I've only posted here once before so most of you will see me as a new face but I have come here to read up on game mechanics and such for a long time. Not too long ago I posted requesting input on realistic hunter DPS expectations.
My question today regards tanking in 2.0. A little previous perspective on me and tanking... I was a gnome fury warrior back before fury was hip. Had been fury since before BWL existed. I experimented with Arms and Prot to find builds that accomplished what I wanted and provided a fun gaming experience. Through MC and BWL I was the primary OT for my raid group. Having left that group and started my own, I was the MT through MC, BWL and our current forays into the first few AQ40 bosses. Up until 2.0 I was 5/31/15.
My experience with every boss I main tanked was that I spent more time focusing on positioning and leading the raid then I did on threat generation. The reason being is that I simply never lost agro. I actively encourage our DPS raid members to make the tanks earn their agro. Their is no free lunch in our raid group when it comes to tanking. Every warrior is expected to fight for their agro and no DPS person is ever told to back down to help out a tank with the only exception of agro-reduction fights if it gets close (mainly Broodlord). When tanking, I pretty much came down to the following routine, I mashed the hell out of Sunder, Revenge, Heroic Strike and Shield Block (No Shield Slam because I didn't have it as a Fury warrior). I didn't even have to bother with what order I spammed them. Threat generation was just cake affectively. I literally just rolled my fingers over those 4 abilities in a chaotic manner and threat generation was just fine. And before anyone suggests that I don't loose agro because our DPS sucks... not the case,... this is a raid group that was able to down Ragnaros pre-sons before every even defeating Razorgore. Our DPS knows what is what. It simply comes down to that tanking pre-2.0 was just not really that hard. If your head was not up your butt, you could tank.
I don't bring this up to brag or boast but because it's relevant to where I am going with this discussion. Now, I do "care" about tanking... but I also tend to follow the path of least resistance. If I "can" tank in such a simple manner and never loose agro then that frees me up to worry about other aspects of leading my raid group. Could I have dished out more affective TPS? Probably, but I didn't need to so I spent my energy worrying about improving other parts of our raid group that needed attention.
Now,... enter WoW 2.0. Things are simply not the same for me anymore. I am now 41 points in Prot and paying a lot more attention to what I am using and when. Yet, even with the updates and moving to full prot I am finding it much more difficult to tank. Not impossible, just more difficult. I am 7/8 Wrath, Thunderfury, blah blah blah... lets just leave it at gear being a non-issue.
I no longer feel that anyone with their head not up their butt can tank, but rather, the tanks that can do the job well are those that really know what the hell is going on.
I'm going to use our encounter last night with Vael as an example here. I was able to hold agro off the rogues the entire time but I had to focus a lot more then I did pre-2.0. If I screwed up or slacked, a rogue would pull agro before I died (I was the first warrior in the rotation). We had two attempts where rogues pulled agro and the melee DPS line got smoked right away. Both times agro was pulled off me before I died. This was never a problem before, I rogues do know to vanish but it just comes down to that the timing of when they had to Vanish based on the strength and quality of threat generation I put out had changed. Vanish was required earlier in the fight. We adjusted we got it down, but it didn't make me feel to good as the MT.
This is just one example but I have noticed a general change in my ability to tank post-2.0. Snap agro (outside of taunt) seems harder to achieve. Maintaining threat over intense DPS requires more focus. Having Defiance and Thunderfury helping me out, I can only imagine the pain every tank without one or the other must feel when they try and fight off the threat generation of a pack of bloodthirsty rogues.
My general pattern is the following based on cooldowns (these are not listed in the order I use them but the order I would use them if they are both finished cooling down and I have rage for both)
Devestate (or Sunder if there are not 5 already)
Heroic Strike (just keep it queued up as much as possible)
This assumes of course that somewhere in there I am making sure Battle Shout stays up on me and Dem Shout stays up on the mob. I also pop-bloodrage when its up for that little bit of extra rage and taunt as appropriate.
I spend a lot more time watching cooldowns and selectively choosing my abilities when cooldowns are up after 2.0. Yet, despite the gear, the spec and my confidence that I am focused and aware of how to be a good tank I still feel that my abilities are less then they were pre-2.0.
Now, I didn't just come here to post observations but to ask a question. My observations were needed to give perspective on the questions though....
What I want to know is if other well geared tanks in heavy DPS raid groups are feeling a similar affect and what is your general tanking routine now? I know there is math and theory to discuss what is better but I'm curious about the real world examples. What do you do when the steel hits blood rather then what your spreadsheet tells you is best?
I appreciate any feedback or comments you may have!
Although your post deals solely with warrior tanking, the title of your post invites general tanking observations. If what you say is true, that the ability of a warrior to generate threat is reduced (and I imagine this has to do with rage issues?), would anyone care to comment about the other two classes providing a possible alternative -- namely pally/druid tanks in 2.0 (assuming equal lvl skill/iLvl gear)?
I have considered raiding as a feral druid, mostly since no warriors want to be forced down the protection tree to tank, and would appreciate any comments, specifically from the beta crowd.
That being said, druid tanks never had issues with threat generation -- it was the itemization for appropriate mitigation that was the main problem. Presumably, the expansion will fix that itemization hole.
World of Warrior lives on happily on the beta
There was no meaningful reason to tank as a feral druid in progression content, before the recent beating that bear form took, and there is even less reason to now.
War/Pal Advantages Over Druid:
Consumables, including resistance/AC potions and healthstones
Block pushing crushes off
Plate has higher stamina values, and is in general itemized better for tanking than leather.
This is ignoring all the little things (shield wall, last stand etc) just to look at the bigger picture, but there's still signifigant barriers to entry beyond these three. They just happen to be less deal-breaking.
As for paladin tanking, it's quite a bit closer in theory, but in practice there are issues.
To answer the OP - I don't find any meanginful change on my warrior, who is admittedly less geared than yours, or on my coworker's warrior, who is better geared. Then again, I've always paid attention to what I was doing when. Threat has certainly been impacted, but I would say moreso by the changes to several classes dps than any brutal abuse of the warrior class. I feel warrior threat has gone up slightly, which means that classes that saw major dps boosts are going to have to be careful, as their relative position in the agro list has gone up.
I don't know that its reduced... just not as easy.
As far as paladin and bear tanks.... while I am fully supportive of their role in tanking, I firmly believe their will never be a day in which either class will supplant the warrior as the primary tanking class. Regardless that is a seperate discussion. What I want to focus on is the best ways to tank post 2.0 as a warrior. Discussing how a bear or paladin tank might tank, noble discussion that is is, isn't going to help me figure out how I might improve. Perhaps you are right in that the title should have said Warrior tanking. I didnt think about it because the cast majority of raid tanking on boss fights is still done by warriors.
But let's not get caught up in symantics and stick to the actual topic! :)
On the matter of difficulty, the macro changes seem to be the biggest change from last patch. The macro which I stared using a couple of months ago: "/cast revenge /cast shield slam /cast sunder armor" was easy to use and very threat per rage efficient. Using only this macro, shield block, and heroic strike on a regular basis allowed the tank to focus on other things going on: raid chat, adds, timers, healer mana, etc. Now, I need to pay more attention to using revenge and shield slam when I can... It's not a big change, but it means an extra tenth of a second to react to something... maybe more.
Devastate is not super amazing. Do the numbers yourself. What you'll probably find is that devastate produces more threat/sec than sunder but less threat/rage. So, if you find yourself rage starved, use sunder instead. I'm assuming here that you have 3/3 imp sunder. Of course, you'll need to use revenge and shield slam when they're up also.
If you are the MT, I think you should get a dps warrior to demo shout the bosses. As you know, some bosses you won't even be able to reach with demo since they are so big (dragons). You can maybe convince a dps warrior into specing improved demo shout... maybe not, but it's worth a try.
Get your guild to use KTM if they don't already. Using this mod, you should no longer be surprised when someone pulls aggro. At the same time, your dps classes will be able to push to the limit like they never have before. Your raid dps will very likely increase significantly if people are not afraid of pulling aggro (when they won't).
There's a limit to how much threat you can generate because of cooldowns, sure you get some threat from white dps but it's not exactly going to be a huge factor given you're in tanking gear. I would guess your dps classes probably need to learn2play. So many alliance rogues, mages, locks, fury warriors and hunters are baby'd by salvation. Rogues without feint on their bars, mages who just chain cast with no thought to threat and so on.
If you want to see this in action install KTM and get the people prone to pulling agro to install KTM also.
I should have been more clear in that I dont feel we were necessarily nerfed but that the combined affects of changes across the board has made my life as a tank a bit more difficult. Again, not impossible, just harder.
In the example above the rogue that kept pulling agro on the first two attempts went with a mutilate build and is doing significantly more DPS then before 2.0.
Well, I can offer the opposite perspective, albeit without extensive Beta experience (as my warrior stalled on beta around 63). Until 2.0, I was hardcore Protection: 7/11/33. I also happened to be the guild PH willing slave, so I was the guy in full tank gear running circles around Razorgore's room. I was lucky enough to be the recipient of the guild's first TF and have never had a problem with aggro, although I've been stepping back and sharing the tank duties a while especially since I had to start raid leading in the middle of AQ40.
Enter 2.0. Shield Slam and Shield Bash no longer proc TF, dissapointing but livable, and they make Shield Slam directional which is really irritating. However, with the move of Tactical Mastery to Protection, the introduction of Stance Mastery, and the reduction of Defiance to a 3 point talent, 5/31/15 is suddenly viable with none of the compromises I loathed to make in prior patches - I can have Bloodthirst and full Deflection and full Defiance and not lose out on the 2-point slightly gimped TM approach that i've grown used to. So I went Fury/Prot - picking Improved Shield Block over Toughness.
So far my experience has been virtually the opposite. Raid group DPS has gone up, certainly, but I have had very little problems compensating. We had virtually no aggro issues at all clearing Nax last night, although because I too raid lead the amount of things I tank have scaled back considerably (I tend to leave most main tankage to the other prot warriors in the guild). Patchwerk was fine even without Toughness, but no surprises there. Noth was one of the earlier things we killed last week after the patch, he was a little more annoying the first time, I missed Shield Slam a lot but although Noth chased a few dumb mages around a bit he went down fairly easily even with the change to manual decursing.
I generally try and keep HS lit at all times and hit Sunder whenever possible while keeping a steady Shield Block/Revenge cycle going on. Even on Beta it was working fairly well for me. My biggest problem is not myself, it is the people around me being unfamiliar with their new levels of aggro (particularly priests that are new to shadow on beta). And not having a Paladin in your 5-man for those first few runs of Ramparts/Coilfang is an exercise in frustration, it is very easy to take Blessing of Salvation for granted if you raid most of your time and there are always Paladins around.
I see you have a Thunderfury too. I would be inclined to think this is just your guild going through patch-pains in regards to aggro. DPS has gone up quite substantially especially if you allow a little latitude and have some budding Shadow Priests and whatnot in the raid buffing the casters with Misery/Shadow Weaving. Vael with it's infinite rage/energy buff is the easiest fight to slip up on because you're not at all limited by what's within your reach, only by how fast you chose to click abilities.
I personally found that Devastate really wasn't all i'd imagined it to be on beta, which helped my decision. If I had gone prot I may well have stopped at Focussed Rage/Shield Slam (34ish points) and tried to retain Piercing Howl.. although one of my fellow Warriors absolutely loves Vitality. Currently the 3 heavy Prot tanks remaining split both ways on how good they consider Devastate to be. Devastate seems to shine on Thaddius from what I understand.
Our rogues are amazing - I would put my rogues up against just about anyone elses rogues - I have total confidence in their skill
Pre-2.0 Our Vael fight was flawless. He died fast, the only people of us that died did so because of BA. There was virtually no room to improve. We had it down.
All my obvservations are completely post 2.0. I'm sure there was a little roughness due to people not having all their addons updated to new working versions (in some cases not everyone had working KTM post patch for example).
Given the past performance of the warriors and rogues in our raid group, the obvious changes to game play due to spec changes in both classes and the affect on DPS generation I am left to believe that this is not the problem of poor player skill but rather just a needed adjustment to post-2.0 game play. Things are not simply the same as they were before the patch. What I am looking for is how other tanks have changed to adapt to the game changes or if DPSers in a raid group have had to change to accomidate things.
I'm not going to laud my raid group, but I have complete confidence in this group. It's newer as a group but in short times has made amazing leaps through content and done extremely well. Knowing this, Im not inclined to go down the route of "my raiders are not skilled" and more inclined to figure out simply how to adapt to the new changes.
Does that make sense?
That's in line with my experience. New dps boosts for other classes + their old routine of lazy aggro management = dead dps classes.
There's a hard cap to the amount of threat a warrior can generate per rage and a different cap to the amount of threat a warrior can generate per unit of time. The true test of your skill as a tank is balancing the threat per rage against the threat per unit of time in such a way that you maintain a higher ceiling than your dps. Note that an insurmountable ceiling isn't likely to happen as a warrior, your dps will have to keep an eye on their own threat, but you can provide the highest ceiling available, curved to the encounter's peculiarities. One of the most useful habits I've personally found for tanking as a warrior is to allow my rage to build a bit at the start, then start my routine of threat, then ask for the dps to assist. This provides a buffer of extra rage in case something odd happens, although it does require a bit more patience than many players have. Many guilds simply send you in at the same time as the dps, and while that works on some fights (sup vael, loatheb) it's not optimal in others (gluth/huhuran spring to mind).
A thought for vael specificly - having every warrior sunder once so your first tank can start the devastate spams might not be a bad idea. It increases your Threat per second, which is the most valuable consideration for that fight.
Edit: I agree that devastate is pretty meh, but it does provide a boost in initial tps, which can be valuable. The true gems of the prot tree, to me, are shield block, shield slam, focused rage, toughness, and last stand. At 70 I expect to be either 0/21/40, or heavy fury. In the meantime, I'm currently specced fury for farming/pvp.
There have been a few changes that directly impact warrior threat - if your routine hits one of those changes regularly, then you might see an impact. Otherwise not much has changed.
Stuff I can think of:
- A lot of folk use devastate because it's the 41pt prot talent and therefore must be good... however it produces 47 hate compared to sunder armor at 260. So your Devastate must hit for 213 on average just to break even. Many tanking weapons hit pretty softly (but fast) and hence don't make good Devastate weapons under most circumstances. Exceptions when you have some game effect boosting your melee damage, or you're using Devastate to up Thunderfury's proc rate.
Personally, I tend to use Devastate mostly when I want to dps rather than tank. It's quite good for that.
- Mage threat reduction got nerfed. Warlocks have the same threat but their damage went up. Stuff like this means folk need to get used to their new aggro levels.
- Focused rage is an amazing skill for low rage tanking. For most trash I find I have noticably more rage and holding hate is not an issue at all.
- Shout nerf. Demo/Battle shout both recieved a fat hate nerf. Holding aggro on more than about 4 mobs got significantly harder.
Other than the above, I haven't really noticed a problem with holding hate. If you changed your routine to include devastate, perhaps change back to what you used to do and see if it improves your hate.
I've had quite the opposite experience. Raid DPS up, and rage normalization helped a lot for Protection specced warriors. Pre 2.0, DPS classes could pretty easily rip aggro off of me, and post patch, I've seen it happen maybe once or twice on trash mobs. Warlocks are the ones who end up pulling aggro now, if anything, and I'm not sure why (probably because our Mages specced frost, or lack of the new warlock threat reduction ability I suppose.)
I like Devastate. It's not as good for threat as Shield Slam or Revenge, just treat it as if it was Heroic Strike (only it refreshes the Sunder Armor duration). In a standard rotation, I probably use Devastate once or twice.
Speaking with my rogue class leader on messenger.... she was doing 1200 DPS on Vael with a Mutilation build. She was also the one pulling agro off me. :ph34r:
Bloodrage > ShieldSlam > Revenge > Sunder > Sunder > Sunder > ShieldSlam > Revenge > ... until I get 5 sunders and then use Devastate/HS as my rage dump and tossing in a Shield Block whenever I can afford it.
In the end it all comes down to the math, you can only generate so much threat in a given amount of time and if your DPS passes that threshold by 10% or 30% in the case of ranged classes then you are going to lose aggro and tanking will be difficult. The thing to keep in mind is that our threat doesn't scale, so yes it's great that DPS can do so much more now but we didn't get any amazing new threat abilities to help us cope with it.
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