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?

Mar 24 2010

3.3.3, now with 100% more Revenge

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Originally, I had wanted to post a rant about protection warriors this week, and how tanking in ICC-10 has been so far, but yesterday’s patch changed my tune. Instead of ranting I am going back to being bubbly and excited about prot warriors.

I didn’t have time to play yesterday and had a lot of issues with the loading screen boss, but I managed to run VoA with my shaman and then test the warrior changes.

As quick summary, here are the changes that affect protection warriors:

  • Revenge: Damage done by this ability (base and scaling) increased by 50%.
  • Thunderclap: This ability now counts as a ranged attack, granting it double damage on critical strikes instead of 150% and ranged miss chance, and still cannot be dodged or parried.
  • Improved Revenge: This talent can no longer trigger a stun, and instead increases damage done by Revenge by 30/60% and causes Revenge to strike an additional target.
  • Vitality: Now boosts Stamina by 3/6/9%, up from 2/4/6%. Strength and expertise benefits have not changed.

Now, I don’t love every change. I am still torn about Improved Revenge. It kicked ass in the one heroic I ran yesterday, but this will do absolutely nothing for prot warrior DPS on bosses. Admittedly, the old Imp Revenge didn’t either as 99% of all bosses were immune to the stun. But it would have been nice to get something like that.

So how does this play in action? I queued up for a random with some guildies last night and we got H Halls of Lightning. First thumbs up: I was finally able to break 40k health unbuffed, sitting at 40.8k now. This is a big deal for me as I had been hovering at 39k for weeks now, well behind the other tanks in our guild. Yay!

I lost aggro to the pug warlock on maybe two pulls, the rest was smooth sailing. Damage was definitely up for me, hitting 3-4k most pulls. Revenge hits like a truck, like a huge truck. I think I giggled a little when my crit tracker displayed the delicious line: New Crit Record! Revenge hits Loken for 10383! Yes, you read that correctly, it broke 10k multiple times on that run. Now imagine this with full raid buffs. Muahahaha. The cleave effect of Revenge was also pretty nice, and will definitely help in heroics and AoE tanking. But it’s not enough to make us stop spamming Cleave and Thunderclap.

Last night I felt pretty awesome tanking. Zipping from group to group happily. I love Charge and Warbringer, it’s the ability I miss most on my paladin. Nothing will ever beat Charge.

I am not sure if I’ll tank or heal in ICC-10 this week, but I think the changes will not really affect my raid tanking DPS much at all. I will still be FAIL on Festergut, a fight that I really hate. When it’s not my turn to tank, I am in Battle Stance, lolrending, applying sunders and waiting for my turn. The buff to Revenge won’t do anything for me in that fight because the mechanics won’t allow Revenge procs. We will still be the weakest class to bring in that fight.

We are still struggling on fights in the Plagueworks, often held back by our DPS output, and so every little point of DPS I can add matters.

TL;DR summary: Revenge hits like a truck, Imp Revenge is a lot of AoE goodness, heroics DPS definitely up, so bring back Revenge to your action bars. How this affects raid DPS remains to be seen, but it’s a good change. Let’s go kick some ass now. :)

Filed under : patch, talents | 13 Comments »
Apr 16 2009

Prot warrior dual specs for 3.1

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Dual specs have arrived, though the implementation is still a bit buggy. My primary talent tree, my DW build, claims that I have only spent 50 points in prot, and did not pick up Devastate. Funny how I still have Shockwave and Devastate both in my spellbook. I am sure this will be fixed very soon (maybe a bugfix patch next Tuesday).

But what are our options at the moment? This pretty much depends on if you are planning on being main tank for new content or if you happen to have an offtank role most of the time.

As MT, three options are currently floating around:

  1. Deep WoundsA threat spec: 15/5/51 This is pretty much cookie cutter as it gets. You spend points in arms to get to Deep Wounds, which allows easy AoE threat, as Damage Shield will crit and put Deep Wounds DoTs on most of the mobs whacking on you. On average, this ability does 7-10% of my total damage on bosses. This is a great spec for heroics, trash tanking and farmable bosses.
  2. Shield WallSurvivability: as example I will use the one I chose for myself: 5/10/56 Important parts here are full points in Improved Demoralizing Shout, Improved Disciplines and the Shield Wall glyph. I might pick up the Last Stand glyph as well, ensuring that you can use both Shield Wall and Last Stand multiple times on long boss fights, for more survivability. This build depends a bit on the new glyphs becoming available soon, but we’ll see.
  3. Unrelenting AssaultDPS: what Deep Wounds was for 3.0, the exciting new threat spec, the new UA spec might become for 3.1. It’s a highly situational tanking spec with more points in Arms than Protection, and is built around Unrelenting Assault in the Arms tree. Your basic attack will be Revenge, which causes a lot more damage and should be available most of the time. The spec was first tested by the venerable Veneretio, and now Ciderhelm has posted one of his video guides about it. If you are a 25-man MT, this sounds very unusual and interesting. The DPS mentioned sounds fantastic. However, as my personal focus is 10-mans, I will likely never ever spec into it. We just don’t have the possibilities to supply all necessary debuffs to a boss in such a small group setting for raids. But nevertheless, it sounds like a very interesting spec choice, and shows the full power and flexibility warriors now have thanks to dual specs.

As offtank, you will probably want to use the second spec a bit differently. There will always be fights that are one-tank encounters. I don’t know about Ulduar, but Naxxramas-10 has a few encounters where a second protection warrior is a bit of dead weight. Heigan and Loatheb come to mind, as well as Sapphiron, Thaddius after the two other mobs are dead, etc. As offtank, it just is handier to spec into a DPS spec as second spec. Ideally, one that allows you to provide utility, like the Trauma debuff, Imp Demo Shout, Commanding Presence, etc. Of the four level 80 warriors we have in my guild, I know two will be choosing Arms as their second spec (which was pretty buffed with the patch). I know very little about warrior DPS trees at this point, but a) I am trying to wrangle a guest post out of my friend Shaeldre who plays Arms and b) I am working on a completely new leveling guide and will level as Arms and test Fury as well. Watch this space. :)

Got any other tanking specs you are trying? Got some crazy ideas? Let me know. Now is the time to try new specs!

Filed under : talents | 19 Comments »
Apr 14 2009

3.1 through the eyes of a prot warrior

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It’s going live today, how exciting. All raiders are probably chomping at their bits to set foot into Ulduar. Casuals will flood the Argent Tournament. Dual-specs will turn out exciting for most everyone, I assume. 3.1 is the biggest patch to date, Blizzard says.

But what’s in it for protection warriors? Let’s have a closer look. I will be listing all the stuff that seems relevant to me as a prot warrior.

  • Defensive Stance: Now reduces damage caused by the warrior by 5% (previously 10%). That’s a flat increase in DPS and threat for us, so that’s a pretty awesome change.
  • Soloing fury warriors get a buff, as berserker stance makes you take 5% more damage instead of 10%. Everyone in battle stance gets 10% armor penetration now. As there are more changes to armor penetration, it really seems that Blizzard is trying to make this actually useful.
  • Last Stand: Cooldown reduced to 3 minutes. This is pretty awesome again, because it means we can fully macro Last Stand+Enraged Regeneration now and really save our butts every 3 minutes. With the Glyph of Last Stand you can push that cooldown to 2 minutes, which will probably a huge lifesaver in progression fights in Ulduar.
  • Warbringer: Now also allows Intervene and Intercept to be used in any stance. Can you see us zipping around non-stop? I can. That’s some insane mobility.
  • Mobility is the name of the game for Arms warriors as well now: New Talent: Juggernaut: Grants the warrior the ability to Charge while in combat. Critical strike chance of next Slam or Mortal Strike increased by 100% following Charge.
  • All flasks now last 1 hour. To compensate, all flask recipes will provide 2 flasks for the same material cost. This is actually great for me as casual raider. We raid for 3 hours per raid day, which means I am no longer wasting away an hour of flask time while fishing.
  • Increased the health granted by the Flask of Stoneblood. I still think it’s a terrible flask compared to the TBC tank flask. An avoidance or threat stat along with the health wouldn’t have hurt.
  • Added new recipes for epic gear, found rarely on Ulduar bosses. These recipes are unbound and can be traded. Those blacksmithing plans are pretty amazing, item level 226, and as they only drop in Ulduar 25, prices on the AH will be astronomical, once raiding guilds have handed them out to all guild blacksmiths.
  • A new recipe has been added to cooking trainers for making Black Jelly, using several Borean Man ‘O War as ingredients. While it looks disgusting, it restores more health and mana than the highest level food. Less time spent eating means more time to do stuff, so I approve. It does prove that fishing and cooking always go together. *flexes her new fishing 450*
  • New glyphs for tanks:
    • Glyph of Barbaric Insults: Increases threat on Mocking Blow by 100%.
    • Glyph of Enraged Regeneration: Your Enraged Regeneration ability heals for an additional 10% of your health over its duration.
    • Glyph of Last Stand: Now reduces the cooldown of Last Stand by 60 seconds. The penalty on maximum health gained has been removed.
    • Glyph of Shield Wall: Reduces the cooldown on Shield Wall by 3 min, but Shield Wall now only reduces damage taken by 40%.
    • Glyph of Shockwave: Reduces the cooldown on Shockwave by 3 seconds.
    • Glyph of Spell Reflection: Reduces the cooldown on Spell Reflection by 1 second.
    • Glyph of Vigilance: Your Vigilance ability transfers an additional 5% of your target’s threat to you.

    The best of the new glyphs all enhance our survival abilities and will certainly be worth a consideration for progression tanks.

  • Damage Shield: Fixed a bug which caused this ability to benefit from Recklessness. Aw, dang. :)
  • Improved Revenge: This talent will now increase the damage done by Revenge by the proper amount. I am hoping this means it will do more damage now, not that it did too much in the past. Anyone know?
  • Last but not least, the two most amazing and useful changes ever: Loot from clams now stacks correctly! Changed the icon for Succulent Clam Meat so it doesn’t look quite as disgusting. Now 100% more succulent! Thank you Blizzard, clam lovers across the world bow to you. >.>

And now a quick look at my dual specs. I am a dedicated tank, and while DPS possibilities are huge for warriors now, I will be going with two different tank specs. My first spec is going to be my current Deep Wounds build. I love the TPS I can do with this build. As possible second spec I am contemplating this build. It goes down to Commanding Presence in the fury tree, for more health with CS. Also picks up Piercing Howl which should be a boost for add tanks. I’d also pick up Imp Demo Shout and Imp Spell Reflect, and go with the survival glyph, to be optimal for boss fights.

How about you? Now’s the perfect time to share warrior builds! :)

Mar 04 2009

My take on dual specs

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With 3.1 on the horizon, everyone in the WoW blogosphere appears to be talking about dual specs. It’s the latest rage. To my huge surprise, the naysayers are currently seemingly outweighing people looking forward to dual specs. The argument appears to be that it will make hybrids insanely powerful and popular, and that pure DPS classes will be left in the dust. As a casual player and raid leader, I do not agree with this view.

For small, casual guilds, the change to dual specs will allow easier filling of raid rosters. Let’s take my last raid. I has slotted myself for healing, but the slotted main tank turned out to be sick. I brought Kadomi to the raid instead, at the cost of having our retribution paladin spending gold on respeccing and enchants so she could heal instead of DPSing. With the change to dual spec, she could have switched with one-click, saved herself the re-glyphing, it would have been a little more pleasant. Now, this particular retribution paladin used to be a healer and that’s why I felt confident in slotting her for heals instead. To think that any hybrid can fill all roles however is utopical.

My other half is playing a feral druid as main, to tank. With dual specs she wants to try giving balance a shot for lazer pew pew chicken action. I wouldn’t dream of scheduling her for any raids until she’s actually geared up properly and has her rotations down properly. It’s a great option for one tank fights to provide extra DPS, but it will take practice. No one should expect anyone who’s picking a second spec for a different role to be immediately good at it. If I have the choice between a fire mage who’s played the spec in many raids and the balance druid who’s usually a tank, the fire mage will always win.

If people want to take the opportunity to play around with different specs now that they can, great. I have no intention of dictating to people what kind of spec they need to raid. I actually did that once, because I thought we didn’t have enough DPS, and it didn’t work, because people don’t play well when they don’t enjoy a specific role. If people offer to fill several roles and I have first-hand experience that they can, I will always lean towards letting them do their favorite role.

As for pure DPS classes, how awesome are dual-specs for you? Hunter who always wanted to try survival but loves their exotic pets? There ya go. Rogues who want to be all about mutilate, but want to be a lolstepper in Wintergrasp? Huzzah. Frost mage for soloing, frostfire in raids? Sounds tasty. Warlock who loves felguards, but kinda wants really kick-ass DoTs on the side? I could go on and on.

Cheer up, folks, it’s going to be great. For hardcore progression guilds nothing will change, other than hybrids not having to spend respec between encounters much. For casual guilds, you will eventually have a larger pool available to fill specific roles, if people are so enclined. I know that in my guild just about everyone is saying ‘Can’t wait for dual specs!’ at least once a day.

Kadomi is going to get dual specs. 15/5/51, my current spec, for maximum threat on trash and farmed content. 5/13/53 for Imp Demo Shout, Piercing Howl and Imp Spell Reflect, for progression fights. I was briefly toying with the idea of goings Arms or Fury, but heck, I do sufficient damage solo, and I do not want to be a DPS warrior in raids. I want to tank, stat.

For further views about dual spec, good or bad, check out other blogs around the blogosphere:

So, tanks of the world, what are your plans for the second spec? Join the club of dedicated tanks picking two different tanking specs? :)

Filed under : talents | 19 Comments »
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