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#0 - 2010/10/28 06:00:25 PM
Update: 10.29 3:19 PM PDT

The latest announced changes can be found here: http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=27397548532&postId=275061557773&sid=1#582

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Update: 10.28 6:03 PM PDT

Additional upcoming tanking changes can be found here: http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=27397548532&sid=1&pageNo=10#188

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As the release of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm draws near, we continue to fine-tune various class abilities. Based on feedback and our own testing, we're in the process of assessing and amending tanking cooldowns -- at level 85 in particular. Some of these abilities, like druid Savage Defense and death knight self healing, are particularly difficult to model, so further testing will be necessary before there is sufficient information to base adjustments on.

In the case of paladins and warriors, we have recognized that it is possible for block chance to get too high too quickly and cause a situation where stacked mastery and the warrior Shield Block ability behave strangely. Since that's a scenario we want to avoid, we're making some changes regarding how block chance is handled for each of these classes:

Paladins - Holy Shield will be changed to increase block value by 10% (40% total) instead of increasing block chance by 15%. Since this will cause Mastery to become more valuable, the amount of block granted by Mastery will be reduced to 2.25% block chance per point of Mastery, down from 3%.

Warriors - At level 85, the value of Shield Block decreases as block value generated by Mastery increases. To remedy this, we will convert overflow of block + avoidance that exceeds 100% into critical block chance instead. Along with that change, Shield Block will be reduced to +25% block chance (down from +100%), but this will still yield a net buff for most warriors. Also in response to this change, the amount of block and critical block provided by Mastery will be equalized. Finally, Mastery will now grant 1.5% block chance per point.

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#100 - 2010/10/28 10:15:34 PM
Here are some additional details based on the questions and feedback we're seeing:

  • The new warrior Mastery is 1.5% block and 1.5% critical block per point of mastery.

  • Shield Block will spill over into critical block if any portion of the 25% would have been wasted because your block + dodge + parry is so high already. If you are somehow always over 100% (which will be pretty hard now), you only get the critical block when Shield Block is up. The intent is to make sure Shield Block isn't wasted, not to make sure you have mastery coming out your ears (or any other orifice in the facial region).

  • Shield Block is not intended to be a magic damage cooldown (neither is Blood Shield, which also is physical damage only). We don’t want to duplicate the exact same ability on every tank when we can avoid it. Bosses generally don’t spam out a lot of magic damage on short cooldowns. On the other hand, Shield Block has a much higher up-time than Barkskin. We still believe the Cataclysm raiding environment is going to be a lot less centered around tanks dying to spike damage than players currently experience at level 80. Mitigating a lot of damage to save healer mana can be very valuable in Cataclysm.

  • Savage Defense is massively overpowered on beta and has been dealt with accordingly. Many of the reports of beta raid bosses two-shotting tanks were because that was how much damage the bosses needed to do in order to challenge Feral tanks. With less damage absorbed, the boss damage can be adjusted downwards. We've reduced the multiplier for attack power on the absorption effect (from 65% to 35%, still modified by mastery) and it no longer procs from periodic critical hits.

  • Paladin tanks are not intended to go cap block as fast as they can. It’s fine if you want to do that, but we don’t treat it as “the new defense cap” and we don’t balance paladins assuming they have a 100% block chance. That is something the community identified as being not only possible, but likely, and one of the reasons we changed the way block works for paladins.

  • These changes are all slated for patch 4.0.3a when the shattering of Azeroth takes place, and are not currently implemented on live realms. Some of them may be active in the beta test – the Savage Defense change for example was applied via a hotfix to the beta realms recently.

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#134 - 2010/10/28 11:53:27 PM
Q u o t e:
Why not deal with the real problem... Vengeance?


Vengeance isn't a problem with Savage Defense in our minds. In fact, it works out well because it lets Savage Defense roughly scale the same way blocking scales, rather than being overpowered for 5-player dungeons or underpowered in raids. When you're getting hit the hardest (hard enough to stack Vengeance a lot), you're also blocking a lot.

Savage Defense was just mitigating too much damage in raids though, which is why we have nerfed it.

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#139 - 2010/10/29 12:15:35 AM
Q u o t e:
Can you explain a bit more about your design philosophy for Cataclysm with regards to those 'scary' tanking moments? I find it hard to believe that we won't see the same dragons breathing fire, golems fusion punching, Lich Kings soul reapering, etc. that we've come to know and love in WotLK.

That's my biggest concern - that you guys will start off with a design philosophy that doesn't *plan* on including a lot of burst magical damage, but Deathwing heroic design time will roll around and you will look up from contemplating the contents of your mug (gin and coffee) and announce "you know what this dragon needs? A massive lava breath attack."


When those scary moments come, you use Shield Wall. Or Last Stand. Or both. They are often telegraphed far in advance, so you can also get Guardian Spirit and all the other healer cooldowns lined up as well. You don't need Shield Block to withstand those big magical hits, in the same way you didn't need it to survive Fusion Punch. That's not what it's for. It is for reducing damage taken over time so that healers expend less mana over the course of the fight and don't run out. Very few bosses hit for only magical damage, so in that sense Shield Block and block and armor for that matter are what allow your healers to make it through an encounter.

We could consider adding a Shield Block glyph in the future that removes the block but adds magic damage reduction instead, but overall I think you guys are way over-freaking out about this.

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#145 - 2010/10/29 12:24:46 AM
Q u o t e:
GC, when we based all our maths on EH you guys told us you didnt look at it this way and for cata it wouldnt matter as much. What would matter would be the damage intake to save the healer mana. Do your dev team realise when warriors and paladins take more damage in fights then dk and druid they cost ''more mana''. Now im waiting for the new druid maths in raid. But think about it for a minute. If over a long fight the druid takes 5% less damage. Thats alot of healing that does not need to be done and alot of mana saved. Could mean a kill insted of a wipe?


We think the amount of damage a tank takes over the course of a fight will matter a lot. It's okay if druids have more health but take marginally more damage. It's not cool if druids have larger health pools and take less damage.

Q u o t e:
Druids vs Warriors

20k more health, 8% more mitigation against magic and a cooldown that actually reduces magical damage, plus better self healing.

DKs vs Warriors

4-5k more health, 3.5% more mitigation against magic and AMS every 30 seconds plus better self healing.

Deathwing is going to use physical breaths?


If Deathwing is anything like our current dragons, he'll do 60% physical damage and 40% magical damage. Dragon breaths never take you down to 100% of your health, so if the tank dies during them, it's probably because she wasn't topped off before hand (from all the physical damage before hand).

We got rid of the magical tank niche early in LK development because it wasn't a strong enough niche and it wasn't fun for groups to have to swap MTs. All four tanks are tanking Lich King and all four tanks will be tanking Deathwing.

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#152 - 2010/10/29 12:29:50 AM
Q u o t e:
So we are back to warriors requiring outside cooldowns to prop ourselves up because we can't do it by ourselves.


That is true of all tanks though, except in circumstances such as DKs vs. Sarth +3, which we acknowledged as being broken in the DK's favor. Keeping the tank alive is a group effort, not something you can handle on your own. Sorry. :(

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#188 - 2010/10/29 02:03:19 AM
Here are a few additional changes we are making which will be applied in patch 4.0.3a:

  • Guardian of Ancient Kings -- Damage reduction changed from 60% to 50%. Cooldown still 2 minutes (talented). Duration still 12 seconds.

  • Icebound Fortitude -- Damage reduction changed from 30% to 20% (or 60% to 50% talented). Cooldown still 2 minutes. Duration still 12 seconds.

  • Shield Wall -- Damage reduction changed from 40% to 50%. Cooldown still 2 minutes (talented). Duration still 12 seconds.

  • Glyph of Shield Wall -- Now buffs damage reduction by 10% (to 60%), but only adds 1 minute of cooldown.

  • Survival Instincts -- Damage reduction changed from 60% to 50%. Cooldown reduced from 5 minutes to 2 minutes. Duration still 12 seconds.

  • Bear Form -- Stamina bonus lowered from 20% to 10% and Heart of the Wild health bonus from 10% to 6%. Bear health should be close to plate tank health with this change.

  • Vigilance -- No longer reduces damage by 3%, but will still reset Taunt cooldown and provide Vengeance for the warrior.

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#198 - 2010/10/29 02:24:32 AM
Q u o t e:


It's sort of confusing that you guys will homogenize all of that stuff but take a stand on not having Shield Block work against magical damage...because tanks are already too similar.

EDIT: This makes it sound like I don't like those changes. I like them fine, though I think the biggest/most important one is the Survival Instincts cooldown reduction. It just confuses me that you are putting the effort in to make these exactly the same, but letting cooldowns that will be used far more frequently be vastly different.

The big cooldowns are more important because those are the ones you often do need to survive a big hit. The smaller cooldowns are more about minimizing mana drain on your healers. They might sometimes save your life as well, but more variance there isn’t game breaking. Also, I look nice in a dress (Ghostcrawler threatened me physically not to remove this last line).

One more change, which I'll add to my previous post:

  • Vigilance -- No longer reduces damage by 3%, but will still reset Taunt cooldown and provide Vengeance for the warrior.

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#278 - 2010/10/29 05:35:43 AM
Q u o t e:
I'd like to point out that this hasn't been true for the entire expansion of Wrath of the Lich King.

The faster a cooldown has been available has determined its importance.

See: Heroic Beasts, Anub'arak, TLK, Sarth +3, Vezax, nearly every single tank death fight this whole expansion.

I believe you guys are just flat wrong.


I agree it worked that way in Lich King. Tanks were often at risk of dying within 2-3 boss hits, often faster than a heal could land. In that environment anything that can prolong your life at all is very valuable, and by extension anything not related to reliably prolonging your life (parry for instance) is not attractive.

This is also something we have set out to change. I understand that you personally don't believe we will change it, and since your vision of what the world will be like is at odds with our vision, it is unsurprising that the changes we make to bring about our vision might not make sense to you.

But if healer mana doesn't matter, our whole combat design collapses. Healers won't value cheap heals. Since mana won't constrain them, overhealing will be common, so they may start devaluing crit as well. DPS specs won't value talents that help them stay alive. And the only way to challenge raids will once again be to clobber tanks so hard that any missed heals will result in tank death. It doesn't have to be this way, and in fact it wasn't this way for much of the game. We were watching the new Nefarian fights and recalling the old Nefarian fights where, in the absence of a berserk timer, the fight could really last for a long time -- maybe 20 minutes or more -- if you had a lot of deaths. The tank wasn't in much danger of RNG dying, so as long as the healers didn't run out of mana, the raid could keep the fight going nearly indefinitely.

As we said above, in the beta raid tests, druids were easy to keep alive and the other tanks were dying in two hits. That wasn't the design we were going for, so we brought the druid down to the other tank levels and adjusted the damage accordingly.

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#416 - 2010/10/29 05:40:06 PM
Q u o t e:
This is way too complex for something that needs to be simple. I can't even make out the warrior one properly without reading it 10 times. Bad.


-- Warriors get 15% block chance for choosing Protection.
-- Their mastery stat on gear increases their chance to block and their chance to critical block.
-- Shield Block provides +25% block chance temporarily. If any of that chance is wasted (that is it would put you over 100%) the excess counts as critical block instead.
-- The Vigilance talent no longer provides 3% damage reduction. It is otherwise unchanged.
-- Finally, Shield Wall provides 50% damage reduction on a 2 min cooldown (talented). If you use the glyph, you can have 60% damage reduction on a 3 min cooldown instead.

That clearer? It only sounds complicated because we're trying to explain the difference between the 3.3.5 patch, the 3.9 patch, the current beta patch, and the beta patch after these changes. Those are all different states of the game, so it's often hard to keep track of what change is where. After the big dragon arrives, everything will be in sync.

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#419 - 2010/10/29 05:44:10 PM
Q u o t e:
I still would like to know if its the developers' intention to leave paladins with only 5% baseline block chance from level 10 thru 79 as protection -- whereas warriors, during that time span, have 20% baseline block (and up to 45% with shield block as soon as they get to lvl 28).


Very few players raid below max level. All of the tanks will be fully capable of handling 5-player dungeons below max level. It's important that things don't feel too broken below max level, but balance is not exposed to anywhere near the same harsh spotlight it is at max level. You'll be fine below level 79.

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#420 - 2010/10/29 05:48:21 PM
Q u o t e:
OH EM GEE...Tanks ARE all the same now.

Lazy developers are lazy.


That's a silly thing to say given how important even very small differences obviously are to many of the players posting in this forum and this thread in particular. If you think the game can tolerate substantial differences among tanks, then feel free to argue that point, but you'll have a lot of smart players to convince.

I suspect what you're really saying is "don't nerf me, bro," in which case you should just come out and say that (after you get back from your ban, I mean).

I understand how passionate some of you can get about the game. We are passionate about it as well. That doesn't give you open license to say whatever you want on the forums. Behave professionally while you're here. I'm not going to address this point again in this thread. I suggest nobody else does either.

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#425 - 2010/10/29 05:53:46 PM
Q u o t e:
Perhaps I'm misremembering, but this is completely counter to the previously stated direction for healing come Cata.


I said that dragons don't breath for 100% of tank health. If they breathe for 60% of tank health and your tank dies, then you made a fatal error in your healing strategy. If the dragon breathes for 60% of tank health while simultaneously clawing the tank for 60% of tank health, then we made an unhealable encounter and deserve to be ridiculed for it.

You seem to be implying that you shouldn't ever have to worry about the tank dying, which is not our design intent. You should not have to worry about the tank dying in two melee hits before you can get a spell off, assuming you weren't asleep at the wheel for the period prior to those two hits. When the dragon breathes is usually telegraphed far in advance so that everyone can work together (including the tank) to make sure the tank is topped off and emergency spells are at the ready.

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#437 - 2010/10/29 06:01:26 PM
Q u o t e:
Here's what it looked like on beta before these changes:

Bear has more health + Bear takes less damage = no reason to use any other tank

Now here are the new mechanics at play:

Bear has same health + Bear takes same damage = use whichever tank you like


That's the idea, and I'll add that there was one more option.

Bear has more health + Bear takes more damage. This is the "mana sponge" implementation. It might have worked, but it was risky. There is a chance bears would be terrible because they would drain mana dry and there was a chance they would be awesome because they could survive a bad sequence of events with that additional health pool. More likely they would be really good on some fights and really bad on others, which is just frustrating for a raid group to have to contend with.

We're okay if various tanks are slightly better on some fights than on others, and I realize everyone is going to have a different definition of what "slightly" means. We've been through this before. :)

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#441 - 2010/10/29 06:06:14 PM
Q u o t e:
I think what the dev team doesn't seem to realize is that DPS is *never* going to take survival talents because that is seen as "PvP" related, and not min-max thinking.
(ie... DPS and healers are not supposed to be taking that much damage)
You could force this with the talent tree, but that's the only way.


Selfish players won't take survival talents. Pug players who don't interact with a regular group might not. But we think organized guilds will. This kind of situation happens already, and we think it will happen even more in Cataclysm:

The raid wipes. The leader, or the officer, or the tacticians or whoever start looking through combat logs and parses to see what they can do better. Ah, the Resto shaman kept running out of mana. They start to look at why. Well, this one rogue and one dps warrior took a ton of damage that ended up wasting healer mana. Maybe they stood in the fire. Maybe they were too focused on dps and not on situational awareness. Maybe they skipped over a couple of talents that could have minimized damage. We don't expect every guild to post damage *taken* logs and tell their guys to fix those problems. But some will.

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#445 - 2010/10/29 06:09:04 PM
Q u o t e:
Just a heads up that you have a typo in your post explaining the warrior changes, regarding the effects of the Shield Wall glyph. (Unless you're suggesting that the glyph only increases the cooldown without increasing the DR.)

No, it was a typo. The glyph provides 10% more DR for 1 min more of cooldown. Fixed.

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#471 - 2010/10/29 06:39:23 PM
Q u o t e:
Alright, I'm OK with this. Since I know you were eagerly awaiting my approval.

We were, and we feel much better now.

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#582 - 2010/10/29 11:19:09 PM
We have a few more changes which have just come through the pipeline we'd like to share. Some of these changes override changes previously announced in this thread.

This is the sort of rapid iteration our development teams excel at, which is why we're sometimes unable to share every single tweak we make with the public. Game balance is an ongoing project, but since we have a good platform in this thread for sharing tanking changes, let us have a look at the latest:

  • Guardian of Ancient Kings (talented) – 50% damage reduction, 3 minute cooldown, 12 second duration.

  • Icebound Fortitude (talented) -- 50% damage reduction, 3 minute cooldown, 12 second duration.

  • Survival Instincts -- 50% damage reduction, 3 minute cooldown, 12 second duration.

  • Shield Wall (talented) – 40% damage reduction, 2 minute cooldown, 12 second duration.

  • Shield Wall (talented and glyphed) – 60% damage reduction, 4 minute cooldown, 12 second duration.


Edit: Copy/paste fail. I've removed "talented" from Survival Instincts because, well, you know. :)

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#609 - 2010/10/30 12:10:22 AM
Q u o t e:
The relative silence from the devs regarding DKs means we're going to get a comprehensive nerf.
Something involving our current playstyle of ignoring diseases, I'm sure.


DKs are just harder to model and we haven't had as many of them tanking the beta raids. Our hunch is that they aren't as overpowered as this forum thread seems to believe, but we'll see after more testing.

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#638 - 2010/10/30 12:47:19 AM
Q u o t e:


Just curious, how can you "talent" Survival Instincts? It is only 1 talent... nothing we have modifies it.

Copy/paste fail. I've removed "talented" from Survival Instincts because, well, you know. :)

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#761 - 2010/10/31 01:22:31 AM
Q u o t e:
we had zero response in all of them. Zero. Nada.

The only responses we got about dks were threads in ptr or general foruns (not on beta foruns) made by people who didnt even test it . Reply to random concerns about things that were not even happening.

Thats why theres not many dks testing. People got sick of providing a lot of feedback and didnt hear anything about not .. not even a tap on the shoulder "thanks for the feedback guy, we'll look into it". On the other hand .. paladins complain that the icon of this or that skill is not pretty, they receive a blue post about it.


http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=14697595457&sid=1