July 10, 2009

The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Patch 3.2 gets weird

Another week, another series of patch notes to leave me scratching my head and saying "Seriously?

This is what we're doing, nerfing the crap out of agility for tanking? Did dodge rating steal

somebody's lunch money as a kid? And Shield Block, I trusted you." It's strange to feel betrayed

by a core tanking ability. I get why they're nerfing it, since they're increasing the amount of

Block value on gear that has to double it's current values, I've already heard Prot warriors and

paladins contemplating putting together BV sets for PvP and this change will keep warriors from

using SB to get hideous crits in PvP with Shield Slam. At least I think that's the reasoning: I

can't believe that anyone was actually worried about Prot Warriors' DPS while tanking in PvE

content being too high after the change for 10 seconds out of every 40. Even if Protection

Warriors put on every single piece of Block value gear imaginable, that 10 seconds of double

damage with Shield Slam would still leave them at the absolute bottom of the tanking basement in

terms of damage dealt while tanking.

The agility change is a near non-issue for almost all Warrior tanks: maybe you had Agility as your

cape enchant or a few AGI gems, but for the most part Warriors don't stack Agility as tanks.

However, since Dodge is at the moment probably the best stat a warrior can stack, the Dodge rating

changes will sting quite a bit. (I am aware they're more like a hammer to the back of the head for

Druids, but even so.)

Let us look at the specific changes (both Warrior and general) that stood out to me from the most

recent patch notes. First we'll look at the changes from the general items section.

Agility: The amount of agility required per percentage of Dodge has been increased by 15%. This

change required recalibrating the amount of Dodge a player has with 0 Agility by a slight amount

as well, so all players will see their Dodge percentage vary a small amount. Block Value: The

amount of bonus Block value on all items has been doubled. This does not affect the base Block

value on shields or Block value derived from Strength. On-Use Block Value Items: All items and set

bonuses that trigger temporary increases to Block value have been modified. Instead of increasing

their Block value amount by 100% like other items, they have all had their effect durations

doubled. This applies to Glyph of Deflection, Gnomeregan Autoblocker, Coren's Lucky Coin,

Lavanthor's Talisman, Libram of Obstruction, Tome of the Lightbringer, Libram of the Sacred

Shield, the tier-8 paladin Shield of Righteousness bonus, the tier-5 paladin Holy Shield bonus,

and the tier-5 warrior Shield Block bonus. Dodge Rating: The amount of Dodge rating required per

percentage of Dodge has been increased by 15%. This is before diminishing returns. Combined with

other changes, this makes Dodge rating and Parry rating equally potent before diminishing returns

apply. Parry Rating: The amount of Parry rating required per percentage of Parry has been reduced

by 8%. This is before diminishing returns. Combined with other changes, this makes Dodge rating

and Parry rating equally potent before diminishing returns apply. Parry still diminishes more

quickly than Dodge. The Block value changes we were already familiar with, of course. I do get

that they want Parry and Dodge to be roughly equivalent in terms of their effectiveness to tanks

and they have to take gear inflation into account, but man, I was not expecting it. Perhaps this

just shows how out of touch with tanking I actually am. I do find it interesting that Block rating

alone escaped being reduced but with them buffing Block value it would be kind of surreal to nerf

the least desirable tanking stat. Perhaps it's Block rating's unique status as half a tanking

variable (neither Dodge nor Parry have a rating to determine whether or not they happen and then a

value to determine how effective they are as Block does) that spared it the chopping block, or

perhaps the changes are meant to bring both Dodge and Parry in line with Block's effectiveness or

lack thereof.

Since both Dodges and Parries effectively negate a melee attack (you take no damage on a

successful Parry or Dodge) while Blocks only reduce an incoming attack's damage by the Block value

of the tank in question (this can reduce an attack to zero, making high Block rating/Block value

sets shockingly good against trash pulls and shockingly bad against mobs that hit for more than,

say, 4 to 5k damage with an attack) maybe reducing both Dodge and Parry in this way is the only

way to equalize them with Block. I guess nerfing every other tanking stat is one way to make Block

more comparatively attractive.

Now let's look at the specific changes to warriors.


Bloodrage: This ability now generates 20 rage initially, and 10 rage over the next 10 seconds. The

health cost is unchanged. Execute: This ability now never costs more than a total of 30 rage. The

tooltip for Sudden Death has been revised to remove reference to that maximum, since the ability

now behaves that way even when untalented. Shield Block: Shield Slam no longer benefits from the

increased block value granted by this ability. However, while Shield Block is active, Shield Slam

generates 100% additional threat Talents
Fury Armored to the Teeth: This talent now provides 1/2/3 attack power per 108 armor, up from per

180 armor. Bloodsurge: Notification that Slam has become instant now appears in floating combat

text. Protection
Devastate: Weapon damage increased to 60% and bonus per Sunder Armor on the target increased by

20%. Shield Specialization: Now provides 5 rage on a block, dodge or parry instead of 2 rage on a

block. Well, the Bloodrage change is good and long overdue. With full talents, we're looking at 40

Rage from the ability, good for both DPS and tanking. The Execute change angers me, although it's

a non issue for Arms (for the most part) one of the things I liked about execute was being able to

wait a couple of seconds to build rage while a boss ticked down to 20%, then hit Recklessness and

the crit for an obscene amount three times in a row. Is it really going to change the way I, or

most DPS warriors, play? Not really. It's better DPS to spread your executes out into your normal

rotation than it is to just spam the ability and if you're an Arms warrior this is exactly how

Sudden Death works anyway, so the only time you'd even notice a change is when the boss enters

what is currently called 'Execute range' and in the future will be called "Great, I have to weave

another instant attack into my rotation" range. (I kid, it's not like you could spam Execute


The Shield Block change irritates me. Just leave the damage on it! It's not going to make Prot

Warriors the kings of DPS among the tanks! Adding a static threat modifier to compensate for the

damage loss just irks me. Yes, you read right, it irks me! It's necessary to compensate warrior

tanks for the threat they'll be losing, but there's no good reason outside of some theoretical

case of stacking every possible block value item and going to Wintergrasp with it where the damage

from SB/Shield Slam was going to be that great anyway. So what if a prot warrior occasionally

shield slams for 10k (I'm deliberately overstating this) in a battleground, when the rest of the

time he's plinking along for 2 to 3k? I just find the idea of lowering prot warrior DPS while

tanking, or at all really to be absurd. Is it just against the rules of the game for warriors to

hurt things now?

The Devastate and Shield Spec changes are both good. More damage, more rage, good for tanking.

Anything that allows a prot warrior tank to put out more damage while tanking I can get behind.

I hopped on test and did a heroic Nexus run last night to test the Bloodsurge change and it was

spotty: despite having combat text turned on, I didn't get many Bloodsurge notifications at all.

It didn't actually hurt my DPS that much, but I'd like to see this change go live working properly

since at present I have to use power auras to inform me of a bloodsurge proc. Armored to the Teeth

we already knew about, and it's a solid 200 or so AP for me, but I'm in all plate at this point


All in all, the changes go from confusing to maddening to somewhat positive to somewhat negative,

it's a roller coaster but not one of those really fancy ones at the good theme parks, more of an

older one built really close to a flume where you get splashed a lot. Honestly, I still feel hurt

by what Shield Block has done, and that's ridiculous, I know Shield Block isn't a sapient being

that can actually betray me and yet how could you do this to me, Shield Block? Next week, I get

some tissues and eat some brownie ice cream while holding a picture of the Shield Block icon

during a montage of all the times I pushed the Shield Block button set to the music of Zamfir,

master of the pan flute. (Yes, okay, the Shield Block change is not that big a deal, just go with


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