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Upcoming Tanking Changes in Patch 3.2

Posted Wed, Jul 15, 2009 by Messiah

Blizzard has been warning that there are several changes coming to tanking and its mechanics. Today in the forums Ghostcrawler discussed two of the changes. First up is the discussion around block for Warriors and Paladins.

I feel like we've been pretty candid about its future. You can probably find my previous comments relatively easily. We think block needs to mitigate much more incoming damage per hit, but to make that change we would also need to lower tank avoidance across the board and prevent every hit from being blocked (especially in situations with more than one target beating on you). To make Prot tanking more interesting, we have allowed block to become too much of a dps stat. In retrospect, we'd rather it remained a mitigation stat and that Strength was pushed up as the big warrior and paladin dps stat.

You shouldn't overly worry about outscaling content. We said from the beginning that there would be three major patches to Wrath of the Lich King. We aren't setting up a system that is going to remain on autopilot for 10 more tiers of content without our intervention. It's totally valid for players to worry about scaling, and all things considered, we'd rather have mechanics that scale well. But if those scaling problems aren't going to manifest themselves until you have item level 500 items, then you're worried prematurely.

We would like to get Prot warriors into PvP in a legitimate way, but our first priority is making sure every class has at least one viable PvP spec first. By "legitimate" I do NOT mean that you sometimes can do a 19K Shield Slam when all the stars align. That's not acceptable even if it is rare. Also consider that tanks do have a legit role acting like actual tanks when running flags or tanking AV-style NPCs. That may not be enough of a role, but I did want to point out that emphasizing BGs more and Arenas less also helps to carve out a niche for PvP tanks.

I know there are plenty of Prot warriors out there who couldn't care less about PvP. Sorry. We have to. :(

We want Prot warriors to do decent damage in PvE. We don't want them to do as good damage as actual dps specs -- there needs to be a trade-off for such high survivability. This means we need threat multipliers or you won't be able to actually hold aggro. It's okay if Shield Slam can make big (yet not absurd) numbers, since you don't Shield Slam all that much. That's fun. As I said above though, it would probably work better if Shield Slam hit hard because your Strength was high, not because you built a gimmicky set.Source

Also, Blizzard warned about upcoming avoidance changes. By warning players early, maybe they will not freak when the changes go live.

The main goal of the change was to make parry not so much less attractive than dodge as an avoidance stat. Since tank avoidance is so high already, we wanted to do that by nerfing dodge a little, not by buffing parry.

This hurts druids slightly more than other tanks, but the emphasis is on "slightly." This is not the big druid nerf that some forum posters have predicted. We will continue to evaluate tank survivability and threat generation based on PTR tests with "Patchwerk" to decide if druids need to be nerfed or DKs buffed or look at Prot warrior dps or anything else.

This is also not the big avoidance "come to Naaru" that some posters predicted. Overall, we think avoidance is too high and the game would work better with lower tank avoidance, but suddenly dropping everyone's avoidance by 20 or 30% would be a very big change with many ramifications for healing and gear among other things. It would also feel like a big nerf to the many players who didn't understand why it would be better for the game in the long term. But I still expect it is coming at some point.Source

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