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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

Itemization and the plight of the bear tank in Wrath of the Lich King

One of the biggest concepts coming with Wrath of the Lich King is gear consolidation. Stat are being folded into each other and classes are being changed even on very basic levels so that fewer gear types can work for more classes and specs. Feral Druids have seen this happen as well, with talents such as Survival of the Fittest and Heart of the Wild tweaked so that they can get more benefits from Rogue gear.

Unfortunately, this hasn't worked out that well for bear tanks.

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Filed under: Druid, Rogue, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Expansions, Classes, Wrath of the Lich King

Forum post of the day: A crushing blow to Warriors?

Due to itemization and abilities, Warrior and Paladin tanks currently have a greater ability to avoid Crushing Blows than Druid tanks. In the near future, this may become a moot point. Khurg of Spirestone, a Tauren Warrior, worries that Warrior tanks may become somewhat obsolete with the removal of Crushing Blows from boss mobs and a potential thirty second cool down on Shield Block. He asked "What will be the purpose of defense in WotLK ?" The following response from Rawglrlrgll of Lothar was that the defense statistic prevents critical strikes and still buffs the chance for avoidance.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Raiding, Death Knight, Forum Post of the Day

Shield me, my love

Warriors of all shapes and sizes have one thing in common, their need for a good shield. They are the life blood of any tanking strategy. They give us health, protection, and threat. For a protection warrior, the shield is often time the most important part of their inventory. This is both a blessing and curse. While a good shield can't help a bad tank become good, a bad shield can easily make a good tank bad.

There are a few key stats in a shield to look at. First, the armor – one of the most important stats for a tank. It lets us take less damage from each hit, which means our health lasts longer and our raid survives more. Block Value is another important stat, and helps determine how much damage a shield will outright mitigate when an attack is blocked. Finally, stamina and defense are also always present on a shield, and are again, a key stat for a warrior.

While these stats are beautiful all in their own way, their infrequency in upgrades presents a problem for some warriors. To show what I'm talking about, let's take a look at what shields are available for the protection spec warrior at level 70.*

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Filed under: Warrior, Analysis / Opinion

Pimp My Profile: Pre-Heroic Protection Paladin

Welcome to the first edition of our new twice-monthly column, Pimp My Profile. Readers submit their Armory profile to us and every two weeks we pick one to review. We provide a Gear Check, Talent Tune Up, AddOn/Macro recommendations and more to help you reach your goals in the game.

For the inaugural column, I asked my long time friend Jon to submit his new Paladin for da pimpage. He had recently shelved his Warrior in favor or leveling a new Paladin to 70 to be the main tank for our casual group. Having played the class for only two months, he had a few questions and concerns. Here is what he had to say:

"I'm highly aware of needing to obtain the "uncrittable" defense numbers so far in order to get a defense anywhere near 490 I've found that I have to sacrifice too much spell damage which eats into my ability to hold agro. I abandoned a 63 warrior in favor of my Pally tank and the teary eyed joy that comes with being able generate lots of agro quickly on multiple mobs. Big spell damage is essential to my ability to tank for my trigger happy friends whose 5 man instance approach is more akin to "Who's Line Is It Anyway" rather than the production of Shakespeare most people reading this think their guild regularly produces."

Jon's goals as a new level 70 Protection Paladin on the verge of tanking Heroics are:
  1. To attain uncrushability by equipping more avoidance gear (+Dodge,+Parry or +Block equipment)
  2. Regain his threat generation through +Spell damage
  3. Retaining his uncrittable status by keeping his Defense at least at 490
Let's look at Jon's current set up and what he, or any pre-Heroic L70 Protection Paladin, can do to achieve those goals.

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Filed under: Paladin, Items, Add-Ons, Guides, Pimp My Profile

A small defense skill change in 2.4 could herald larger things

Bear tank approves of no more crushing blows.It seems like a small change, but it could be the herald of something larger. It's a change to the way the defense skill is described in-game in patch 2.4, as reported by World of Raids. I'll let them describe it:

* Old value: Higher defense makes you harder to hit and makes monsters less likely to land a crushing blow.

* New value: Higher defense improves your chance to dodge, parry, and block attacks, makes you harder to hit, and makes monsters less likely to land a critical strike against you.

So what does this mean? They've added things that have always been part of the skill, but have not been explicitly mentioned on the defense tab before, but what's most intriguing is what they've taken away.

I'll explain after the jump.

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

Phat Loot Phriday: Bulwark of Azzinoth

I was just thinking that we haven't done a shield in a while (or at least it seems like we haven't done a shield in a while), so here's THE shield.

Name: Bulwark of Azzinoth
Type: Epic Shield
Armor: 6336, 174 Block
  • +60 Stamina
  • It's huge! Look at it! You can't even tell what's going on back there!
  • On Equip: Increases defense rating by 29.
  • When struck in combat, has a 2% chance of wrapping you in teflon bacon increasing your armor by 2000 for 10 seconds. That's over two thousand! Armor, as you may know, directly reduces the damage you take even when you get hit. So this proc is a damage reducer, and less damage means a tank that's still standing at the end of the fight.
  • Did I mention how huge it is? Imagine if that thing really was made out of solid metal, with all those spikes and everything. You'd have to have a bonus to strength just to carry it around.
How to Get It: This baby belongs, or at least used to belong, as the name might have told you, to Azzinoth. He's not a good guy-- in fact, he's a demon who commanded the Burning Legion way back when. Way back before he met Illidan, that is. When Illidan was just a demon hunter (and not the Lord of Outland), he killed Azzinoth, and according to the rules of the Warcraft playground, took all his stuff. That includes both of those Warglaives of Azzinoth, that Illidan is now known for.

And it includes this, Azzinoth's Bulwark. So to get it, you have to take it from Illidan himself. That's right, be prepared like a Boy Scout, drop the big bad, and pick up this shield at a drop rate of around 10-12%.

Getting Rid of It: Vendors for 9g 45s 38c. Man, when you look at that price versus the price of the ring we posted the other week, it really makes you wonder what's going on in the heads of those developers.

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

PTR Notes: Pet in position

Mania's Arcania is at it again with the Hunter testing. This time, she heard in the 2.3 patch notes that pets will apparently always try to fight from behind their target (thus supposedly removing Parry and Block from the hit table for those attacks, but apparently that's not always 100% either), and she decided to test it out.

When her pet was tanking, she didn't see a change. That seems obvious-- if the pet holds the highest aggro, it would be pointless for them to run around in circles to try and get behind a mob. Unless the target was somehow stunned (Rogues use that tactic all the time, of course), but she didn't say that she was able to test that case at all.

But when she or someone else was tanking, sure enough, the pet slowly circled around to the side of the enemy (which, I believe counts as "the back" in terms of theorycrafting), and attacked there. The problem was that the pet did move slowly, and during the whole time spent positioning, wasn't attacking at all.

It sounds like Blizzard is trying to get some complicated code down here, and I wonder if the result is really worth the effort. But then again, for Hunters who raid, a buff to their pet's attack like this is probably very welcome. And the real reason for this change probably has nothing to do with attacking from behind anyway-- despite the short loss of DPS, keeping pets out of frontal AoE and cleave attacks is definitely a terrific benefit.

Filed under: Hunter, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Raiding, Classes

WoW Rookie: All you needed to know about stats, part 4

In the conclusion to this series of posts, we're going to be discussing the game's defensive stats -- which are probably only of minor importance unless you're interested in tanking. Though if you're one of those people (like me!) who has to know everything about the game, this is interesting information which will explain a lot of things about how damage is handled in World of Warcraft. If you're tuning in to all you needed to know about stats for the first time, it may be worthwhile to go back and read part 1 (covering the five basic attributes), part 2 (covering physical damage stats), and part 3 (covering spell damage stats) first -- but if you can't wait to know all there is to know about defense, resilience, spell resistance, dodge, parry, and block, keep reading!

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Filed under: WoW Rookie

WoW Rookie: All you needed to know about stats, part 2

For those of you who have been playing World of Warcraft since launch, this information is going to be ancient history. However, for players newer to the game, I imagine that many of the stats you'll find on armor and weapons remain something of a mystery -- and it's for the new players in the audience that this post was written. That said, if you haven't read our recent post attempting to explain the five basic attributes, you ought to start there, because the basic stats all impact the more advanced stats we'll be discussing here.

In part 2, we're going to be talking about stats that improve physical DPS -- if that sounds interesting to you, read on!

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Filed under: WoW Rookie

Further info on Blizzard's new anti-spammer tech

We've reported on the "right click the spammer's name and report them" feature. Players had some additional questions, so the fine folks at WoW's European official site have created a Squelcher FAQ. They don't reveal their methods (that could give the spammers a way to get around it), but they do include some interesting facts about the new functionality that you may not have heard.

When you report someone as spamming, it not only blocks any further whispers or mail from that character, it blocks any further communication from any character on that account. And if that account gets reported a certain number of times, it will be prevented from communicating with anyone until the GMs can investigate the reports.

Also, there are some restrictions on using the "Report Spam" feature. You can only use it once every minute and only five times every 24 hours. And you can't use it on anyone on your friends list, in your guild or, duh, yourself. Other than that, lay down the report hammer on any unsolicited spam and get in line to buy a Blizzard employee a drink at BlizzCon 2007!

Filed under: Odds and ends, Blizzard, News items

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