[FYI the majority of my “facts” were gathered from http://www.wowwiki.com L2 research]
With the advent of the new (patch 3.3) dungeon finder system has also come a renewed desire to run dungeons at virtually all levels of play. Players from all over the experience spectrum have been queuing up and running their little hearts out. What does this mean for tanks? It means that tanks without much experience are finding themselves running with “the big dogs” and often times this means getting barked at. There are many things to being a good tank, but the fundamental expectation placed on any tank (by “any” let’s agree to mean lvl 70 +) is to be defense capped. Today I will attempt to simplify the understanding of this so-called “cap” and give some advice on ways to reach it.
Let’s start by making you more informed than 90% of all WoW players. There is no real “cap” for defense. Get as much as you want. WoW Wiki explains:
“Each point of +Defense skill adds 0.04% to the player’s chance to be Missed, to Dodge, and to Parry, before diminishing returns are taken into account, and adds 0.04% to the player’s chance to Block with no diminishing returns. This means +25 Defense will grant you an extra 1% Miss, Parry, Dodge, and Block. The formula is constant across all classes.”
This means that going beyond the number that most people will call a “cap” will still actually continue to give you small amounts of damage mitigation stats. When I say “small” though, I’m not exaggerating. To stack defense beyond the “cap” isn’t as useful as gemming or enchanting for dodge or parry.
So why do we use the term “cap” at all then, and what are we actually getting for reaching said “cap”?
Most people will tell you that at level 80 “you need 540 defense to be capped”. What they really mean (if they know their stuff) is that you need 540 defense skill to be un-crittable. If you reach 540 defense you’ll have a 5.6% critical hit chance reduction with regard to attacks made against you. A tank that eats crits will usually end up getting killed, especially against raid bosses that crit for 30 or 40k. A lot of people think that at level 80 you have to have 540 defense skill to be un-crittable. This is only true against level 80 raid bosses. For any mob or boss level 82 or lower, 535 defense skill will get the job done perfectly.
Let’s try to condense that info a little.
Take a look at the picture above. You can ignore everything other than the 4.72%. If the number is lower than 5.6%, then you are not raid boss un-crittable.
That’s it! All you need to ever look at.
*Car brakes screeching to a halt*
Ok… I lied… there’s other stuff you can worry about.
There are other ways to become un-crittable. Take a look at the example above. Dude there has 4.72% reduced chance to be critically hit. We can supplement this with resilience. If you hover your mouse above the world “resilience” instead of “defense” a similar info box will appear, also containing a number with a “%” sign at the end. If these two numbers (your defense and resilience %’s) add up to 5.6 or more, you’re set, un-crittable. Sadly, 90% or more of WoW players are unaware of this option. Serious tanks also do not use resilience gear to reach the defense cap, and I only recommend it while you are trying to build a decent tanking set. Real tanking gear has things like dodge, parry, or block value where most resilience gear does not.
Now that we have a working, albeit vague, understanding of the defense “cap”, let’s take a look at our options in working towards reaching un-crittable status.
In the interest of teaching you how to research, this paragraph will outline how I came across the information in the next paragraph. The first place you might want to look for gear is in the catalog of crafted items that grand defense skill. I went to Wowhead.com because their database tool is second-to-none. Once there, I hovered over the word “Database” and clicked on “Items”. From here I can configure parameters to search for items that have defense stats and that are crafted. There is a link that reads “Add another filter” and just above that is a pull down menu. Go ahead and click that link to add another filter and then click the pull down menu. Select “Defense rating” for one of the menus, and “Crafted by a profession” for the second menu. Now click the “Apply filter” button and we’ll get a list of crafted defense stuff. This will include EVERYTHING craftable that can give you defense. You can sort the list by item level, required level to use, defense rating it gives, type, and source. At this point, if you wort the list by item level, it will show you many lvl 70+ items. Alternatively, you could use this tool to find items that have defense wearable by specific level range players and almost any other combination of requirements.
I have created a list of crafted gear that has defense rating. I recommend the Cobalt set for tanks between 70 and 75, and the Tempered Saronite stuff for 74 -79. At level 80 there are a few nice crafted epics, but at this point I don’t recommend most of them because you can find better ones from doing heroics and replace even those pretty quickly with badge gear. From level 70 up, if you are looking to tank on the way to and at level 80, I suggesting taking every quest reward that has defense on it. You can go as a dps and contribute somewhat with any old crap gear. People might scoff, but they won’t start screaming at you for not being defense capped. There really are a large number of quest rewards for tanks, as well as dungeon drops that you can get.
Hopefully this stuff will be useful to you in trying to become properly geared for tanking. I would like to close by saying that anyone that signs up to tank a random dungeon, and is not un-crittable, is irresponsible to say to the least. If you’re not geared to tank, then just dps and scavenge tank gear where you can. The group will be depending on you to be able to take a hit, and if you can’t, you’re letting everyone down.