WoW: The Meatshield Inn

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Warning! This is a long, long post. If you’re not a tank, this really doesn’t pertain to you.

There’s a space for most of the different classes to discuss the nuances of their roles littered in the first couple pages on this forum. There’s a thread for the relevant and upcoming patch changes, and a thread discussing the current raid bosses.

The problem is that my main is currently a feral druid tank. Other than the color of my name in a raid group, I really have nothing in common with the trees and moonkin that populate the rest of my class. Conversely, while he may wear plate and have to worry about being crit immune, my job in a raid is very, very similar to that of my Protection Paladin, Warrior, and Death Knight counterpart.

So, similar to how Blizzard updated their official forums to reflect commonalities in roles, so too do I create this thread specifically for those shouldering the role of Meatshield. DPS and healers beware – we’re probably going to disparage you at least once in the coming discussion. Please take all comments in the cheerful spirit they are intended.

As the guy who just loves giving his metacarpals a workout, I’ll pick the first topic. Everyone’s favorite Developer, Ghostcrawler, recently said the following regarding tanking:

”GC” wrote:

[color=blue] Long-term, the paladin manner of generating AE damage and threat is probably too good, especially given how simple it is. To be honest, we have very mixed feelings on the whole AE tanking game. We brought the druid and warrior more in line with the paladin for fear of recreating the Shattered Halls / Mount Hyjal experience, where other tanks just weren't competitive. What that has led to of course is the AE tank + AE style of damage for almost every pull. You need the tools to be able to tank legitimate adds fights (imagine lots of incoming mobs), but does that mean every pull needs to devolve into that? We'd like to see less AE overall, so buffing everyone's AE tools isn't going to be tops on our agenda. That does however mean that we really can't afford to have a "best AE tank", and while things are more fair there than they were in BC, they aren't fair enough.[/color]

That’s point 4 of 4 – Entire post located here.

The easily excited blog community is already trembling with exhaustion, having spent nearly 48 hours reading secret conspiracies into GC’s text. But the issue remains; crowd control has become progressively less important as WoW has matured. With the advent of the useful prot paladin in mid TBC, and the subsequent buffing of druids ‘and warriors’ AOE capability, the amount of times a mage has to press “polymorph: turtle” or a warlock has to whip out the succubus to seduce something has dropped dramatically. And this has gotten worse in WotLK than it was in TBC – even while paladins consecrated their way through Hyjal, you still needed well implemented crowd control to push through the trash mobs in Magisters’ Terrace. (yes, dps shaman, we all recall your impotent rage at being left at the gate in favor of a chain trapping hunter or a banishing/seducing/fearing warlock.)

So the question, as I see it – if AOE tanking is too easy, are we heading for a reason to remap entangling roots to our toolbar? Can this even be done without upsetting the tenuous balance the four tanks currently share? Are you willing to re train your dps not to hammer the FoKing button over and over again?

My overwhelming and emphatic response: YES. Teaching our DPS kin to be selective in their choices brings back so much of the game that I enjoyed – the tight, technical pulls, the intelligent choices (when was the last time you saw a rogue blind the loose mob tearing after a healer to give the mage the time to sheep it?). I herald the end of massive AOE tanking.

I don't know what the hell you're talking about here with all these WoWzer acronyms, but the title of this thread is spectacular!

Prot Pally AoE, specifically in Naxx and ICC is really good, but that's mainly because of a single ability that is usable on undead: Holy Wrath, and the fact that paladins have an additional 4% overall damage increase, partially due to a minor glyph even. Having both a snap AoE aggro mechanic in Holy Wrath as well as a consistent one in Consecrate is what puts them ahead. Meanwhile, take those undead away and our threat is half, consistent with the other tanks, actually leaving us low on the totem pole with DKs since once we choose our AoE spot, that's where it stays. The benefits of Swipe and Thunderclap/Shockwave is the tank's ability to choose it's location with more mobility in mind. If for whatever reason the AoE area is compromised, we lose the benefit of our AoE for a while longer.

It appears to me that multi-mob tanking's magic number is 3. Tanks should be able to have 3 mobs stuck to them like glue. Warriors gain more benefits with cleave, pallies with HoR, etc., and this seems strong to me. I'd suspect that if they were to keep the current mechanics in place, there would typically be 3 melee mobs that can be held in place while others has some necessity to being CC'd. In this regard, I greatly enjoyed the way that SSC and TK were set up. Right from the start you were able to choose multiple mobs to have beat on your, while others due to distance and abilities needed to be dealt with in a secondary capacity - typically CC AND an OT.

Of course, the major problem is that players don't want to spend hours on trash mobs trying to get to a boss. They also responded negatively to multi-boss fights with no trash whatsoever. I think they need a happy medium. I think what they've done in ICC is very well done, just slightly on the weak trash side.

The first couple of weeks in ICC, you could use your shackles to keep some of the fights under control. In fact, CC still helps greatly in the Crimson Halls for the time being too. The question remains though of whether that new content will also become an AoE spectacle, or if CC will still have a place where it should - in end game content.

I imagine that if heroics required the CC they used to in TBC, they would become much, much harder, especially in pugs. Right now, any tank, any mix of dps and any healer will do. Did you ever try doing Heroic Mechanar before SSC/TK were released without a player that had an interrupt? I can tell you with great certainty that it was a total failure. You couldn't outgear the content, you couldn't brute force your way through. You either interrupted the Fist attack by those giant robots, or died swiftly and painfully. Eventually that changed too, but from players just outgearing it over time. Think of it more like Halls of Reflection where you get to that point where you can just AoE all the trash down without worrying about that mage, priest or merc. They'll just all die with the rest.

I think all encounters eventually get to the point of AoE madness, but I don't think they need to ever start there. Even in Heroic Shattered Halls, using a pally would allow you to AoE tank an extra 2 or 3 mobs, but out of a pull of 7, you still needed to do something with a couple of them (again talking before gear allowed you to just AoE them all).

I see no reason here that tanks can't have their cake and eat it too. I suspect that the fine mix would be to have a variety of encounters, but in low quantity to each boss along a path:

AoE fight: simplistic group of 5 - 15 mobs that are just in the way
Single/Duo target: hard or fast hitter that would likely destroy a non-tank that needs to be the primary focus for a few seconds atleast
Trifecta: Melee mob, caster and healer, likely with some ability that requires 1 or 2 to be CC'd.
Complex: A group of AoE, a big-ass mother, and a couple of healers/casters that need to all be handled

Personally, I think the trash leading to Marrowgar is awesome, and would be even better if those giant skeles would patrol the area regardless of a trap being set off. Put a big mother like that in with the two nerubians, the caster skele and 3 - 4 of the melee skeles, and you got yourself a perfect trash encounter. You could easily have 1 - 2 of those pulls, and a couple of simpler fights in the way, and that would be good for any raid.

With the addition of the LFG tool, I can't see Blizzard moving back to a focus on CC required / intelligent trash pulls in 5 man heroics. When you give the masses easy access to content, you have to tune for the lowest common intelligence - which in WoW is slightly above gerbil. I've lost track of the number of times at the end of a Nexus run where I have to yell at dps to MOVE as they stand there like stunned cows looking at the loot while the DoT keeps ticking.

The only heroic where I think CC is actually critical is HoR and that thing is just a nightmare with PuGs.

You can see from the 3.3.2 notes that Blizzard is continuing to tweak heroics for the mass morons so I have little hope that 5 man heroics in 4.0 will be different.

There's much more opportunity in raids for interesting trash pulls. Perhaps we'll see some more interesting trash in 4.0, but I think they'll have to rework some of the CC mechanics to avoid getting into situations where a 10 man raid loses too much class flexibility or where you end up with a 25 man fight like Razuvious that hinges entirely on having 2 priests capable of doing more then play whack-a-mole with health bars.

I can't think of any trash in ICC-10 yet that absolutely requires CC, but at least most pulls are more complicated then simple tank & spank.

If Blizzard continues with the accessibility trend then I suspect any sort of CC/challenge for trash will be relegated to heroic raids or the CC mechanics will get a major overhaul to give more classes more tools and make them super easy to employ.

I think that an interesting solution to the "Right now dungeons are just throw the tank at it and everyone spam AoE" problem is to let tanks have some sort of PvE crowd control. That way, you can create trash pulls where CC is needed, but you don't create situations where Ret Paladins, Enhancement Shamans, DPS Wariors, DKs, and Feral Druids are seen as a liability.

How you would balance that without making Tanks tiny gods of pve is beyond me. I do agree though that the prevalence and strength of Tanks being able to just hold AoE threat has made the game much less interesting on several levels. But on the flipside, I definitely think it's the lesser of two evils when compared to how punishing TBC heroics originally were and how CC-less DPS were pretty much third class citizens.

Mikemac: I'm not sure you're predicting the trend of future heroics correctly, although you have plenty of evidence to support you. I think that Blizzard considers all of their instances prior to ToC-5 to be "done:" that is, they're really not worth much anymore other than a tiny, tiny inconvenience to logging in and getting your 2 important badges (and turbo gearing alts). Halls of Reflection (and Magister's Terrace before it) on the other hand, still require a decent amount of alertness to get through, assuming you've got a group in all ilvl 219 gear. I suspect you'll see a similar life cycle in 4.0 -- heroics that begin more difficult and, when Blizzard deems their lifecycle "complete," severely limits the time it takes to do them.

Zablocki wrote:

It appears to me that multi-mob tanking's magic number is 3. Tanks should be able to have 3 mobs stuck to them like glue. Warriors gain more benefits with cleave, pallies with HoR, etc., and this seems strong to me. I'd suspect that if they were to keep the current mechanics in place, there would typically be 3 melee mobs that can be held in place while others has some necessity to being CC'd. In this regard, I greatly enjoyed the way that SSC and TK were set up. Right from the start you were able to choose multiple mobs to have beat on your, while others due to distance and abilities needed to be dealt with in a secondary capacity - typically CC AND an OT.

[color=red]...SNIP![/color]

I see no reason here that tanks can't have their cake and eat it too. I suspect that the fine mix would be to have a variety of encounters, but in low quantity to each boss along a path:

AoE fight: simplistic group of 5 - 15 mobs that are just in the way
Single/Duo target: hard or fast hitter that would likely destroy a non-tank that needs to be the primary focus for a few seconds atleast
Trifecta: Melee mob, caster and healer, likely with some ability that requires 1 or 2 to be CC'd.
Complex: A group of AoE, a big-ass mother, and a couple of healers/casters that need to all be handled

Balancing these encounters within the tanks has been difficult so far. I remember doing Magister's Terrace as a bear with a 3-mob-limit swipe. The mana-wyrms prior to the second boss were a nightmare for me. . .and every mage and warlock who came along. I think that the onus to create CC-required pulls relies less on nerfing the tanks and more on creating better trash pulls -- so, in other words, I agree with your point. Rohan over at BoK has a very interesting article on the topic of crowd control vs AOE. I won't quote him but it's a good read.

Jumping off topic a bit -- I think it's interesting that, in terms of AOE tanking, it seems like every single tank has a pretty well developed sense of tank envy for every other class.

Bloo Driver wrote:

when compared to how punishing TBC heroics originally were and how CC-less DPS were pretty much third class citizens.

Blizzard tends to "overfix" problems. Now, there is not a single class without some form of crowd control. Hex, Ret Paladin, Indoor Entangling Roots, and New Sap fixed that.

DPS warriors, I suppose, are still pooch screwed. but the point remains -- why bother giving everyone a CC when you're simultaneously buffing the crap out of AOE tankability?

I have said this time and again - Anyone who feels that Hex and Repentance are real CC has never had to use them as real CC. They're fine emergency use sorts of things, but they are only chainable if they don't get removed early to resists or damage, and if you are going through trash packs at a rate of more than one per minute (which was happening even back in TBC before it became an AoE fest), then it's extremely annoying to have to sit and wait on them. The best you can do with them is blow them at the start of a fight, hope nothing happens, and hope the fight lasts more than a minute (but the Repentance target dies before that minute is up or the countdown starts all over).

Seth wrote:
Bloo Driver wrote:

when compared to how punishing TBC heroics originally were and how CC-less DPS were pretty much third class citizens.

Blizzard tends to "overfix" problems. Now, there is not a single class without some form of crowd control. Hex, Ret Paladin, Indoor Entangling Roots, and New Sap fixed that.

DPS warriors, I suppose, are still pooch screwed. but the point remains -- why bother giving everyone a CC when you're simultaneously buffing the crap out of AOE tankability?

Repentenance is not a CC spell. It's really, really handy, and incredibly useful as an "Oh, frak!" button, but not a CC.

I'll be honest, I think every DPS should have a decent interrupt and a decent CC. And, a decent threat dump. Now, it won't help idiot DPS actually _use_ them, but it will help out those that do. It's about the only way I can see more complicated pulls in randoms working. Otherwise, the only randoms that actually have a chance of working are guild runs, and I don't think that's the point. (I'd stop tanking randoms, that's for sure.)

Repentenance is not a CC spell. It's really, really handy, and incredibly useful as an "Oh, frak!" button, but not a CC.

Uhm, repentance is definitely a CC spell.

Seth wrote:

I'm not sure you're predicting the trend of future heroics correctly, although you have plenty of evidence to support you. I think that Blizzard considers all of their instances prior to ToC-5 to be "done:" that is, they're really not worth much anymore other than a tiny, tiny inconvenience to logging in and getting your 2 important badges (and turbo gearing alts). Halls of Reflection (and Magister's Terrace before it) on the other hand, still require a decent amount of alertness to get through, assuming you've got a group in all ilvl 219 gear. I suspect you'll see a similar life cycle in 4.0 -- heroics that begin more difficult and, when Blizzard deems their lifecycle "complete," severely limits the time it takes to do them.

I think Blizzard is still doing two separate things with the older instances. First, streamlining the boss fights since the gear levels are high enough that you were ending up spending very little time actually dpsing the boss and most of your time dealing with and/or waiting out the mechanics. Second, they are dumbing them down to the point where you have to be quite careless to actually wipe. They went all out to retard-proof Oculus and now we're seeing some of the dense trash in Old Kingdom being thinned out. You might argue that the trash thinning is to speed up a clear (it is relatively long), but I suspect it's more to do with the number of accidental 2 and 3 group pulls that are wiping groups.

I hope you are right about 4.0 5 man heroics, but my argument is that people will be very used to LFD by 4.0 and if a random group of fresh 85s are wiping constantly because the heroics offer the slightest increase in challenge over Nexus/VH/etc. there will be mass whining and either Blizzard will realize this before release and make them fairly simple from the start or nerf the crap out of them quickly.

By 4.0, Blizzard will have trained a substantial portion of their user base to expect quick simple heroics and have to deal with the consequences. For those of us who enjoy a challenge, I suspect we're going to be SOL in 5 mans.

Crowd Control does seem to be at odds with the desire for AOE tanking -- and I'd like to keep this more centered on tank specific aspects so as to not lose focus. And Mike (can I call you Mike?) now that you mentioned it I'm also more than a little worried that the LFD tool might endanger the concept of "challenging 5 mans."

From a tank's perspective, it's simultaneously more convenient and less rewarding to AOE blast an instance. I know that my memory is gilded by the smarmy mistress of history, but I recall tightly executed Shadow Labs and Mechanaar runs with fondness -- judging which cc to break, and when, was a mini game I enjoyed. Does that sap have enough time left on it to burn down the feared mob who is wandering closer to another group? The banish has 3 seconds left and the healer is standing right next to it; do I charge and taunt or bet on the warlock? Does the priest even remember that Mind Control was once an extremely powerful CC?

I miss all those split decisions. I'm not sure if "The WoW body at large" really does.

I am with Seth on this, I do not believe the majority of WoW people miss that. Although I do. My only hopes (which I am surprised no one as brought up) is the gear changes they have annouced for Cata. No Def/Spellpower and such. I am hoping that possibly this could mean not as BIG of gear upgrades. If gear did not jump up for fast and was less of a upgrading spree. I think instances would stay more challanging for way longer.

on a side note

I know it is all vanity for my sake. However, I am on board with Seth's thinking of being a tank used to require way more skill and was so much more fun. I personally liked when people instantly knew that I was the most amazing tank they had ever grouped with. It was a re-assuring sentiment when you were done with a run and 4 people put you on the buddy list and would send you tells when you logged on.

As it stands now, tanking is so dumbed and thinned like everything else...it is hard for anyone to notice real talent unless soemthing goes wrong and you save the day. Like i said, I know its vanity...but im so vain!!!!!!

By 4.0, Blizzard will have trained a substantial portion of their user base to expect quick simple heroics and have to deal with the consequences. For those of us who enjoy a challenge, I suspect we're going to be SOL in 5 mans.

5-man heroics have always been a weird position, though. In terms of character progression for TBC and Wrath, they're essentially what tier 0 was for vanilla. They're instances that you ran to gear up for the initial raid content. So, for a brand new max level character, they're supposed to be pretty challenging. But you're supposed to out gear them very quickly, and in WoW, that means that they become trivial.

The moment Bliz gave out rewards per each heroic boss killed was the moment that people stopped wanting challenging heroics.

Remember Badges of Justice? As soon as those were available, heroic groups would hit Mechanaar and Ramparts over any others. Most people staying away from Shadow Labs, Arcatraz, Shattered Halls and Auchidoun Crypts simply because they weren't worth it, unless there was another purpose. A seldom few of us made it our goal to hit every heroic, and get people attuned for Karazhan. Other than that though, it was far easier (path of least resistance) to hit the easier heroics.

Here's no difference. People avoided Occulus like the plague because they couldn't figure out the mechanics of the vehicle fight before Bliz decided to make it for ages 3+. The only ones that went in were those looking to get their Red Proto-Drake achievements done, and those were in fact quite challenging at a time.

I suspect that heroics are going to become the new regular modes where each boss in Cata will give you your emblem or badge or signet, etc. The new heroics however will become more like "Hell Mode" to the rest of us who remember what a challenging heroic used to be. Effectively giving out the normal content with the rating of "E for Everyone" and Heroics for those that want the challenge and the reward to follow.

How does this pertain to tanking? I hope, really hope, that when they redo the itemization, they make the stats tanks should have IMPORTANT TO GET. The one thing that drives me up the wall is the stam-stackers. Those that forego the +12 stam bonus because they put an +30 stam gem in the red socket, because they feel that strength, or dodge, or other stats don't matter. If you do the math, a red/blue bonus that gives +12 stam can either give you 60 stam (stam stacker of 2 x +30stam) or 57 stam and 10 strength. So, for 3 stamina, a whole 30 hit points, the tank decided to lose out on 10 strength, which is 20 AP, and 5 BV, and whatever conversions come with it.

I want to see the return of hit/exp caps that if not reached, there is far more danger of death (Hi Prince in Kara!). I want to see dodge/parry/block being things that tanks want to grab over stamina because avoiding or reducing the hit is far better than being able to have an extra 100 hp after the hit (because 100 hp makes a difference on shots of 20,000...really!).

Put those in and I could care less if it's an AoE-fest or single targets all the way down. Atleast it means there's a visible seperation of those who know what they are doing, and those that try to reduce a class to a single stat.

Cheeto1016 wrote:

I am with Seth on this, I do not believe the majority of WoW people miss that. Although I do. My only hopes (which I am surprised no one as brought up) is the gear changes they have annouced for Cata. No Def/Spellpower and such. I am hoping that possibly this could mean not as BIG of gear upgrades. If gear did not jump up for fast and was less of a upgrading spree. I think instances would stay more challanging for way longer.

I think a lot of us get into the habit of thinking that WoW is an us [awesome people] and them [morons] mentality. While that may in effect be true -- I'm suspicious that the amount of people writing and reading about WoW on an online forum is a relatively small percentage of the entire population of WoW players, I'm not sure if it's a useful measurement.

I think the point on gear changes is an important one -- and moreover, the developers are on record lamenting the gear ilvl inflation in WotLK (caused by balancing 10 man, 10H, 25M, and 25H together). They were not intending to run ICC with Icecrown Radiance, but they were apparently also expecting people to have ilvl 232 gear TOPS for ICC. Or something.

But yes, Cataclysm will be an entirely different ball game. And whether crowd control, AOE tanking, and the 4 tank balance survives is the question of the day, I think.

Zablocki19 wrote:

I suspect that heroics are going to become the new regular modes where each boss in Cata will give you your emblem or badge or signet, etc. The new heroics however will become more like "Hell Mode" to the rest of us who remember what a challenging heroic used to be. Effectively giving out the normal content with the rating of "E for Everyone" and Heroics for those that want the challenge and the reward to follow.

If this happens, I will dance up and down with happiness.

How does this pertain to tanking? I hope, really hope, that when they redo the itemization, they make the stats tanks should have IMPORTANT TO GET. The one thing that drives me up the wall is the stam-stackers. Those that forego the +12 stam bonus because they put an +30 stam gem in the red socket, because they feel that strength, or dodge, or other stats don't matter. If you do the math, a red/blue bonus that gives +12 stam can either give you 60 stam (stam stacker of 2 x +30stam) or 57 stam and 10 strength. So, for 3 stamina, a whole 30 hit points, the tank decided to lose out on 10 strength, which is 20 AP, and 5 BV, and whatever conversions come with it.

I want to see the return of hit/exp caps that if not reached, there is far more danger of death (Hi Prince in Kara!). I want to see dodge/parry/block being things that tanks want to grab over stamina because avoiding or reducing the hit is far better than being able to have an extra 100 hp after the hit (because 100 hp makes a difference on shots of 20,000...really!).

This is an interesting desire. You're not really making a tank's job any more difficult in game -- you're requiring a tank to do his homework outside of the game. So instead of spending time working on dps rotations, the tank is memorizing Theck's newest EH calculator and designing different tank sets. I don't think this is where Blizzard is going -- and I'm not sure this is beneficial to the game as a whole. if anything, you're making a dumb tank the healer's problem.

The stam vs mitigation vs avoidance discussion is a lot more contentious than AOE tanking, though.

I want to see the return of hit/exp caps that if not reached, there is far more danger of death (Hi Prince in Kara!). I want to see dodge/parry/block being things that tanks want to grab over stamina because avoiding or reducing the hit is far better than being able to have an extra 100 hp after the hit (because 100 hp makes a difference on shots of 20,000...really!).

This makes life hell for healers, especially in a small group environment. Making pure avoidance(dodge/parry/miss) stronger than mitigation(block/armor/HP) means that Blizzard has to do some pretty insane things to kill the tank, and basically turns any attempt into a game of Russian roulette as to whether the boss or the tank dies. At a certain point, it basically requires the healers to just spam heal, and hope that the timing works out perfectly to keep the tank up.

Great example: Prince Malchezaar. We had a 7/8 T6 geared tank who cleared 3/6 of Sunwell, and he STILL got instagibbed by Prince in P2.

Seth wrote:

This is an interesting desire. You're not really making a tank's job any more difficult in game -- you're requiring a tank to do his homework outside of the game. So instead of spending time working on dps rotations, the tank is memorizing Theck's newest EH calculator and designing different tank sets. I don't think this is where Blizzard is going -- and I'm not sure this is beneficial to the game as a whole. if anything, you're making a dumb tank the healer's problem.

The stam vs mitigation vs avoidance discussion is a lot more contentious than AOE tanking, though. :)

Not exactly that at all. Right now, a tank should be focusing on 3 primary things:

1. Surviving the shots from the boss they intend to tank.
2. Keeping threat up ahead of dps, and (godwilling) healers.
3. Reducing damage from any source upon themselves, and ultimately on others.

Most tanks are stuck on #1 which drives me batty. Either they end up putting more stress on the healers anyways because they believe that Stam > All, and having 60k health will let them grab whatever they want, and the healer is a bad if they can't keep up. Or instead, they ignore other sources of damage for the same reason in "I have a huge health pool, so tanking in fire shouldn't be a problem. If it is a problem, it's YOUR problem - I'm doing my job".

Next time you run Pit of Saron, check out to see if that Prot Pally or DK is reducing that magic damage on the big rock by switching auras or using AMF/AMZ. See if that warrior is charging one mob and heroic striking another, or doing something to move that second caster into range. Or see how decent the threat is from that Bear, not just how he has 1 billion health (healing aggro FTL).

I would like to see tanks have to pay attention to these things more often. If threat is an issue, get more strength, if avoidance is an issue, more dodge/parry. It's incredibly simple mechanics that a majority of good healers and dps will tolerate because otherwise they have to wait 15 minutes for a new tank. Currently, any and all problems can be solved by having more stamina. This is equivalent to a healer solving their mana regen issue by getting more spellpower, or a rogue getting more AP to reduce their misses/deflects.

Good players know that their class goes beyond a single stat, and rightly so. Even after the changes Bliz is making for Cata, there will still be several stats that have importance, just less than there is now. I just hope that the difficulty of whatever heroic modes are made will require those players to know where their weaknesses lay, and know how to correct them.

Zablocki19 wrote:

Remember Badges of Justice? As soon as those were available, heroic groups would hit Mechanaar and Ramparts over any others. Most people staying away from Shadow Labs, Arcatraz, Shattered Halls and Auchidoun Crypts simply because they weren't worth it, unless there was another purpose. A seldom few of us made it our goal to hit every heroic, and get people attuned for Karazhan. Other than that though, it was far easier (path of least resistance) to hit the easier heroics.

To be fair, this isn't the whole picture. People didn't want to run heroics in the first place because they were vastly overtuned for both the gear you got and the gear you were expected to have going in to them. (Original) Heroic Morass to this day remains my #1 go to example of how to design something if you want to lose players. Blizzard erred both on the challenge and reward parts of the Heroic equation, and decided not to fix the reward part (for drops actually in the instance). The fact that people beelined to running whatever gave the best badges/hour speaks less about the problem with that system and more about Blizzard not designing a dungeon that is interesting and fun to run on its own.

Put those in and I could care less if it's an AoE-fest or single targets all the way down. Atleast it means there's a visible seperation of those who know what they are doing, and those that try to reduce a class to a single stat.

Unless something major changes in their design philosophy, this will never happen. Prince was just a poorly designed fight to begin with, so I'm really never going to get behind the idea that as a tank I should be looking forward to fights where we bring back the idea that someone can flurry you into the ground. Unless you have a pure gear check sitting on your shoulders. It is in fact the exact opposite of what you want - anyone can be told "Stack X Expertise and you're fine".

Secondly, WoW is a stat game. There will always be a "best stat". Every class in the game has a best stat, and asking Blizzard to set up stats in such a way that you can Rubix your way through a bunch of stats that are essentially equal is a realistic impossibility. Now, we can say "well you want to have a game where it's important to reach X amount of Y and Z amount of AA before stacking stat BB as much as possible." That's actually how the game operates right now, really. There is no real separation of skill with that system because anyone can be told "go to EJ/Tankspot/Lookitmyhuegshoulders.com and find the number."

The problem, I think, is that tanking is probably the easiest thing in the game to do properly right now. Unless you have very good DPS, optimal threat rotations are nice but largely needless. AoE tanking is a joke for every class that isn't a Warrior. If AoE tanking was actually exceptionally hard, I bet we'd see people do it less and good tanks could shine by showing how they can manage groups of several enemies. Right now, if a warrior charges a group of 6 guys and holds them, I think he is "competent". In TBC I had a warrior AoE tank a group I was in all the way through Shattered Halls (after the first round of nerfs, of course) without any CC and no wipes. I thought that guy had to be amazing.

cube wrote:

Great example: Prince Malchezaar. We had a 7/8 T6 geared tank who cleared 3/6 of Sunwell, and he STILL got instagibbed by Prince in P2.

That's actually what I'd like to see more of, if it happened to be the case where it was a player who did not understand the utility of expertise. The difference though is between what is a working viable mechanic and a player not knowing.

Now, of course we have to take into account the idea of crushing blows, and why bliz removed them for this reason, similar to Illidan's Shear ability which really killed on Warrior and Bear tanks. However, having an ability like Prince's double-hit from a parry gib was easily avoidable. We had a mostly T5 geared warrior have absolutely no problems on that fight because he knew the mechanics, including how the fight took advantage of his class weakness and geared accordingly to correct it.

Now, let's assume that they gave block mechanics to the other tanks similar to a paladin, which when actually using hit and expertise would not have a problem on Prince..ever. A T6 geared tank of any kind, still making use of hit and expertise should cake walk that fight. However, a T6 geared tank who doesn't know why he's being killed in <2 seconds should still have difficulty (stam stacker).

Again I'll emphasize that the Prince fight was more of a class inbalance issue, but that scenerio is what I'd like to see happen to a tank that doesn't know the importance of stats other than stamina. Your experience was very likely the fault of the class vs encounter design.

you're talking about more of an attitude adjustment among bad tanks (and raid leaders who ask for unbuffed hp totals) than anything Blizzard can fix, though. And the sad fact of the matter is that currently WotLK is designed exactly so that problems 1 and 3 are typically solved most efficiently by stamina (armor has no effect on bleeds or magic attacks, avoidance is unpredictable).

I do happen to agree with Cube; avoidance is killing the fun of the game. We actually talked about this recently in reference to how annoying healing has become in the game since it's just a hysterical spamfest. Tank avoidance is so strong currently that to balance it, bosses have to be able to 2 shot a tank, meaning that healers are required to spam heal constantly instead of being able to focus on mana management.

Drastically lower avoidance -- to, maybe, 25% at max level content -- and you have a much more stable tank/healer/boss relationship. Suddenly hots are more useful. A holy paladin can afford to move out of the fire instead of just spam healing himself with beacon on the tank. Etc.

Fundamentally I agree that good tanks should be good; but i don't think asking them to have a deep knowledge of stat balancing is an appropriate counter to this; and judging from the removal of +defense, the re working of block, and fre crit immunity, I think Blizzard agrees.

Again I'll emphasize that the Prince fight was more of a class inbalance issue, but that scenerio is what I'd like to see happen to a tank that doesn't know the importance of stats other than stamina. Your experience was very likely the fault of the class vs encounter design.

Night Elf Warrior, one of the best tanks I have ever played with. IIRC, he was around 90% total mitigation at the time. Had expertise at the soft cap, and at the time, you couldn't hit the expertise cap without a trinket proc. The gib happened after his shield block charges were eaten by a thrash, SB was still on cooldown, he got parried, and Prince thrashed. 100% health to dead in about 1/3rd of a second. Literally nothing could be done in that case.

Now, of course we have to take into account the idea of crushing blows, and why bliz removed them for this reason, similar to Illidan's Shear ability which really killed on Warrior and Bear tanks.

Shear made Illidan untankable by bears. For Warriors, it was simply a question of whether or not you could hit your shield block button whenever Illidan's feet disappeared from your screen.

This could go over in the 3.3 thread, but it pertains specifically to tanks -- looks like, in an attempt to make Tier gear more attractive, Blizzard is shuffling some stats around:

OLD: Ymirjar Lord's Breastplate
2526 Armor
+144 Strength
+191 Stamina
Red Socket
Blue Socket
Socket Bonus: +9 Stamina
Equip: Increases defense rating by 76.
Equip: Increases your dodge rating by 68.
Equip: Increases your parry rating by 68.

NEW: Ymirjar Lord's Breastplate
3590 Armor
+144 Strength
+191 Stamina
Red Socket
Blue Socket
Socket Bonus: +9 Stamina
Equip: Increases your dodge rating by 60.
Equip: Increases your parry rating by 76.

I bolded the changes. Looks like Blizzard is removing a hefty portion of defense from its items (although I assume that, given the whole picture, it will be a more balanced approach of removing a bit of defense, parry, and dodge) in the name of more armor. For those of us who consider avoidance to be suspect, it looks like Blizzard agrees.

Armor often feels like the red-headed stepchild of tanking stats. To be perfectly honest, I've always seen the tank's main role as a damage mitigation funnel - "You have to hit me, and IT WILL BE A GIRLY, INSINCERE HIT THAT REEKS OF FRAGILE WRISTS AND DISAPPOINTED FATHERS". I've said before that the inflated damage PvE bosses do really is one of the roots of PvE and PvP number imbalances now, and if Tanks were actually huge mitigation machines that didn't neccessarily have double or triple the hit point pools of his buddies, that would solve alot of issues.

Incidentally it occurred to me that if there were more mechanics in the game similar to (not identical to!) Holy Shield, AoE tanking would have naturally diminishing returns. Think about everything being on a "X defenses per Y length period", and you can see how a tank might have a better time holding two or three people but at four or better it becomes a game where the tank is taking exponentially more damage.

Unfortunately for Warriors and Pallies, Defense Rating is the best mtigation stat point-for-point against parry and dodge. I would have much rather seen them remove the dodge amount, since the DR on that at 30% is pretty horribad. Atleast with defense, even as you get up to 600 or higher (score, not rating), it's still offering a large amount of mitigation even after it's (much, much) smaller DR. While armor has gone largely unnoticed, I'm still puzzled at what they expect tanks to have going into heroic modes. Originally they would be able to make up that 20% deficit, and have increased armor, health and threat. Instead now, they will have a highly inflated armor amount, and very likely not be able to make up the IceCrown Radiance debuff (except for pallies, but don't get me started on how stupid that is).

I guess "give the masses what they cry for" applies once again...

I suspect next time they change gear, it'll likely be:

NEW: Templar's Grand Leggings
4000 Armor
+15 Strength
+542 Stamina
Red Socket
Yellow Socket
Blue Socket
Socket Bonus: +20 Stamina (not that the majority will actually pay attention)
Equip: Increases your dodge rating by 10.
Equip: Increases your parry rating by 5.

Pff... why waste so much on STR?

MikeMac wrote:

Pff... why waste so much on STR?

Well played - I'm sure the Dev team will get on that right away!

Originally they would be able to make up that 20% deficit, and have increased armor, health and threat. Instead now, they will have a highly inflated armor amount, and very likely not be able to make up the IceCrown Radiance debuff (except for pallies, but don't get me started on how stupid that is).

They're not supposed to "make up" the debuff. The entire point of the 20% dodge debuff is to make tanks take more consistent damage by reducing the number of hits that they completely mitigate. Removing Defense and adding armor makes sense, considering that armor is the only stat that reduces every incoming hit, while defense removes damage in spikes through dodge and parry.

Krindle it would help me a lot with your posts if you made sure you used the words "mitigation" and "avoidance" properly; Defense -- and the attributes it affects (dodge, parry, miss) is strictly an avoidance stat. armor and block are mitigation stats, and stamina is technically neither.

I think you're also misunderstanding the point of Chill of the Throne. It exists because, as Cube has pointed out, nobody likes a high avoidance tank, and Blizzard has acknowledged making the mistake of inflating avoidance on gear since early Ulduar. Removing avoidance stats like Defense, dodge, and parry in favor of mitigation stats like armor strengthens this position -- that is, Blizzard doesn't want an 80% avoidance tank, because the tuning they have to do on bosses for that scenario is pretty absurd.

The logical outcome to this is that Heroic Marrowgar will probably end up hitting *softer* than Heroic Jaraxxus did -- which is fine because tanks will have an enormous increase in mitigation and stamina to offset their loss in avoidance. It's also fine because even on heroics you won't have Marrowgar two shotting tanks (they will probably be 3-4 shot in appropriate gear).

This is very much not a "give the masses what they cry for" and much more a "make gear better suited for the environment" situation.

[edit] Cube tannhausered me because I am verbose.

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