Great read, thanks for writing this.
This is the second part of a series of articles regarding WotLK that will be presented over the coming weeks. Xav was asked to write this due to experiences and knowledge as a tester and as a main tank for Premonition of Alleria-US.
Right now, in current WoW, the biggest faults or weaknesses when it comes to the warrior class and tanking, are, in my opinion: Rage generation, synergy with other classes, and support roles when done tanking, so I'm going to attempt to address things with that in mind.
Stalwart Protector, the talent that grants you 2 rage every time you dodge or parry an attack, is nice. But, it could be so much more. Right now, in a raid environment, a warrior needs a steady rage bar to put out acceptable levels of threat in high end content and bursty nature of things. A hit for 5000 damage will give a warrior approximately 50 rage, and such an ~8000 hit would give around 80 rage. The problem comes when a warrior avoids several attacks in a row, and the rage generation drops down to 0. A not-so-great bandaid solution tanks can do is to turn their back, but that has its faults as well, and shouldn't be something tanks have to do.
Stalwart Protector is introduced and appears to acknowledge this problem, but does so in a very weak manner. So now when we dodge or parry those 50 or 70 rage hits, we're granted... 2 rage. Two. So the difference is going to be hardly noticable at all. The talent should be reworded, in my mind, to something like:
Stalwart Protector 1/2
You gain 20% (40%) of the rage you would have gained from the hit that you dodge or parry.
At weaker levels of mobs (5 mans, aoe pulls, etc), this will probably be less rage than the current version of Stalwart Protector, but those are the least important pulls anyways - as Shield Specialization is always proccing so much on multi-mob pulls and AoE pulls that you get steady rage from that.
I believe Stalwart Protector and rage generation is an important thing to address because of the removal of Salvation.
Which brings me to something else I want to discuss and that I'm concerned about: the threat changes.
Blessing of Salvation is removed in WoTLK, and they're attempting to fold in all of the threat differences into the tanking classes abilities. Warriors in defensive stance now generate 145% threat by default instead of having to spec into defiance; however, due to the way threat scales (multiplicative instead of additively), warriors currently generate 1.30 * 1.15 threat (Defiance * Defensive Stance) or 149.5% threat modifier. In WoTLK, it's all folded into one, and thus is 145%, which is nearly a 5% difference to start with.
Then, salv's passive 30% threat reduction on everyone that the game has been balanced around, is gone. So, we're going to have to expect a minimum of 35% more threat generation from all of our abilities (to account for the defiance difference too). A tank generates *roughly* double their DPS in TPS. So if a tank is doing 600 DPS right now, they're doing around 1200 or so TPS generally. If we need to be doing 35% more threat to counteract the salv/defiance changes, we're going to need to be doing 600*1.35 or 810 DPS, which is rather significant.
Revenge with talents will do 25% more damage, but does not appear to scale with AP. Shield Slam will be hitting 10% harder via talents, with a potential option for double damage if you use shield block before hitting Shield Slam. (New shield block, +100% block value for next block, if it works anything like 2 piece T5, you'll be able to combine it like that) every 20 seconds. Vigilance will give us 15% more crit chance on our Heroic Strikes, which will help when rage dumping, but not much in low-rage scenarios.
I'm skeptical that the few damage-increasing changes so far are going to cover the no-salv difference, but we will have to wait and see.
Other New Talents
Sword and Board had a lot of potential, but it's been worked out and apparently wont be much more than about a 17 rage gain a minute in ideal circumstances. Perhaps it should also cause the free shield slam to have a 100% crit chance. This would allow for some nice 'controlled' burst when we get a proc: S&B procs, use a block clicky trinket or two, then hit shield block + shield slam. You'd see some huge numbers and a big jump in threat, which would be nice to match the ridiculous burst threat feral druids in particular can put out. Hell, this could also help in PvP if you're ever stuck doing that as prot, having a reliable shield slam crit, our only form of "burst".
Vigilance was originally a pretty good talent. It helped out big time with the protection warrior's synergy, especially with other tanking classes. The first version didn't have the passive threat reduction attachment to the 5% dodge gain. Now, it does. So instead of being a 5% dodge buff you can slap on another tank in the raid, it's something you have to use sporadically. Possibly use it on another tank when they're taking massive damage (or about to), but, that's about all you can do. Any longer and you're hurting their threat gen, unless their target won't be killed for a while. Overall, pretty weak. It's clearly going to be kind of nice for small 5 mans when you can just put it on whatever DPS is going to be pulling aggro the most so you can mindlessly spam taunt and not have to really bother to tank (this will be a lazy tank's dream, AFK thunderclap + shockwave + bloodbath with gaze on your aggro puller, and spam taunt on everything that turns away).
At the very least, we get a mini salv buff we can put on people now...
Shockwave seems like a true gimmick ability. A 51 point talent.. for five mans and heroics. So we get a short duration partially-AOE stun that does high threat. The range isn't too big, so we basically have to initiate the pull, thunderclap so it stays on us (Or bloodbath, if that's any good), then back up a bit and Shockwave to stun it all. I have a feeling it's going to have too short of an area of affect and be too cumbersome to use, so we'll end up using it as a second Concussion Blow. It'd have to also be an enormous amount of threat for it to be worth using on non-stunnable targets.
This is the talent spec I'll most likely be using, of course, subject to heavy changes as it's still in beta...
The 3 talent points in Imp. TC may be taken out if Curse of Weakness stays as it is (innate 20% attack speed slow), to put into either Cruelty, Safeguard, or Improved Defensive Stance.
Great read, thanks for writing this.
I updated the 49 to 59.
Great read. You are certainly right about Stalwart Protector - I love that we finally have a talent for rage generation on dodge and parries, but it should be much better. The 20%/40% idea of yours sounds much more on the mark.
My main worry still remains rage generation - especially when you consider the nudging towards more stuns with improved concussive, shockwave and improved revenge. When mobs are stunned, our rage bar pretty quickly empties. I'm actually unsure if improved revenge is then worth taking - 25% extra damage is lovely, but I don't want the mob constantly stunned.
If 5 points in Sword and Board really works out to only a 17 rage per minute again, 3 of those points in Imp HS would and one in anger management (assuming you keep the imp TC) would save you much more than that. You'd only need to use HS once every ten seconds (i.e., 6 times per minute x 3 rage) to break even on the imp HS trade, and AM on its own does 20 rage per minute.
Oops, read "gain" where I said "again", doesn't look like you can edit news comments.
Yeah, I know, that's why Sword and Board seems a little weak. However, picking up Imp. TC, heroic strike, and Anger Management may not be feasible at all (I already never spec that deep in arms, only up to TC), and now imp TC may be unnecessary due to the curse of weakness change. I haven't really worked it out yet or thought into it much because it's so early, but it's very possible that using weakness over TC is a net gain for the ret due to the tank saving many GCD's and rage, as well as talent points.
So then the only other spot to increase rage efficiency/threat, in the Prot tree, is S&B.
I just dont know if i read it wrong, but i think that [item]Stalwart Protector [/item]
works just fine when you have enough avoidance it seems to generate a lot of rage, since i dodge and parry a lot of times [item]Shield Specialization[/item] helps too...
am i wrong?
Tormenta - Server Burning Legion US
Tormenta - Server Burning Legion US
RE: TC. I guess it depends on if bloodbath is usable in defensive stance, cos then the points form imp TC might be better in "imp bleed"?? (purely from a multimob tanking build pov)
**Give me a hug and I'll defend you with my life**
Very theoretical, but I'm curious as to whether speccing deep into prot will really be the best bang for your buck. I'm wondering, if as you say on the changes to Curse of weakness if a hybridish build such as 37/34 could end up being better from a TPS standpoint given the possible changes to Curse of Weakness, and the itemization changes intended to make warrior threat scale better with AP.
Yay for getting so concerned about making the link work that I forgot to finish the thought.
Anyway to continue, I'm wondering if the build I linked earlier, or one similar since I just pulled that one out of my ass, also wouldn't be better given the speculation on some parts that crits are going to be returning to the game, fueled by the changes to anticipation and the limited availability of + def items seen so far.
I really don't see much of anything higher in the prot tree that really excites me any, and while I'm a little leery of giving up devastate, I can't help but wonder if it might work better to do so.
It's not that awful. Looking at our MT's numbers from BT last week, he would've gained about 28-33 rage per minute on the tank-and-spanks, depending on the fight, which is pretty good relative to other talents. (If it worked as Xav suggested above, giving 40% of the missed rage, he would've gotten about 77 rpm on a light hitter like Najentus, and would've been 250+ on Gorefiend.)
(The above doesn't factor in how much over-rage would be wasted because the bar stops at 100, that'd knock the numbers down quite a bit for the hardest hitters.)
Oops again, that was directed at Rychel, not Aldragoriad.
/sigh nobody ever talks to me, even when I post outrageous crap to try to get a response.
While I am in perfect agreement that the 1/2 rage isn't that hot... they can't realistically do a "20%/40%" thing. How would the game know what 20% or 40% is? You weren't hit, after all, so you didn't take damage -- and passive rage generation is based on damage intake.
Dovie'andi se tovya sagain - it's time to roll the dice
While the concept behind SP is nice, I feel the numbers could be beefed up. Instead of 1 rage per talent, how about 5? With 2/2 SP, that'd be 10 rage gained on a parry or dodge; that would make this talent competitive for me, when choosing where to allocate points.