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?

Oct 13 2009

TPS revisited

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Here we are, in 3.2.2, the next big content patch is on the horizon, and I have wanted to talk about the changes that 3.2 brought to prot warriors for ages. I just never got around to writing it.

What’s changed? Devastate has, that’s what. Previously basically the support ability that let you stack 5 Sunders with a threat bonus, Devastate is now almost back to the role it had in TBC. It’s made a huge comeback in our rotations when its weapon damage was increased to 60% plus an additional bonus damage of 20% per stack of Sunder Armor. This makes Devastate one of the top 3 damage abilities of a protection warrior, and is usually only surpassed by Heroic Strike and Shield Slam for me.

Wartotem over in the ever knowledgeable realms of Tankspot has created a DPS/TPS spreadsheet that does the number crunching for us.

The results:

Devastate now tops Revenge easily when it comes to both threat and DPS. It’s even better when you have the 2pc T8 or 2pc T9 bonus. Or both. It’s also stronger than Concussion Blow and Shockwave, but those 2 produce more damage than Devastate.

What does this mean for our rotation?

Priority has shifted to:

> > >

On bosses, Shockwave and CB will continue to provide greater DPS despite not stunning the boss. Revenge has fallen to the bottom of the priority list, but is still the ability with the best rage to threat ratio and does more damage than Dev. This makes it very valuable in low rage situations, e.g. when running heroics. In unlimited rage scenarios filling any Shield Slam cooldown time with Devastate will be more successful as far as threat is concerned.

This also means that I would not recommend the Glyph of Revenge anymore, as Glyph of Devastate is a lot better. The faster you get your Sunder stack to 5, the more threat you can frontload. This is especially important in such threat-sensitive fights as Malygos, Hodir and Twin Val’kyr where your DPS will receive big damage buffs.

I highly recommend everyone who’s remotely interested in numbers to plug their stats and talents into the spreadsheet and then have it all laid out there. Good stuff.

Mar 20 2009

G13 re-visited

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A little over a month ago I first mentioned that I was the proud owner of a G13 now. It’s been a little over a month now and I thought I’d share my impressions of it.

First off: relearning muscle memory is hard. I never thought it’d be so hard. When I ran my first instance with the G13, we wiped several times until I rebound everything and went back to the old way. Then I ran H HoL with it, and again, it was pretty painful. But I kept at it, trying to learn. My basic layout is to have the center row as 1-7, with the thumb buttons bound to Shift and Alt. This allows me to use modifiers for the center row, so that’s 21 buttons right away. The top row is 8-0, Tab-Target, ß (which is next to 0 on German keyboards), my health pot and healthstone keybinds. All abilities that are staples are bound to easily accessible keys. Devastate on 3, Revenge macro on 4, SS on 5. These abilities are hit by ring-finger, middle-finger, index-finger respectively, which is very comfy. Taunt is on 2, Charge on 1, both hit by the pinky.

G13 Keyboard Profile

Now, the big lesson I learned is that muscle memory lets you know where you have all the abilities you don’t use that often, but which are still important. I was in trouble. I had trouble remembering where Taunt was. Getting used to the thumbstick made Shockwave positioning not so great. Challenging Shout, where art thou? Ouch, where’s Shield Bash in a pinch? My friend Kaylexanna definitely confirmed that my AoE threat was down the toilet, so I did what I had to do and went back to the regular keyboard. However, I know that won’t be forever. I use the G13 for solo play all the time. It’s just me working on muscle memory now.

On alts, like the retribution pally I recently leveled to Outland level, it’s super-awesome. If you start with a fresh character, the G13 will come naturally. Also, a wonderful side benefit for a keyboard player like me: you stop being a keyboard turner. Completely. It just breaks that habit real quick. If you look back to when I started my blog, it was something I struggled with, but now, I mouse turn, all the time. It’s faster, and I really feel it makes me a better tank. Especially on such encounters as Loken, Anub’rekhan, Heigan, turning with the mouse is a huge advantage.

As for the display, I find it helpful. I don’t use the RSS feature, though I guess I could add WoW bloggers to make it more exciting than my current news feed. ;) The WoW display is kinda pointless, I have other tools to see my durability and character stats. Same with the whisper alerts. The Ventrilo app is pure win though, I can finally see who speaks on Vent, when people join, my ping, good stuff!

My final verdict is that the G13 is a great piece of hardware. If you are a dedicated keyboard player, it’s definitely worth it. If you are currently a clicker, the learning curve might be a bit much, and it might not be enough to break the habit. Keyboard turners who are looking to change their ways, the G13 is gold.

As next investment, I will likely go for a 5-button mouse, because that will add even more flexibility to an already powerful combo.

Filed under : geekery | 9 Comments »
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