(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…