Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Weapon Enchants for Tanks

I am sincerely hoping that the new Call to Arms implementation to the LFD-system will be the cream on the mashed potatoes (as we say in sweden) needed to have all those people who have thought about tanking but not tried it yet, or have grown tired of it, to decide to give tanking a go. I thought I'd do my part, by writing up a short post on the various weapon enchants out there for tanking.

The history of tank weapon enchants is a rather meager one. They're either few or bad, but usually both. It says a lot about them that most tanks preferred to use a Burning Crusade enchant back in Wrath. Fortunately, things don't look that glum in Cataclysm, but we're far from having a smorgasbord of enchants to pick from. Which is sad, I would really like it if more tank weapon enchants allowed for that little extra choice - more threat or more survivability? Survivability through reduced spell damage or physical damage? And so on, but alas.

Now in Cata we have 9 different 1handed weapon enchants, out of which only one is specifically designed for tanking - Windwalk. Windwalk, which gives 600 dodge and 15% runspeed on proc, is actually a great enchant and there is no question whether you should have that or any other if you could choose freely. Unfortunately, Windwalk costs no less than 6 Maelstrom Crystals. MC currently cost around 1000g each on my server, which means most people won't consider this enchant for anything but a really nice epic. When I can afford one for myself (or more importantly, get a weapon worthy of the enchant) I will write a post on the efficiency of that as well. For now Windwalk is out of reach for most upcoming tanks. Even though the prices probably will drop significantly with the upcoming 4.1 patch, I still think this enchant will cost a lot more than the options. So what are the options?

None of the alternatives come close in tanking efficiency compared to Windwalk of course, yet again, if money isn't an issue, that is the enchant you should go for. If money is an issue however, or you just want to enchant some crappy blue we have to take a closer look at the our choices.

Threat Enchants
Tanks can either go for threat or survivability. In the case of a threat enchant we would have to look at the dps enchants, such as Hurricane (450 haste on hit) or Avalanche (Nature Damage on hit). There is also Elemental Slayer, but I frankly don't see much use for that when tanking (or elsewhere). Haste doesn't do very much for tanking. For warriors and druids it might result in slightly more melee swings which will turn into more rage, but because of the rage and threat changes they made in the end of Wrath, we usually prefer to hit hard rather than fast. Paladins have even less use of haste, where the only benefit could be that more haste equals more melee swings which equals in more seal procs, but to all three haste would
be a fairly neglible effect on your overall threat. Dk tanks shouldn't even consider any other enchant than their own Swordrunes. So we can pretty much scrap the idea of getting ourselves a threat enchant, simply because the enchants available won't do that job very well.

Another threat enchant, which isn't really an enchant, is getting a weapon chain. The Cataclysm weapon chain, also known as Pyrium Weapon Chain gives 40 hit and reduces the duration of disarm effects by 60%. Disarm is very rarely an issue in pve content. Of the top of my head I can think of maybe two-three mobs that disarm in the heroics we have today. Although hit (and expertise) are valuable for keeping aggro, 40 hit is really low (about 0,5% hit) and most tanks prefer survivability anyhow.

Old Survivability Enchants
Let's take a look at some old survivability enchants. Does Mongoose still hold up, despite the fact that it is 4 years old by now? Would Blade Ward be a good idea? I wrote posts about Blade Ward and Mongoose back in Wrath which concluded that Blade Ward was decent, but Mongoose overall the best. What would they do for us today? If we assume the uptimes would be the same;

Teaches you how to permanently enchant a melee weapon to occasionally increase Agility by 120 and attack speed slightly. Requires a level 35 or higher item.

In my post I concluded that Mongoose was worth approximately 30 agility and 0,5% attack speed overall or 120 agi and 2% attack speed with 25% uptime. Back in Wrath, this was actually quite ok, since 30 average agi resulted in a decent amount of dodge. How good is 30 agility and 0,5% attackspeed today? Well, not very good. Most stats are worth some third or fourth of what they were in Wrath, leaving a neglible amount of crit, dodge and armor (less than half a percent) from the Mongoose enchant.

Blade Ward
Permanently enchants a weapon to sometimes grant Blade Warding when striking an enemy. Blade Warding increases your parry rating by 200 and inflicts 600 to 800 damage on your next parry. Lasts 10 sec.

My old testing showed that Blade Ward resulted in approximately 1 extra parry per minute. That will probably have changed somewhat since 200 parry is worth less now than it was in Wrath. It had approximately 1,5 procs per minute which would result in 300 extra parry rating each minute or 1,7% extra parry. What's interesting is really how many extra parries we would get from this enchant. If we compare to how it worked in Wrath, where 300 parry rating resulted in extra parry each minute - parry is worth approximately one third of what it is at 80, which means we should get one extra parry every 3 minutes. Not very impressive.

New Survivability Enchant

For survivability there is only Mending in Cataclysm, which will occasionally heal you when doing melee attacks or spells. So how good is mending? Some simple testing shows that it doesn't work wonders, but it's definitely worth the few gold that it costs. Here are some facts;

  • Mending heals for about 1000 hp when it procs.
  • It can crit.
  • Seems unaffected by stats.
  • It doesn't generate threat.
  • The inner cooldown is either really short (somewhere around 10 seconds), or there is none at all.
  • Can proc from melee dots (like Rend)
  • Can proc from spell dots.
I did some simple testing by instancing and 5 minutes worth of target dummy smashing on my paladin.

Total Healed - Approximately 140k.
Time in Combat - Approximately 22 minutes.
Healed per minute - 6000hp
Healed per second - 100hp
Hp5 - 500

Lost City of Tol'Vir
Total Healed - Approximately 120k.
Time in Combat - Approximately 16,5 minutes.
Healed per minute - 7000hp
Healed per second - 120hp
Hp5 - 600

Total Healed - Approximately 237k
Time in Combat - Approximately 34 minutes (damn that instance is long)
Healed per minute - ~ 7000hp
Healed per second - 116hp
Hp5 - 580

Level 85 Dummy
16 procs
50 hps
250 hp5

Boss Dummy
13 procs
40 hps
200 hp5

Level 85 Dummy - No Gear (except weapon of course)

10 procs
30 hps
150 hp5

The instances were tanked normally, using my skills as I always do, and as mentioned with a prot paladin. On the dummies I just used melee swings, with a 2,6 speed mace. As you can see the efficiency of the enchant varies widely depending on how many times you hit. As a paladin I have both plenty of spells and melee attacks, but I think the efficiency of the enchant is about equal for all the tank classes. In a regular tanking situation it has approximately 500-600 hp5. That's not an amazing number, but definitely not worthless. Will it make much of a difference whether you have this enchant or not? No, but a small one. If you want to pick an enchant for your tanking weapon before getting a weapon nice enough for Windwalk, I do recommend Mending out of the choices available.

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