Thursday, April 15, 2010

Expertise is a helluva drug!

I've been thinking a lot recently about how much I value expertise as a bear.

Like 100 years ago at the beginning of Ulduar I put it above everything else and I shot for the expertise hard-cap of 14%.

The weird thing about shooting for a hard-cap with me is I pretty much know I'm not going to actually reach the cap; however, shooting for it allows me to prioritize it correctly when making gear decisions. So like I was saying, in Ulduar I wasn't happy unless I was above let's say 11.5%. I don't feel like I know much more about the benefit I'm gaining from expertise compared to what I knew when Ulduar was top tier, but I do know that now that I have less choices when it comes to gear that is available to me it's becoming more of a nuisance to feed that expertise hunger.

There are a couple of things expertise does for you as a bear (and any tank for that matter), but the number one thing that always pulls me in for whatever reason is TPS. Do I have threat issues? No. Do I require Tricks and Misdirects? Sometimes, but it depends on the fight and of course how geared the DPS I'm running with are and honestly I'd lean towards no most of the time. So what's wrong with me? I'm trying to break this habit of refusing to change out a piece of gear because I lose some expertise.

As a quick side note of sorts - it took me a surprisingly long time to give up my bad habits of gemming for bad socket bonuses. I'm not going to dwell on this or bring it up again because it was foolish, but I've learned my lesson and I feel the benefits I have now because of my health pool.

Anyways besides threat, expertise helps with those annoying parries. Now obvious you don't want to parry because once again, you don't get much threat when you parry, but the other reason you don't want to parry is because if you parry on a boss the boss basically gets a free attack (Technically I believe it resets the boss's swing timer, so say the boss hits you, then 1/2 a second later you parry, then instead of 2 seconds after your parry you get hit, you get hit immediately. Meaning the boss just hit you twice in a 1/2 second span instead of a 2 1/2 second span). Now here's the thing with parry haste - some bosses do some bosses do not. One inconsistency that is kind of annoying, but in some cases practically required. If the boss is a tank gear check and hits exceptionally hard *cough cough...Festergut* you really can't afford to get parry hasted so naturally that just so happens to be a boss that has parry haste disabled. So here is the kicker and Festergut is a great example of this - after 5% your attacks won't be dodged by the boss, and although you will probably parry quite a bit if you are low (around 5%) on expertise so your threat will suffer, you get a stacking debuff that increases your damage on Festergut. Not to mention tricks and misdirect and it's starting to sound like expertise is kind of useless on Festergut. Well..not useless but it certainly diminishes in value.

I don't have the luxury of swapping out gear for less expertise and more survival stats just for a given boss, so how many people do?

This is all culminating into a simple conclusion. Parry is important, very important even, but not as important as I once thought it was or more correctly still think it is. Currently Ampzilla has 43 expertise rating (including Primal Precision) or 10.75%, I'm happy with it and don't want to go any lower, but if I have to now that I've thought about it a bit more, I'm going to.

I think the best part is the experimentation. I'm probably going to follow up this post with a specific issue I'm having with making gear decisions that largely effect my expertise and hit rating, but a smaller example of where I'm struggling it with my neck piece.

Currently I'm using this. It's actually pretty good still, but its one of my last iLvl 226 pieces and since GS is king (sadly) it's cramp'n my style. So what are MY choices?

First thing I checked out was PvP gear and I might end up going this route for a temporary fix - [Pick] [your] [flavor]. Or this beauty from 25 man Onyxia. The last two options are [Legionnaire's Gorget] from ToC 25 or hope Rotface drops [Bile-Encrusted Medallion].

Needless to say I have options, and while I'd like to get the Onyxia neck to keep my expertise in the 10% club, I'd settle for just about any upgrade now.

I also want to say before calling it quits - GF came up with a fantastic beginnings to a header for the blog so all I/we need to do is pick a nice background and it should be up in no time!


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