- Difficult to get starting gear - For most people, it's hard to get started as a tank. Gearing is an issue, because some tanks (DKs, warriors and paladins) need specific tanking gear, while even the leather tanks still generally use different stats to some degree, different enchants, different weapons for tanking than DPS or (especially) healing. This is a problem the gearing changes in Warlords should really help with.
- Where can you learn it? - Tanking requires a different skill set from DPS or healing. While proving grounds exist, they don't really teach the most important part of being a tank - reacting to other players. It can be hard as a new tank to walk into a dungeon having never done it before. That leads into the third difficulty of picking up tanking.
- Dungeons don't provide any sort of experience right now - With the wildly disparate gear levels on people running random dungeons, you can have a tank in 450 gear trying to hold aggro off of players in 580 gear. While it can be nice to be the tank in 580 gear, even you might have trouble when groups don't cooperate, run ahead of you, pull mobs half way across the zone, and generally simply refuse to act like any kind of groups at all. This is something I'm hoping the gear squish and ten levels will do away with - we'll all basically be on the same page when Warlords dungeons are being run.
Filed under: Warrior
In addition to new stats, there are the abilities each tank will see affected by readiness to consider. There are also Draenor Perks for each tank spec, granted randomly as we level from 90 to 100. There are changes in what abilities exist, in what specs get them. Vengeance is gone, replaced with Resolve, buffing our self heals and absorbs. In short, while the basic idea remains the same - generate resources via attacks to spend on damage reduction in one fashion or another - how we go about it, how it interacts with us has so many changes that it's worth discussing in length. There's so much change coming in that I don't pretend I'll catch all of it, which is why we have comments, after all.
So what do I expect to see out of tanking coming 6.0? It should be noted, this discussion is based on the Warlords alpha patch notes and such datamining as I've looked over, and I freely admit I only tank on one class, so while these are general observations I may be missing key class specific factors.
The solution being implemented here is to overall increase tank DPS without an unreliable mechanic like Vengeance adding different attack power depending on how much damage the tank takes. This also removes the temptation for tanks to deliberately take more damage in order to get Vengeance stacked up faster. So Vengeance is gone, and Resolve is implemented. How does it work?
- Resolve improves self-healing and absorbs done by the tank to the tank (so no, it won't buff priest bubbles) based on the damage taken (ignoring avoidance and mitigation, same as Vengeance now) within the last 10 seconds, and your Stamina. This means stuff like Death Strike, Shield Barrier, things of that nature. If you cast a heal on someone else, Resolve won't buff it.
- Each tank class' tanking mastery will now add 12% attack power, and the amount of attack power will scale with mastery as well. This is in addition to current affects, not replacing it - your tanking mastery will do what you're used to it doing, it'll just also do more.
- Brewmaster monks will no longer deal less damage. That 15% damage penalty? Gone.
The section of the patch notes detailing the change is, as always, behind the jump.
I started this column on June 15th, 2007. It has run continuously, one column a week, since that time. No one else has ever written a single The Care and Feeding of Warriors but me, and I have never missed a week. That's because, when I started this job, I had one goal - to tell you all how much I love playing a warrior in World of Warcraft. How awesome warriors are.
It's 2014. A lot has changed in my life and in the game but one thing has not - I still love playing a warrior in World of Warcraft. I've loved the class through my days of PvP and through every raid in the game. I've loved them through being the least popular tank, through being underpowered and overpowered, through every mechanical change and system. I was here when Titan's Grip was announced. I was here when we got, and lost, and got Heroic Leap. I have played this class since 2004, and I have written about it since 2007.
I'm going to keep playing a warrior, of course - I have like five max level warriors at this point, I'm not likely to stop now. And I'll keep writing about warrior news as it comes up. But this column you're reading now will be the last weekly The Care and Feeding of Warriors, the last time I sit down and write what has been a part of my weekly routine for more than six years now. There were many ways I could have chosen to end it - we could have done a retrospective column, going over my favorites from the past several years. I could do a big "This is what I hope for the class in Warlords" post. (I expect I'll be doing that in a different format anyway.) But this is the end.
So I'm going to end it the way I started it - I'm going to tell you a story.
So I was going to talk about something else, but then there was this little press event and we got a look at new level 100 talents for warriors. And so, we're going to be talking about them for a bit. Because when you get a look at entire new talents you kind of have to discuss them. The most interesting thing to me is the departure of Blade Barrier and the change to Extreme Measures. I asked Celestalon about it, and here's what he had to say.
@MatthewWRossi As shown at BlizzCon, talents can be spec-specific. Ignite Weapon is for Arms/Fury. Gladiator Stance is in that spot for Prot- Celestalon (@Celestalon) February 21, 2014
All in all it's pretty tantalizing, and perhaps they're further along than I would have thought - it seems more likely to me now that a beta is a month or two away than it did before I saw the video.
Edited to add - The folks at MMO-Champion posted two more videos from the same source, Korean webzine Inven. You can watch them here and here.
Thanks to Mintie for the tip.
I got to do some tanking in Heroic Siege this week - nothing major, just offtanking on Dark Shaman - and it was pretty fun all around. I'd forgotten how much I enjoy tanking in raids. It was fun to get to see the Warrior 2 piece Tier 16 tanking bonus in action in a current raid at the cutting edge of content, instead of in an LFR or using it to solo Cataclysm raids. It's a very solid set bonus, and I'm going to write more about it in the future - basically, I think it should be baked into the baseline Shield Block and Shield Barrier abilities, or perhaps be baked into Shield Slam in some way (so that, for ten seconds after a successful Shield Slam, you heal a percentage of your Shield Barrier absorb or Shield Block damage prevented, as one possible example) - but I'm not quite ready to write about that yet.
Now, as I said, I've been using my tank set and prot spec to solo Cataclysm raids, up to and including the first three bosses in 10 man Dragon Soul. It's not always easy, but it is possible, and the reason I've been doing this is because I freaking love transmogrification, and therefore, I've been pursuing it with a fevered dedication that has completely robbed me of bank, void storage and even bag space. I've wanted to write about transmog and warriors forever, but I felt such deep shame at letting Cable, the mutant son of Cyclops and Madeline Pryor, write about it first. I mean, I'm so in love with transmog that I started a tumblr about it.
So let's talk about transmog and warriors. (If you're not interested in transmog, you should probably come back next week.) Why do I argue that warriors do transmog better than anyone? Well, here's a few reasons.
I'm going to tell you a story.
I recently spent a coin and got a pair of heroic warforged DPS shoulders. And yet, they are currently in my bank. Why is that? Because using them will cost me almost 2% critical strike chance, and I simply cannot afford it, instead sticking with the non heroic, non warforged shoulders that do have critical strike chance on them. And that, in a nutshell, is exactly what's wrong with warrior design right now.
See, I like crit. I think crit should be good. But it shouldn't be so good that nothing else can compare - that the heroic warforged pieces (a solid 19 ilevel better, when both are fully upgraded) simply cannot come close to competing. I current have two heroic 2h, but only one of them has crit. So I have to use a normal mode offhand rather than (again) a heroic upgrade. When you start to realize that all you're doing is piling crit on top of crit - and that something as seemingly simple as an upgrade can be massively higher in ilevel and still not be an actual upgrade - it starts to become maddening.
Sincerely, I love worgen. They're just behind draenei for Alliance races, and probably my third favorite overall after tauren. Sometimes I like them better that tauren, like after watching The Howling or An American Werewolf In London, two of my favorite movies. And yes, I am playing a worgen hunter with a worg pet and a worg pup. I also ride around on a worg mount sometimes. All worg, all the time.
Q4TQ: How long do you think it'll be till we see what the new PVP gear will look like for the upcoming season?
The Alliance PvP gear for the new season looks like the Horde gear did this season, and vice versa. You can see it on the PTR right now.
Those nay-sayers will be happy to hear that this change has been reverted. Instead, Pummel will be on a shared 15-second cooldown with Disrupting Shout. So, if you Pummel, that will mean your Disrupting Shout is put on a 15-second cooldown, and if you use Disrupting Shout, your Pummel will be put on a 15-second cooldown. The purpose of this change is to make warriors less disruptive to casters -- the same as the purpose of the previous change to Charge, but Charge is a far more difficult ability to alter in the proposed way. Lore gives the example of Charge onto a target with Hand of Freedom active, and there are several other issues that may arise. While this change is superior for PvP, it might have a larger impact on PvE warriors than the previous Charge nerf.
With the changes to CC going forward, in Warlords, it would be no surprise to see this CC change return. But Lore says they don't have time right now... does this mean the new season and patch 5.4.7 are imminent?
Last week, I wrote about tanking as a new 90. The week before that, we discussed arms warriors. This week, I'm going to cover fury, the two weapon berserker spec. I was considering writing this column in character as an orc warrior, but let's be honest - orcs in World of Warcraft don't fit the stereotype of monosyllabic dullards that would be funny. Let's look at some classic orc warriors.
- Broxigar - dude could talk your ear off.
- Saurfang - even worse. Dude does whole speeches about honor and the cost of victory and it's all depressing and sad. It's been years since Saufang has said anything as cool as "I am he who watches they. I am the fist of retribution. That which does quell the recalcitrant. Dare you defy the Warchief? Dare you face my merciless judgement?" And even that is way too eloquent for the "me orc, me smash" stereotype.
- Garrosh Hellscream - that dude writes entire letters to people telling them exactly how much he hates them. I'm totally not kidding.
Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Care and Feeding of Warriors, the column dedicated to arms, fury and protection warriors. Despite repeated blows to the head from dragons, demons, Old Gods and whatever that thing over there was, Matthew Rossi will be your host.
Last week, we covered arms. This week, we're covering protection. Like last week, this article assumes you just leveled your first warrior to 90, but it can also be useful for someone who's played a warrior for a while but who never tried tanking on her. If you're unsure about giving tanking a try, I can understand why that would be - it's a lot of pressure, it's fairly gear dependent and you may not have it yet, and most of all it's often expected that a tank will be leading a dungeon run, which can be daunting if you're unfamiliar with a dungeon. Frankly, I always found raid tanking preferable to PuGging, but I still tanked PuG's and I had a few tricks for how to establish myself when doing so.
- It's okay to admit it's your first time or that you're new at something. Even experienced tanks don't always know the specific dungeon they're about to tank very well - if you're a new tank and you're feeling uncomfortable or unsure, go ahead and say so.
- Even if you're comfortable with your class abilities as a tank, but are unsure about boss strategies, see #1 - often someone in the dungeon will be happy to explain to you what you should or shouldn't do.
- Avoid the two extremes of 'tank megalomania' and 'tank doormat' - don't be an egotist who makes the tank run all about him or herself, and don't let yourself be walked over by players who deliberately make your life harder. Also, be cognizant of gear discrepancies when evaluating your own performance as a tank - if you're in 463 blues and the guy pulling threat is in Heroic Warforged gear, cut yourself some slack. You're simply not going to be able to do much against over one hundred ilevels in his favor.
- Be cognizant of the healer. I know that you want to run and pull more stuff while you have a full rage bar. Believe me, I know how it feels. But if your healer is undergeared and needs a break, let them have it. It's good to get in the habit of paying attention to your healer's mana - believe me, healers will tell you when you can run and pull like a fiend.
But let's get to the actual process of tanking - how do we play as protection?
It's easy to forget what it's like to hit max level for the first time on a given class and have no idea what you're supposed to be doing. After months of playing your main at 90, you get a kind of muscle memory as to what to do - you hit the buttons without thinking about what they are or what they do, it's nearly instinctive due to the familiarity you have with the class. It is this inherent understanding that gets in the way of explaining to new players (new to the class, that is, not necessarily new to the game) how the class actually works. Not that the ideas under the hood aren't interesting - I've written entire columns about rage generation, why haste isn't meaningful for warriors, about the decline or lack of players for the class is an important issue, how the design of the class is in many ways antiquated - but in the end, sometimes it's worthwhile to go over basics again.
So if you're an old hand at the class and are about to bail, thinking "I can't possible get anything out of an article about the basics" I'm going to ask you to stop. Divert yourself to the comments sections and share some of that knowledge. I doubt seriously I'm going to cover everything a fresh warrior at 90 would want or need to know - dole out some of that hard-earned wisdom to our newer friends. Playing a warrior is the essence of solidarity, after all - you become a member of a group that eschews petty rivalries between spec or role, a class that has no need to trumpet itself. Those of us who remain warriors have been through the vagaries of Blizzard's redesigns and the ups and downs of the buff/nerf cycle, gear dependency, and the slings and arrows of PvP performance. Help your brothers and sisters be the best warriors they can be.
And so, we turn to you, the fresh 90. You've finally climbed that last hill, and stand at the top, surrounded by dead things. You did it. And now you realize, looking at your dungeon blues and quest greens, your haphazard action bars and your empty level 90 talent choice that you're not sure what to do now. Have no fear - we were all you once. For the next few weeks, I'll be talking about how to pick up the basics of playing the class at 90.
Okay, there's no good way to say it - since patch 5.4, warriors got buffs to tanking DPS that have definitely improved their overall damage output while tanking. If in the right gear and taking enough damage from Vengeance, tanking prot warriors can deal solid damage and be competitive with other tanks. This is really true for warrior tanks running heroic content, provided that they're in the right gear set - one that allows Riposte to do as much work as possible for them - and taking those really big hits to get that Vengeance stacked. So, if this is the case, why did I say there was no good way to say this? Because that's not what I was wanting to say.
The buffs Warriors recently received didn't magically fix their population problem and cause everyone to reroll back.- Cynwise (@wowcynwise) January 9, 2014
Last week, we talked about where the warrior class has been this past year. One of the things that's been most glaring about warriors has been the dichotomy between PvP and PvE content, and even which part of each warriors do the best in.
Arms warriors started the expansion doing very well in Arena play, saw a mechanics change that effectively slashed their numbers in top-end arena by 2/3rds, and then climbed back up to high representation and high end performance. At present, while arms isn't a juggernaut in BG's (due to the old standard 'focus the warrior down' mentality) it's a topic of constant debate on the forums, as casters hate it when warriors can kill them. Hate it. I expect arms to be redesigned between now and Warlords of Draenor and to see it struggle heavily in PvP for the start of the next expansion's PvP season.
If you're protection or fury, well, you may PvP for fun, but no one really cares about you one way or another. It's cool to have a prot warrior for flag carrying in rated BG's but that's true of any tank, and druids and monks are still going to be way better for it.
That said, this isn't a post about our current condition. It's about what we should become. And it isn't a post telling you, but asking you - what are our flaws? Where should we go from here? I have ideas, of course, and I'll share them, because that's what I do.