Socketing at 80

Following a random Naxxramas raid yesterday evening, I sat down and had a chat with the MT of the run. It was refreshing to talk to a tank that actually does his homework; most just blindly socket stamina because “everyone else” does it and don’t really know what they are doing.

The discussion, of course, revolved around socketing for avoidance.

Now, in these early stages of WotLK, I believe the primary issue for most tanks is to achieve crit immunity. Arguing about the effectiveness of EH over avoidance is a concern probably best left for the future. However, it might be interesting just to put some figures together.

The most effective way to socket for avoidance during BC was to socket pure dodge (red) gems. The epic kind, preferably.

At 80, there is a slight difference, which may cause most tanks to reconsider the old policy.

The following values are taken from Elitist Jerks:

At level 80, about 39.35 dodge rating equals 1% dodge. Parry is more expensive to develop than dodge (due to the added benefit of parry-hasting), so parry goes out of the question when socketing for avoidance, unless you happen to get it as a socket bonus. In which case, more power to you.

4.92 defense rating equals to 1 defense skill. 1 defense skill was 0.04% chance to dodge, parry, block, and less chance for a mob to hit you. The first two and the last qualify as avoidance, so you’re effectively getting 0.04% x 3 = 0.12% avoidance per defense skill.

How much defense skill is needed for 1% avoidance? 1% / 0.12% = 8.33, which equals to almost exactly 41 defense rating. Dodge, is, therefore still gives you slightly more bang for your buck when you’re striving for high avoidance values.

However, there is one crucial difference. Since the changing of our shield block ability, where we don’t spam it every few seconds anymore, but rather use it in select few situations due to the long cooldown, block rating IS more important than it used to be. We don’t get that much block rating anymore. Crushing blows are out of the question, of course, but since block value now scales much faster than it earlier did, you’re stopping a lot more damage by blocking than you did at that time.

Consider also the inclusion of Critical Block, which means that every point in block rating increases the chance that the effect will be unleashed. More damage coming from Shield Slam, meaning higher TPS. Less damage coming in (due to more being blocked). Everything is here. The increase is subtle, but, if you look back, the difference between socketing for defense and for dodge is quite “subtle” as well.

So what am I trying to say? While previously the 0.04% increased chance to block was seem as a very “meh” side effect for every extra point in defense skill, it now seems as if this little addition DOES have a significance. Which is why I’m placing socketing for defense higher than socketing for dodge. You’ll get less “pure” avoidance, sure, but you’re getting a lot of extras out of it as well


  1. than socketing f?

  2. Hm I wouldn’t sign that Dodge gives you more bang. While it’s true that Doge & Defense grant you apx. the same avoidance, Defense still adds block to the mix, making it superior. In my opinion the best way to socket for anything else than EH is to go after defense. Other so if good socket bonuses are in the mix. Especially since due to diminishing returns stacking one stat exclusively will make your sockets weaker and weaker. Veneritio’s done a great write-up on the issue:

  3. That’s kind of my point. Before WotLK dodge was better than defense because block rating was uninteresting. Now it’s a different matter because block does matter.
    I did however forget to mention the diminishing return part.

    I guess Vene had the same idea I had, which is pleasant to see. I still get into regular fights with other tanks because many (including my warrior class leader) advocate stamina (yes, stamina, not EH).

    Ultimately, however, it’s all about balance. A pure avoidance tank will fail, just like a pure EH tank will fail; this is why we carry several sets of equipment around, because each fight is different and needs to be approached in a different way. Right now, where most people are busy building up just one set, it’s best to strike a balance.

  4. I couldn’t find any red gems with defense, including the orange and purple. Did I overlook any? The socket bonuses seem worthwhile so I’d prefer to get them. It seems I have more red sockets than anything, a few blue (which I typically put in 24 stam) and just one yellow.

      • If you’re still striving for crit immunity or you just plain want to get your avoidance as high as possible, the gems Bizzam posted are absolutely fabulous. The first two you shouldn’t pay much attention to (strength is nice but not something you would necessarily want to socket for, and parry stacks too slowly to be effective). The Stalwart Monarch Topaz is great for pushing up pure avoidance, while the Resolute one allows you to work on expertise as well (which translates both into increased TPS and increased survivability due to less incoming parry hasted attacks).
        My personal choice, however, has got to be the Guardian’s Twilight Opal. I’m quite satisfied with the amount of avoidance I have right now (47.76% combined, could be higher, but I need the gear for it first), and I’m working on getting enough stamina so that I can tank Malygos without causing our healers to get a heart attack. The expertise / stamina combination on the aforementioned Twilight Opal is absolutely fabulous. Definitely consider it.