Class Discussions

Understanding Hit / Dodge / Parry / Block and Expertise

Hi All,

As you probably know, I have changed my main to be a DK Tank from a squishy Mage. I am loving playing the new class and how powerful I feel when I pull 6+ mobs and living though a beating while knowing my Mage would have died in the first few seconds. Any way... As I have gone from ranged DPS to taking a beating and loving it, my quest to be the best player I can be has taken a new path so I have had to do a lot of reading to make sure I understand why certain things happen and how it can be avoided or maximised in the future. In doing so, I thought I would share what I have learnt just in case I am able to pass on a nugget of information that helps someone else take their game play to the next level. I expect most people probably know the majority of this information if you play MDPS / tank as a main, but if you MDPS / tank on an alt there might be something here you find useful or you might just find it useful / interesting any way if you don’t play any of these roles. If I have missed anything or I have got anything wrong, please feel free to add it in the comments.

I will try to keep this as class / role neutral as possible but I may throw in a few examples from a Mage / DK / Tank perspective as that is what I know.

When I was playing my Mage, the only stat I really cared about was hit as I knew once I hit 17% (now 15%) hit I would be doing as much damage as I could before the other stats such as haste and crit kicked in. E.g. A missed cast is a waste of DPS as it did no damage and wasted the time I spent channelling / casting the spell. Once I was hit capped I would then start on building up my other secondary stats to maximise the DPS I was already doing. As all my damage was from the "Magic" school I also knew that I didn't need to worry about dodge and parry as magic damage ignores these stats but I did know MDPS should be attacking from behind but I didn't know / care why. As I now play Tank which will have an MDPS off spec, this all matters now.

The combat table:

Before now, I guessed there was some process that would determine if I hit my target or not and then once I had hit the target, if the hit was going to be a critical hit (double damage) or not. What I didn't know is every time I cast a spell or auto attack, a 'roll' will take place on the server to determine in that one roll if I would hit my target or not or if the attack will be dodged or a critical hit.

The way this works is there is a combat table for each NPC and player and based on the stats of the character who is targeted and the character to is doing the targeting, a 'roll' is made by the server and the result will then determine the outcome of the attack based on the combined statics of the two parties.

E.g. A +3 level boss assuming you have no extra hit & expertise might look like this (I have made up the stats values so real game examples probably vary a bit). The boss has 5% chance to dodge your attack and a 5% change to parry your attack and you have 20% crit rating. The boss does not have a shield so there is no chance to block your attacks.

0.01 - 7.50 - Miss (7.5%)
7.51 - 12.51 - Dodge (5%)
12.52 - 17.51 - Parry (5%)
17.52 - 17.52 - Block (0%)
17.52 - 37.51 - Crit (20%)
37.52 - 100.00 - Hit (62.5%)

This is a simplified combat table as this does not factor in glancing blows or crashing blows.

By looking at this table, if the server rolls between 0.01 and 7.50, you are going to miss your target, but if the server rolls 20.37, then you just landed a critical hit.

If you were MDPS and you were hit capped but you are not stacking any extra expertise, then the table would look like this....

0.01 - 5.00 - Dodge (5%)
5.01 - 10.00 - Parry (5%)
10.01 - 10.01 - Block (0%)
10.01 - 30.00 - Crit (20%)
30.01 - 100.00 - Hit (70%)

As you can see your chance to miss has been completely removed and your chance to hit has increased. Expertise does the same thing to remove the chance your attacks will be dodged and parried. The first 7.5% of Expertise will make sure your attacks are not dodged and 7.5 - 15% Expertise will make sure your attacks are not parried.

Only physical attacks (MDPS) can be dodged or parried which is why I never had to worry about it as a Mage. The combat table on my hit capped Mage would look something like this...

0.00 - 0.00 - Dodge (0%)
0.00 - 0.00 - Parry (0%)
0.00 - 0.00 - Block (0%)
0.01 - 20.00 - Crit (20%)
20.01 - 100.00 - Hit (80%)

Players can not dodge or parry if attacked from behind or if they are stunned but NPC's can dodge but not parry if attacked from behind. This means if you are MDPS and are doing a progression fight where you will always be attacking the boss from behind, you can afford have your expertise around 7.5% rather than the capped amount of 15% as none of your attacks can be parried. This allows for points to be spent on haste or crit to increase your DPS but only if you will always be attacking from behind.

The other thing to note is if an attack is parried, the character who parried the attack receives a reduction on their swing timer for the next swing. This has two outcomes.

1.) If you are tank and you parry one of the bosses swings, you will receive the reduction in your swing time which will increase your DPS slightly as you can swing faster (this is why tanks favour slower but higher DPS weapons).
2.) If the boss parries an attack from either the tank or from MDPS, the boss's swing timer is reduced which means more damage is done to the tank which means healers have to work harder and the tank may have to blow more CD's to stay alive. Apart from making sure you are not hit with any cleave damage, this is another reason MDPS should always attack from behind (where possible) as chance to parry is ignored so the boss / mob's DPS is not increased slightly. Boss fights where it is impossible to attack from behind (such as Ultraxion) often have the parry chance removed by the developers.

If you are MDPS, be careful when standing close to the boss. If you are too close AKA you are standing under the boss / mob, it is possible for your attacks to be seen as coming from the front and therefore you lose all benefits of attacking from behind.

How does this knowledge affect you if you are tanking?

Well, unless there is a fight mechanic that requires people to be stacked in front of the boss / mob (e.g. to soak damage) it is your responsibility to position the boss so that MDPS are attacking from behind. E.g. It is easier and more efficient for you to move causing the boss to turn than it is for a group of people to move to get behind. Pets will automatically attack from behind so you don’t need to worry about them. If an MDPS keeps running to the front, feel free to tell the raid leader in whisper so they can be yelled at. Happy

Also, if you are in melee range of the boss / mob, NEVER EVER turn your back to the boss / mob as you lose all of your avoidance stats which mean you start taking more damage. If you ever need to reposition and walking backwards is not fast enough, turn sideways and strafe away. This way you still keep all of your avoidance stats but you move just as quick as if you were running forwards. It takes some getting used to, but helps in the long run.

You should also know what type of tank you are so you can play your strengths and weaknesses. There are two types of tanks currently in game, passive mitigation (AKA block tanks) and active mitigation. Block tanks are tanks that carry shields (Warrior and Pally tanks) and they have a chance to block an attack (assuming they have a shield equipped) and take no damage. Active mitigation tanks (DK, Druid and Monk) have abilities to reduce the damage they take or increase their avoidance (Dodge and Parry) to reduce the damage they take. E.g. A DK tank uses Blood Shield which absorbs damage to a point before it needs to be refreshed again or the DK will take full damage or Monks need to use Chi to shuffle to avoid the hit.

Before 5.0.4 (MoP pre release) a block tank used to use the attack table above to determine if they are hit/ blocked or avoided the attack and the higher their block percentage the less chance of them being hit. This means they could effectively stack enough block and avoidance stats to make sure they were never hit unless there was a special move that ignored certain stats (e.g. Death Strike cannot be parried). This was known as block cap and this has now effectively been removed from the game as the chance to block has been moved to a second roll. E.g. The server will determine if you got hit or you avoided the hit. If you got hit, the server will then determine if you blocked the attack or not. This means you could only hit the block cap if you have two very heavy mastery stacked trinkets that proc'ed at the same time. This is probably why you have heard people say that Warrior and Pally tanks suck in MoP. They don’t suck, it just means the players have to work a bit harder than they are used to doing to get the most out of them.

On top of understanding how you best mitigate damage now, it is important to know what kind of damage you need to mitigate. E.g. only physical damage has a chance to be dodged, parried or blocked and abilities like the DK's Blood Shield will only absorb physical damage. This means magical damage such as fire or breath attacks need to be mitigated in other ways. Resistances to certain damage schools on gear have been removed from the game so you need to use class abilities or mechanics to reduce magic damage. E.g. A Pally Bubble or DK Anti Magic Zone.

Understanding the mechanics of the fight is very important in understanding how to best mitigate the damage and you may find you need to carry different pieces of gear for different fights. E.g. If the fight is majority magic based damage, all your avoidance stats mean sweet FA as spells ignore dodge and parry and you are better stacking stamina / DPS stats to make sure you have enough health to survive the damage and the DPS stats are to help get the boss down faster to minimise the chance healers run out of mana before the fight ends. If the fight has a lot of physical damage, then stack avoidance stats and probably mastery which will either reduce physical damage or increase avoidance. When swapping gear, you may have to reforge / re-gem / re-enchant differently and you may even need to swap a talent or two. Once you have the boss on farm / start to out gear the content, this won’t matter as much but this is definitely something that should be looked into for progression fights.

Ok, I'm sick of writing this now so I'm going to sign off, but if you have any questions, please feel free to ask them below so everyone can see the answers.


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