April 23, 2010

DnD is like TnT, always bad in the wrong hands

Posted in Tales from PUGland, Theorycraft and Numbers, Uncategorized at 7:25 pm by Aduial of WrA

Just a heads up, this post does contain a lot of ‘hyperlinks that don’t go anywhere’ as The Guy commented when he first saw this, due to me experimenting with alt-text, to preserve space as well as use less parentheses and breaks for (hopefully) more fluid reading. Alt-text is a different color than my normal links so that they can be more easily distinguished; you should be able to read the post just fine while ignoring the alt-text and still understand what I’m trying to say, however the words when hovered over will have some bit of information in them that could prove useful or, err, well, informative, such as actually naming my characters pre-emptively or others (with permission of course) to prevent confusion later on, or what an acronym stands for, or such. However it seems to take a bit longer for some browsers to register you are hovering over alt-text and display it (such as Firefox, apparently) than others, so it may take some patience before they’ll work sometimes.

So it turns out I don’t actually have too much to write about when PUGs are going fairly well, not abnormally too good or bad. Or at least, not enough that can be turned into a coherent post, despite efforts. However thankfully (or unfortunately), ended up with a PUG last night that just happened to be blogging material (or so I think), and can probably serve to touch on some of the topics I was wanting to touch on prior but couldn’t quite get organized enough to do so. And if you’re wanting a different view on what happened in the group, The Guy (who’s ended up with his own blog over at We Must Line our Anuses with Razors) has written up a post about it as well but has taken a far different approach to it, and includes some things I left out (beyond a whole different point of view, it includes the aftermath and the attack of level one alts). Plus he’s a better writer and so his would probably be better for a laugh than mine would.

So lately The Guy’s been wanting to level his druid to 80 in a hurry as well as play his warrior he just recently got faction-changed over to Horde, and I had a death knight just barely out of the starting area I’d rolled with a friend who ended up not playing hers and subsequently deleted, so I’ve been spending a lot of time on said death knight leveling with his warrior, so that I can be his pocket-tank for his druid, and just heal things with his warrior on my paladin once he could queue for Northrend dungeons. Pre-warrior-change I’d been tanking UK over and over on my paladin for his druid, and, well, there’s only so many times I can go through the same. freakin’. thing. before I start getting burnt out, and since my paladin is the toon I’ll be raiding on… Well, that wasn’t a good thing, so I had to stop. Thus, the plan with our warrior/death knight pair, so that we can switch off and have more options, and thus (hopefully, at least…) not get so burnt. Or at least, so I don’t get so burnt out on my toons. But anyway, we don’t stick to this religiously, and last night he was just kind of sitting around on his druid and I on my death knight, both of us wanting to level but not really wanting to do our normal options/options that were available to us… And then across our custom chat we’d used for our officers back in the day, Tree-Friend’s wanting to relearn how to tank, and was wanting me to heal him on my paladin and The Guy to DPS on Ithraen (his, errr, retribution? Paladin. Poor toon’s been every tree in the book, at this point, though…). Well, that didn’t quite work for The Guy since he was wanting to level his druid, and I was a bit too out of it at the time to feel up to healing safely (plus I’m kind of shoddy at healing most druids, anyway, they take damage differently than what I’m good at healing on her). Tree-Friend kind of grumbles and says he’ll ask the guild, since he hadn’t tanked in a long while and he was fairly crap at melee-anything, and thus (understandably) didn’t want to throw himself at the mercy of LFD.

Perhaps unsurprisingly since it was a raid night, most of the guildies were apparently occupied (and with our poor main progression tank having been hacked earlier that day and left with naught but a tuxedo, to boot), and he came back over the chat (since my DK is in my bank guild for now, as well as The Guy’s warrior) relaying the news, and that it looked like he’d have to go in solo afterall. But then I had an idea, since 80s can random into any regular Northrend dungeon, that would solve both his and The Guy’s issues: The Guy could heal on his tree, Tree-Friend tank regulars since he was wanting practice rather than heroics specifically, and I could DPS on my hunter. The idea went over swell, added to by the fact that on Aduial I could pull over 3k DPS easily, and help direct threat, whether by pulling off any over-eager DPS and Misdirecting to Tree-Friend, or just Misdirecting him and letting lose a quick AOE to help him build up some really quick threat on all the targets (yes, we kind of assumed he’d be a pretty bad tank, at least until he got back into the swing of things).

While Tree-Friend and I are switching to the agreed upon toons, Ith asks the guild if anyone wants to come, and we get a bite; one of the awesome death knights (well, awesomely fun person, about average playing-wise)  who we’ve ran with several times before, usually for extended periods of time, was willing to tag along, so we form the group and drop ourselves into LFD. At this point there’s three 80s and Ith’s druid at 72, so we end up getting plunked into Nexus with a warlock who didn’t notice until a few pulls in that there were even any 80s with a humorous comment about no wonder why his DPS was low. Things go swimmingly and I barely have to help Tree-Friend with aggro at all, and the lock splits after we finish the instance, and we drop ourselves into LFD again and get yet another warlock, though surprisingly this one was from our realm as well! However none of us noticed until the last boss-fight of the instance. After the instance this one sticks around, however our death knight friend has to go, so we queue up once again assuming there wouldn’t be any issues, and get dropped into another Nexus, which is where the core of the tale lies. In short: We assumed wrong.

The replacement for our death knight friend was yet another death knight, this one unsurprisingly not 80. We zone in and things start off with him commenting about how he didn’t think the dungeon would pop before his dinner was done, and proceeds to worry more about dinner than the dungeon he chose at the time to go into (which at that point we didn’t sweat since we could likely 3-man the dungeon without issue). He auto-followed Ith’s druid up until after the first boss (would be the second boss on heroic, the mage lady who splits) from what I could tell, since I was still paying a hefty amount of attention to Omen and making sure Tree-Friend wasn’t having any trouble, and the auto-following was brought to my attention by Ith asking us to wait and that the death knight had stopped following during the slinging portion of the boss fight. Death knight comes back and we get on with it though he keeps pretty much dragging his feet throughout until we get to the nature zone, at which point he apparently has noticed that the tank at least is 80 and seems to assume that means he can do whatever he wants.

We inform him that the tank is there for a reason, for practice and to relearn, that no he can’t go nuts, and he seems to shrug it off with comments of he has Frost Presence, and Icebound Fortitude, and Death Pact, and so supposedly wouldn’t die if he pulled anyway. Well, unfortunately, he proved that point because he insisted on pulling an out of the way mob (one of the large trees) for a quest, even though we told him there were still enough trees and that he would get all his quest items… And we let him tank it, without the three of us interfering. (He did get the last of his quest items off the next large tree, with one more that we had to kill on our way out, so his pulling was completely unnecessary.) At this point I’m not sure what is going through this guy’s mind, because I don’t hear him switch presences back, and I notice him start dropping Death and Decay where I hadn’t heard or seen it before.

A bit of an aside as to why I mention hearing: I play mostly by sound. I am legally blind in my right eye and my eyesight in my left isn’t perfect, either, due to a dog bite I’d received in said eye back in high school. I can still see but it isn’t the biggest part of my playstyle; I’ve learned what just about every spell sounds like, most procs that have sound, etc. to make up for this, and have been known to successfully play as both DPS and tank by sound alone. A death knight changing their presence has a very distinct sound, as does Death and Decay, the latter of which I have learned from experience to be very alert for if the tank is not a death knight. Obviously, in this case, the tank was not a death knight.

The first pull where he drops Death and Decay, I sort of ignore it, since I’ve partied with people before who just mis-clicked or such and dropped it on accident… Two pulls later, after two more DnDs and vigorous watching of Omen on my part, I comment, saying simply that, he would have less aggro and more DPS if he switched out DnD in favor of Blood Boil. We continue as he proceeds to tell me in a very condescending manner that he has a death knight with a gearscore of 5500, that I have no idea what I’m talking about, that talented it is better DPS, etc etc. At this point, The Guy has us stop, and we proceed to vote-kick him, and 4-man the last pull and the boss.

Now, here’s the part where The Guy’s and my reasons vary considerably. The Guy didn’t like the death knight being a prick; I don’t appreciate being told that I’m wrong for saying a tanking ability is for a tank, and not for DPSing. Funnily enough, he said the talent Subversion in the Unholy tree was what increased the DPS of Death and Decay to make it better than any other AOE for him. Subversion is not only in the Blood tree, it is as follows:

Subversion Rank 3
Increases the critical strike chance of Blood Strike, Scourge Strike, Heart Strike and Obliterate by 9%, and reduces threat generated while in Blood or Unholy Presence by 25%.

Okay, so perhaps that makes it viable in the sense that it doesn’t rip aggro from the actual tank, it still does nothing to increase the damage done by DnD.. Or the fact that he didn’t even have that talent (neither does he have the glyph that actually does increase DnD’s damage).

As I had commented post-kick, you can buff the damage or something of a lot of tank spells, anyway… but they are still tank abilities, and not to be used for DPS, especially if they have built-in high threat. Afterall, a DPS is meant to have high damage, not high threat, that is the tank’s job, and the DPS’s job to stay under theirs.

If you hadn’t noticed, yes, this is a sore spot for me. One of my pet peeves, if you will. And now if you will bear with me, I will get into why.

Math Time

For starters, on Death and Decay:

Death and Decay Rank 4
1 Blood 1 Unholy 1 Frost 30 yd range
Instant 30 sec cooldown
Corrupts the ground targeted by the Death Knight, causing 62 Shadow damage every sec that targets remain in the area for 10 sec.  This ability produces a high amount of threat.

Now, that is, at 80, 620 damage (unmodified by attack power), for 3 runes. Keep that in mind since, no matter your tree, one of your main abilities (Death Strike for Blood, Obliterate for Frost, Scourge Strike for Unholy) requires 2 runes. Now, at 620 damage for 3 runes, that equals roughly 206.7 damage per rune.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at Blood Boil:

Blood Boil Rank 4

1 Blood
Instant

Boils the blood of all enemies within 10 yards, dealing 180 to 220 Shadow damage.  Deals additional damage to targets infected with Blood Plague or Frost Fever.

Right off the bat, Blood Boil has the potential to be more damage, with up to 220 damage, and an average of 200 damage, for 1 rune. If you have at least one disease on the target, that number goes up:

From Tankspot:

With no diseases on the target:
Base damage is 180-220 (average 200)
Attack power coefficient is 0.060 (up from 0.04 pre-3.1)

With one or more diseases on the target (2nd or 3rd do not add more damage)
Base damage is 275-315 (a flat increase of 95)
Attack power coefficient is 0.095 (an additional 0.035 * AP)

So now you have up to 315 damage, with an average of 295 damage, for a single rune. Obviously, 295 damage is more per rune than 207 damage.

Taking a look at Attack Power coefficients, in other words how well the abilities scale with the death knight’s Attack Power, also from Tankspot:

Blood Boil _________  0.060 no diseases / 0.095 with diseases
Death and Decay ____  0.0475

Blood boil scales with the death knight’s attack power 126% better without diseases than Death and Decay does, and 200% better with diseases than Death and Decay.

For an example, to make these numbers a little more real and possibly make more sense… Let’s say Random DK is DPSing a pull of three mobs, and has 2000 Attack Power.

If he were to drop Death and Decay, he will use 3 runes to do so, gain 2 runes’ worth of Runic Power, and get 715 damage per mob over 10 seconds, so about 215 damage per second and 238 damage per rune.

If Random DK instead were to use Blood Boil without any diseases on the targets, he will use 1 rune, gain 1 rune’s worth of Runic Power, and get 300340 damage per mob immediately, so 9001020 damage per second and per rune.

If Random DK were to use Blood Boil with at least one disease on each target, he will use 1 rune, gain 1 rune’s worth of Runic Power, and get 465505 damage per mob immediately, so 13951515 damage per second and per rune.

Even if Random DK had the glyph that increases DnD’s damage by 20%, that only brings DnD up to 839 damage per mob over 10 seconds, therefore about 252 damage per second, and 280 damage per rune.

If Random DK has Bloody Strikes 3/3, then using Blood Boil without diseases is 354406 damage per mob, and 10621218 damage per second/per rune.

If Random DK has Bloody Strikes 3/3, then using Blood Boil with at least one disease on each target is 548600 damage per mob, and 16441800 damage per second/per rune.

So on top of the fact that Blood Boil is obviously better for multiple (read: more than two) targets, from a purely damaging standpoint, there’s the threat to consider.  According to Tankspot, Blood Boil’s threat is its damage, modified by presence, while Death and Decay’s threat is its damage times 1.9 then modified by presence. So whatever DPS (damage per second) you are producing with Death and Decay, you are producing almost twice as much TPS (threat per second) before modifying it according to presence, whereas Blood Boil is only your DPS then modified.

Death and Decay is a tanking skill only. If you are using it and you are a DPS death knight, it would be better overall if you used Blood Boil and went on with your rotation instead. Not only will you get more DPS from Blood Boil, you will be producing less threat. Bottom line: If it says the ability causes high threat, and you are not a tank, you should not use it.

*Note: All of the above math, aside from what was quoted and/or attributed elsewhere, was done by hand (well, with a calculator’s help) by me, and I am only human and wrote this during a round of insomnia. There may be mistakes. If you spot any, or if I left anything out, please feel free to comment/let me know.

After some consideration and discussion with Ithraen, I will likely be pulling the math part above out into another post at some point in time, and make it much more thorough, with some more talents that were brought to my attention as well as some other things. I will link them both to each other when that is done.

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1 Comment »

  1. […] off The Girly with some spew over Death and Decay and how he’s an asshat to her about – Here, just read for yourself. Meanwhile I’m still staring at the cooldown […]


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