Tanking for Dummies


3.1 – Upcomming Warrior Changes
February 10, 2009, 11:59 pm
Filed under: Analysis, Talents | Tags: , , , , , ,
eyonix

Eyonix

In case you missed it, part 2 of Eyonix’s class updates reveal had some interesting bits for warriors.  Most of these seem like they’re designed to address warrior DPS and raid utility, but most of them qualify as fairly sweeping changes to existing class mechanics, particularly for tanks.  To cut to the chase, the warrior specific section says:

  • Changing stances now has a much reduced cost: you lose a maximum of 20 rage (10 with Tactical Mastery). For example, if you have 100 rage and change stances, you will have 80 rage remaining. If you have 10 rage and change stances, all of your rage is lost. In addition, we may change the penalties associated with some stances.
  • You now gain rage when damage done to you is absorbed, such as through a Power Word: Shield.
  • Blood Frenzy now causes 2/4% physical damage done.
  • Sunder Armor (and similar debuffs) now reduces armor by 4% per application, and is now a single rank. Creature armor has been globally reduced so that debuffed targets should take about the same damage from physical attacks that they did before this change. The net effect should be that this debuff is slightly less mandatory in PvE and is not disproportionately more powerful against cloth targets in PvP.
  • We are also adding increased damage to Arms, possibly through Overpower or Slam.
  • We are also looking at granting rage when the warrior blocks, dodges or parries.

Some of these obviously have a pretty major impact on tanking.  So let’s break it down.

“Changing stances now has a much reduced cost: you lose a maximum of 20 rage (10 with Tactical Mastery). For example, if you have 100 rage and change stances, you will have 80 rage remaining. If you have 10 rage and change stances, all of your rage is lost. In addition, we may change the penalties associated with some stances.”

At first this should seem like mostly a buff for DPS warriors, but on a second glance it occurred to me that this may present an interesting opportunity for stance dancing to return to the repertoire of the Warrior Tank.  Adding a Whirlwind couldn’t hurt AoE tanking while Thunder Clap and Shockwave are on Cooldown (especially if they decide to remove the damage penalty to Berserker Stance).  Overpower might also have a role, especially if you’re hurting for expertise.  It basically changes the cost/benefit equation as far as Stance Dancing is considered.  I am not even going to start on the already existing practice of using retaliation to get a Threat Boost.

“You now gain rage when damage done to you is absorbed, such as through a Power Word: Shield. “

How long have Warrior Tanks been clamoring for this?  I hated how an otherwise great priest ability felt like it was handicapped by our rage generation mechanic.  This feeling was doubled with the changes made to the Discipline Tree and the focus on using absorption as a healing strategy.  Rage starvation hasn’t been an extraordinary problem in Wrath, like in the past, but I am glad they removed the unstated debuff to priest healing.

“Sunder Armor (and similar debuffs) now reduces armor by 4% per application, and is now a single rank. Creature armor has been globally reduced so that debuffed targets should take about the same damage from physical attacks that they did before this change. The net effect should be that this debuff is slightly less mandatory in PvE and is not disproportionately more powerful against cloth targets in PvP.”

I am going to take Blizzard’s word on this one and assume they will be more careful with this than they were with, say, Hunters recently.  I’m not exactly sure what they mean by by “slightly less mandatory in PvE” though.  It sure as hell is mandatory for Devastate, weak by comparison that it is.  And let us not forget Expose Armor, the red-headed step child of Sunder Armor.  I assume that is the “similar debuff” that they are talking about.  As long as Sunder is coupled with Devastate, Expose Armor is going to sit unused.

“We are also looking at granting rage when the warrior blocks, dodges or parries.”

If this goes through, it would be a huge buff for those tanks that like to stack avoidance stats.  Looking at the big picture, however, it helps to boost the notion that adjusting the amount of avoidance you use depending on the fight should be more viable.  It blurs the choice between threat stats and avoidance stats a little.  That makes gear choice a little less black and white, but I think will likely be good for Warrior Tanking in the long run.  I think the one question that is important, however: does this buff stack with Blessing of Sanctuary?

I had thought they might be done with Warriors Tanks for a little while, after the very little they changed in 3.0.8 – but apparently there’s some excitement left for us yet.



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7 Comments so far
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Note to self: Figure out why updates are happening early.

Comment by Tarsus

By “less mandatory” he means “as a damage-increasing debuff.” Assuming your raid brings a “normal” amount of physical dps, the Sunder (or Expose, or Melt, if you’re lacking a warrior) Armor debuff is absolute, unquestionably, far and away the largest DPS increasing buff/debuff in the game due to the mechanics of armor scaling and its general applicability.

This change will substantially reduce the amount of extra damage you’ll cause on a Sundered vs un-Sundered mob, which will make the debuff less “necessary.”

Comment by Yuki

@Yuki – That is consistent with using a percentage of armor as opposed to a fixed value. I suppose that means it would scale more consistently.

If anything, however, the knowledge that it is the largest DPS increasing debuff in the game makes me more nervous about potential for screw ups. My tendency is to trust the robustness of Blizzard’s tools, but the serious over-nerfing on the recent Beast Mastery Hunter changes do make me have a healthy doubt about the capacity for Blizzard to tune large important mechanics in a balanced and sensible way.

Comment by Tarsus

“I am glad they removed the unstated debuff to priest healing.”

We are too! ^_^

Comment by raivyne

I’m particularly excited for rage returns on avoidance. It sucks when your gear level exceeds the demands of a lower instance causing rage starvation. Sometimes I feel it’s easier to grind large packs of level 80 mobs, than to whittle away low level mobs.

Comment by BillyWallace

@Billy – It honestly depends on how much rage we’ll get from it but I agree. In the mean-time, however, if you’re AoE Grinding anything, figure you can probably take quite a bit so use Heroic Throw, Charge and Taunt to round up as many as you can without spending rage.

Comment by Tarsus

[…] 3.1 – Upcomming Warrior Changes […]

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