Tank like a girl
Oct 07 2008

Countdown continued: 7 days to go

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Today I’ll continue with my countdown, to get everyone up to speed about warrior changes and what you need to do to prepare for the patch. If Blizzard can make it happen, we should see the patch deployed next Tuesday, but of course this might change.

In my last posting I was talking about how warrior abilities and talents are changing to scale with Attack Power, and how important Block Value is now. Today I will talk about about further changes to warrior abilities we’ve had forever, and how the new protection warrior will have more access to abilities in all stances.

I’ll begin with a classic protection warrior ability: Taunt. Note the change? I have to admit this one took me by surprise. 20 yard range Taunt. In their effort to bring all four tanking classes together (I’m already counting DK), they’re giving similar abilities to all classes. Paladins were the only ones with a ranged taunt, now warriors have received it as well, and so have druids. I can definitely see lovely uses for this. I was often frustrated by the range-limit on Taunt. If you remember the gauntlet to the final boss of Mechanar, it was too easy to have the Destroyers dash past you and get the frustrating ‘Out of Range’ message for taunt.

In a similar vein, we now have an additional Taunt-like ability available to us in Defensive Stance: Mocking Blow. This is currently only available in Battle Stance. What does this gain us? Added flexibility in 5-mans and on trash. Taunt resisted? Hit with Mocking Blow instead without having to switch stances. I have to admit I never really used Mocking Blow much, I usually hit Challenging Shout if I get a Taunt resist and the mob keeps wailing on the healer.

Another ability that will no longer require stance dancing is Berserker Rage. Fights with a fear component like Nightbane will be hugely simplified, and you now have a button that will let you generate additional rage in a pinch. Rage starvation might be off the table for real.

If you choose to go deep into the protection tree (and why would you not if you’re a dedicated tank) you’ll end up with a brand-new talent, Warbringer. Now that’s hot stuff. So much added mobility in-fight, and rage. I always envied druids and their handy feral charge, but hated the rage loss too much to switch to zerker for Intercept. Now we can use Charge whenever we feel like it, and it’s so much fun. If you’re a warrior and you don’t love Charge, then I don’t know what’s wrong with you. ;) Additionally, I think it’ll allow protection warriors to near be unstoppable in PvP, due to the removal of snares.

All of the listed changes will make tanking easier. Maybe too easy? Our class has been made simpler, and I know some old-school warriors are not happy about the changes. I am. I think we might probably see more protection warriors around to enjoy the fun factor that tanking will have. Despite all the changes making tanking easier, I still think there will be plenty of challenges out there.

Update: WordPress managed to eat yesterday’s post somehow, so I am using the opportunity to add warrior abilities I actually forgot about:

The new Intervene has a lovely change: 10% threat reduction for the target you Intervene on. Together with the new Vigilance, that should help keeping the super aggro-hogs in check.

Cooldowns were changed for some of our strongest abilities. We will be able to use the Oh Shit buttons more often! Last Stand‘s cooldown has gone down to 5 minutes, Challenging Shout‘s cooldown was chopped by 7 whole minutes, bringing it down to 3 minutes. We’ll be able to use it all the time! The most drastic cooldown change has happened to our 30 minute abilities Shield Wall, Retaliation and Recklessness. All three abilities now have a cooldown of 5 minutes. Shield Wall has been nerfed slightly, and will reduce 60% instead of 75% damage, but considering you’ll be able to use it consistently now instead of reserving it for special encounters, it will become part of our repertoire more often. Retaliation and Recklessness saw slight changes as well: Recklessness gets you three guaranteed crits when using special abiliites, as opposed to ‘most attacks’ and Retaliation will now counterattack for 12 seconds, 20 attacks as opposed to 15 seconds, 30 attacks. Still, excellent stuff.

In my next installment, I am going to talk about the brandnew stuff protection warriors are receiving, as opposed to all the changes to existing abilities that I have talked about so far. Fun stuff.

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