Thursday, 14 October 2010

Some thoughts on the new prot talents

One thing I've learned from this beta process is to refrain from blogging on mechanics that are not implemented yet. One week you write a brilliant deconstruction of the new ability or mechanic, and the next it is gone. (In my defence however, many of the things I posted on the official forums about have happened - new attack for fury, furious sundering gone as an ability, gushing wound gone, heroic leap usable in combat and in any stance.)

Now however, with the testing process aparently now continuing on live servers with the release of patch 4.01, it's worthwhile putting down some notes on the (hopefully final) talents. Focussing on the prot tree for now:

Rank 1

Toughness is required. Max this out.

Incite is apparently amazing for single target threat, and syncs very well with shield specialisation, see below, and war academy in the arms tree.

Blood and thunder seems too fiddly for me. Assuming it's an AoE pull, once you've charged you won't want to hit rend before your first thunderclap since you won't get AoE aggro, so you'll want to hit it before your second thunderclap. It might be slightly better at level 85 when you can pull using heroic leap, but then at least pulling with charge->thunderclap gives you plenty of initial rage. Much will depend on how out AoE threat pans out in the final numbers, but unless our AoE threat requires running a spec that is focussed on AoE threat, I don't think I'll take this talent. It's probably a decent AoE talent for arms spec warriors though, since thunderclap is their main AoE and they'll normally have rend running anyway.

Rank 2

Shield specialisation is possibly a little overpowered in its current format - bear in mind that with shield block up you will block almost every attack, so this talent provides pretty much infinite rage while you have shield block up. This should allow you pop Inner Rage (once you have it!) and get a few heroic strikes (some of which might be criticals due to incite) in for a big damage boost. It also syncs with heavy repercussions, below. I suggest you try to max this talent out since it is the best "extra rage" talent you can get at present.

Shield mastery is required. Max it out. You may not be aware that our shield block ability has been nerfed - it now only increases block chance rather than block amount, which means that the ability is less useful against weak-hitting attackers but remains very strong against bosses.

Hold the line is an AoE threat talent I think. When you are being hit by multiple enemies at once your likelihood of keeping this up is very much higher, whereas a single enemy hitting you will probably mean that the buff falls off from time to time.

Gag order is a great utility talent for 5 man instances. I remember heroics at 80 when they weren't totally AoE gankfests and this talent is really helpful for gathering caster packs together in 5 man dungeons.

Rank 3

Just take all of these talents. You need all of them. Concussion blow might be a bit weak now, but the stun will be required for levelling and the damage it does has been doubled on the PTR.

Rank 4

Improved Revenge and Devastate are required, obviously.

Impending Victory is an odd talent. Victory rush ("vrush") does 45% of attack power as damage at present, as compared to shield slam which does 100% of attack power (I believe, although possibly shield slam has been weakened recently). On those numbers, using vrush will be a significant dps and tps loss over normal attacks. Added to this is the relatively small heal, and the fact that you can only use it sub-20%, and the talent looks a little expensive. Vrush syncs with a talent in the arms tree that you'll be taking anyway (field dressing) and one that you might also be putting some points in if you are speccing for single target threat (war academy). It's also possible to use the new major glyph of vrush which increases the heal by 50%. If you take all the talents and glyphs that support vrush (and assuming they all stack!), then you might be looking at an ability that heals you for 8-9% of your health and hits for about 52% of attack power, but you can still only use it for at best a fifth of the fight.

Rank 5

Thunderstruck has a great name but is also an AoE only talent. It stacks 5 times, but the buff lasted 20 seconds on the PTR as opposed to the shockwave cooldown of 30 seconds. This means that if you want to keep this buff up on a fight where you aren't doing AoE threat, then you'll need to thunderclap 50% more than is normally required, which is a dps loss. Again, keep an eye on this in case they change the buff duration.

Vigilance is an amazing amazing talent for raiding now. Vengeance is such a huge buff, and afaik we'll be the only tank class to retain vengeance when we don't have aggro. I can't believe they won't nerf this, but for now it will be useless while levelling, useless in heroics and amazing in raids.

Heavy repercussions is a really strong talent. It's even better if you have maxed out shield specialisation talent since while shield block is up you'll probably have inner rage active too. This means your shield slam will be hitting for 230% damage during shield block.

Rank 6

I can't make up my mind on Safeguard. I think it will probably help in 5 mans from time to time, especially since vigilance doesn't transfer threat now. Nevertheless, I think it's probably overbudget at 2 points and it questionable that there will be situations where the ability to intercept a blow will not save your group mate but the 30% damage reduction will. Unless there are 85 heroics where perhaps the boss targets someone other than the main tank with a channelled spell (or something) then I will probably skip it. It's great in certain encounters, but pretty much you might spec for those encounters.

Sword and board is good. Take it.

Rank 7

Shockwave - take it, obviously.

There'll be more to come on this once I've had chance to raid.

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