Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Watching for Tank Cooldowns

Patch 3.3

But you're a resto druid. Why?

While watching your own cooldowns and boss timers can be hectic enough on its own, there are times where sharing cooldowns with someone else is necessary to manage a regular, heavy-damage spike. As a resto druid, though, I have no tank-saving cooldowns: I am limited to a NS+HT macro for an instant big heal, which may or may not crit. All I have are "OSHIT" buttons; they have no special abilities beyond healing.

Alas, H-LK has shoved the idea of monitoring other peoples' cooldowns down my throat. In order to handle the massive damage without requiring tank swaps and relying purely on 10-strict gear, we've moved to a wild and crazy cooldown rotation that dominates our ventrilo chatter during attempts. Since they have determined that I am a beast at the final phase's AoE healing requirements, I have been drug into the hell that is soul reaper without a tank swap (because swapping tanks in itself often resulted in one or the other dieing, and my mana running dry from the dual-tank lifeblooming required). Also, if we don't have a tranq that night, then we get to play cooldown-dances during P1 for the shamblers, too! FUN TIMES!

While they don't use any of my abilities as a "tank-saving" cooldown, I *do* need to be aware of when there isn't one available, or that our expected cooldown is currently floating away in a valkyr's grip; if that is the case, I know I need to be prepared to dump some heavy, direct heals in to try to save them, and time a cast to heal just after the reaper but before any other damage hits the injured tank (which would easily kill them). Or... I have to prep for a hasty tank swap (which means stacking HoTs on the other tank) and possibly a battle res around infest and defile timers.

So, to the meat of my post: I want to collect and learn what the different cooldowns are, and memorize their icons so that I can quickly process that information without interrupting myself in the chaos that is hardmode Lich King. So, this post was born.

The Mod

I have used the mod RaidCooldowns as a way to monitor innervates and battle reses, ankhs, and soulstones for a good long while, now. It's useful in that it is based off of the combat log events, so that it does not require another person to have the mod installed in order for you to track their cooldowns. It's got its problems, like not realizing that Beranabus' tranquility is talented and set-bonused to have no cooldown, but that's just because it doesn't actively synch with other people (if they have a different cooldown than the base) unless they have the mod/CTRA/oRA2.

The interface is fairly self-explanatory. You can limit what shows up, and style and position the bars to your preference. Notice the icons: these are the most important part, because these are much easier to glance over and process than trying to read a long ability name tacked onto the bar in addition to the character name it's reading for. For the purposes of decluttering, I think it's best to learn the icon, and ditch the ability name from the bar.

There are other mods you could use, like oRA3, but this is the one I have experience with. I'm also quite certain that you can set up Power Auras to alert you whenever your target or focus has a tank-saving cooldown active, if your tanks are less vocal.

The Cooldowns

"Tank Savers"

A tank-saving cooldown is an ability that can be used to protect a tank from incoming damage or otherwise avert a tank's death from an incoming attack. These are often talented special abilities and can take the form of reducing the damage coming in, or increasing the tank's ability to resist or soak the damage without dieing. Some of these are personal, while others can or must be used on targets other than the caster.

  • Some non-tanks have a personal cooldown akin to a tank-saving cooldown, like Evasion or Dispersion. It's not a tank-saving cooldown because they aren't tanks :)
  • Anything that is purely reactive or just a healing-ability is not a tank-saving cooldown, as it does not mitigate the damage about to be taken. They are useful, certainly, but they do nothing to shield the tank above what their current health and defensive stats can handle. These abilities include things like Nature's Swiftness and +healing received buffs.

"Tank Savers"

Guardian Spirit: anti-death. Provides a 40% +heal buff as well as negating one death.

Pain Suppression: damage-reduction shield. 40%; also includes a small threat reduction.

  • Dispersion: personal damage reduction. 90% (shadow)

"Tank Savers"

Divine Shield: personal immunity, but reduces damage you deal.

Divine Protection: personal damage reduction shield. 50%.

Ardent Defender: personal damage reduction + anti-death. (prot)

Hand of Protection: shareable physical immunity, but target is unable to attack.

Hand of Sacrifice (single) and Divine Sacrifice (party-wide): shareable damage transfer to the paladin. 30% of each hit is transferred.

  • Lay on Hands: shareable extremely large heal based on the paladin's own health pool
  • Divine Intervention: shareable complete-immunity and removal from combat. Wipe protection.

"Tank Savers"
  • none.

"Tank Savers"

Shield Wall: personal damage-reduction shield. 60%.

Shield Block: personal block increase (physical damage). 100%.

Last Stand: personal health increase. 30%.

Stoicism via Bloodrage: SPECIAL. Usually causes a drop in health, but with 4-pc T10, it will provide a personal damage-absorption shield. (thanks, Koch, for pointing this one out!)


"Tank Savers"

Bone Shield: personal damage reduction. 20%

Unbreakable Armor: personal armor buff. 25%

Icebound Fortitude: personal damage reduction. 40%+

Vampiric Blood: personal health increase (15%) and +heal buff.

Anti-Magic Shell: personal spell damage reduction (75%, unholy 100%)

Anti-Magic Zone: shareable, stationary spell damage reduction (75%). (unholy)

??? via Bloodtap: SPECIAL. With 4-pc T10, it will provide a personal damage-reduction shield (12%)

"Tank Savers"

Barkskin: personal damage-reduction shield. 20% (feral).

Survival Instincts: personal health-boost (feral). 30% (45% glyphed).

Enraged Defense via Enrage: SPECIAL. Enrage typically decreases armor, but with 4-pc T10, it will provide a personal damage-reduction shield. (thanks, Kaethir, for pointing out the proc buff!)


Pure DPS Personals
Other classes have personal "oh shit" buttons that you may wish to be able to recognize:
Note that including these in your raid cooldowns tracking may create clutter that you do not need to know, making it difficult to pick out the important timers at a half-glance. RaidCooldowns will allow you to deselect cooldowns like these, so that you do not have to track them. This may help you immensely if you are, like me, still learning what the important icons look like.

The Cooldowns, Re-Organized:

Tank Personal Cooldowns
  • /

  • /

Others' shareable Tank-Saving Cooldowns

Other shareable "OSHIT" Buttons

What I'd LIKE to have:

Yeah, yeah, I'm picky and possibly dreaming.
  • A light-up "action bar" style row of abilities, showing what IS available for those in my raid to use, greyed out with a spiral-cooldown OmniCC type timer to show when they will next be ready. This would be limited by class and spec and if they're even alive. If it could also light red to say "hey, out of range or unable to cast cuz the guy's been stunned or is falling down a hole into an abyss of doom," that'd be great. ...I suppose that's what voice chat is for, but hey, I'm a visual person!
  • OR at least a way to reskin the RaidCooldowns bars to DamiaUI skin... it doesn't block as much screen :) I've dug through the mod files but haven't been able to figure out yet what to copy, as the DBM skin template is a separate xml file and I'm a mod-script noob being distracted by a fluffy puppy. >_>


Kaethir said...

FYI, the 4p t10 enrage reducing damage ability actually triggers a separate ability, "Enraged Defense" which has a claw-like symbol and shares the cooldown timer with the Enrage ability.

not big, but nice to know if you don't know if your tank has 4p t10 or not...

Zelmaru said...

I've been thinking about just this thing, since it's hard to sort it out on vent who is yelling that they just popped such-and-such. I do have pain suppression showing when I'm on my priest, so I don't overwrite another priest's, but it would be nice to know about any mitigating cooldowns on the tank so we can better coordinate. Having said that, it's more than likely that we'll all blow our cooldowns at the same time in a panic instead of waiting unless we have a coordinated ORDER set out beforehand.

Kae said...

Thanks for the tip! I'll look into it, though I think adding new cooldowns to this mod requires some lua-editing.

The panic-popping is usually our method, as well :) Some bosses just require a bit more coordination! Our tanks have gotten very good about announcing "I have shield wall running," etc; it can often save the other tank if I know the first can survive a few more seconds without HoT renewal, and makes "which tank do I heal?!" decisions a bit easier. Phase 1 H-LK, single-healing both tanks, with no tranq shot? MY GUILD IS TRYING TO GIVE ME AN ANEURYSM.


Dr. Cynicism said...

No tank swap?! You poor, poor girl :-( But then again, it allows you to make super cool posts like this for all your readers!

Theladas said...

Tank-swapping on HLK just hasn't worked for us. We do it on normal, but all of our healers have latency in switching healing-focus. The solution to this was to have a single tank soak the Soul Reapers and burn a single defensive cooldown in response to each. By and large, I honestly feel it's easier to heal, and control of the fight improves overall.

FWIW: Both Hand of Protection and Divine Shield cause a temporary drop in threat (it is re-established by a single aggro-generating ability after the immunity fades). They aren't viable tank-savers unless used in conjunction with a taunt; otherwise, we'll have a certain turkey plastered to the ground faster than you can say "starlol."

Also, the lack of puppy adorableness in my blog feed is clearly hampering my ability to heal HLK properly.

Koch (Aszune) said...

After all the things sunk into this post you'll probably hurt me - but there are two more icons for the list:

Warrior 4-piece t10 also grants a 20% health-pool-equivalent absorption effect (named Stoicism - I can't remember the icon, sorry) every minute.

Warriors specced into Safeguard (stupid talent of stupidity) not only take the next hit for an intercene target, they also give the target a 30% damage reduction usable on a 30 second timer. The problem is the 10% threat reduction coming with intervene - making this "not as ideal as I'd like it to be" on intervening the second tank.

Kae said...

Intervene's been one of those last-ditch type things when our warrior rushes to save the pally, usually during the final phase which is still, well, rocky for us. He usually saves intervene as a way to quickly get around the room during valkyr and transition phases :) Usually rushing a healer or DPS, iirc. Hug a tree!

No worries about pointing out more cooldowns/talents, though, Koch! Better to know what is out there and learn what it means when my warrior says "bloodrage active" than be guessing wildly!

Puppy randomness today. :3

Charles said...

Couple of DK things you missed:

Vampiric Blood isn't a "damage reduction" cooldown, it just increases maximum health (like Last Stand/Survival Instincts) by 15% and healing received (like glyphed Frenzied Regeneration or Guardian Spirit) by 35% for 10 seconds.

With 4t10 DKs get a 12% damage reduction every time they use Blood Tap, which is on a 1 minute cooldown, and lasts 10 seconds - similar to the warrior and druid bonuses!

Paladins also have a 4t10 bonus "special" but as it only increases dodge chance (by a measly 12%) it's considered a bit rubbish for something like heroic LK :(

Bjorg Holmson said...

Frenzied Regeneration can be Glyphed to increase healing by 20% on the druid. so its half of a Guardian spirit.

Niniel said...

Thanks for this great post! You're helping me to be a better healer! :)

Also love the list item paws ^^
More puppy please! :D

Tegoelf said...

as was mentioned paladins have a 12% dodge buff (15 seconds) in 4p t10 from hitting divine plea (15 seconds) (25% of mana returned over 15 seconds, prot spec so each melee swing refreshes cd does not refresh the dodge buff) divine plea is on a 1 min cd. Though also as pointed out the set bonus is a pos for pretty much all fights, though if the tank has 4piece it might be nice to note .