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Posts with tag Mitigation

Warlords of Draenor: Tank changes

Tank
Technical Game Designer Chadd Nervig, aka Celestalon, has been answering some inquiries on Twitter lately, and hinted at a few of the changes we can look forward to with tanking. It seems all tanks are up for tweaks, in some fairly overarching ways.

If you're not familiar with Resolve, it's essentially what Vengeance has become in Warlords of Draenor, albeit with some changes. Currently, Resolve improves self-healing and absorbs done by the tank to the tank and partially converts mastery to attack power. How it will be further tweaked in Warlords remains to be seen, but the overall change itself should help tanks be tanks without overshadowing the DPS.

The rest of the tweet is much more intriguing, but does fit with the overall theme of scaling down we're seeing in Warlords. Lowering tank health and mitigation seems risky, but if boss damage is also reduced, then it shouldn't be a problem. For a long time, Blizzard has made noises about how they wanted to slow down the pace of boss fights, especially in the final tiers of an expansion. Damage that's less devastating, healing that is slower pace and choices that are more meaningful. To me, these changes read as being in line with that philosophy. I will be interested to see them implemented, and how they affect gameplay in the beta.

Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

Skill Mastery: Astral Shift

One of the early shaman survival cooldowns that you can get at level 15 is called Astral Shift. It isn't flashy or super awesome or anything. But an emergency damage reducer on a 2-minute cooldown could be just what you need to stay alive and continue DPSing (or healing).

It doesn't reduce only magic damage.

Nor does it reduce only physical damage.

It reduces any damage!

In case you feel two minutes is too long, you have some alternatives. Nature's Guardian is an effect that can kick in once every 30 seconds, which might potentially save you (although the next hit you take could be lethal). Stone Bulwark totem is another alternative that places a shield on you which refreshes and adds additional absorb amounts every five seconds after.

The theme of the level 15 shaman talents revolves around survival and damage mitigation. Raiders may lean more toward Astral Shift, but I'm using the Stone Bulwark totem for the purposes of questing and leveling.

It's open warfare between Alliance and Horde in Mists of Pandaria, World of Warcraft's next expansion. Jump into five new levels with new talents and class mechanics, try the new monk class, and create a pandaren character to ally with either Horde or Alliance. Look for expansion basics in our Mists FAQ, or dig into our spring press event coverage for more details!

Filed under: Shaman, Mists of Pandaria

Patch 4.0.1: Armor mitigation values nerfed

If you've been tanking since patch 4.0.1 dropped and noticed you were taking more physical damage, it's not just a case that you lost armor in the class changes. Armor also does less now. Poster Valen performed a test on the first boss in Forge of Souls and reported some changes observed with the way damage was mitigated. Ghostcrawler (lead systems designer) soon responded that yes, the formula for armor value and its mitigation had been changed for Cataclysm. Furthermore, those changes are in place as of now, meaning that if you feel like you're suddenly taking a lot more physical damage in ICC, well, you probably are.

Ghostcrawler - GC, physical mitigation changes intentional?
We looked into your findings, and the armor numbers reflect an intentional change meant to cover the armor increases players would get between levels 81 and 85. We should have been more explicit with the rest of the announced Cataclysm changes that physical damage would go up. (It only affects creatures higher than level 80 -- bosses in this case -- so this change has no current PvP ramifications.)

Now that our live class balance changes are slowing down* and players are starting to learn their class changes, we can get a better idea of whether players are struggling more on content that they used to be able to clear. We've made some Icecrown and Halion changes already and we may need to make more.


Nice job on the analysis.


No word yet if boss damage in ICC will be tuned down to reduce the streaky factor on incoming damage or not. But it's nice to know we're not all insane.

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm will destroy Azeroth as we know it; nothing will be the same! In WoW Insider's Guide to Cataclysm, you can find out everything you need to know about WoW's third expansion (available Dec. 7, 2010), from brand new races to revamped quests and zones. Visit our Cataclysm news category for the most recent posts having to do with the Cataclysm expansion.

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

The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Mastery, threat decay and Cataclysm tanking

The Care and Feeding of Warriors is about warriors, who hurl themselves into the fray, the very teeth of danger, armed with nothing more than the biggest weapons and armored with the absolutely heaviest armor we can find. Hey, we're not stupid -- we're just crazy.

Last week we talked about tanking and Cataclysm beta patch 13033, which was superseded almost immediately by patch 13066. Hard upon the heels of that comes patch 13117. If there's one thing I'm sure of, it's that there will be more beta patches that will bring with them more mechanical changes to the class. But I wanted to take this time to cover a couple of interesting recent posts about the way the class is shaping up.

We'll cover the patch 13117 changes first, the move on.

Arms Obviously a nice little quality of life change but not a major dealmaker, I would think.

Fury
  • Slam now costs 20 rage, up from 15 rage.
  • Bloodthirst now restores 0.5% of max health, down from 1%.
I'm honestly not sure why these changes were made. I guess Bloodsurge was too easy to use? Or it's aimed at arms warriors using Improved Slam in their builds. The Bloodthirst change must be aimed at Field Dressing making it too good.

Protection
Not much to say, other than it's a welcome buff. More would be better, as initial threat is still somewhat wonky (once Vengeance stacks up, it's not a concern, but the initial seconds of a pull can be rough for a warrior without Bloodrage, shouts just aren't making up for the loss of that ability) especially if trying to hold more than one.

Read more →

Filed under: Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, (Warrior) The Care and Feeding of Warriors, Cataclysm

The Light and How to Swing It: The low level tank part 1


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 helps with the puppet shows at the Argent Ren Faire up in Icecrown. For the next couple weeks we'll be taking a look at low level dungeon runners.

Cross-realm instancing is coming in patch 3.3 and along with it will be the ability for low level characters to finally find those level appropriate groups for old world dungeons. Being that those parties will need tanks, we thought we'd take a look at what an up and coming paladin needs to know about dungeons as well as what types of gear and stats to be on the lookout for. We're going to start with tanking and then move on to healing and damage-dealing in the weeks to come.

Read more →

Filed under: Paladin, Analysis / Opinion, Leveling, (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.

Read more →

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

The Queue: Strategery


Welcome back to The Queue, WoW Insider's daily Q&A column where the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Alex Ziebart will be your host today.

Good afternoon, everybody! I apologize for missing yesterday's edition of The Queue, I sort of forgot about it in my rush to get our April Fool's joke pieced together. The entire team got together to bring that little joke to life. Getting it all put together was like assembling a jigsaw puzzle. Fun, but it took awhile! Hopefully you guys enjoyed it. If not, oh well! We had a good time bringing it to life.

I don't think you want to listen to me ramble about that, though. Onto the Q&A!

Ghola asked...

"Why would the Argent Tournament set up camp in Icecrown, at the back end of the glacier? This makes absolutely no sense to me. Crystal Song seems way better: no quests there, plenty of space, and much better weather!"

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Queue

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.

Read more →

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

Lichborne: A Death Knight statistics primer

Death Knight Itemization: This guy is doing it wrong.
Welcome to Lichborne, the weekly Death Knight column by professor Daniel Whitcomb, who totally has a PhD in Death-Knightology from Ebon Hold University. It's the truth, I swear.

I've seen a lot of people asking these questions as we've been getting into the expansion: Now that I am trying to gear by Death Knights, what stats should I get? What's good for a Death Knight? Which armor should I take. We've started getting in that somewhat in the last few columns, with advice on reputation gear and starting zone gear, but I figured today we should delve a little bit more into the why of Death Knight stats.

Today's column will double as a little bit of primer on how Death Knights get their power, and what stats you should be looking for on armor in general to make your Death Knight the best it can be. It's not completely in depth, but it should get you well on the road to understanding just how Death Knights get all that awesome power and sexiness.

We'll have 3 sections today. The Good are stats that are excellent choices for DPS, Tanks, or both. The So-So are stats which still do us some good, but are pretty situational or conditional in their usefulness. The Outcasts are those stats that you should avoid -- Well, I'd say avoid like the plague, but we're Death Knights. We like the plague around here. So I'll just say you should avoid them.

Read more →

Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Raiding, Leveling, Guides, Talents, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King, (Death Knight) Lichborne

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

Shifting Perspectives: Dealing with Crushing Blows

Every Tuesday, Shifting Perspectives is supposed to explore issues affecting druids and those who group with them. This week John Patricelli, the Big Bear Butt Blogger, does what no one seems to want, and discusses playing a druid in the game as it is still known, rather than the expansion that is still two months away. Although it is likely Wrath of the Lich King will worm it's way in somehow.

I'd like to take a minute to talk about a mechanic that has defined the Feral Druid tanking philosophy, even though you might not know it.

I'm talking here about Crushing Blows.

A Crushing Blow is an attack made only by NPCs that does 150% of normal attack damage.

A Crushing Blow can happen if the NPC you are fighting has a base weapon skill 15 or more points higher than your base defense skill. Base defense skill is the only thing that counts towards the chance of a Crushing Blow; Defense Rating and Expertise are of no help whatsoever.

At level 70, if you are fully trained up, your defense and weapon skills should be 350 each.

Raid Bosses are level 73. They have 365 weapon skill. That's 15 weapon skill points higher than your possible defense.

Do you see the connection, my friends? If you are main tanking a raid boss that is level 73, then you are susceptible to Crushing Blows

As you might expect, tanks wish to know how to avoid taking these suddenly massive chunks of damage, if at all possible.

You may have heard before that Paladins and Warriors can "push Crushing Blows off the table", but you might not know what that means, exactly.

What kind of table is it? A nice mahogany? Teak? Perhaps inlaid parquet? Are they pushed off the table vigorously, so that they clatter all over the floor?

You may also have heard that having your attacks Parried by a raid boss can cause BAD THINGS to happen, especially if you can suffer from Crushing Blows.

Well, let's talk about this whole thing a little more after the break, shall we?

Read more →

Filed under: Druid, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Features, Bosses, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives, Wrath of the Lich King

Bear armor woes in Wrath to be addressed

You may recall a while back that we covered the problem with bear tanks in Wrath of the Lich King. In short, the new shared gear itemization between Rogues and Feral Druids is leaving bear Druids incredibly starved for armor and stamina. Extra stamina and armor is wasted on rogues, but is mandatory for Bears. Bears, therefore, have suffered.

Ghostcrawler has now let us know that the dev team has noticed the problem. The justification, of course, is as usual: They want less useless stuff to drop. Ideally, itemization should be tight enough that there is a high chance of people getting stuff they can use off a boss, even if that means 12 other people in the raid can use it as well.

Filed under: Druid, Items, Analysis / Opinion, News items, Instances, Expansions, Leveling, Wrath of the Lich King

Crushing blows (mostly) removed in Wrath as raiding changes

I'd be smiling in glee if I could figure out how to close my mouth. We've known for a while that the developers have wanted to remove crushing blows, but now it looks like they're starting the process for good: Ghostcrawler has confirmed that crushing blows will now occur only when a mob is 4 levels above you, rather than 3. Since "Boss" mobs are automatically 3 levels above the max level, that means that if you're running level appropriate content, you should no longer have to worry about crushing blows at all.

As Ghostcrawler explains it, crushing blows were originally meant to discourage you from attacking high level mobs and to make bosses more challenging. Now, they serve only the former purpose, and Blizzard is working on other ways to make bosses challenging without making them so random.

Read more →

Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Instances, Expansions, Raiding, Bosses, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King

Maximum stamina

If you want to live through any boss fight as a tank, the one thing that you need above all else is health. Stamina, which gives ten health for every one point of stamina, is by far the most important stat that a tank needs in order to do their job well. No matter if you have reached the armor and defense cap, or if you're producing more threat than your DPS can keep up with, you won't live for a lick if you don't have enough health.

Defining minimum health is an important concept in end game raiding and groups. For most instances, a minimum of 10,000 to 11,000 unbuffed is needed. This will at least let you take a few blows from a boss before dying, hopefully enough blows that the healer will be able to get off a few heals on you. For more entry level raiding environments, it's necessary to have unbuffed health between 11,000 and 12,000. If you've got 11,500 hit points going into Kara, you'll probably be able to reach 13,000 health fully raid buffed. This will let you survive a good portion of Kara, which means you can get more gear, which begets more health in the long run.

Read more →

Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion

Shifting Perspectives: Bear Tanking Strategies Part 2

Every Tuesday, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting druids and those who group with them. This week John Patricelli, sometimes known as the Big Bear Butt Blogger, continues his discussion of the finer points of bear tanking.

Previously, I talked about exactly how threat mechanics work in groups. Now, you might think I was going to use that knowledge to inform our decisions on being a bear tank.

Instead, I'm going to talk about gearing up.

I'd like to start by saying, up front, that this article is unlikely to contain stunning new information that will change your bear tanking world. For those players that are firmly bear tanking their way through Gruul's Lair and beyond, you are most likely to read this, chuckle, and move on. You are already living the dream, kicking butt and taking purples. Hopefully, you will share some of your insight with the rest of us.

But for the player just starting out, eager to prepare themselves to be the best bear tank they can be, I hope that this article will be of some help.

So you want to be a bear tank. Great! Bear tanks are lots of fun, and speccing feral gives you the wonderful ability to not only be able to tank at the drop of a /invite, but also let's you solo effectively with a simple change of gear.

To be a bear tank, you need to realize that your role requires you to focus on two main responsibilities;

  • Threat generation
  • Staying alive

Threat generation is exactly that; you must put out enough threat to keep your enemies focused on you, while the rest of your party kills them.

Staying alive blends into two different philosophies;

Survivability is your ability to still be alive after taking a big old whack from the boss, or suffering spiky irregular damage the healer was unprepared for.

Mitigation is your ability to avoid or reduce taking that damage altogether.

Today, we are going to focus on the second of those two responsibilities, staying alive, and how to plan your gear choices effectively.

More after the break!

Read more →

Filed under: Druid, Analysis / Opinion, How-tos, Classes, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

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