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The Care and Feeding of Warriors: On Future Tanking, Page 2

Matthew Rossi

Worse even than the idea that both our single target and AoE damage has dropped from half a DPS player to 20 to 30% of a DPS player as gear has improved (and the seeming implication that that's okay because the DPS classes can hand us threat to make up for it, which I have to believe is not intended) is this pernicious idea that it is the players who are choosing to over-rely on AoE tanking and AoE damage to burn down mobs. We go to raid in the instances we're given. Anyone who's tried to even get into Icecrown Citadel has seen the opening pull of bone golem after bone golem zerging the raid: how would we possibly be able to shackle and repentance all of these mobs? How do we CC several summoned duplicates of the raid members who spawn inside the raid and almost immediately aggro a healer? When Princess summons tons of zombies, are you seriously suggesting that we should not AoE tank them? I'm sure all the ret paladins and fury warriors are going to love finding out that they can't use their instant cast whirlwind strikes because our AoE threat hasn't scaled as well as theirs, but the threat bandaid you've given us doesn't extend to multi-target.

It's fine to say you want to change these things in the future. I support designing instances where AoE is throttled back and CC is used more. But the top tier of raiding right now was not designed that way and I can't skip it to go raid in the instance you will design in the future.

I'm talking philosophy here, because I assume that's usually more interesting to a wider audience. Philosophically, tank threat generation is working correctly (i.e. as we intend) with perhaps 4-5 exceptions that we would like to fix:

1) Paladins can do a little too much AE tanking "splash" damage, often without even setting out to do so.
2) Tricks and MD take too much of a burden off of the tank / hide issue #3.
3) Damage and therefore threat generation aren't scaling well at very high levels of gear. <-- this is the big one.
4) There is too much incentive to AE every pull, which puts a burden on the tank to AE tank every pull.
5) You could probably add that bears need a button to hit besides Swipe.

Now, again, I want to be fair here. There are no perfect worlds, not even virtual ones. The raids we have now are entertaining and well designed for the vast majority of the time. Problem #1 listed here is outside my purview as a warrior tank, although I agree with it. Problem #2 is absolutely an issue and a far more important one than I believe (and I could be wrong) it is being seen as. I agree wholeheartedly with Problem #3, 4 and 5 (but as I'm not a druid tank, I can't say much about it aside from a complete agreement that Swipe spamming needs adjustment). I do, however, think we're missing that these problems combine to have three effects.
  • They lock warrior tanks into very limited gear, talent and glyph choices and leave almost no room for flexibility if you want to be capable of matching other classes in the AoE zergfests that often happen in raiding.
  • They take threat generation (and thus, any real impetus to maintain it, hence the 'threat's not an issue' mantra you see some tanks hold forth) out of the hands of the tanks and put it into the hands of the DPS to a degree that reduces a tank from an active, ability using juggernaut into a block of spam in a can that sits back and lets the DPS not only have all the fun but decide how much threat to dole out to the tank.
  • They make gear upgrades seem less exciting because all you get from higher levels of gear is more spam to jam into the can, i.e. more health. Yay, I have 60k health raid buffed and I can go on follow because the DPS will aim all the threat at me instead of actually having to monitor how much threat they put out to match my (poorly scaling) threat output. Sure, our gear is of equal level and was earned in the same raid, but theirs allows them to do what they're supposed to do better. Mine just makes me a better target for their threat handouts.
This brings us to what I hope is coming in the future. I want threat tools in the hands of all four tanking classes that allow them to feel unique and perform the roles of main and off tank, and I want those tools to be more than just 'more X' -a raid wide Vigilance that was applied and lasted for a short time with a cooldown that prevented it from being spammed but which made it sensible to use on, say, Bloodlust/Heroism phases to get a big boost to threat would be one possibility.

I definitely want Hit and Expertise to matter more than they currently do without becoming onerous and harshly confining. I'd like to have more threat/damage stats on tanking gear, not just talents that make threat stats generate more threat in a static fashion. I want what static threat modifiers we must have to somehow do more than just generate static threat: linking stamina to threat would be one way to go.

We have to stack stamina anyway, shouldn't that stamina do more than make us hard to kill? Shouldn't our very ability to be hard to kill be inherently threatening? I know that if I set a guy on fire and hit him hard enough to kill most people twice over and he just stood there grinning at me, I might be convinced he's a bad dude. And finally, I want threat to scale as well as DPS does. I'd also like it so that rage gain automatically increased my threat modifier or applied a damage boost so that at times I might actually want to hoard my rage instead of just spending it as fast as it comes in, so that there was some tactics involved in dealing with rage.

Tanking as a warrior can be fun, inventive, and situational. It's a pretty solid class for a tank. But it has suffered from the scaling issue mentioned above, perhaps more than any other tanking class (certainly my DK tank hasn't felt it nearly as much, but to be honest he is a tier of content behind my warrior) and it needs to be fixed for all tanks.

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