Thursday, February 5, 2009

[Druid, Warrior] Upcoming changes in 3.1

Some of you have seen the news on the changes to priests, shamans and warlocks. That's cool and all.

But they're not tanks.

They released the info on druids and warriors today over in Euroland. Let's take a look:

As many of you know the next major content patch will include some very exciting things, such as Ulduar, a new epic raid dungeon, a wealth of new items, and much more. We thought players would especially enjoy reading just a few of the class changes we're currently planning. Please keep in mind, that this list is not at all comprehensive, and more importantly subject to change.

  • Savage Defense – this is a new passive ability. When a druid in Dire Bear form deals a melee critical strike, the druid gains a damage shield equal to 25% of their attack power. The next hit completely removes the shield regardless of how much damage was done.

  • Survival of the Fittest has had its bonus armor reduced to compensate for the above increase in damage mitigation.

  • Faerie Fire (and similar debuffs) now reduces armor by 5%. See Sunder Armor in the warrior update below for additional details.

  • Thorns and Nature’s Grasp can be cast in Tree of Life form.

  • Survival Instincts now works in Moonkin form.

  • Replenish – to avoid confusion, this talent has been renamed “Revitalize.” It now also works with Wild Growth.

  • We are also looking at increasing the sustained (not burst) damage of feral druids in cat form.

There's no math here; there's no way to tell what kind of mitigation numbers we'll be looking at for savage defense. If it's based on buffed attack power, however, it's going to be close to 1.5k static absorbing, and doing that once every 3 attacks on average. That's pretty nice. What I'm really curious about is how it's going to work with swipe and multiple mobs. With multiple mobs you can assume you're going to have one up per swipe, but will you get multiples if you get multiple crits? Will it stack? That's what's going to make it or break it as a defensive tool against adds. Still, this is a great conceptual ability: a defensive ability that scales with two different offensive stats that are common everywhere.

Wonder what the drop in armor is going to be, though.

Feral cats are getting buffed, which is kind of amusing to me since I've not topped the meters in a long while...yet I am doing so now in that anti-tank set. I suspect that melee across the board is going to be getting buffs; it's not quite reasonable that ranged gets to do predominantly so much more damage.

Onto warriors!

As many of you know the next major content patch will include some very exciting things, such as Ulduar, a new epic raid dungeon, a wealth of new items, and much more. We thought players would especially enjoy reading just a few of the class changes we're currently planning. Please keep in mind, that this list is not at all comprehensive, and more importantly subject to change.

  • Changing stances now has a much reduced cost: you lose a maximum of 20 rage (10 with Tactical Mastery). For example, if you have 100 rage and change stances, you will have 80 rage remaining. If you have 10 rage and change stances, all of your rage is lost. In addition, we may change the penalties associated with some stances.

  • You now gain rage when damage done to you is absorbed, such as through a Power Word: Shield.

  • Blood Frenzy now causes 2/4% physical damage done.

  • Sunder Armor (and similar debuffs) now reduces armor by 4% per application, and is now a single rank. Creature armor has been globally reduced so that debuffed targets should take about the same damage from physical attacks that they did before this change. The net effect should be that this debuff is slightly less mandatory in PvE and is not disproportionately more powerful against cloth targets in PvP.

  • We are also adding increased damage to Arms, possibly through Overpower or Slam.

  • We are also looking at granting rage when the warrior blocks, dodges or parries.

The rage generation and ease of rage makes a lot of sense; reading in the tanking forums and talking with warriors that appears to be their #1 concern, and they don't like being so dependent on BoSanc to operate reasonably. I would hope that they'll be getting more of a buff for their threat too. I also hope that the shield allowing rage generation via absorbing is also given to bears; it's damned annoying otherwise.


Felkan said...

Not just swipe, as the same can be said for Savage Defense vs. Glyph'd Mauls.

felkan said...

This means my bear scale (and pawn scale) just got a bit more complicated.


Next they'll have my int affect my dodge ("Brilliant Avoidance")

Icarus said...

I do like this change as it adds back more weight to agility which is nice.. now you get dodge crit and ap all scaling from agility.

I too was wondring immeaditely about swipe... im sure every bear knows how much swipe crits. Im always at a full rage bar when Im swiping from all the crits. I hope this doesnt mean that we will see nerfs to the crit chance of swipe or something to that effect.

from the wording I dont imagine this will stack on itself with multiple procs.. but if you are tanking mutiple mobs you can assume uptime a lot more often at the very least which would help with bears multimob mitigation.

Anonymous said...

Seems pretty cool - scaling defensive abilities off our attack power - isnt that something we discussed on your site before now, when people said that bear gearing was boring, and there were no real upgrades to look forward to, stat-wise, compared to warriors?

Interestingly enough, some warriors are starting to feel outclassed by druids. I dont blame em, but hey, I'm also an arrogant brat :P Anyway, hopefully these changes - especially to rage generation - will help.

Anonymous said...

Warriors have a chance to block every attack right?

Here's my thinking.

Since, this looks like the druid version of shield block, my best guess is that it will proc on every crit, but it will not stack the buff if you crit more than once with a bear swipe or glyphed maul.

It'll probably be up every GCD while aoe tanking, but because it won't stack, it'll only a mitigate a set amount and not scale that well with the number of mobs hitting us.

Kalon said...

Felkan - that's very true. The average shield should come up every 1 second or so. Not too shabby.

Icarius - I don't think they're going to nerf bear rage mechanics. I hope not.

Anon1 - yeah, it is very similar to a number of ideas floated about on how to give bears another scaling mechanism. It's a combination of using AP to give a static mitigation and creating some kind of shield.

Anon2 - that sounds exactly right to me as well. I'll talk about it more in another post.

Kostamojen said...

Without seeing the actual numbers, it's hard to say. But, the changes seem like a wash at first glance to me. The mechanics seem to work pretty similar to a warrior/paladin block. I'm a little concerned about the "shield" concept though. If it works similar to a PW:S and the absorption does not grant rage, that could be a big problem. I always seem to have more rage problems in 5-mans when being healed by a Discipline Priest. We really should be able to gain rage off the damage absorbed by the PW:S.

Gejimayu said...

At first glance I'm not very happy with this change as it is replacing some of our guaranteed mitigation with RNG mitigation. Hopefully the armor nerfs aren't too harsh.

As the other posters I'm very curious on how this ability will work on multiple mobs. If they don't allow the shield charges to stack warriors/pallies will still dominate on add tanking since they have a chance to block against each mob and a bear will at most be able to shield once every GCD.

One cool thing though is that the shield will function as a "block" for magical damage too.

If they do give swipe the ability to proc on each mob I can see opportunities to exploit. With bosses like Kel'thuzad and Noth an off-tank can bring the adds near enough so that a bear main tank can get in some extra swipe action and keep the shield up constantly.

Mekias said...

Armor on all bears right now is pretty high. They probably looked ahead and saw that we'd eventually be hitting the armor cap again.

I'm worried about the armor nerf but it might be the best thing in the long-term. We also have control over crit & AP but not much control over our armor any more.

For multi-mob tanking, the shield will be up more but might not be used fully (although even trash hit for more than 1500). I seriously doubt it would stack in any way. That would be way OP.

An improvement in cat dps is not what I expected but they'll probably give it to us in some kind of cat-only talent that most bears won't be able to get.

Karthis said...

My biggest worry about the mechanics of the change is that this will increase the "spikyness" of our damage profiles. Up until now bears have always had very smooth incoming damage profiles, which was one of our relative strengths.

Kalon said...

Kosta, that's my feeling as well. We'll be likely worse on harder hitting mobs and better on lighter ones. End result will be about the same, but with a lot more balance.

Gejimayu, I think that even if charges do stack warriors and paladins will be better add tankers. Similarly, I think even with an armor nerf bears are going to be better big-hit takers. I think that's fine; what the problem is is that bears are just so much better at taking huge hits than other classes that it's not funny, and warriors/paladins are so much better than bears at dealing with adds that it's not funny. A balance is good here.

Mekias, I'm also very curious about the cat buff. My guildies are already getting upset with how much damage a tank is doing. Maybe if it was baked into a cat-only ability that bears don't want, but even that I don't see as a barrier; I have most of the 'cat only' abilities in my tanking spec and it doesn't slow me down a bit.

Karthis, I agree - it will absolutely make our incoming damage spikier. At the same time, bears have never had less spiky damage than they do now thanks to protector of the pack. Having it be a bit more spiky won't be horrible.

Vakfaroosh said...

Kalon, often reader of Karthis and Flyv, just started over here.

As a prot warrior I have huge issues with these changes and the extreme lack of changes to warriors.

Making druids stack more crit, and also more AP (because crit gear always has AP) is going to further seperate the cap in DPS between druids and the rest of the tanking classes.

Already since TBC I have dropped the need for prot plate (palis and warriors) in both the number of raids and the number in the guild. I myself LOVE to tank, but saw little to no need for prot warriors, there is not one buff that we do or one thing we excel at anymore, our dps is pitaful, our threat gen is falling further and further behind (our best threat spec is an arms mix (50/8/13). And we can't shift into zerker stance to suddenly due huge damage.

Blizzard talks about making all tanking classes interchangable and yet continues to go against what they say. If you have a paladin with Blessing of Sanc (even a holy pali) there is now no need to bring a prot pali or a prot warrior, as druids and DKs can not be not only your tank but amazing dps without missing a beat. On top of that, they bring the same or better buffs.

So far, I am glad I am fury because I now do not have a raid spot as prot.

Kalon said...

Vakfaroosh, thanks for coming by.

My raid leader (warrior) has similar views, and I can sympathize (and have mentioned as much in this blog, much to the consternation of other druids). Fact is, it's not fair that a bear and cat use almost the exact same gear and the same spec. It's not fair that a bear in threat gear has nearly the same tanking stats that warrior in tanking gear does.

Furthermore, it really causes problems when you have a druid who is only interested in tanking. If there's a single-tank fight and you have the option of having your druid or warrior doing DPS, it's abundantly clear what you should normally choose; the warrior isn't really an option compared to the druid in that case.

But I don't really know what to do about it.

The best solution I've seen is to buff prot damage so that it's competitive, at all levels. This really should happen at some point; warriors should not have to spec into pure damage builds to compete with other tanks, and warriors should have the option to be decent OTs or dps when needed. Give them threat on par with paladins, give them better rage generation (at least that's happening), and give them more damage production when not being hit.

To fix the other issue, they really need to violently separate cats and bears. This I don't like, because it's damn fun to be able to be a good tank and good DPS simultaneously, but I don't see any other option. Before, gear for bears was suboptimal in gems and enchants and stats compared to cat gear, so it couldn't be swapped. Now that it's all the same, there's got to be another division - and the only place they can is in the spec. The spec simply isn't constrained enough for cat and bear. You can still choose the best cat and bear talents and do fine with both (this is what I'm doing now). They need to have a 'I choose cat' talent like they do with bears that is exclusive to cats and gives no benefit to bears.

I kind of hope they don't - as I said, it's fun DPSing and tanking in the same spec - but I suspect they will. I hope they just buff all prot specs to do great damage instead.

Wintersdark said...

I'm cautiously optiomistic in regards to the bear changes. I love a mitigation system not copied from another class (always a Druid problem). I'm utterly unconcerned about spikiness - we're still fairly unspiky, and the difference should really not be terribly noticably to healers.

What I am very excited about with this is a very much improved magic damage mitigation ( it stands to reason that the shield will affect magic damage).

Throughout wrath, I've found a full mitigation set to be nearly never necessary ( on any tanks) and am quite happy I can continue to explore more interesting tanking gear without "which is better" being blatantly obvious.

William Lexner said...

Since when are prot warriors lacking in rage in Wrath?

The Revenge glyph paired with the Heroic Strike glyph gives us so much extra rage if used correctly.

As for us not doing enough damage to compare with other tanks... this is a fact. And there is now nothing we do better than other classes due to the watering down of tank classes.

But prot warriors were left behind in the DPS department. And I'm fine with that.

Just make us the best tanks again. :D

Vakfaroosh said...


Here is the problem, Revenge Glyph and Heroic strike... what happens when you aren't tanking, no revenge glyph and now no rage.

Also, post some WWS of your heroic strike up time, if it is not 75% or better then we are behind druids and maul. Look at a ferals stats for how much trhe maul vs regular melee. It is simple better.


Karthis and I were tanking in guild today about the fact that the protection tree is single for both paladins and warriors, where as DKs are druids their melee dps and their tanking trees are the same. This is why they have to combine more talents and why warriors and pallys will always lag behind. Don't get me wrong, there is not an encounter that can not be tanked by warriors/pallys/dks/druids in the game, but when you have a warrior or prot pally in the raid. To me it feels like not using them as the primary tank then you have wasted a raid spot.

Some of the other things we discusses is shouts as very nice/amazing buffs, while I agree, prot are not spec'd into imp buffs as they just can't go that deep into a dps tree, and they last 2 minutes. So we have to waste a GCD in combat to refresh.

Eh, I am not trying to be down, just seeing if my logic is correct. I love the tanking crew I have now we are basically running 1 prot warrior 2 druids and 1 prot pally. This covers everything that is needed and gives us huge versatility.

Thanks for listening!