Tanking for Dummies

Thoughts on Loosing Block
October 19, 2009, 12:57 pm
Filed under: Analysis | Tags: , , , , ,

Tanks are loosing quite a few stats in Cataclysm, replaced by “Mastery.”  It has been confirmed or implied that we won’t be seeing defense on gear anymore, or hit and expertise, or even dodge and parry.  I, for one, won’t miss too much the vagueness and obfuscation that such stats can bring to the tanking process, but I do think that there’s some important questions to be asked about the fate of Warrior tanks given the demise of a certain key stat: Block Value.

It’s easy to forget just how many prot abilities figure in to that one little stat so let me remind you.  Shield Slam’s bonus damage is figured off of your Block Value.  Shield Block’s effectiveness is, needless to say, directly linked to how much you block.  Damage Shield’s damage is a percentage of your block value.  And, of course, the damage blocked when you block is determined by that number.

Come the next expansion, however, block value is gone as a stat, period.  When you block the damage mitigated will be percentile based, which is good in my opinion.  However, it begs the question of what will be the fate of these other linked abilities.  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that damage and threat would be greatly reduced if nothing is changed.  But what possibly should take it’s place?

Shield Slam to me seems fairly straightforward, the block value can be made up by increasing the contribution of Strength to the damage.  Seeing as there is already a certain amount of double-dipping going on (since Strength also contributes to Block Value), finding the right co-efficient would keep things very similar to the way things are now.

Shield Block and Damage Shield are a lot more tricky.

Damage Shield, for one, has always struck me as kind of stop-gap for Warrior threat.  It helps with our AoE threat, but now that it is loosing the ability to proc anything (most notably Deep Wounds) it seems to me to be increasingly extraneous.  Worse yet, it penalizes warriors for having high avoidance.  Now, avoidance is going to likely be pretty standardized come expansion time, but I think many headaches could be avoided if the talent was dropped entirely and a flat boost given to Thunder Clap and Shockwave to boost Warrior AoE threat.

Shield Block’s issue is more one of repetition.  We do not know what mechanism is going to determine the amount of damage reduced by blocking, but unchanged Shield Block’s mechanic looks very similar to another Warrior ability, namely Shield Wall.  The primary difference, in this case, is Shield Wall works for all damage, and Shield Block, presumably, works for only physical damage.  Were it not for the tendency of the need for cooldowns and physical damage being so often related (I can think of one fight where large hits of magic damage were the problem worth mitigating, that being Sarth 3D), I think this would be fine.  However, since that is the tendency, I can feel the nerf-bat hanging Damocles-like over us waiting for a chance to strike.  In the interest then of avoiding this sort of duplication, allow me to recommend to Blizzard an alternative use for Shield Block, or the cooldown that would normally occupy it’s slot:

Give us real magic damage mitigation cooldown.

I don’t care if you have to throw Spell Reflect to the dogs to do it, it’s useless anyway.  By contrast, something that has the effectiveness of, say Anti-Magic Shell would get used all the time.  I can’t help but feel that trading, say, two cooldowns of questionable utility for one of great utility would be a fair trade.

But that’s just me.


I miss my 4-Piece Tier 8 Bonus Already
September 9, 2009, 12:01 am
Filed under: Analysis, Gear | Tags: , , , ,

Monday night I lost my favorite bonus.


If you’re unfamiliar with the awesomeness that is 20% reduction in Magic Damage let me assure you that it has probably been the most utilized set bonus I’ve ever experienced.  I only had it for a few weeks, but the capacity to live through huge magic hits (or to simply make my healer’s job easier) is pretty awesome.

Needless to say, despite the fact that I replaced my Conqueror’s Siegebreaker Greathelm, I’m still keeping it around for certain encounters.  This is hardly an exhaustive list, but let me run by a few “must haves”:

  • Ignis Trash.
  • Ignis (Rounding up Adds, or Ignis Himself)
  • Assembly of Iron (Particularly if going for Hard-mode)
  • Malygos
  • Sartharion 3D
  • Lord Jarraxus
  • Most of Heroic Nexus
  • Most of Heroic Occulus

I am sure I will find more uses as time goes on.  Of course, this will lead to situations where I will find myself saying “Crap!  I don’ t have my 4-piece bonus anymore!”   As I can’t remember a set bonus in the past having that kind of effect on me, I feel pretty sure that is an indication of something.

That something being this needs to be an innate part of the Shield Block ability.

This isn’t exactly something revolutionary.  Warriors have been clamoring for greater ability to reduce magical damage ever since Death Knights and their Anti-Magic abilities proved how useful they are.  In addition, this seems to me like it should be an easily implementable, as it already exists as an option for Warriors in the first place.

Perhaps this is wishful thinking about a subject I’ve mused upon before.  I don’t exactly have a stellar record of compelling Blizzard to buff my favorite class.  But seriously, is this so much to ask?  I’d give up Spell Reflect for it in a heartbeat.