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Blood | DK endgame tanking [4.x]


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#821 Pintofbrew

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 08:37 AM

You seem to have confused "work" and "work together". When our mastery was announced there was a flood of posters suggesting avo stacking in order to not drop shield, it's not the point; the point is to take less damage. Avo and mast both do that, with the exception that avoiding actively inhibits mast effectiveness. Your argument of synergy is invalid because there is no positive effect TOWARDS MASTERY from avo. The mechanic of mastery can not be improved via avo. Neither is avo affected in any way by mast.

So both working together keep you alive, and one's mitigation delays the other's. And? How is that a synergy? Remember, the context of the discussion is at best between 30% and 34% avo, not 0 and 50%. Your argument that more avo smoothes the amplitude of your life fluctuation is not applicable between such small discrepancies. You can't suggest that the minuscule avo gained from no hit/exp somehow magically ensures you RNG a dodge whenever runes are on cd.

I'm not suggesting zero avo, I'm contradicting the suggestion it helps mast. Survivability is what it helps, not DS. Don't confuse my suggestion with "avo is useless", it isn't. The benefit massively outweighs the mast impact, but there is an impact. Don't agree? see how good your DS is when DRW is active. Remember, string of parties means 12k DS. Does that mean you'd rather get hit 4 times for 40k? Of course not. Does it mean your next DS is relatively worse? Yes.

Also, using balerok as an example of anything proves nothing; the fight is a gimmick, with mechanics only observed in that specific fight, and has been proven to be a RNG potshot, the mechanics dramatically favor avo, and even more favor pala tanks. It's the same with healing; holadins and priests? Great. Shaman, not so great. Droid, abject dogshit.

#822 Shakou

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 11:01 AM

You seem to have confused "work" and "work together". When our mastery was announced there was a flood of posters suggesting avo stacking in order to not drop shield, it's not the point; the point is to take less damage. Avo and mast both do that, with the exception that avoiding actively inhibits mast effectiveness. Your argument of synergy is invalid because there is no positive effect TOWARDS MASTERY from avo. The mechanic of mastery can not be improved via avo. Neither is avo affected in any way by mast.

So both working together keep you alive, and one's mitigation delays the other's. And? How is that a synergy? Remember, the context of the discussion is at best between 30% and 34% avo, not 0 and 50%. Your argument that more avo smoothes the amplitude of your life fluctuation is not applicable between such small discrepancies. You can't suggest that the minuscule avo gained from no hit/exp somehow magically ensures you RNG a dodge whenever runes are on cd.

Taiyoken was not suggesting a build with no hit or expertise, he's suggesting that reforging avoidance for hit/expertise is really a bad idea because it is, also gearing specifically for hit and expertise other than that little gimmick fight called Alysrazor where tank dps suddenly matter is not effective.

You are not solving your problem of taking lots of spike damage, in fact you are increasing the likelihood that you will take lots of spike damage.

If you honestly believe what you just said in this post, that avoidance has no synergy with mastery, I really don't know how to respond to that. That statement is incredibly far from the truth and indeed you contradict yourself entirely within your own statement, yes both things work toward our survivability, that's the entire point.

Yes it's important to time our death strikes after taking significant damage, no it's not possible for you to do this all the time, and our blood shields were specifically redesigned so that we could stack them to help curb DK spike dmg, in conjunction with a good amount of avoidance it really works extremely well. As does short cds like Bone Shield and Vampiric Blood and Rune Tap, or are you gong to claim there's no synergy working between those abiltiies either?

This is like saying there is no synergy between a warrior's ability to parry and block. Because one is avoiding physical damage and the other is partially mitigating physical damage. All they have in common is that both are working toward tank survivability. Is that what you would honestly say? Or would you look under the hood a bit more and find out that not only was that parried attack followed by a block enough together to allow that warrior to survive that incoming damage, but that blocked attack also gave the warrior incoming rage and that parried attack proc'd Hold the Line giving the warrior a 10% chance to critically block and to critically strike, thereby giving that warrior both threat and survivability. Yes that's right the warrior tank is built around taking damage and mitigating as well as avoiding it in order to hold threat and mitigate even more damage.

I use this as an example because it's a class that I feel is much more easy to play and explain. So no snark or anything intended, but it is not different for our own abilities in regards to providing us with the means to maintain threat and avoid/mitigate inc damage. That is exactly what we are built around, albeit it is not in as tight and simplistic a package.

But seriously, the synergy between blood shield and avoidance is so good that I have never experienced being two shot gibbed by back to back 100k hits on Beth'tilac ever at all and dying due to a missed Death Strike as pointed out in a previous example from Liar back a page. It's never ever happened to me. I understand it does, but there are solutions for dealing with it readily available right now that have proven effective, other than the frankly silly idea that the solution is to expertly time your Death Strikes and gear so that you maximize the chance that each and every single one of them will land. You simply cannot predict the damage incoming well enough to do that constantly, and you least cannot do it consistently because you simply will not always have your runes off of cooldown every time you take that big hit.

So all I can say to that is soft capping expertise and hit for the most part is just not not remotely close to priority #1 for an optimal end game DK tanking build. If it's possible to maximize survivability while doing that fine, if you have extremely good synergy with your healers and you're extremely comfortable with your play style, fine think it can work quite well, and if you're efficiently killing internet dragons it works for you more power to you.

There are pretty much 2 camps here arguing with each other. One camp that thinks relying on DS too much is bad and one that likes the reliance. Regardless which camp you belong to, I think it is pretty obvious what Blizz wants us to; namely rely on Death Strike since everything in the class points to using it. I doubt they will change things mid-expansion so we will have to work with what we are given.

Liar, I disagree, I like the ability to rely on Death Strike to heal me in specific situations but I do not at all see it as an effective design to build around always expertly landing a Death Strike when you've taken a large hit, that is an extremely flawed way of thinking. For one you cannot always predict when you are going to take a large hit. For another you might very well take a lot of damage before that and Death Striking while taking that damage and avoiding other hits might just allow you to stack a significant enough Blood shield to mitigate a good portion of that next inc 100k hit.

Yes sure you might have a timer on a boss ability or something that his for quite hard that's all well and good, but we're playing in a world where powerful boss abilities typically require some type of cooldown to survive and avoidance and mitigation stats are more important because we're also taking a lot of melee damage.

I love that I have the control to Death Strike when I need to, but I also love the consistency I get out of blood shields in between those times and honestly combined with avoidance, stacking blood shields after taking damage and being able to build them up before taking a lot of physical damage has proven to be extremely effective. it would be much less effective if I weren't avoiding taking melee damage in between those Death Strikes.

#823 Tyvi

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 11:30 AM

In fact it works so well that I have never experienced being two shot gibbed by back to back 100k hits on Beth'tilac ever at all and dying due to a missed Death Strike as pointed out in a previous example from Liar back a page. It's never ever happened to me. I understand it does, but there are solutions for dealing with it readily available right now that have proven effective, other than the frankly silly idea that the solution is to expertly time your Death Strikes and gear so that you maximize the chance that each and every single one of them will land. You simply cannot predict the damage incoming well enough to do that constantly, and you least cannot do it consistently because you simply will not always have your runes off of cooldown every time you take that big hit.


A normal boss swings every 1.8 seconds. There is no magic involved in observing how many hits land in your DS window and whether you should DS or not. You have a pretty big leeway of 1.4 seconds to decide to DS or not (there are 3 swings in the 5 sec window). I really don't see how this is somehow being construed into being impossible or silly to pull off. If a boss like that can 2 or 3 shot you it is in your best interest to try to maximize your Blood Shields and/or pop other, major CDs. Unfortunately, the latter will not cover everything whereas you can rely on DS most of the time (that is, if it connects) so it's in your best interest to pay attention to that. Avoidance helps certainly, but it is too RNG for my tastes.

If a boss has additional magical damage as a major source of burst damage (i.e. Nef) then you could even plan for that depending on your health. Death Striking mid-breath and or even right after it (if you had enough health going into the breath; DSing mid-breath had the added benefit of not being able to be dodged/parried) will give you a massive shield that will help stabilize you. And so on.

EDIT: I am arguing the fact that a DS centric Death Knight can work as long as we are given the tools to do it as addressed in a previous post (more EH, DS being more reliable etc). I am not arguing that the only accepted playstyle should be swing timing or dying at the slightest failure (3 shot scenarios are, quite frankly, retarded design). The point is, the model works IF our problems are fixed. It did work out in T11 after all and that was content where EH was not as stressed as in T12. I don't believe this is a coincidence.

#824 saiyajinmaster

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 12:36 PM

I have never gotten the insistence that Avoidance works against Mastery.
Yes, obviously stacking Mastery and avoiding hits means you're not getting all that you can out of your mastery, but we're not DPS, we're tanks, even if your mastery is operating at a lower level than it would if you never avoided anything, your overall survivability is obviously increasing, and if you can buy breathing room to roll larger shields (even at MINIMUM ds values, god forbid) you're only a stronger tank for it. I would never stack avoidance, but I've never seen it as a bad thing. Death Strike and Mastery are simply not consistent enough on their own to stack and rely on like the block tanks can. The only consistent stat we can still get as a DK is stamina, quite frankly. Otherwise, since your DS can and will miss/parry/dodge with great frequency, you need to get some avoids just to stay afloat sometimes, avoidance is RNG but so is mastery (and it has a high enough failure rate to be noticeably so).

As for Death Strike...of course it works if the problems are fixed, the reality is though that until death strike is actually completely reliable, mastery isn't something you can stack to exclusion. It seems obvious at this point that the required stats in order to make death strike consistent are ridiculous and a huge problem with the class. I've had to shift from tanking to DPS since Juggernaut died, but frankly tanking was becoming more frustrating than fulfilling this tier purely due to our class and its deficiencies. DKs are still fully capable of tanking this tier, but the gap is only getting scarier as we move forward. I had one of Xav's posts from the BB quoted to me when I was getting pissed off at Baleroc, talking about how DKs can get one shot on the pull. Same garbage I was enduring on the fight: A tank should not have to blow shield wall ON THE PULL of a boss just to not get RNG splattered accross the map before a single heal can land. Death Knight tanking is going to be in bad shape until the EH and consistency of death strike can be fixed (OR we're rebalanced not to rely on it so much).

Hopefully that wasn't too off topic, but it's my 2 cents on the issue.

#825 VoidStar

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 01:08 PM

I'm not sure that some people understand what is meant when we're talking about "synergy" in this context, I will try to give examples where things have synergy, where there is no synergy, and where there is negative synergy:

Synergy

For two effects to have synergy the combined effect must be greater than the sum of the constituent parts. An example would be that Death Strike damage has synergy with our diseases because the Death Strike is enhanced by the diseases (though the diseases gain nothing from the Death Strike) and thus the best damage strategy is to combine the two (not to simply Death Strike more or cast diseases more).

Imagine I have FFUU to spend, DS deals 10 damage + 1 per disease, IT and PS with their diseases each deal 5 damage:

1) 2xDS = 20 damage
2) 2xIT + 2xPS = 20 damage
3) IT + PS + DS = 22 damage

Option 3 (the combination) is the best because the abilities have synergy.

No Synergy

Most effects do not have synergy in that they don't actually affect one another even if they both work to achieve some goal. An example would be that Parry and Dodge do not have synergy because the dodge does not make the parry better and the parry does not make the dodge better: the total is no more or less than the sum of the parts, i.e. they have no synergy.

Imagine I could spend 2 points to increase my Dodge or Parry by 10% per point:

1) 2x Dodge = 20% Avoidance
2) 2x Parry = 20% Avoidance
3) 1x Dodge + 1x Parry = 20% Avoidance

All three options are the same because Dodge and Parry have no synergy.

Negative Synergy

Some effects have "negative" synergy, i.e. one of the effects actually makes the other one worse. Blood Shield and Avoidance work like this because avoiding attacks means you get smaller blood shields (though clearly the Blood Shield has no effect on the worth of the Avoidance).

Imagine I can spend 2 points to increase my avoidance by 10% or to increase my absorb by 10% of my chance to be hit:

1) 2x Avoidance = 20% Avoidance = 20% less damage taken
2) 2x Blood Shield = 20% Absorb = 20% less damage taken
3) 1x Avoidance + 1x Blood Shield = 10% avoidance + 9% Absorb = 19% less damage taken.

Option 3 is the worst because the abilities have negative synergy.

Summary

These are simplistic examples, but I think they serve to demonstrate what people are talking about with synergy. Clearly when we're making gear choices, we don't really get the option for "all avoidance" or "all mastery", and the other effects that each has may be more or less desirable for certain fights or play styles, but I hope this shows what is meant when people say Avoidance has a negative synergy with Mastery for Blood tanks.

#826 Taiyoken

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 03:13 PM

That really is not a good argument. This is a problem with DK EH and avoidance does not add EH and neither does mastery if you cannot survive the hits inbetween shields, obviously. So your point is pretty much: "DK EH is so low I have to rely on RNG not to die." and I agree. DK EH needs fixing but this has nothing to do with mastery or avoidance stacking either.

Having to rely on avoidance is simply just stupid design. No, avoidance is not worthless but it isn't really much about stacking Blood Shields but giving you time to regen your second pair of FU Runes so you have the resources to put up diseases or double DS. However, you would have to avoid quite a few hits for this scenario to happen and as I said before, you can't force it to happen. You can only hope that it does. Quite different from the active mitigation design of DS.



You would have to rely on AV as much as you have to rely on your runes being up all the time and connecting a DS. DS comes first, but when that fails all you have left is your AV and cooldowns. Again, your CDs can't always be up all the time so in the end you are relying a bit on AV.

As far as this whole hit/exp issue is concerned, I don't really see why it should matter that much because there are a lot of upgrades in FL from T11 that has a lot of hit/exp. I mean I'm not even trying to get any hit/exp and I have 2%/19exp, further upgrades will get me more hit while keeping exp the same.

Avoiding hits might mean you get less of your Mastery, but in the end it leads to a higher overall survivability. I mean you can get pummeled with 10% avoidance (arbitrary #) and while you're getting full use of your mastery, you will die because A) You'll run out of cooldowns and/or B) your healers will oom.

As a side note I completely agree with the "more EH = DS better" line and there's quite a few ways to make it happen but I'm not exactly sure that's Blizzard's train of thought with DKs as was said so many times in blue posts.

#827 Asphyxialol

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 03:38 PM

I've had to shift from tanking to DPS since Juggernaut died, but frankly tanking was becoming more frustrating than fulfilling this tier purely due to our class and its deficiencies.

This is the most worrisome part of this whole argument. Countless times Blizzard has stated that when guilds begin refusing to use a certain class/spec they will address the issue, but it's already clearly started. Linistroni in Premo is now DPS, Vyoh in Numen is now DPS, Marza from Jugg/Vigil/Exodus is now DPS (he was one of the main tanks brought up for itemization viewing earlier on in Cata's blood discussions), and I see more and more DKs being forced to swap from main spec blood to main spec frost. It's even at the point where the guild I'm apping to has asked if I was willing to roll a paladin to tank for in the next tier of content just due to the classes deficiencies.

There are a few guilds still actively using DKs, but outside of Blood Legion I haven't seen any 'top tier' guilds utilizing a DK tank for the majority of the fights (in 25m, because 10m damage in take is an absolute joke for every fight sans Majordomo H). Typically speaking DKs have never had a really high representation in top tier guilds, sans some fights (Steelbreaker, Vezax, Sarth) and ICC, and it's being shown quite a bit more here in Cata heroics. Bosses are simply tuned to hit far too hard and we are inefficient at handling this kind of damage.

Even in BL Riggs has a tank of each class and has kept his paladin 100% up to date and utilizing him on Majordomo. I can only assume that he's keeping his paladin relevant when it inevitably boils down to him having to main switch next tier.

#828 Illundai

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 07:46 PM

I'll chime in and say that I did infact just swap back to DPS after swapping to being our MT last tier. There is absolutely zero point in a world where bosses are being underhealed to meet DPS checks to burden your guild with a Blood DK tank. Our EH and the vision that Blizzard has for us has utterly failed in the Firelands heroics. I would literally get globalled occassionally by Ragnaros (on the pull a few times, mind you) because my Death Strike would get parried and he would hit me for ~100k back to back with Bone Shield up because I had no Blood Shield. This is is simply unacceptable. I've given up giving constructive suggestions on how to fix our class, the ball's in Blizzzard's court now. If they don't fix anything about Blood DKs in 4.2 then no guild in the world that is going for high rankings will even consider using a Blood DK.

I know this is going to come across as whine but it's just simply put the truth. If Blizzard doesn't realise this by now then they're just not paying attention to high end guilds filtering out their Blood DKs over Block Tanks. This is not unfounded whine either, I've tanked everything in WotLK as did I tank everything in t11 (including Nefarian's bone constructs, which is a whole different problem with Blood DKs lacking a Block mechanic) and I tanked everything up to Majordomo. I swapped to my Prot Paladin alt for Domo and then even attempted to tank Ragnaros, but I will hold my guild back no more - I'll just let the block tanks tank him and then maybe even reroll to Prot Paladin after this tier is done.

The problems with DKs that have been discussed are so minor that the real issues at hand just get missed out on. Our passive mitigation is too low after they nerfed our armor on the beta. Bone Shield is an outdated mechanic that is supposed to serve as a Holy Shield/Shield Block but it doesn't even come close. Death Strike being avoided brings us from a suboptimal tank to a horrible one - when your DS gets avoided 2-3 times in a row you're solely relying on your healers to keeping you up which is just pure bad design - I thought Blizzzard's vision was to keep DK's the "active" tank?

I feel Blizzard needs to adress the following: our armor, our Bone Shield mechanic and definitely our Blood Shield mastery. The way that our mastery interacts with Avoidance is pure stupidity. Not to mention how it interacts with itself and other absorb effects. Bone Shield needs to turn into our Mastery and it needs to become our "Block". For Paladins it is already literally a 20-30% damage reduction as it stands. Why would us having that make us overpowered?

Grim times are ahead, that's for sure.

#829 kow

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 12:00 AM

After tanking 11/13 (10-man) heroics last tier I've also switched to Frost. I wasn't feeling overwhelmed per se, but when I went frost and our feral druid went tank, it just solved so many problems:

- More passive tank durability. The active tanking element is sold as the primary means by which a DK tank can stand apart from the rest. I appreciate that, and in a lot of instances enjoyed it. However, the truth is, if you fail to make full use of that active tanking element, it becomes a burden not to you, the tank, but to your healers. It's already enough work for healers to try to 2-heal every other 10-man fight. Guaranteeing that the game is handling our tank's mitigation, not a fallible human player who can be distracted, who can lag, or who can simply get tired after a long night of progression, makes everyone's lives far easier.
- No competition for off-set plate tank drops.
- No problems with hatchling DPS (this was before the death strike change, so I have no idea if the fix actually resolved that issue).

#830 Wakez

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 10:26 AM

Evidently this tier has been unkind to us - not only the gimmicks of Alysrazor and Majordomo, but also when a tier like this has forced a lot of guilds to drop several healers in favor of meeting DPS requirements. It becomes quite obvious what currently needs to be changed regarding our own surviability.

The complexity of our way of mitigating damage is something that Blizzard seems happy about and determined to stick to, despite the many balancing issues it creates. There is a plethora of factors that need to be taken into consideration from an encounter design POV regarding Death Knight tanks, and in the end a lot of these factors are simply overlooked.

What the block tanks get in favor of their rather simple defensive mechanics is a guarantee that they will always be able to do what's needed. With a Death Knight there's always going to be encounters where we excel or fall far behind simply because of the rather limited length of balancing each tanking spec gets in terms of being "viable" for any given encounter. It's more than evident that what Blizzard considers viable is far from the community's opinion.

A simple example:
Previous tier, healers leaving a tank at 70% before the next swing was a reasonable scenario. In addition, Death Strike was fully utilized this way. Damage intake allowed reactive healing.
This tier, when a tank is at far greater risk of dying in 2-3 hits, reactive healing is less possible. This goes for Death Strike as well, and this is where our system of survivability falters. Active, or reactive mitigation won't fully work under these conditions.

When re-applying your diseases, using Bone Shield or back-to-back Death Strike misses puts you at such a great risk that it currently does, something needs to change. I believe that as long as such a great portion of our survivability comes from a single ability - an ability which a chance of missing, being parried and dodged, and shares resources with other important abilities - we will just see the issues escalate in the coming tiers.

#831 Pintofbrew

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 11:14 AM

Summary

These are simplistic examples, but I think they serve to demonstrate what people are talking about with synergy. Clearly when we're making gear choices, we don't really get the option for "all avoidance" or "all mastery", and the other effects that each has may be more or less desirable for certain fights or play styles, but I hope this shows what is meant when people say Avoidance has a negative synergy with Mastery for Blood tanks.


Thank you. Exactly my point. Obviously both effects work towards the same goal, ie. taking less damage. There seems to be a complete mental block apparent where people can't separate the notion of "As a tank my job is to [take less damage], there are many mechanics that do this, ergo they have synergy" and "Irrespective of what my job is, one mechanic makes the other mechanic less powerful, ergo there is no positive synergy between them. They still are both beneficial to me."




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