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Adrael
03-01-2010, 02:18 AM
Tank Classes Differentiation, Viability and Encounter Design


I'd like to share a thought I had about current class balance and how it affects encounter design. This is a bit of a Wall'o'Text, and I'm sorry for that (bored at work), but the idea might be hard to understand. The game has some balancing issues. Not major issues, but they do exist. The frequent changes we see each patch are clear evidence for this imbalance. Since the introduction of WotLK Blizzard stated that each of tanks should be different yet viable for any encounter.


When you want four different viable tanks, you need to A) make them all viable. B) Create differences between them. This is what Blizzard does, but in a way that has restriction and some balance issues.



Currently:


1) Differentiation is created by each class having different tools to tackle encounters.
2) Viability is then achieved through balancing encounters to suit all four tanks.



Seems reasonable, but the here's the catch: Let's say each tank had three skills, for the sake of simplicity. Now we all know that different tanks do possess some quite similar skills. Let's say that skill A, and B are relatively similar enough between the four classes (though not identical). However, skill C is quite different. What currently makes it interesting is that each tank possesses a different skill "C".
If we look on the other side of this equation, there's viability. Each encounter must be designed to be overcome by any of the four tanks, using their A, B and C skills. A and B are quite similar, so encounter design is restricted only by these two. Skill C however, is different enough to present a problem. The problem being that now instead of being restricted by three skills, there are A, B (2) + four different C's (4) = 6 skills.[Clarification: The more skills an encounter requires, the more interesting it gets. But I am talking about restrictions, since it's 3 additional DIFFERENT rather than SIMILAR skills.]


The game is much more complex, and has many more skills, some of which don't really restrict anything. But this simple example shows how differentiating skills between classes can restrict encounter design. In addition, we currently have skills that can be used in interesting ways, but have no use in current content. This is probably because these interesting skills are present in only one single tanking class, so basing an encounter on these would mean the other three will not be as viable.


Encounters would have been much more interesting had there been more similarity between the different tanking classes' skills. Just an example of how it can work: If every tank could disarm, and every boss would be disarmable, there would be yet another interesting dimension to tanking.



And here is how it can be implemented:


1) Viability is achieved through balancing encounters around fewer restricting skills. Further complexity is achieved by having more skills on which an encounter may rely on.
2) Differentiation can be restored by having the existing, relatively similar skills differentiate in the same way for each class. Explained below.



What I mean is that while effectively possessing the same set of tools, each skill would be used in different way to achieve the same primary effect. Example: Vindication vs. Demo Shout. They basically do the same primary thing, only in a different way. Now this may be unfair to some people. Why does someone get an automatic version of the other's GCD requiring skill? It might also be that class differences would be less noticeable and apparent.
An interesting addition to this solution would be something that already exists in the game, but not in a way that distinct between classes: Varying the focus of attention for each class, it would mean that classes would experience different difficulties in different encounters. According to such a model each class will have one 'automated' tanking element, and one focused tanking element. Automated elements are those that need little attention, while focused elements need more attention to be maxed out. One important guideline should be that every tank would have the same potential for each of the elements when the tank's skill is maxed.


Just an example of how such a model could work:


Druid: Automated DPS, focused TPS.
Warriors: Automated TPS, focused Survivability.
Paladins: Automated Survivability, focused TPS
DKs (Frost): Automated DPS, focused Survivability.
DKs (Blood): Automated Survivability, focused TPS.



For those who love automation: tough luck, work is liberating.
To all the labor-loving warriors out there: everyone's attention is limited. Dividing it too much result in lesser performance, it has been scientifically proven.


End result:
Variation through the level of attention dedicated for each element, and different difficulties for different encounters. We would still see some tank classes having to work harder on some encounters, but it will be balanced between classes and encounters, not the current 'some tank classes have to work harder – PERIOD'.
Encounters would become more interesting. I like the example of disarmable bosses (by any tank class), but there's plenty more.


We lose the unidentified way in which tanks are different, and get it into some kind of frame that makes it easier to understand. Maybe the devs prefer tanks to be "just different", but in the long run I think it just means we're not seeing the full potential of encounter designs and balance in the game.



The End!

Satorri
03-01-2010, 08:28 AM
The game has some balancing issues. Not major issues, but they do exist. The frequent changes we see each patch are clear evidence for this imbalance.
First, I think you're using the right idea for the wrong intention. Constant changes are a sign of imbalance the way that a human being standing still has muscles firing constantly to keep the appearance of balance, which is in fact a constant state of trying to correct towards a zenith that is never actually maintained, it is "dynamic" balance. When people are speaking in terms of game imbalances they usually mean a state that is not reasonably even or favors one element over another.

Blizz is playing within a state of dynamic balance that occasionally veers off a bit for a particular encounter because they didn't expect some combination of interplaying elements. The game isn't always imbalanced for that sense, so much as Blizz is constantly trying to keep an even keel with their changes. So tricky language here.

Balance in a simple system, such as the physical item a balance, you have two elements that you are keeping a desired keel between (maybe 50/50 even, maybe 70/30 for one element, etc). In a complex system such as WoW there is no such simple balancing point. Balance instead is a complex act of plate spinning. As tanks we have an assortment of elements that need to be balanced and while we can try to reduce them for simplicity of consideration they actually are not readily simplifiable, nor do they lend themselves to a A vs B balance.

One of the simplest examples would be the interplay of Mitigation (compound of armor, stance, resistance and considered in both passive and burst via CDs), Avoidance (easy to lump all the elements together though they come from many internal and external sources), and Health as played against damage the tank takes with the elements of hit size, hit frequency/speed, and special abilities or increased periods of damage. We've seen this play out with elements such as Chill of the Thrown.

If Avoidance is too high for fixed Armor and Health, then to keep a consistent level of damage taken by the tank the hits have to be very large (leading to boom/bust tank health and spammed healing required to not lose the tank to an couple hits without heals in the middle). There are a great many elements that contribute, and toying with any one of them will require adjustments in every other, not just an A vs B trade off. This is the intrigue of playing the game as well, as a simple A vs B balance is easy to read and boring, it leaves little room for the player.




When you want four different viable tanks, you need to A) make them all viable. B) Create differences between them. This is what Blizzard does, but in a way that has restriction and some balance issues.
I think you're looking at it from the opposite angle that Blizzard gets here. Their design is to have 10 classes, each with 3 specs, that each play differently. Within the same class there will be common elements and flavors, but each tree should have it's own nuance and play style. With the further separation of roles we get 6 tanks (Prot Warrior and Paladin, Bear Druids, and Blood/Frost/Unholy DKs).

Ideally each tank will be coming from its unique class and semi-unique tree. I think they did an admirable job in making the three DK trees feel as different as they do for the common root elements and tools. The post-BC drive is that each tank should not be incapable (as the true inverse of viable, which is a horribly misused buzzword in the WoW community) of completing any encounter because of their class/spec mechanics.

We all get there by a different means but that doesn't mean that we can't or shouldn't be equally capable of addressing the challenge in our own fashion. At the same time, no class/spec mechanic should offer a benefit so significant that it trivializes other elements in the equation. For example, the tank should not have a cooldown that matches an important encounter element so significantly that you can bring a noticeably under-geared tank of that class/spec and have an easier time of it than a much better geared tank of another class/spec. This is always flavored by the very hard to quantify player element, where a very skilled player may figure out hot to use their tools in such a fashion where many others don't.

I am fairly certain that encounters are not designed to meet the tanks, but rather the encounters are designed to meet a raid team and they then check it against the considerations of all 10 classes/30 specs as needed. Maybe a semantic difference, but you get my distinction?





1) Differentiation is created by each class having different tools to tackle encounters.
2) Viability is then achieved through balancing encounters to suit all four tanks.

I would disagree slightly (again semantics) on #1. Differentiation isn't achieved through having different tools, but by having similar tools that are applied, achieved or function slightly differently. For example, every tank *could* offer a melee de-haste debuff. For some this requires talents to get (Paladins/Bears), some it requires talents to get the fully improved version (Warriors/DKs), and each tank applies it differently and with different ramifications. Warriors can apply it instantly to everything in a close radius once every 6 sec. DKs can spread it with diseases (which takes at least 2-3 GCDs at the start of a fight) but can maintain it so long as diseases are present. Bears can apply it with specific moves, but those moves are normally target restricted to one at a time, but with no cooldown. With smart use of their abilities they can spread it to multiple targets, and can/will do it in the course of their normal activities, but it requires a lot of attention to maintain it on groups. Paladins can only ever apply it to a single target and with an 8-10 sec CD between applications.

The flavor is that everyone can apply it, but with varying concerns on how and how many. In order to keep that balanced the encounters simply only need to require that the debuff not be 100% crucial as a make-or-break detail. For example, if you would need to debuff 3 targets at once or the tank will die 80% of the time (random %, 30% or even less would probably suffice), then the Paladin's version of the tool would be insufficient as a tanking toolbox item, and you would be legitimately able to say, "a Paladin tank is not viable in this situation."

As I said above, RE: #2, I don't believe encounters are balanced to meet the tanks, but rather tanks tools are balanced such that it shouldn't be a concern to change encounters to face any possible combination of raid team compositions.


In addition, we currently have skills that can be used in interesting ways, but have no use in current content. This is probably because these interesting skills are present in only one single tanking class, so basing an encounter on these would mean the other three will not be as viable.

Encounters would have been much more interesting had there been more similarity between the different tanking classes' skills. Just an example of how it can work: If every tank could disarm, and every boss would be disarmable, there would be yet another interesting dimension to tanking.
This is something of a side point, but Disarm is only available from one tank, but from a few classes. There are disarmable mobs and bosses in current progression content, but it is true, I would agree that they don't want it to be an essential ability for make-or-breaking the encounter since it is hard to rely on its availability. Generally, this is an ability that has been reserved for greatest significance in PvP.



1) Viability is achieved through balancing encounters around fewer restricting skills. Further complexity is achieved by having more skills on which an encounter may rely on.

2) Differentiation can be restored by having the existing, relatively similar skills differentiate in the same way for each class. Explained below.

What I mean is that while effectively possessing the same set of tools, each skill would be used in different way to achieve the same primary effect. Example: Vindication vs. Demo Shout. They basically do the same primary thing, only in a different way. Now this may be unfair to some people. Why does someone get an automatic version of the other's GCD requiring skill? It might also be that class differences would be less noticeable and apparent
This is an example of the differentiation in the tools. Each has its merits and its disadvantages. Vindication is single-target only, requires a sometimes out of the way talent to get for Prot Paladins, and has a limit restricted by the availability of Judgment for use. But as you said, Protadins are judging constantly anyway so its an added benefit to what they do rather than a new thing they have to add to the rotation.

Demo Shout on the other hand is an AoE ability that will apply it everywhere in a close range (which can be improved by talents for range and in scale to match Vinidication's size of reduction). It does require a GCD though, and may not be an attractive item to use if the debuff isn't otherwise required.

But, as an example this is a big pointer at another important detail: What do you identify as a tanking toolbox item, and what is a raid buff?

There are 3 easy tanking debuffs that contribute to the survival of the tank in a meaningful way: melee de-haste, AP reduction, and miss chance. The first can be applied by all tanks (with the distinctions above, every tank can maintain it on a boss easily, but some cannot apply it to a large group, or at least not easily/reliably), to that end you could assume that Blizzard considers it an obligatory anti-boss tool, but a privilege against large groups. This debuff can also be delivered in the full or reduced form by some DPS specs removing the tank's obligation. The AP reduction can be offered by multiple sources, but it can only be applied by 3 of the 4 tanks (poor DKs got the short-end). That said, again, the Paladin can only apply it to one target. You could say one of two things then: it is an obligatory tool on bosses and the tank should be able to provide it themselves (then DKs need a fix), but not on large groups. Or, that this is a perk provided by your raid. It is secondary whether it is provided by your tank or by someone else (in which case DKs are not in need of a fix). Just to contrast, now consider the 3% miss chance debuff. There are 4 class/specs that can deliver it and 1 pays a particularly higher price to do so (MM hunters pay the worst price, Boomkin and BM/Surv Hunters could still trade dps to maintain it). This debuff cannot be delivered by a tank, but it impacts our survival in an important fashion.

The fine print here, I think, is that with tools that are available to more than just the tank we have to remember that these elements are not encounters being balanced against each tank, but rather against the range of what raids can bring, and what is reasonable to expect them to have access to. It is reasonable to expect that a raid could have a Hunter or Balance Druid, but it is a calculated issue of whether or not you are applying the 3% miss. Similarly, the other two debuffs can likely be applied by multiple people in your raid, so it is on your team to figure out how you are doing, if at all. As I said, the melee de-haste is available to every tank at least on single targets so it is easy to say Blizzard assumes you have it covered all the time, but how is a matter for your raid team. If you have a dps DK who can provide it, then your Prot Warrior doesn't have to Tclap on a boss, for example. It is all a careful trade.

Alternatively there are the tools that are central and essential to our job as tanks: threat and survival. Threat is one issue that is usually contested over single target vs AoE tools. The critical threshold is never who does it best, but that every tank *can* do it. That is the measure of "viable." Some would say Prot Warriors or Blood DKs are poor at AoE threat compared to a Paladin, Druid, or Frost DK, but that does not make them no longer "viable" it just makes them less appealing for those situations. It is not Blizzard's prerogative to make every tank equal in terms of AoE threat, they only need to be better than the DPS so that it is not an issue if you don't have a favorable alternative.

Alternately there is the concern of single-target threat. Here the concern is the same: a tank only has to be able to out-tps the damage dealers. However, having them able to go toe to toe with each other allows fights like Deathwhisper's hard-mode. There is a concern that tanks are able to perform to a similar standard, if only to keep all the class/specs attractive, but simply because one spec is lower than another in an absolute scale does not mean it is not "viable."

So in terms of threat, provided every tank can reasonably out-threat their damage dealers, it is not a crucial detail (in general, specific situations it may be) that they can be out-threated by another tank. And at that we get a skewed and personal sense of threat. Stats, specs, and the effort of the player make a big difference. It is not usually fair to say, "I cannot out-threat X when I'm playing Y, so Y or X must be broken or unfair, please fix it." Generally speaking the regulation will be done at an objective level by Blizzard but it is something of an Archimedean point, as you are never free of the variables of player skill.




An interesting addition to this solution would be something that already exists in the game, but not in a way that distinct between classes: Varying the focus of attention for each class, it would mean that classes would experience different difficulties in different encounters. According to such a model each class will have one 'automated' tanking element, and one focused tanking element. Automated elements are those that need little attention, while focused elements need more attention to be maxed out. One important guideline should be that every tank would have the same potential for each of the elements when the tank's skill is maxed.
Automation is not a nice solution because it takes the player out. The thing that makes the game hard to maintain in balance (i.e. the Player/Human factor) is also what makes it fun to play. If you take the player out of it, even in part, you are stripping away the fun, bit by bit.

Trying to fix one variable in the equation can also cause its own balance issues.

The last thing here is that is "max player skill" the smart place to balance performance to? Some class/specs may be harder to get peak performance from. To use completely arbitrary examples, if 90% of Paladins reached 90% of the class's potential or better, but only 30% of Warriors reached 90% of the class's potential, should the 100% mark for the two classes be the same? That is another of the factors that is easy to miss, and hard to gauge, making it that much trickier to find the right balance point for developers.




End result:
Variation through the level of attention dedicated for each element, and different difficulties for different encounters. We would still see some tank classes having to work harder on some encounters, but it will be balanced between classes and encounters, not the current 'some tank classes have to work harder – PERIOD'.
Encounters would become more interesting. I like the example of disarmable bosses (by any tank class), but there's plenty more
It is exactly my previous point why this isn't really reasonable. If you balance the highest potential of every tank class/spec against every encounter (assuming that is possible which it isn't really) but many more (to use the same arbitrary example) Paladins could play at a higher level than Warriors, then the Paladin would be considered the only "viable" class by players (who abuse the term), and you'd see the forums full of dismissals for the poor fools who want to Warrior tank that encounter.




We lose the unidentified way in which tanks are different, and get it into some kind of frame that makes it easier to understand. Maybe the devs prefer tanks to be "just different", but in the long run I think it just means we're not seeing the full potential of encounter designs and balance in the game.
Here, for the many reasons I mentioned above, I disagree.

Reducing the elements that make tanks "just different" does not make the game better, it strips the things that are fun out of it. Without room for the fully-human experience, or the closest you can approximate that in a computer-scripted game, it is easy to lose the draw and you might as well go play Roulette.





The End!


Nevah!

Leucifer
03-01-2010, 02:34 PM
When you want four different viable tanks, you need to A) make them all viable. B) Create differences between them. This is what Blizzard does, but in a way that has restriction and some balance issues.

Well, yes. There are balance issues. If there weren't, they wouldn't be making changes to the classes with every patch. I don't see this ever truly coming to a stop either unless they homogenized the classes, which would be truly boring.



Seems reasonable, but the here's the catch: Let's say each tank had three skills, for the sake of simplicity. Now we all know that different tanks do possess some quite similar skills. Let's say that skill A, and B are relatively similar enough between the four classes (though not identical). However, skill C is quite different. What currently makes it interesting is that each tank possesses a different skill "C".
If we look on the other side of this equation, there's viability. Each encounter must be designed to be overcome by any of the four tanks, using their A, B and C skills. A and B are quite similar, so encounter design is restricted only by these two. Skill C however, is different enough to present a problem. The problem being that now instead of being restricted by three skills, there are A, B (2) + four different C's (4) = 6 skills.[Clarification: The more skills an encounter requires, the more interesting it gets. But I am talking about restrictions, since it's 3 additional DIFFERENT rather than SIMILAR skills.]

Each encounter can be overcome by any of the tanks. One of the things I think that you're missing is that the tank does not operate in a vacuum. What is the build of the raid/instance group? The skill level of the players involved? I mean, through my personal experience, and no offense if meant here, I've seen the following:

Pally: Lot of them as tanks. Most people can tank with them adequately. VERY few REALLY shine as a pally tank and the ones that do.... are sick.
Warrior: Less than pally. Tanking with them is a little more challenging, but used well, and done with a person who is well-skilled, amazing. The best are flat out scary.
Druid: About the same as warrior. A smaller number of people who tank with. Those that do are adequate. The rare few that are well-skilled... flat out amazing to watch.
DK: Very few of them (from my perspective). Appears to be the hardest to tank with, and tank well. In fact, as of last night, I've only seen one other DK tank in almost two months worth of random pugs. They did well, but after the heroic was over, I got to listen to the healer complain about the tank's squishiness.

There's so many variables outside of class design that go into this though. What class is the healer? Do they understand the mechanics of the heals well? DPS.... what is the dps portion comprised of?
Do they understand their roles? How does the group as a whole react/adjust to the tank leading the run?



The game is much more complex, and has many more skills, some of which don't really restrict anything. But this simple example shows how differentiating skills between classes can restrict encounter design. In addition, we currently have skills that can be used in interesting ways, but have no use in current content. This is probably because these interesting skills are present in only one single tanking class, so basing an encounter on these would mean the other three will not be as viable.

Restrict encounter design? I don't see that. As for basing an encounter on the existence of a single class and it's unique ability, I think there are some encounters that are leveraged towards that, but I don't think any are truly out of the realm for any of the tanks to perform well in. Again, I think so much of it boils down to the skill of the tank.



Encounters would have been much more interesting had there been more similarity between the different tanking classes' skills. Just an example of how it can work: If every tank could disarm, and every boss would be disarmable, there would be yet another interesting dimension to tanking.

Interesting? Or the "homogenization"? Part of what makes each encounter interesting IS the different approaches available to each tank class. If each could disarm, it'd make the encounter a clear "tank shall A then B then C, regardless of class". Name the ability what you want, the underlying mechanics of the fight hasn't changed. Yes, you create "viability". You also reduce "variability", which is part of what makes the game fun. Sure, as a DK, I can't disarm. But I do have two nice little abilities that I use in raid that I think go overlooked... my interrupts like Mind Freeze and Strangulate have come in handy in controlling encounters that are normally feared due to certain effects that normally don't get put in check. The warrior who struggles to pull that caster who is outside of their range, isn't as much a problem for me as I Death Grip that sucker into my little circle of death. On the downside? I don't have the loveliness of Thunderclap that I can spam for snap AoE threat. So, I have to approach a fight differently. What I think trips up people is that, they're used to running it with a warrior or pally and don't have the experience of running a certain run differently, so it's uncomfortable to them.

And that, I think is key to the perceptions we have towards the various classes, including myself.



And here is how it can be implemented:


1) Viability is achieved through balancing encounters around fewer restricting skills. Further complexity is achieved by having more skills on which an encounter may rely on.
2) Differentiation can be restored by having the existing, relatively similar skills differentiate in the same way for each class. Explained below.



What I mean is that while effectively possessing the same set of tools, each skill would be used in different way to achieve the same primary effect. Example: Vindication vs. Demo Shout. They basically do the same primary thing, only in a different way. Now this may be unfair to some people. Why does someone get an automatic version of the other's GCD requiring skill? It might also be that class differences would be less noticeable and apparent.
An interesting addition to this solution would be something that already exists in the game, but not in a way that distinct between classes: Varying the focus of attention for each class, it would mean that classes would experience different difficulties in different encounters. According to such a model each class will have one 'automated' tanking element, and one focused tanking element. Automated elements are those that need little attention, while focused elements need more attention to be maxed out. One important guideline should be that every tank would have the same potential for each of the elements when the tank's skill is maxed.


Just an example of how such a model could work:


Druid: Automated DPS, focused TPS.
Warriors: Automated TPS, focused Survivability.
Paladins: Automated Survivability, focused TPS
DKs (Frost): Automated DPS, focused Survivability.
DKs (Blood): Automated Survivability, focused TPS.



For those who love automation: tough luck, work is liberating.
To all the labor-loving warriors out there: everyone's attention is limited. Dividing it too much result in lesser performance, it has been scientifically proven.

But isn't this already how it's set up?

Example: A warrior/pally has the automated armor buff of a shield. My DK has the automated buff of frost presence. The druid gets the armor bonus from dire bear.
My automated threat element is diseases + pestilence. Well, somewhat automated. The druid has swipe and their one roar effect as an instant AoE threat pull. Pally has
consecrate and righteous fury. Warriors have thunderclap and challenging shout.

We all have tools to do the job. The skill comes in learning the class and understanding the mechanics of each, and how they should be used in each encounter, the drawbacks and advantages of each.



End result:
Variation through the level of attention dedicated for each element, and different difficulties for different encounters. We would still see some tank classes having to work harder on some encounters, but it will be balanced between classes and encounters, not the current 'some tank classes have to work harder – PERIOD'.
Encounters would become more interesting. I like the example of disarmable bosses (by any tank class), but there's plenty more.


We lose the unidentified way in which tanks are different, and get it into some kind of frame that makes it easier to understand. Maybe the devs prefer tanks to be "just different", but in the long run I think it just means we're not seeing the full potential of encounter designs and balance in the game.


The End!

All tanks have to work harder on certain encounters. But again, the tank does not operate in a vacuum. What are the other players doing to help adjust for these changes? Yes, it's important to know your own class and the mechanics, but again, you need to have a basic understanding as to the challenges a tank faces. Maybe this is intuitive for me since I do tank with my DK, but when I go into raids as dps, I look at the upcoming fights in a "what can I do to help the tank?" instead of, "ok... when this fight kicks off I'm gonna hammer this mob as fast as I can, I have my rotations down pat". Yeah, I do some risky stuff at times, death grip that caster in next to the warrior so that next thunderclap seals aggro and keeps it in range for the melee classes. Or use my interrupts to help prevent healers from dragging out a fight or to break cc's before they even hit our team.

I see what you're getting at, but I think a lot of the issue at hand is your "team composition" and their understanding of how to function as a group.

Example: How would you approach tanking Halls of Reflection with these two groups? We'll keep the tank the same for simplicity sake.

Group A:
Tank: Paladin
DPS1: Fury Warrior
DPS2: DK
DPS3: Enhance Shaman
Heal: Resto Druid

Group B:
Tank: Paladin
DPS1: Arcane Mage
DPS2: Destro Warlock
DPS3: Boomkin
Heal: Priest

Thoughts? Ideas? What do you see as pros and cons?

To me,
group A:
-lower dps (generally)
-better survivability
-"extra" heals

group B:
-AoE and higher dps
-"soft" targets
- potential for things to go bad in a hurry

How these two different groups approach a run and work together can be the difference between success and failure. SAME tank.... but very real possibility for different results.
And if you switched out a warrior, druid tank, or DK for the pally.... each group would need a slightly different approach.

And back to the idea that some tank classes have to work harder.... period. I think that's true to some degree. But those classes at which you have to work harder, I think the issue in those cases comes down to this:

How good of a tank do you want to be?

The best with each class really make their classes shine. You KNOW what I'm talking about. They're that pally that runs through the Occulus without stopping, pulling targets with them and destroying everything in their path. They're the druid that goes on a rampage through Halls of Stone as IF they were a rabid bear. They're the warrior that runs through crushing targets in Pit of Saron like they're on a timer.

I think I understand where you're coming from on your ideas of balancing out the tanking classes. And from how you describe it, I'm guessing you're either a warrior or DK, because in my experience, both of those take a lot more work to tank well (I've tanked as a druid, warrior, and learning as a DK). I think Satorri hit on something very important though when he said:

"Blizz is playing within a state of dynamic balance that occasionally veers off a bit for a particular encounter because they didn't expect some combination of interplaying elements. The game isn't always imbalanced for that sense, so much as Blizz is constantly trying to keep an even keel with their changes. So tricky language here."

As they add new content, despite all play-testing, when stuff gets into real-time, something always comes across not as intended.

At any rate......just my thoughts.

Edit:

Just wanted to add. I still think the real key is this:

1) Tanks don't operate in a vacuum
2) The tank has to understand the mechanics of his group, and the group needs to understand the mechanics of the tank.
3) Group interaction/coordination can make or break a tank, regardless of how good they are.
4) Each encounter will change based on the make up of the group involved

Proletaria
03-01-2010, 04:05 PM
Heroic Anub'arak (after the fiasco of sartharion 1.0 and Vezzax to a lesser extent) show that the Dev team isn't very interested in the "bring the player," or universal viability theory anymore. If you are a tank, dedicated to his class or not, you should be ready for another roller-coaster out of Cataclysm. Encounter design has never completely met completely with tank balance. Let's just hope we don't have another set of encounters that encourage (if not force) veteran tanks to sit out or re-roll in the name of progression.

Leucifer
03-01-2010, 04:58 PM
Heroic Anub'arak (after the fiasco of sartharion 1.0 and Vezzax to a lesser extent) show that the Dev team isn't very interested in the "bring the player," or universal viability theory anymore. If you are a tank, dedicated to his class or not, you should be ready for another roller-coaster out of Cataclysm. Encounter design has never completely met completely with tank balance. Let's just hope we don't have another set of encounters that encourage (if not force) veteran tanks to sit out or re-roll in the name of progression.

Bad news for ya then........

http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=23425636414&sid=1&pageNo=1#0

This was just released today.

Of note from it:

Stamina - Because of the way we will be assigning Strength, Agility, and Intellect, non-plate wearers will end up with more Stamina than before. Health pools will be much closer between plate-wearers and other classes.

Haste - Haste will become more attractive for melee classes by allowing them to recover resources such as energy and runes more quickly. Our intention is for Haste to let you "do stuff" more often.

Block Rating - Block is being redesigned to scale better. Blocked attacks will simply hit for 30% less damage. Block rating will improve your chance to block, though overall block chances will be lower than they are today.

Parry - Parry no longer provides 100% avoidance and no longer speeds up attacks. Instead, when you parry an attack, it and the next attack will each hit for 50% damage (assuming they hit at all). In other words, Dodge is a chance to avoid 100% of the damage from one attack, Parry is a chance to avoid 50% of the damage from two attacks, and Block is a chance to avoid 30% of the damage from one attack.

Armor - The way Armor mitigates damage is not changing, but the Armor stat has been rebalanced to mirror changes to the armor curve in Cataclysm. As a result, bonus Armor will go down slightly overall. We are also changing the mitigation difference among armor types so that plate doesn’t offer so much more protection than mail, leather, and cloth.

Strength, Agility, Hit Rating, Expertise, and Critical Strike Rating - These will all still appear on gear as well. Aside from situations mentioned elsewhere in this list, in general these will function similarly to how they do now, though the details -- such as how much Hit Rating you might need to effectively combat high-level creatures (more on this below) -- are likely to change.

Attack Power - This stat will no longer be present on most items as a flat value, though it will still show up on some process. Strength and Agility, which will be present on items, will grant the appropriate amount of Attack Power (generally 2 Attack Power per point of Strength or Agility) depending upon which stat a particular class favors. Agility may provide less Crit than it currently does.

Armor Penetration - This stat will no longer be present on items. Armor Penetration will still exist in talents and abilities.

Shield Block Value - This stat will no longer be present on items, since the amount blocked is always proportional to the amount of damage done. Talents and other effects might still modify the damage-reduction percentage from 30%, however.

Defense - Defense is being removed from the game entirely. Tanking classes should expect to become uncrittable versus creatures just by shifting into Defensive Stance, Frost Presence, Bear Form, or by using Righteous Fury.

Combat ratings - All ratings will be much harder to "cap out" at maximum gear levels. Ratings will be steeper in Cataclysm, and creatures in later tiers of content will be harder to hit or crit, similar to how level-83 mobs are harder to hit or crit than level-80 mobs.

Reforging - While these changes will go a long way to making a wider variety of stats more attractive, we understand that sometimes you simply don’t want more Hit Rating on your gear or you’d rather have more Haste than more Crit. In Cataclysm, we are going to give players a way to replace stats on gear as part of the existing profession system. As a general rule of thumb, you’ll be able to convert one stat to 50% of another stat. While some conversions (like converting Stamina to Strength) won’t be permitted, the goal is to let you customize your gear more.

Gems - We are changing the gem colors of a few stats as a result of these adjustments. For example, Hit is likely to be blue instead of yellow. We'll have more details on this in the future.

If you are a tank (druids excepted), expect to see:

No more Defense on gear. Existing Defense becomes Dodge, Parry, or Block Rating.
No more Block Value on gear. Existing Block Value becomes Block Rating.
You’ll have as much Stamina as you’re used to, though you may notice your tanking plate has a bit less Stamina than a comparable piece of DPS plate, since we tend to take the gem budget out of your most attractive stat.
Bonus Armor on gear will go down slightly.

Prinnyraid
03-01-2010, 05:06 PM
I dont get it? A part of this game and your development as a tank is pickup up gear and gearing up. Becoming defense capped is part of that imo. Why are they making everything so gay easy?

Güth
03-01-2010, 08:13 PM
Why are they making everything so gay easy?

Wait...what?

The point of them removing certain stats and changing how others work are partly related to stat inflation, or for example why for the last 2 expansions they've added a "radiance" to the late-game raids to reduce avoidance so the bosses don't have to hit for absurd numbers.

Removing Defense allows them to shape the growth of avoidance through item tiers in a way they feel is easier to handle, less inflation, less gimmicks due to players not having insanely high avoidance, easier to balance boss fights.

I personally like the idea of not having to juggle gear to remain at the defense minimum, I can use any piece of gear I see fit for an encounter without risk of dropping too low. As an example, albeit an old one, if I ever needed to use the crafted Frost Resist gear (first time my guild tried Hodir, I did) I had to gem every slot of those pieces with raw defense gems and enchants (where applicable) just to remain AT the 540 minimum.

Adrael
03-02-2010, 03:13 AM
Should've known that this Wall'O'Text would provoke yet more walls :)

Didn't have time to read everything, but I will.

@ Satorri: I agree with most of the insights in the first part of your post, and will not address everything due to time limitation. However, I'd like to focus on two things:

If there's an X% of paladins who max out their class and Y% of warriors doing it then there might be something wrong. Maybe one class is harder to play than the other? and this is the part of the slight imbalance we see in the game. This is one of the things I was trying to address. Tank A should not be easier to play than tank B. Off course, one intelligent TankSpot member could say that the difference we see is due to the human factor, and not the game mechanics. I don't know if this is the case. I suspect that there is such a difference between X and Y because of the game mechanics.

I fully agree that automation is not good for the game. It reduces the level of difficulty (and fun imo), yet we cannot say that all the tanks are manual right now. Some abilities are automatic, this is bad for the game, I agree. I simply want to make this 'automation' even. I'd be fine with a solution that would take automation out of the equasion, and play the way I have been playing for the past
~5 years :)

EDIT: All tanks are viable (with the correct use of the word). There are no 'levels' of viability, it's a binary thing imo.

But:


The amount of focus required by players for achieving their inherit tanking viability changes with class.


Would've gladly tried to disprove it if I had a psychology lab.

I think I would've failed.

Blizzard should start a psychological research on attention focus and raiding.

Satorri
03-02-2010, 06:18 AM
If there's an X% of paladins who max out their class and Y% of warriors doing it then there might be something wrong. Maybe one class is harder to play than the other? and this is the part of the slight imbalance we see in the game. This is one of the things I was trying to address. Tank A should not be easier to play than tank B. Off course, one intelligent TankSpot member could say that the difference we see is due to the human factor, and not the game mechanics. I don't know if this is the case. I suspect that there is such a difference between X and Y because of the game mechanics.
And the catch is that if you think it's hard (or maybe you don't) to balance the in-game factors of one tank next to another, it is a terribly complicated challenge to balance the ease of play from one class to the next.

To that end, I don't think easier is better. More on this below the next section as they relate.


I fully agree that automation is not good for the game. It reduces the level of difficulty (and fun imo), yet we cannot say that all the tanks are manual right now. Some abilities are automatic, this is bad for the game, I agree. I simply want to make this 'automation' even.

GC recently had a great post regarding a very important distinction between Depth and Complexity. In short, Complexity is a matter of how much is going on, how many elements are involved, and how many things you have to be on top of at once. On the other hand, Depth is a matter of having the potential to get more out of your class/spec than you necessarily need. The two are linked but not synonymous.

The ideal is that the class is relatively simple (as opposed to unnecessary complexity), but has the depth to reward extended periods of play. If you can pick up the class/spec and be functional, but with years of play there is still room to learn and develop, *that* is the ideal balance of depth vs complexity. I think they really did a wonderful job with DKs in that respect.

Automation is a problem because it is a sacrifice of depth to reduce complexity. That may not necessarily a bad thing, universally, but there are ways to simplify without sacrificing depth, which is my reticence in regards to automation. A challenge to players should not be answered with taking responsibility out of their hands and giving them a cookie. The solution is to make things more intuitive, or more easily attended to, while trying to preserve the depth you can.

I know part of what I love most about tanking is that there are a LOT of things going on that I have to be on top of. It never gets old (though there is the occasional tank n spank boss encounter that I start getting highway hypnosis around the 10th-20th time tanking it).



EDIT: All tanks are viable (with the correct use of the word). There are no 'levels' of viability, it's a binary thing imo.
Right! Easily missed semantics. =)



(PS thank you for bringing level-headed and intellectual discussion to the boards, I really appreciate it next to the complaints or blind talking point yelling matches)

Satorri
03-02-2010, 06:23 AM
The amount of focus required by players for achieving their inherit tanking viability changes with class.


Would've gladly tried to disprove it if I had a psychology lab.

I think I would've failed.

Blizzard should start a psychological research on attention focus and raiding.

Oops, I forgot.

I bet there is already some published wisdom on the topic, if not publicly, then in the game development world. Particularly cognitive distinctions of attention.

For example, you know why phone numbers (in the US anyway) are 7 digits? That was found to be a reasonable number of discrete and simple items that could be stored in the short term memory. What is also interesting is that we find ways to compress that information, like groupings of numbers that are intuitive, or pairings. Rather than 1-2-5-8-0-0, we could compartmentalize it as two 3 digit numbers 125 and 800, to be stored as single items. It's fun,

WoW is no exception, but there is always a range of cognitive aptitude for how many things you can keep track of, and there is actual value in playing a game like WoW if it tests your limits. If you are constantly trying to keep track of more items than you would have been comfortable doing you can develop your brain and reflexes to address more than you would have.

WoW as a tool for cognitive development, imagine that?

Adrael
03-02-2010, 06:29 AM
@Satorri - I made such a good post quoting everything you wrote... but now it's gone. Wasn't logged in when I clicked 'Submit'.

Well... regardless. You got me wrong on some things, maybe I should have been clearer. I agree with most of what you wrote. I think I should have underlined something there:


Attention focus for tanking players is not balanced right now, and should be taken into account. I'll try to remake my wonderful reply later :(

Adrael
03-02-2010, 06:34 AM
Ye, I know.

I'm a psychology B.Sc :)

KnThrak
03-02-2010, 06:59 AM
There is another key component to judging the relative difficulty of gameplay though, and that is that the type of player playing each class is different.

As a simple evidence of this, remember the extremely low Druid population all the way through the earlier game (no clue whether it still exists) despite their power in certain areas?
It couldn't be explained in any rational fashion, and was most likely down to appeal-issues. Having to roll NE/Tauren, form-changing, position compared to other classes.

And that is the tip of the iceberg. There's much more, like underdog-players who will always gun for spec/class they thing is weaker but still reasonably good at the job to "show the mainliners!" (I admit I'm guilty of this and if they hadn't bugged Necrosis to no longer work with Rune Strike I'd still be playing Unholy Tank!), like players who reroll because they cannot stand the animations of their race anymore and while there decide to try out whether there's any grounds to all the claims that Pallytanks are overpowered, like people who cannot stand the classcolour pink, like people who do or do not like the looks of the plate armor sets and decide Druid vs anything-else based on that, like Death Knights who are easier to level up than other classes, bla bla bla bla bla.

Completely ignoring actualy in-group/-raid tankbalance, the classes are already imbalanced from the get-go. They have different numbers of players - hence different exposure and hence different degrees in which Healers/DPS are used to working with them - and different types of players. From different types of players come different percentages of players per class hitting different tiers of skill-percentages.

And mind you, we're still not actually at the part where we zoned into the instance, much less pulled anything. ;)


Satorri has one VERY important point: There is no state of balance. There is a perpetual imbalance which gets prodded to move the other way each time it tries to slide off the table. Like a single drop of designdecision water being dropped into a hot frying pan of customer expectations, and all it does is zip around, never standing still. And if you keep the heat turned up long enough it's gone entirely, but now we're getting philosophical. :D

Adrael
03-02-2010, 07:48 AM
Satorri has one VERY important point: There is no state of balance. There is a perpetual imbalance which gets prodded to move the other way each time it tries to slide off the table. Like a single drop of designdecision water being dropped into a hot frying pan of customer expectations, and all it does is zip around, never standing still. And if you keep the heat turned up long enough it's gone entirely, but now we're getting philosophical. :D

This perpetual imbalance is what keeps WoW alive. Every patch we get a slightly different game, every expanssion we get a whole different game. For us players, it's a perfect world that never gets old (or will get old, but only after a very long time). It's also good for the devs, since they constantly change things, create new challenges and balance our world in creative ways. Balance will never be achieved completely and that's a good thing. A balance world is an unchanging one, and unchanging worlds get boring.

I like your observation about the players personal preferences. These different preferences are derivatives of us being different people. But the 'lazy-ass' players shouldn't get the option of playing a class which offers more automation than other classes. It seems like that now, when the devs balance out things, they pay little regards to the most basic resource a gamer has. Attention should be in the focus of any class balance. I'm not saying that there's this one class that can just do everything while auto-attacking, but the differences between some classes are too big when it comes to automation.

I also would like to see more order in the way tanks are balanced (as suggested above), but that's a matter of taste :)

Proletaria
03-02-2010, 10:29 AM
Bad news for ya then........

http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=23425636414&sid=1&pageNo=1#0

This was just released today.



How is that bad news? Block gimmicks are out and avoidance is getting a face-lift. Sounds like wins all around to me. Details will be nasty (dks without block, bears without parry) for some classes, but if they're balancing around a % block there should be fewer problems.

I think the halarious part is, with the change to block.. Anub's hardmode adds may be all but impossible to tank by anyone. I guess by then we'll have dps who can kill them before stun wears off, but still, I am just in awe of how little effort was made to reform that encounter. Just reeks of fail.

Leucifer
03-02-2010, 10:36 AM
Completely ignoring actualy in-group/-raid tankbalance, the classes are already imbalanced from the get-go. They have different numbers of players - hence different exposure and hence different degrees in which Healers/DPS are used to working with them - and different types of players. From different types of players come different percentages of players per class hitting different tiers of skill-percentages.

Again, this takes me back to my first point: tanks don't operate in a vacuum.

You touch on what I think is a key point here. The different exposure/experience with which healers/dps are used to working with a particular class. Again, back to my earlier post, I kid you not, I've only seen one other DK besides myself tanking on the random daily heroics over the past MONTH. I usually run as dps, so the tank spot is wide open. Out of over 100+ pugs, only ONE had a DK tank. And in that case, the healer had remarked on how they didn't like the run because the tank felt "squishy".



Satorri has one VERY important point: There is no state of balance. There is a perpetual imbalance which gets prodded to move the other way each time it tries to slide off the table. Like a single drop of designdecision water being dropped into a hot frying pan of customer expectations, and all it does is zip around, never standing still. And if you keep the heat turned up long enough it's gone entirely, but now we're getting philosophical. :D

Agreed.

But then again, balance should exist as a whole. The priest that cries about not being able to "blow up" people in battlegrounds, maybe should re-examine why they selected a healer. The hunter that cries about not being able to melee with a warrior, should maybe re-examine what they are trying to do.

I see it time and again. Groups of people who understand that their CLASS PLAYS A ROLE AS PART OF A GROUP usually kick ass, take names, and run off with the flag or take Wintergrasp or smoke that raid boss that gives everyone such a hard time. The place this is usually witnessed is in battlegrounds, where a lot of times, it's a loose mob of individuals instead of a group of people working in concert.

There CAN be balance in that sense. That several different classes teamed up can form an effective group.

The idea that each class can, or even should, balance out with every other class..... I don't agree with. Each class is supposed to be a specialist... and under each class, a sub-specialty. Each is supposed to be able to bring something to the table, not bring the whole 4 course meal on its own.

Proletaria
03-02-2010, 10:46 AM
Each is supposed to be able to bring something to the table, not bring the whole 4 course meal on its own.

That was the orignial design intent. It doesn't work unless you assume every raid has access to every tank. That usually isn't the case. It leaves you with magic-immune dk tanks, warriors who can take nearly zero damage from nerubian burrowers, paladins who can produce absurd tps with little to no threat stats, and bears who can nearly double any other tank's hp with glyphed Survival Instincts.

Are all of these things problems? Sure.
Which one is more important? I guess that is up the the devs.
Is it ironic the only one of these things that got a significant nerf was the DK's magic niche? lolyes

I'm one of two, yes two, raiding dk tanks on a server of 30k+. Doubt the patch is going to change that much.
We may as well leave our opinions until Cata. Fresh imbalance to crow over should be fun.

Leucifer
03-02-2010, 11:00 AM
How is that bad news? Block gimmicks are out and avoidance is getting a face-lift. Sounds like wins all around to me. Details will be nasty (dks without block, bears without parry) for some classes, but if they're balancing around a % block there should be fewer problems.

Those details might make or break those classes for tanking for a while.

Bears seem to benefit in that "leather and mail armor will scale better". However, for the DK, the fact that they are reducing the value of plate armor in comparison to mail/leather/cloth, puts them at a disadvantage since they don't have block or use a shield. Right now, frost presence is our "shield" effectively.

Again though, if I reduce the value of plate armor vs. mail/leather/cloth...... bring the stamina of classes closer together..... reduce the value of block.... reduce the value of parry.... improve dodge....
well, that to me makes it seem like rogues might even become viable tanks, so long as they can keep their dodge % up high enough.

Yeah, I know. Crazy talk. Right? We've already seen a rogue tank Illidan. His dodge/avoidance was high enough to make up for any armor issues. Armor became a critical factor in WotLK as so many things hit so hard, that the difference between plate/mail/leather/cloth become more apparent. Of course, they plan to make defense stance/frost presence/bear form/etc "uncrittable".

I'm starting to ramble now.
I think Satorri touched on a point here that reflects my concerns regarding the changes for Cataclysm:



GC recently had a great post regarding a very important distinction between Depth and Complexity. In short, Complexity is a matter of how much is going on, how many elements are involved, and how many things you have to be on top of at once. On the other hand, Depth is a matter of having the potential to get more out of your class/spec than you necessarily need. The two are linked but not synonymous.

The ideal is that the class is relatively simple (as opposed to unnecessary complexity), but has the depth to reward extended periods of play. If you can pick up the class/spec and be functional, but with years of play there is still room to learn and develop, *that* is the ideal balance of depth vs complexity. I think they really did a wonderful job with DKs in that respect.

Automation is a problem because it is a sacrifice of depth to reduce complexity. That may not necessarily a bad thing, universally, but there are ways to simplify without sacrificing depth, which is my reticence in regards to automation. A challenge to players should not be answered with taking responsibility out of their hands and giving them a cookie. The solution is to make things more intuitive, or more easily attended to, while trying to preserve the depth you can.

I know part of what I love most about tanking is that there are a LOT of things going on that I have to be on top of. It never gets old (though there is the occasional tank n spank boss encounter that I start getting highway hypnosis around the 10th-20th time tanking it).

It feels like Blizz is reducing the depth of the game.

Again..... my point that I raised earlier that a tank does not operate in a vacuum.... that each class plays a larger role.... Blizzard seems to be blurring those lines and "homogenizing" the playing field.

Just feels to me like Blizzard is making World of Warcraft a little less colorful. :(
That to me is a loss.

Leucifer
03-02-2010, 11:04 AM
That was the orignial design intent. It doesn't work unless you assume every raid has access to every tank. That usually isn't the case. It leaves you with magic-immune dk tanks, warriors who can take nearly zero damage from nerubian burrowers, paladins who can produce absurd tps with little to no threat stats, and bears who can nearly double any other tank's hp with glyphed Survival Instincts.

Are all of these things problems? Sure.
Which one is more important? I guess that is up the the devs.
Is it ironic the only one of these things that got a significant nerf was the DK's magic niche? lolyes

I'm one of two, yes two, raiding dk tanks on a server of 30k+. Doubt the patch is going to change that much.
We may as well leave our opinions until Cata. Fresh imbalance to crow over should be fun.

Feel your pain. I'm one of a few people who even attempts top tank with my DK on mine. The stats you tell me.... shocking.

Agree with you on Cataclysm. I'm going to hang up my hat (minus the post I just dropped.... slow repsonse. heh) on the topic.

Yeah..... I agree with the basic gist of what you say.
LMAO.... and yes... should be interesting to see what happens next. :)

Bladesong
03-02-2010, 08:26 PM
It feels like Blizz is reducing the depth of the game.

I think it is shaping up to have a lot more depth than it currently does. Currently too many classes seem to fall into the same setup: cap one or two stats (def/hit/exp) then go all in on your one big power stat. The large selection of stats available on gear gives the illusion of depth but it's been a while since I've had to make any hard gearing decisions. The "fewer but better" stats approach they are taking has the potential to bring back actual gearing decisions and the ability for all tank classes to put together specialized sets for encounters.

I'm really looking forward to the changes and all the theorycrafting and experimentation that they'll bring.

Satorri
03-03-2010, 06:55 AM
Just feels to me like Blizzard is making World of Warcraft a little less colorful. :(


I guess I don't see it the same way. Or more, I think there is the key distinction I mentioned above between depth and complexity. Right now there is a decent amount of complexity. Complexity here meaning many ways to do the same thing.

For example, if you take a simple concept of avoidance (ha ha simple), we have 3 final stats/abilities that are our avoidance: dodge, parry, and miss. To influence these three items that all have about the same end result (parry has the added parry haste element which is small but not insignificant), we have dodge rating, parry rating, defense rating, agility, and baseline scaling talents. Just considering dodge chance that is 4 separate inputs. If you were to reduce that to dodge rating = dodge chance and nothing else contributed that would make it simpler (less complex) but would it take any depth out of the game?

If anything the proposed mechanics changes for tank functionality *increase* depth, I think, while reducing complexity. What I take from the notes, for example, is that now dodge is not the same end result as parry. So they have different implications so it is not just 2 routes to get the same thing, each will have a different effect in how you feel to heal as a tank.

On the other hand you see the removal of defense. Generally speaking, the #1 objective/criteria for Defense is that you have a minimum to not be crit. When you're a new max-level tank that's a concern, but when you reach higher level of gear it is very easy to make that cap (by design expecting the upcoming removal of the stat, I'm sure). Once you meet the uncrittable point then it becomes more challenging to take as a stat. It still gives you 4 more small values which vary depending on tanking class. Some of these values aren't transparent and we forget that because we've passed macros and addons around the community that show us what the game does not show us clearly. Removing Defense does not reduce depth, only complexity. It wasn't really a question of whether or not you needed the minimum threshold to be uncrittable, but afterwards it just duplicated other stats effects.

The key to depth as opposed to complexity, in my opinion, is the ability to have a tank set multiple points of balance just by adjusting their talents and gear. If every tank has the same best stat to stack no matter what (say pure Stamina) and there is one talent spec for every Prot Warrior, that is not depth on the preparation side, no matter how many different stats you actually have. If it is rare or hard to ever get more value from Parry rating than Dodge rating, then you never really gem for Parry rating and it's wasted complexity (complexity that does not contribute to depth).

The desires I see from the development team are really awesome. They want to make more elements a player choice, and make it such that there is more than one way to accomplish your goal. *That* is depth, and it leaves room for people, not automatons who just follow *the* only way to do it brought to you by the think-tanks.

There is always the question of how well they'll pull it off, but generally I've been satisfied that even when they don't get it just right on their first try, they're always working to fix it, they're always working to nudge the system back to a sustainable state.

Where do you feel like you're losing depth though? (I'm reluctant to use the term color as that often enough seems like a synonym for complexity, i.e. you can have 200 shades of green but how many of them are truly distinct or will help you make a nice picture when combined)

Proletaria
03-03-2010, 09:22 AM
Feel your pain. I'm one of a few people who even attempts top tank with my DK on mine. The stats you tell me.... shocking.

Agree with you on Cataclysm. I'm going to hang up my hat (minus the post I just dropped.... slow repsonse. heh) on the topic.

Yeah..... I agree with the basic gist of what you say.
LMAO.... and yes... should be interesting to see what happens next. :)

The stats only get more halarious as you pan out to see the broader raiding community. If you want a (slightly depressing) laugh, head over to worldoflogs and browse hardmode parses for a few hours, you'll be able to count on one hand the number of dk tanks you come across, and most of them will be tanking maybe 1-2 encounters (encoutners where they are the third tank, such as putricide). Look at early kills on 10man hardmodes and you'll see almost a total absence of dks due to the fact they bring close to nothing in terms of raid synergy and we cannot even debuff our target's ap.

I agree with you, cata is most certainly going to shake things up again. Those changes are far too sweeping to not break the current mold entirely. I just hope the devs make some attempt to do their homework and understand why we were completely left out of this tier of progression.

Proletaria
03-03-2010, 09:34 AM
The desires I see from the development team are really awesome. They want to make more elements a player choice, and make it such that there is more than one way to accomplish your goal. *That* is depth, and it leaves room for people, not automatons who just follow *the* only way to do it brought to you by the think-tanks.

There is always the question of how well they'll pull it off, but generally I've been satisfied that even when they don't get it just right on their first try, they're always working to fix it, they're always working to nudge the system back to a sustainable state.

Where do you feel like you're losing depth though? (I'm reluctant to use the term color as that often enough seems like a synonym for complexity, i.e. you can have 200 shades of green but how many of them are truly distinct or will help you make a nice picture when combined)

If that is their goal I think they are sadly loosing touch with their own reality. The theorycrafters do not generate 'best' setups for the various tanking classes based around stats so much as they do encounter design, sustainable HPS from healers, and capacity of the tanks to deal with those things. There wouldn't have been a "STAM IT OR GTFO," feeling throughout this expansion had it not been for infinite holy light spam, never-ending disc-priest bubbles, and nearly 100% uptime on inspiration-like buffs. There wouldn't have been an extreme withdrawl from the DK class if they hadn't created several encounters that arbitrarily elevated block to god-like levels of effectiveness. There wouldn't have been such heavy-handed nerfs to our orignial raid-wide auras if we hadn't started this expansion with nearly every encounter giving us 1min burst effects to mitigate with IBF and our dps brothers ringing off the charts with amazing dps.

In short, I don't think we'll ever get away from obviously superior setups be they based on stam, armor, effective health (combining the two), avoidance, or a combination of the three. What they ought to be striving for is either getting raiding guilds to bring every class of tank (allowing them to explore unique tanking approaches and niche roles) or making encounter design forgiving to tank setups enough that we never see another disaster like Sarth, Anub, or Arthas where one or more tanks are left to scratch their head wondering why they were not considered.

Adrael
03-03-2010, 09:43 AM
When looking at stats alone, we see a lot of redundancy. I believe Blizzard is making the right call here. Regardless, I think that skills could become more uniform yet not identical for different tanks. it's hard to define how it differentiation and similarity can be balanced to allow better class balance while still maintaining uniqueness. I believe that currently classes are too different to aloe balance, especially when it comes to the amount of attention and focus required by each class.

Leucifer
03-03-2010, 12:10 PM
I guess I don't see it the same way. Or more, I think there is the key distinction I mentioned above between depth and complexity. Right now there is a decent amount of complexity. Complexity here meaning many ways to do the same thing.
Complexity and depth are interrelated, but not necessarily fixed as to how they act upon each other. I'll agree with that. As to complexity being many ways to do the same thing, in a broader view, all of these things, defense, parry, dodge, miss, block, armor.... they all serve to keep a tank alive.


For example, if you take a simple concept of avoidance (ha ha simple), we have 3 final stats/abilities that are our avoidance: dodge, parry, and miss. To influence these three items that all have about the same end result (parry has the added parry haste element which is small but not insignificant), we have dodge rating, parry rating, defense rating, agility, and baseline scaling talents. Just considering dodge chance that is 4 separate inputs. If you were to reduce that to dodge rating = dodge chance and nothing else contributed that would make it simpler (less complex) but would it take any depth out of the game?
LoL.... Yeah, simple. Well, in the suggested case above, why not simply make dodge = to a some mathematical derivative of agility, since that is the overriding "stat"? That is in fact a variant of what we have now really. It's just that we can have modifiers to it in the form of armor bonuses and talent bonuses, rather than straight "agility" bonuses.

Consider this: what's the real difference between the two pieces of armor?

2000 armor 2000 armor
+20 STR +20 STR
+20 AGI +20 DODGE
+20 STA +20 STA

It depends on what AGI translates to versus DODGE. In the current system, a hunter is going to look at that first one and go "I want this". The warrior currently may not, depending on how "dodge" translates out to their effective dodge percentage. Yes, I am leading somewhere with this.


If anything the proposed mechanics changes for tank functionality *increase* depth, I think, while reducing complexity. What I take from the notes, for example, is that now dodge is not the same end result as parry. So they have different implications so it is not just 2 routes to get the same thing, each will have a different effect in how you feel to heal as a tank.
Ok. I see what you're saying here and put that way, I think it's great. However, knowing how that new system is designed, which would you rather have a higher percentage on? Dodge (100% mitigation) or Parry (<100% mitigation)? Blizzard will have to be careful not to reduce the value of parry and block so much that they become "pointless".

Going back to my example, consider now the last bit of information and think of this:
Who would be better at surviving a boss fight?

Rogue Warrior
20,000 health 24,000 health
6,000 armor 14,000 armor
40% dodge (due to agility) 15% dodge
20% parry 25% parry
0% block 15% block

Remember, Blizzard said they are reducing the value of plate armor versus the other armor types and bringing stamina more in line across classes. Granted, this all might be skewed as we don't know exactly how the stats are going to pan out in the Cataclysm system exactly, but the system, if not balanced out right, you end up with a very real chance that you create just a new imbalance (which in all likelihood, despite all the play-testing in the universe, is going to occur, and Blizz will have to continue with their patches and modifications). Imagine, for a moment, that agility is ramped in such a way that it allows for a very high dodge percentage. You could end up with rogues, bear druids, and hunters quite possibly having a much higher effective damage mitigation than a "tank". It depends on the scaling. I'm certain that Blizzard will seek to avoid this, but I think in the first month we'll see some interesting things.


On the other hand you see the removal of defense. Generally speaking, the #1 objective/criteria for Defense is that you have a minimum to not be crit. When you're a new max-level tank that's a concern, but when you reach higher level of gear it is very easy to make that cap (by design expecting the upcoming removal of the stat, I'm sure). Once you meet the uncrittable point then it becomes more challenging to take as a stat. It still gives you 4 more small values which vary depending on tanking class. Some of these values aren't transparent and we forget that because we've passed macros and addons around the community that show us what the game does not show us clearly. Removing Defense does not reduce depth, only complexity. It wasn't really a question of whether or not you needed the minimum threshold to be uncrittable, but afterwards it just duplicated other stats effects. Blizzard has already said that they will create some way to make tanks "uncrittable", such as frost presence, defensive stance, etc being the "uncrittable form". This too, is ripe with opportunity for abuse if not balanced out right.


The key to depth as opposed to complexity, in my opinion, is the ability to have a tank set multiple points of balance just by adjusting their talents and gear. If every tank has the same best stat to stack no matter what (say pure Stamina) and there is one talent spec for every Prot Warrior, that is not depth on the preparation side, no matter how many different stats you actually have. If it is rare or hard to ever get more value from Parry rating than Dodge rating, then you never really gem for Parry rating and it's wasted complexity (complexity that does not contribute to depth).
Now, I completely agree with you on this one. One of the things I love about this is the potential to free up some of the classes from the "I want to do X, so I must choose talent Y" sort of thing that we currently have. It's one of the things I like about the DK class, as maddening as it can be. I CAN tank in any of the three trees, but it also takes a good understanding as to what each talent brings to the table, and building those in a cohesive manner. Seeing the other classes broadened in that sense, allowing for more functional creativity with the builds, I think is great.


The desires I see from the development team are really awesome. They want to make more elements a player choice, and make it such that there is more than one way to accomplish your goal. *That* is depth, and it leaves room for people, not automatons who just follow *the* only way to do it brought to you by the think-tanks.

There is always the question of how well they'll pull it off, but generally I've been satisfied that even when they don't get it just right on their first try, they're always working to fix it, they're always working to nudge the system back to a sustainable state.

Having more than one way to "skin a cat" is always fun. And you're right, THAT is depth.

And you're right, they are always willing to chip away at it and fix it. All of that is good. However, at the same time, we're scrapping a system that has to be continually nudged and dragged back to a sustainable state, for another system that will need to be constantly nudged back to a sustainable state? There need to be some valid reasons for doing this. Improved gameplay? Making it more fun for those participating? Great reasons. Simplifying a system solely to reduce the amount you have to adjust it? Risky. Potential to alienate a lot of your following.


Where do you feel like you're losing depth though? (I'm reluctant to use the term color as that often enough seems like a synonym for complexity, i.e. you can have 200 shades of green but how many of them are truly distinct or will help you make a nice picture when combined)

The area where I feel like we're losing depth, honestly, is that in trying to establish a better balance between classes, we're going to lose a bit of what makes each class unique, a specialist. I had to explain it to a buddy of mine yesterday in rather simple terms. Imagine if you will, that I'm wearing plate armor.... and you're wearing your clothes. Now, we're both going to go out to the garage, grab a couple baseball bats, and start taking turns hitting each other in the chest. Ok, first hit, I crack you with the bat. Your cloth armor.... your clothing.... is going to do what for you, realistically? It'll help staunch the blood when I eventually break skin. My armor.... my plate... is going to take a beating, and I might get sore eventually, but I'm going to fare a lot better than you, even if you had a leather jacket on or a mail vest on over the shirt. So, in reality, my plate armor provides MUCH higher damage mitigation than any of the options he has. So, when Blizzard says, plate/mail/leather/cloth will be closer in the armor values, to me, that seems like blurring the lines of what makes each class unique. That to me rings of "we're going to give in to the cloth wearers who are tired of being so squishy, and make their 'armor' (lol) more resilient". So, are we going to tune down their damage output to make up for that? And if/when that occurs, when do we jump to make that different?

Heck, why not have all characters start at a baseline model, and have them develop out their specialty based on talents solely?
That way, when I dual-spec, my dps talent build can be "mage", and my tank spec can be "warrior"? That's fantastic and amazing depth. I mean, already as it is, a DK, Pally, Warrior are all sub-specialties of a "plate-wearing melee combat character". Why not allow you to start with a baseline model, and specialize at your choice on being one of the three, and then specialize again under those if you choose?

I'm certain that the changes will be none of those things, and that it won't be as drastic as all of that. At what point though does Blizzard say, "look, this is World of Warcraft, and we're not changing THIS because that is part of the core and foundation of the game"?

I'm looking forward to Cataclysm, and I think the changes will be good, if a little uncomfortable for a while. Like buying a new pair of jeans and breaking them in. It's just that I really hope that the changes give use more real choices, and not just turn this into "World of Nerfcraft", simplification for the sake of wider appeal. I LIKE that I've gotten better as I've learned more about the game. I like that when I played "casually" that I could still have a lot of fun. I do like a lot of the changes, like the better accessibility to raiding. At the same time, I'd like to see them keep enough to it where there always presents more to learn about a class, just another thing more that we can aim for to tweak and squeeze more out of our toons.

Leucifer
03-03-2010, 12:19 PM
If that is their goal I think they are sadly loosing touch with their own reality. The theorycrafters do not generate 'best' setups for the various tanking classes based around stats so much as they do encounter design, sustainable HPS from healers, and capacity of the tanks to deal with those things. There wouldn't have been a "STAM IT OR GTFO," feeling throughout this expansion had it not been for infinite holy light spam, never-ending disc-priest bubbles, and nearly 100% uptime on inspiration-like buffs. There wouldn't have been an extreme withdrawl from the DK class if they hadn't created several encounters that arbitrarily elevated block to god-like levels of effectiveness. There wouldn't have been such heavy-handed nerfs to our orignial raid-wide auras if we hadn't started this expansion with nearly every encounter giving us 1min burst effects to mitigate with IBF and our dps brothers ringing off the charts with amazing dps.

In short, I don't think we'll ever get away from obviously superior setups be they based on stam, armor, effective health (combining the two), avoidance, or a combination of the three. What they ought to be striving for is either getting raiding guilds to bring every class of tank (allowing them to explore unique tanking approaches and niche roles) or making encounter design forgiving to tank setups enough that we never see another disaster like Sarth, Anub, or Arthas where one or more tanks are left to scratch their head wondering why they were not considered.

THIS.... is an awesome post. And I think you really hit on something with this one Pro.

The players adjusted to the mousetrap the devs built, then the devs changed the mouse and the mousetrap, and we adapted the mouse they gave us to the mousetrap they built again, ad infinitum, ad naseum.

I guess what we're seeing with Catacylsm is Blizzard saying "yeah, we broke it, and we're going to rebuild it".
Hope they learned from it and develop encounters in the expansion that allow for more than one approach.

Damn good post though Pro. A LOT of great points.

Proletaria
03-03-2010, 02:26 PM
THIS.... is an awesome post. And I think you really hit on something with this one Pro.

The players adjusted to the mousetrap the devs built, then the devs changed the mouse and the mousetrap, and we adapted the mouse they gave us to the mousetrap they built again, ad infinitum, ad naseum.

I guess what we're seeing with Catacylsm is Blizzard saying "yeah, we broke it, and we're going to rebuild it".
Hope they learned from it and develop encounters in the expansion that allow for more than one approach.

Damn good post though Pro. A LOT of great points.

Shh, don't make it look like i'm constructive. lol

Leucifer
03-03-2010, 03:07 PM
Shh, don't make it look like i'm constructive. lol
Oops. My bad.

What I meant to say was geez.... stfu Proletaria. You don't know what you're talking about. Crazy freakin' wingbat.........
All this crazy talk about making encounters where all tank types can reasonably perform or at least contribute and doing those encounters in a way where there are multiple possible approaches to tackling the same problem.... sheesh. You go doing dumb stuff like introducing logic and stuff and we all will go straight to hell.

lol

Bladesong
03-03-2010, 05:48 PM
Imagine if you will, that I'm wearing plate armor.... and you're wearing your clothes. Now, we're both going to go out to the garage, grab a couple baseball bats, and start taking turns hitting each other in the chest. Ok, first hit, I crack you with the bat. Your cloth armor.... your clothing.... is going to do what for you, realistically? It'll help staunch the blood when I eventually break skin. My armor.... my plate... is going to take a beating, and I might get sore eventually, but I'm going to fare a lot better than you, even if you had a leather jacket on or a mail vest on over the shirt. So, in reality, my plate armor provides MUCH higher damage mitigation than any of the options he has. So, when Blizzard says, plate/mail/leather/cloth will be closer in the armor values, to me, that seems like blurring the lines of what makes each class unique.

If your buddy puts on four winter jackets and your plate armor is halved in thickness, then the two of you have been brought closer in armor value while still having distinct armor types. He'll take a little less damage from each hit (still wouldn't want to be him though!) and you will get sore faster, but you're in no danger of being replaced as a tank. Or as GC put it:


Plate / Cloth Armor differences
Plate will still possess much more armor than cloth, the difference just wont be as significant as it is now.

[...] posted something similar in the Cataclysm forum, but let's look at actual numbers. A level 80 Prot warrior in Icecrown gear unbuffed has like 45,000 health and 30,000 armor. A level 80 mage in Icecrown gear unbuffed might have 20,000 health and 2000 armor. Yes, 2000 armor. We have a lot of room to narrow the gap a little. It's a big gap.

[...] Someone (Angua?) had a post awhile back that explained this using numbers. Cloth won't have as much armor as plate. But maybe it will have half as much armor as plate instead of one fifth as much armor as plate (or whatever the ratios end up being at higher levels).

Really, cloth isn't the issue, since cloth wearers have spells to buff their mitigation. Leather wearers are the ones who end up the most fragile. Mail would be bad too except that shaman can use shields when needed and hunters typically don't get hit by melee much. We just want to bring things a little closer to each other. It's easier to establish a baseline for how hard a particular attack should hit for when one dps spec isn't literally four times as survivable as another.

Some actual numbers from my top geared guildies (we are casual)
Class...........Health....Armor
Pally Tank.....45394....31221
Hunter..........23294....13523
Rogue...........24464.....7643
Mage............18943.....2227

That's a lot of room to play with.


Imagine, for a moment, that agility is ramped in such a way that it allows for a very high dodge percentage. You could end up with rogues, bear druids, and hunters quite possibly having a much higher effective damage mitigation than a "tank".

Wouldn't diminishing returns on Dodge and Parry prevent those sorts of shenanigans for Rogues, Cats and Enh Shamans? Or does stacking Agi circumvent DR?

Proletaria
03-03-2010, 11:43 PM
I think we've illustrated the point: There is a heck of lot more to fear from these sweeping changes than there is to look forward to. Hold on to your assets tanks; we're going to be in for a bumpy ride.

Adrael
03-04-2010, 02:16 AM
I think we've illustrated the point: There is a heck of lot more to fear from these sweeping changes than there is to look forward to. Hold on to your assets tanks; we're going to be in for a bumpy ride.


I may be wrong, but I'll put my trust in Blizzard. Like you mentioned, there are just so many balancing issues when it comes to encounter designs in the sense that everyone is viable, yet some encounters favor some classes or to be exact: some classes require better performance/attention in some encounters and therefore are harder to play with than others. I think that if anyone can bring balance to tanking classes it's Blizzard's devs. And although I'm sure we'll see many more issues that require attention after Cataclysm is released, I would say I expect a better polished expanssion this time.

Proletaria
03-04-2010, 03:48 AM
I may be wrong, but I'll put my trust in Blizzard. Like you mentioned, there are just so many balancing issues when it comes to encounter designs in the sense that everyone is viable, yet some encounters favor some classes or to be exact: some classes require better performance/attention in some encounters and therefore are harder to play with than others. I think that if anyone can bring balance to tanking classes it's Blizzard's devs. And although I'm sure we'll see many more issues that require attention after Cataclysm is released, I would say I expect a better polished expanssion this time.

Kudoz to your optomism. I'll believe it when I see it. Honestly I haven't seen many things i'd call well planned balance changes for tanks this expansion. While i'd certainly like to believe that this psudo-"from scratch" approach to the whole deal could bring about a new era of parity: I doubt it. As i mentioned before: what is good and what isn't has as much to do with the encounter as it does the skills, talents, and stats of a given tank. As long as encounter design continues to come up with repeated discrimination against a certain tank (or tanks), espcially on key progression content (ie. final raid boss encounter for a new raid), we're going to see a continued push toward re-rolling to suit the needs of the guild. GC stated last week that he liked the idea players re-rolled to have fun with a new class. While that correlation of the encounter teams' design and his opinion on rerolling is nothing more than an odd coincidence (I somehow doubt they seek to get tanks to re-roll each content patch). I certainly don't think it bothers them to have blatantly imbalanced content. They've been unapologetic about each and every encounter that violates the "bring the player" mantra, and at this juncture we're more used to hearing about how important unique traits of the tanks are (ie. it's ok to be sub-par at Lich King, you're an amazing tank for uh.. Toravon!)

To be completely fair, they're catering to a fan-base that is overwhelmingly non-regular-guild-raider: people who do more of their content in pugs, and rarely see anything before a slew of nerfs or stat buffs via new badge gear. In an environment like this, there really is much more leeway since not many of those players will even get to a hardmode end-of-raid encounter, much less see it in it's orignial tank-discriminating glory.

Adrael
03-04-2010, 04:58 AM
As i mentioned before: what is good and what isn't has as much to do with the encounter as it does the skills, talents, and stats of a given tank.


Very true.

Unless I am mistaken, they (Blizzard) have said on several occasions that encounters are taken into consideration when balancing classes. If all encounters were patchwerk-like scenarios, then we might have seen balanced tanks. But then the game would've been dull.


So what we see is that:
1. Encounters are interesting and require different tools to handle with. that's great!
2. Another great thing is that each tanking class (or spec) provides a totally different gaming experience. Amazing! (seriously)

But...

As mentioned in my OP, these two elements conflict with balance.
1. Boring Patchwrek-like encounters enable class balance.
2. Another way to balance tanks would be to create one single tanking class (with different titles: DK/Druid/Warrior/Paladin).

It is sufficiet to fully implement only one of these horrible solutions in order to solve balance issues once and for all. But unlike the concept of "viability", there are different levels of implementation so we don't have to look only on the extremes. There might even be some creative solutions for maintaining differentiation through other concepts. Imo, increase skill similarity, create another variables for differentiation (for example - automation/manual control of certain aspects of tanking).


[Off the current thread's topic:
Automation is implemented in the game today. The most obvious example being an automatic major survival CD a certain class has.]

Satorri
03-04-2010, 07:15 AM
@Prolet Beware. =) You're speaking in the voice of the chronic criticizer. The people who step up and say, "God Blizzard! You're doing it all wrong! You've failed over and over! What the hell?!" don't really help and generally leave me asking why they still play the game they have such disdain for. I know you're not really meaning to go that direction, at least not that far, but...

In any situation we can pick through any system's faults and tear it to pieces for where it isn't as good as it could be, but that doesn't really help anything if you don't have a mind of how to fix what you think is wrong. And just because you can see what is wrong with it and Blizz didn't wheel out a fix for it already doesn't mean they're sitting around with their thumbs in their respective bums.

Usually what it means is that the solution is a lot more complex than you might think, or that they apparently easy ways to fix the issues would have other consequences making it not really a fix at all.

Generally speaking that is what I see. Blizzard making careful fixes. They are rarely intentionally heavy-handed, though some of their changes have more serious repercussions than anyone expected.

But coming from your DOOM statements, I ask two questions: Why do you still play the game if you think so little of its structure? And why do you come to the forums to post about how poor you think it is? Why bother?


There is an important but often overlooked distinction between what players (particularly the sheeple) *think* is necessary or best, and what the actual value or functionality of things are.


(and Leucifer, there is a distinction between being uncrittable in pve and being unable to be crit. Look at Survival of the Fittest for Bears to see the distinction for balance of stances making you "unable to be crit." It is also probable that they'll make it a PvE-only effect the way they're making Resilience only work in PvP.)

Leucifer
03-04-2010, 11:15 AM
Hmmm.... just some thoughts:


If your buddy puts on four winter jackets and your plate armor is halved in thickness, then the two of you have been brought closer in armor value while still having distinct armor types. He'll take a little less damage from each hit (still wouldn't want to be him though!) and you will get sore faster, but you're in no danger of being replaced as a tank.

Well, one, I'll be laughing my ass off at my buddy, the Stay Puft marshmallow man.

Your point is valid. My counterpoint though is, the t-shirt he was wearing originally, is the lvl 10 armor he wore, while the 4 winter coats may be the uber magical weave he now wears (it is fantasy after all, right?). On the flip side of that coin, my plate armor is the nice iron goodness I picked up at level 40 (remember, it isn't given to us right off the get-go, we have to EARN our better armor), and by level 80, well hell, I'm basically wearing some form of unobtanium, right? I mean, We're talking titansteel, the stuff of the gods here, correct? So, are they scaling in the same fashion? I mean, hell, in reality, a steel chest plate may not stop that bullet that a kevlar (which is technically a "superfiber") vest will.

Realistically though, at what point would the warriors, realizing that their armor is outdated and no longer sufficient for protecting them from say, oh, maybe magic missiles flying from the fingertips of the clothie, and say, we need to adapt our methods and "technology" to suit the new battlefield? Historically speaking, warfare has always been a HUGE motivator when it comes to technological developments and the warrior has ALWAYS been looking for the next best killing device.

So, that in mind, if a warrior class finds themselves losing ground, they usually look to new methods to gain an advantage in combat (a nice historical reference, certain clans welcomed the introduction of firearms in feudal japan in order to overcome their adversaries, despite the code of bushido). Warriors, historically speaking, are usually pretty open-minded when it comes to accepting new means to do their trade better.

So, my thought, sure, give the mages better armor. In turn, address some of the issues the "warrior classes" have found to be troublesome and deal with it effectively.

But again, we deal in fantasy........


I think we've illustrated the point: There is a heck of lot more to fear from these sweeping changes than there is to look forward to. Hold on to your assets tanks; we're going to be in for a bumpy ride.

Now, just my opinion here, but I agree that we're in for a bumpy ride. I think when Cataclysm releases, the plate wearing classes will give a collective "holy sh*t!" as we initially struggle. I also have a TON of faith that we, the "warrior classes", will do exactly what history shows to be true..... that the warriors quickly adapt and adopt new tools and techniques for survival.

I do think at some point, about 2-3 months after the release, Blizzard will give us a "my bad", tone down some of our new-found ways to beat or make the most of what they give us, and make some changes to offset what we lost.

On a final note, I do feel bad for clothies and anyone wearing leather in WotLK, because a lot of the stuff in it hits HARD. More than a few times when I played one of my alts after having played my plate wearers, I sat back and thought, "damn am I crazy squishy or what?". Even with my shaman, I noticed a big difference between mail armor in BC and mail armor in WotLK and was thankful for my ability to heal. I think the change is meant to address some of the PvE issues that people found leveling in WotLK in those regards. But I also think Blizzard will overdo it initially and have to step back a bit.


Kudoz to your optomism. I'll believe it when I see it. Honestly I haven't seen many things i'd call well planned balance changes for tanks this expansion. While i'd certainly like to believe that this psudo-"from scratch" approach to the whole deal could bring about a new era of parity: I doubt it. As i mentioned before: what is good and what isn't has as much to do with the encounter as it does the skills, talents, and stats of a given tank. As long as encounter design continues to come up with repeated discrimination against a certain tank (or tanks), espcially on key progression content (ie. final raid boss encounter for a new raid), we're going to see a continued push toward re-rolling to suit the needs of the guild. GC stated last week that he liked the idea players re-rolled to have fun with a new class. While that correlation of the encounter teams' design and his opinion on rerolling is nothing more than an odd coincidence (I somehow doubt they seek to get tanks to re-roll each content patch). I certainly don't think it bothers them to have blatantly imbalanced content. They've been unapologetic about each and every encounter that violates the "bring the player" mantra, and at this juncture we're more used to hearing about how important unique traits of the tanks are (ie. it's ok to be sub-par at Lich King, you're an amazing tank for uh.. Toravon!)

To be completely fair, they're catering to a fan-base that is overwhelmingly non-regular-guild-raider: people who do more of their content in pugs, and rarely see anything before a slew of nerfs or stat buffs via new badge gear. In an environment like this, there really is much more leeway since not many of those players will even get to a hardmode end-of-raid encounter, much less see it in it's orignial tank-discriminating glory.

Agree. Blizzard has been unapologetic in many circumstances. My best example of this..... how many of us have seen various encounters and said.... "hey, this is just like X boss, but a slight bit different"? That to me doesn't reflect a search to create an encounter that "brings the player" or even a flexion of the creativity engine. And to dismiss ANYTHING as an "odd coincidence".... please tell me that GC did NOT say that.

Everything is a reaction/action based on something. There are no "coincidences". "We;;, these players re-rolled to try new content. It's just an odd random act." My ass. The player re-rolls because of several things I believe:

1) They find the other class or some aspect of it fun or more fun
2) They find the current class abysmally un-fun
3) They are trying to gain some sort of advantage gameplay wise that they feel cannot be accomplished with their current class.
(which ties in to some degree with #1)

And as for the non-regular-guild-raider, I only recently joined a guild that supported my goals of raiding. Previous to that, a lot of what I did was pug or just casual play and PvP, and I can say, some of the changes they make, it even left me scratching my head and thinking "WTF were you people thinking?" Just because I wasn't an active raider didn't mean that I didn't understand the reaching impact of certain things. Sure, all these changes they made to DK's made us "more balanced" in PvP. It also damn near ruined us as tanks and made us more challenging to provide competitive dps. Don't believe me? Start running random pugs as dps and tell me, how often do you see a DK tank? Or better yet, just sit back and examine the numbers in your guild or another guild on your server. Ask them how many of their raid tanks are DK's, warriors, pallies, and bears. I'll bet you that DK's sit at the bottom number-wise. Why is that? I mean, aren't they supposed to be a "hero class"? Aren't they plate-wearers? What's the point in providing a class plate armor if they aren't meant to BE tanks? They sure as heck can't do raid healing.

I really think a huge part of this "balancing problem" stems from PvP. This insane drive to make 1v1 PvP balanced. Blizzard.... GIVE UP THAT IDEA. You're trying to make rock/paper/scissors an even fight. It isn't. Never will be. You want to know what the real problem is Blizzard? That ignorant people in PvP think they should be able to do it all on their own and fail to ever accept that the classes are "supposed" to work in conjunction with each other, like in raids, to achieve goals. Quit listening to those idiots. Let them FAIL because they choose to be a lone wolf and wonder why they get their asses handed to them by a well-organized group of players (please note: plural). Don't screw up the composite structure and the way the classes CAN work in concert with each other just to appeal to a few QQ'ing anti-social creatures who fail to realize they don't exist alone. I mean, isn't this a "Massive Multi-Player Online Game"? OMG! We might need to interact with other people! *GASP!*



(and Leucifer, there is a distinction between being uncrittable in pve and being unable to be crit. Look at Survival of the Fittest for Bears to see the distinction for balance of stances making you "unable to be crit." It is also probable that they'll make it a PvE-only effect the way they're making Resilience only work in PvP.)

Really Sat? Huh..... let me see.....

http://www.wowwiki.com/Defense

Critical Hit immunity for a level 70 player against a raid boss occurs at 490 Defense and requires a defense skill of 140 (332+ def rating) from gear to achieve.
Critical Hit immunity for a level 70 player against a raid boss can also be achieved by a Resilience of 5.6% and requires a resilience rating of 221 to achieve.

Critical Hit immunity for a level 80 player against a raid boss occurs at 540 Defense and requires a defense skill of 140 (689+ def rating) from gear to achieve. Critical hit immunity at level 80 for a heroic dungeon is 535 Defense, because mobs in a level 80 heroic 5-man are never higher than level 82.
Critical Hit immunity for a level 80 player against a raid boss can also be achieved by a Resilience of 5.6% and requires a resilience rating of 460 to achieve.
The critical hit % reduction from Defense and Resilience % may be combined to reduce the chance of being critically hit by a raid boss by 5.6% making the player immune to critical hits.

The first half was from Burning Crusade, the second from WotLK.

So, where exactly is the "resilience only works in PvP" in that?
Let's look....
http://www.wowwiki.com/Resilience

Resilience is designed as a PvP stat, but benefits both PvE and PvP.

Hmmm. I say, "WTF?"

So, here's a CRAZY idea. How about you do away with the defense/resilience issue altogether? Make it one stat. Because honestly, despite the idea that we make defense stance, frost presence, or bear form the tank's uncrittable "gift" for PvE, you're going to still end up qith PvP crying about how you're "biased against them", even though you already gave them a huge gift in making defense PvE only and resilience PvP AND PvE.

.............

Again, my thought still goes back to this whole attempt to "balance the classes".

It's a garbage concept.

A = B = C = D = E

I disagree. I much prefer the.....

"A" might be better than "B" and "C" in some situations, and can give "D" a run for it's money, but solo gets spanked by "E". And all of this is dependent on the player's level of skill. Oh yeah, and if "A" is smart and teams up with a "B" and a "D", they will lay carnage to any "E" that gets in it's path.

I've said it several times before in posts......

"Tanks don't operate in a vacuum".

No one does. You want to be the solo Mr. Bad-Ass I can kill everything by myself? Go play "HALO".

Leucifer
03-04-2010, 11:43 AM
But coming from your DOOM statements, I ask two questions: Why do you still play the game if you think so little of its structure? And why do you come to the forums to post about how poor you think it is? Why bother?


And I'll kinda grant ya this one.

On the flip side.... Devil's advocate....

I play it because I like it how it is.... not what they're saying they're going to change it to.

My own view.... I just don't want to see them screw with something I DO like (despite it's flaws) so much that it becomes something I DON'T like and then no longer have the game I liked playing anymore.

Satorri
03-04-2010, 12:23 PM
Post Clysm was what I was talking about where the intend to make Resilience *only* work against player inputs (and now no longer reduce crit chance, only damage and crit damage). That's why I used the future tense "will."

For reference:

Resilience - This will only affect damage done by players and critical damage done by players. It will not impact crit chance, mana drains, or other such effects.
From here: http://blue.mmo-champion.com/1/23425636414-cataclysm-stat--system-changes.html

Proletaria
03-04-2010, 12:28 PM
@Prolet Beware. =) You're speaking in the voice of the chronic criticizer. The people who step up and say, "God Blizzard! You're doing it all wrong! You've failed over and over! What the hell?!" don't really help and generally leave me asking why they still play the game they have such disdain for. I know you're not really meaning to go that direction, at least not that far, but...

In any situation we can pick through any system's faults and tear it to pieces for where it isn't as good as it could be, but that doesn't really help anything if you don't have a mind of how to fix what you think is wrong. And just because you can see what is wrong with it and Blizz didn't wheel out a fix for it already doesn't mean they're sitting around with their thumbs in their respective bums.

Usually what it means is that the solution is a lot more complex than you might think, or that they apparently easy ways to fix the issues would have other consequences making it not really a fix at all.

Generally speaking that is what I see. Blizzard making careful fixes. They are rarely intentionally heavy-handed, though some of their changes have more serious repercussions than anyone expected.

But coming from your DOOM statements, I ask two questions: Why do you still play the game if you think so little of its structure? And why do you come to the forums to post about how poor you think it is? Why bother?


There is an important but often overlooked distinction between what players (particularly the sheeple) *think* is necessary or best, and what the actual value or functionality of things are.


(and Leucifer, there is a distinction between being uncrittable in pve and being unable to be crit. Look at Survival of the Fittest for Bears to see the distinction for balance of stances making you "unable to be crit." It is also probable that they'll make it a PvE-only effect the way they're making Resilience only work in PvP.)

Criticism is necesary to explore the depth of arguments. Had I just posted "I think things are going to be jolly and swell." Then we would have left it at that. I'm not aware of too many other forum posters around here who dabble in the deep-rooted problems with the class so I try to stir the pot as I can. When I point out design issues, class discrepancy, or some other tid-bit there is no more point to it than if I had sketched a picture of Hobbs taking a leak on a blizzard logo. In the end, my feedback is not read by anyone who can get it to the devs. That being said, I can try to convince more players in the community of what is going on so that they too can be prepared.

I still think this game, raiding in general, and to a lesser extend pvp are still very much enjoyable. What I don't enjoy is the development of my class. Call it a rant, call it an autobiography, call it blogging. I'm just here to relate my experience with my dk + my various other alts (most of which are tanks), and try to make sense of it all. Sometimes the most sensible thing to say is "well, we just have no idea, but it doesn't look good."

Leucifer
03-04-2010, 03:00 PM
Post Clysm was what I was talking about where the intend to make Resilience *only* work against player inputs (and now no longer reduce crit chance, only damage and crit damage). That's why I used the future tense "will."

For reference:

From here: http://blue.mmo-champion.com/1/23425636414-cataclysm-stat--system-changes.html

Fair enough. Point: Satorri.

Still not a fan of resilience. Removing that might fix some of the issue of "armor" that they're trying to fix. Doesn't having resilience completely negate the point of even having a critical hit rating for PvP purposes? Doesn't that make this....
Wrathful Gladiator's Claymore (http://www.wowhead.com/?item=51393) pointless for PvP purposes? Your big bump of crit is wasted here, is it not? I would think for PvP purposes, if I'm dealing with "uncrittable" anything, I'd rather have something loaded with expertise that would guarantee that I'm not going to get dodged, parried, or blocked. Correct?
UNLESS..... I'm hunting people who don't have PvP gear with this thing.....

I think a lot of the root of the problem Blizzard is trying to deal with is PvE vs PvP. The eternal " I don't raid but why should I not be able to get cool stuff too?" bit. I think that is the root of the problem. In PvP, there's a lot more space for a person to not be part of a group or be a team player. Raids... you'll get chewed up and spat out.

I'm ranting here now.... :P

............


I still think this game, raiding in general, and to a lesser extend pvp are still very much enjoyable. What I don't enjoy is the development of my class. Call it a rant, call it an autobiography, call it blogging. I'm just here to relate my experience with my dk + my various other alts (most of which are tanks), and try to make sense of it all. Sometimes the most sensible thing to say is "well, we just have no idea, but it doesn't look good."

I share the feeling on the DK. Nerf.... nerf..... nerf..... nerf.... oh wait! 3.3.3 we're getting something that's making us a little better? Did I miss something? Did the DK dev sneak something in past the other devs? Holy crap Batman!

.... Waiting for cats and dogs to love each other next..... Middle East peace.... and a million dollars to appear in my bank account next......

....................

One final thought, an editorial if you will:

I totally dig the quest to make Shadowmourne.
I wish Blizzard would incorporate more stuff like that for casual players. Not just the usual "craft an epic weapon" crap out of blacksmithing, which I really kind of miss. Making my twin Dragonstrike (http://www.wowhead.com/?item=28439) took a good chunk of time and some help from the guildies, but man were they sweet. It was almost a quest unto itself to get the mats.

I'd like to see more things like that, and make them LONG quest chains. Long enough to give a casual player something awesome to shoot for, but not so horribly wretched that it becomes pointless. Sort of like getting a netherdrake, but for gear. ;)
An epic quest to recover a long lost weapon or craft something. (not like Quel'Delar.... a better questline with more story elements!)

Satorri
03-05-2010, 07:22 AM
Sorry, Prolet, I didn't mean to dismiss you out of hand, just highlight the distinction between constructive criticism and flaming the design.

Some of your comments tend to take a "the sky is falling" feeling to them, but I may just be reading too much into it. You find some critical points well, but do you see where they can be repaired, or do you see them as wrong, broken, and needing to just be removed?

Bashal
03-05-2010, 10:39 AM
Read the thread, liked it.

I'm looking forward to the changes. I have the feeling that blizz painted themelves into a corner with the current system, and 5 years or whatever of bandainds clearly helped, but didn't get them out of the problem.

My hope/belief is, this new system is something they've developed as a result of what they have learned about the current mechanics, what works well, what doesn't and (most importantly) how it makes players react and behave within the game as a result.

If they didn't bother to try and learn anything from what they've done, then this is just a random "throw out baby with bathwater" move, and that makes no sense to me at all...which is why I'm inclined to discount it.

Leucifer
03-05-2010, 01:18 PM
Read the thread, liked it.

I'm looking forward to the changes. I have the feeling that blizz painted themelves into a corner with the current system, and 5 years or whatever of bandainds clearly helped, but didn't get them out of the problem.

My hope/belief is, this new system is something they've developed as a result of what they have learned about the current mechanics, what works well, what doesn't and (most importantly) how it makes players react and behave within the game as a result.

If they didn't bother to try and learn anything from what they've done, then this is just a random "throw out baby with bathwater" move, and that makes no sense to me at all...which is why I'm inclined to discount it.


You know... really agree with you.

They realized they created something they couldn't sustain and with each step forward with gear, realized they were scaling things at a rate they couldn't keep up.

I mean, look at the pace of item "improvements" between Azeroth, BC, and WotLK.

Example:

Level 20 item:Onyx Claymore (http://ptr.wowhead.com/?item=3417)
Level 40 item:Boneslasher (http://ptr.wowhead.com/?item=10573)
Level 60 item:Typhoon (http://ptr.wowhead.com/?item=18542)
Level 70 item:Lionheart Executioner (http://ptr.wowhead.com/?item=28430)
Level 80 item:Claymore of the Prophet (http://ptr.wowhead.com/?item=45074)
Level 80+ item:Citadel Enforcer's Claymore (http://ptr.wowhead.com/?item=50761)

From level 20 to level 60, we see a shift in composite stat bonuses (sum of stat bonuses on gear) go from a sum of 20 to 44.
A gain of 24.

From level 60 to 70, we see a shift of 44 to 96.... a gain of 52? In ten levels?

It gets worse. From 70 to 80, we see 96 to 205. a gain of 99, again in ten levels. But scarier yet is, that at level 80, we have gear that can be a difference of 139! For the same character level!

Over the course of 40 levels, a gain of 24 points in various stats, yet in WotLK, we have a gain of 139 over SAME LEVEL items?
It looks like this:

http://www.tankspot.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=1211

We saw in Burning Crusade a significant jump in the value of items. A level 70 was significantly more powerful than a level 60, whereas a level 60 was on a similar linear progression as the level 50. At 80.1 (which is the level 80+ item from the example above), we have a huge leap.

If we looked solely at level 0-60, we still technically have an exponential growth, as between 20 to 60, we see growth, with an 8 point gain between 20 and 40 and a 16 point gain between 40 and 60, increased by a factor of 2. Between 60 and 70, only ten levels....we have an increase of 52 points, a factor of 3.25, a significant jump. But in Wrath, we see a jump of 248 points from level 70 to level 80, a 4.769 factor increase.

At this pace, what we'd see in Cataclysm, would be on the lines of 5.60 to 6.0 factor increase (roughly, and I'm cutting it back since Cataclysm is 'only' a 5 level jump), and we'd be seeing items with stat bonuses totaling around 1900-2000 points. We'd be seeing weapons with +800 strength and +1000 stamina or more. This doesn't even take into account things like armor penetration and defense!

I think this is only part of the problem that they were facing. As it was, they had already rendered so much of the game irrelevant to the end-game player. I've been able to solo run Magister's Terrace with my death knight, for example. If I were a dev, I'd be looking at this and thinking, "wow... I just rendered 90%+ of game content pointless to a huge chunk of the population".

I think they're looking to salvage some of that game content, and make a move back to what they had previously, while putting an interesting new spin on things. But I think they saw a need to rein in the escalation of item progression.

Edit: If you're wondering how I can up with a score of 344 for the last item, I took into account maximizing the gem slot with a +20 gem and the built in slotted item bonus.

Proletaria
03-05-2010, 07:19 PM
Sorry, Prolet, I didn't mean to dismiss you out of hand, just highlight the distinction between constructive criticism and flaming the design.

Some of your comments tend to take a "the sky is falling" feeling to them, but I may just be reading too much into it. You find some critical points well, but do you see where they can be repaired, or do you see them as wrong, broken, and needing to just be removed?

I tend to avoid "we should replace X with Y" when dealing with poorly thought out skills/talents in our class, but if I had to say what should go, what should come in, and where it might be placed:

Abom's might gone, replaced with sunder armor equivalent at same level in talent tree.
Blood Plague now applies some form of AP debuff.
Blade Barrier mitigation is now passive. FP dr reduced by 1-2% to compensate.
Forceful Deflection (baked into present blade barrier) now absorbs damage based on your strength when all blood runes are on cooldown.
Desolation removed because it is awful bloat. Replaced with some form of tanking talent: Preferably stamina.
Magic Supression removed. AMZ is now a stand-alone talent.
Bone Shield glyph now adds 3 charges for a total of 6. Mitigation reduced slightly to compensate.
Will of the Necropolis now has a 5-10 second ICD.
Vampiric Blood same function, add: "removes the ICD of WotN for the duration of Vampiric Blood."

These are just the more obvious ones that came to mind now. I've got a further laundry list of ideas, but can't dig them up while at work. Sufficed to say, I'm not convinced the sky is always falling and there is nothing to be done. I just think the devs are going in the completely wrong direction and I do think there some rather obvious (see above) things they've overlooked. I like to air the thoughts here because, as most of us know, the WoW boards (even the tanking board) is so rife with ignorance, flaming, and stupidity that a constructive post doesn't really stand a chance.

Adrael
03-05-2010, 10:53 PM
Read the thread, liked it.

I'm looking forward to the changes. I have the feeling that blizz painted themelves into a corner with the current system, and 5 years or whatever of bandainds clearly helped, but didn't get them out of the problem.

It's not Blizzard that got themselves into a corner, but us the players. People needed more tanks, and now Blizzard had to change a game that was originally designed for one 'main' tank which was properly balance with it's alternative (druids). This change introduced the, now MT viable Protection Paladins, and DKs. How to throw two extra tanks into the pool without disrupting balance in some way is the tricky part. I think they did a nice job, keeping in mind it's the first time they do that, and that the original game revolved only one 'main' MT.

Second time's the charm.




I like to air the thoughts here because, as most of us know, the WoW boards (even the tanking board) is so rife with ignorance, flaming, and stupidity that a constructive post doesn't really stand a chance.

Steering threads for constructiveness is quite difficult.

Naqaj
03-18-2010, 05:23 AM
First of all, this is an excellent discussion. Thank you to all participants.

There's one thing Leucifer mentioned that was overlooked a bit, and that I want to pick up again:

Ok. I see what you're saying here and put that way, I think it's great. However, knowing how that new system is designed, which would you rather have a higher percentage on? Dodge (100% mitigation) or Parry (<100% mitigation)? Blizzard will have to be careful not to reduce the value of parry and block so much that they become "pointless".

I was quite surprised by your evaluation, since my initial reaction was the exact opposite. From the limited information we know so far, I would have valued Parry to be much more desirable then Dodge, since the average damage reduction should be the same, but the potential to reduce spike damage is much higher with the Parry mechanic.
There's little ground to speculate about the relative values though until we learn more about how the 3 mechanics are balanced in uptime/rating conversion.

xulev
03-18-2010, 07:13 AM
Good thread, lots of good points.

With DK's in general, the thing I see is that they are the only one actually balanced. Every other tank seems to have something or another that puts them out of whack... like block trivializing things or druid tanks ending up with obscene amounts of health... or pallys having block and get out of jail free with faceroll threat. My opinion is that is was mostly warriors and paladins to a degree that caused the real issue of icecrown radiance. The fact that it was possible in toc gear to hit the "unhittable" cap (102.4%) and take regular white hits from mobs off the table... would make it impossible to balance things for the other tanks.

I do believe blizzard when they say that extra heroic mode gearing was the biggest issue. The fact they overshot their tier gearing by pretty much at least 1 full tier. The best way to illustrate this is to look at heroics. Even in BIS BC gear they weren't a lolfest; note that I'm saying they weren't pretty easy... just not a we don't even need a tank fiasco like it is now. In ICC25 gear raiders you can do most of the heroics out there without a tank as long as you have a plate wearer. If you do have... say a geared pally tank.. they don't even take damage. So they outscaled their content by too big a margin...

I don't think it actually matters with the whole inflation thing regarding gear. You only have to balance for the current expansion. But you have to say by Leucifer's post they need to tone it down a bit. Current raid content should be the only thing they balance for, or realistically can balance for.

As for tanks... DK's should be the model for balance. It's a well designed class with distinct feel in every tree and different tank/dps styles. The other tanks are the ones unbalanced.. thru talents or design. You can't design something so one particular tank makes it trivial.. so you either nerf them or ramp up the encounter. Problem is that when you ramp up the encounter you leave the tank (in this case the DK) that isn't up to par out in the off off tank- dpser role. Even so, I don't think dks are so far behind.. at least not on paper. Dk's just don't have any real advantages... With cooldown up and popped they easily are surviveable versus anything in icc; it's just without them they seem to get trashed. For instance... festergut 10 man. Tanking thru one 3 inhale phase is pretty easy... 18 second ibf with 20 second unbreakable armor and I probably take less damage than nearly any other tank. But the nerfs to dks hurt their ability to tank in non cooldown parts too much. They probably should have left dk armor scaling alone...

proudmoore
03-19-2010, 04:55 AM
My opinion is that is was mostly warriors and paladins to a degree that caused the real issue of icecrown radiance. The fact that it was possible in toc gear to hit the "unhittable" cap (102.4%) and take regular white hits from mobs off the table... would make it impossible to balance things for the other tanks.

I do believe blizzard when they say that extra heroic mode gearing was the biggest issue. The fact they overshot their tier gearing by pretty much at least 1 full tier. The best way to illustrate this is to look at heroics. Even in BIS BC gear they weren't a lolfest; note that I'm saying they weren't pretty easy... just not a we don't even need a tank fiasco like it is now. In ICC25 gear raiders you can do most of the heroics out there without a tank as long as you have a plate wearer. If you do have... say a geared pally tank.. they don't even take damage. So they outscaled their content by too big a margin...

wrt the unhittable state, Paladins reached that in Naxx-level gear. Further, as far as I'm able to compare, in that same Naxx level gear I had avoidance comparable with TBC tanks in T5-early T6 content. I don't recall ratios to compare health and armour with, but they're not in quite the same league. I don't wish to act as a retro-prophet, but I still recall posts made on our raid comm's forums to the effect that avoidance was ... surprisingly ... high before we even considered doing the Sartharion hardmode; let alone Ulduar and beyond.

You cannot really compare Wrath and TBC heroics in the same way. True, Blood Furnace heroic was tough even in patch 2.4, while Halls of Lightning isn't. But then, Halls of Lightning was hardly a majorly challenging heroic back when we'd just dinged, if I recall correctly - in fact, I was tanking heroic Loken about an hour after I dinged 80. I didn;t dare to dream of hitting level 70 heroics until I had full normal level dungeon gear back then. Which I think I'd prefer

xulev
03-19-2010, 07:53 AM
You cannot really compare Wrath and TBC heroics in the same way. True, Blood Furnace heroic was tough even in patch 2.4, while Halls of Lightning isn't. But then, Halls of Lightning was hardly a majorly challenging heroic back when we'd just dinged, if I recall correctly - in fact, I was tanking heroic Loken about an hour after I dinged 80. I didn;t dare to dream of hitting level 70 heroics until I had full normal level dungeon gear back then. Which I think I'd prefer

My comparison is mostly regarding running them in end of expansion gear.

I never recall any of the BC heroics turning into a we don't need a tank or we don't need a healer runs like they are with fully geared groups now... at least not to the extent that you can now outgear the content you have now. To me it signifies them overshooting their content by a ridiculous margin with gear.

Leucifer
03-22-2010, 05:04 PM
All sorts of goodness here. :)

Where to begin?


First of all, this is an excellent discussion. Thank you to all participants.

There's one thing Leucifer mentioned that was overlooked a bit, and that I want to pick up again:

I was quite surprised by your evaluation, since my initial reaction was the exact opposite. From the limited information we know so far, I would have valued Parry to be much more desirable then Dodge, since the average damage reduction should be the same, but the potential to reduce spike damage is much higher with the Parry mechanic.
There's little ground to speculate about the relative values though until we learn more about how the 3 mechanics are balanced in uptime/rating conversion.

Quick experiment: Get a buddy and grab two aluminum baseball bats. Head out into the backyard so that the neighbors don't call the cops. Take the two bats and swing them into each other. I mean really crack them two together. Notice how wonderful your arms feel? This is where I agree with parry giving a reduction in damage and the idea of a dodge granting complete reduction. IRL.... massive hits from weapons, parried, could still hurt like hell. Blocking them with a shield even, you could still snap an arm.... if the shield really did stop an attack (depending on the weapon). I do agree with a "parry haste". Parrying, doesn't usually take you out of position for a counterstrike. A full blown dodge.... a lot of times does.

You are right. All speculation though. I only ask that they factor in the options in ways so as to make tanking a real possibility for all tank classes without punishing any. Frost Pres. effectively at present says: the DK is imbued with ice and thus, physically more resilient. A bear.... heh.... well if you've ever seen one charge a hunter in real life, especially grizzlies... they just don't stop at the first bullet. Mad props to the people waaaaaaaay back when who had to defend themselves with spears and stuff.


Good thread, lots of good points.

With DK's in general, the thing I see is that they are the only one actually balanced. Every other tank seems to have something or another that puts them out of whack... like block trivializing things or druid tanks ending up with obscene amounts of health... or pallys having block and get out of jail free with faceroll threat. My opinion is that is was mostly warriors and paladins to a degree that caused the real issue of icecrown radiance. The fact that it was possible in toc gear to hit the "unhittable" cap (102.4%) and take regular white hits from mobs off the table... would make it impossible to balance things for the other tanks.
In THAT perspective.... you have a damn good point. Problem is, which came first? DK came after the fact and though they might present a great model for future use. Problem is, by dropping in that Icecrown radiance, they really laid the hardest hit (in my opinion) to the DK by hitting an avoidance stat. If it were applied to shields (stuff so cold it's brittle for example)... that would have leveled them out maybe.



I do believe blizzard when they say that extra heroic mode gearing was the biggest issue. The fact they overshot their tier gearing by pretty much at least 1 full tier. The best way to illustrate this is to look at heroics. Even in BIS BC gear they weren't a lolfest; note that I'm saying they weren't pretty easy... just not a we don't even need a tank fiasco like it is now. In ICC25 gear raiders you can do most of the heroics out there without a tank as long as you have a plate wearer. If you do have... say a geared pally tank.. they don't even take damage. So they outscaled their content by too big a margin...
Oh hell yes. Look at the current situation. Who bothers with t7 or t8 gear? When t9 is so readily available, and same with t10, they rendered two whole tiers "moot". Now, I wouldn't say a tank isn't needed for heroics. There is still stuff out there than can crush a t9 equipped tank (taken a shot from a Spellflinger recently? lol) Hell, I'll be honest, I notice the difference doing my farming of Mag Terrace when I swap gear sets.



I don't think it actually matters with the whole inflation thing regarding gear. You only have to balance for the current expansion. But you have to say by Leucifer's post they need to tone it down a bit. Current raid content should be the only thing they balance for, or realistically can balance for. I'd be more than happy to run a more detailed comparison if anyone's interested.



As for tanks... DK's should be the model for balance. It's a well designed class with distinct feel in every tree and different tank/dps styles. The other tanks are the ones unbalanced.. thru talents or design. You can't design something so one particular tank makes it trivial.. so you either nerf them or ramp up the encounter. Problem is that when you ramp up the encounter you leave the tank (in this case the DK) that isn't up to par out in the off off tank- dpser role. Even so, I don't think dks are so far behind.. at least not on paper. Dk's just don't have any real advantages... With cooldown up and popped they easily are surviveable versus anything in icc; it's just without them they seem to get trashed. For instance... festergut 10 man. Tanking thru one 3 inhale phase is pretty easy... 18 second ibf with 20 second unbreakable armor and I probably take less damage than nearly any other tank. But the nerfs to dks hurt their ability to tank in non cooldown parts too much. They probably should have left dk armor scaling alone...

THIS.... is an interesting proposal..... and looking at it, I think I see elements of that in what they're doing with Cataclysm. The whole shift in how talents play in and "mastery". But honestly, you have some excellent points/arguments. Compelling.........



You cannot really compare Wrath and TBC heroics in the same way. True, Blood Furnace heroic was tough even in patch 2.4, while Halls of Lightning isn't. But then, Halls of Lightning was hardly a majorly challenging heroic back when we'd just dinged, if I recall correctly - in fact, I was tanking heroic Loken about an hour after I dinged 80. I didn;t dare to dream of hitting level 70 heroics until I had full normal level dungeon gear back then. Which I think I'd prefer But again, doesn't this have a lot to do with the scaling of gear? Level 69 gear and level 70 gear was not such a world apart as we see just in level 80 gear. I mean, drops from Ulduar can be replaced with items from the Icecrown Citadel heroics! As much as I love my weapons from heroics, I look and see one of the BEST tanks on my server dragging around his Titanguard (http://ptr.wowhead.com/?item=45110) while some guy is wandering around with Rimefang's Claw (http://ptr.wowhead.com/?item=50268) and I just think "Damn, that is a shame.....". I mean, this guy was the whole REASON I got into tanking, seriously was that damn good and I wanted to be LIKE him. He was, and still is, a hardcore raider and one of the most level-headed guys.... but he's jumped to another guild because a lot of the people he ran with quit raiding when all their Ulduar gear was suddenly 1-up'ed.

In some ways, I'm torn. I like that raiding ICC is something that people can get to experience without having to raid 5 nights a week just to get equipped for. On the downside, well, it's "Lower-the-BarCraft" as my friend calls it.

But again, part of this was poor encounter design and just poor planning by Blizzard. The players only adapted to what was laid out in front of them.

All said..........
Some damn good posts and thoughts being put out here from you guys. I would love to see more people contribute.

Urythmic
03-24-2010, 03:28 PM
Wow, yeah. Amazingly good discussions here, and with minimal FUD noise.

Reading through this definitely makes me feel a bit better about some of the challenges and reactions I've run into playing a DK tank. At first I assumed it was just my lack of experience and/or lack of gear, but lately I've started to doubt my skill as a player. I'm sure these are all real factors, but at least I now have some credible evidence that it's not just me. Thanks for that.

I'm definitely looking forward to Cataclysm. The design goals seem pretty spot-on from what I can tell. Less spiky damage, more survivability for squishies, no more being forced to keep using a worse bit of gear just because it has more defense stat.

Honestly, my only disappointment so far with the announced plans for Cataclysm is that they probably won't go as far they really should in the redesign due to concerns over PvP "balance". Why not give all classes a defensive stance, for example? I mean, would it really be so terrible if a rogue could shift into defensive stance when he gets rushed by an elite mob? I'm not suggesting that he should be able to survive for very long if the tank doesn't quickly recover control of the situation, but it would sure open up a lot more interesting play potential if vanish/feign death/etc weren't the only way to avoid getting one-shotted when something goes wrong.

Right now, at least as a DK tank, the gap between perfect execution of an encounter and a complete wipe is razor thin (a few seconds in most cases). Although this is often fun and challenging for me, especially when running with guildmates who have some patience for planning and strategy, it can also be very frustrating when I see a pally tank charge into the same encounter without so much as a backward glance to see whether the healer or dps are ready (or even in the same room yet!).

The classic instances are nicely forgiving, but also perhaps a bit too forgiving, definitely too big (notable exception being SM, which rocks), and too slow (so much boring trash to grind through).

TBC instances improved on classic in a major way by being much smaller and requiring a lot more strategic planning, but perhaps lacked some excitement because everything was so reliant on strategy (as opposed to timing and execution).

WotLK brought a vast improvement in the excitement and adrenaline level of the game with so many new timing mechanics, etc., but perhaps went overboard in this direction because the pace of the action (as in most action games) rarely allows much creative strategic planning or flexible tactics other than knowing when to hit your cooldowns or look/run away.

If Cataclysm can find a way to merge and balance the best parts of the earlier versions -- a bit less harsh on the action timing, a bit stronger role for creative strategy and flexible tactics -- while also introducing a few good new concepts, and without introducing to many new hidden gotchas, then it will be a very welcome change indeed. The dev team definitely seems to be heading in the right direction, and they already have an impressive track record of previous improvements to the game, so I'm very optimistic about their chances to pull it off.

Leucifer
03-29-2010, 01:06 PM
Right now, at least as a DK tank, the gap between perfect execution of an encounter and a complete wipe is razor thin (a few seconds in most cases). Although this is often fun and challenging for me, especially when running with guildmates who have some patience for planning and strategy, it can also be very frustrating when I see a pally tank charge into the same encounter without so much as a backward glance to see whether the healer or dps are ready (or even in the same room yet!).

Couldn't have said it any better. Really share in the frustration you feel with this one. I love tanking as a DK because it is a challenge, but I really have to agree.


The classic instances are nicely forgiving, but also perhaps a bit too forgiving, definitely too big (notable exception being SM, which rocks), and too slow (so much boring trash to grind through).

TBC instances improved on classic in a major way by being much smaller and requiring a lot more strategic planning, but perhaps lacked some excitement because everything was so reliant on strategy (as opposed to timing and execution).

WotLK brought a vast improvement in the excitement and adrenaline level of the game with so many new timing mechanics, etc., but perhaps went overboard in this direction because the pace of the action (as in most action games) rarely allows much creative strategic planning or flexible tactics other than knowing when to hit your cooldowns or look/run away.

If Cataclysm can find a way to merge and balance the best parts of the earlier versions -- a bit less harsh on the action timing, a bit stronger role for creative strategy and flexible tactics -- while also introducing a few good new concepts, and without introducing to many new hidden gotchas, then it will be a very welcome change indeed. The dev team definitely seems to be heading in the right direction, and they already have an impressive track record of previous improvements to the game, so I'm very optimistic about their chances to pull it off.

Have to agree with this assessment too. The classic dungeons are nice..... but many were just too damn long. Maraudon comes to mind.... >.<

Honestly, one thing I've found that I LOVE is..... achievements!
When they first came out, I really thought, "meh, whatever". Some though really make you step back and TAKE a more challenging approach to a problem. A good example: Watch Him Die (http://www.wowhead.com/?achievement=1296). This one can be completed in a LOT of different ways, depending on your group's make-up. I know, you're thinking "well, so what, you don't HAVE to do the achievement". Well, that is EXACTLY what I love about it. For a person like me who LOVES the challenge, I have an option to try something that the devs saw as being possible as a challenge, but leave it up to us to find a way to accomplish it. There's even a satisfying reward for doing a bunch of these, which I love.

That.... is something that I really hope Blizzard keeps up with and doesn't do away with, because I think it's something that really opened up WotLK and made it more fun in the long run. It's a way of making the player take a look at something they have done before and putting it in a different perspective, and it's done in a way that doesn't "punish" the people who might find the content "challenging enough". Now, what I'll be doing after I finish them all? I don't really know. /casts eyes on Ulduar achievements......

You made some great points though. I guess my expansion to it would be..... keep the achieves... and maybe introduce more or something similar to give those of us who really want some extra challenges the option.

xulev
03-31-2010, 09:06 AM
Keep in mind that dk tanks are still a cooldown tank, which is what blizz always stressed as their design.

A lot of your surviveability is going to be dictated by using cooldowns wisely.

As frost I've gone with stacking armor (about 34k unbuffed, 36ish raid buffed or so; with 20 seconds of ~44kish armor every minute). Use anti magic shell when you need it.. trinkets.. and IBF when the damage ramps up. The 3 basic cooldowns that dks have give you a lot of defensive power. 1 on a 2 minute cooldown and 2 on 1 minute cooldowns.. IBF is still VERY powerful with a much lower cooldown that most other tanks primary defensive abilities. The reason for the nerf on ibf (from 1 minute to 2 minutes) was obviously that if you use your cooldowns and space them out properly... you could have something up nearly all the time, which is when dk tanks are powerful. Now you have to be a bit selective, but each tree has it's one minute cooldown defensive ability.. which are quite good.

Urythmic
04-05-2010, 08:53 AM
Thanks, Leucifer!


Keep in mind that dk tanks are still a cooldown tank, which is what blizz always stressed as their design.

A lot of your surviveability is going to be dictated by using cooldowns wisely.

As frost I've gone with stacking armor (about 34k unbuffed, 36ish raid buffed or so; with 20 seconds of ~44kish armor every minute). Use anti magic shell when you need it.. trinkets.. and IBF when the damage ramps up. The 3 basic cooldowns that dks have give you a lot of defensive power. 1 on a 2 minute cooldown and 2 on 1 minute cooldowns.. IBF is still VERY powerful with a much lower cooldown that most other tanks primary defensive abilities. The reason for the nerf on ibf (from 1 minute to 2 minutes) was obviously that if you use your cooldowns and space them out properly... you could have something up nearly all the time, which is when dk tanks are powerful. Now you have to be a bit selective, but each tree has it's one minute cooldown defensive ability.. which are quite good.

Very true. However, I have to agree with others about Blood tank now being the more stable spec to play. I actually prefer frost tanking for the excitement, but it's a lot easier to survive with all that extra health and healing in blood, especially if your healer ever goes oom, gets silenced, etc. Since I respecced to blood recently, even running 5-mans I've noticed my health riding above 41K with kings/stoneblood/etc., which seems like 3-5K more than I ever hit with frost spec. Running ToC-normal last night (yes, still trying to get the Black Heart) I noticed the healer went oom during the Confessor fight and my health was dropping dangerously low. I popped my cooldown macro (Vampiric Blood, Rune Tap, Gift of the Naaru) and started spamming Death Strike. Finished the fight with almost full health.

Yeah, I definitely miss my old Howling Blast aoe snap threat, but the recent changes to Icy Touch help to offset this a lot (makes it so much easier to grab single-target aggro on any mobs that got away from my Blood Boil, etc.).

Loganisis
04-05-2010, 10:45 AM
Problem is, by dropping in that Icecrown radiance, they really laid the hardest hit (in my opinion) to the DK by hitting an avoidance stat. If it were applied to shields (stuff so cold it's brittle for example)... that would have leveled them out maybe.

So only Pallys and Warriors would be affect? Dodge actually makes more sense (slower reaction time - so dodge) rather than brittle, which would be better reflected in more durability lost rather than any decrease in actual damage blocked.

Mechanically, I'm not sure how how losing 20 percentage points from dodge impacts a DK tank any different than a warrior tank. As a warrior tank, just like you, 1 out of every 5 avoided attacks is now a hit. Before the avoidance hit I still had block and you still had stronger CDs (from the discussion) for mitigation.

After the debuff we both are in the same place, taking an extra hit we would have avoided. I'm not a DK tank, so I don't understand the ins and outs of it - but all tanks are getting hit more often for the same amount (those 1 in 5 hits that aren't avoided anymore are also not blocked by shields either - they come in clean regardless of the tank type).

I guess I don't understand how this impacts any one tank class more than any other class. The same number of additonal hits for all seems pretty uniform.

Leucifer
04-05-2010, 02:33 PM
So only Pallys and Warriors would be affect? Dodge actually makes more sense (slower reaction time - so dodge) rather than brittle, which would be better reflected in more durability lost rather than any decrease in actual damage blocked.

Mechanically, I'm not sure how how losing 20 percentage points from dodge impacts a DK tank any different than a warrior tank. As a warrior tank, just like you, 1 out of every 5 avoided attacks is now a hit. Before the avoidance hit I still had block and you still had stronger CDs (from the discussion) for mitigation.

After the debuff we both are in the same place, taking an extra hit we would have avoided. I'm not a DK tank, so I don't understand the ins and outs of it - but all tanks are getting hit more often for the same amount (those 1 in 5 hits that aren't avoided anymore are also not blocked by shields either - they come in clean regardless of the tank type).

I guess I don't understand how this impacts any one tank class more than any other class. The same number of additonal hits for all seems pretty uniform.

Ok. Quick question Logan.

Warrior Tank has what avoidance mechanics? Dodge, Parry, Block
Pally Tank has what avoidance mechanics? Dodge, Parry, Block

DK's and Druids have what?..... Dodge.... Parry.... and that's it.

When you debuff 1/3 of a warrior/pally's avoidance abilities.... it hurts.
When you debuff 1/2 of a DK's or Druid's avoidance abilities.... it hurts worse.

Loganisis
04-06-2010, 06:29 AM
Ok. Quick question Logan.

Warrior Tank has what avoidance mechanics? Dodge, Parry, Block
Pally Tank has what avoidance mechanics? Dodge, Parry, Block

DK's and Druids have what?..... Dodge.... Parry.... and that's it.

When you debuff 1/3 of a warrior/pally's avoidance abilities.... it hurts.
When you debuff 1/2 of a DK's or Druid's avoidance abilities.... it hurts worse.

Ok. Quick question Leucifer.

Since when is Block avoidance? It's not. It's mitigation. It's like your CDs. It's like bears' insane HP pool. It's mitigation. Block =/= Avoidance, don't even pretend blocking 1400 damage of a 10k hit (after armor) is the same as avoiding the entire 10k hit.

If pre debuff:
Warrior has 45 avoidance
Pally has 45 avoidance
DK has 45 avoidance
Druid has 45 avoidance

And post debuff
Warrior has 25 avoidance
Pally has 25 avoidance
DK has 25 avoidance
Druid has 25 avoidance

Who is hurt most?

No one.

Pallys/Warriors have a sheild. Druids have a larger HP pool. DKs have more CDs. And Blood DK/Pallys tanks have self-healing.

Just because Pallys/Warriors have a sheild doesn't mean they have a tool no one else does. By your logic, of affecting shield block, to balance tanks out, you'd need to nerf bear HPs by some amount and increase the CDs on DKs abilities by some amount. Dodge is a mechanic everyone has, and typically all tanks have >20%. The dodge debuff hits all tanks equally.

-20% avoidance is -20% avoidance regardless of what tools you have.

Leucifer
04-06-2010, 08:46 AM
Ok. Quick question Leucifer.

Since when is Block avoidance? It's not. It's mitigation. It's like your CDs. It's like bears' insane HP pool. It's mitigation. Block =/= Avoidance, don't even pretend blocking 1400 damage of a 10k hit (after armor) is the same as avoiding the entire 10k hit.

If pre debuff:
Warrior has 45 avoidance
Pally has 45 avoidance
DK has 45 avoidance
Druid has 45 avoidance

And post debuff
Warrior has 25 avoidance
Pally has 25 avoidance
DK has 25 avoidance
Druid has 25 avoidance

Who is hurt most?

No one.

Pallys/Warriors have a sheild. Druids have a larger HP pool. DKs have more CDs. And Blood DK/Pallys tanks have self-healing.

Just because Pallys/Warriors have a sheild doesn't mean they have a tool no one else does. By your logic, of affecting shield block, to balance tanks out, you'd need to nerf bear HPs by some amount and increase the CDs on DKs abilities by some amount. Dodge is a mechanic everyone has, and typically all tanks have >20%. The dodge debuff hits all tanks equally.

-20% avoidance is -20% avoidance regardless of what tools you have.

From WoWWikki:


The ability of a shield to absorb melee damage in addition to its armor value. When a shield is equipped, you have a certain chance to perform a Block. The basic chance to block an attack is indicated on your character sheet under the Defense tab. This value assumes that you fight against a mob or other character of same level. Fighting a mob of higher level than yourself decreases your chance to Block, and vice versa.
Your base chance to block an attack is 5% and this is modified by a factor of the rating difference between the attacker's weapon skill and the defender's defense and block rating. Each point of difference adjusts the base chance by 0.1% if the target is a mob and 0.04% if the target is a player. Mobs level 9 and lower do not block as frequently, just as they are not missed as frequently as they should be. Also, mobs cannot block more than 5% of attacks regardless of rating difference.
The amount of damage a Block reduces depends on the block value of your shield, any enchantments, talents and your Strength. Damage reduced by blocking is calculated after other damage reducing factors, such as armor, which increases the effectiveness of blocking.

Ok. So it's NOT avoidance.
It's an automated damage mitigation tool. A free chance to reduce incoming damage that DK's and Druids do not have.

OH. And yes, warriors do get a cooldown block ability too. Shield Block (http://www.wowhead.com/spell=2565)

So, once again.... they have an automated shield block..... which has a chance to reduce incoming damage.... and a cooldown that GUARANTEES reducing incoming damage.

Bears.... don't have block. DK's.... don't have block. We get extra health and maybe one cooldown to make up for the lack thereof.

Now, please consider this also.
When you're looking for a tank in realm, and I see posts for a 2900 GS tank.... I know, that MY 2900 GS as a DK means I have a LOT of tier 10 gear. For a warrior, who has a shield..... they might have the equivalent armor set to my tier 9 set. So, my 2500 GS DK tank is really on par with that 2700 GS warrior. (+200 points for just about any shield from heroics).

But good luck convincing anyone of that.

As for your idea that to "balance", druids should lose some health and DK's some cooldowns, wow...... that alone tells me you've not tried tanking as either. Try it sometime. Tell me that you could use fewer cooldowns as a DK. Tell me that a druid could use less health as they look at the incoming damage and realize.... "oh wow.. I only have 1 tool to stave off this beating... and it sucks my rage away.... shit".

Right now.... here's how I see it.

1) Pally tank - Sitting at top of heap. Tanking bliss atm.
2) Warrior - Only thing holding them back from the top spot is they don't have some of the save-my-ass tricks of a pally
3) Druid - Massive health pool and swipe make for push-button agg control
4) DK - You will work your ass off... maybe not in this heroic... but in ICC.... or in ToGC..... or....

Loganisis
04-06-2010, 10:43 AM
The key point is if block overpowered shield users versus non sheild users - the effect would be the same in ICC and out of ICC. That's not the case. Each tanking class is roughly equivlaent with things some do better than others.


From WoWWikki:
Ok. So it's NOT avoidance.
It's an automated damage mitigation tool. A free chance to reduce incoming damage that DK's and Druids do not have.

OH. And yes, warriors do get a cooldown block ability too. Shield Block (http://www.wowhead.com/spell=2565)

So, once again.... they have an automated shield block..... which has a chance to reduce incoming damage.... and a cooldown that GUARANTEES reducing incoming damage.


Unless I'm completely off the mark, you've misunderstood how Sheild Block works (granted I actually haven't used it outside of combat to check the tooltip) - it's 2x block chance for 2x block value. Not 100% block chance for 100% of damage. So 18% chance to block 1500 damage becomes 36% chance to block 3000 damage for 10 seconds.

I'm not going to go much further down the path of specifics because it will result in a lock thread.

Blizzard already built in a compensation mechanic for the lack of block. They would have had to or DKs would not be a viable tanking class because they would be so far below other classes in surviability. The mechanic, as I understand it, is that DK CDs have a greater uptime.

Specifically though Icy Talons is the DK version of block (I just looked at Frost, not sure what blood/unholy have). 5/5 removes 1 boss swing out of 6 (20% reduction in attack speed - which equates to roughly 16.66% additional avoidence, hits that never land). That compares quite equally to Block, which for most warriors is ~15-20% and is mitigation.

Would you agree this mechanic smooths the playing field between shield users and Dks?

As for bears - their HP pool does that naturally. Right now in ICC buffed, I'm around 52k HP - I've seen similarlly geared bears in Heroics running with 60k HP, which would make it 66k HP. So would you agree that 14k HP roughly equates to mitgating roughly 1500-3000 damage every fifth attack or so (on average)? <And wouldn't the mechanics of savage defense work almost exactly like block? After crit, next hit is reduced by 25% of the bear's AP - functionally a block without a shield given bears get crit from agility and ap from agility and have agility on all gear>

This isn't class warfare - Each class has different tools. Nerfing only shield block in ICC would only negatively impact shield users, reducing their surviability while not impacting non-shield wearing tanks. That's why Dodge was chosen, I think. It impacts all tanks equally and in the same way. No need to make class-specific adjustments.





Bears.... don't have block. DK's.... don't have block. We get extra health and maybe one cooldown to make up for the lack thereof.


As above - yes, you do. And what you get makes up for roughly what block gives shield users.




Now, please consider this also.
When you're looking for a tank in realm, and I see posts for a 2900 GS tank.... I know, that MY 2900 GS as a DK means I have a LOT of tier 10 gear. For a warrior, who has a shield..... they might have the equivalent armor set to my tier 9 set. So, my 2500 GS DK tank is really on par with that 2700 GS warrior. (+200 points for just about any shield from heroics).

But good luck convincing anyone of that.


GS = lazy. It's a 3rd party tool that doesn't fit perfectly into WoW. This is more a complaint of the calculations of the 3rd party gear score system and the lazyness of the players not to actually check gear.




As for your idea that to "balance", druids should lose some health and DK's some cooldowns, wow...... that alone tells me you've not tried tanking as either. Try it sometime. Tell me that you could use fewer cooldowns as a DK. Tell me that a druid could use less health as they look at the incoming damage and realize.... "oh wow.. I only have 1 tool to stave off this beating... and it sucks my rage away.... shit".


No, I haven't. And the fact you think shield block is overpowered would indicate much the same for Warriors. Right now Pallys, DKs, Bears, and Warriors are roughly equal as tanks - though it does seem that everyone agrees Pallys are a little more equal than others.

Think about what you're suggesting though - that nerfing a signficant portion of 2 tanking classes with no corresponding reduction to the other 2 tanking classes levels the playing field. That's just wrong.

The ICC debuff does not affect any single class more than any other. It hits us ALL the same way. We take 1 additional hit from every 5 swings (roughly). It's equal across the board. After bears HP, Frost DK's Icy Talons, Warriors block, we're still all the same.




Right now.... here's how I see it.

1) Pally tank - Sitting at top of heap. Tanking bliss atm.
2) Warrior - Only thing holding them back from the top spot is they don't have some of the save-my-ass tricks of a pally
3) Druid - Massive health pool and swipe make for push-button agg control
4) DK - You will work your ass off... maybe not in this heroic... but in ICC.... or in ToGC..... or....

It does seem to me as well that Pallys have the 'easiest' go. But looking at Warriors, Bears, and DKs, it seems all 3 are fairly equal - each has holes in their tanking abilities (I can only dream as a warrior tank of the the ability to sleepwalk through AoE aggro that all other tanks have - or the self healing that blood DKs or pallys have). Each of us covets some set of abilities that the others have, dreaming of them.

But the fact is, when you look at it, we're all fairly equal, just in different ways. As for working your ass off - ICC challenges all tanks. The only fight so far (outside of gunship) that I've seen that is 'easy' is Morrowgar, where the key to victory rests almost soley on the DPS. The rest work you and require your concentration, and once you get to Rotface/Fester, challenge any progressing tank.

****

Blizzard has tweaked tanks to be roughly equal. Targeting a non-shared ability would only impact the classes with that ability and not the others, completely unbalancing the ability for any class to tank the raid.

Blizzard chose to cause all tanks to get hit more often. It affects all tanks equally. We ALL get hit by 1 out of 5 swings (on average) more in ICC than out. Any other 'imbalance' that shields create would be as evident outside of ICC as in.

Leucifer
04-06-2010, 12:18 PM
The key point is if block overpowered shield users versus non sheild users - the effect would be the same in ICC and out of ICC. That's not the case. Each tanking class is roughly equivlaent with things some do better than others.

Unless I'm completely off the mark, you've misunderstood how Sheild Block works (granted I actually haven't used it outside of combat to check the tooltip) - it's 2x block chance for 2x block value. Not 100% block chance for 100% of damage. So 18% chance to block 1500 damage becomes 36% chance to block 3000 damage for 10 seconds.

I'm not going to go much further down the path of specifics because it will result in a lock thread.

Fair enough. We could probably beat this horse dead.... raise it with Raise Ally (http://www.wowhead.com/spell=61999) and then beat it dead again.



Blizzard already built in a compensation mechanic for the lack of block. They would have had to or DKs would not be a viable tanking class because they would be so far below other classes in surviability. The mechanic, as I understand it, is that DK CDs have a greater uptime.

Specifically though Icy Talons is the DK version of block (I just looked at Frost, not sure what blood/unholy have). 5/5 removes 1 boss swing out of 6 (20% reduction in attack speed - which equates to roughly 16.66% additional avoidence, hits that never land). That compares quite equally to Block, which for most warriors is ~15-20% and is mitigation.

Would you agree this mechanic smooths the playing field between shield users and Dks?

No. On this I completely disagree. You're confused as to the mechanics. How is Frost Fever (which is really the effect we're looking at here) comparable to a block? What you are describing is the DK equivalent to Thunder Clap (http://www.wowhead.com/spell=47501) and Improved Thunder Clap (http://www.wowhead.com/spell=12666). Please.... compare those to this Frost Fever (http://www.wowhead.com/spell=59921) and this Improved Icy Touch (http://www.wowhead.com/spell=51456). The warrior abilities and the DK abilities are DAMN near mirrors of each other.



As for bears - their HP pool does that naturally. Right now in ICC buffed, I'm around 52k HP - I've seen similarlly geared bears in Heroics running with 60k HP, which would make it 66k HP. So would you agree that 14k HP roughly equates to mitgating roughly 1500-3000 damage every fifth attack or so (on average)? <And wouldn't the mechanics of savage defense work almost exactly like block? After crit, next hit is reduced by 25% of the bear's AP - functionally a block without a shield given bears get crit from agility and ap from agility and have agility on all gear>

Ah. See, this is an area where I need to catch up. lol Last I seriously tanked as a bear was BC (this passive was introduced in 3.1). I'm still very familiar with the pros/cons of the class though. Yeah. I will agree with what you say on this. Legitimately, pretty equivalent to a block.... or maybe even better really.



This isn't class warfare - Each class has different tools. Nerfing only shield block in ICC would only negatively impact shield users, reducing their surviability while not impacting non-shield wearing tanks. That's why Dodge was chosen, I think. It impacts all tanks equally and in the same way. No need to make class-specific adjustments.

Yeah. My apologies for coming across like that if I did. I'll be honest.... I think the whole thing around the ICC debuff.... it was done because the encounters were broken, which takes us back to the thread's original topic. They HAD to do something to increase the challenge level and get it where they wanted it for tanks, and I think they chose a "lazy way out". Yes, it was applied evenly to all tanks. Problem is... I don't think they really realized how it affects different classes fully. I do think it was an attempt to prevent things like this: Rogue Tanking in Black Temple (http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=6286469797&sid=1)



GS = lazy. It's a 3rd party tool that doesn't fit perfectly into WoW. This is more a complaint of the calculations of the 3rd party gear score system and the lazyness of the players not to actually check gear.

AGREE WHOLEHEARTEDLY WITH YOU. Gear score blows. It's for lazy people who don't want to take the time to actually find out if a person can really play their class or not and if they can assemble a well-functioning build. I have one person I know on my realm (who shall remain completely anonymous) who has their incredible gear score because they mixed defense gear and dps gear on their DK. /facepalm And they wonder why they're well behind in the dps ranks.
I, personally, hate gearscore. So much is tied to a player's skill. ..... Ok. I need to step off this soapbox now and stop beating this subject.



No, I haven't. And the fact you think shield block is overpowered would indicate much the same for Warriors. Right now Pallys, DKs, Bears, and Warriors are roughly equal as tanks - though it does seem that everyone agrees Pallys are a little more equal than others.
Pally does seem a bit ahead. Warrior can still be a challenge (as much as I love playing that class - I've had to delete a couple and keep only two). I would say bears and DK's are about even.... warriors a bit ahead (again.... this class is HEAVILY dependent on skill). But that's just my opinion.



Think about what you're suggesting though - that nerfing a signficant portion of 2 tanking classes with no corresponding reduction to the other 2 tanking classes levels the playing field. That's just wrong.

Back up. You suggested nerfing the cooldowns on DK's. Let me tell you, they are not all that and a bag of chips. DK's have just FINALLY gotten a bump UP with 3.3.3 that was sorely needed. DK cooldowns CAN be great. To get enough to make a significant impact... costs a lot. The down time on some makes it a thing where you really need to pick and choose when to use and how deep you go with them. Pop more than one... and if something bad happens in the not-too-distant future... kiss your ass goodbye. Personally... I'll usually pop either IBF or AMS, depending on the effect. If I REALLY need a bump, I'll pop one with Vampiric Blood if I know the healer is going to have to use a faster but less powerful heal immediately afterwards to keep me going. If I'm popping all three..... I'm pretty tapped out for a while and if anything really heavy comes raining down after that, I'm done unless the healer is really lucky/good/both.



The ICC debuff does not affect any single class more than any other. It hits us ALL the same way. We take 1 additional hit from every 5 swings (roughly). It's equal across the board. After bears HP, Frost DK's Icy Talons, Warriors block, we're still all the same.

Well, you've already heard my rebuttal to the Icy Talons (which I think you meant Improved Icy Touch). Agree with you on bears. Still think it's a bit of a slap to DK's, but I do see your view.



It does seem to me as well that Pallys have the 'easiest' go. But looking at Warriors, Bears, and DKs, it seems all 3 are fairly equal - each has holes in their tanking abilities (I can only dream as a warrior tank of the the ability to sleepwalk through AoE aggro that all other tanks have - or the self healing that blood DKs or pallys have). Each of us covets some set of abilities that the others have, dreaming of them.

I'd say bears/dk's/warriors are the closest in the spectrum. And as a DK.... I share your dream. I watch bears and pally with envy. And thunder clap for warriors.... it just seems to work so nicely. I can understand the self-heals, but we really need them to counter-act our squishiness. I've had more than a few healers comment that DK's feel squishy, so I don't think it's just me.

I would agree that DK's / Bears / Warriors are at least "more on par" though. Each of these have holes that make for an interesting balance. Pally just seems to not have any at this time.



But the fact is, when you look at it, we're all fairly equal, just in different ways. As for working your ass off - ICC challenges all tanks. The only fight so far (outside of gunship) that I've seen that is 'easy' is Morrowgar, where the key to victory rests almost soley on the DPS. The rest work you and require your concentration, and once you get to Rotface/Fester, challenge any progressing tank.

ICC is a challenge for all tanks. Agreed. Everything there just kinda levels the playing field in that all tanks become very.... uh.... death-prone. lol Marrowgar didn't feel bad as a tank once we got coordinated a bit. Same with Saurfang, which to me, seemed to be not as challenging as the OT. Less movement... just had to focus more on keeping the bounce-the-boss act going. I'd have to say at this point though.... ALL OF ICC demands more from the dps. I'm sorry, but slacker dps... and you know what I'm talking about.... just doesn't cut it there. You HAVE to be paying attention. Especially on stuff like Rotface/Festergut/Saurfang.




Blizzard has tweaked tanks to be roughly equal. Targeting a non-shared ability would only impact the classes with that ability and not the others, completely unbalancing the ability for any class to tank the raid.

Blizzard chose to cause all tanks to get hit more often. It affects all tanks equally. We ALL get hit by 1 out of 5 swings (on average) more in ICC than out. Any other 'imbalance' that shields create would be as evident outside of ICC as in.

Fair enough. I just really think they designed ICC poorly to begin with..... got it into beta and found the results NOT to their liking in regards to tanks..... and just slapped the debuff as a quick fix to make ICC feel more the way they wanted. I really think a LOT of the fights would go differently if we went in with full dodge.

Strucker
04-06-2010, 12:29 PM
Greetings

Thought I'd add my 2 cents. I currently have an 80 of each tanking classes and have MT ICC 25 groups with three of them, (The other, my pally, is not yet geared for it).

In my expierence there is little difference in the capability of each class to tank in ICC, they each have there strong and weak aspects but overall I have yet one of the classes at more then a marginal disadvantage at any point.

The dodge debuff struck me as the proper way to lower overall avoidance as it reduces the avoidance off all tank equally. Alot of the percieved inbalance of the debuff seems to be oriented around the fact that some tank classes rely more on dodge then others but as the debuff is a fixed amount a druid with 45% dodge will still have 25% comapred to a warrior with 25% dropping to 5%, so the class that has always relied more on dodge still have the same margin of dodge more then others.

The block mechanic seems equally countered by the druids crit shield and the DKs shorter CDs. The DK's shorter CDs even give the tank more control then the RNG based block and crit shield mechanics.

xulev
04-06-2010, 12:51 PM
Imo the real issue that caused Icecrown radiance was warriors and paladins being capable of gearing for unhittable without seriously gimping their tanking ability.

Taking away 20% avoidance made it nearly impossible (if not impossible) to get to 102.4% dodge, parry, miss, block.

Obviously being viable with unhittable would not be something they could reasonably balance bears and dks around.

Leucifer
04-06-2010, 03:24 PM
Greetings

Thought I'd add my 2 cents. I currently have an 80 of each tanking classes and have MT ICC 25 groups with three of them, (The other, my pally, is not yet geared for it).

In my expierence there is little difference in the capability of each class to tank in ICC, they each have there strong and weak aspects but overall I have yet one of the classes at more then a marginal disadvantage at any point.

The dodge debuff struck me as the proper way to lower overall avoidance as it reduces the avoidance off all tank equally. Alot of the percieved inbalance of the debuff seems to be oriented around the fact that some tank classes rely more on dodge then others but as the debuff is a fixed amount a druid with 45% dodge will still have 25% comapred to a warrior with 25% dropping to 5%, so the class that has always relied more on dodge still have the same margin of dodge more then others.

The block mechanic seems equally countered by the druids crit shield and the DKs shorter CDs. The DK's shorter CDs even give the tank more control then the RNG based block and crit shield mechanics.

Interesting to hear, and glad to get input from someone with all 4. And yes, it does lower overall avoidance...... but again...... WHY DO IT?.......

Which leads to.........


Imo the real issue that caused Icecrown radiance was warriors and paladins being capable of gearing for unhittable without seriously gimping their tanking ability.

Taking away 20% avoidance made it nearly impossible (if not impossible) to get to 102.4% dodge, parry, miss, block.

Obviously being viable with unhittable would not be something they could reasonably balance bears and dks around.

And here is where I think part of the answer lies. I really think in beta testing, they were finding an issue with some tanks being able to run the content without the "end game" experience that Blizzard was looking for. As much as I like to think Blizzard puts out good quality product, I think the ICC nerf was a quick fix that while, not a great solution, was the most realistic and expedient for a deadline. I think they happened to peg dodge, vice parry or some other mechanic due to two things: rogues and hunters. The added benefit being that in addition to bringing tank avoidance down, it brought these two classes more in line with their clothie counterparts survival-wise in ICC.

uglie
04-06-2010, 03:46 PM
First off I this discussion has to be my favorite, simply because it is a discussion and not an argument like most other threads. Hope more threads are like this in the future.
Secondly, I believe that with all the changes that Blizz makes a lot of, if not all, people will have to learn how to get the most out of their gear again. Some will understand how to do this faster than others and those that get it the fastest will shine first. As for me being a DK tank i have come to LOVE armor and the changes to armor that Blizz will be making kinda worries me for the simple fact of I / we don't yet understand how the new armor system will work. As for clothies having more stamina I'm all for that as long as they don't take away my health in the name of leveling the playing field.
Third, I've noticed Blizz trying to level out the playing field in PVP by nerfing/ buffing classes abilities. I see this as fundamentally flawed. To me PVE is group based and needs each class to be able to bring something different to the table, where as PVP is a solo based aspect of the game meaning each toon in theory should be equal. Maybe thats just my p.o.v. considering I HATE PVP. So I have to say to Blizz, if you want ppl to have a "fair" fight in PVP make your changes on PVP servers and leave our PVE servers alone.
Lastly, to me the difference in the different tanking styles/ abilities of each tank is what makes the game. The way I see it is me being a DK tank I have an easier time picking up adds simply because of deathgrip and our famous placeable AOE aggro known as DND. Take Gunship for example, it is much easier for my warrior co-tank to jump across than it is for him to pick up the adds on our ship. Yes we can switch roles and it is fun to do so so you dont get highway hypnosis as one poster said. To me this doesn't mean that since I have an easier time on adds than I'm any less of a tank, it simply means that i have a different set of skills.

Adrael
04-12-2010, 07:20 AM
I just got mail saying this thread got revitalized (TS mailing system is a bit late). I have two things to add to this discussion:

1. I suppose everyone who said that DKs & Druids are more affected by the TCC radiance meant that since these two classes have more avoidance on their hit table, they get hurt more from avoidance nerfs. If that's the case, it's pretty much the opposite if we simplify things (we shouldn't be doing that though - I'll relate to that later). Paladins and warriors get hurt more from the ICC aura. I'll explain through a short and simple example:
There's another tank A with 80% avoidance, and (yet another) tank B with 40% avoidance. ICC debuff == 20% less avoidance for the sake of simplicity.
What did both tank lose?
Tank A: now 60%. A 25% loss.
Tank B: now 10%. A 66% loss.

So tanks with less avoidance lose more.

If both tanks have similar avoidance, they lose the same amount. If one assumes that having a shield gives a notable advantage, then this advantage only persists.


2. Do not compare passive stats without taking skills into account. The classes are just too different for proper comparison. At the end of the day it's a question of viability. Can the tank live? and we get constant proof of that whenever we see that all four tanks survive encounters. For some tanks it's harder, for some it's easier - depending on the encounter. And that is an issue that should be further fixed in the future. Yet we're all viable, and that's the true test of tanks (and healers).

Leucifer
04-14-2010, 01:14 PM
I just got mail saying this thread got revitalized (TS mailing system is a bit late). I have two things to add to this discussion:

1. I suppose everyone who said that DKs & Druids are more affected by the TCC radiance meant that since these two classes have more avoidance on their hit table, they get hurt more from avoidance nerfs. If that's the case, it's pretty much the opposite if we simplify things (we shouldn't be doing that though - I'll relate to that later). Paladins and warriors get hurt more from the ICC aura. I'll explain through a short and simple example:
There's another tank A with 80% avoidance, and (yet another) tank B with 40% avoidance. ICC debuff == 20% less avoidance for the sake of simplicity.
What did both tank lose?
Tank A: now 60%. A 25% loss.
Tank B: now 10%. A 66% loss.

So tanks with less avoidance lose more.

If both tanks have similar avoidance, they lose the same amount. If one assumes that having a shield gives a notable advantage, then this advantage only persists.


This is a fine example of how statistics and logic can be twisted (not that you intended to).

"Avoidance" is used freely to describe ONE specific thing in this case..... dodge.
Dodge is the only thing nerfed in ICC.

I'll explain it in another short and simple example.
http://www.tankspot.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=1427

So, as you can see here, tank 1 clearly loses 40% of their defensive ability total versus tank 2 who only loses 33.33%.

Then again, this is even twisting the facts to my own ends as really, block is not avoidance. However, from a defensive standpoint, block does allow an automatic reduction of incoming damage for tank 2 that tank 1 does not have access to.

My point here being......
1) Yes, the ICC nerf affects all tanks equally as it pertains to dodge directly, and equally as it pertains specifically to avoidance, where avoidance is specifically abilities that enable a tank to effectively mitigate 100% of incoming damage......

.........BUT......

2) The ICC nerf affects some tanks greater as avoidance counts as a greater percentage of the sum of their base defensive abilities in relation to their peers, where the base defensive abilities include
dodge, parry, block (which reduces incoming damage), defense (improves miss chance, dodge, parry, and block), and armor (which reduces incoming damage).

What I perceive would be the effect of this is:

1) All tanks getting hit more often.
2) Tanks of tank 1 category, will see more overall damage, and more damage spikes
3) Tanks of tank 2 category, will see more hits thus more overall damage, but should see less spikes as the block mechanic is still in play and may proc on some of those hits that may have been avoided if dodge was higher.

The three points above are my hypothesis. As for testing in real time? It'd be a matter of comparing combat logs for a tank of category 1 and 2, both running identical instances outside of ICC for a baseline, and then running ICC to serve as the test. What I think you'd find is at least a pattern that would reflect my three assertions ,where tank 1 would be seeing more damage spikes, and tank 2 would see a little less spikey-ness. Which.... I have to say, would also coincide with what I've had several healers comment to me on.

Just all theory though.

Side note: In response to those healers, I've become even more rhythmic and have worked on timing my death strikes in ICC to compensate for some of those spikes when I can, sort of like a healer assist. Problem is, healing immediately after a hit isn't quite the same as preventing some of that damage. You can't heal after a hit that takes you down to zero health, whereas blocking some of that damage might prevent you from hitting zero. I have WotN on my toon which HELPS GREATLY, but the simple problem still exists. Of course..... to be completely fair, once I'm down to that point where "one hit to zero" is an issue, things were usually going badly anyways.

jere
04-14-2010, 02:29 PM
You can't really just sum those up like that. Block defensive capabilities are a lot lower than avoidance. It isn't an equal % addition. You have to reduce the effective contribution of block.

Leucifer
04-14-2010, 04:09 PM
You can't really just sum those up like that. Block defensive capabilities are a lot lower than avoidance. It isn't an equal % addition. You have to reduce the effective contribution of block.

Depends on the tank. I have a friend on my server whose block % is better than my parry as a DK.
Even then, block only reduces some of the incoming damage. I'm well aware, hence why I said:

Then again, this is even twisting the facts to my own ends as really, block is not avoidance. However, from a defensive standpoint, block does allow an automatic reduction of incoming damage for tank 2 that tank 1 does not have access to.

I intentionally twisted things to show a particular "bend".
Still, it could be argued both ways on the ICC radiance. And that doesn't take into account other factors. Another example: Rune Strike versus Revenge. Revenge can proc off dodge/parry/block.Rune Strike procs off dodge/parry. Yes, the warrior loses out on the dodge aspect, but still has two other defensive mechanics to trigger this. The DK, we get rocked pretty hard on one of our two defensive abilities that allow us to use one of our highest threat generators.

Anyways..... please realized I played "devil's advocate" to a degree to expose a fallacy in Adreal's post. By taking something and oversimplifying it and applying a selected application of math to give an example to support his/her idea out of the context from which it was taken (i.e. - dodge being the only defensive stat whereas there are MANY things that interplay in tank effectiveness). It is one of the most common things done with statistics. Goes back to the old saying "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics." (Benjamin Disraeli)

However.... to mention only avoidance.... and neglect the mechanics of block as an automatic damage reduction effect, paints an incomplete picture of the situation. They are two sides of the same coin..... damage mitigation..... where one side is complete damage mitigation, and the other side being incomplete, or partial damage mitigation. All of these tools work together to perform one VERY critical role for the tank..... survival.

Final note:
And the math wasn't even accurate. Tank A who originally had 80% "avoidance" (?) and lost 20%, resulting in a final 60% "avoidance", did indeed lose 25% of their total. Tank B, who started with 40% "avoidance", loses 20% for a final of 20%(yes.... 40 - 20 = 20), lost out on 50% of their total "avoidance".

Adrael
04-15-2010, 10:20 PM
Final note:
And the math wasn't even accurate. Tank A who originally had 80% "avoidance" (?) and lost 20%, resulting in a final 60% "avoidance", did indeed lose 25% of their total. Tank B, who started with 40% "avoidance", loses 20% for a final of 20%(yes.... 40 - 20 = 20), lost out on 50% of their total "avoidance".


I'm a "he". Yeah, I meant writing it's 30%, but the point was clear enough. As I also wrote in my post, I was oversimplifying things. I neglected block because it's mechanism is not as effective in damage mitigation as that of avoidance - and that's the main thing, not the math itself. If you neglect talents, skills, and encounters, why not neglecting block? The world of tanks isn't just dodge/parry/block. The most accurate way to assess sustainability (and not viability) would be to check how much potential damage mitigation each class have per encounter. I believe you'll find that it varies for different encounters.

So no one in these forums ever discussed balance in detail. In order to do just that, one has to do a lot of math, show many figures, and choose a specific encounter to work with. It's just too much data processing for anyone with a regular job/life/whatever, but I suppose Blizzard does it for us (they get paid, aren't they?). For us simpletons the best way of assessing sustainability is through viability (to some extent), quality of life, and "how hard is it to tank X with class Y" sort of questions.

Simply saying "I take more damage because of ICC aura compared to shield tanks" == "I have a feeling I take more damage because of the ICC aura compared to shield tanks". And having a feeling is something you need proof for. If you choose a theoretical path to prove it, then you'll need to think about more than just plain avoidance (or avoidance + block).

Leucifer
04-16-2010, 01:15 PM
I'm a "he". Yeah, I meant writing it's 30%, but the point was clear enough. As I also wrote in my post, I was oversimplifying things. I neglected block because it's mechanism is not as effective in damage mitigation as that of avoidance - and that's the main thing, not the math itself. If you neglect talents, skills, and encounters, why not neglecting block? The world of tanks isn't just dodge/parry/block. The most accurate way to assess sustainability (and not viability) would be to check how much potential damage mitigation each class have per encounter. I believe you'll find that it varies for different encounters.
Oh. Spot on. Avoidance is CLEARLY more effective in damage mitigation. It's 100% vice block's lesser percentage. In that sense, it's applied equally. Avoidance is nerfed for everyone. However, my point is this: how much of a particular tank's total damage mitigation and defense, or tanking capability, is tied in to avoidance? For a warrior, it is a significant part. For a DK or druid, it is MORE significant to that class because they have fewer "basic" damage mitigation tools.

Again.... warrior and paladins have dodge, parry, block, defense, armor. Druids and DK's have dodge, parry, defense, armor. Then again, you could always look at it from a different perspective. All tanks have dodge, parry, defense, armor. Maybe I am biased because when I look at my DK's defense bar on the "paperdoll", I see "Block...... 0%". A simple perspective shift is needed maybe?



So no one in these forums ever discussed balance in detail. In order to do just that, one has to do a lot of math, show many figures, and choose a specific encounter to work with. It's just too much data processing for anyone with a regular job/life/whatever, but I suppose Blizzard does it for us (they get paid, aren't they?). For us simpletons the best way of assessing sustainability is through viability (to some extent), quality of life, and "how hard is it to tank X with class Y" sort of questions.
Oh. Agreed. Lol.... Not sure we're "simpletons" ;) .... but hey... we AREN'T getting paid. True. My counter to this though is, why was Savage Defense implemented? And why is Blizzard now looking to tie in a damage mitigation tool into a DK's self heals?

Healing Absorption: When you heal yourself, you'll receive an additional effect that absorbs incoming damage. http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=24262356308&sid=1

I think the reason why is that Blizzard is finding a real performance difference due to block being "missing" from druids and DK's. Well, HAD in the druid's case. I think they have identified something "quantifiable". If they hadn't, why the change?



Simply saying "I take more damage because of ICC aura compared to shield tanks" == "I have a feeling I take more damage because of the ICC aura compared to shield tanks". And having a feeling is something you need proof for. If you choose a theoretical path to prove it, then you'll need to think about more than just plain avoidance (or avoidance + block).You are correct. Very logical assertion. It's one of the reasons I've taken an interest in this post:

http://www.tankspot.com/showthread.php?65818-Graphical-Tanking-Rotation-Analyzer

I'll be honest. I SUCK at the whole combat logs thing. Hell, I honestly tank with no add-ons or UI's beyond the very basic WoW setup. (I know..... suicide, right? lol) But the author of that post has an interesting tool that can give some data showing whether boss attacks hit, miss, avoided and/or blocked.

You're completely right. Beyond the basic defensive combination of dodge, parry, defense, armor, (block)...... I'd have to factor in the defensive cooldowns of each class, the self heals available to each, gear, gear sets and bonuses, gems, and so on. So many different things factor in, that establishing balance is tricky if not outright impossible, hence, why we see changes between the tanks from patch to patch (which, also, drags me back to the insane idea of PvP balance..... >.<)
What I do know, is that frequently healers complain about DK's being "squishy". Yes, I know..... qualitative, not quantitative. However, as the old saying goes, "Once is chance, twice is coincidence, and the third time is a pattern." BUT...... at the same time, your assertion that the warrior is affected more by the ICC debuff is unproven also and would be subject to the same standard as my own, correct? At this point, your assertion has as much proof as does mine.

To quantify.... well.... to determine this, I'd imagine we'd need a DK and Warrior, specced out in "vanilla" tank gear (titansteel plus standard tank pieces from heroics), pull any sigils or ranged weapons, no trinket activated abilities, and comparable weapon/shield selection. That last part would be the trickiest since a 2H weapon rarely (if ever) has defensive stats. (My one thought here though would be..... either let it ride or go dw with the DK, and just match item levels. I'd personally rather go with the "let it ride" route, as I'd be interested in seeing if the dps makes a difference as a shorter fight might equal less damage.)

Then throw both into a couple heroics with the same group.... and see what comes out.

Again.... I am playing devil's advocate (haha... get that?) to some degree. I still am of the belief that Blizzard found serious issues with tanks in regards to ICC, and had to enact a rather "quick 'n' dirty" solution to try and make the encounters work as they had intended. I think they were experiencing tanks that were running through ICC relatively unthreatened and realized they had to fix it, and quick.

Adrael
04-16-2010, 11:20 PM
I think the reason why is that Blizzard is finding a real performance difference due to block being "missing" from druids and DK's. Well, HAD in the druid's case. I think they have identified something "quantifiable". If they hadn't, why the change?.


Yup. If changes are made, either there is currently some sort of imbalance, or they expect one in the future. However, they just might be smart enough in Blizzard to understand that WoW sells more when there is constant change. An unchanging game is not as interesting.





You're completely right. Beyond the basic defensive combination of dodge, parry, defense, armor, (block)...... I'd have to factor in the defensive cooldowns of each class, the self heals available to each, gear, gear sets and bonuses, gems, and so on. So many different things factor in, that establishing balance is tricky if not outright impossible, hence, why we see changes between the tanks from patch to patch (which, also, drags me back to the insane idea of PvP balance..... >.<)
What I do know, is that frequently healers complain about DK's being "squishy". Yes, I know..... qualitative, not quantitative. However, as the old saying goes, "Once is chance, twice is coincidence, and the third time is a pattern." BUT...... at the same time, your assertion that the warrior is affected more by the ICC debuff is unproven also and would be subject to the same standard as my own, correct? At this point, your assertion has as much proof as does mine.

To quantify.... well.... to determine this, I'd imagine we'd need a DK and Warrior, specced out in "vanilla" tank gear (titansteel plus standard tank pieces from heroics), pull any sigils or ranged weapons, no trinket activated abilities, and comparable weapon/shield selection. That last part would be the trickiest since a 2H weapon rarely (if ever) has defensive stats. (My one thought here though would be..... either let it ride or go dw with the DK, and just match item levels. I'd personally rather go with the "let it ride" route, as I'd be interested in seeing if the dps makes a difference as a shorter fight might equal less damage.)


Never rely on healers opinions just because they are healers, it's usually just a hunch. We often work with hunches, and I don't believe in that. There is always a reason for these hunches and they don't just come from nowhere. But often enough these reasons are illogical. We just don't know it. It's a hunch :)


Last note:
Assuming everything is balanced when it comes to every tank, it means we have to assume that the block mechanic is balance by another mechanic (or mechanics) on DKs and druids. If this is the case, then when analyzing the ICC debuff effect on tanks the conclusion is that shield tanks are affected more by it. We also have to remember that 'no one tanks in a void' :)
So... now that encounters involve bosses that hit for less, block's effectiveness grows higher. And maybe that's how they balance the ICC aura's greater effect on shield tanks. Who knows...

Leucifer
04-19-2010, 11:20 AM
Yup. If changes are made, either there is currently some sort of imbalance, or they expect one in the future. However, they just might be smart enough in Blizzard to understand that WoW sells more when there is constant change. An unchanging game is not as interesting.
True enough. It's a way to generate discussion and "excitement" (hence, webpages like TankSpot and Elitist Jerks). Then again, when you have a significant amount of time invested in something and then it's changed to the point where it's no longer fun, that amounts to piss-poor customer relations.


Never rely on healers opinions just because they are healers, it's usually just a hunch. We often work with hunches, and I don't believe in that. There is always a reason for these hunches and they don't just come from nowhere. But often enough these reasons are illogical. We just don't know it. It's a hunch :)
True enough. But at the same time, when you seem to be getting back a lot of feedback like that, it's never a bad thing to make sure you're not missing something. Me, I reviewed my use of cooldowns, which got better as I became more familiar with particular fights. I still get the occasional healer with whom I'm watching my health bar dance like and equalizer synched to techno music.


Last note:
Assuming everything is balanced when it comes to every tank, it means we have to assume that the block mechanic is balance by another mechanic (or mechanics) on DKs and druids. If this is the case, then when analyzing the ICC debuff effect on tanks the conclusion is that shield tanks are affected more by it. We also have to remember that 'no one tanks in a void' :)
So... now that encounters involve bosses that hit for less, block's effectiveness grows higher. And maybe that's how they balance the ICC aura's greater effect on shield tanks. Who knows...
WHOOOAAAAAA!!!!! That's one hell of a leap in logic. How do you figure? The VERY BEST that you could even conclude by your own statement is that ALL TANKS ARE AFFECTED EQUALLY.

Let's break this down.

First - You assume all tanks are balanced. This means everything they have currently plays together putting them all on a level playing field. Right? So, even though a warrior tank has dodge, block, and parry, they're on par with a DK who has just dodge and parry, because there's some "other" mechanic to make up for block. Correct?
So.....

A) All warriors, pally, DK, and druids are tank classes
B) All tanks are balanced. (your VERY first assumption)
C) All tanks have dodge, parry, defense, armor
D) Some tanks (DK+D) have "Other" and do not have block
E) Some tanks (W+P) have block and do not have "Other"
F) The "Other" mechanic is balanced with Block, making the two equal (your other assumption)

Now, let's add in our modifier:

All tanks are affected by the ICC debuff of -20% dodge

We've already establish that they are balanced. We already went along with your assumption that the mechanics of all tanks are equivalent. And, it is simple fact that the -20% dodge affects all tanks.

SO HOW DO YOU FIGURE THE TANKS WITH BLOCK ARE ANY MORE AFFECTED THAN THE TANKS WITH "OTHER"?

It's because you're making two leaps in logic that 1 - tanks that have block have lower avoidance and 2 - tanks without block have higher avoidance without anything to back it up!

Then add to it that you JUST SAID that
So... now that encounters involve bosses that hit for less, block's effectiveness grows higher.

You're contradicting yourself! And with that statement, you've given more credence to my earlier position that tanks with block have an advantage in ICC over tanks without. Add to that that you've yet to identify this "other" mechanic. What is it that balances with block?

Let's go back and look at your earlier argument:


I just got mail saying this thread got revitalized (TS mailing system is a bit late). I have two things to add to this discussion:

1. I suppose everyone who said that DKs & Druids are more affected by the TCC radiance meant that since these two classes have more avoidance on their hit table, they get hurt more from avoidance nerfs. If that's the case, it's pretty much the opposite if we simplify things (we shouldn't be doing that though - I'll relate to that later). Paladins and warriors get hurt more from the ICC aura. I'll explain through a short and simple example:
There's another tank A with 80% avoidance, and (yet another) tank B with 40% avoidance. ICC debuff == 20% less avoidance for the sake of simplicity.
What did both tank lose?
Tank A: now 60%. A 25% loss.
Tank B: now 10%. A 66% loss.

So tanks with less avoidance lose more.

If both tanks have similar avoidance, they lose the same amount. If one assumes that having a shield gives a notable advantage, then this advantage only persists.


You start with an assumption that
since these two classes have more avoidance on their hit table..... without discussing that they ONLY have avoidance on their defense table. They don't have block. And again, we've yet to identify this "other" mechanic. Again.... you make the two leaps in logic that 1 - tanks that have block have lower avoidance and 2 - tanks without block have higher avoidance

Counter to your argument:
If you assert that the ICC debuff hits tanks with less avoidance more, then WHY wouldn't a warrior or pally tank start selecting gear that is more favorable to avoidance ONLY? If it's SUCH a huge disadvantage, then why take gear with block on it at all? You DO have a choice.You CAN choose to take gear that doesn't have block. Let's not kid ourselves. Yes... you have Wrynn's Greathelm of Conquest (http://www.wowhead.com/item=48429) which has block on it.... but at the SAME TIME.... you also can choose Faceplate of the Honorbound (http://www.wowhead.com/item=47677). Or how about t10 set? Let's see..... Ymirjar Lord's Greathelm (http://www.wowhead.com/item=50848) versus Scourgelord Faceguard (http://www.wowhead.com/item=50855). WOW! look at that! They're both itemized IDENTICALLY.

REALLY, when you get down to it, the warrior/pally tank has MORE options because they DO have block. The DK and Druid have fewer and sink our resources into our avoidance because it's all we get! Warriors/Paladin....you can choose, "do I really want to equip this gear with block?", where the DK looks at that same piece and gets LESS VALUE out of it because we can't even USE block.

So, if you're a warrior/pally who REALLY thinks that the ICC debuff hurts you more as a tank because you have block and "lower avoidance", change your gear and GET MORE AVOIDANCE. Don't bemoan the fact that you HAVE more options.

Leucifer
04-19-2010, 11:26 AM
We also have to remember that 'no one tanks in a void' :)


That is the one thing out of your previous post that is closest to an immutable truth.

Yes. No tank functions alone. We rely on healers to do the right things, to heal us, not draw aggro, keep the raid/group alive. We rely on dps to burn down the targets in a timely manner before healers run OOM or before enrage timers kick in. In turn, they count on us to hold aggro/threat, and survive the wrath of the enemy. All classes and roles have their place.

Man.... I wonder where you got such timeless wisdom.......... ;)

Adrael
04-19-2010, 02:01 PM
You've taken theorycrafting a bit too... well.

You seem to have misunderstand a thing or two. Maybe I wasn't clear enough.

On my initial post I said we're assuming that non-shield tanks have greater avoidance. Regardless, when I wrote that I had druids in mind and not DKs. Druids DR and mechanics enables them to stack more avoidance than equally geared shield tanks. DKs have the same DR values of shield tanks as far as I know. So you are right in the sense that DKs will lose out the same mitigation from ICC aura as warriors and paladins, druid lose less. And if you insist on a backup, you should read this: http://www.tankspot.com/showthread.php?40003-diminishing-returns-avoidance .

Leucifer
04-19-2010, 04:13 PM
You've taken theorycrafting a bit too... well.
And yes.... I see you are strong in the Force also....... lol :D



You seem to have misunderstand a thing or two. Maybe I wasn't clear enough.

On my initial post I said we're assuming that non-shield tanks have greater avoidance. Regardless, when I wrote that I had druids in mind and not DKs. Druids DR and mechanics enables them to stack more avoidance than equally geared shield tanks. DKs have the same DR values of shield tanks as far as I know. So you are right in the sense that DKs will lose out the same mitigation from ICC aura as warriors and paladins, druid lose less. And if you insist on a backup, you should read this: http://www.tankspot.com/showthread.php?40003-diminishing-returns-avoidance .

Ah. I will agree with that. Fair enough.

I would go so far as to suggest that the ICC debuff hurts warriors and DK's the most due to avoidance and two little things.......

Rune Strike (http://www.wowhead.com/spell=56815) and Revenge (http://www.wowhead.com/spell=57823)

For a DK tank, Rune Strike is golden. It supplies a LOT of damage, which translates to threat. It can't be dodged/blocked/parried, which is a guarantee of threat. And lastly.... the toolkit says "this generates a high amount of threat".... which directly ties it to being one of our tank tools. But, it's availability is tied directly to dodge/parry...... same as Revenge. Really, both of these are "bread and butter" threat items for the DK/Warrior.

Anyways....... I think it's time to stop beating the dead horse on this one.

My final comment is that I still think it was a "quick fix" done by Blizzard to make ICC work as "intended". I think they put a lot of time and effort into ICC but when they did the PTR.... the results they got surprised them and they needed a good workable solution pronto.

Bladesong
04-19-2010, 06:20 PM
Blizzard was very up front about the reason for Chill of the Throne - the decision mid-expansion to add heroic levels of gear threw off the curve (which was an unfortunate, but foreseen side effect) and this was indeed their "quick fix".

Speaking for myself, my uptime on Revenge is extremely high (pretty much whenever I want it) because it also procs off of blocks.

Adrael
04-20-2010, 03:56 AM
I suspect that the ICC aura is a step towards the Cataclysm healing mechanics. It has been suggested that it might take several seconds to bring tanks to full health, which probably means we'll see a notable decrease in the damage/tank HP ratio. The ICC introduction made it possible for blizzard to do the same pre-Cata, on a smaller scale.

Regarding Cataclysm,
It looks like they put more emphasis on balancing tanks vs. the raid and themselves. We might see smaller fixes in Cataclysm, because the devs now have the possibility of fine-tuning through vengeance. And that's good news for everyone. If one of the tanks deals an awful lot of damage compared to the others, just tune it via vengeance. Same for threat. DKs will also gain their Demo Shout, which evens out their tool box with other tanks (as I suggested in the OP). Furthermore, DKs will have a single tree - just like the other tanks. DKs were the 'special tank' for good and bad. But now they will come in line with the others and balancing will be made easier.

Unlike TPS and DPS, viability (sustainability) is not quantifiable. So there can't be a vengeance-like solution to that. In this department I believe we'll continue seeing changes as more patches come out through cata. There is a good example of how they make things more similar yet difference with the new block changes. It will be different, something that is more like armor, and not a special thing unique for paladins and warriors. Increased similarity between the tanks will do good to WoW, and I hope they'll take it a bit further and give tanks more interesting-yet similar tools when it comes to sustainability.

Leucifer
04-20-2010, 01:19 PM
Blizzard was very up front about the reason for Chill of the Throne - the decision mid-expansion to add heroic levels of gear threw off the curve (which was an unfortunate, but foreseen side effect) and this was indeed their "quick fix".

Speaking for myself, my uptime on Revenge is extremely high (pretty much whenever I want it) because it also procs off of blocks.
To the first part, that doesn't surprise me. Sounds about right. We discussed earlier in this thread the issue of "escalation" in gear.

>.< Pain.... and just as I thought I could walk away from the issue of block. lol
Well, that fantastic for warriors. I notice a big difference with Rune Strike in ICC. In heroics, it's up a lot. Enough where I can work it in with tab-striking (since it's highlighted/darkened). In ICC.... it's uptime is noticeably reduced. Now you've got me wondering how much of a quantifiable difference it is.


I suspect that the ICC aura is a step towards the Cataclysm healing mechanics. It has been suggested that it might take several seconds to bring tanks to full health, which probably means we'll see a notable decrease in the damage/tank HP ratio. The ICC introduction made it possible for blizzard to do the same pre-Cata, on a smaller scale.
Yeah. That was mentioned in the previews. It'll reduce the value of some talents (like Blood Gorged (http://www.wowhead.com/spell=61154).... not that I expect it to survive the overhaul). Kinda does make you wonder if ICC is a prelude to what is to come?



Regarding Cataclysm,
It looks like they put more emphasis on balancing tanks vs. the raid and themselves. We might see smaller fixes in Cataclysm, because the devs now have the possibility of fine-tuning through vengeance. And that's good news for everyone. If one of the tanks deals an awful lot of damage compared to the others, just tune it via vengeance. Same for threat. DKs will also gain their Demo Shout, which evens out their tool box with other tanks (as I suggested in the OP). Furthermore, DKs will have a single tree - just like the other tanks. DKs were the 'special tank' for good and bad. But now they will come in line with the others and balancing will be made easier.
Yep. Like it or the change is inbound. On the bright side, the changes mean we shouldn't see such a wide gap in tank performance. With all tanks having similar basic tools, like Vengeance and Demo, it SHOULD improve encounter design too. We should never see a particular tank class being left out in the cold in Catacylsm. I mean really, there is not going to be much of an excuse for it.


Unlike TPS and DPS, viability (sustainability) is not quantifiable. So there can't be a vengeance-like solution to that. In this department I believe we'll continue seeing changes as more patches come out through cata. There is a good example of how they make things more similar yet difference with the new block changes. It will be different, something that is more like armor, and not a special thing unique for paladins and warriors. Increased similarity between the tanks will do good to WoW, and I hope they'll take it a bit further and give tanks more interesting-yet similar tools when it comes to sustainability.

Viability is quantifiable. Easy. Did the tank's health go to zero? Binary code right there. 1 for yes. 0 for no. Now... how hard the tank/healer had to work to keep it that way.... lol.... that's different. }:>

Agree though..... increased performance similarity is good..... and to give more interesting-yet-similar tools, ensuring that each tank has a different "flavor" is fantastic. More similarity in the base abilities/function.... but have more options/color in the talents, and give options. Give each "tank tree" the ability to change tank's flavor. "Hey... I want to be an anti-magic warrior"..... or ..... "I want to be the physical tank DK"..... allow some customization in the talent trees. Leave it to the player to decide "the price they want to pay" for specialization/generalization.