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Ghostcrawler on AoE tanking: "The paladin probably too good"

Matthew Rossi

In a follow up to the thread we discussed recently, Ghostcrawler discusses where the buff to protection warrior DPS will come from (sorry, guys, but it sounds like a buff to Devastate to me, yay for spamming) and a whole lot more. The discussion indicates that while they're interested in single target DPS increases over AoE increases that they don't think tank DPS is that big a factor in boss fights (and to be fair, he's right, it isn't a major factor although the fact that players will overreact to minor factors and stress out their tanks over their DPS, that is) and moves on from there.

The discussion about Devastate (that it's an easy ability to adjust) is fair enough but ignores the even easier solution of simply reducing the defensive stance penalty. To be honest I'd like to hear why there's still a penalty there when abilities like Righteous Fury and Frost Presence suffer none. I find the idea that buffing defensive stance would cause big problems for PvP balance kind of absurd. Battle stance grants 15% ArP and Zerker grants 3% crit, at most people would pop into d stance when focused, like they do now anyway. But we're likely to see buffs to Devastate, so just get used to it. My suggestion? While we're buffing Devastate, also have it queue Heroic Strike for us so that's one less button to spam and I can retire my macro.

The discussion really gets interesting when it moves to the subject of AoE threat and damage. "Long-term, the paladin manner of generating AE damage and threat is probably too good, especially given how simple it is. To be honest, we have very mixed feelings on the whole AE tanking game. We brought the druid and warrior more in line with the paladin for fear of recreating the Shattered Halls / Mount Hyjal experience, where other tanks just weren't competitive. What that has led to of course is the AE tank + AE style of damage for almost every pull."

Frankly, as much as I hate to admit it, he's right. Other tanks look at how paladins tank and want to break off a piece of that action because it is so effortless, and that's not what tanking should be about. DPS players have been spoiled by not having to watch their threat on AoE pulls and just dumping DPS onto targets because they can, especially with a paladin tank. And it's also created an idea of unrealistic tank DPS because of how hyper-inflated this kind of AoE tanking is in terms of the damage it deals to all surrounding mobs. Warriors shouldn't be asking for AoE to be increased to that level. frankly, and this statement seems to indicate that no one will really be there much longer.

You need the tools to be able to tank legitimate adds fights (imagine lots of incoming mobs), but does that mean every pull needs to devolve into that? We'd like to see less AE overall, so buffing everyone's AE tools isn't going to be tops on our agenda. That does however mean that we really can't afford to have a "best AE tank", and while things are more fair there than they were in BC, they aren't fair enough."

It's hard to tell what the fallout of that will be. Will everyone be brought up to the paladin method, or will paladins be reduced? What about death knights, who boast some very powerful AoE tanking tools but need to ramp up by using Pestilence to spread diseases as well as dropping Death and Decay? Where does that fall on the scale? Will druids and warriors see any additional AoE utility for parity's sake or should we just expect nerfs to others? And how will DPS players react if they suddenly have to watch their threat? Will trash pulls change to emphasize or de-emphasize this notion of preventing 'every pull needing to devolve' into a spamming burn-fest? No way to know at this point. I personally hate nerfs and would rather see all tanks buffed, but I don't really see that happening when the statement seems to indicate a general desire to get away from AoE madness.

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