Friday, May 2, 2008

Uncrushable Solo Pally

If there's one thing I dislike more than pugging dungeons for rep, it's pugging dungeons for rep on an alt. As a result, I resolved not to do any dungeons on any of my alts, including my previously discussed Paladin. When patch 2.4 came along, I realized that several items I wanted to get but couldn't, including the engineering goggles and the Heroic Badge Libram, would now be available to me solo.

After I got working on that, I realized that I was actually moderately close to becoming uncrushable. Players fighting mobs that are three or more levels higher than the player (notably raid bosses) are subject to 150% damage crushing blows from melee attacks unless they can get their combined dodge/parry/miss/block percentages up to the magical 102.4%. Raid tanks are expected to manage this somehow (the exact methods differ per class), and since I was getting close anyway, I was curious if I could make this raid-ready status without ever setting foot in a 5-man TBC dungeon. The answer is apparently yes.

I don't really know why I bothered, other than because I had nothing better to do. I've never tanked anything more difficult than an outdoor 5-man boss in my life, so it's not like I'm going to jump into LFG and announce that I'm an uncrushable tank looking for work. But I figured I might as well write up how I accomplished the deed in case anyone is starting a Protadin or converting an existing Pally to Prot.

First, some summary stats:
Total Crush Avoidance With Holy Shield Active: 104.12% (The agility on BoKings pushes that to 104.64%)
Unbuffed HP: 9457 HP (Note that I am NOT using a real tank spec, the number would be just shy of 11K in a real tanking build.)
Armor: 13144 (Again, note that I'm only 2/5 Toughness and therefore leaving 6% of my armor value on the table.)
235 spell damage
Talent Build (key points: 5% parry, 4% armor, 20 Def skill, again, this is NOT a tanking build, it's a solo grinding build)

Some of my gem and enchant choices could be improved, and there are a few crappy green items in this gearset, I just stopped working on improving it when it became clear that the libram would push me more than over the top. Again, this was done without setting foot in a 5-man dungeon, relying on daily quests, rep rewards, and BoE Blue items (there were some purples that might have helped, but I wasn't spending 1K gold on an item for a joke set). Without further ado, the breakdown:

Epic Gear:
Head: [Tankatronic Goggles] (engineering BoP)
Gem/Enchant: [Glyph of the Gladiator] (18 Sta/20 resil), Enduring Talasite (4 def/6 sta), [Eternal Earthstorm Diamond] (12 def, 10%shield block value), +6 Sta Socket Bonus
These became available to the non-dungeon-running public when primal nethers went unbound in patch 2.4. If you aren't an engineer, you MIGHT be able to scrape by with an Alchemy or JC trinket and a [Felsteel Helm], but I'd do the math on that before spending the money. Note that, as a solo player, your only two choices for head glyphs are this and the melee DPS one from CE. If you are revered with the Keepers of Time because you actually run dungeons, a [Glyph of the Defender] will make your life much much easier.

Libram: [Libram of Repentance] (15 Badges)
One of the cheapest BoP Badge rewards out there, this irreplaceable libram can be yours by opening a mere 150 Shattered Sun Supply boxes (your 10% drop rate results may vary), which can currently be accomplished in 30 days of doing the same five daily quests every single day, and will take an extra 7-8 days doing only 4 dailies once 2.4.2 goes live. Alternately, you can get into a guild that's clearing Kara and have your libram in 3 hours. I'm not bitter, really. But seriously, if you're going to solo just one badge reward for your Pally, and you use Holy Shield, this thing is great, and libram drops tend to be pretty limited in variety, so you will likely get a fair amount of milage out of this thing even into the expansion. I don't regret farming this in the slightest.

Shield: [Sunward Crest] (SSO Exalted rep reward)
Enchant: 15 block rating
The spell hit rating may be questionable, but the 33 shield block rating counting the enchant is good for just under 4.2% of the crush avoidance you need right here.

Bracers: [Vindicator's Lamellar Bracers] (S3 PVP honor reward)
Gem/Enchant: 12 def enchant, +4 def/+6 Sta, +2 resilience rating socket bonus
I'm not really getting much in the way of defensive stats out of this slot for tanking, but at least it's a nice chunk of spell damage, and I'm not going to meet the rating requirement for the S4 version, so I'm happy with my investment here. (Aside: This and the hat are the only sockets on my everyday grinding gear, so I had to gem them in order to activate the meta gem without help from the other slots. While the resilience won't help my uncrushable tanking set much, in my everyday +def/spell damage farming gear it pushes me to uncrittable by level 70 mobs while wearing farming gear and swinging a 2-handed weapon.)

Rare Rep Rewards
Neck: [Strength of the Untamed] (CE Revered)
This is one of the best ilvl 115 blue tanking necks out there, it's a real bonus that it's from a rep that you can, in principle, obtain solo. Note that you must use repeatable quests, most commonly 360 unidentified plant parts (330 for humans), to get to honored in order to have enough rep left over to make revered without dungeon running.

Chest: [Vindicator's Hauberk] (Aldor Revered)
Enchant: 15 Def
Again, a nice solid tanking chestpiece from a soloable reputation. You'll need exalted anyway for the shoulder enchant. I'm not sure if it's possible to make it to uncrushable solo as a Scryer or not.

BOE Rare items
Weapon: [Crystalforged Sword] (BOE from the Ogr'ila area)
Enchant +40 spell damage
There are several alternative weapons that also offer 121 spell damage, notably a revered rep reward with the SSO. This one, however, ALSO offers precious shield block rating. Will run you something like 200-250G on the AH.

Gloves: [Felsteel Gloves] (Blacksmithing BOE)
Enchant/Gems: 10 Sta (Heavy Knothide Armor Kit), 8 dodge rating, 4 def/6 sta, 3 parry rating socket bonus
This is a popular item for attempting to gain blacksmithing skill, and as a result is sometimes on the AH for less than the value of the shard you'd get if you DE'ed it (I bought mine for 20G). You could substitute a Vindicator's Armor Kit here for an extra 8 def, and I have no idea whether the socket bonus was worth it or not, but I figured I might as well go for it since the bonus does add to one of my crush avoidance stats.

Pants: [Felsteel Leggings] (Blacksmithing BOE)
Enchant/Gems: 10 Sta (Heavy Knothide Armor Kit), 8 def rating, 4 dodge/6 sta, 4 def/6 sta, 4 dodge rating socket bonus
Again, reasonably priced because smiths make it to level up (I paid 70G). If I were at all serious about this tanking thing, I'd replace the armor kit with a [Runic Spellthread] for an extra 10 sta and 35 spell damage. I suppose you could also go for the Vindicator's Armor kit for the 8 def, but the spellthread is much better. It's also more than I wanted to pay. I'm not sure why I socketed the red and blue sockets the way I did, but the socket bonus is a keeper, and I suppose I figured I was going to make uncrushable and should start working on Sta. Either that, or those gems were just cheaper. :)

Back: [Deathwing Brood Cloak of the Knight] (+27 Stamina, +18 Defense Rating, +21 Spell Damage and Healing) (Ogrila dragon hunting reward BOE)
Enchant: +12 Def
A [Cloak of Eternity] would have been good for an extra 5 def and 9 sta here, but I already owned this cloak for my everyday gearset. One might also argue over whether I would be better off enchanting for 12 dodge rating instead of def now that I'm uncrushable, but, again, that's money I don't really feel like spending.

Ring (1): [Delicate Eternium Band] (Jewelcrafting BOE)
This thing is probably more of a feral ring, but it was better than the green quest reward I had in the slot, and it was cheap (again, skillup item, I think it was something like 40-50G). However, see commentary for the other ring slot below, a random green might actually be better for the Pally. (Then again, I'm already uncrushable, so moving some points from +def to +dodge isn't necessarily a bad thing.)

Quest Rewards:
Shoulders: [Nexus-Guard's Pauldrons] (reward from a Netherstorm Questline)
Enchant: 15 dodge rating, 10 def rating (Aldor Exalted)
Bad news here is that the other reward is a 10 mana/5s trinket with a healing on use power. Trinkets are hard to come by, but so are non-raid shoulders with block rating.

Trinket (1): [Dabiri's Enigma] (reward from Dimensius the All-Devouring in the Netherstorm)
A great tanking trinket versus a very solid pair of plate healing pants. Tough call if you like to heal, since the PVP heal sets are spell crit focused instead of mana/5 focused. Again, note that Alchemists and Jewelcrafters have alternatives here that might make the choices less painful.

Trinket (2): [Regal Protectorate] (reward for killing Arazzius the Cruel in Hellfire Peninsula)
It's telling how hard trinkets are to come by that the ONLY other quested tanking trinket comes from a level 63 quest. The two alternatives are a spell crit trinket (which would NOT crack my level 70 healing set) and a melee crit trinket (dunno what the alternatives are, I'm not ret). Then again, I think a few adjustments to sockets and enchants (see also, the crap items below) might allow me to replace this trinket with a 45 sta trinket (engineering, or Netherwing).

Ring (2): [Ring of the Stonebark] (quest reward in Blade's Edge)
You're choosing between an array of rings, including a nice healing ring, and a melee DPS ring. Being a hybrid sucks like that sometimes. A top end random green [Amber Band of the Champion] is actually good for 16 defense, 25 stamina, and 16 strength, so one or two of those isn't a huge huge downgrade here if you already took the alternatives.

Crappy Greens
I'm almost ashamed to include these, but there aren't good, affordable crafted alternatives, and I needed to fill out the last two slots, so:

Belt: [Fearless Girdle] (quest reward)
Gems: +8 def, +8 def
The two sockets allow this thing to outpace a higher level item with an "of the champion" random enchant. Pretty sad though.

Boots: [Conqueror's Greaves of the Champion] (+21 Strength, +31 Stamina, +21 Defense Rating)
Not even enchanted
I've wasted a lot of money on this project, but even I couldn't bring myself to enchant a crappy green of the champion item from a daily quest box once it became clear that I wouldn't need the enchant to reach my goal, even if it was an upgrade from the other junk tanking boots I owned. Vindicator's Armor kit here I suppose for +8 def.

And that is how you make an uncrushable Paladin without setting foot in an instance. Be afraid. Very afraid.

Uncrushable gear profile via WoWDigger

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