(Gnome) Tank for Life

Steelskin fix! Gag Order fix!
March 31, 2011, 10:06
Filed under: buff, prot, tanking

This just in! It took a week short of 4 months after Cataclysm launch for the new crew at World of Warcraft Development department to correct this flaw, but the allocated budget on Flask of Steelskin is finally getting fixed in 4.1, to a rightous 450 stam.

  • Flask of Steelskin now grants 450 Stamina, up from 300. The Mixology bonus for alchemists remains at 120 stamina.

Furthermore, a welcome change to HL, ensuring that we no longer have to wait a full second or longer for a free GCD to use it.

  • Heroic Leap is no lon ger on the global cooldown, similar to other warrior movement abilities.

And most importantly,  Gag Order gives back to protection warriors the ability to use their limited silences.

  • Gag Order now applies to Pummel and only affects Heroic Throw, giving these abilities a 100% chance to silence the target for 3 seconds.  In addition, Gag Order lowers the cooldown of Heroic Throw by 30 seconds.

Hurray Blizzard! Thank you for not letting the tanks down.

Here’s a quick glance at how this slightly modifies my previous summary:

What we lose /Shield Bash/What we get /Pummel/

Requires Shields   –   No Requirement

12 sec CD   –   10 sec CD

On interrupt: 6 sec spell-lockout   –   On interrupt: 4 sec spell-lockout

3 sec guaranteed silence    –  3 sec guaranteed silence


This is how I feel about every Warrior nerf
March 27, 2011, 09:34
Filed under: nerf, prot

Goodbye, Shield Bash
March 11, 2011, 15:07
Filed under: nerf, tanking

Coming in 4.1:

Gut reaction: Damnnnnnnn.

Impact analysis:

What we lose /Shield Bash/What we get /Pummel/

Requires Shields   –   No Requirement

12 sec CD   –   10 sec CD

On interrupt: 6 sec spell-lockout   –   On interrupt: 4 sec spell-lockout

3 sec guaranteed silence (w/ Gag Order)   –   No guaranteed silence

Unfortunately, removing the silence component which I and probably thousands of other warriors who have been playing since launch grew so damn used to over 6 years also means that there is no chance anymore of reliably positioning caster mobs during the brief 3 sec silence period, unless you get pummel in exactly at the right time and get an interrupt in as well, or unless you use Heroic Throw on a 30 sec CD.

This will be a pretty harsh impact on the majority of PVE content, because for the 5-man part of gameplay and to lesser degree of the raid part, pre-silencing a mob to force it to move always was the only way to position casters. Depending on mob’s spell cast times, you could also reliably wait until it has almost finished a 3 second cast, then Bash the spell just before the spell completed, thereby extending the time-period in which that caster did 0 damage to the party. Shield Bash also allowed to neutralize extremely short, under .5 sec cast spells where there was no or only a slight chance of interrupting.

Two guaranteed 3 sec silences (Shield Bash+Heroic Throw) usually allow very strategic uses in shutting down casters (especially on pulls, but mid-fight too), only one silence.. not so much. Besides Heroic Throw (which luckily retains its reduced 30 sec CD), from now on the warrior will have to specifically wait until a cast is started and even then – without the silence component – after its first cast pummeled, a mob may just still stand still and start casting a spell from another school. And even if you succeed in force moving it (ie. the caster can only cast spells from one school), the lockout is now only 4 sec compared to our old 6 sec. A mob can move a lot in 2 seconds, especially when the “dazed” component (which I never liked, having a mob slowed by 50% explicitly when I want it to move in my direction) only really fades after 4 seconds.

Which leaves Heroic Throw as our only way of silencing a mob. Apparently I will have to throw my weapon at a target in melee range. Oh please…

In the future, we will have to calculate on and expect to be only able to position casters at most a ~5 feet distance. Heroic throw will be the only 100% sure way to force move casters, on a 30 sec CD, otherwise we will have to time Pummels to interrupt casts or waste an interrupt completely. This isn’t that much of an issue if you are a rogue or a DK doing DPS, as a tank however I foresee a lot of miserably failed interrupts where Pummel lands 0.1-0.2 sec after the spell has completed casting. How I long to see a silence component added to Spell Reflection, where successfully reflecting a spell would cause the same spell-lockout as if you had been in melee range and pummeled the spellcast. This will never happen of course because of PVP issues.

I for one, hope that Blizzard is now officially done screwing with a well-oiled interruption system that has been standing for years solid as a rock.

On Rallying Cry
March 9, 2011, 13:21
Filed under: buff, prot, tanking

With Patch 4.1 warriors receive a new ability called Rallying Cry, replacing Inner Rage (now trained at 56 instead) as a level 85 spell.

There is currently no debuff effect from using it and it shares a CD with Last Stand. This last bit is the worrisome part for some, as RC essentially means that warriors are now expected to buff raid health in emergencies instead of using LT in personal emergencies, although RC only provides +20% Health for 10 sec and LT provides +30% Health for 20 sec.  In most cases, losing a LT opportunity for 3 min will not be that harsh I think if it means that the raid has some major help in getting through key phases in an encounter. As someone on Tankspot put it, 20% for the raid > 30% for the tank. Although mechanics will either call for the raid to avoid damage faster (Magmaw) or healers to heal strategically (Chimaeron), no raid ever goes 100% perfect and RC can still be a wipe-preventer if it gives your healers that small plus breathing room to recover instead of letting one or two people die. If the tank  has a choice of preventing one sure death now by popping RC, or one possible tank death later by popping LT, the wise thing would be going for the option which brings a 100% chance positive result.

Personally I don’t find RC conflicting that much with LT. A wise warrior will be able to make up his mind on the spot and within 1-2 seconds  pop either RC or LT as the situation dictates.

Still, I have come across some nice suggestions on how Blizz could tweak RC so that LT doesn’t lose functionality, such as making RC affect everyone in the party/raid but the tank, while erasing the shared cooldown with LT. This would match up well with the Protection Paladin’s Divine Guardian.  Some theorize that RC will be modified to cause a brief exhaustion-type of debuff, to prevent raids from stacking too many warriors and achieving a 10 second RC used every 30 seconds or less.

Overall, I’m happy about our new “raid-wall” as I have no doubt many warriors are. Any added utility only bolsters the value and potential of protection tanks.

Now if they could only straighten out Inner Rage…

Respect your damage dealers
October 28, 2010, 17:10
Filed under: dps, healing, tanking, thought

It came to me when I recently overviewed the new race/class combinations arriving with the launch of Cataclysm: the roles of individual classes in WoW have blended more and more together over the years, except for 4 special select classes.

When I started playing back in 2005, there was hardly any overlap when it came to role selection for certain classes. Those advertised on the official WoW page as hybrid were practically holed into one role and that was healing. “Paladins can’t tank” was a catchy phrase back then and indeed the vast majority of paladins were forced into specing holy. Druids had a tree for all three roles yet it was a truly rare sight to see a feral druid or an “oomfire” druid and with good reason too, there was at most 1 single end-game item for feral druids per slot if that ‘many’ at all and itemization for example for balance druids was non-existent (observe the first tiers of the first raids), but the same thing was true for paladins who wanted to tank or shammies who wanted to DPS. If you were a druid, you were restoration and that was it. Things have changed drastically since then…

The classes in the game today offer the following options:

  • Pure DPS class: 4
  • DPS/tank hybrids: 2
  • DPS/tank/healer hybrids: 2
  • DPS/healer hybrids: 2

In other words, 4 classes who strictly play in 1 single role and 6 classes who can play 2 or 3 roles, when you factor in the dual-specs feature even 2 at the same time. The only core limiting factors are a player’s personal preference and time invested. As you can see, we’ve come a long way since the old days and the tables have been reversed quite a bit. Today less than half of the available classes make a dedication to truly fulfil one role (and I am, of course talking about mains here) and those are hunters, warlocks, mages and rogues.

Let me repeat that: while the hybrid classes are perfectly capable of fulfilling 2 or 3 roles, only half of all classes dedicate their WoW careers to bringing the pain.

In my view of the post 4.0 world of WoW these 4 classes should be treated with high respect for what they do. They don’t have the option of hopping back to a major city and respecing to either protection or holy or resto, should they get tired of playing to see big numbers or racing to the top positions of Damage Done. They endure the long waits in the Dungeon Queue because all other classes have the option to go DPS. Only these 4 have the eternal task of bringing down the monsters we face in 5-mans or raids. They commit themselves to dealing damage and that above all. However important the tanks’ and healers’ job is at any given time, their roles will be increasingly important in Cataclysm. Judging by the new raids we’ve seen so far, they will have almost as hard a time doing the DPS task as tanks who dedicate their toons to soaking damage or healers who dedicate their toons to nullifying damage. Except a mage, a warlock, a hunter or a rogue will only do one thing and will not have any other option to do anything else, save for rolling a new toon of a hybrid class. Hats off to them!

The Gnome Army wants YOU!
April 9, 2010, 08:27
Filed under: cataclysm, gnome, Gnomeregan

WoW (sur)names
March 23, 2010, 14:29
Filed under: real-life, thought

The name’s Bond. James Bond.

At the risk of making my blog look like a wish list of features/functions that I’d like to see in WoW, this post questions why WoW still only features single-word names. No, there will be no quoting Shakespeare.

I recently read an article on wow.com which goes into the fine details of naming characters in WoW and it evoked a recurring thought: why Blizzard still didn’t implement surnames in WoW. Take a look at some other MMO’s, some of which even predate WoW (Everquest, Guild Wars, EVE Online, Anarchy Online, you name it)  where having a surname is mandatory. Not only does it effectively double the unique-ness of your avatar name but it allows for an exponentially greater number of names than currently. And a surname isn’t just for roleplayers either. Although there are addons for RP purposes such as flagRSP, which add a description to boot, these don’t really expand the range of variety when choosing a character name.

My main reasoning in giving surnames to players would be pretty simple: The game has been running for 5+ years with 5 million+ EU+US subscriptions and Heavens know how many millions of characters created all of which had to be uniquely named… there comes a point where we simply run out of unique, meaningful names.

My secondary reasoning follows directly – going by Blizzard’s own extensive naming policy and Support article, quote:

The bottom line is that we want World of Warcraft to be a fun and safe environment for all players. World of Warcraft is an MMORPG, and the key words are “Massively Multiplayer.” In playing this game, you will encounter thousands of other players who share different experiences and come from vastly different backgrounds. While a certain name may not be offensive to you, consider the fact that that same name may have a completely different effect on someone else.

one could be pretty damn hard pressed to find a name that is both unique, appealing to you, totally appropriate and unbeknownst to you, doesn’t contain some hidden cultural, national, scientific etc. meaning that people will read into it when they first see you in party or chat window.
although creative people will never have too much trouble with kuming up (ha ha-bad pun) with something (look no further than Tamarind and her masterfully named troll shaman 😉 ) But aside from purposely drawing on RL references, your name will always be at risk of sounding just like something else, something random that you never knew about but which exists in the world, just waiting for people to confuse it/associate with. For example, I lost count of how many times I’ve been asked in-game if I play hockey IRL. Huh? Yet no explanation was ever given, why? It wasn’t until the N-th time that I learned of Mats Sundin who was a swedish hockey player and since he’s been retired for some time, I guess SWE people just assumed that he just shuffled some characters around in his name and went by the name of Sudiin to play a gnome warrior in WoW in his free time, I dunno.

This isn’t a one-in-a-million coincidence, but perhaps could be avoided if I could properly name my gnome Sudiin Crimsonstone which is his surname in that hazy RP background I thought up for him.

Anyway, there were many was some discussion about this topic (and it has been brought up in another blog.. back in 2007) on the official forums and the answer was never a plain negative, so until Blizzard specifically states No (which they virtually never do, they always leave a door open) there is still some hope that this feature will make it into the next expansion or the one after that.