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?

Feb 02 2010

Another month, another patch

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Patch 3.3.2 is rolled out on the US realms today, and the EU realms tomorrow. Normally I don’t post about patches much, because there’s tons of sites out there who cover it better than I could, but as there are a couple protection warrior changes coming to us, I need to evaluate how this will impact my playstyle.

  • Concussion Blow: The damage done by this ability has been reduced by 50%, but its threat generation will remain approximately the same.
  • Devastate: This ability now deals 120% of weapon damage, up from 100% of weapon damage.
  • Shield Slam: The damage scaling from block value for this ability now diminishes faster and diminishes starting at a lower block value. The difference should be negligible for players in high-end tanking armor. In addition, the threat caused by Shield Slam has been increased by 30%.
  • Warbringer: This talent no longer allows Charge and Intercept to break roots or snares. Intervene remains unaffected.

Let’s look at them one after the other.

1: This will mean CB will likely be pushed out of my rotation and will be relegated to its previously use in TBC: to be used as stun and interrupt on trash or encounters such as Assembly of Iron. I don’t need it to supply threat, I used it for doing damage.

2. Another damage boost to Devastate means that I can pretty much ignore Revenge beyond a certain rage level. Revenge will still deliver the best rage to threat ratio, so at the start of an encounter, in heroics, or in situations where you rage-starved yourself, it’s useful. I am sure people will run threat parses soon, but Devastate spamming sounds more and more attractive.

3. I actually have no idea how this will affect me. It’s not like I have huge amounts of SBV stacked, or ArP in my tanking gear, so I have to test the numbers. At least it will be more threat. Let’s just hope the Devastate buff will compensate overall.

4. This nerf makes me sad, because it cuts into our PvE utility so much. It was incredibly useful in heroics and just felt right to me. Thank you Arena. Not.

As far as other non-warrior changes go, heroics will be simplified across the board, which still makes me long for a heroic heroic switch that must be hidden somewhere in the game. Blizzard, please, if you should ever read my words, remember that there are people out there who don’t mind tough 5-mans. Don’t make me mourn TBC heroics forever and ever.

Furthermore, Toravon will be added to Vault of Archavon and Friends, meaning another opportunity to receive T10 gear without spending hard-earned frost emblems. This means I will have to try to run that every week now, rar.

Oh, and some dude called Lich King will be available as final encounter of Icecrown Citadel. Or so I have heard.

What are your thoughts on the new mini-patch?

Filed under : patch, theorycraft | 18 Comments »
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.

Aug 27 2009

The gear myth…and other shocking revelations

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When I posted about my guild’s progress in Ulduar this weekend when I was all bubbly and excited, I soon got a downer that really aggravated me. A comment was left cheering the badge changes, making such progress as we had this weekend possible. I resented the implication then and I resent it now. I realize the comment was not meant to denigrate our success as a result of patch 3.2 alone, but it sure sounds like it. I hate pats on the back, but really adore genuine congratulations.

Gevlon, the probably most…hated is probably not the right word, but certainly the most contentious WoW blogger out there, was out to prove that skill > gear, and his guild did that by clearing Ulduar-10 wearing nothing but blue gear.

Impressive feat, isn’t it? And it certainly shows that knowing your class, skill in playing in is a lot more important than any gear upgrades.

Now, I won’t lie, I have received upgrades recently. Let’s look at them in detail.

  • New helmet. Effective gain: 5 strength, 65 armor, 10 defense, 70 parry, 54 hit. Lost 27 stamina.
  • New bracers. Effective gain: 25 stamina, 56 armor, 2 defense, 27 parry, 39 hit. Losing 2 strength, 19 dodge.
  • New chest. Effective gain: 36 stamina, 32 strength, 107 armor, 153 block value, 4 defense, 60 parry. Losing 47 dodge, 38 block.
  • New gloves. Effective gain: 40 stamina, 9 strength, 66 armor, 17 defense, 56 dodge, 49 hit. Losing 43 parry, 30 expertise, 1 socket.
  • New ring. Effective gain: 26 stamina, 34 parry, 26 expertise. Losing 2 strength, 25 defense, 4 dodge.
  • New cloak. Effective gain: 9 stamina, 4 armor, 38 defense, 32 hit. Losing 12 dodge, 21 expertise.
  • New trinket. Effective gain: 15 stamina, plus a frequent armor proc.

Summary: Gained 10 strength, 298 armor aka a damage reduction of 1.76%, 46 defense rating aka 9.35 defense skill, 148 parry rating aka 3.27% parry, 99 stamina aka 990 health, 174 hit (essentially not important for a warrior tank). I lost 25 expertise rating aka 3 expertise (which hurts a lot more than gaining hit outweighs) and 26 dodge rating, aka .57% dodge.

The most dramatic change is the amount of parry. But this is because Blizzard is pushing parry as a stat, when it previously was the redheaded-stepchild of avoidance stats that no one was actively gearing for as you got the lowest bang for the buck.

Parry and dodge are essentially the same for me now, when previously I had a lot more dodge. I phased out more dodge gear in the last couple weeks. I phased out pretty much all of my T7. Looking at the cold numbers I see that my gear improved, but not so dramatically. My avoidance evened out to include another stat. I was able to re-gem because of extra defense, for more effective health. I did not gain dramatic amounts of armor that would suddenly make me take tiny hits.

Gevlon is right when he says all of us are too focused on purples and numbers. I know that a few of our raiders have been grinding heroics for badges every day. Some haven’t at all. Some got maybe one upgrade. Extra mana, attack power, crit, haste, spellpower, they’ll have helped us, sure! But coordinated damage on elementals, focusing on Detonating Lashers and switching to Eonar’s Gift on Freya is not accomplished by gear. The players behind the wheel do that.

The previous week we did not get Thorim down because we had gazillions of adds in the arena and were overwhelmed before the gauntlet team cleared the Ancient Runegiant. Arena was no problem this week, because we had an excellent melee team, including our extremely skilled paladins. On Saturday we did not get Thorim down because adds would kill the gauntlet healer or someone would die in Shockwave. This has everything to do with skill (in this case I failed at picking up adds) and intelligently responding to things like fire/voidzones/poison/shockwave/all sorts of other crap. On Sunday we had two battle resurrections available because we had two druids, so it’s also a question of composition.

Maybe the ultimate revelation is that my guild runs gear requirements, and there are certain limits that you should have reached for raiding, but the most important delimiter for me these days is experience. Earn experience in Naxx, learn to acquire skill, rock the house.

For more thoughts about this, check out what Gravity has to say, and RJK.

And now it’s time to lean back and to find out if Tobold really turns out to be Gevlon, which would be just as shocking as the Ferraro scandal.

Apr 08 2009

10 Things all protection warriors should know

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This is information for patch 3.1 and not completely accurate anymore. I am currently in the process of updating this for 4.0.1

It’s day 2 of the 31DBBB challenge, and today’s task is to write a list post. I am going all out here and think big, so I shall try to come up with 10 things all protection warriors should know, if you ask me. Most items are old hats and just recycle known concepts, but my goal is to deliver concise information in one list. Credit goes to the many posters at Tankspot, Veneretio, Durnic, and commenters over in this little blog. :)

  1. Build threat based on priorities – Do not make the mistake of using a set rotation. For ideal TPS, choose your next ability based on its priority: Shield Slam > Revenge > Concussion Blow > Shockwave > Devastate. However, keep in mind you want 5 sunders on bosses. Confused? This flowchart hopefully makes more sense.
  2. Use your selfheal – In tricky situations when your health dips low, use your selfheal. What heal? Enraged Regeneration. Before you use it, make sure that you also use all health increasing effects first: Commanding Shout, trinkets like Repelling Charge, Last Stand. The higher your max-health, the more health will be returned. If you need numbers, Last Stand and Enraged Regeneration will restore 39% of your health in 10 seconds. Hot!
  3. Defense is our best avoidance stat – If you are building an avoidance set, don’t be shy with going well beyond 540.
  4. Parry is our weakest avoidance stat – Don’t bother with gemming for it. Parry will come naturally with gear, but dodge and defense are superior.
  5. Expertise is our strongest threat stat – If you are building a threat set, expertise will provide you with more threat than hit in most cases, plus it will add additional survivability once you have reached the parry cap.
  6. Intervene for fun and profit – With the advent of Warbringer, there are many fun options for this overlooked ability.
  7. Devastate is for support – The old role of Devastate was to be used as main ability of any protection warrior. Devastate spam was the preferred method of prot warrior DPS (if you can call it that). In WotLK Devastate threat is inferior to most of our abilities, plus it does subpar damage. Use it to provide a full sunder debuff for your physical DPS and once that is up only to get S&B procs.
  8. Faster weapons are better for tanking than slow ones – Faster weapons allow for more Heroic Strikes, which in high-rage situations should be used every swing. More Heroic Strikes = more DPS you contribute + additional threat. Slower weapons have higher Devastate damage, but that is insignificant compared to our other stronger abilities (Concussion Blow, Shockwave, etc.)
  9. The pull matters – Be smart about pulling. You don’t need to blindly charge into every group, even if you can. Use Heroic Throw to pull casters. Use of line of sight is still appropriate. Cluster your groups. Bring all ranged mobs into your melee range using your various abilities. Do not Shockwave until you have a cluster all nicely lined up. A good place to test basic clustering involving large pulls is dead-side Stratholme. Heroic Throw one Guardian, charge the other, Shield Bash, move towards the other. Clustered? Shockwave. Excellent for practice.
  10. Do not leave the house without glyphs – Apply glyphs based on what content you run. Heroics are trash-heavy, so you would use other glyphs than a raider does. Inform yourself about what glyphs are relevant, e.g. here or here. In case of the latter post, make sure to read the comments for different perspectives, and a perfect proof that you should base your glyphs on the content you run, and not generalize. I learn from mistakes. ;)
Feb 18 2009

WotLK Hit Caps

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Back in the day, Blessing of Kings had this lovely overview of hit caps for TBC. Rohan didn’t update it, and so my one-page reference for all questions regarding hit to point guildies at was gone.

Which is as good a reason as any to start my own compilation. Here we go, your ultimate list for hit ratings. My thanks go to the editors of Wowwiki and various class forums to help fill my blanks.

Spell Hit:

The unmodified spell hit cap without any modifications is 446. Various talents will modify this value. In all cases, you can take off 1% (27 rating for spell casters) if a Draenei is present in your party, due to Heroic Presence. Furthermore, you can take off 3% (79 rating for spell casters) if a Shadow Priest provides the Misery debuff or a Balance Druid provides the Improved Faerie Fire debuff.

Modified values:

Physical Hit:

The unmodified physical hit caps without any modifications are
Dual-wield auto attack: 886
Special attacks and auto-attack: 263

Various talents will modify these values. In all cases, you can take off 1% (33 rating) if a Draenei is present in your party, due to Heroic Presence.

Modified values for special attacks:

I was unable to find any modifier for paladins and feral druids, so their cap for special attacks is 263.

Because it bears mentioning, two additional values:

26 expertise (about 214 expertise rating at level 80) to negate a boss’ dodge chance,
60 expertise (about 492 expertise rating at level 80) to prevent parries

Find any errors or inconsistencies? Speak up!

Filed under : theorycraft | 30 Comments »
Feb 06 2009

Just say no to Parry Gems

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I am a dedicated fan of jewelcrafting. I wouldn’t want to do the profession, but gem sockets make me happy. Gear with sockets makes me squee. Blacksmith sockets for bracers and gloves are scrumptious. Eternal Belt Buckles are a must.

Back in TBC, gem sockets were boring. Socket bonuses sucked for the most part, so you gemmed stamina gems into every socket you had, at least at my level of raiding.

Nowadays, in WotLK, I usually gem for the socket bonus. There are lovely gems out there, for all three socket colors. You definitely want to use red and blue gems for the meta gem of your hat. Surely you will want to wear one with a meta slot. A while back Durnic posted a great article on tank gems. I totally stand behind it, that’s the gems I am going for, it’s very solid stuff. Haha, solid, gems, get it? ;)

As I ramble on, I come to my point. What is up with parry gems and why does anyone use them? I have no explanation for it. A gem I keep seeing on tank gear is Glimmering Monarch Topaz. Parry and Defense. Let me tell you the reasons I don’t understand such a gem choice.

  • The number one reason is that parry is the weakest of all avoidance stats to gem for. 49.1 parry rating provide 1% parry at level 80. This gem provides you with 8 parry rating. You would need 5 more of those gems for 1% parry. A drop in the bucket, water on a hot stone, it will not make a difference.
  • If you think this is a good gem for the defense, it provides exactly the same defense rating that you would get if you used an Enduring Forest Emerald instead. You get the same defense benefit, but your effective health goes up as well.<
  • But Kadomi, I want to gem for avoidance, you might say. Then do so. Thick Autumn’s Glow gives you 16 defense rating, almost 4 points of defense skill. Defense rating is by far a superior avoidance stat to parry. 4.9 rating grants 1 defense skill, and 25 defense skill give you 1% dodge/parry/block/miss. I don’t do math (much) but Veneretio excels at it, so if you want avoidance, check out how good defense is.
  • Of course the other reason for using this gem might be that you need a red gem, for the socket bonus or for a meta gem. If that’s the case, the parry/def gem is still a poor choice, as Guardian’s Twilight Opal is a much better choice for red sockets. It provides delicious threat and stamina. For those of you who want to see numbers, 32.8 rating grants 1% less dodge/parry for mobs whacking on you. You want to hit the dodge cap at least, as tank (213 expertise rating).
  • The last possible argumentation could be that you are gemming because parry offers avoidance plus threat. You don’t get hit and the remaining time on your current swing is reduced by 40% of your weapon speed. Sure, parry has a threat component, but please re-read the part about expertise. Both hit rating and expertise are stronger threat stats than parry by far. This means parry is the weakest avoidance stat to gear for, and also the weakest threat stat.

I think that’s some very good reasons to not use a parry gem. Like ever. You might wonder why Blizzard actually has them in the game, but parry is a lot stronger for other classes. I think. I still don’t understand Death Knight tanking at all, that’s something I’ll have to try sometime, but I think they’re parry-based. Educate me, death knights of the world.

Dec 31 2008

Warrior priorities

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Back when 3.0 came out, I wrote a post about protection warrior DPS, stressing the priority of Shield Slam > Revenge > Devastate. As Veneretio points out, that has not turned out to be the real priority. If you’re sticking to that, because that’s a lot like our old rotation used to be like, you’re gimping your TPS and your DPS. You have to use your whole arsenal of tricks to compete. Just because a boss is immune to stuns does not mean you have no reason to use Concussion Blow and Shockwave as they will still cause the damage, it’s only the stun component they are immune to. Use them, whenever you can.

I personally find myself a bit limited by the overload of abilities and the global cooldown, based on my personal skills. There is so much going on that I do not find the time to use Heroic Strike often enough, aside from the free one that comes from my Revenge glyph. I could gnash my teeth at all that extra sweet DPS I am tossing out the window. That is definitely something I need to work on.

Thanks Vene, for once again offering food for thought. :)

Filed under : theorycraft | 9 Comments »
Nov 05 2008

Prot Warrior DPS

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The title of my current post would have been pretty lol-worthy just a couple weeks ago. It took some exceptionally geared warriors in DW fury gear to top the charts with Devastate spam, but all in all protection warriors were considered a liability on all one-tank fights and provided little utility aside from interrupts. That’s what made feral druids so very attractive as off-tanks, the ability to provide DPS in a pinch.

But things have changed, and it’s not unusual to see the main tank really up there. In my last raids, I have been number 3 in ZA several times, and was number 2 for our last Kara run, with a DPS high of 751 on Maiden (where I provided the highest damage on that fight). In 5-mans, I usually top the DPS by a good margin or end up second at least. A couple posts back I be-moaned the lack of the threat mini-game, but you know, I am liking the DPS game by now. I am not an exceptional tank. I know my stuff, but what I do every tank should be capable of. I am not running around in T6 or insane SBV gear sets.

And yet, I see protection warriors who are not doing so great on DPS since the patch. Protection warriors of the world, hear my words: don’t be satisfied with being lowest DPS as in the old days. You can put out competitive DPS and still tank like a star.

The single target rotation:

Here’s where the first mistake happens. Forget about the rotation of the past. Push it from your mind. Remap your keybindings if necessary. Don’t think in SS -> RV -> DV, DV anymore. That rotation is dead. If you still use it like this (and my fingers will still wander that way at times), you are sacrificing DPS and ergo threat. The threat you don’t notice at the moment, but by the time 80 rolls around, the threat game might see a comeback.

Instead you must prioritize. A good sequence would be to pull, Charge, Shield Slam and then take it from there. If Revenge lights up, great! Use Revenge every time you can and Shield Slam is on cooldown. Getting a Glyph of Revenge is an absolute necessity. If neither Shield Slam nor Revenge are available, Devastate. Watch for Sword&Board procs, you don’t want to miss them. Seriously, I mean it. If you are not keeping an eye on procs, you are not playing in the most optimal way. Being a protection warrior is not about the perfect threat rotation anymore. It’s become a lot more reactive.

Priority:

Shield Slam > Revenge > Devastate

After every GCD, you quickly need to check which ability you should use next, and still weave in stuff like Shouts, Thunderclap, Cleave etc.

Addons can be a great help when it comes to being aware of cooldowns and procs. I highly recommend Mik’s Scrolling Battle Text for awareness of S&B and Revenge procs. It comes with triggers for warriors without having to set anything up. I moved the static area for cooldowns to the center, to be more aware of them (though no cooldown popped while I was taking screenshots).

Works great. Another addon I love for keeping track of class-related buffs and debuffs is Classtimer. In the latest version it will track both Glyph of Revenge and S&B. At a glance I can see when it’s time to reapply Shouts, TC, and other such things. I use the All in One bar, but you can freely place timer bars for yourself, target and focus.

The AoE rotation:

Veneretio has posted about this not too long ago, how to approach AoE tanking and the best ‘rotation’ for that. I won’t repeat what he’s said, go read it yourself! :) He nicely illustrates what you should do to build threat on multiple targets without sacrificing survivability skills. His overall point is that we should remember we’re tanks, not DPS and do our part. I agree with this, but also think that if you disregard your damage output, you’re doing your group a disservice.

I basically use the same abilities he describes, but make sure that my primary target gets Shield Slammed whenever the ability is available. If you have rage, there is no reason why you shouldn’t add Cleave to the mix. Do not neglect your defensive abilities, but do not forget your offensive options either. Concussion Blow does great damage now, and minimizes your damage taken, e.g.

At the end of the raid when I look at my abilities, Shield Slam is the vast bulk of my damage output, at 25-30%. This is followed by white damage at 13-15%, Revenge with the same percentage, and if there were a lot of trash pulls, Thunderclap and Damage Shield are usually up there as well.

If Shield Slam is not your top damage ability, then you’re not reactive enough. If your white damage far outweighs any other damage you do, then you really should try to step it up. Our new priorities for ability use should be clearly reflected in the damage breakup.

In the end, it’s not about topping the meters. Successfully tanking and keeping mobs away from the raid while staying alive is still the highest priority of any protection warrior. Providing good DPS is just another perk we’ve received in 3.0 and it would be a waste not to use it.

Oct 05 2008

Countdown continued: 9 days to go

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Well, look who didn’t post like she said she would. If you checked back yesterday, my apologies, I got carried away stockpiling herbs and watching cheesy movies. But I am back today!

In the last countdown entry, I was talking of what you can do to keep yourself uncrittable until WotLK post-patch. Today I will start looking at protection warrior changes. Our whole concept of tanking has been overhauled. Formerly we were all about avoidance and mitigation. This made soloing tedious and considerably slower than for other classes. Many compared druid soloing to warrior soloing, and they were lightyears apart in terms of DPS. Warriors, welcome patch 3.0, hug it warmly, we get what we wanted, and even more!

So what exactly is changing? Currently we are building our threat mostly through abilities with innate threat. The classic threat rotation of protection warriors uses Shield Slam, Revenge, Devastate, plus Heroic Strike as rage dump. None of these abilities do a lot of damage, though Shield Slam is okay. This will change with the patch. Threat will scale directly with the attack power we have, and every single ability I have listed will do quite a bit of damage. In some cases we might actually give the DPS a run for their money.

Let’s compare the big 3:

Shield Slam in 2.4.3 does 420 to 440 damage, modified by block value. The new and improved Shield Slam does 549 to 577 damage, modified by block value. This is a nice change. Which becomes a lot bigger when you realize that our tanking gear will be changed to fit the new tanking concept, gaining strength. Strength directly improves our block value (2 strength per 1 BV in 3.0), so get ready for amazing new Shield Slam crits. My highest on the PTR was 3.8k, and I have heard of 6k crits on level 70 warriors. You can imagine what this much damage does for our threat. You got it, awesome things. For soloing, you will always want to use the Auto-Blocker or Coren’s Lucky Coin. Or both if you have them, they stack!

Fitting right into this concept is the new Shield Block. This ability is changed forever, they work completely differently. It’s going to take me a while to get used to it. Our current Shield Block has a 5 sec cooldown, increases our chance to block by 75% and is popped every cooldown on bosses to keep us from getting crushed. The new Shield Block has a cooldown of one minute and increases our chance to block by 100% for 10 seconds. Mini Shield-Wall! A new ‘Oh Shit’ button. But on top of the Oh Shit effect, the new Shield Block will increase our block value by 100% in those 10 seconds. Savor this. Use Shield Block, use the Auto-Blocker, Shield Slam to the face. Aaaah. This is going to be excellent macro material.

So, block value is going to be huge, that’s covered. How do Devastate and Revenge fare? Very well, I dare say, very well! Devastate has seen a couple changes in the beta but is currently back at applying 50% of the weapon damage plus 56. This is a damage improvement from the current form on live, where it’s 50% of the weapon damage plus 35. Revenge has seen a huge increase in damage, and it now scales directly with Attack Power instead of a set amount of damage. It’s going from 414 to 506 damage to a scalable 855 to 1045 damage, each of the values modified by AP * 0.207. You won’t trigger it with Shield Block reliably, but I have still seen it available a lot on the PTR, and it’s just a joy to behold the kind of damage it does.

But that’s not all. We are getting another old classic protection warrior ability revamped to actually do damage! I am talking about Concussion Blow. The current form stuns a target for 5 seconds. Which mostly makes it an ability to use on Trash as bosses are immune anyway. The new and improved Concussion Blow stuns a target for 5 seconds and does 0.75 * AP damage. Prepare for four digit Concussion Blows, I kid you not. Which you can still use in boss fights, even if they’re immune to the stun they will still take the damage. That is definitely an ability you want to start using every cooldown.

Let’s talk about another pimped ability: Thunder Clap. The non-talented version does 184 damage up from 123, but the most important part? No target cap! The talented TC will increase the damage by 30%, and we get a talent to improve our crit rate for TC, Heroic Strike and Cleave called Incite, which is going to be a must in every prot build.

Speaking of Heroic Strike and Cleave, their damage output has been increased as well, making our rage dumps hit quite a bit harder.

We all might have to re-learn how to gem and enchant our gear, for maximum threat we’ll want as much strength and attack power that we can get our hands on.

In my next install in the countdown, I’ll talk about more warrior abilities that are changed in 3.0 to make our tanking lives easier and more fun.

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