Friday, 23 July 2010


On holiday for a bit. Back in a few weeks.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

WTB fingers

The latest warrior changes are out. Some really fun and interesting mechanics, fury gets its new attack (and animation!), but my first thought is "Where am I going to get the action bar space?"

For example, as Prot your normal rotation will be a priority system as follows:

Revenge > Shield Slam > Shockwave > Devastate

At 20% or less boss health you will probably mix in Victory Rush procs for the self heal, and at high rage situations the intention seems to be we will burn off rage with Heroic Strike. This means our normal rotation will require 6 different attacks.

In addition, we will need to apply Thunderclap and Demo Shout to the boss every 30 seconds, plus Rend for maximum dps/aggro. That's a further 3 buttons.

Furthermore, we have seven defensive buttons - Shield Wall, Last Stand, Shield Block, Spell Reflect, Enraged Regen, plus up to two clickable trinkets.

All of the above buttons will be needed every fight. We will also need to manage our buffs - Battle Shout and Commanding Shout, which being of short duration normally need to be refreshed several times each fight, as well as being used to give rage. We'll need Vigilance where you can see it, since that needs to be up all the time.

We will also need to use our "utility" buttons - Charge, Intercept (which you can no longer macro with Charge as /castsequence macros are being killed in Cata), Intervene, Heroic Leap and Heroic Throw. Don't forget Intimidating Shout and Disarm, which are sometimes useful, and Cleave.

All of those buttons will be needed by us on a regular basis and will need to be somewhere we can click on them in a second. That makes

Rotation buttons (6) + Debuffs (3) + Defensive cooldowns (7) + Buffs (3) + Utility buttons (8) = 27 buttons, all of which should be bound to a key.

One other mechanic in Cata will be an increased requirement to stance dance - currently in the beta berserker rage is only useable in zerker stance (edit - no it isn't! datamined error by MMO Champ!).

That is frankly crazy. WTB more fingers.

EDIT - Also I forgot racial skills such as the snare break, Concussive Blow, Challenging Shout, Taunt (!!) and Mocking Blow! Including Berserker Rage and Bloodrage that makes 34.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

New Fury macro for Cata

Might this work?

/cast slam
/cast victory rush

If you have either your slam proc or your victory rush proc available then it will use one of them. If victory rush works out to be a more powerful attack than slam maybe swap the order round in the macro.

Also - thinking about it - at present victory rush costs zero rage. This is necessary because it's an opener and you need to use it at the start of a fight when (you guessed it) you have zero rage. Does this mean that one of Fury's three main attacks in Cata will be resource-free? Or will they change the talent to allow victory rush in combat, but make it cost (say) 10 rage?

New talent trees

The new talent trees are now available. Stuff that caught my eye from the Prot tree:

1) Rend sychs with the new talent Blood and Thunder.

This looks like an interesting new mechanic and it seems as if the new opening moves will be charge/leap -> rend -> thunder clap. The choice of opener will be interesting because leap firstly does not generate rage, and secondly does an AoE stun so for two seconds you will not be taking rage from damage. Leap might do enough AoE threat (in fact it probably will, thinking about it) that AoE threat will not be a problem, but nevertheless the tank can expect to be rage starved for a couple of seconds and may not have sufficient rage to immediately follow up with a rend and a thunderclap. If charge is used as an opener then dps will have to be aware that the tank will probably not thunderclap immediately after the charge, and so will do only proximity aggro for the first couple of seconds on all mobs bar the first. It might be easier to peel mobs off the tank if the dpsers immediately open up with AoE or a heal lands straight away.

Is rend currently useable in defensive stance? It seems so according to Wowhead, although I have never hit it as a Prot warrior. I just assumed this was a beta change, but it looks like I was wrong.

2) Damage shield buffed

This now does 20% of attack power, so probably triple its damage on live.

3) +healing effects

We have a talent to increase healing on us by 6% - Field Dressing. This is in the arms tree and will probably be required (or it should be required by anyone who understands EH). This is an interesting and welcome new talent, but unfortunately means that if you want to take Field Dressing, Blood Craze can only be accessed with exactly 31 points in Prot, and I couldn't make a good prot spec with less than 32 points in Prot.

I think we do need to know whether Blood Craze will stack with the enrage effect that procs from Improved Defensive Stance. This will inform much of our talent choices.

4) Vitality buffed

We get a 15% buff to stamina now, up from 12%.

5) Vigilance no longer removes threat

As anticipated, Vigilance grants Vengeance rather than stealing threat. This is an excellent change, although there's no sign of Vigilance allowing Revenge procs, which is a shame. Hoping that changes before 4.0 hits.

6) Heroic Leap can be used in combat

It also doesn't seem to require a particular stance. This seems good for Fury Warriors, although with a cooldown of 2 minutes it's only going to be used more than once per fight on raid bosses I guess.

The downside of the new abilities is that together with rend this is another button for prot warriors to hit. We will need to find room for two new buttons on our action bars, with rend in particular probably being something that will be used fairly regularly. That's not going to be easy.

In addition, with the promised demise of /castsequence macros, the macro that chooses between charge and intercept based on the charge cooldown will no longer work. This is therefore a third button to include on the interface somewhere.

7) Sweep and clear

This new talent doesn't look very interesting at all - I can't see many people taking this and I'd be very surprised if this makes it to live.

8) DPS specs

Arms seems to have got a lot of love and I like Lambs to the Slaughter very much, although it's questionable how much dps this will add. I think this is a talent for EJ to do some work on, because it's not clear to me how the calculations would work and someone will have to sit and whack the dummy for a few minutes to see the effect on white swing speed.

The emphasis on enrages for Fury spec is a little odd, will be difficult to balance and it's really disappointing that we don't get a new attack to replace whirlwind. Victory rush is a boring proc attack, exactly the same as Slam, and I think the spec has lost quite a lot of its flavour. The Single Minded Fury talent is unexciting as ever (if I wanted to dual wield one handed weapons I'd roll a rogue).

It also appears the Blizzard have dropped the Gushing Wound idea, meaning that at present warriors are I believe the only class to get two new spells instead of three. Worse than this, one of the new spells isn't really a spell, just a balancing adjustment to our rage pool and damage.


The prot changes look good to me. There are a bunch of new abilities and interactions to consider and the tree looks attractive - there are difficult decisions over where to spend points.

Arms now looks the better of the two dps specs, with Fury looking particularly thin. Unless there are improvements to Fury, I'll look to play Arms in Cata I think.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010


The raid team I formed after my guild split up is finally coming together into a strong group. We downed Sindragosa last night, after I think two or three wipes where our new MT was learning the fight. It was my first kill (my previous raid team had killed her on a night when I wasn't present, and then we rolled the raid ID forward on LK) and it was a really clean kill.

Some stuff that made the fight easier -

- Two tanks in frost resist gear. This made it possible to go to 10 or more stacks of the debuff before the tanks swap. It meant there was less running around, less drama, and lower overall tank damage.

- Aspect of the Pack. We ran with this on for most of the fight - the only person who ever might get dazed is the tank, and both of our tanks had ways to escape it on a tank swap - I would intervene a player or charge an iceblock, while the druid would shapeshift. To prevent problems positioning the boss, the Aspect should be turned off during an air phase and then turned back on when the boss has been positioned correctly. The Aspect trivialised the boss's death grip ability, and I don't think anyone got hit by this the entire night, whereas normally we've had people reacting too slowly, or getting surprised by it in phase 3. To avoid any doubt - the boss's AoE does not proc the Aspect daze.

- Melee on icetombs. We only had one melee character - a ret paladin. In phase 3 we had him on tombs full time to ensure they went down fast enough.

- The boss does a really annoying thing after each death grip - she repositions herself by walking towards the tank (even if the tank is within her hitbox) until the tank is at the centre of her hitbox. This has the effect of spinning the dragon around so she is often facing the raid, and means that the dragon gets tanked further and further away from the raid as the fight goes on. This can be dealt with by tanking the dragon standing as close to the centre of her hitbox as you can, and then backing away slightly after she repositions herself so that she is tanked in almost the same spot after each death grip.

It was a real "phew" moment. Sindragosa is a tough fight and even our team 1 has problems with it. I was glad to (finally!) get the kill, and to get it in a way which bodes well for our LK attempts.

We tried LK later, and since we were without a DK tank or a rogue to fan-tricks the ghouls, we struggled getting all the small adds to the OT. The OT (me) used vigilance on the MT and tried to taunt the ghouls one at a time, but I was losing aggro to the healers before they reached me, which was infuriating. All of the LK guides I've seen suggest that you don't need the small adds on the OT to make the disease stronger, you can just stack the disease on the shamblers and have the MT tank the boss and the ghouls all at once, but it's not how I've always done it.

I need to give it some thought before Friday.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Last Stand

One of the fun things about playing a plate class is that if you happen to be dpsing and the tank dies then very occasionally you can swing into action and save the day.

It happened on Friday in ICC against the Blood Princes. The MT is tanking the flame guy and the shock guy, but bites the dust. I grab a shield and tanking weapon, activate defensive stance, hit taunt, hit shield wall, after a few seconds taunt the second mob and that's me baby - tanking two raid bosses as fury!

There is the sound behind me of two healers having heart attacks, but I ignore their whining, tell them to man up, and we take the bosses from 30% to a kill! I then do a lot of /flex-ing in raid chat.

Friday, 9 July 2010

Revenge idea

On the soon-to-be-extinct official forums you still get the occasional gem of feedback. Today's is a poster asking for

"A way to cast Revenge when not the taking damage - e.g. "when the player with Vigilance takes damage, there is now a 20% chance to allow the use of your Revenge ability" or something similar. One reason protection warr. dps is so much lower when not taking damage is because we lose Revenge, which has become our hardest hitting ability."

GC's response is

"I think this is a valid point"

Yes! This would improve the prot warrior's offtanking rotation massively - Revenge is cheap (since rage is in short supply when offtanking) and hits like a truck. Linking it with Vigilance is clever because it keeps the unique flavour of Revenge.

I believe the current iteration of Vigilance is also to allow the Vengeance buff to develop too, so again we will have a way to keep our AP high when offtanking. One of the great weaknesses of warrior tanking is our offtank dps, and both of these changes would make a big dent in the problem.

I hope very much that GC and the rest of the developers give some thought to this idea.

Monday, 5 July 2010

Mastery rating on gear

A quote from Eyonix a couple of months back:

Here’s how the system works: As you spend points in a given talent tree, you’ll receive three different passive bonuses specific to that tree. The first bonus will increase your damage, healing, or survivability, depending on the intended role of the tree. The second bonus will be related to a stat commonly found on gear desirable to you, such as Haste or Crit. The third bonus will be the most interesting, as it will provide an effect completely unique to that tree -- meaning there will be 30 different bonuses of this nature in the game. This third bonus is the one that will benefit from the Mastery rating found on high-level (level 80 to 85) gear.

Protection warriors have three masteries at present

- Damage reduction
- Vengeance
- Critical block

According to MMO-champion's Cataclysm warrior preview, the damage reduction is capped at 8.01%, and vengeance (hereafter referred to in this blog as "venge") is capped at 5% damage taken. This leaves critical block chance as increasing depending upon the amount of the mastery stat on gear.

Here's a picture of some new gear with mastery on it.

So what does mastery do for prot warriors then? Well, it's block value, essentially, isn't it? It makes our blocks bigger. It is therefore useless against spell damage and against bleeds, and it is RNG-based. With block now mitigating a fixed percentage in Cata it may be that larger blocks are valuable - certainly I normally block 2-5k damage per hit, whereas if the Cata block model was used I'd be blocking around 5-10k. To a certain extent the value or otherwise of RNG-based mitigation stats such as block and dodge will depend upon whether or not Blizzard's new healing model works.

The new healing model is for the tank not to be in immediate danger of dying in a 4 second window, so casters can wait to see if the tank takes a hit before deciding whether to heal. Healers therefore don't need to be spamming the tank constantly or at least can be using a small, mana-efficient heal rather than a powerful, expensive heal. If that's right then block and dodge might be useful, and mastery as a stat might be desireable.

Currently though it looks as if I'll be searching for stamina and armour on my gear, rather than mastery rating .