Keep Calm and Parry On

Last week, Ghostcrawler made some comments about the odd state of prot paladin gearing, in particular our love of haste.  In a blue post, he gave us the following tidbit:

Ghostcrawler said: For Protection, we do have plans to try and lower the value of haste relative to dodge and parry. We don’t want to make haste terrible for paladins, but we agree that it’s odd for it to be better than more traditional tank stats. It might require a nerf to Shield of the Righteous to do this, but our goal is not to nerf survivability overall. We just wanted to provide you some context if you see odd changes to tanking abilities.

And later elaborated on their reasoning:

Ghostcrawler said: The game just isn’t currently designed to support it. It creates potential problems such as:

- A Prot paladin competing with a Frost DK or Ret paladin over gear, meaning there isn’t enough DPS plate to go around.
- A Prot paladin considering a tier set with dodge and parry on it to be “garbage” because it doesn’t stack all haste.
- A Prot paladin looking at a Ret 2pc set bonus that she normally wouldn’t touch because now the stats aren’t that bad either.

In a world where tanking plate didn’t exist or every loot system used the personal LFR one or 100% efficient reforging then it might work.

We understand that having a lot of haste feels fun and visceral and is more dependable than dodge and parry. We’ll try to come up with a solution that keeps that in mind.

As you may have noticed, this sparked a lot of uproar amongst prot paladins.  There are almost as many different opinions on the topic as there are players discussing it.  Some love our new haste paradigm and want to keep it, others are somewhat ambivalent, and yet others are extremely anti-haste.

If you want my opinion (and if not, why would you be coming to my blog in the first place?), I think the haste paradigm is fun, but sort of silly.  Several of Ghostcrawler’s potential problems are things I’ve seen in game.  And I’d even add one to that list – having to re-spec to Ret after a boss kill to use coins, because my ideal tanking gear is actually on the Retribution loot table.

From a design standpoint, it’s sort of strange that haste is more attractive than traditional tanking stats.  If “tank plate” is going to be a gear category, it should be attractive to all three of the plate tank specs.  So far they’re 2/3, since Death Knights and Warriors are on-board.  We’re the oddballs that steal DPS gear.  Of course, they could eliminate tank plate entirely, but I don’t think they want to do that for homogenization’s sake, so let’s assume that’s off the table.

We here at Sacred Duty feel partially responsible for this conundrum.  See, we’ve been ringing the “all tanks need similar haste scaling” gong for quite a while, because in Cataclysm we were the only tank that didn’t get extra resource generation from haste.  Mel made the point in a post in December 2011, and it’s an argument we repeated in other venues as well all throughout beta.  While I don’t know that we can take credit for getting Sanctity of Battle during beta, we were championing the cause before it was cool.

Hipster Paladin

Hipster paladin stacked haste before Sanctity of Battle.

And then, in an ironic twist, warriors lost their haste scaling in beta, leaving them as the only tanks without some sort of haste-to-resource conversion.  So.. sucks to be warriors?

In any event, it’s clear that our affinity for haste is causing problems.If we have 20% haste, it means we have 20% more resource generation and Shield of the Righteous uptime, which is big.   It grants resource generation to other tanks (well, except warriors), but it’s not strong enough to make them favor it.  Bears gain more rage from auto-attacks, but that’s only a portion of their resource generation, not all of it.  A similar argument could be made for warriors back when they were cool got rage from auto-attacks.  Faster energy regeneration gives a monk more Jabs, but not more Keg Smashes, and the global cooldown limits how many Jabs you can fit in around Keg Smashes and Blackout Kicks.  A Death Knight would seem to get the most linear scaling with haste, as 20% faster rune regeneration ought to directly lead to 20% more Death Strikes.  It’s actually a bit of a mystery to me why they don’t value haste the way we do, but their mechanics have inherent synergy between avoidance and active mitigation (Blood Shield) that may tip the scales in favor of mastery and avoidance.

In my opinion, the problem with haste and protection paladins is twofold: haste is too strong, but more importantly avoidance is too weak.  First, let’s look at haste and what can be done about it; then we’ll discuss the problems with avoidance.

Haste Makes Was… wait, I’ve already used that pun

First, let’s clear up some confusion.  Haste is not an “amazing” stat for protection.  A lot of people seem to have come to this conclusion based on my results.  But if you look at my posts, it’s not really that impressive.  It’s a terrible stat for total damage reduction (TDR), and has been since beta.  And it’s not even that great of a smoothing stat all by itself.  That early simulation showed it strictly behind mastery in all categories.

It wasn’t until we discovered how strong hit- and expertise-capping was that haste really came into its own.  And even then, if you read through any of the follow-up posts that analyzed the topic in more detail, the control/haste gear set didn’t show a significant survivability advantage over the control/mastery or control/avoidance sets.

Hit and expertise are really amazing stats for survivability.  But haste is not.  It just happens to be about as good as the more traditional tanking options after you’ve already maxed out hit and expertise.

Haste also has an ace up its sleeve that mastery, dodge, and parry do not: DPS.  Sanctity of Battle makes haste a passable survivability stat, but simultaneously makes it a beastly DPS stat.  Because our entire rotation scales with haste, 10% extra haste is 10% more DPS.  In fact, once Vengeance is considered, haste is generally a better DPS stat than strength.

It’s worth noting that we’re the only tanks that get such a significant DPS bonus from haste.  Death Knights, Warriors, Bears, and Monks are all limited by the GCD, so even with 20% higher resource generation, they won’t get a full 20% increase in DPS.  At best they reduce the number of empty GCDs they have, or manage to replace a few more fillers with resource spenders.  It’s only thanks to Sanctity of Battle that paladins aren’t subject to the same 1.5-second-GCD constraint.

And that’s really the problem with haste: it becomes a “king stat” for smoothing once hit and expertise caps are reached.  We’re given a choice between three stats that all give roughly equal amounts of survivability, but one is also a significant DPS boost.  We don’t lose anything by choosing to focus on haste instead of mastery or avoidance; that extra DPS doesn’t cost us anything.  There’s no trade-off involved.

If haste is going to give us a huge DPS boost, it can’t also be our favorite survival stat.  We have to lose something in the survivability department by choosing haste over mastery or avoidance, which means haste ought to be less effective than mastery or avoidance at spike mitigation.  It’s not enough for it to be dead last for TDR – in fact, I suspect that over-reliance on TDR metrics for tank balance is what put us in this situation in the first place.

So how can Blizzard fix the “haste problem?”  The most obvious solution is to nerf or eliminate Sanctity of Battle.  If they took that ability away, it would take haste completely off of our radar.  Curiously enough, in that situation we would still have better haste scaling than warriors because we’d get more Seal of Insight procs and Sacred Shield ticks at higher haste values.  But it would be a small enough effect that we would ignore it for gearing.

Removing Sanctity of Battle completely has some downsides, though.  It would re-create the problem we had in Cataclysm, which was that we scaled incredibly poorly with encounter-specific raid buffs like Essence of the Red.  Partially nerfing the effect instead, such as reducing cooldowns and GCDs by 50% of your haste instead of 100%, would allow for the benefit of haste to be tuned more finely.

But either of those solutions risks making the haste gear that players have spent time collecting and valor points upgrading irrelevant.  And the valor upgrade issue is a particular problem, as it’s a finite resource.  If haste suddenly becomes significantly worse, players that stacked haste may feel like the victims of a particularly cruel bait-and-switch.

Since Blizzard has already suggested that they may try to fix the haste problem by nerfing Shield of the Righteous, let’s consider how they might do that.

  • They could nerf the duration of SotR (say, from 3s to 2s).  This would indirectly nerf all of our active mitigation stats: hit, expertise, mastery, and haste, while leaving avoidance more or less untouched.  I don’t think this is likely though, as it would also encourage the “boss swing timer addon” issues that were complained about in beta.
  • They could let the duration of SotR be reduced by Sanctity of Battle, such that at 10% haste the duration was divided by 1.1.  This would keep the DPS benefit of Sanctity of Battle and keep the “fun” part of the hasted gameplay, but eliminate the survivability benefit.  It would also make timing SotR to boss swings a pain in the ass, and probably isn’t all that simple to implement from a technical perspective either.  And in practice, I don’t think we’d stack haste if it gave no survivability benefit, so this solution would feel sort of backwards.  Removing Sanctity of Battle would be a simpler and more logical way to get the same effect.
  • They could nerf the magnitude (mitigation percentage) of SotR.  There are a few ways they could go about that nerf.
    • The least likely is to nerf its mastery scaling – that would hurt all four active mitigation stats, but it would hurt mastery much worse than the others, and probably wouldn’t do anything to reverse the gearing paradigm.  It would just make us like mastery even less.
    • The more likely way is to reduce the base mitigation of SotR.  For example, dropping the base mitigation from 30% to 20%, but leaving the mastery scaling untouched.  That would reduce the smoothing effects of hit, expertise, and haste, but would leave mastery more or less unchanged apart from second-order synergistic effects.
    • And of course, they could do both (nerf base mitigation and mastery scaling).  Again, I don’t think that’s likely, as it would be doing a lot of damage to mastery for no apparent reason.
  • They could buff the duration of SotR but reduce its magnitude.  For example, if the buff duration was increased to 4.5 seconds, but the mitigation reduced significantly (i.e. 50% or more) to compensate.  The mitigation reduction could be in either the base amount or the mastery scaling, though I think base is still more likely.  This would mean we’d have much higher uptime on SotR in general, but the effect would be much smaller.I don’t think this is very likely either, just because it may end up having the opposite of the intended effect.  In theory, having high uptime favors mastery over haste, because you’re getting an extra swing of mitigation out of that mastery.  However, if we can build up enough haste to keep SotR up 90+% of the time, that’s probably more advantageous than increasing the mitigation value.  It’s the SotR equivalent to block capping, and I’m pretty sure they’ll want to avoid that situation based on prior experience.

Obviously that’s not an exhaustive list, but it covers the most likely ways they could go about nerfing SotR.  A more major overhaul of the system could completely change the paradigm too, but that seems pretty unlikely in the middle of an expansion.

Avoidance

I think the bigger problem facing the developers isn’t what to do with haste, it’s what to do with avoidance.  As we’ve seen, haste isn’t a great stat, it’s just better than the alternatives.  And the problem is that the alternatives, in this case dodge and parry, are far too weak to compete. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to pinpoint a single reason that explains why dodge and parry perform so poorly.  It’s a fairly complicated problem, which also makes it hard to fix.

First of all, when you start out with low avoidance, adding more avoidance doesn’t do much for you.  It’s obviously great for TDR, but going from 20% avoidance to 25% avoidance isn’t going to have an appreciable effect on the smoothness of your damage intake.  And the diminishing returns equations intentionally keep avoidance from becoming too attractive once you have a lot of it.  So right from the outset, you’re discouraged from even attempting to go down the avoidance path.

Damage models also have a pretty large effect on avoidance’s value.  The game has embraced the triage model of damage and healing, such that we expect to be able to survive 3-4 hits from most bosses, even on heroic modes.  That makes stochastic effects like dodge and parry strong for total damage reduction (TDR), but it still doesn’t help them in the smoothness department.  They’re still not controllable, so you can’t, for example, use them to guarantee that you won’t take 5 hits in a row.

If the game were balanced such that healers risked running out of mana healing a tank, then TDR would be more attractive and stats like dodge and parry would have more room to shine.  But in my experience, that ‘s not really a risk in progression raiding, and hasn’t been since the first few weeks of Cataclysm.  Healers definitely run out of mana from excessive raid healing, but rarely do from a simple tank healing assignment.  And more often than not, cleaning up execution on the fights does more for mana efficiency than gearing will.  A healer can’t heal you much differently at 25% avoidance than at 20% avoidance, because it’s hard to notice that difference on the fly.  The spikes they’ll be reacting to are going to be very similar, just slightly less frequent.

And in a tanking system that revolves so heavily around active mitigation, stats that contribute to the active mechanic tend to be far more interesting than passive stats.  That’s one reason we focus on hit, expertise and haste.  The synergy between those three stats and mastery serve to make all of them better, while dodge and parry have no such interaction.  In fact, dodge and parry get weaker as you stack more active mitigation stats, because the average hit size being avoided goes down.

So dodge and parry are beset from all sides.  Theyr’e great at TDR, but we don’t care much about TDR as tanks.  They can’t compete with active mitigation stats for smoothing incoming damage because they’re stochastic and unpredictable.  By gearing for active mitigation and smoother damage, we actually make dodge and parry less attractive.  And perhaps the final nail in the coffin, they’re boring.  Players don’t get excited about dodge and parry because they’re passive, set-it-and-forget-it stats.  The function they perform happens in the background, with no input from the player, and lacks a feedback mechanism to make the player care about them.  They’re reminiscent of the era where a tank’s survivability was primarily determined outside of the raid instance, while they were optimizing their gear. And that’s not the environment we live in anymore.

To paraphrase Mel: “Dodge and parry have been bad and irrelevant for three full expansions now, it’s not news that they’re garbage.  They just used to be garbage floating to the top of a sea of garbage.”  And I think he’s right.  We haven’t been excited about dodge or parry since at least the Burning Crusade, if then.  Dodge/parry have consistently been poor stats since the start of Wrath.  We just never had a very strong alternative to compare them to until active mitigation made hit, expertise, and haste “good.”

I think any real “fix” avoidance will have to address not only their numerical inferiority, but their psychological inferiority as well.  Dodge and parry are just too passive to be much fun.  They don’t have to become active mitigation stats, but they need to interface with our active mitigation in a way that makes them interesting and exciting.  Some small effect that makes us care about avoiding an attack would make an incredible difference in how dodge and parry are perceived.

Warrior’s Revenge is a good example of this.  Avoidance isn’t just a passive background mitigation effect for warriors because avoiding lets them do something more often.  That’s the sort of effect that will turn avoidance from a dump stat into something we look forward to, or even prioritize.

It’s not hard to come up with mechanics that would do just that.  Here are a few examples:

  • Change Grand Crusader’s trigger from CS/HotR to avoidance.  Thus, avoiding an attack would have a chance to refresh the cooldown of Avenger’s Shield and grant holy power.  That might be too similar to Revenge, but it covers all the bases: gives us something active to do and ties into our active mitigation through resource generation.
  • Chance to generage 1 holy power every time you avoid an attack, with a 3-5 second internal cooldown to limit income during AoE tanking (the same could apply to the previous idea, of course).  This is similar to an early beta version of Glyph of Blessed Life or Honor among Thieves.  Passive resource generation that scales with avoidance.
  • Avoiding an attack could grant a buff that increases the duration of the players next SotR by 0.5 seconds, perhaps stacking up to ~3.  Or a 1-second increase that doesn’t stack.  The stack limit would naturally keep AoE tanking from becoming too trivial.
  • Avoiding an attack could increase the mitigation of your next SotR by ~5-10%, with a similar stacking mechanism.
  • Avoiding an attack could reduce the cost of the next SotR by 1 holy power.  This puts a natural limit on the resource generation effect, and has the potential to mix up the rotation a bit since we’d be able to cast SotR at 1 or 2 holy power on occasion.

I could go on, but you get the idea.  Something – anything – that makes avoidance matter to us is an improvement.  Especially if it does so in a way that requires attention on the part of the player.  Otherwise, avoidance is doomed to remain the low-priority, boring stat that it has been for the last 5 years.

Conclusions

The TLDR version of this post is that the problem we’re facing isn’t just a case of haste being too strong.  It’s good, but it’s not really all that strong compared to the defensive alternatives.  Hit and expertise are strong, but haste, mastery, and avoidance are all fighting for a distant third place trophy.  Haste just has better fringe benefits than the others.

The real problem is that avoidance is too weak, too passive, and too boring.  And to add insult to injury, it’s anti-synergistic with active mitigation stats.  So if we choose gear to make our active mitigation better, it makes avoidance even less attractive to us.

Reducing the value of haste so that there’s a legitimate trade-off between DPS and survivability is a good, and in my opinion necessary, first step.  But the root of the problem really lies in the lackluster state of avoidance.  If “tank gear” is going to continue to be a thing, then something really needs to be done to make it attractive to paladin tanks.

And the way to do that is to make it both numerically worthwhile and fun.  What will it take to make avoidance fun?  We need to get rid of the anti-synergy and add some real synergy between avoidance and active mitigation.  Nobody likes their gear to work at cross purposes.  We need it to be interactive, so that a player gets clear feedback that makes an avoided attack exciting and enjoyable.  We need it to empower or enable us in a way that impacts our rotation.

And for avoidance’s sake, we need it yesterday.

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42 Responses to Keep Calm and Parry On

  1. Nooska says:

    How about:
    Buff mastery conversion (making it better at AM than haste, so tehre is a tradeoff there), and look at avoidance seperately from haste.
    Reason I’m thinking this is because I agree with Mel and the second part of your post here, that avoidance suffers from far worse problems than that we want the dps plate items.

    Oh and on DK’s , I don’t get the reluctance to take haste gear either – It felt pretty good while we were still raiding to have haste on my DK – faster rune regen, means mor ability to use both Death Strike and Heart Strike (and Rune strike from more RP generation), and felt fun.

  2. Zaephod says:

    Does it seem to anyone else that tankadins regularly give the devs fits? Back in BC we were the uncrushable tanks. So, they removed crushing blows. Wrath comes along, and we get a rotation that can be automated completely with nothing ever to react to because it didn’t matter. So they give us the exciting and dynamic holy power in cataclysm that does virtually nothing to fix the problem. Mastery becomes a thing and we gear back to uncrushability again, calling combat table coverage, or block-capping. So they make block-capping impossible. Now here we are in MOP, and we take what they offer up, use it exactly how it was designed, and they don’t like it again.

    Pretty much since we became moderately viable tanks in BC to accepted tanks in Wrath onward, we’ve geared to accomplish the same thing: smoother incoming damage. Uncrushability did it because there were no 150% hits. In Wrath we geared for EH most of the time. In cataclysm, we block-capped. It has all been mitigation gearing, though accomplishing it in different ways. Now with active mitigation, it’s mitigation gearing still, it’s just that the way to do it is different again.

    Perhaps Blizzard needs to realize our gearing strategy is what it is for a reason, then they can apply their extensive resources to supporting it rather than fighting against it. Otherwise, this cycle will repeat with every new model they make.

    Theck, about the idea to tie avoidance into the active mitigation model, I have two comments. First, I fully support this idea. Second, do you think the ratings-to-percentage conversions (and diminishing returns) at present would need to be adjusted to make this attractive for gearing? Or another way, how much of a tie-in benefit would there need to be to make avoidance attractive over our currently accepted gearing practice?

    • Theck says:

      Changing the rating conversions or DR curves would certainly make avoidance better numerically. But it wouldn’t fix the “fun” factor at all, which is why I didn’t even mention those solutions. They obviously came up in the discussions Mel and Ana and I have been having, but we all pretty much agreed that it wouldn’t solve the core “boring” problem.

      Right now, 20% of haste is only about 10% avoidance before diminishing returns, and it isn’t that exciting (or effective) to go from 20% avoidance to 30%. So it would take a fairly severe DR or rating conversion change to make us prefer avoidance.

      As far as the tie-in benefit, it really depends on the mechanic. For example, if we got 1 Holy Power *every time* we dodged or parried, avoidance could be a pretty strong stat (~1 HP / 7.5 sec). If it were only a 25% chance on avoid, then it might not compete with haste. DR and rating conversion changes could make a weaker tie-in better overall, of course. But the situation is pretty dire for avoidance right now, so it will take a pretty large tie-in to shift us out of haste-mode.

      • queldan says:

        I’m a big fan of HoPo on avoidance for that reason- numbers can we tweaked. 25% too low? Try 50. Still too low? Keep pushing.

      • Alan says:

        Would it be going too far for them to give a base chance-on-avoid that increased with mastery? (Risks overcomplicating stats and overburdening Mastery, I know, but how much is too much?)

        • Theck says:

          I thought of that myself, but it has some other complications. It gives increased synergy between avoidance and mastery (which is good), but it probably means you’d need a different conversion factor for the avoidance proc than for everything else. In other words, mastery gives you 1% block, 1% SotR mitigation, and X% chance to gain 1 holy power on an avoid. That starts to get a little unwieldly, and it might just be easier to set the percent in a talent and leave it there. It will naturally increase as you get more avoidance anyway.

      • Airowird says:

        Perhaps it would be better to have Parry grant a buff used by say, Judgement.
        e.g. “When you Parry, you have an X% chance to gain , generating an additional Holy Power on your next Judgement. Lasts 6 seconds.”
        This would a) put a DRish mechanic on fast incoming hits such as AoE and b) Tie Parry in to an action, making it feel more controlable than it currently is.
        I also would be interesting to see if Grand Crusader proccing from Block instead would be a viable mechanic that bumps Mastery up above Haste.

        In an effort to make Haste still a bit useful, you could increase certain proc chances with your Haste% instead of granting Sanctity of Battle to Protection Paladins. I sure would like to see my Sword and Board proc chance on my Warrior be increased by my Haste!

        • Theck says:

          Tying it to Judgment like that would work. Though keep in mind that avoidance has diminishing returns of its own, so doubling up on the DR will likely make it very weak in single-target. It might make more sense to let it stack but put a limit on how frequently it can occur (i.e. once every 4 seconds, stacks to 3).

          There’s also the issue that it screws with your planning – now you’d need to keep track of how many stacks you have to make sure that you don’t waste HP when you Judge.

          I still think that warriors losing their haste scaling was one of the biggest mistakes made in beta, to be perfectly honest.

  3. Pickwick says:

    When I really think about it, Paladin tanks have changed so much over the years, we’re almost unrecognizable – I really miss Holy Shield as a button to press. In general, I think paladins have moved too far away from the ‘shield’ emphasis – and I’d personally like to see our play centered around blocking.

    Frankly, I’ve never been a huge fan of the direction that they’ve taken with tanking – I guess I’m old school in that I prefer the meat of the tank’s responsibility being proper gearing outside of the raid with focus on boss-positioning and threat-maintenance during the fight. I never really minded having only ‘big cooldowns’ to manage – I was always comfortable leaving it to the healers to micromanage my second to second health.

    In a world where DPS optimize around capping stats like expertise and hit, I’d be completely fine with tank specs optimizing around the avoidance stats – meaning I could do without tanks needing to hit cap to smooth, reduce, or avoid damage. That’s not straightforward to me – especially since threat is such a non-issue these days. I think if we’re going to fix stat weighting for paladins (and warriors and deathknights), we should think about how to make avoidance attractive and how to get hit and expertise under dodge and parry. If we lose a lot of DPS (and threat in the process), think about how we could generate threat from dodge and parry.

    Anyway, great though-provoking post as usual. I’m anxious to see where Blizzard goes with tankadins because I really don’t want to level my DK.

  4. Shalcker says:

    Just to throw in a few more ideas:
    - You can make parry/dodge reliable, in addition to randomness. For example, each not avoided hit adds X stacks of buff (where X increases with avoidance stats), and at 100 stacks you gain other buff/ability activation that allows to automatically avoid one next attack that would hit you for more then 20% of your health (10s duration). Then 25% avoidance could be “automatic dodge/block of every 4th attack”, and 33% could be “automatic dodge/block of every 3rd attack”.

    I would also point out that having specs sharing gear was never considered big problem before. It is actually encouraged, and the reason why elemental, shadow, and balance gain hit from spirit. I don’t see many complains about “less gear for healers” from that, so there shouldn’t be a problem with “less dps gear” from tanks wearing haste either.

  5. Synapse says:

    Hey Theck, enjoyed the post and wanted to comment a bit.
    To preface, my tanks are my alts, but the ones that are able are tanks, have all but a druid. You made a comment regarding DK tanks and haste, and I wanted to add that I’ve always wanted haste on my DK, but with the current stat budgets available to gear, Mastery is just too good. Taking it to the extremes, Blood would probably want to be close to a point where 2 Death Strikes Cap out Blood Shield before haste becomes the go to stat. I’ve never really viewed dodge and parry as amazing stats for a DK either, Its always been give me stamina, give me mastery (because many of a DK’s cooldowns scale with their Health Pool).

    On Prot Paladins though, I think your suggestions are interesting, but even with things to do with Dodge/Parry, Procs and Buffs, Don’t you think that Dodge and Parry are going to be limited regardless of what they change? What I mean is, lets say a Tank has 20% Dodge/Parry if they’re receiving a short term buff that modifies SotR or something similar it gives you something to do with attacks that you avoided……but how does that change when we go from 20% to 30% Dodge/Parry. I don’t really need the math to back me up to tell you that it really doesn’t, whatever buff you received that modifies SotR, still does the same thing, and at about the same frequency. Now at what cost? a fairly substantial stat budget or dodge/parry rating.

    Wouldn’t it make more sense that if they want to increase the value of dodge/parry that there has to be a reason to get more of it? Dodge/Parry doesn’t exactly become thrilling when you have a ton of it, for all the reasons you stated in your post. I think that the solution they come up with would have to play off of just that, increasing dodge/parry has to give you the benefit.

    Just to give an example using one of your avoidance solutions: Avoiding an attack could increase the mitigation of your next SotR by ~5-10%, with a similar stacking mechanism.

    I would say that the solution is going to have to be along those lines, but the ~5-10% increase in Shield of the Righteous is going to have to be scaled off of your current dodge/parry rating.
    Things that need to be kept in mind are dodge trinkets would have more value as not only would you theoretically be dodging an additional attack or two but your next SotR would provide addition damage reduction.
    The increase in effectiveness of SotR would have to be limited so that you’re not prone to be walking away with uber SotR every now and then reducing damage by 100% for 3 seconds when its up kind of thing.
    With this kind of scaling it might be possible to remove sanctity of battle from Protection Paladins, although personally I hope they don’t completely remove it, I do find it to add interest in choosing stats.

    Just some thoughts though, I’m really curious though about extremities. Think like 5.3 or 5.4, whatever change makes now, how will it evolve when Paladins are at their best in the last tier of MoP. Maybe the change is going to have to be based around the size of the melee hit that the paladin avoided to keep it scaling from tier to tier without leaning the scale of awesome too much in either direction.

    • Theck says:

      Regarding this quote:

      “What I mean is, lets say a Tank has 20% Dodge/Parry if they’re receiving a short term buff that modifies SotR or something similar it gives you something to do with attacks that you avoided……but how does that change when we go from 20% to 30% Dodge/Parry. I don’t really need the math to back me up to tell you that it really doesn’t, whatever buff you received that modifies SotR, still does the same thing, and at about the same frequency.”

      I flat-out disagree. in fact, you do need math to back up that assertion, because going from 20% to 30% dodge/parry makes a huge difference. Regardless of what particular benefit you get from an avoided attack, going from 20% to 30% avoidance makes it happen 50% more often. That’s not at all “about the same frequency.”

      If you get 1 holy power from an avoid, at 20% avoidance you’re going to get roughly 1 HP every 5 boss attacks, or about every 7.5 seconds. Increasing that to 30% avoidance makes it almost 1 in 3 boss attacks, or around 1 every 5 seconds. That’s not a trivial increase. It’s effectively equivalent to gaining 50% haste.

  6. Lakh says:

    I find all this a bit worrying really. The simple solutions would probably be a nerf to Sanctity scaling & linking Grand Crusader to avoidance… but that strikes me as a quick carving-knife fix for a problem that needs time & a carefully employed scalpel.

    It might work, but it’ll just as easily plunge us into being either under or over powered (and with at least two raid tiers to go…) I’m honestly not convinced they can do a simple, effective & balanced fix mid-expansion.

    As an aside, I rather wonder what’d happen if they added an increasing proc chance to avoidance (similar to some of the trinkets – if X isn’t dodge, then X+1 has dodge*Y chance). It could well be a technical stretch though.

  7. (sorry for my bad English)

    My biggest consern about “haste nerf” is how most of my tanking gear might end up “not that good anymore for tanking” leaving me with no “good” tank gear.

    See nerfing crit for a fire mage didnt make the class unable to dps with crit gear. But nerfing haste too much might result in raiding tank unable to tank decently anymore and result in slowing down an entire 10 man raid progression.

    Sorry but I dont want to farm MV with pug group to get “back up gear with the right stat”. Haste need to stay viable till 5.3 at least and Blizzard need to nerf haste slowly to avoid this situation. Imagine if they nerf haste dramatically, thousand and thousand of prot pal unable to tank some raid boss simply because of a big haste nerf … image the rage.

    • Hamsda says:

      Actually I think the crit nerf for fire mages would be the exact same thing as taking away SoB. It made most of them either try to completely switch their gear or plain out respecc. Since protection paladins cannot respec to another tanking specc, they would have to live with sub optimal gear.

      I doubt that it would render prot paladins “unable to tank”. They might be slightly worse overall until they acquire new gear but they surely won’t get benched for that reason (maybe in world first races, but most of those guys have alt tanks with an equivalent gear level they would probably switch to).

      The only “unable to tank” scenario I have seen this tier were blood dks during early Gara’jal progression, but that was just bad encounter design/an oversight on Blizzards end and not bad class design.

  8. Jackinthegreen says:

    I rather liked the idea of getting more HoPo from avoidance (directly or indirectly through GC procs), but keep in mind we have had avoidance tie into resources before via the former Sanctuary talent which gave a % of mana whenever we blocked or dodged. Not like it meant anything of course since most tankadins forgot they even had mana most of the time, but it was still there.

    One of my thoughts is them nerfing SoB just enough that haste will go below mastery for smoothing, then bring up avoidance by letting it grant HoPo at some % that would cover somewhat for the lost HoPo from haste. That way haste still has some value, but the standard tanking stats would be better overall especially if avoidance can get to good percentages.

    And speaking of avoidance, has anyone else found it odd that there are pretty much no parry trinkets? I would hope they start adding some if we’re to value avoidance more because if they don’t, we’ll be taking strength trinkets away from the DPS to shore up our parry.

    As for DKs and haste, having more DS really doesn’t help once you get used to the mechanics of Blood Shield. It’s all about timing, and since DKs can game their resources like no one else haste isn’t all that effective compared to mastery and stamina.

    • Jackinthegreen says:

      Along the DK line though, the way they have Runic Corruption set up allows them to lower a buff’s uptime based on haste, probably via a tweaked version of their DoT system. So it should be very possible for them to lower the uptime of SotR through haste if that’s what was called for.

    • Theck says:

      Well, it’s clear that haste *does* help – the nigh un-killability of DKs on Sinestra is proof of that. But that was an extreme amount of haste that was free. I can believe that mastery is just more valuable, especially when we’re talking about smaller amounts.

  9. Daishan says:

    I think we need a new mechanic to make avoidance appealing, I particularly like this suggestion from Theck
    “Avoiding an attack could reduce the cost of the next SotR by 1 holy power. This puts a natural limit on the resource generation effect, and has the potential to mix up the rotation a bit since we’d be able to cast SotR at 1 or 2 holy power on occasion.”

    I really hope they can balance whatever they do so that haste is still viable, been able to lower the GCD and increase the speed of play is by far the most fun I’ve ever had tanking, been forced back to a 1.5 sec GCD would feel terrible now.

    Could Blizz just make avoidance more compelling by giving us some % of it as haste?

    Or do we even need to care about avoidance, why not just improve mastery so it’s just as viable as haste?
    They could make mastery increase our SotR dmg so the difference in dps between a control/haste build and a control/mastery build is much smaller. That would give us 2 truly equal gearing strategies (which is more choice than we’ve had before) without screwing over everyone that went for haste gear. I’d also imagine that it should be fairly easy to balance, just tweak the numbers till mastery gives a few % more dmg reduction for the cost of a few % extra dps that haste gives.

    Somewhat random post I just hope they don’t screw up the most fun game play they’ve ever managed to make, even if it was by mistake.

    • Theck says:

      Do we need to care about avoidance? No, but it would be much better if we did. There’s an entire category of “tank plate” that features avoidance heavily. It’s not ideal that one of the only three specs that can use it completely ignores it.

  10. Aidan McClure says:

    I was having a discussion about this very problem with some other members in my guild and I believe I came up with very similar suggestions to you, Theck, about buffing avoidance. As soon as there is either a Holy Power generating mechanic, or a synergy with mastery/SotR then Avoidance becomes a lot more desirable.

    I had as a suggestion, to cause avoiding an attack to have a -revenge-esque effect on either crusader strike or judgement and reset the cooldown and maybe double the Holy Power gain from it. I think I would prefer it to be linked with judgement, though possibly only because that makes it very similar to revenge. However something like that, wouldn’t make haste a worse stat, it’s just a case of whether it would make avoidance better.

    However I think that if Sanctity of Battle was nerfed slightly, so that it only affected Crusader Strike, Judgement and Shield of the Righteous, then the dps element of haste is reduced because the fillers won’t scale with the haste, but its Holy Power generation would remain unchanged so haste wouldn’t lose anything from a survivability point of view and might bring it in line with dodge and parry – then it would be a playstyle choice.

    • Qalétaqa says:

      Hi
      I was wondering whether a change to SotR which increased both its duration and cool down would be effective? If it had say a 10 second cool down and 5 second duration you wouldn’t need any haste to hit it on cool down. Haste would still give some benefit from allowing more WoGs inbetween but would not be anywhere near as powerful. It might not be the long term solution to avoidance being unattractive but it might defuse the situation until the end of Mists.

      • Theck says:

        Giving SotR a 10-second cooldown would make haste basically irrelevant, but it would also completely break the entire active mitigation scheme, so I doubt they’d do that.

  11. bryjoered says:

    In my opinion the reasoning behind all these problems is the new active mitigation style of tanking. While it is a great deal more fun and more reliant on tanking skill than in the past, it has completely flipped the value of the stats. Resource generation has now become of paramount importance for most tanks. I think a very simple fix would be do have avoidance stats proc resource gains in some fashion, even to the tune of just a couple points might tip the scales back in avoidance’s favor. As it stands now avoidance stats are absolutely useless to any dps class and only slightly more useful to a tank, that still values dps stats over them as well. Only DK’s have a very strong value for avoidance. That being said, I would never steal a piece of gear with hit/exp as secondary stats from a str melee, that just isn’t fair, with the exception of the tanking single weapons that all seem to have those stats. Monks are currently broken as well, in that they value avoidance dead last, that just isn’t right.

  12. Alan says:

    Well we have our answer now on what Blizz will do.
    http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/7811342046#2
    Grand Crusader is now a 30% chance to proc on Dodge or Parry.

    • Lakh says:

      So that’d be what.. somewhere in the realm of a 5-10% chance on any given swing? Devalues hit/exp, which probably isn’t terrible.. they’re so far ahead already. Could be worse.

      • Jackinthegreen says:

        If the character has 20% avoidance after boss reduction and it’s a 30% per avoid to proc, that’s effectively a 6% chance per swing. To get 10% would require 33% total avoidance which isn’t doable full-time, but might be possible with clicky or proc trinkets and such. It might also be doable with full avoidance gearing but that would almost certainly end up with burst problems despite the extra HoPo from avoidance.

        • RayanaNEO says:

          In 509 gear 40% avoidance RB is reachable (4t14, probably more using non-set gear), which grants you 12% chance per swing.

          • Thels says:

            So they went for Theck’s first suggestion. Not surprisingly, since it seems the cleanest suggestion of them all.

            Right now: Haste affects CS/HotR, Judgment, Grand Crusader.

            After change: Haste affects CS/HotR, Judgement. Avoidance affects Grand Crusader.

            So Haste is being devaluated, but not made useless, while Avoidance now provides a source of active mitigation on top of the passive mitigation.

            I like it. :) It was obvious that we needed a change, and this change is not worldshattering, forcing us back into MSV to loot new gear. Even if it turns out Avoidance will be stronger now (I’m assuming it will, but I’ll wait for the Word of Theck) it means we can still tank in our current Haste sets, but we might slowly gear back to avoidance. Or perhaps we don’t, if we value our DPS.

  13. Schroom says:

    another possibility I came up with (altough not sure if it would screw up sth) a successfull dodgeed or parried hit gives us a haste buff. so avoidance would come into the the whole sinergy.

  14. Blizzhoof says:

    You seem to be under the impression that DKs care about dodge/parry and from my experience that just isn’t true. Warriors are the only tanks that really value it at all. The only reason a lot of DKs are wearing pieces with Dodge or Parry on them are for the Mastery that is also on the piece (or b/c of lack of competition). Most good DKs are stacking Mastery to the exclusion of all other stats (including Hit/Exp). Anyways, my point is that I feel like Blizzard is focusing on a spec that caps two stats and then chooses between three others to stack when they should probably be focusing on encouraging DKs to pick up ANYTHING other than just straight Mastery, Mastery, and more Mastery.

    I think the Grand Crusader change is a nice compromise, but I’m unsure of how much Holy Power will reliably be generated through it. For example, if they put more fights like Lei Shi (a fight Tankadins are already terrible on) or Will of the Emperor, then it just ends up being a nerf. However, it could make us great add tanks (assuming little to no cooldown on it).

    • Thels says:

      It doesn’t nerf our Active Mitigation on Lei Shi, because we don’t have any Active Mitigation there. Shield of the Righteous is useless against the splash.

    • pbean says:

      There is no nerf anywhere, on no encounter. We only get an additional proc while they don’t take anything away. So in no situation will it ever end up as being a nerf.

      • Daishan says:

        It’s not an additional proc though , GC no longer has a chance to proc from CS J.
        It will only have a chance to proc from avoided attacks.
        Theck posted some calculations at http://maintankadin.failsafedesign.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=33307&start=15 even under ideal single target tanking conditions it’s a nerf to our holy power generation, it’ll only get worse on tank switch fights, bosses with slow swing speeds ect.
        I think they should leave CS and J with some chance to proc GC as buffing the proc chance for avoiding attacks enough for it to not be a single target nerf would make for obscenely OP aoe tanking.

        • Thels says:

          I’m unable to access Maintankadin for like a week now. Any chance on a quick summary of his post here? Do we still want to stack Haste, or is Avoidance better for our Holy Power generation?

          Is the nerf considering we’re still using Haste gear? Is it also a nerf in Avoidance gear?

          • Daishan says:

            This might be messy hard to copy paste well on the phone, hope you don’t mind the spam Theck.

            Previous GC: 20% chance on CS/HotR gives an average proc rate of 0.2*(1+haste)/4.5 procs per second. At 0 haste, this is 0.044 procs per second, which is also the amount of HP generated. This assumes that you can take advantage of that proc before the next CS, which is universally true in CS-J-X-CS-X-J-CS-X-X.New GC: 30% chance on avoid. Assume a 1.5-second swing timer and 20% avoidance after the -9% boss penalty (reasonable, it’s about what I have on Theck with around 10% haste rating). Average proc rate of 0.2*0.3/1.5=0.04, about a 10% nerf to the generation rates. In general it will be a little lower because of bunching (i.e. 2 avoids in a row trigger GC before you can use the first proc). In practice, the bigger issue is that we lose about 50% of that benefit because of tank swaps. In my opinion that’s a problem – it should slant a little on the heavy side in order to offset that issue as well as our reliance on a fast boss swing timer. A ~50% proc rate (0.2*0.5/1.5=0.0667) would be a little more reasonable.That said, the survivability simulations are quite interesting now. Mastery and avoidance are giving haste a solid run for its money.

          • Thels says:

            But that’s assuming we’re still wearing Haste gear. If we wouldn’t wear haste gear, but avoidance gear, that number would obviously go up.

            I’m also not too worried. Grand Crusader procs are the unreliable bonus Holy Power that are nice to have but not something we can depend upon. Having our bonus Holy Power be a little lower won’t affect our survivability much, because we have to be able to survive periods without Grand Crusader procs.

            As for Maintankadin, I just checked, and I can reach it on my phone. Then I checked some more and I can reach it on IE. But on Firefox, I get the Cloudflare page… Hmm…

          • Theck says:

            It’s assuming we’re still wearing haste gear, but remember that
            1) the haste estimate was also assuming 0 haste
            2) You get almost 3% haste for every 1% avoidance, BEFORE diminishing returns!
            3) Diminishing returns will make that trade even less efficient as you get more

            There are paladins out there stacking 20-25% haste (but not in 496 gear). I manage to keep about 10% haste, which is only going to give me about 3% avoidance – not enough to give avoidance the upper hand.

  15. Ansalt says:

    Hi, sorry for my ignorance.
    However i really appreciate if you can explain how to reach 40% avoidance …
    Actually I’m using Haste Build and works fine , but i’m quite confused about the 5.2 changes , please check my character.
    http://us.battle.net/wow/es/character/drakkari/Ansalt/simple
    Thanks in advance.

    • Theck says:

      You won’t be able to do that in haste gear. But if you focused on dodge/parry at the expense of all other stats, you could get there in heroic gear.

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