April 24, 2010

Warriors: The changing face of AoE

I can't even believe I'm typing this, but frankly, enough is enough. Yet another long thread about warrior AoE tanking in Cataclysm and frankly, I'm sick to death of the debate. Let's break this down into its simplest component parts.

AoE tanking is going to be cut back in Cataclysm, as will AoE DPS.
There will be more use of CC and more danger that trying to tank a lot of adds can kill the tank.
With 1 and 2 being the case, warriors most likely have enough tools for multi-mob tanking situations.

Ghostcrawler - Re: Twitter chat on Warrior AoE tankingOur goals are that you won't be spending as much of your tanking time AE tanking in Cataclysm as you did in Lich King. A second goal is that when you are AE tanking, you should use different abilities than when you are single-target tanking. A third goal is that when you are AE tanking, you should use more than one (or maybe two) abilities. None of those seem contradictory. ...

Maybe I'm misremembering something, but the goal going into LK was that warriors should be able to AE tank rather than every group using paladins for trash, and that casters should be able to use their AE spells, otherwise what are they there for? We succeeded in both of those, but a little too well on the latter to the extent that anything with more than 1 mob became a job for Blizzard / Hurricane / Mind Sear, etc.

In Cataclysm, there will be more threat to the tank of dying if you try to just AE tank every pull. Likewise, AE damage won't be quite as awesome so that single targeting things will probably be a better strategy when there are say 3-5 adds. If it's a dozen twilight whelps, then sure, AE away.


Asking for another AoE tanking tool when the stated goal is that there will be less AoE tanking and that AoE tanking will be inherently more dangerous is like asking for a meat suit to go diving with sharks. Not only is it not necessary and possibly even dangerous to encourage it, but just as you're already made of more than enough meat to attract sharks without actually wearing more, you've already got enough AoE for the new instances. If anything, expect other tanks to be brought more in line with the warrior AoE tanking model.

To my mind, the issues with the new tanking paradigm in Cataclysm, from a warrior perspective, aren't any need for more AoE at all. Rather, we need the following.

Tanking warriors need a smooth and reliable way to control their own threat generation rather than having it band-aid controlled for them by abilities like Tricks of the Trade or Misdirection.
Tanks need to have sufficient short-term cooldowns to be able to endure increased risk of death from trash tanking when it is necessary to do so. (I would argue that warriors are almost there in this regard and would only need the glyphs of Last Stand and Shield Wall to be baked into the abilities to be fine in this regard. Other tanking classes might need work here.)
DPS warriors will need a viable form of CC in this new world.
The first of these three might well be given to warriors via the Vengeance mechanic worked into all tanks' mastery abilities. We also know warriors will be given new ways to ensure rage generation when it is needed, which is often a great component of the difficulty in locking down early threat. The second, we more or less have addressed, but it would be nice to see it without a two-glyph requirement.

But it's DPS warriors I'm the most concerned about as we shift back to CC as a requirement for a successful instance run. While it's fair to say that Wrath swung the pendulum too far to the point where AoE tanking was the expected norm and CC abilities were used sparingly at best, no one who remembers trying to get a DPS slot on a class without a reliable form of CC in Burning Crusade can entirely welcome its return with open arms.

It's possible that new abilities like Disarming Nature will serve as warrior CC. It's hard to imagine a 10-second duration cower effect being as valuable as a sap or sheep, of course. And with the LFD tool doubtlessly changing the way we group, it's possible we'll simply just have to grin and bear it when we get queued in a group with no viable form of CC and struggle our way through an instance.

The issue with giving DPS warriors a form of CC is of course that it will be used in PvP. People who played in MC remember Mace Specialization and Stormherald, which was colloquially called "Stunherald." Nobody wanted to face an arms warrior with mace spec and that thing in his or her hands, not even other arms warriors. (I once saw two arms warriors stun each other for a solid 25 seconds or so.) There are ways around this ... Make the CC something that would impede NPCs but not PCs, like a root or snare or pacify effect or cower, something that could easily be countered by a player but which would keep an NPC from using its abilities ... and it may not even be necessary. But if you want to keep some DPS specs from being wildly more popular than others in a game environment where CC comes even close to the level of prominence it had in BC dungeons and heroics, then you have to consider some form of CC.

Frankly, demanding more AoE threat for warrior tanks is wanting new abilities to tank old content. We're not going to see dungeons and raids designed around those kinds of pulls anymore. What warriors need are tools that give them viability when tanking and DPSing the new content that awaits us.

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