Armory datamining tells all

Last week, Armory Data Mining updated itself for patch 3.3.3. The site is fascinating and I recommend checking it out to see how everyone out there is speccing, gearing, gemming, and the like. It’s an interesting peek into the vast multitudes that play this game and how they play it. And, most importantly, it provides a view of how many people are playing the game correctly–ie, by the established and settled baselines widely understood among more top-end players.

While poking through the site I was floored to see just how many people were “doin it rong,” so to speak. As a caveat, I know a lot of surveyed characters may be fresh 80s, or abandoned characters from when the standards were different a year ago (or whenever). However, in the grand scheme of things, it’s shocking how many widely recognized “knowns” are ignored. I’m going to go through a few data points in this post just to show the more interesting things I noticed.

(Note: Unless otherwise stated, percents given are of level 80 Paladins.)

No one is using Shifting Dreadstone. For gems, the popularity (according to the site, popularity correlates to total numbers of gems compared to the number of characters with at least one gem) of red slot gems are 38% for Regal Dreadstones, 21% for Defender’s Dreadstones, and 15% for Dreadstones. Shifting isn’t even on the board, it’s popularity percentage is less than 10%.

You and I both know that when you’re gemming a red socket and going for that socket bonus, you want a Shifting Dreadstone. According to Theck, Agility is 83% as effective as Dodge for avoidance and, thanks to Agility giving Armor, each point of Agility is 4% more effective than Dodge when it comes to reducing damage. The fact that this information is so widely unknown among the surveyed masses is discomforting.

35% of Prot Paladins are using a +stats chest enchant. Look at those numbers. This I can only explain via simple ignorance. The standard for chest enchants should be this: if you’re under the crit cap, enchant +def, if not, enchant +health on your chest. Never, ever should you use +stats. Much for the same reason we avoid Nightmare Tears, the stat spread just isn’t as good as solid defense or solid hp.

63% are using Armsman on their hands. I can see the allure to this enchant, and hell, even at end game there can be some honest disagreement over what is better. Nonetheless, personally, I would always rather enchant for survival than for threat. So while this isn’t egregious or anything (definitely not on the level of no one gemming Shifting), it’s still fascinating to see how vast the appeal of this enchant is.

32% are using Blade Ward. This I’m sure can be explained away by those 32% being completely ignorant of how awful this enchant is. Which is a shame, because if they even did a cursory Googling, they would find that Blade Ward is widely derided as a bad enchant.

Only 15% are using the pvp shoulder enchant. Again, this is probably one of those counter-intuitive, makes no sense to the layman kinds of things, but unless uncrittable, you really want to have that +30 stamina shoulder enchant. The return on investment is much better than any of the Hodir shoulder enchants. It’s somewhat distressing on 15% of the Prot pallies out there have gotten that message.

On the other hand, there is the “holistic” gearing argument–that most of that 85% are T10-geared tanks that have enough stamina and are scaling back to emphasize damage reduction through things like avoidance–which is a valid philosophy at a certain gear level. Nonetheless, I find it hard to believe that that 85% is made up of just people who need the defense and people who are being holistic.

Glyph of Divine Plea is nowhere near as popular as it should be. GoDP has a popularity (same formula as gems above) rating of 63%. Judgement 60%, Seal of Vengeance 48%, Righteous Defense 26%. Those are my big four. Contrawise, here are some facepalm ones: Holy Light 25%, Flash of Light 19%, Consecration 29%, Seal of Wisdom 16%. The list goes on.

Only 18.4% of Prot Paladins use a 53/18 build. And of those, only 10% use the cookie cutter build we know and love. The rest somehow are across the board on 53/18.

34% of Prot Paladins take Seals of Pure, while only 24% take Crusade. And as we all know, Crusade builds are more threat than SoP builds.

1% of Prot Paladins take Eye for an Eye. What is this I don’t even. I’m hoping this is from a pvp Prot build… oh, how I hope.

62% of Paladins put points into Divinity. There’s some merit to this talent in harder content where trickle-down deaths are frequent and every ounce of healing matters. 62% of Prot Paladins are not currently in that content. This is another case of the talent “sounding” good and people putting points in without determining if the talent is best for them or the content they are currently tanking.

22% of Prot Paladins take Vindication. Sigh.

85% of Prot Paladins take Judgements of the Just. This is somewhat heartening.

54% of Prot Paladins take Divine Guardian. This makes me sad. This talent is so key and has so many, amazing uses that it’s a shame for anyone (let alone 46% of all Prots) to pass this up.

Ultimately, what I’ve learned from perusing the wealth of information compiled by this site is the wide disconnect between those that look up information on the net, and attempt to better their character and playstyle through the resources available to them, and those that wing it or (more likely) are unaware of what kind of treasure troves exist out there for the taking (or have consulted out of date/just plain wrong resources). A lot of what I listed above will more or less seem obvious to you or me (with some debatable exceptions), and yet it all might be considered arcane knowledge to others.

There are many horses out there that must be brought to water, methinks.

27 Comments to “Armory datamining tells all”

  1. Fawatam 20 May 2010 at 3:28 pm #

    Hunter Glyphs are downright scary. Explosive Shot has a 17% popularity among BM Hunters. Serpent Sting is only 63% for MM, yet Explosive Shot is at 29%. Bestial Wrath is at 14% for Survival Hunters. I want to cry sometimes.

  2. Orthien
    20 May 2010 at 3:29 pm #

    This sadly does not supprise me, the number of tanks I’ve seen not just applying to guild but around town that just have no clue is amasing. Its not just paladins that are unaware ether, I met a DK the other day that didn’t take Anticipation because he thought Rune Tap was better.
    On the Paladin side I think alot of it comes down to the fact most of them don’t acctually know about Maintankadin and have never bothered to read past the O-Boards on what tanking is.
    Another thing I see all the time is tanks that have no concept of multiple gear sets.
    Really all we can do is lead them to Maintankadin and Tankspot, teach them a little of what we know and hope that they take it in an learn from it.
    Orthien’s last blog ..The Life of Orthien My ComLuv Profile

  3. Antigen
    20 May 2010 at 3:33 pm #

    I keep meaning to get the PvP shoulder enchant, but I’m just so damn lazy…

    And don’t look at my chest-piece (that’s what she said)! Go ahead and gawk at my sexy 277 shoulders, but avert your eyes from my ignorance of chest enchants!

    … whenever I log out in my prot gear, that is. Oops.

  4. Aric Clark
    20 May 2010 at 4:24 pm #

    I’m over 60k health in 10man ICC (the only place I raid with my guild) so I’ve started backing off of pure-stam everywhere. I use Armsmen. I use Shifting Dreadstones. I’ve even got a hit/stam gem on *gasp*. At a certain point more health/armor is just not as fun as a bit of avoidance or threat because… well it’s not like tank death’s are the things holding us back.

  5. naw 20 May 2010 at 5:56 pm #

    I’m not sure why you are sighing at the Vindication numbers. Most don’t even bother with it, as it doesn’t stack with Demo Roar, Demo Shout, or Curse of Weakness. There’s just no reason to have it if the other debuffs are available to your raid. Especially if you run with a warrior or druid tank. The only Paladin tanks that have any reason to take it are those in 10 man guilds which don’t have another class to apply the debuff.

    • Rhidach
      20 May 2010 at 7:45 pm #

      I disagree, Vindication is such a critical buff that, much like JoJ, I would never assume that someone else had it off. It’s a huge damage reduction talent and if the other person is occupied, or slacking, you’re looking at a huge increase in damage taken with that attack power reduction not on.

      • Ixi 21 May 2010 at 3:22 am #

        I’d argue that it really depends on your raid group. My first 25m guild had about 7 people bringing that debuff to the raids. No matter what we always had the debuff even if 5 of them were ‘afk, cat on fire’ at the same time. Didn’t take it then. When the guild fell apart, I picked Vindication up as I couldn’t promise the debuff would be active 100% of the time without me.
        I only tank raids these days and spend my non-raiding time healing or as DPS. *shrug*

  6. Orthien
    20 May 2010 at 8:18 pm #

    While it doesn’t stack with those abilitys the others tanks have to break rotation to apply the debuff and then keep it up, we on the other hand don’t have to do a thing. If anyone should be doing the debuff its us and not them.
    The problem is again un-informed though as alot of tank don’t realise how much of a differance the debuff actually makes.
    Orthien’s last blog ..The Life of Orthien My ComLuv Profile

  7. Saandstorm
    20 May 2010 at 10:08 pm #

    “63% are using Armsman on their hands”.

    I will admit to doing this. I’m in Triumph gear and it just kills me that ICC geared mages, explosive shot hunters or fury warriors farming the daily frosties just look at a mob and peel aggro off me . I’m desperate for any tools that will help me keep aggro.

  8. Ngita 21 May 2010 at 12:15 am #

    I think your underestimating lazyness and lag. Why am I using the same Blade ward on my weapon I picked up a year ago in uldaar? I know its not the best but neither is anything else. I am left with mongooose sure I will make the effort when i pick up 264 tanking weapon but they refuse to drop. My spec is the same a when dual spec was introduced, it does have vindication but I know it could be improved.

    At the end of the day 95% of the tanking I do is nothing harder then the random heroic while geared for icc25.

  9. theanorak
    21 May 2010 at 6:08 am #

    While I’m sure you’re right and that many (most? all?) of these are important paladin tanking components, there’s something slightly depressing about the notion that “if you don’t follow EXACTLY this template, you are useless” which is the impression I get here.

    I’m not a tank (or particularly expert at anything else, for that matter) but perhaps that might explain and emphasise the importance of one of the various changes coming in Cataclysm that I’ve read about: the rebalancing of the talent trees to include much more scope for personal choice, and to allow variation in spec and (potentially) playstyle, without compromising effectiveness.

    More than ever, I hope these changes work. “You can choose options other than XYZ but people will laugh and no-one will want to play with you” isn’t much of a choice, I’d say.
    theanorak’s last blog ..Tech tip: Wowhead *everywhere*! My ComLuv Profile

    • Rhidach
      21 May 2010 at 8:50 am #

      I’m sorry if you got the impression that I was saying anyone who doesn’t follow my strictures is therefore worthless. That wasn’t the intention at all. The point I was trying to make is that people out there are either ignoring or unaware of optimal gearing/enchanting/gemming options. It’s not that what they’ve decided is self-evidently terrible because it disagrees with what I recommend, rather it’s sub-optimal and they’re not “being all they can be” with lesser enhancements.

  10. Dan 21 May 2010 at 8:19 am #

    “35% of Prot Paladins are using a +stats chest enchant. Look at those numbers. This I can only explain via simple ignorance. The standard for chest enchants should be this: if you’re under the crit cap, enchant +def, if not, enchant +stam on your chest. Never, ever should you use +stats. Much for the same reason we avoid Nightmare Tears, the stat spread just isn’t as good as solid defense or solid stamina.”

    You should be careful with the use of your ignorance argument. First of all you can’t really compare +10 stats enchant with a Nightmare Tear. This is because of the different options you have. I agree with you gemming a Nightmare Tear does not make much sense as you lose stats compared to the epic gems available. For the chest enchant you don’t have the comfort of slapping 30 stamina on it like with a gem. You suggest to put +stamina on chest, however the enchant doesn’t give any stamina. Instead the option is a flat health increase that does not benefit from kings/sanctuary nor our stamina increasing talents. The +stats enchant may not give you as much health as the health enchant but it contributes to agility (armor/dodge) and strength (block/general threat) and benefits from the increases. I haven’t done the math but it sure seems like a valid option and not ignorant.

    • Rhidach
      21 May 2010 at 8:47 am #

      You’re right, I mistyped, I meant +health and I’ll change that. For the +10 stats though, you’re looking at 110 hp, 6.5 block value, 20 armor, .16% dodge, and a whole tiny smattering of less important stats. Or you could have 275 hp. Or you could have 4.47 defense skill, and .18% dodge, parry, block, and miss (ie, .54% avoidance, .18% block). While it seems a valid option, I swear ultimately you’re losing out in the end. +stats is just not as optimal for us as it is for other classes.

  11. Isa 21 May 2010 at 8:54 am #

    I agree with Ngita that a lot of this is explained by laziness/gearing and speccing for the content they run, not ignorance.

    I don’t gem/enchant for pure stamina even though I’m not anywhere near a 60k tank. If there is a threshold where avoidance becomes the right choice for raid content, it surely is a lot lower for 5 man content, don’t you think? I’m not gonna get 2 shotted in a heroic so why shouldn’t I gem for the content I do?

    I also agree with Anorak that I’m a little put out by the notion that it’s disappointing that not everyone has your spec. There’s an implicit assumption on your part that even if a tank’s spec is sufficient that it would always be better by going cookie cutter. I think that’s a really bad assumption.

    • Rhidach
      21 May 2010 at 9:13 am #

      I think you’re reading something that isn’t there. I never said it was disappointing that every one wasn’t using 53/18, and moreover on several occasions in the post I recognized there are mitigating circumstances where things I listed (such as gemming pure stam) isn’t optimal for content levels.

      Again, I’m not saying that everything on that list is 100% mandatory the very second you hit 80, and by deviating by even one item you’re some cretin that has no business strapping on a shield, not at all. What I am saying is those points listed are optimal steps to take to reduce damage taken while tanking, and as such they are (typically) the optimal steps to take when gearing your tank.

  12. Kaelandros 21 May 2010 at 9:17 am #

    My vote is that somewhere close to 90% of the prot paladins you’ll find are not main toon, end game, raiders. I don’t know if you actually looked at the gear popularity, but if you go back and check you’ll see just how ridiculous the numbers are. Many of our optimal choices, like the Cataclysmic Chestguard, aren’t even listed. Its pretty much the same for every slot. For instance, the shield Neverending Winter, easiest gear upgrade to get out of ICC save for the Bonebreaker Scepter, is on only 5% of paladins.

    • Ekaterine 26 May 2010 at 1:06 am #

      But the shield and scepter still refuse to drop for me! Hell I started tanking ICC with my trusty (and battered) Royal Crest of Lordaeron! The point is that gear isn’t always available to everyone – but epic gems, talent specs and gear enchants *are*!

      • Christopher Schmidt
        1 June 2010 at 8:11 am #

        Yeah, I got the Crest on my second heroic… and used it to go from an average iLevel of 184 to an average iLevel of 236.

        Thankfully, Neverending Winter finally dropped for me this week. :)

  13. Leah 21 May 2010 at 9:18 am #

    I love Divine guardian when I play holy. I’m still a little baffled about it being useful as prot, especially if you are the one being hit by a big bad. is taking even more damage really a viable strategy? you cannot bubble (which is what I do as holy, when using it) so you have to use shieldwall to soak up some of the damage…except…24 people taking damage at the same time, even though there’s a limit to how much damage you can absorbed and that its supposedly removed automatically if the damage would be a killing blow, unless your healers are miracle workers of just right spam healing? you shall die. or am I spending 3 points solely for longer lasting stronger sacred shield? something that in my experience covered by holy pallies anyways?

    your cookie cutter spec has 2 points in judgements? I was under impression that you only need one point for the 969 rotation? or is that out of the window nowadays and if yes – why?

    seal of command… people swear by it.. but my hammer of the righteous applies stacks of corruption so I still have my multi target threat and considering that I’m woefuly under expertise cap even with seal of corruption? would command really be more threat? Not everyone has access to best in slot gear. Not everyone runs the same content (for instance I have 2 points in guardian’s favor becasue I keep running into trigger happy clothies that need to be protected from themselves.)

    pursuit of justice….basically it buys a bit more stam at the cost of being able to put points into conviction and once again, it comes down to what you need more – more threat? or more health. and that is determined by group composition as well as the content you run most often.

    me, I’ve chosen to go with tuskar’s and titanium plating. for my personal needs? its more viable then impressing pugs with my super high health. I’d rather hold aggro better.

    • Rhidach
      21 May 2010 at 9:32 am #

      2/2 Improved Judgements is considered best these days because it allows you to judge more frequently on trash or fights with frequent target switches.

      Seal of Command is more threat when you’re deal with three or more mobs that die under 30 seconds (ie, most trash, even in heroics).

      PoJ is great because we don’t have a gap closer, and the 15% speed increase is critical to allow us to get into melee range with a mob as soon as possible. We can’t generate sufficient aggro at range to hold a mob again dedicate dps, we need to be in melee typically to hold a mob. It’s well worth the 2 points.

      • Rhidach
        21 May 2010 at 9:34 am #

        Oh, and re: Divine Sacrifice. Optimally, you use a macro that activates and cancels Divine Sacrifice and puts up the 20% raid wall effect. That way you take no extra damage, and reduce raid damage intake by 20%.

  14. Slyke 22 May 2010 at 5:38 am #

    I think there are some people commenting here that got their feathers ruffled because some of these odd ball choices apply to them…and I’m glad…

    Experience is not the argument here. What do I care if a Lock can bring Curse of Weakness? You mean to tell me just because they have it you should be lazy? What oddball leader would ask a pure DPS to not do their primary function, like, you know – DPS – and instead do something that tanks should be doing anyway, like, you know, tanking?

    What Rhidach is saying is that a lot of these so-called “choices” are proven mathematically. The fact that some people willingly choose to ignore it, even if the true numbers are in front of their faces, as “harsh” as it may sound, are plain ignorant or lazy.

    Regardless, these aren’t the players you would want to play with unless you like being a Lower Spire hero every week.

  15. Aloix 22 May 2010 at 12:02 pm #

    I appreciate this post, as I’m not prot (just a lowly ret ms holy os) but I’ve been trying to give some feedback to one of our prot pally MTs, who just needs some fine-tuning.

  16. [...] my earlier post about armory data mining, there were many folks honestly disagreeing with me on the merits of my recommendations based on [...]

  17. Christopher Schmidt
    1 June 2010 at 7:49 am #

    I’m a relatively new prot pally, but I generally consider myself to do a fair amount of research on theorycrafting stuff before making decisions. I want to point out, for the record, that a lot of the suggestions you make are somewhat difficult to find information about — the answers you seem to have are not the answers I have easily found in other places. My primary data source was the (now obviously dated) Elitist Jerks Prot Paladin Field Guide:

    Just one example:

    “For example, [Enchant Chest - Super Health] gives you 275 hp, while [Enchant Chest - Greater Defense] gives you 22 defense rating. The defense rating enchant is 22 item points worth of defense; the same number of points would get you 33 stamina, which would be 330 hp — actually more like 400 hp once you apply talents and BoK.”

    This seems to pretty directly contradict your suggestion of Super Health. This source pops up in pretty much all of my prot paladin Google searches, so I think that relatively new tanks have some reason to be excused for not understanding what the best stats are.

    “Only 15% are using the pvp shoulder enchant. Again, this is probably one of those counter-intuitive, makes no sense to the layman kinds of things, but unless uncrittable, you really want to have that +30 stamina shoulder enchant.”

    I’m assuming that you mean “Unless *not* uncrittable” here — that is, that the +30 stam is better if you’re defense capped. Presumably, with the resilience, it’s also better if you are not yet defense capped as well?

    “Only 18.4% of Prot Paladins use a 53/18 build.”

    I don’t think this is a huge problem. I personally take an extra point in Spiritual Attunement, because most of my tanking is of heroics, where keeping mana is constantly a struggle. Giving up the one point in Crusade so that I can pick up a bit more mana from healing in heroics makes a difference to me.

    If I had two prot specs, I might actually make more adjustments than that, but with only one, that’s a tradeoff I make for heroics vs. raid tanking, and I expect there are some other people making similar tradeoffs.

    “And as we all know, Crusade builds are more threat than SoP builds.”

    This fact is certainly not widely known, nor easy to find, if you don’t know where to look because you’re a new Paladin tank.

    “or have consulted out of date/just plain wrong resources”

    I think this is the majority of it. Google favors well-linked resources, and well-linked resources will more often be older. There are simply too many well-linked sites — many of them simply fodder for ads and spam — out there to make it easy to sift through. Without a single, easy to find, well-linked source similar to the now-dated EJ Field Guide, I can’t imagine this situation is easy to improve.

    Of course, a lot of these builds, chars, etc. may not be raid tanking, or may simply not care. I do think there is a huge number of players out there for whom bad gearing, glyphing, talenting decisions are simply not going to hurt them, because they don’t raid tank, and in many cases, may not even heroic tank. The sheer number of people who plays this game ensures that only a small portion of them fit into the types of people who would read this blog, and they aren’t harmed by the lack.

    I do cry at how small the number of Vindication-talented paladins is. Sadly, there is DPS to be gained by not taking it, and since survivability is so much harder to measure, many selfish players may simply ignore it. Of course, the odd way that the talent is worded — “removes 480 AP? Um, I have 6000, why would I care about removing less than 5% of the boss’s AP? He’ll still hit almost as hard” — doesn’t help.

    • Christopher Schmidt
      1 June 2010 at 7:57 am #

      As a side note: I’ve done tons of Hunter theorycraft (my main), and some of the links on maintankadin that you linked are… while perhaps not completely impossible to understand, certainly a bit difficult for the layman. (Your post lays it out in a way that’s much clearer.) Everything from un-expanded acronyms to somewhat arcane math, while all part of the importance in theorycraft, is somewhat difficult to take as a new player and interpret a proper direction from.