(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

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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!



3.3.3 Prot buffs recap
March 11, 2010, 13:53
Filed under: buff, prot, tanking

Unless they really shuffle things around, these look like the final changes to hit warriors either next week or the week after that.  Let us gape in awe at the rarely seen combination of  ‘warrior’ and ‘buff’ in one same paragraph of the soon-to-be finalized patch notes.

Abilities

  • Thunderclap: This ability now counts as a ranged attack, granting it double damage on critical strikes instead of 150% and ranged miss chance, and still cannot be dodged or parried.
  • Revenge: Damage done by this ability (base and scaling) increased by 50%.

Talents

  • Improved Revenge: Increases damage of your Revenge ability by 30/60% (up from 10/20%), can no longer trigger a stun, and instead causes Revenge to strike an additional target for 50/100% of Revenge’s damage.
  • Vitality: Now boosts Stamina by 3/6/9%, up from 2/4/6%.

Thunderclap
Bah, soon warriors will be left without a single ability classified as spell! Outrageous!! And to think this skill actually dealt Nature damage back when it started out; TC will never be the same again. What can I say… YES! FINALLY!

This is a badly needed fix that corrects a flaw that’s been plaguing the warrior collective since the days of Vanilla WoW.  This change will:
A
) no longer prevent using TC while silenced (Leveling warriors will absolutely love the ability to Thunderclap in low-level instances with silencing mobs, Maraudon comes to mind)
B) apply 2x damage modification (as melee) to all criticals instead of 1.5x (as a spell) – all the more excuse for us to pull even more packs!
C) allow the game to calculate miss chance based on your Melee +Hit percentage
so if you are hit-capped you shouldn’t ever have to worry about missing targets with TC. This isn’t a huge buff in terms of AOE Threat but it’s a damage —> threat buff nonetheless, especially coupled with the changes in:

Revenge
A staple warrior ability redeemed and revitalized by this straightforward damage boost and talent change, Revenge is an old friend of ours since level 14 and me having always loved it, it’s nice to see Blizzard putting it back to where it belongs: in our rotation! How it will fit in exactly remains to be seen after the patch goes live, but I’m pretty sure that it will be back up top, possibly on par with SS but certainly not below Devastate (ie. off our rotation) like it’s been since its last nerf. According to some EJ calculations, Revenge is looking to beat Devastate for both rage/GCD cost. Add the pretty option to talent into Improved Revenge again for 100% splash damage on a secondary target and it becomes clear that Revenge will shine as bright as a star in both single target/AOE Threat situations and also provide fans of the UA spec something new to play with. I for one am also happy to herald the loss of the random stun component which was more of an inconvenience in heroics and a plain wasted effect in raids. I definately will not miss seeing the Stun effect reported as  >Immune< every time I Revenge a Boss.
Thank you Blizzard for fixing a melee-attack-not-working-as-intended-as-spell-ability-mechanic and 2 formerly half-useless talent points, even if it came 4 years late! Let’s hope WoW:Cat deals with Taunt and demo shout as well!

Vitality
A slight modification to our health multiplier which brings us a little closer and even with DK/Pally health values. Prot warrs with around 3k sta will likely see a ~1000 health increase which is nothing to sneeze at (yay! I always wanted to use this phrase somewhere). More effective health is always good.

Conclusion: 3.3.3 and mainly the changes to Revenge is the best thing to happen to prot warriors since we got rage on avoidance!