Hello folks! Today is something completely different. My raid leader, main tank and most importantly; good friend – Nazurom wrote up a post on my guild’s forums going over some of the changes that Protection Warriors are going through and his thoughts and opinions on them. I felt that it was worth sharing and he was kind enough to gloss it up a little bit. Here we go!
When I first read that stance penalties were gone, I had mixed feeling. Initially, I thought the already complicated toolkit of the protection warrior was going to be even more complex when you considered the amount of stance dancing that was theoretically possible. Ultimately, I think Blizzard got it right. While you can swap to Berserking and Battle Stance at will, you won’t generate any vengeance unless you’re in defensive stance, and abilities like Taunt, Shield Slam, and Revenge won’t be available in any stance but defensive. I see this being interesting for off tanking. Will you start to see Prot Warriors swap to Battle Stance and keep the Colossus Smash debuff up as well as the Sunder debuff? Time will tell.
This one I’m psyched about. I’m a button spammer. I always want to be doing something. If I see SS light up I’m pounding it till the GCD is up, and then as quickly as it comes, I’m off to the next thing in my list of priorities. Up until patch 5.0.4, rage was generated through taking hits, blocking hits, or melee attacks. Rage is then spent through all your special attacks. Devastate, Revenge, Thunder Clap, Shock Wave, Shield Slam and all the rest. The system worked very well while you were actively tanking. Off tanking was a nightmare. If I didn’t have threat on a mob, I had very little in the way of incoming rage. As such I wasn’t able to do much of anything. Towards the end of the expansion, as the CTC went out the window and parry/dodge became more attractive, rage starvation became a very possible scenario. Should four consecutive attacks be either dodged or parried, I could be looking at an empty rage bar for a little while. In the new system, taking damage through an unmitigated hit or blocking doesn’t generate any rage. Neither do melee attacks. Core abilities like Shield Slam and Revenge now generate rate instead of costing it. Heroic strike still costs rage, but I have a feeling it is going to be very sparingly used until late into tier 15, as it costs an ungodly 60 rage. So now that my 2 favorite abilities are generating rage, what am I going to do with all that extra resource?
Shield Block and Shield Barrier are the two new active damage cooldowns that Warriors possess. Block mitigates physical damage, while barrier mitigates magical damage. I have to say, considering spell reflect didn’t work on most bosses, it’s about fucking time Warriors got some active magical mitigation. Shield Block is much improved as well, depending on how you look at it. Instead of increasing your chance to block, it blocks every melee attack against you for 6 seconds. These blocks can also be critical blocks. The best part is that both Shield Block and Shield Barrier are on a 1.5 second CD. How effective these are going to be has yet to be seen, but healers beware. I’m taking the first Hour of Twilight against heroic Ultraxion with nothing but Shield Barrier up. They both have a base rage cost of 20, using up to 60 for larger attacks that do more damage. Even at 60 rage, it shouldn’t take long to build back up to a full bar. Unless….
Missing now hurts even more than watching my Ret Pally eat a melee from Hagara after my first 2 attacks were dodged or missed. With active mitigation, special abilities that generate the rage which you need to spend on the abilities to keep you alive simply cannot miss. This means 7.5% hit and 7.5% expertise. Since the Cataclysm launch, Vengeance had (supposedly) taken care of being under Hit/Exp cap by allowing our DPS to scale. Overall, expect tanks to account for a lot less of the overall damage in your 5 and 10 mans, and a little more in a 25 man. Prot Warriors: be prepared to be the lowest DPS tank when 5.0.4 drops. It’s also worth noting that it seems a tank that isn’t hit capped is going to be a squishy one.
No More Block Capping
This one is going to hurt once I log in. Right now my warrior sees about 24% each of Parry and Dodge, and about 58% of Block. Once 5.0.4 drops, I suspect I will have close to a 25% chance to Block, and will need to sacrifice significant amount of Dodge/Parry in order to hit my Hit/Exp caps. The days of CTC capping are done. Especially with the 2 roll attack system, where the first roll checks Dodge/Parry/Miss and second checks Block and Crit Block. Warriors and Paladins are going to be taking unmitigated hits once again. It’s going to happen, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. Inform your healers about it in advance so they don’t get their panties in a bunch. You know how healers are.
The cap is gone. No more 10% health max as AP. My first thought is….great! Then I look into it a little more. Vengeance is now a rolling buff that only counts the last 20 seconds worth of damage I take.
This seems to bring the RNG problem back. Should I have a combined 45% dodge/parry, it’s very easy to imagine a scenario where a boss with a 2 second swing timer only hits me 3 times in 20 seconds, with me Blocking one. Low Vengeance = low DPS. Low DPS = low threat. Additionally, since abilities like Shield Barrier scale based on how much AP I have, I’m actually being penalized for having a lucky Dodge/Parry streak right before a big chunk of magic damage goes out. I’m not sure HOW much it will affect absorbs, but it’s definitely something I need to be aware of in the opening weeks. I don’t like the idea that the amount of magic mitigation I have is directly proportionate to the amount of melee damage I’ve been taking leading up to the cast. Thanks to @Vosskah and his friend @Rhidach on Twitter for pointing out to me that vengeance is now calculated PRE-mitigation, meaning Block/Dodge/Parry/Miss won’t penalize me in terms of Vengeance. I am now very excited about Vengeance. Parry on!
Thunder Clap is amazing!
Along with the Glyph that adds a Lightning effect to it, Thunder Clap has received a serious buff. Increased damage, as well as the Demo Shout debuff are a nice start. Bake Rend into that? Yes please. Keeping Rend and Demo Shout up on a target was always a chore for me. I know they were necessary evils, but given the….enthusiasm…of my DPS players, I can’t open with Rend or Demo unless I want a corpse beside me, so they need to be worked into my rotation further down the line, when I’m probably more focused on other things and have a good threat lead.
As a talent at level 60 tier, I get to choose between Shockwave, Dragon Roar, and Blade Storm. Shockwave has been the Prot Warrior’s bread and butter for a long time. It’s a short cool down frontal cone stun that looks awesome, and with the ThunderStruck talent stacked to 3, hit pretty hard. That being said….Blade Storm is my favorite ability in the game, and Dragon Roar hits like a fucking truck on beta. Coupling a Bladestorm with Glyphed Recklessness could be the greatest thing in the history of WoW if you’re a Prot Warrior. That being said….I dare someone to try and pull a mob off me after a Heroic Leap and Dragon Roar opener. Again, as with the launch of Cataclysm, I find myself pining for a 3rd or possibly even 4th spec so that I can test/explore.
This one made me sad at first. Vigilance used to be a damage reduction for the target. Then they took that away. At least I got to have vengeance stack with it. And it lasted 30 minutes…pretty freaking sweet. All of that is now gone. I get no Vengeance anymore. It only lasts 12 seconds. It transfers damage taken from the target to me like the Paladin’s Hand of Sacrifice. I DO get infinite taunts for that 12 measly seconds, but since the ability is on a two minute cool down, I wonder how often I’ll even use it for that. I’m trying to imaging add control on heroic Spine of Deathwing right now with no Vigilance. *Shudder*
All in all I’m very excited about these changes, and a little bit nervous to step into DS the week the patch drops.