Tank like a girl
Nov 02 2010

Button mashing in 4.0.1 (or not)

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I actually managed to raid on Kadomi this last weekend, rawr, so now I feel confident in making some observations about warrior tanking in 4.0.1.

Throughout WotLK, our basic TPS priority got moved around quite a bit. You basically used the highest TPS abilities as they were available and kept mashing Cleave on multi-mob pulls and Heroic Strike on single-target mobs. Now what those abilities were changed from patch to patch, as abilities were changed.

But now it’s 4.0.1 and we have new threat values. Porcell over at Tankspot sorted it out with Satrina’s threat addon, so this is the gist of it:

(Note: All values verified build 4.0.1 (13164))
*Battle Shout _______________ 20 (modified) + 5*Rage Gained (not modified) (total split)
Blood Craze _________________ 0.50*Healing
Cleave ______________________ damage + 30 (split)
*Commanding Shout ___________ 68 (modified) + 5*Rage Gained (not modified) (total split)
Concussion Blow _____________ 2.00 * damage
Demoralising Shout __________ 41.6 (split)
Devastate ___________________ damage + 315 + 5% of AP
Enrage (Bastion of Defense) 1
Heroic Strike _______________ damage + 28
Heroic Throw ________________ 1.50 x damage
Rage Gain ___________________ 5 per rage (stance modifier is not applied)
Rend ________________________ damage only
Revenge _____________________ damage + 7
Shield Bash _________________ 60
Shield Slam _________________ 1.30*damage + 231
Shockwave ___________________ damage only
Slam ________________________ damage + 100
Spell Reflect _______________ damage only (only for spells aimed at you)
Social Aggro ________________ 0
Sunder Armour _______________ 395 + 5% AP
Thunder Clap ________________ damage only

Numbers. Crunchy numbers. Math is hard, so what does this mean in practice? That nothing much changed for us at all.

> Heroic Throw

Well, doesn’t that look almost exactly like the priority we had back when Wrath was released? Ayup! Only change appears to be that it’s now worth weaving Heroic Throw into the mix for TPS instead of simply for pulling. If you use Glyph of Heroic Throw, you even apply a Sunder stack with it!

Devastate doesn’t do that much damage at the moment, so it falls back to the bottom of our priority list. It’s the basic filler if other abilities are not available, as long as you keep your full stack of Sunders up for debuffing. The change from 5 stacks to now 3 completely went past me, but it’ll definitely help getting those 3 stacks up fast and then focus on our big abilities.

Not included in the priority are two abilities: Heroic Strike and Rend. First, HS. This ability is not tied to the Global Cooldown, so should be used in any situation where you are sitting above 50-60 rage. Which is surprisingly often. But it has a shared cooldown with Cleave now, so gone are the days where we always button mashed something. Now you will have moments where none of your abilities might be available. I am finding that it’s just as hard to untrain yourself from button mashing (or in my case mousewheel rolling) than to learn how to button mash in the first place. Overall I approve though, because button mashing is never good design.

I did not include Rend either. As orc having a talent called Blood&Thunder seemed incredibly appealing, but ultimately, it falls short. It’s an AoE talent that is currently not well-designed. In AoE situations in Generation WotLK, you do not have the time and leisure to charge, Rend, Thunderclap and Shockwave. In that time you will already lose the first mobs, unless your group is extremely patient. On top of that, Rend ticks for so little, and has no innate threat. My non-crits are 300ish, crits are 700ish, and that just doesn’t pan out that well. So I waved bye-bye and went with Incite, and in our Halion raid boggled at delicious 12k Heroic Strike crits. Yeah, I think I got the better end of the deal. I might spec back into it for tanking while leveling, but at the moment I shall repeat my sounds of MEH all over the place. General consensus seems to be that Rend doesn’t quite work for us at the moment. It will be interesting to watch what happens to this talent or ability.

As final remark, I actually had a blast raid tanking, and did not feel that warrior threat was weak at all. On single tank mini-bosses I had to stop using my priority and stick to debuffs or my threat was going up fast. On Halion himself (I was Twilight tank), I was pleasantly surprised that no one was close to me threat-wise. When we were working on LK pre-patch, I had a harder time with threat than I had on Halion, where Vengeance gave me such a solid threat lead. I am not unhappy in that respect at all.

So how do you guys like the ‘new’ non-button mashing warrior? I am still befuddled by the overall lack of change to the class, am I the only one?

20 Responses to “Button mashing in 4.0.1 (or not)”

  1. gravity says:

    I’m still mashing buttons because I’ve just not got muscle memory right!


    Kadomi Reply:

    Yeah, I know. Still mashing as well. Reaaaally trying hard to stop Cleave/HS spamming. We’ll get there. :)


  2. Casz says:

    Good I am not the only one still mashing but thanks for the numbers now I got my priority right, superb!


  3. Saga says:

    I’m still trying to get used to having those brief moments of time when there’s nothing I can push. And I keep wanting to spam devastate, so trying to learn not to.

    I have a feeling that we do really good threat in raids, but that we fall a bit short in Heroics. I can only assume because we outgear them and don’t get as many stacks of vengeance, coupled with trigger happy dps who barely let you take a step forward before they start using AE.
    Saga´s last blog post ..A Guide to Warlock Raiding


  4. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Kadomi, Gameldar. Gameldar said: RT @Kadomi: New blog post: Button mashing in 4.0.1 (or not) http://bit.ly/duBeYT [...]

  5. Everblue says:

    My take on it is that heroic strike is so good that it takes prio over everything except shield slam and revenge.

    My prio list is therefore
    shield slam > revenge > heroic strike

    This means I’m hitting devastate to apply and refresh sunder armour, but not otherwise unless everything else is on cooldown and I’ve got loads of rage. I am basically spamming heroic strike still therefore (hitting it every 3 seconds instead of every 1.5 seconds). I do find though that I’ve not got unlimited rage any more so with that rotation I only use stuns to mitigate damage rather than cause threat.

    Similarly as fury I’ve dropped slam from my rotation because I want to hit heroic strike every three seconds and I don’t have the rage to do that and to hit slam. My prio list is therefore:

    raging blow > bloodthirst > heroic strike
    Everblue´s last blog post ..Red


    Zellviren Reply:

    The role of Heroic Strike is actually quite compelling and I’m glad you’ve touched on it. We’re now looking at choices regarding what you hit with the rage you have available, and a very compelling case can be made for hitting Heroic Strike instead of other buttons in the queue because you will get more damage and TPS out of it.

    Particularly if you’ve got Incite and War Academy, then you’re looking at Heroic Strike actually being used far more frequently than merely “when you have the rage for it”.

    I’ll do some testing this evening on the beta, I think.


    Everblue Reply:

    Thinking about it though, devastate allows Sword and Board procs. With shield slam being currently massively overpowered at high levels of vengeance, I wonder if we should have two rotations – a low vengeance rotation in which we basically drop devastate, and a high vengeance rotation in which devastate is needed to proc shield slam and so takes prio over heroic strike unless you have enough rage to do both. This will depend on how shield slam scales once the nerfs hit, but at 85 there may be a tipping point over which devastate is better than heroic strike.
    Everblue´s last blog post ..Red


    Zellviren Reply:


    Also, don’t forget that Devastate will scale better due to it being based off weapon damage instead of pure AP. I was only talking about 4.0.1 prior to Cataclysm because, come endgame and a slow one-hander, we’ll see Devastate come into its own again.


  6. Ladina says:

    I am really torn with the warrior changes. Starting any pull is horrible. Either I get control of the mobs and I have the rage I need to work or something goes wrong and I am standing there with nothing hitting me and I can do nothing until my cooldowns start to come up. I hate it.

    Once the fight has started, especially on bosses, everything settles down and I have the resources I need to work. I have no threat issues unless it is pulling off the off tank.


  7. Emerassi says:

    “I am still befuddled by the overall lack of change to the class, am I the only one?”

    I feel similarly, there were talent changes, mastery, vengeance, new glyphs, etc. but almost no change on how we actually PLAY! The new threat mechanics don’t seem to change anything except re-inserting conc blow into our rotation exactly where it was before ICC came out >.<

    Hopefully Heroic Leap at 85 will be fun at least. Although I would totally have voted for a Reviving Shout!

    P.S. I would not recommend using heroic throw at melee range. The reason for this is that it resets your swing timer, meaning that you've just pushed back your rage gain from your next melee (and the damage of that attack as well)!


  8. Maritime says:

    I moved HS and Cleave so that I had to retrain my muscles. Looks like I might still need to move Devastate, but with only a month left before we start pushing to 85 and have everything change again, its probably not worth it.

    I’ve got to say that I have a hard time imagining a time where I’d ever take Blood and Thunder as Protection. Maybe if I could glyph Heroic Throw to apply Rend… It looks more like something an Arms PvP warrior might take as an alternative to Toughness on the way to getting Gag Order.


    Emerassi Reply:

    Blood and Thunder is actually an excellent talent for low level prot warrior. I had a level 20 or so warrior tricked out in heirlooms who was capable of pulling over 200dps in SFK. And rend was consistently either first or second for most damage.

    It is unfortunate that it scales so poorly =/


  9. Maritime says:

    Oh yeah, I’m not at all befuddled by the limited changes to us with Cataclysm, since the WotLK changes were so right on the money.


  10. brusacco says:

    still trying to get use to it here, still moving all my buttons around. :(
    brusacco´s last blog post ..Cataclysm- Justice Point Drop Quantities


    Diraan Reply:

    Have you thought of picking up a slow DPS weapon? with hs and cleave now not relating to swings and thefacr that rage is bassed off weap speed i have found that using Gutbuster for heroic tanking makes rend and dev. much more worth the button push. in icc and RS i will still use the good ol tanking weaps but for heroics having a weap with twice as much damage is helpful to make rend and Dev (both having there damage scale with weap damage) not terrible, and possibly even worth the effort. I’d love any feedback with a bit of numbers associated if anyone has it. also with Gutbuster equiped i seem to only loose .2% avoidance and 400 ish hp. i’ve heard that pallies are back to seeking 102.4% total avoidance and would love to know if there is a magic mark simalar for us warrior types. thanks for all the posts and Rock on Girl


    Emerassi Reply:

    The magic mark for warriors is similarly 102.4%. That means, parry% + dodge% + block% + 5%(base miss chance) = 102.4%. Its pretty hard to achieve currently.

    Paladins have it easier because their equation is parry% + dodge% + block% + 5%(base miss chance) + !*15%*!(from some shield mechanic that uses holy power for 15% chance to block) = 102.4%. So they get a 15% bonus that we don’t.

    I don’t recommend trying to reach 102.4% avoidance, but I do recommend reforging for mastery. It helps to reduce the RNG. Healers can really notice the difference.


  11. Crazynut says:

    Really confused by the comments not to spam Devastate. Obviously other abilities have priority over it, but I still fill every global while tanking. Why? Sword and Board procs. It just does not seem worthwhile to be sitting there doing nothing when I could be hitting devastate to proc a possible Shield Slam for mega threat.


  12. Stephen says:

    Forgive me, I hardly know the names for things, I just hit the shiny icons on my screen.

    I know since Cata hit, I have changed up my rotation a bit. Since hitting 85 I Herioc Leap in usually, hit shield block, shield slam which if done right after shield block has much increased damage thereby shooting threat way up, I have gotten as high as 20K damage on this, thunderclap, then a shockwave while the enchanced damage is on from the clap. Using the stun period I slam cleave and sunder to get the stacks on. I save herioc throw and my threats for postioning mobs into the right spots.

    This may not be the best way as you get them stunned pretty quick, but it seems to be working so far. I have to adjust depending on party makeup when someone uses MC, and sap etc, I obviously cant cleave or do any AOE, but trust me it is better to do single target threat in the heriocs at least when you start.

    Devastate, I hardly use other than to apply sunder back to targets, but even then I try to use sunder/cleave since it generates threat. Devastate has become almost useless to me except when I am questing. It was a sad day having to rearrange my toolbar to move devastate.

    Now I will say this depending on group makeup and the instance your in, do not be suprised at the DPS you can do. I was tanking regular Tol Vir last night and was overall in the instance 3rd in DPS at around 6K DPS, and not on bosses I was doing 8K DPS. I actually stopped to ask the team what was going on, I am not used to seeing my numbers that high. It was a good feeling and I did not lose threat on anything throughout the whole instance.

    By the way just found this blog and I love it.

    Sigvarth 85 prot warrior, Grizzly Hills Proud Tauren Warrior.


  13. Stephen says:

    Hmm, I just reread what was all posted and I have forgotten about sword and board, that could increase my threat, hmm will try that when I get home today.


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