Monday, December 22, 2008
Other bloggers like Flyv and Currant have recently spoke about what their experiences in general with tanking are right now in various environments. That's pretty topical for me, since I've had a couple good ones recently.
This weekend was the first time I was able to do a Naxx-10 run. Prior to this I had been able to get in on a couple fights here and there, but hadn't done most of the fights at all. I was with 7 other people who hadn't done a full run either, and a few had been 80 for about 1 day.
I got to lead it.
I fortunately had a couple of very experienced players with me (hi Mortos) who knew the fights from both the 40-man and the new versions, so there was not a lot of learning mechanics. That helped tremendously. The inexperienced players were the DPS and the other tank, which also helped; the healers were all very good, had good gear and had done many of the fights in 25-man. That makes up for a lot. And the inexperienced or undergeared folks all were very good players too. That is nice. :)
It also helped that druids right now are seriously broken. Really, truly, seriously broken. But I'll get to that in a minute.
Despite having folks that were still in quest greens we went for the Faerlina achievement and did it fairly easily. We almost got the Maexxna achievement - we were about 2 minutes shy - and if we hadn't done loot council we would have had it easily. We one-shotted Spider wing, Plague wing, and everything up to Thaddius. Military wing gave us issues because of inexperience, but at the end of the night we only had Sapph and KT up. And we did those the next night in about an hour, 2-shotting Sapph and 3-shotting KT. For a bunch of people who hadn't ever seen the fights, were low-geared and getting upgrades on every boss downed, it was a seriously good showing.
But again - a part of it that made it easy was that bears are broken. We had a priest for Faerlina, but we decided that with my gearing it would be easier and more fun to try the Faerlina achievement. If you're not familar with this, it is that Faerlina has adds that must be mind-controlled to dispell or delay her enrage. If you don't, she does massive damage to the tank. The massive damage in question was, on me at least, about 12k hits (up from 5k hits). And honestly, it wasn't an issue. I got to 40% once, popped survival instincts and trinkets, and watched my health steadily climb up as dodge-dodge-dodge filled the screen. Easiest achievement ever.
I was offtank on Patchwerk and took barely more damage than the main tank. Hatefuls either missed me completely or only did about 6k a hit. I had to watch threat and stop mauling because I'd overtake the main tank. And they were doing great threat; it was just that between hateful threat and mine, my threat was insane.
I was regularly 4th or 5th on DPS. This wasn't a sign of bad DPS; I was doing 2k-2.2k depending on the fight. Anything with adds was good, clearly, but without adds it was still pretty high.
On KT, we decided to go for the achievement of getting 18 aboms down. That involves pulling at least 3 extra packs of aboms (so 9 in total, coming in waves of 3 each). These were really hard on our DK tank; they did about 4k average hits and peaked to 7.5 hits, all in 1.5 second intervals and adding a 10% healing loss debuff per hit. On me? 2.5k average, peak 5k, didn't hit me as much. I could tank three without the healers having any real issues. In the same fight, KT's adds come out and are supposed to be tanked by an offtank. Instead, we just had me tank them along with KT. And again, no serious issues; the only reason I died was that I failed to see a shadow fissure at one point because of giant insect butt. The next time it was easily done despite the other tank dying early to an unlucky streak of frostbolt and frost blast.
I don't know whether or not well-geared tanks of other specs can do this sort of thing regularly. What I do know is that it's kind of silly to have 43k health with 38k armor and 50% dodge, and on many fights other tanks simply can't compete with that.
A second example of OPness. We were doing my favorite instance - heroic AN - hoping for that stupid Essence of Gossamer to drop, again. (try 14: still nope). On the last boss, my wife died on the third set of adds and improved death dropped just as Anubarak surfaced. I had me and 1 DPS alive. With no heals, I managed to survive 2 pounds, carrion swarm and normal hits from 25 to 0. I had to blow cooldowns aplenty, but I lived and we didn't wipe. Being able to tank a boss a quarter of their health with only one dps alive and no healer? That's ridiculous.
Like I said, I don't know what the experiences of other tanks are like in these situations. My anecdotal evidence suggest they are taking more damage and avoiding less often than druids are. I do realize that I have some really amazing pieces like Origin and Defender's Code, and that these will be reduced in effectiveness in the future. At the same time, losing 4k armor is not going to kill me, especially with added stamina and avoidance.
I expect that druids get nerfed here soon, at least for raids. I think they'll also get buffed a bit for heroics, getting some kind of static mitigation based on the base AP of their gear that will give them a second mitigation source independent of armor. But right now, they're clearly ridiculous.
The last bit is that we'll be working on Sarth + 2 adds tonight, and in anticipation I built my stam set (the other two pieces of polar gear). In my stam gear - which is missing a LOT of pieces (the aforementioned Essence of Gossamer being a good example) - I have 37k health unbuffed in any way. That's pretty insane. I gain 300 stamina from Blessing of Kings alone. Buffed, I should be up to 48k. How can any other tank even come close to this? It doesn't seem all that fair. Add to this that I still do the most DPS as a tank, put out very good threat...yeah.
We're OP. We're imba.
If, by the way, you're wondering how I can complain about the state of druid tanking (and agree with Currant) while saying how awesome we are - note that I'm not complaining about the mechanics of druid tanking. Druids have everything they need to tank right now. In fact, we've got more than we need. It still feels like bears are this 3rd-party addon class that borrows odd things from everyone (rogue leather, plate tanking jewelry, hunter weapons), but those combine into what is honestly the best tanking class for the content on hand. I do think that druids should be toned down, and the armor nerf that's upcoming is not going to be nearly enough. But I also think that more needs to be done to make druid gear desirable to druids and make tanking fun. Swipe spam is just boring as all hell, as Karthis pointed out. It works fine, but it's not fun. Gearing up is, for the most part, not that fun. The old system was also not fun - relying on rare drops to make you go from suck to awesome is bad. This is bad too. The old system was bad but somewhat fun, in that getting those drops was Really Awesome. The new system? Not so much.
So I would like to see a big bear revamp, similar to what they did to prot pallies. Make more stats on rogue leather and jewelry desirable to druids so they can ignore non-rogue gear aside from weapons. Let them dual wield weapons just for the stat sticks so they can use fist weapons more often (and thus use even more rogue items). Give them more sources of mitigation than armor so that they scale more linearly and can do well in both heroics (where block value is better than armor) and raids (where armor is better than BV). Give them more tools to tank with and fix the ones they have.
Give bears some god damn new graphics!
But don't improve us any more. Don't give us more armor. Don't give us more dodge. For gods sake, don't give these things via talents.
Anyway, don't worry about being nerfed. Bears aren't just fine right now, they're insane, and they're insane on the hardest content that exists. Enjoy being imba for a while. It's not going to last. :)