Tanking Changes
Gameplay

Warlords of Draenor Tanking Changes

By Byron Mudry -

As with most previous expansions Blizzard is shaking up stats and mechanics with the release of Warlords of Draenor.  As a tank, besides the big stat squish taking place and the removal of Hit and Expertise, which I discussed last week, we are also losing vengeance!

Vengeance is currently a powerful tool for tanks that allows a huge boost to a tanks offensive ability.  This boost came in the form of buffed attack power as they took damage and has been the source of concern in the past and adjusted previously.  The issue is not necessarily in the fact that tanks get more attack power but in the way that they do.  Due to the mechanic used for vengeance a tanks damage output could be very low or very high, sometimes higher than DPS players, all based on the fight they were in and the fights mechanics.

Blizzard has stated that they didn’t like the way that Vengeance sometimes lead to tanks being the highest DPS, but also did not want tanks to feel that they were not contributing to overall fight damage.  Therefore when Warlords of Draenor launches two major things are changing for tanks.  The first is that Vengeance is being removed and a new mechanic call Resolve is being added. The second change is that base tank damage will be buffed in a few ways.

What is Resolve?

Resolve is the a new defensive ability that players will see added for Warlords of Draenor that will increase the healing and absorption of tanks.  It will do this by providing a buff to those items based on their stamina and on the damage taken (before avoidance and mitigation) in the last 10 seconds.

This has the potential to be an interesting mechanic, but could also have some issues, which I will discuss later.

What about Tank DPS?

In the current game, vengeance can provide a huge portion of a tanks damage output.  In many fights it can directly account for up to 90% of a tanks damage.  Since this damage will disappear when vengeance does tanks will need to have some way to make it up.

To make up the loss of damage and to sure that tanks still feel that they participate and contribute meaningful DPS in a fight, Blizzard will be buffing their base DPS output though a few methods.

Tank damage is being buffed in two main ways.  The first is that many tank abilities are having their base damage increased substantially.  The second is that for tanks mastery will now buff attack power as well as the defensive abilities it provides for the various tank specs.

This is still the early stages of the alpha test for Warlords of Draenor so obviously a lot can still change, but currently it is looking like the boost to Attack Power will start at 8% and increase as you add more mastery.  We will have to wait to see how this scales and to what total percentage we can expect to see out attack power increase to.  It is however a start and can easily be tuned as required by Blizzard.

The Messiah’s opinion on Resolve replacing Veangeance

Mainly playing a tank, I got to know all about vengeance and how it worked.  I also got to learn about how it didn’t work, and how you could “game the system” to get more benefit out of it that you were meant to.  Players could do this by taking more damage than they had to so that their vengeance buff was larger than normally would be the case.  You could do this as long as your healers out-geared the fight and could keep you alive.  This in turn boosted your damage significantly and made the fight even easier for your group.  Oftentimes, tanks that did this correctly could be the top DPS in a fight. 

While all of this was fun at times, it also felt very wrong.  I didn’t sign up to be a tank to top the DPS charts.  Honestly, I could care less if I did even 1 point of damage, as long as I held threat.  I know that’s not the normal opinion though, so I understand the need for tanks to put out decent damage. 

Before looking at damage though let’s look at the new resolve ability.  Based just on an initial look at the idea for resolve, I like it.  It provides a buff to tanks so that they can be healed for more than other players since they will be buffed by resolve over the course of the fight. 

Since Blizzard has already discussed the fact that they are planning to vastly lower the healing output of healers and that players should expect to spend more time at health values other than 0% or 100% this makes sense.  It should allow Blizzard to lower the healing values for almost all players, but keep the healing much higher on the tanks where it is needed.

At first glance this seems like a very elegant solution.  However, there is no notice in the alpha patch notes regarding how this will apply to off-tanks.  I realize that since the value is based on an average of damage taken over the last 10 seconds that the buff will build and fluctuate very quickly.  It does still mean though that when an off-tank swaps in during a boss fight, for the next few seconds all heals and absorbs placed on them will be much smaller than on the outgoing tank.  Since the incoming tank will likely be at full health this may not be a huge issue, but it is something to consider.

It also comes down to a very clear statement that Vengeance disappearing and Resolve coming into the game is not just a name change, but is in fact a significantly different and new mechanic.

The Messiah’s opinion on a boost to Tank damage

Now onto the damage boost to tanks coming in Warlords of Draenor.  Again it seems that Blizzard has come up with a very clean and elegant solution.  By boosting the damage of tank abilities it will allow us to do more basic damage right away.  Since Blizzard has already stated that it will be tanking abilities, they will likely be attacks only available to the tank spec of classes and therefore we should not have to worry about balance issues in other parts of the game. 

I feel it is clever on Blizzards part to use mastery as the stat to provide an attack power increase for tanks.  If Blizzard had gone with the more obvious choice of stamina providing an attack power boost, gearing a tank could easily have become too one dimensional much like it was early on in the games history.  Instead, by basing the buff on mastery, it makes sure that tanks need to manage and juggle several stats rather than just one.  We will need to worry about:

  • Stamina to make sure they can take a few unlucky back to back crits and still survive to be healed through
  • Strength to provide a solid base for attack power
  • a
  • Mastery to buff their tank specs active mitigation mechanic and now also to buff their attack power.

Overall, the method of providing the damage boost for tanks seems solid, and should be easy enough for Blizzard to tweak percentages on so that it provides just the right amount of benefit without going overboard.

Comments

The Messiah has had his say, now its your turn.  What is your opinion on the removal of vengeance and the addition of resolve?  Do you like the new mechanic or prefer the old?  What about boosting a tanks base damage through mastery instead of vengeance and damage taken?  Make you opinions known in the comment section below.

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About The Author

Byron "Messiah" Mudry
Byron has been writing about World of Warcraft for the past ten years, and currently has a not-so-secret love affair with Hearthstone and Diablo III.

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