Tanking for Dummies

Blizzcon 2009 Warrior Tank Summary
August 24, 2009, 12:42 pm
Filed under: News | Tags: , , ,

Presuming you didn’t follow the coverage of Blizzcon like a Hawk, there were a lot of changes.  After the cut are, I believe, the system related ones most relevant to Warrior tanks.

Mastery system
* There are too many talents right now and a lot of them are boring and just give passive bonuses. (1% hit bonus, etc …)
* The goal is to make talents more fun and useful, Body and Soul or Juggernaut are a good example.
* The old passive bonuses will be automatically added to your character through the Mastery system as you spend more points in a talent tree. Spending a lot of points in Fury will give you extra crit, etc … this will be implemented for all classes.
* Mastery bonuses will lower energy cost, increase your armor penetration, etc …

…And Defense.  And maybe also Dodge, Parry, and Block.

Path of the Titans
Path of the Titans is another great new feature we covered that encompasses rewarding progression at max level. This new feature implements a third new type of glyph called “Ancient Glyph,” and as you can see, it is themed after the titans. These special glyphs are not associated with the Inscription tradeskill, and are also not specific to any class.

You’re able to unlock a path and progress within that path as you continuously engage in different aspects of the game. As you advance, you will be able to unlock special glyph sockets for your character. You can also respec your path at any time, in case you decide to change your path.

You earn these ancient glyphs by using the new Archaeology secondary profession to recover and trade in titan artifacts. Each path will have 2-3 choices per rank, and again, you can respec if you decide to go down another path.
– Path of Aman’Thul, the High Father
– Path of Eonar, the Lifebinder
– Path of Norgannon, the Dreamweaver
– Path of Khaz’Goroth, the Shaper
– Path of Aggramar, the Avenger
– Path of Golganneth, the Thunderer

You can earn progress down any of these paths by doing things such as questing, raiding, PvP, trade skills, etc., with a possible weekly cap for maximum progress. Over time, you’ll be able to unlock new ancient glyphs that will greatly benefit your character.

This new system will be accessible to all players at max level. Players will eventually be able to reach new ranks for ancient glyphs, encouraging them to further develop their characters. There is also a possibility that we will introduce whole new paths in future content patches.

Some of the options they teased us with: All Physical Damage Reduced by 4% and an ability to make nearby allies take less damage.

* Warriors won’t be as affected as other classes by the itemization changes, the goal is to make other classes gears look a lot like what warriors have.

Except for that whole Mastery thing.  I mean, seriously guys.  This statement looses some of it’s believability when you consider that the main thing it seems won’t be “as affected” (sic) is the fact that we still want to stack Strength and Stamina.

I know.  Shocker.

Archaeology is the new secondary profession that will be joining the ranks of cooking, fishing, and first aid in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm. Archaeology allows the player to unlock new abilities and rewards by discovering ancient treasures throughout the world. Each archaeologist uses the profession to uncover clues hidden in the world around them, such as troll relics or map fragments, and decipher their meaning, enabling the clever archaeologist to manipulate pieces of the past, learning the location of a treasure cache or valuable artifact. Such artifacts are highly sought after by the Archaeology Society, and they pay in gold and items for their return. Those who have mastered archaeology can find Titan artifacts, earning special currency used to unlock character paths and allowing the player to further customize their character.

I hope you all are ready to grind another “optional” secondary profession. Because it’s not like We don’t already have First Aid…


* Reforging is another way to customize your gear.
* It will be relatively cheap, you will need a Blacksmith / Leatherworker / Tailor / Jewelcrafter / Engineer to do it. Each profession get to reforge a type of items.
* It lets you reduce one stat for another. Some restrictions will apply, you can’t put the extra stat on something that is already on the item.

…So.  Yeah, Blacksmiths.  I hope you’re ready to stick around after every raid as well like the Jewelcrafters and Enchanters.

In World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, there are plans to streamline the statistics found on items. We want to remove all unnecessary stats, make all existing stats understandable, and make all “core” stats more appealing. Here are some examples of such plans.

* MP5: This will be removed from items and replaced with Spirit. All healers will be given a meditation-like ability.
* Spell Power: Spell Power is being removed from items as well. Don’t panic, we’ll be improving Intellect so that it provides mana and Spell Power.
* Attack Power: We’re removing Attack Power from items as well. Instead, we’re allowing Agility to provide the necessary Attack Power for leather and mail wearers. Strength will provide the appropriate amount of Attack Power for plate wearers. This means leather and mail items will no longer be desirable for plate wearers.
* Defense: The Defense statistic is also being removed from items so that players no longer have to worry about juggling around “the cap.” Tanks will receive the necessary anti-crit from talents, like Survival of the Fittest.
* Armor Penetration: This ability is too confusing and “mathy.” It is being replaced with Mastery, a stat that makes you better at what you do. More on that later!
* Haste: Will also increase the rate at which you gain energy, runes, and focus. Retribution paladins and Enhancement shaman will have a talent that allows them to take advantage of this benefit.
* Block: Block Value is being removed. Blocking will now always mitigate a percentage of damage.
* Stamina: Players will notice more Stamina on gear as Defense, Spell Power, Attack Power and Armor Penetration are removed.

Defense is gone.  Wow.  Balancing stuff around the Defense Cap has been a staple of raiding for… well… forever?  Can’t say I’m going to miss it too much but does anyone else feel like we just lost an old friend?

That said, I’m not going to complain at all about the Block and Stamina changes… provided that the amount of health and mitigation we get is, you know, enough.  I do wonder how they’re going to recalibrate Shield Slam though.

I suppose we will find out soon enough.  Because if it seems like some major changes are incoming the details surrounding all of this stuff is going to keep the blogs buzzing until Christmas.


8 Comments so far
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I believe that the “warrior itemization won’t change as much” comment was directed towards DPS warriors.

In other words, basically their solution to “DPS plate is itemized terribly” is “change everyone else’s itemization to look just as sucky.” :P

Comment by Yuki

It seems mostly they’re removing of the customization, at least as far as balancing things like defense/hit/expertise/crit/Armor Pen/Attack Power/Spell Power goes. Essentially everything in Green at the bottom of the tooltip with the exception of MP5 which is getting rolled into spirit. (This is assuming that the list includes Dodge, Parry, and Block Rating.) That would leave only the enhancements you build in with Gems and Enchantments (And Reforging).

If “Mastery” scales in an optimal way, it will probably be fine. If it doesn’t, it won’t be pretty.

Comment by Tarsus

Actually in terms of balancing scaling the new setup should be significantly easier, since there are fewer stats that only scale “some” attacks; last expansion did this with Crit, this time it’s being extended to haste and the replacement of ArP (which was a badly designed stat when it was introduced and was not improved by making it a rating, so is probably better off being thrown under the bus).

What’s funny is that, in a lot of ways, this is step towards the stat system of the alpha/early beta of the original WoW, where basically Str/Dex/Sta/Int/Spi were the only stats (although I doubt they’ll go nearly that far). It’ll be interesting to see how they approach the problems that led to the bifurcation of those stats in the first place.

Comment by Yuki

For the un-betaed among us, would you mind illuminating what those problems were?

Comment by Tarsus

Well, the biggest one was that Spirit was an incredibly powerful stat without the 5sR; it basically was something you stacked ad inifinitum and ignored int as a caster. I suspect the solution here will be further nerfing spirit regen overall.

1 Agi => 2AP was, of course, in effect for Hunters in live until BC, with the consequence that Agi became the omni stat and everything else was just wasted points, because it gave the most favorable rate of base damage scaling AND some crit to boot. I don’t recall if it had ever been the case for rogues in the beta (been a long time >.>), but AP basically originated as a way to give rogues more melee oomph without spending the slightly-higher itemization value for mostly-useless Strength or giving them the extra Crit % from Agility.

Similarly, some of the other stats splintered off primarily because their secondary effects were undesirable. Block Value was splintered off from Strength because tanks wanted mitigation more than AP, and it was (pre-Wrath) significantly cheaper to get it from straight up BV than it was converted through Strength. Dodge came out from Agi for the same reason (crit was nice and all but it was more important not to get punched in the face, and you get more not-punched per point from Agi). And vice-versa for the extra stat of Crit % instead of more Agi and Spell Crit% from Int (the gear was more efficient with the raw %s than it would have been with the base stats).

So the main problem was that some stats became “sub optimal” because they were “paying” for effects that weren’t valuable, and others became “super optimal” because you were double-dipping them for extremely nice benefits.

Looking at the new stat lineup, I’m most curious about Spirit, Int, and Agi, which seem likely to repeat the problems of the past for being overly powerful, and Strength, which may end up being a less exciting dominant stat for non-tanks since it doesn’t have the “kicker” of extra crit that Agility does. So it’ll be interesting to see how they handle that.

Comment by Yuki

So, no more ArP, that could be good (or maybe fixed?).
How does Blizz determine DMG from DMG shield and Shield slam? … or are those gone too?

IDK about these changes – they seem far to drastic, but some things were definately half broken. Shield block was in some ways better in Wrath and in some ways much worse. Well at least they fixed TC and well Shockwave is nice. Maybe warrs get a 360/cleave?

and well Ancient Runes? hmmm.

Comment by drx1

@Yuki – Well, the only people who are going to be using Strength come Cataclysm are warriors, death knights and Paladins. So it doesn’t seem like much of a choice will be made since finding Agility on Plate is as rare as Unicorn poop.

@drx1 – I doubt Warriors will get a 360 degree Cleave since we already have Whirlwind.

Also, it occurs to me, depending on how the Mastery system is done (essentially what stats are lumped into mastery), you might not necessarily need an off-set of gear, perhaps just weapon swap-outs.

Comment by Tarsus

The point is less “we’d rather have gear with Agi on it” since we don’t get AP from Agi; it’s more “everyone else gets AP & Crit from their scaling stat, while plate wearers get AP & Block or AP & Parry.”

So we’ll probably either need a better kicker from Str, or better Str scaling from talents/Mastery than the other classes to keep up.

Comment by Yuki

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