It’s getting closer every day. I haven’t seen any outright confirmation of the date for a while, we’re still running on the announcement that S4 will end that day. I will just assume that this means it’s the big day, so on with the show of changes every protection warrior should know about for 3.0.
I have covered a lot of changes to existing abilities, today I want to talk about brand-new stuff we’re getting. The new stuff we are getting is completely changing tanking as we know it, I tell ya.
Let’s start from top to bottom in the protection tree.
Not new at all, but new in the protection tree is Imp Thunderclap. No more having to spend 8 points in Arms, now you can stop once you have Parry 5/5 and grab your imp TC in the protection tree.
The first new ability, albeit passive, is Incite in the second tier of the protection tree. At max rank it will increase your crit chance from Heroic Strike, Thunderclap and Cleave by 15%. Not bad at all! You should use Thunderclap all the time anyway, Cleave is great on AoE pulls and Heroic Strike will continue to be your rage dump. Remember, it’s better to use Heroic Strike in high rage situation for extra threat and DPS than to sit at a full rage bar all the time.
Vigilance is the new 31 point talent, down there where Shield Slam used to be. As an aside, Shield Slam is now a core ability that every warrior will have. It’s seen a lot of changes in the beta, many warriors didn’t find it useful, but in its current form it will be quite lovely, for both 5-mans and raids. Have an aggro hog in your group? Maybe that warlock over there? Reduce the damage they’ll take when they inevitably snag aggro, plus have 10% of their threat go to you. Now that’s huge. The refreshed taunt when they get aggro is just a nice bonus, the threat transfer is the big deal.
At tier 8, we have another new passive ability, Safeguard. It reminds me of Improved Taunt a lot (which btw no longer exists). If you use Intervene so much that you need a damage reduction for your Intervene targets, then you have a threat problem, IMHO. I think a lot of people will skip this one.
I already introduced you to Warbringer in my last countdown posting, as old ability re-done, but it’s actually a new ability on tier 9, along with Critical Block. More Shield Slam crits are awesome, so I think every deep protection warrior will want to get that one.
On tier 10 we have Damage Shield. You take damage or block? Hurt all those whapping on you. On the PTR it hit for about 100, it can crit, imagine Thorns, just hotter.
The ability that will change the way we tank forever is deep in protection as well, and it’s Sword and Board. Dezdemone over at Will Tank for Healz described it best. We will no longer have set tanking rotations to keep up for maximum TPS. Instead tanking will become reactive, based on priorities. You will always want to use Shield Slam above everything else, then Revenge, then Devastate. Every use of Revenge and Devastate can refresh the Shield Slam cooldown. You can use Shield Slam a lot, it’s pretty awesome. Train yourself to forget about rotations, learn to prioritize. I am using Mik’s Scrolling Battle Text and it already comes with a lovely Sword and Board warning, so that you won’t miss a proc, as the sound effect and visual for proc’ing is underwhelming (looks like you’re popping the Auto-Blocker).
The big new ability we get is Shockwave. It’s the 51 point talent in protection, so you have to go all the way to the bottom of the tree to get it. Part of our new AoE repertoire, this ability is as much fun to use as Charge is. Charging at a mob is fun. Using Shockwave, getting this fun sonic sound effect and big numbers on your screen, that’s awesome too. For extra fun, go berserker stance, pop Recklessness, and then Shockwave. Bam bam, crits everywhere! As this is a cone effect, it will take some practice to aim correctly. In my experiments with huge throngs of mobs in SMV, it immensely helped to take a step back before using it, so that every mob is in range of the cone. Practice it, have fun, enjoy the fun of AoE grinding! The cooldown is a bit too long for my tastes, and make sure to not use this right at the beginning of a pull, because the stun can hurt your rage generation.
A lot of the new stuff we get is directly to make us able to AoE tank. Grab mobs, have Damage Shield hurt them and help with threat. Thunderclap with no target cap, Cleave with increased crit and Shockwave them for additional fun. This combo is so addictively fun and plays very different than what you might be used to.
In my next countdown article, I will talk about changes to raiding that will come with 3.0.2.
Please see also:
- Countdown Part 1: How you can become def-capped again
- Countdown Part 2: Abilities scaling with AP and SBV
- Countdown Part 3: The Emperor’s New Clothes, old abilities revisited
- Countdown Part 5: Raid Changes and those other classes