Monday, September 28, 2009

The Fundamental Theorem of Guardian Spirit

As I mentioned in the first post, Guardian Spirit is all about the tanks and healers, the part of the raid dedicated to keeping everyone alive. However, this does not mean that nothing I write will be of any use to the DPS among us, as you shall see in this post, the DPS also have an important role in ensuring that everyone lives through the fight as well.

"In order for everyone to live through a fight, the healing each person receives must be no less than the damage they take minus their health."

This is just a fancy way of saying that you die at zero HP, however writing it this way makes it more clear just what factors go into successfully healing a raid.

For example, by stating that the healing must be at least close to the damage taken makes it obvious that if the healing team's maximum total Healing per Second is less than the raid's Damage Taken per Second, then people will eventually die, no matter what.

Another consequence is that if the DTPS of any single person is greater than the healing team's combined single-target HPS, then that person will surely die as well.

(Side note: henceforth, I will use the following abbreviations: HP - Heath, HPS - Healing per Second, DPS - Damage Dealt per Second, DTPS - Damage Taken per Second.)

So, clearly it is not only the quality of the healers that decide the success or failure of the healing team, but also the tank's mitigation and HP, and the DPS' ability to mitigate or avoid splash damage.

So, as all good tanks know, while HP is the most visible stat, having low mitigation means that you require ever stronger heals in order to live through a long fight. Others before me have considered the idea of "Tank Points" which is something like:

Tank Points = HP / %DamageTaken
%DamageTaken = ((1 - Mitigation%) * (1 - Reduction%))
where Mitigation is Miss Change + Parry + Dodge
and Reduction is based on Armor and Block

This value comes out to the true amount of attacks a tank can take from full health before needing a heal. The bigger this value, the more time the healers have between the tank coming under attack and needing to have a heal land. Thus, it is important to balance HP with other stats that reduce damage taken, as this will actually lead to a greater Tank Points than HP alone.

As always, it's not just this simple. When the tank and/or the healing team is only lightly geared for the given content, then %DamageTaken can be even more important than Tank Points, because the incoming damage might otherwise exceed the healing team's max HPS. (As long as the tank's health is greater than the biggest hit the boss can deal.)

Along these lines, there is a non-equipment way to reduce damage taken. Every single person in the raid has the ability to simply not be targeted by attacks. Is there a huge line of fire across the room? Don't stand in it. A rocket about to land? Don't be under it. Tail Swipe? Cleave? Impale? Hot Pocket? Avoid it, avoid it, make sure to be on the far side of the permafrost, and cast Ice Block or something. Any damage you take that was avoidable is healing the healers could have used on the tanks. Many tank deaths are due to the healers stopping to heal avoidable damage on each other or the DPS.

This is a rant I've been needing to give for quite a while, if everyone would take it to heart, I swear every guild would be an entire raiding tier forward, or deeper into hardmodes. So install the new FailBot, run out of the lightning nova, and pop Feint right before XT's tantrum, because the leading cause of wipes is everyone dying, and only you can prevent florist fires. (Or insert non-herbalism pun here.)

Note that we are currently not even considering mana consumption; once mana is taken into account, the requirements on the tank and DPS become even stricter. In the coming articles, I'm going to run through the basics of maximizing HPS for healers and getting enough mana to do so.

Warning: this blog occasionally contains descriptions of violence (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and basic mathematics (which may be unsuitable for the majority of WoW players).

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