Tanking for Dummies

Nerf News (or, in case you missed it)
January 13, 2010, 4:20 pm
Filed under: Advice for Non Tanks, Analysis, News | Tags: , , ,


It should be noted that we have been warned about some potential in-coming nerfs to Protection Warriors.  You may read certain choice responses here, here, and here (reply #385).  In case you missed the information involved , allow me to get you up to date (from oldest to newest):

Warbringer changes in 3.3.2
In the next content patch the current plan is to change Warbringer a bit so that it no longer allows Charge and Intercept to break roots or snares but Intervene would remain unaffected.

We’ll see if any further changes come down the pipeline. (Source)

Potential changes to Shield Slam
We are also considering some changes to Shield Slam to where it won’t affect players in normal tanking gear but it will affect the scaling of block value for those who are stacking it. This isn’t guaranteed as we still want to make sure it doesn’t have a real negative effect on PvE, but in turn we may have the threat caused by Shield Slam just straight increased. We’ll see how this goes as we test it internally. (Source)

Protection warriors in PvP
There are numbers in between 1 and 10. Players have a bad habit of viewing everything in terms of extremes. Yes we want Protection to be viable in PvP and most likely it still will be. Nerfing them because they are overpowered is not the same as them being useless.

Expecting the forum-visiting WoW community to ever come to a consensus on anything is unrealistic. That said, Protection warriors in PvP wasn’t one of the arguments where there were a lot of very passionate souls on both sides. Many players suspected or were outright convinced that Prot was overpowered at worst or at least really frustrating to play against. On the other hand, we’ve posted several times that if the totality of their beef is just seeing Prot in PvP at all, then they’re out of luck.

These arguments are somewhat similar to those rogues saying “But we’re supposed to do high damage” and seeing nothing wrong with being 1000 to 2000 dps higher than others in their group. Yes you’re supposed to be in PvP. You’re not supposed to own PvP.

If you’re one of those players with no interest in PvP and just don’t want to see your tanking potential hurt, then I am slightly more sympathetic, but then again you should know what I’m going to say by now. WoW is a game with PvP and PvE components. Just because one of those isn’t of interest to you personally doesn’t mean we should neglect it. (And as I’ve said, we aren’t interested in nerfing Prot warriors who are actually tanking.) (Source)

The problem with Warbringer
The problem with the PvP side of Warbringer is that when you consider prot warrior versus mage (just as an example), there was nothing a mage could do to a well versed warrior. The warrior carries a lot of stuns, silences, and then any attempt to root him is broken by multiple abilities. So then the warrior’s teammate (like a hunter) is just doing tons of damage while the target has no defenses.

For the other side of this change, we certainly don’t design 5-player or raid content with the assumption that the tank has Warbringer (or a way out of snares and roots in general). We understand that it can be a big help in specific situations but we don’t feel it’s the only option in any PvE circumstances. (Source)

Patch 3.3.x nerfs for prot warriors
Let’s look first at the Warbringer change.

Will it nerf them for PvP? Yes. Aside from stuns and Dismantle, rooting or snaring the Prot warrior is the major way to keep him off of you. Considering all of the stuns and silences that Prot has, when they can also jump out of every Frost Nova with Warbringer, then there’s not much in the way of skill a mage can employ to stay alive. They just get countered in every way.

Will it nerf them for PvE? Yes, but really slightly. I’m not sure I can ever remember a case in my WoW-playing history where my warrior or some other tank caused a wipe because of a root, so even if it did happen, it can’t happen that much or be that memorable. Warriors certainly won’t get sat because of some new Achilles’ heel and we don’t design encounters around the assumption that tanks can’t be rooted. The important part of Warbringer from a PvE perspective, removing the stance restrictions, is still intact.

Now the damage change. As Bornakk posted recently, what we essentially did was look at some of the successful Prot PvP characters and compare them to some of the Prot tanks out there. We nerfed the block conversion to Shield Slam damage so that it would hit the PvP guy without really hitting the PvE guy. (The PvP warriors aren’t stacking a ton of Shield Block Value, but they do have a lot of Strength which also converts to block for purposes of making Shield Slam hit harder — many of these guys are wearing PvE dps plate.)

Will it nerf them for PvP? Yes. We want Prot to be able to hit reasonably hard, but they also need to pay some price for their massive survivability. We thought the Warbringer change alone would nerf the warriors vs. e.g. mages but wouldn’t control their damage. Those big Shield Slam crits should go down a lot.

Will it nerf them for PvE? Probably not, or at least not much. If you tank with a lot of Strength or SBV, you might see your Shield Slams go down, but that’s why we buffed the threat of Shield Slam to compensate.

Again, keep the changes in perspective. We want Prot to be PvP viable. We don’t want Prot warriors to dominate PvP or have everyone feel like they need one for their team. Likewise, we want Prot to do higher damage than the almost trivial damage that they did in BC. But that doesn’t mean they need to be competitive with the dps while they’re tanking. (Source)

Shield Slam changes
The diminishing returns on shield slam damage now starts to kick in when shield block value is more than 1960 (at level 80). It maxes at behaving as if your shield block value is 2072 when your block value is actually 3160 (again, at level 80). Remember this includes the scaling from both shield block value on gear AND shield block value from Strength. (Source)

Prot Warrior DPS
We understand that warrior damage is on the low end but regarding the raid progression, it’s a hard case to say that your wipe on Festergut (as an example) was caused by the difference between tank damage when the dps from focused classes like rogue, warlock, etc. can probably improve to beat the enrage timer. (Source)

[…] I honestly think it’s hard to argue that your choice of tank often costs you a kill because of the dps of the tank. Often those numbers are rounding errors compared to the damage capable by the dps specs in the raid. However, I don’t think you even need to invoke that argument. I think it just feels crappy when your dps is lower than other tanks.

I don’t think the block diminishing returns exacerbates this much to be honest, but it was a problem that was already there. We’d like to buff Prot sustained dps in a way that isn’t risky for PvP.

(Standard: “no promises” implied.)

I’ll say again that we have nothing against threat modifiers. Some of you need to stop treating them as if they are cockroaches to be stomped out whenever they appear. Bonus threat is really the only way to keep tank damage lower than dps damage but threat higher than dps threat. It only becomes a concern when A) the threat modifiers are flat (because then when the dps do more damage with gear, you aren’t doing more threat with gear) or B) you’re spamming abilities that do lots of threat but no real damage, because that just feels lame (and really we’re just talking Sunder Armor here, which nobody spams anymore anyways). (Source)

If you have followed the links that I brought forth in the beginning of the post, you will have probably come to the conclusion that there is not much to say about this other than what has already been said.  I will add, however, my following two copper pieces to the issue:

  • I could care less about the Nerf to Warbringer.  The strength of it was always in that it enabled you to use Charge in combat and in Defensive Stance.  I can’t even remember the last time I used it to remove a snare.  Freya Hard Mode… maybe?
  • I sincerely doubt the numbers cited for where diminishing returns kick  for Shield Slam in will make it into live.  They’ll probably be upped once developers see how easy it is to hit the cap even without bonus block value on your items.
  • This seems like an incredible waste of time for the development team considering that, with Block Value going the way of the Dodo in a few months, this entire conversation will be irrelevant.  That said, I can’t get my rage up too high on a nerf that has a definitive end date.
  • Yet again, we see how PvP and Arenas in particular have the capacity to make dramatic changes for the PvE aspect of the game.  If any reader can think of ways that the PvE game influenced the PvP game in reverse, please comment.  I’m racking my brain on that one.
  • And, then there is Mr. C. Christian Moore.  Sometimes, displays of ignorance speak for themselves.  This is one of those times.  Make sure you read the comments after his article I linked at the top.  If I ever let loose with the kind of platitudes about PvP of the sort therein concerning PvE – I hope someone will put me down.  My advice to Mr. Moore is along similar lines – stick to writing and commenting about PvP.

A parting thought:  Clearly there is a great divide between people who play the game for PvP and those for PvE as this change so clearly demonstrates.  Recently, I have seen and heard a great deal about leveling almost exclusively through the Random LFG tool.  It makes you wonder if one day there will be a similar divide between solo play and group play in the game.

That’s it though, I’m out.


3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

The amount of ignorance/arrogance in CCM’s statement “just run up and tank it” left me aghast. I wanted to post something in the comments section on wow.com yesterday but couldn’t work myself down to write anything coherent. Your comments nailed it for me, thanks!

Comment by Maritime

I guess I’m not seeing why everyone is getting so worked up about Moore’s random ideas about Prot nerfs. They’re very clearly dumb, Blizzard is not going to reduce the stun durations or the silence effects, and the Prot tree is not getting a complete redesign. People post asinine suggests about nerfing this or buffing that all the time. Why all of the uproar about this guy’s off-the-cuff pipe dreams?

As to the PvE vs. PvP divide, I completely agree with you. The game has evolved to the point that the only way out of this bind is ritual suicide. I do not envy GC’s team when this sort of crap has to be addressed with every single proposed class change.

Comment by Juzaba

[…] Comments Nerf News (or, in case you missed it) « Tanking for Dummies on The nerfing will not be televisedGuthammer on The nerfing will not be televisedDroog […]

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