Second Tank

| Saturday, May 31, 2008
Disclaimer: My warrior is only 63, so we're not talking serious business here. We're not even talking heroics and Karazhan. But I have been tanking pretty often, so by now I think I have a decent feel for it.

It is not at all like tanking on a paladin.

Paladins throw aggro all over the place. In my experience it can be a bit tough to get it focused on one mob. But everywhere is equally and very mad at the paladin.
Warriors are much more focused. They do one mob at a time. Thunderclap will keep healing aggro, but DPS requires attention on each mob. The attention though, it is top-notch. Devastate puts out some solid aggro along with a great debuff, revenger is strong and super-cheap (2 rage). Then there's shield slam. Wow. I can't wait until I can get some block value gear.

Paladins feel almost like a strategy game: set up all the pieces in the right spot and then get rolling. It's a bit passive, but this has it's advantages, like making it easier to watch the surroundings and to eat while tanking. Keep up the cooldown rotation and it's all good.
Warriors are intense. Thunderclap and demo shout should be up. Sunders from devastate should be all over the place. Should I shield bash that caster? A shield slam would get rid of that buff. It really is a fight against the GCD because there's so much to do. Thankfully shield block is off the GCD and has a cooldown shorter than the duration, that gives breathing room, at least in terms of suddenly dying.

Paladins don't have to worry a ton about stupid groups. Our aggro is everywhere so focus-fire failure isn't too bad. Our taunt is ranged and hits three mobs. Avenger's shield gives burst aggro on three targets from far away. DPS really has to try to ruin a pull.
Warriors don't have that. If you are dumb, you are very likely to die.

Oh Crap:

Paladins lack abilities to respond. We generally have hammer of justice, divine shield, and lay on hands. HoJ is useful on trash, no doubt, but untalented (and what prot paladin can afford the three points?) it has a longer cooldown than concussive blow. DS is a great debuff remover or maybe to buy a second for a heal, but in general it's a dangerous choice due to the short time as an invalid target, even with the on off macro.
Warriors, where to start? There's concussive blow on a shorted cooldown than HoJ. Last stand has paid off, though I must admit most often while soloing. It is like another health pot and a bigger health pool, temporarily, but it buys time. The cooldown isn't up every fight, but at only ten minutes it will probably be around when it is needed. Shield wall has a really long cooldown, but it makes a big difference when I do use it.

I'm a little burnt-out on my paladin for now. The carrot on a stick of gear tires me. Maybe it's just my guild, but raiding seems to involve too much time and dying for too little reward. Gear isn't much of a solution since the gear would be for more raids. Unless I can somehow be motivated by the raids themselves, I doubt I'll be doing many soon. I still like the class, I just feel like I've run out of content that I enjoy.
My warrior is going through the same instances that I've done a hundred times before, but they feel much different. My shaman was DPS, my paladin was an AoE tank, now my warrior is a single-target tank. I don't feel like I need any gear I get, I don't care to chase it, but it's cool when it does drop. It's the same content, but it's a new experience. I'm still learning too, so that's keeps it all interesting.

We had to fight for our DPS

| Tuesday, May 27, 2008
I hear this now and then from Alliance paladins, often using it to attack belfs, deriding them as ezmode with SoB. I can understand the frustration. Cross-faction seals would be helpful, though unfortunately they don't look to be happening any time soon.

But there's something not to forget: Alliance paladins had to fight for their DPS, Horde paladins had to fight to get their class.

I really should start using tags.

Dual-wield, why?

| Monday, May 26, 2008
Once again DW has come up as the quick fix for ret paladins. It really wouldn't fix anything. Why do people think it would? DW by itself isn't all that amazing.

Rogues are intended to be the highest DPS class and they DW, but they have no support abilities. When you give almost nothing to your group and you are in close range of mobs, you'd better do some pretty amazing damage.
Warriors aren't exactly a great record either. Fury does more personal DPS, but in larger raids the benefits of Blood Frenzy in arms become significant enough that raids with high physical damage should run with an arms warrior.
Shamans? Well sure we got a huge damage and support boost in TBC, but is it really because of DW? We already had a 31 point talent. Between a new talent there and DW spec, we ended up with four extra points. In addition, Nature's Guidance ended up looking like a necessity, so that's 13 more points in resto.

What if we still used 2h weapons? I imagine the standard DPS build might end up something like this:
With mental quickness shocks become a more significant portion of our DPS. Reducing the cooldown and increasing the damage would be a big help. Searing totem would benefit well from the buff. Elemental devastation is mostly noobish speculation, but with more shock-spamming it could end up being beneficial. And who knows, if Blizzard wasn't figuring out DW, maybe they'd have made enhancement and elemental synergize more.

But let's get back to paladins and DW. Blizzard clearly wants to collapse gear. We want them to as well. It sucks to kill a boss and end up with crap because every spec and class needs different stats or at least stat ratios. Everyone wins when we can share gear. And no, this isn't a socialist pipe dream, it's us getting gear more easily and Blizzard having to do less work. Think of it as moving from hand-crafting to factories. Ignore all the Marxian jib-jab about separating the worker from his product...

So what's the benefit of moving paladins and warriors entirely to +hit plate? Nothing. It means redesigning ret, again, and for what benefit? That work could be put into making work better what we have already. Arms warriors certainly don't benefit, unless arms is going to be changed into a DW tree, creating even more work, or it will get completely screwed for gear. Fury doesn't benefit since it doesn't need loads of +hit anyway. Yes it has a very high hard hit cap, but diminishing returns set in very fast; once yellow damage is hit capped they benefit more from AP and crit.

Giving paladins DW would only create a ton more work for the devs, possibly screw up arms, not help fury at all, and isn't even guaranteed to bring any benefit. DW is not the cure-all. Talents are critical and DW is only one of many possibilities, a weak fix.

Warlocks: What's the Big Deal?

No really, why do people whine about them so much?

Fear has been steadily nerfed for what, two years? It lasts less time in PvP and has a higher and higher chance to break on damage. The distant changes to PvP trinkets meant that everyone could break fear. Priests all got some fear ward love. Deathwish was moved to fit better into the warrior PvP tree.

Fear didn't used to share DRs with seduce. On the subject of seduce, what happened to the old seduce-nuking? Resilience made the crit reliance much less reliable. Succubi are incredibly easy to kill and have been for a while.

Soul link got nerfed. Oh sure it used to be able to be purged, so I guess it did get that buff. But the damage transfer was nerfed.

DoTs are affected by resilience.

Sure it sucks to get feared to death, but how often does that even happen? I'm far more likely to get stunlocked. And look at the other side, when fear fails, what does the warlock have? They wear cloth. Sure they could have SL, but that got nerfed and the damage is only redirected, not actually reduced. Fine, an instant voidwalker can be trouble. Try again before 15 minutes have passed. They do have unusually high stam for being clothies, but that's partially because health is their mana. Imagine a mage without blink or frost nova. Also take away the ability to get the water elemental for another frost nova, or deep arcane for slow (does anyone ever get that?), or even fire for dragon's breath. Imagine having no way to avoid damage except for death coil. That's what happens when a warlock can't use fear, which is surprisingly often.

It's all a game of rock-paper-scissors and we tend to remember the losing end. But every time you die to a warlock, a warlock dies to arogue or warrior or hunter. It's not all flowers and bunnies, or ever felweed and helboars.

Needing Mana to Make Mana

| Monday, May 19, 2008
This is bad system, but it's exactly what paladins use.

Holy has no passive regen. Zero. Nothing. But so what, Illumination gives the equivalent of... let's see... Casting max rank Holy Light at 840 mana/cast, with Light's Grace it will be 5 casts per ten seconds, or 2.5 casts/5. With a 40% crit chance that would mean an average of one crit every 5 seconds. That gives an average of 504 mana/5. That's pretty nice, isn't it?

Unfortunately spamming max rank holy light is also a great way to drain mana. Even with Illumination it will drain 1596 mana/5. That will wipe out a healthy 16k mana pool (does anyone even have that much mana?) in less than a minute. To compensate for this rapid drain paladins can use lower ranks or switch to flash of light. This will cost less, but also give less regen and less healing per second. Still, mana isn't a huge problem for paladins in PvE since they do have mana/5 on gear and can use potions.

But in PvP this means that an OOM holy paladin is totally fucked. PvP gear has zero regen and the tree has no passive regen. It isn't the healing that removes mana, it's the viper sting and mana burn. Cleansing or LoSing those means losing healing output.

Ret isn't any better. The only regen in the tree is a from judging seals, and it only gives 80% back. Sure ret isn't a mana hog, but anyone can go OOM with no regen. Belfs are a little lucky with seal of blood, but at 1000 white DPS (1000 x 35% seal x 10% reflect x 10% SA) the healing still only gives 17.5 mana/5. Judging gives some more, but we're still looking at tiny regen.

Prot isn't in great shape either. In proper gear a boss should do just about enough damage to keep up a solid aggro rotation. But what if the boss isn't hitting you hard enough? You're fucked. I won't pretend that warriors have it easy either, but they can at least pro-actively generate rage through white attacks while paladins have to take damage, we have no other source of regen unless we're going to break out SoW. Our taunt costs mana, so losing a mob at low mana can mean being unable to taunt, or if you can, you're too low to generate another bit of aggro to keep the mob.

I don't want to get crazy here, but it would be nice to have some regen in out trees or on our gear, without sacrificing needed DPS stats. Shamans are full of great talents for this class: int-> mana/5, regen from white attacks, and unrelated to mana, AP->SP. I realize they're a little hippyish, but does that give them a monopoly on Green? Grass.

Such a Strange Tanking Tree

| Wednesday, May 14, 2008
No, I don't mean Feral. We all know that's the two-for-one tree.

Warrior protection is a surprisingly good tree for damage. I realize this is mostly due to how warriors hold aggro, but the tree has a lot of damage talents.
Vitality gives 10% more strength. Oh what am I saying, paladins have that too, in the holy tree for some reason. Madness if you ask me. But it's so shallow that it is easily grabbed by ret.
Focused Rage is great. 3 less rage isn't a lot, but consider that a warrior's 'mana' bar is only 100 deep and abilities max out at around 30 rage; that's a 10% reduced cost. More common are 10 rage abilities, a 30% cost savings is pretty great. It's very inclusive when it says offensive abilities. Demo shout, shield bash, shield slam, thunderclap, whirlwind; they're all in there. On an unrelated note this makes revenge absurdly cheap at 2 rage.
One-handed Specialization is the kind of talent that fury warriors would trade reproductive organs for. 10% more damage and unlike paladins they can DW, so using one-handed weapons isn't such a bad idea for DPS.
Defiance: who doesn't love expertise?
Devastate with imp Sudner Armor is very cheap: 9 rage. Spam that with a slow main hand and the damage is better than you'd expect.

Hybrids aren't impossible. The trick is to make specs work similarly enough that they can share stats. Paladins are awful at this, using almost entirely different stats for each spec. Even worse, with paladins there's nearly no benefit to off-spec roles. The lack of baseline DPS or tanking abilities is pretty awful.

Huh? How does a post about the warrior prot tree turn into yet another whine about the death of hybridism? When you start with a shaman back when tri-specs were popular and paladin PvP meant protection with a few points in the other trees, you tend to notice connections everywhere.

I Think I Understand the Casual

| Monday, May 12, 2008
I no longer feel so much pressure. I don't feel the need to raid, the need to PvP, the need to do BGs and dailies and rep grinds. It's quite a relief. It's not that I'm lazy, I just don't care enough. What's the payoff? Gear, well I suppose pixels are nice, but I like fun. If something isn't fun, or at least helping my friends have fun, I won't do it.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not going to be bad. I'm not going to switch to one of those retarded "I want to do everything and fail at it" builds. I see no point to intentionally gimping myself. I'll still theorycraft and argue about lore and whine about class balance. I'd be missing some of the fun of the game if I didn't.

A few weeks ago I started leveling a warrior. He's about halfway to 48 now and I'm having a blast. I like leveling. I go at my own pace, by the time I'm sick of an instance a new one is in my level range. There are quests all over. I've ended up skipping about half the zones because I keep leveling past them. But what's the worry? Now I have places for more alts.

I'm really looking forward to the 50+ old-world content. Blackrock Depths is going to be so fun. Then I can run around the Plaguelands doing the badass Argent Dawn quests. I don't know what I'll do at 70. Maybe try some tanking. I know I'm not going to be tanking like my paladin, but I am convinced that it's a myth spread by bad warriors that they can't hold aggro on multiple targets.

In Praise of Blackrock Mountain

| Saturday, May 3, 2008
Blackrock Mountain may be one of the best creations of Blizzard. It held 2.5 end-game instances, 2 raids, and the outside was natural world PvP.

Blackrock Depths:
This is possibly the largest 5-man in the game. It is has what instances should have: lore and the appearance of being what it claims. It really does feel and look like a dwarf city. While there is a lot of trash, it also has about two dozen bosses.

Lower and Upper Blackrock Spire:
This split instance is brilliant. It gives a sense of scale without making either side especially long. It creates a compromise between the maze of BRD and the linear hallways of BC instances. One feature that I really like is how falling from UBRS, if you survive, you will land in LBRS, with no loading screen because they are the same place. Falling from LBRS will bring you to a long path inside BRM. This really gives a feeling that they are more than just isolated instances, they're part of a larger world.

Molten Core:
I won't praise this place too much. It had too much trash and the fights aren't especially interesting. Still, it's understandable considering it was the first raid. The impressiveness of Ragnaros is undeniable. Fighting Domo was fun and you could really feel the excitement of hunters and priests as they got their quest items. MC tied in well with BRD. The stories were connected very well.

I honestly can't say much about BWL. I never made any progress pre-BC and post-BC all I've done is kill Razorgore and die to Vael. Still, the lore of the place is excellent.

Connection with the world:
From very early on, at least since Redridge, humans (and Alliance in general) are introduced to the Old Horde, the influence of the Black Dragonflight, and the trouble that they cause for humanity. The stories continue until eventually there is a dramatic showdown in Stormwind. Afterwards you are sent to slay Onyxia. For the Horde, BRM is important too. We are sent to kill the leader of the Old Horde and from Kargath we are sent on raids against the Blackrock Dwarves, eventually learning of their master.

More distantly, the Hydraxian quests are actually a tie in to the larger conflict between the elements. This is seen at least by the time of Stonetalon when a water elemental sends you to kill fire elementals.

Putting two raids and two and a half late instances in one place was a brilliant idea. It made PvP inevitable. There was no need to add sand or towers to bring people over. They were there anyway. Sure there was a lot of ganking, but when two raids ran into each other, the results were great. It sometimes makes me miss being on a PvP server. Hopefully Blizzard will learn from their mistakes in BC from spreading out all the raids.
Powered by Blogger.