What is CTC?
CTC stands for Combat Table Coverage. Every time an enemy swings at you, the Combat Table is what decides whether you dodge, parry, block, etc. “Coverage” is what percent of the time the swing is not an unmitigated hit: so, your combined chance to block, dodge, parry, or be missed.
Full CTC happens when your chance to take an unblocked hit is 0%. This is called the CTC cap or block cap. It is sometimes also called being unhittable or being uncrushable.
When do I have full CTC/What is the CTC cap?
When your combined Miss+Dodge+Parry+Block = 102.4%.
Why 102.4% and not 100%?
102.4% is what it takes to be unhittable versus a raid boss. Against a level 85, it would be 100%.
Every level of difference between you and the thing that’s hitting you subtracts 0.2% from your Miss, Dodge, Parry, and Block. Raid bosses are considered by the game to be 3 levels higher than you, so your Miss, Dodge, Parry and Block are a combined 2.4% lower than their default displayed values. So we need a displayed CTC of 102.4% (against a level 85) in order to have an effective CTC of 100% (against a level 88).
Why is the CTC cap important?
The primary responsibility of the tank isn’t to take as little damage as possible, but to take damage in a predictable and healable manner. When you are below the CTC cap, melee swings can do 100% damage, 70% damage, 40% damage, or 0% damage to you, and your healers have to be prepared to heal you up from a 100% swing, even if they’d rather be helping someone who, say, lagged in the fire. Reaching the CTC cap means you’ll never take another 100% hit – the most your healers have to be prepared to heal you up from is a 70% swing. This makes it easier for them to deal with other players and mechanics, because they can trust you never to take a spike from a white swing.
That said, reaching the CTC cap is an option, not a requirement. If you decide it’s not for you, that’s fine.
If there’s one thing that bugs me about leveling in WoW, it’s not having my professions trained to at or above a useful level. Maybe it’s because my main is a warrior, and I quickly learned that not having my First Aid trained up meant not getting heals in battlegrounds. Maybe it’s because that warrior is also an engineer, and the rate of obsolescence on vanilla engineering perks is so high that the coolest recipes stopped being useful as soon as you reached a level at which you could comfortably farm the mats. Whatever the reason, as soon as I heard of Archaeology I knew that my first few days in Cataclysm would be spent not questing, not instancing, but grinding Archaeology up to 450 so that I could level it naturally in the course of questing.
I hadn’t accounted for the fact that gathering now awards non-trivial amounts of XP.
At level 80, I was gaining just over 5000 XP per archaeology gather. This doesn’t sound like much until you consider how many gathers you have to make per skill-up. Each gather yields 2-3 fragments, plus a keystone if you’re lucky; and you need 35-100 fragments per artifact. (A keystone counts as 12 fragments, but you can only use them on certain artifacts, and on non-rare artifacts you can use a maximum of one per solve.) After archaeology level 75 or so, the actual gathers stop giving you skill-ups; you’re limited to skilling up from solves alone. Each solve gives 3-8 skillups, leaning heavily towards the lower side. It takes a rare artifact to give a significant number of skill-ups, and rare artifacts require more fragments anyway. This means that for every point of Archaeology skill at level 80, I was earning about 27,000 XP. And XP from gathering scales with level, so at level 81, I’m now making over 6000 XP per gather.
I’m now level 81 and 16%, up from level 80 and 4%, just from leveling Archaeology. And I’m not even to Outland yet. I’m beginning to fear that I’ll be stepping into the Cataclysm zones at level 84, wearing all Wrath gear. I’m seriously considering turning off XP at this point, because it’s looking like that’s the only way I’ll manage to have an organic leveling experience.
It’s important that you not take this the wrong way, because you will get very frustrated very quickly if you try leveling Archaeology as a way of powering to 85. Archaeology takes a long time to level. I played for 10 hours straight to get my archaeology to 213. You need to fly all around the appropriate continent(s), from digsite to digsite; and when you get to the digsite you need to triangulate the artifact’s location to within a yard via a game of Red Light, Green Light before you can pick it up.
Why this sucks
Did I mention that I’m moderately red-green color-blind?
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