A Quick Word on Tanking and Hit/Expertise

by Andy/Betancore

Ghostcrawler recently brought up an interesting point about tanks and gearing for hit and expertise.  He mentions that tanks now nearly always gear for survival versus threat, and that hit and expertise are somewhat undesirable because of it.  He then goes on to describe a couple ways that this might be fixed:

One way is by turning them into defensive stats. They are defensive stats for Blood death knights, because the DK self-healing is tied into Death Strike, which can miss. It might be possible to do something similar for the other classes. Imagine if Shield Block had to actually hit the target. Presumably you raise your shield, but not high enough to intercept the incoming blow. Now hit becomes a mitigation stat for warriors as well. We might have to adjust the mitigation amount on Shield Block or give warriors a small Hit bonus so Hit capping wasn’t totally unreasonable, but you get the basic idea. You could do the same with paladins (make Holy Shield more interesting?) and druids as well (Savage Defense could proc on a hit).

Now, this is a great idea, and he’s right about hit being a sort of survival stat for us DK’s, but I see a couple of reasons why relying on hit and expertise for survival might not be so good for the tanking game:

1) Having defensive abilities need to hit introduces more random chance

Earlier in his post, Ghostcrawler mentions that the reason parry-haste was removed from bosses, and a chance to miss was removed from taunts, was that both those elements introduced an element of chance that could potentially wipe a group through no fault of the raiders.  In the Cataclysm world of big health pools and limited healer mana, the cost of each heal needs to be weighed against the healing that needs to be done.  Parry-haste was a problem because a tank could suddenly be spiked for massive amounts of damage.  The same thing can happen when a defensive ability is tied to hit.

Ghostcrawler mentions Death Strike as an example, so let’s go with that.  I can tell you from firsthand experience that missing a Death Strike is annoying, as it accounts for a good part of our mitigation.  Missing two in a row usually lands me in big trouble, and normally forces me to burn a cooldown.  Missing three in a row could be fatal.  This is the kind of random chance that would be introduced to all tanks if GC’s proposed solution was adopted.  The thing is, burning a cooldown is normally no big deal for a DK, as we have a metric assload of them.  For a class like a Warrior, however, having to blow a cooldown could lead to not having one available during an enrage, or another crucial point in the fight.  And that, well, could potentially wipe a group through no fault of the raiders.

2) Make hit too important, and you have another Defense Rating

Defense Rating, the arbitrary rating that tanks had to have enough of to not be crit, was removed.  Blizzard didn’t like the way all tanks needed to gear around having exactly enough DR, but not too much.  The reason tanks would gear to the Defense Cap in the first place was to remove the chance for a random damage spike (being crit by the boss.)  Making more defensive abilities need to hit reintroduces the potential for a similar random damage spike, and eliminating this may become a priority for tanks.  This would create a situation similar to Defense Rating, where tanks would gear to the hit cap before anything else, and this seems to be against Blizzard’s design wishes.

Those are just a few of my thoughts on a few of Ghostcrawler’s thoughts.  As he said, this is not a change that will come soon, if at all.  I just think Blizzard needs to be very careful in how they implement this, or they could be moving back towards a situation they’ve been trying to move out of.  But, then again, I’ve only been tanking since Wrath.  If you’ve got something to add, leave it in the comments.

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~ by Andy/Betancore on March 25, 2011.

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