As a tank, do you have enough gear to live through damage spikes? Can you live long enough for your healing team to help you recover? Are you tanky enough that you can use gear and talents that favor DPS a bit more?

By accurately modeling a healing team and measuring your tankiness vs damage, we can use tank simulations to answer these questions.

Simulating a team of healers

In the previous article we covered boss mechanics and tank ‘rotations.’ The last piece we need to accurately measure a tank’s survivability is to simulate a realistic healing team.

Our simulator models heals coming in on the tank from external healers using a simplified set of rules that mimic actual behavior. For a raid setting, we assume a 20-person team with 4 healers. For Mythic+ scenarios, we use 1 healer.

In the 20-man scenario, we model things like:

  • Healers keep a single HoT on the you (the tank)
  • One healer is a designated tank-healer, giving special attention to the tank’s health
  • In emergency situations where health drops dangerously low, more healers use big heals to get keep you alive
  • The size of heals scales with the tank’s average item level, the idea being that well-geared tanks are getting healed by well-geared healers.

These healers can be customized to do anything you want. We also change their behavior depending on the type of boss fight.

We use combat logs for each tier to determine the amount of actual HPS tanks are receiving in real fights. We further examine the amount of healing done by each type of heal (HoT, direct, instant, etc), and apply that to our default model (which can always be customized).

This research allows us to be confident in our simulated healer rules by ensuring they reflect reality. When we compared tank simulations to actual logs in Antorus, they matched up really well. We expect to do that again, but will need a little bit of time to dig through logs to get it really fine-tuned (so hang in there with us!).

Our goal is to make sure the healing model is realistic but not overly aggressive. A model that is too aggressive can lower the value of things like a tank’s self healing too much, which we don’t want.

Calculating your survivability

The survivability metric includes 2 things: your chance to live and your negated damage. We call it TUF because it measures how ‘tough’ you are. (And Mr. Robot likes to make things a little more fun. Also, he is working on his puns).

If you reach 100% TUF that means you manage to never die, while only getting background heals and hots from your heal team. You don’t need to be 100% TUF to be a good tank.

Our advice is to aim for 70-80% TUF – that means you are pretty hard to kill, you aren’t stressing out your healers, and then you can focus the rest of your gear on damage. If you are below 50% TUF you will have an incredibly hard time staying alive and will want to focus on gearing up or picking talents and stats that strictly focus on survivability.

We have a full writeup on TUF in part 4 of this series.

A metric like this allows you to evaluate the impact of different talents, trinkets, and other gear or abilities. Since we’re tracking these things throughout the simulation, reports show you how much each ability contributes to your overall toughness.

Tank simulation report & damage mitigation

When you look at each row in this report, you’ll see the a percentage reported in the first metrics column. That is the percentage of negated damage each ability contributed to. So if you negated a total of 1,000,000 damage, and Pulverize contributed to 74,000 of it, then Pulverize contributed to 7.4% of your total negated damage.

Balancing Survivability with DPS

When you simulate tanks on our site, we simulate both tanking and DPS at the same time. You know, just like in-game 😉

The simulator report separates DPS and Tanking into two separate views, which you can toggle at the top.

Tank simulations DPS report

In the simulator, you can play around with different gear or talents to see how it affects your DPS and tankiness (TUF). But the real star of the show is the “blender” mode in the gear optimizer.

The “Blender”

The Blender lets you decide what balance is right for you, between DPS and tankiness. This shows up on the gear optimization tools like Gear Check and Best in Bags.

Here’s a 15-second silent film, showing the Blender feature.

You might be wondering how this works. We run simulations that cover relevant talent, gear, and Azerite combinations for every spec. Once we have that data, we apply some machine learning so it can adapt to every single character, with their current gear and current talents. If any gear or talents change, the ‘gearing strategy’ (stats and stuff) change with it. It removes the need for you to sim to get ‘stat weights’ or compare trinkets – because we’ve done it for you.

Since we have all of that data, we know what stats increase your tankiness the most. We know what stats increase your DPS the most. We know that if you take away X amount of Versatility that you lose Y amount of tankiness but gain Z amount of DPS.

That lets the gear optimizer pick between trinkets, Azerite Powers, and any other stats or gear, on the fly, in order to balance your tankiness and DPS. And you get to choose that balance.

Simulating your tank

We have a raid boss that will work for several bosses in Uldir. We will add more specific ones when we have a chance to look at logs after the tuning patch. We also have a mythic+ script.

Sim your tank and let us know what you think. If you have questions for feedback, stop by our forums.

Up Next

Yellowfive explains the TUF metric in his typical fashion, managing to somehow make a super serious topic entertaining.

Tank simulations for BfA - Part 4 - metrics TUF