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Vengeance Changes in Patch 5.4

Posted Tue, Jun 04, 2013 by Messiah

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Tanks are a spec that are under constant scrutiny from players who are very vocal about issues with them.  They are also under constant change from Blizzard due to the player base constantly pointing out issues with them. One huge change to tanks was the introduction of Vengeance way back in Cataclysm.

While vengeance has worked for a while Blizzard is looking to change it up in the near future, most likely in Patch 5.4.

What is Vengeance?

The vengeance ability essentially grants tanks bonus attack power based on the damage you have suffered.  Currently this attack power bonus can stack all the way up to the same as your maximum health, which for tanks is pretty significant.

The change was put in place to help Tanks ensure that they were able to keep threat as both they and the DPS players they grouped with geared up.  This allowed tanks to keep generating additional threat as they gained additional health from gear, and therefore allowed them to do enough damage to keep threat, as the DPS players got gear that allowed them to do more damage.

The system works extremely well and allows tanks to keep threat fairly easily.

What’s the issue with Vengeance?

If the system works for tanks, then what is this comment about an issue with it?

Well, Vengeance works so that tanks keep threat, however it does so by allowing them to do so much damage that in some cases they are the top DPS in a fight.  This has lead to DPS players feeling left out and at a disadvantage, since afterall they are the ones in the raid that should be top of the meters.

Another issue with Vengeance is that since it is generated based on the amount of damage you take as a tank, some tanks cheat the system to stack additional vengeance faster.  They end up standing in fire on purpose to take damage, they don’t taunt back and forth and instead try to solo tank more often, and just generally make their healers lives more difficult.

What changes are coming to Vengeance?

Here is what Ghostcrawler had to say recently about Vengeance and the changes that are coming.

Going to try Vengeance cap at 30% health (down from 100%) in 10s and 50% of health in 25s. This is a big change, so might be 5.4, not 5.3.

Arguments against the change

What does all that mean though?  Simply, it is potentially a huge nerf to Tank DPS and therefore to tank threat.  Let’s look at it in more detail though.

Think about this in raiding where a 25-man tank will have upwards of 600,000 health and a 10 man tank will have over 550,000 health.  This means that they will loose roughly 300,000 attack power and 412,500 attack power respectively.  That is a huge amount and it generates a large percentage of the damage they can cause.

While it is not critical for tanks to cause damage in theory, since they should only care about threat, it is how most threat is generated.  Before vengeance was around Tanks had many abilities that generated additional threat, meaning more threat that the damage it caused normally would generate, and they still do to some degree with their various stances and auras, however Blizzard made the choice to change that and move the threat generation to be more damage based.

Initially vengeance was capped at far lower levels, but again Blizzard made a choice to up its benefits, knowing and stated that tanks needed to cause more damage.  Now, many raid encounters are tuned very closely to the amount of damage that a 10 man or 25 man raid can put out, and this will lower that damage output significantly, causing many groups issues on content as their tanks potentially drop from 1st to last on the DPS meters.

Arguments for the change

The obvious argument is that tanks shouldn’t be at the top of the damage meter anyway. DPS is there to be at the top of the chart.

Another argument is that honestly most tanks never reach 100% vengeance anyway.  Go ahead, I dare you to check.  Other than a few fights that can be manipulated by standing in damage on purpose or taking huge hits on purpose, there are very few fights where you would be above 30% in a 10 man raid or 50% in a 25 man raid anyway.  Many tanks have never seen over 40% even when trying to manipulate the system.

Due to the fact that most tanks are not seeing over the newly proposed limits anyway, the change is almost a null point.

The Messiah’s Opinion

While I agree that most tanks don’t actually hit the percentages that are being proposed as the new limit, I see the change as a waste.  Sure, at face value it sounds to DPS players like it can help them regain their top spot and therefore has them in favor of it, it likely won’t change anything.  It will then lead them to complain and have it reduced even further.

The only tanks it will hurt are those that “game” the system.  Which isn’t a bad thing.

Ghostcrawler has since clarified that one thing they are looking at doing is to make certain effects not trigger vengeance, such as AOE fire.  This solves more of the issue than limiting the cap.

My real issue with the change in general though is that it doesn’t really address the core issue going on with tanks right now at all.  Their issue is not threat, it isn’t damage, it’s more about mitigation.  Currently most tanks are focused almost entirely on damage abilities and stamina instead of avoidance abilities like dodge and parry. 

The focus is not on avoidance for two main reasons.  The first is that there are several boss fight mechanics that simply ignore those stats, so having them is a waste of itemization points.  The second is that they are both so heavily hit by diminishing returns that it makes them unrewarding past a very low point.

To me that needs to change.  A tanks job has always been about holding threat, and taking a little damage while doing it as possible.  How can damage abilities be so much more important currently than mitigation and avoidance abilities?  That’s just wrong.

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