Tank Validation and Accountability

Tanks make mistakes too.

Tanks make mistakes too.

I’ve decided to continue this series on my observations about how different roles are treated. I’ve already hit the big one to me, and that is healing. Next, I plan to point out some of the faults blamed on tanks, including a story from a fellow tank and friend of mine.

Like healing, tanking is often a required role in a group. Not always, at least 98% of the time in 5 mans, but 100% in raids. The short and sweet is that if you do not have a meat shield on the front lines, you are going to become that meat shield. That mound of flesh wrapped in plate (or furry leather) armor is there to get punched in the face repeatedly so you don’t have to. Because of this, they too should be treated with a certain level of respect. In addition to their normal duties, Tanks also often are placed in a position of leadership, whether they like it or not.

For nearly 6 months, I would tank on my Paladin. It was a nice change of pace, but also changed my view of how a tank’s job works. I remember when I first started the dungeon crawl, that the tank was allowed a certain amount of time at the beginning of a pull to gain aggro. This was before threat became such an easy thing to come by. Back when Warriors had to get a certain number of Sunder Armors off before the raid or group even thought about casting anything. Now-a-days, from what I’ve noticed, that is no longer the case. It is now a race to the end of the dungeon, and a test to see who can kill the mob faster. Normally this wouldn’t bother me, as quick runs mean quick rewards, but it can cause problems as well.

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Paladin Predictions: Cataclysm


Alrighty, since we’ve got another week to wait for the Paladin Cataclysm class preview, I thought that it would be a good time to put my predictions in, at least to fill the time.
Some of these predictions may actually have some real backing due to things mentioned in other class previews, but as Blizzard states:

Please keep in mind that what you’ve just reviewed is a work in progress and as we move closer to the Cataclysm beta, you’ll see these planned changes as well as others continue to develop in response to feedback and testing.

So, on with the show.  I’ll separate these into their respective classes, so that we have some kind of organization, and who knows, maybe I’ll be close on some of them.

Protection PaladinProtection:
I believe that Protection will have the guaranteed Mastery ability of Vengeance.

This new mechanic is designed to ensure that tank damage output (and therefore threat) doesn’t fall behind as damage-dealing classes improve their gear during the course of the expansion. All tanking specs will have Vengeance as their second talent tree passive bonus. Whenever a tank gets hit, Vengeance will grant a stacking Attack Power buff equal to 5% of the damage done, up to a maximum of 10% of the character’s unbuffed health. For boss encounters, we expect that tanks will always have an Attack Power bonus equal to 10% of their health. The 5% and 10% bonuses assume 51 talent points have been put into the Protection tree; these values will be smaller at lower levels.

So, this means that our tanks will likely be gaining an AP buff from damage taken. Now, Linedan did have a point. Here’s his quote:

Right now, in tank gear, Linedan has around 46,000 health. With his tank weapon, unbuffed, he has 4391 AP. 10% of 46,000 is, surprise, 4600. 4600 + 4391 = 8991 AP. That’s almost…well…OVER NINE THOUSAND. (Oh, sue me, you were thinking it too.) You mean to tell me that Blizzard is going to give me the potential, while tanking, to more than double my attack power, simply by getting hit in the face?

That’s a lot of AP, crazy amounts in fact. Now, I don’t have that much AP, I might top out at 3k, and maybe more buffed, but the Vengeance buff only works off of Unbuffed HP, so my 32,500 HP would equal about 3250 AP, add that to my 3k AP (which can still be buffed upwards of 4k) and I’d have 6k-7.5k AP. That’s a lot of Attack Power. Another thing that I thought about is the fact that all “Defense Rating” stats are going to be turned into either Stamina or Avoidance stats. That’s going to grow our health pools even higher, unless the amount of health gained from Stamina is changed. If, for example I suddenly gain 5k health because of all the stat changes, that’s still another 500 AP. It’s going to be really interesting how they plan to balance this.

There was another little caveat that Linedan caught. What about those moments where you’re not getting hit in the face? There are a lot of cases, especially in WotLK, where you had to swap tanks, whether it be to wear off a debuff, or to keep from getting insta-gibbed. In these cases, your AP and in turn DPS will drop significantly. In his case with Warriors, dps was already low, but as stated before, we can’t really make a determination until we see real numbers and see what changes to damaging abilities come out with Cataclysm.

Now, another change I’m hoping for and predicting is a gap closer. Maybe, just maybe we’ll sprout wings, and leap onto our enemies (yes, borrowing from Heroic Leap), but calling it Righteous Intercept, or something like that. That would be SWEET. It would also fill in that ability that us Paladin tanks have always wanted. We can’t charge, we can’t deathgrip, we have to either silence with Avenger’s Shield, and hope we don’t pull any extra mobs, or facepull the enemies. This I mean specifically for caster enemies, where LoS pulls aren’t available.

Righteous Intercept
4% base mana
8-25 yard range
Instant        15 sec Cooldown
Requires Righteous Fury
The paladin sprouts wings and leaps towards the target, slamming the ground with his or her hammer, causing a 3 sec stun to surrounding targets.  Stun will be broken by any damage dealt.

Lastly, something that is missing from the Paladin tanking toolbox is an off the GCD spell interrupt. The current selection we have is….. Avenger’s Shield, and that’s about it. I’m considering PvE situations, where more often then not, a Boss is immune to Hammer of Justice. (Though I’ve yet to research whether the spell interrupt is not resisted… hmm.) Anyway, a nice, quick (even decent cooldown) silence would be nice. Don’t have any ideas off the top of my head though.

Retribution PaladinRetribution
I really am unsure what we can do here.  Retribution is a very well balanced melee DPS branch, with a lot of Crit and AP emphasized.  The only thing that is truly lacking here is, again, that gap closer.  A ret paladin can be tearing up a target, but if it moves away, we still have to get back into melee range, and if that target is moving faster then you (even with Pursuit of Justice, think about a Mage blink), how can you catch up?  It took me a little while to think of something, but I figured a possibility. It may be a utility spell as well as a speed increase spell that could be used while in combat.

Think of a short duration Sprint/Dash with a increase to dodge of, say 5-10%.  What this would do, is allow the paladin to have a quick (maybe 5 sec) boost of speed that allowed them to catch up with the target, however the small dodge increase, allowed them to resist some (not all) snare mechanics that may be holding them back.  I even came up with the name “Grace of Menethil”, I thought maybe “Grace of Uther”, but Uther seemed to me more on the Holy side than Arthas was (before he got all mean and lichy).

Grace of Menethil
Instant          2 min cooldown
Temprarily increases the movement speed of the Paladin by 50%, in addition to increasing dodge chance by 5-10%.

Another suggestion, would be a ranged mini-Hammer of Justice.  This would throw a “spectral” weapon at the target stunning them temporarily (say 3 sec), just enough for the Paladin to catch up, and to keep it balanced only allow it to be useable while in combat and on the same cooldown as Hammer of Justice, simply so that a Ret pally couldn’t open up with a ranged stun, then start wailing away, and then HoJ again to keep the stunlock up.  Maybe call it “Hammer of Divine Fury”

Hammer of Divine Fury
3% of base mana
1 sec cast          1 min cooldown
20 yard range

Stuns the target for 6 sec and interrupts non-player spellcasting for 3 sec. Only usable while in combat, and exclusive to Hammer of Justice.

Holy PaladinHoly
Ah, home sweet home, here’s where I can see the most changes happening.  First up, mobile healing.  With the introduction of “Spiritwalker’s Grace” for the Shamans, I can see something close to that (not identical) being implemented for Holy Paladins, called Lightbringer’s Will.  If you think about it, Holy Paladins currently heal like an actual tree would heal.  We’re rooted into one place, casting away our lives.  There is not much movement available to a Holy Paladin (except certain cases, see Paladin Raid Healer), and because of that, it makes for some scary moments when you have to run out of the fire, but still need to top off the Tank.  I could see there being some balancing where healing is slightly less effective while moving, but still capable of happening.

Lightbringer’s Will
Instant Cast      10 sec duration
2 minute Cooldown

Fills the Paladin with the will of Uther Lightbringer, allowing them to cast uninterrupted by movement or damage.  Healing done is decreased by 10% while moving.

Another concept that I thought about was a way to integrate an AoE heal into our own current skills.  Some suggestions have been made, and I have had the same idea myself, where if talented in the Holy Tree, Concecration provided an AoE heal around the Paladin instead of damage to surrounding targets.  This would be the balancing factor, as often double duty spells (heal/damage) can be the target of nerfs and QQ.  Either it could use the current Concecration, or create a new spell called Concecration of Light.  I based it a bit more on a Wild Growth mechanic then a Circle of Healing type spell, simply because it would work like Concecration, where the healing would come in pulses.  I included the “infinite number of targets” part simply because of the mechanics of the spell.  It would also require groups to move towards the paladin when heals are needed like that.  I also increased the range just slightly so that it would cover a greater amount of people, and still allow for boss mechanics to limit it’s use.  Some other spells seem to be taking advantage of the “diminishing returns” that multiple targets would create, this may use that mechanic as well, as further balancing may be needed.

Concecration of Light
23% of base Mana
Instant cast         10 sec cooldown
Concecrates the land beneath the Paladin, healing friendly party or raid members within 20 yards of the Paladin for 1442 over 7 sec. The amount healed is applied quickly at first, and slows down as the Concecrated ground begins to cool.

I hope you like my ideas, and have some of your own.  Us pallies gotta wait till Friday for any info on our class, so this might whet your whistle while we wait.

Viva la Paladin!

Introducing Khrados… and his Icy Touch

Khrados... the Darker side of IlluminationGood afternoon…

I, am Khrados, the darker side of Illumination.

I have only recently recovered my sanity from the will of the Lich King; twarting his minions, and attaining my place among the Alliance.  I was once a far kinder man, raised from my youth along side my brother Khraden; fashioned to become a great warrior… That was until my life changed, in a single moment.  I will not provide names, but I was betrayed, backstabbed while simply attempting to read a letter from a recent acquaintence.  In broad daylight, I was torn from my life, and thrown into the darkness of limbo.  But it appeared that the Lich King found me “worthy of his grace”, and bestowed unlife upon me.  I am still in search of the offender… vengance will be mine.

But enough of my banter, let us continue with the subject at hand.

It appears that as of recently, I may be more “threatening” than I used to be.  The powers that be have increased the threat generated by one of my most used abilities.  It seems that Icy Touch has become far more potent, and now threatens my foes with thoughts of large weapons being placed deep within their nether-regions.  A fellow “moody” Knight of the Ebon Blade has coined the term “Icy Dickpunch“; however, from what I have seen, it appears that I have coined the term “Icy Sodomy” and it seems to have caught on.  This only occurs, however, when I have taken on the presence of Frost; though any knowledgable Death Knight who wishes to lead a group to victory should know this.  When under this presence, Icy Sodomy can increase the threat upon your enemies 14 fold.

Even though I am far less seasoned then most Death Knights, it still provides an excellent improvement in getting the attention of those for whom I wish to slay.  Though I am not one to protect those around me, I would not want an enemy to escape without feeling my wrath.  Possibly you may feel the same; take advantage of this offer from our invisible overlords.. take advantage of it before it is taken away.

I must bid you all a farewell, I am needed in the snowy regions of the Grizzly Hills… there is death to bring.