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Posts with tag Block

The Light and How to Swing It: It's the end of block as we know it

Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Protection specialist Matt Walsh spends most of his time receiving concussions for the benefit of 24 other people, obsessing over his hair (a blood elf racial!), and maintaining the tankadin-focused blog Righteous Defense.

Much like Commander Shepard and the Reapers, we've known for a long time that doom was coming for us block tanks, some way, some how. The stack has been on the nerf list for quite some time. We dodged the bullet in 4.2, and then in 4.3, the devs called off the dogs entirely, giving us a respite. However, with the recent publishing of Ghostcrawler's Mists stat changes Dev Watercooler, we now have an idea how our most favorite stat is going to be unceremoniously slice and diced.

The changes to block will have far-reaching consequences for our class (as well as protection warriors). Obviously, this is pre-alpha and thus a nerf only in theory, but it's obvious what the intent is here: the defenestration of block to prevent mastery from being the powerhouse stat and block from being the powerhouse mechanic that both were for much of the Cataclysm cycle. And while it's evident that something needed to be done to block in the long run, I'm not quite sure that the changes Ghostcrawler outlined were the best avenue to take.

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Filed under: Paladin, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

Lichborne: The effect of the new stat changes on death knights

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Lichborne for blood, frost, and unholy death knights. In the post-Cataclysm era, death knights are no longer the new kids on the block. Let's show the other classes how a hero class gets things done.

We're still a couple of weeks away from the dam burst that is the Mists of Pandaria press event, but in the meantime, Lead Systems Designer Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street has posted a new Dev Watercooler. He listed some stat changes coming in Mists that, while ostensibly not as complicated as those in Wrath, still hold some interesting and possibly major implications for class balance in the coming expansion. Let's dive right in and see what they mean for death knights.

Blocking takes a week

While it doesn't directly affect us, the blocking changes will certainly shake up the tanking hierarchy that we're a part of, so it's worth pointing out that the usual single roll combat table for dodging, parrying, or blocking a hit is gone. Instead, the chance to block will be calculated only after the dodge and parry chance is calculated. This essentially means that being unhittable is gone. You can't just stack to 102.4%. Of course, death knights and druids have never been able to do this, but they will now be joined by the shield tanks.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Lichborne: 3 predictions for death knights in Mists of Pandaria

A Temple in Pandaria
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Lichborne for blood, frost, and unholy death knights. In the post-Cataclysm era, death knights are no longer the new kids on the block. Let's show the other classes how a hero class gets things done.

Let's face it. The Mists of Pandaria information drought is ongoing and likely to keep up for quite some time. As a result, we're stuck in a holding pattern. We know the class needs some changes. We know we have been promised (or threatened with, depending on your viewpoint) changes for blood death knights, if only via a general change to the tanking paradigm. None of that information is forthcoming, however, and the blues lately have indicated it won't be coming for a while.

With that in mind, what we're left with is speculation. Today, I'd like to discuss three major changes I think we'll probably see with the new patch 5.0, one for each death knight tree. We already know change is a pretty huge constant for our class. It comes with the territory. We'll roll with the punches, as always, but it's nice to know what's coming. It helps you brace for it.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

New changes to tanking cooldowns coming for Cataclysm

Blue poster Nethaera informed us today about a number changes coming to tanking cooldowns in Cataclysm (specifically, patch 4.0.3a). It seems an imbalance occurs in the current build when tanks stack mastery, leading to astronomical values of block.

For now, specifics are only available for paladin, druid and warrior tanks. The post hints that cooldown changes for druid and death knight tanks will be coming later, once developers can get a better handle on the complexities of the classes' abilities.

When asked for comment and analysis, Fox Van Allen's orc Grunk posited, "Me Grunk! Grunk fear change! Grunk smash!" Sadly, Grunk lacks the mental clarity to process the full meaning of all these forthcoming changes because as a warrior, Grunk does not stack intellect (and takes repeated physical blows to the head). If he did, the changes would be meaningless to him, as he'd have followed his dream and become an architect rather than becoming Orgrimmar's No. 3-ranked skull cleaver.

In lieu of expert testimony from Grunk, we have the full blue post just after the break.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, News items, (Warrior) The Care and Feeding of Warriors, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

The Light and How to Swing It: Bad habits in dungeons


With the Light as his strength, Gregg Reece of The Light and How to Swing It faces down the demons of the Burning Legion, the undead of the Scourge, and soon, an entire flight of black dragons.

If you've never seen the "How to Paladin" series by stoker2 ... don't. If you have seen it, my apologies and I will continue to attempt to stop Michael Gray from linking them in Moviewatch. However, I thought it would be a perfect example of things paladins shouldn't do for a lead into my article.

We're going to talk a bit about bad habits. Some of these bad habits come from learning your class while soloing and the differences you have to make in your playstyle when questing versus when dungeon running. Some of these bad habits are born out of running mostly PvP content and then moving from there into PvE, where the same tricks are more harmful than helpful.

Still other bad habits come from having extremely powerful gear. When you overgear content, you start to lose sight of what it's like to have to work at things. You forget that you used to do 1,800 DPS on a good day in your quest greens and what tricks you used to work through each pull. You also start to do stunts that would have wiped your party without question three tiers of content ago.

After the break, we'll take a look at a variety of these bad habits and talk about why you might want to break those habits before the Cataclysm.

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Filed under: Paladin, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Where the Action is Not


The Care and Feeding of Warriors once more shuffles forth clad head to toe in clanking metal, devoid of holy light, harnessed death magic or any of that fancy stuff, to bash things about until they cough up shiny pixels. Matthew Rossi has been bashing things about for their loot since January of 2005. He'll be doing an analysis of the Warrior Q&A soon, he promises, please don't stab him with pitchforks.

Honestly, I'd like to rant more about how Warrior DPS is still way too low in PvE. Especially since I keep seeing posts on the forums from the blues telling me classes with equal or better DPS are in fact too low. It's sort of maddening, really. But as much as I'd like to go on a written rampage about encounter design serving as an arbitrary limiter to warrior DPS in Ulduar, and how paradoxically my DPS is at its best on fights that are supposed to be hard mode fights (this week, for instance, my personal highest DPS numbers were recorded on XT - 002's Heartbreaker mode, where two Warriors including myself finally managed to break the top four and were ahead of the other hybrids) due to the mechanics of those fights actually allowing the warrior some uninterrupted DPS time.

But unfortunately, a whole lot has been said about tanking this past week. So as maddening, vexing, downright baffling as I find the encounter design limitations of Warrior DPS in some cases (really, not much can irritate me like knowing my DPS time was broken up by big chunks of having to run away, run around, get out of the way of lightning or exploding seeds or any of the sixteen things Mimiron does that make me unhappy to be alive) that rant's going to have to stay confined to these opening paragraphs. (For a simulation of what I sound like during a raid, get four angry woodpeckers and have them attack your keyboard while you scream "Oh, COME ON" every few seconds and imagine you're the Gravity Bomb again.)

So what happened with tanking this week, you ask? Well, more was said about block, about avoidance, and about tanking specced players as DPS and in PvP. So let's go over what was said.

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Filed under: Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, News items, Instances, Raiding, Bosses, Buffs, (Warrior) The Care and Feeding of Warriors, Forums

Changes coming for Block in Patch 3.2

Well, as we already discussed, block is currently a lackluster stat for tanking. But patch 3.2 has some changes in store, and one of those changes is to how much block value you'll see on just about everything, clearly aimed at boosting block's worth.
  • Block Value: The amount of bonus block value on all items has been doubled. This does not affect the base block value on shields or block value derived from strength.
  • On-Use Block Value Items: All items and set bonuses that trigger temporary increases to block value have been modified. Instead of increasing their block value amount by 100% like other items, they have all had their effect durations doubled. This applies to Glyph of Deflection, Gnomeregan Autoblocker, Coren's Lucky Coin, Lavanthor's Talisman, Libram of Obstruction, Tome of the Lightbringer, Libram of the Sacred Shield, the tier-8 paladin Shield of Righteousness bonus, the tier-5 paladin Holy Shield bonus, and the tier-5 warrior Shield Block bonus.
What this basically means is twofold. First, of course, you're going to be blocking for more damage. Since the amount of block value you get from your shield and from strength will not be affected, it won't be exactly double what you're blocking for now, but it will be close to that much: expect to see at least 75% more block value all told.

Secondly, however, any item you've been using to temporarily double your block value either for mitigation or for threat (I used to keep Coren's in my bags for that very reason) will not provide double the block value on the proc, but rather the same amount for twice as long. To use Coren's as an example, it will now provide 118 block value, and when used will provide 200 more block value for 40 seconds instead of 20.

If anything this will increase block's value as a threat stat (I've seen no changes to abilities like Damage Shield, Shield of Righteousness or Shield Slam) as well as giving it a bit more teeth as a mitigation tool. I don't think it's a permanent fix to block, but as a stopgap measure it should make the worth of it a bit more obvious.

Patch 3.2 will bring about a new 5, 10, and 25 man instance to WoW, and usher in a new 40-man battleground called the Isle of Conquest. WoW.com will have you covered every step of the way, from extensive PTR coverage through the official live release. Check out WoW.com's Guide to Patch 3.2 for all the latest!

Filed under: Paladin, Warrior, Patches, Items, Analysis / Opinion, News items, Instances, Buffs

The woes of Block

In a discussion of tanking mechanics on the forums, Ghostcrawler made a long and in depth post about various subjects that helped consolidate one of the real problems with block and block value in Wrath of the Lich King. Not only is blocking something that only two of the four tanking classes do, but it's a pretty lackluster stat for boss tanking.

  • Block as a mechanic is somewhere between avoidance and mitigation. Ideally it removes a fair amount of damage (vs. all damage) reasonably often (vs. rarely). If block is up 100% of the time it just becomes armor that you improve through a different stat. We have let block chances creep up frankly because the amount blocked is pretty trivial when bosses are hitting for 40% of your health pool every swing. If this still strikes you as too RNG, imagine abilities like Shield Block and Holy Shield that could guarantee 100% chance to block for a short period of time.
  • We don't think block is cutting it as a mechanic, but the direction we are likely to take it is probably more of a change than you are considering.
The problem with block (which is really two mechanics in one, block rating which determines how often you block, and block value, which determines how much damage you subtract from a hit when you block it) is that for trash, it's inflated due to the block chance creeping upwards that GC mentions above. But for boss fights where a boss can either hit you physically for far, far more than you could ever block or hits you with massive magical damage that block does nothing at all against (well, unless you're a warrior in Tier 8 with the four piece set bonus) block has simply fallen behind the curve.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Death Knight, Forums

Shifting Perspectives: Tanks, "Wrath," and crushing blows


Every Tuesday, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting Druids and those who group with them. This week, we examine the roots of the uproar over the proposed Heart of the Wild nerf, and also ask ourselves if it wouldn't just be easier to reroll a Death Knight and have done with it.

"Why would you title the column this way?" you ask, as you reach for your "Please fire _______ from WoW Insider" form letter. "Crushing blows are out of the game, dipwad."

Well, yes. The crushing blow is technically out of the game, but another and worse mechanic has taken its place.

In this article I'm going to try to explain the source of "shield tank" frustration over health pools -- and why they are correct to see it as a problem -- and the Druid tank's unhappiness over the nerfing of Heart of the Wild -- and why Druids are also correct to see it as a problem.

Why the crushing blow was important

One of the biggest differences between pre-Wrath and Wrath tanking is the absence of the crushing blow. If you're unfamiliar with the term, then as a very simple explanation: any given raid boss had a 15% chance per melee hit to perform a 150% damage attack, which was also known as the crushing blow. It was typically a big damage spike and could lead to a wipe on progression content, with healers struggling to compensate in the small window of time before the boss' next attack landed. Burst damage is very unwelcome as it's often the greatest contributing factor to tank death. This is why reaching crit immunity is still so important to all tanks, and why the ability to avoid or absorb crushing blows was a fundamental part of pre-Wrath tanking mechanics.

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Filed under: Druid, Analysis / Opinion, Expansions, Features, Raiding, Bosses, Classes, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives, Wrath of the Lich King, Achievements

The Light and How to Swing It: The Tankadin for Dummies


I know a lot of you have asked for this, and I know I haven't been delivering on the tanking front, so here it is. Today, we focus solely on Paladin tanks, who in my very humble opinion make the absolute best tanks in the game. With dual specs looming on the horizon, many of you will be considering the Protection tree for the first time. Some of you might have been picking up the odd tanking piece here and there with your spare DKP or heroic drops that nobody else needs. This is good. Let's go over a few things that should help us know the tanking role a little better.

First off, today we'll focus on the basics. Veteran tanks won't need all this information, but you're all free to read and nitpick because, well, I'm your whipping boy. Ok, so, you want to tank? The good news is that ever since 3.0, Paladin tanks share pretty much all gear with the other plate-wearing tanks. No more of that silly Spell Power nonsense. You're looking at gear with Stamina, Strength, and all those tanking stats like Defense, Block Rating, etc. This means it's easier to gear up. Actually, you should probably think about gearing up now before dual specs roll around and that Holy Pally rolls on your Red Sword of Courage for his "other spec". For today, let's take a look at some attributes that contribute to our survivability.

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Filed under: Paladin, Analysis / Opinion, Guides, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

Phat Loot Phriday: Titansteel Shield Wall


This is one of the more legendary shields in the game at this point, even if it isn't actually Legendary. But it is for all you Blacksmiths out there looking for something to do.

Name: Titansteel Shield Wall (Wowhead, Thottbot, Wowdigger)
Type: Epic Shield
Armor: 7350
Abilities:
  • 211 Block, +36 Strength, +69 Stamina
  • Increases defense rating by 64, and at this level, while I'm not a tank expert (I leave that to the pros), Defense is what you want.

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Filed under: Blacksmithing, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Instances, Phat Loot Phriday, Leveling

Phat Loot Phriday: Leeka's Shield


Here's a shield for you tanks to try and get from a trip back in time this weekend.

Name: Leeka's Shield (Wowhead, Thottbot, WoWDigger)
Type: Rare Shield
Armor/Block: 7032 / 197
Abilities:
  • +37 Strength, +60 Stamina, which is quite a bit of Stamina for a shield. And we know there's almost nothing tanks love better
  • Unless it's Defense rating, of which this shield gives 38. An exceptionally nice shield -- not the last one you'll ever get, but it's definitely a reason to check out the new Caverns of Time instance the second you hit 80.
  • And yes, like most of the stuff in CoT: Stratholme, there's a little lore behind this one. There's a shop in Stratholme called "Leeka's Shields and Maces," so it's a pretty good guess that this shield came from shieldmaker Leeka back during her human days. Why do we say human? Because Leeka turned undead, and then apparently turned Forsaken -- she's an auctioneer in Undercity now. It would be awesome if she commented on this shield whenever you showed up wearing it, but maybe she doesn't remember -- do the Undead have memories of their previous lives?

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Filed under: Warrior, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Instances, Phat Loot Phriday, Lore, NPCs

Ghostcrawler on long term defense changes

Ghostcrawler weighed in on the intention and existence of the defense statistic yesterday. He makes two interesting criticisms of the philosophy behind defense:
  1. It might eventually prove a problem that defense functions both as a tanking statistic and prevents you from fighting mobs that are a higher level than your character.
  2. Balance might be easier to achieve if defense provided mitigation and not avoidance.
This is rather cryptic to someone who doesn't often deal with the integral nature of the statistic, so let's break it down a bit.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, News items, Death Knight

Checking your caps: Defense, Block, Hit, Expertise

Honor's Code has a great post up about the secondary gear stats that often get overlooked in favor of the main attributes. Everyone knows that Hunters need Agility and Warriors need Strength, but after that, things tend to get a little fuzzy -- just what does Expertise or Hit do for you? HC breaks it down from a Pally perspective, but what they say about these stats is helpful for any class that has to deal with attacking the bad guys.

Defense comes first -- defense rating, for tanks, allows you to make sure that bosses can't crit you. Each class has its own defense cap, and the cap has changed from 70 to 80, so you'll have to keep an eye out for your own cap when you get that far. Block is next -- a high Block rating means you're pushing other attack options off the table when you're hit, so that when something does hit you, you block the damage on it. Both of those stats are mainly for tanks -- other classes, who aren't getting hit, won't have to worry about them at all.

But Hit and Expertise you will have to worry about if you're DPS -- Hit will make sure that you don't miss your target (the fewer misses you have, the higher your DPS), and Expertise makes sure that those hits don't become dodges or parries. This is tough stuff, and it shows up much earlier in Wrath, it seems, than it did in Burning Crusade, But the good news is that there's a lot of help around -- Honor's Code offers a great overview for what everything means, and from there, you can search our site or others for what you need to know about each stat and how it works with your class.

Filed under: Druid, Hunter, Rogue, Shaman, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Guides, Classes, Talents, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King

Tips for new Death Knights from a fellow tank, part 2


Dear corpsified bundles of beautifully-armored joy (but more particularly those who tank Azjol Nerub while wearing Expedition Bracers of the Bandit),

We had a little bit of controversy in the first installment, so I'm just going to state this as baldly as possible; if you hated what I wrote last time, there's a good chance you'll walk away from this one thinking I eat babies. Delicious, delicious babies. While I never mean to offend people, I reserve the right to tell them the truth, or at the very least a highly entertaining and plausible lie.

Truth, she be at times an ugly mistress. And she ain't gettin' any prettier as we move from DPS to tanking.

Tanks have significantly more responsibility, both in groups and raids, and they face the competing directives of maximizing mitigation (to keep their healers happy) and maximizing threat production (to keep their DPS happy). I've healed dozens of Death Knight tanks at this point, and while the average pugged DK tank has gotten noticeably better, there are still a few trends you'd want to be aware of as a healer. The problems in beta right now are made worse by Blizzard unintentionally overselling the ease of tanking on a Death Knight in 5-man runs. Many people seem to have interpreted the statement that they should be able to tank well with Blood, Frost, or Unholy specs as being tantamount to saying they can tank well regardless of how their talent points are spent in those trees.

Any experienced tank can tell you right now that this is not true, but people believing that it is is how you wind up with 11K-life Death Knights taking 7-8K enraged hits from Keristasza in the Nexus. If you've never tanked before but you're interested in tanking on a Death Knight -- or pragmatic enough to know you'll probably wind up tanking a certain number of 5-mans on your DPS Death Knight -- I hope this article helps you avoid what I went through in May 2007 when I started tanking and sucked at it.

I came to the beta to slowly lose my mind trying to heal insane tank damage and gulp Extra Strength Tylenol. And I'm all out of Extra Strength Tylenol.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tips, How-tos, Instances, Expansions, Features, Humor, Raiding, Guides, Classes, Talents, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King

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