it is therefore better for the OT to simply stand off to the side than when not needed.

I can't disagree with this more. You might as well say that melee shouldn't DPS at all at that point. Again, if you're providing as much DPS as a good melee player, you should be desired. This isn't a case where you do slightly more damage than a prot warrior switching weapons; this is assuming you can do as good DPS as anyone else. Yes, you can minimize the danger for KT by stepping away - but if you can do an additional 4k DPS, you've just cut the fight down by 20 seconds time. Same with 4h, except in that situation you can simply go to bear and tank her if needed or just not get into melee range if it's that important.

I do agree that there's nothing in the game that really requires this. But there's plenty where the encounter is more easily done with a feral using these sorts of strategies.

Shamad said...

The platewearer strapping on a shield is more of an analogy, naturally a feral kitty going bear is the better way of doing it, but it doesn't require any tanking gear what so ever, which is my point.

As for KT, I'd argue you have to have a certain amount of melee dps for the needed interrupts, but beyond that a melee heavy raid is at a disadvantage. An extra 4k dps when there is no real time constraint is insignificant, whilst the the more melee dps you crowd in the higher the chance of frost blast linking across the two melee groups or to the tank, potentially causing the loss of a far better melee dps or even the MT, is a risk certainly not worth it. Furthermore the more people are crowded in melee range, the higher the likelyhood of shadow fissures spawning which forces melee to move and wastes time, also potentially increasing the chances of someone dying. You might be patting your own ego, but you're hurting the raid. Sometimes the best thing you can do, is just do nothing.

Kalon said...

but it doesn't require any tanking gear what so ever, which is my point.

I agree! Which is why I suggested not actually wearing any tanking gear. :)

On KT - how is your melee doing it? We've always had a triangle - MT at one point, two melee groups at the other two. The chance of an ice blast occurring is 0. Yes, if you have a bad dpser this will be a problem, but it would be a problem whether you were there or not. The shadow fissure is potentially true, I'll give you that - but again, it's a matter of how valuable you feel more damage is. I personally value doing more damage than taking time, since taking time means more potential mistakes and more potential for a wipe.

Here's the thing though - on KT I basically agree with you. The OTs should be hanging back, not draining resources or doing much of anything until the adds pop. Where this was valuable was being able to MT in a pinch while being DPS. In our situation the other tanks were in their correct position (away from KT) while I was starting to DPS. It would've been a few seconds of chaos if I didn't switch to tanking at that point. And if my gear wasn't set up to be minimally useful as tanking, it would've been problematic. A wipe? Maybe, maybe not; depends on how many melee died in that time, how much chaos happened, and how well one of the OTs could handle tanking all 4 adds.

But being able to tank in DPS gear was the important point. Even taking KT out of the equation, even taking the notion of having an emergency tank out of the equation, there are definitely spots where having someone who can switch is valuable. Does it matter when the content is this trivial? Not really. Will it matter? Almost certainly.