Some warrior news.
Firstly the shield slam nerf is confirmed as expected - base damage will be increased but AP scaling will be decreased. This will signal an end to the massive shield slams we've been seeing on live, but should also improve burst threat on the pull.
Next come the changes to block. There are three, and I confess I'm not sure what the design intent behind the changes is.
- The increase to block chance provided by shield block is being nerfed from 100% to 25%. This shouldn't affect most warriors on live at the moment as avoidance in ICC gear is typically 40-45%, with a minimum 30% block and 5% miss chance. It might be a fairly severe nerf to warriors at level 85, and certainly makes shield block much less effective as a cooldown if total avoidance + block is materially less than 75%. Nevertheless it's not something to worry about yet - we'll find out about tank balancing at 85 in a couple of months' time.
- The second block change is that when you cast shield block, and it takes you over 100% avoidance + block (presumably this "100%" figure should actually read "102.4%" for bosses) then the excess block chance is converted to crit block chance. This is quite nice now, but it's hard to see that at level 85 it's going to be relevant at all. Blizzard have said that avoidance levels in Cata will be lower than today, and so given that we wouldn't expect to be unhittable at level 85 it's not easy to see why this change has been made. It's going to be a slightly weird mechanic if you have mobs of different levels attacking you (eg if you are tanking a boss at level 83 and adds at level 80) since you'll have different crit block levels between the different adds, but that's something that's always been in the game I guess.
- Mastery is being buffed. It now increases block and crit block by 1.5% per point of mastery (up from 1.25%). This makes mastery even more attractive for warriors - with mastery at 1.25% on live at the moment, dodge and parry are probably better for overall mitigation, but mastery is better to avoid damage spikes. This buff might make mastery just outright better than avoidance.
Thirdly, shield wall is being buffed. This is part of an overall adjustment of tanking cooldowns, and brings all four classes into line.
Fourthly, Vigilance is being nerfed, but wrongly. They are removing the 3% damage reduction proportion but leaving the Vengeance transfer. The Vengeance transfer is far far too good and it will be nerfed hard soon.
And finally - we started working on LK heroic last night. I'm not sure if we'll get him, but it's something to keep people interested for the next few weeks. At the end of phase 1 (with all the damage buffs on him) Arthas was meleeing me for 42,000 damage per swing (on 10 man). It's going to be really tough. Best try so far - 71%.
Machine learning has much to learn
8 hours ago