[The latest build (14/08/10) has fixed two of these issues; namely Cleave now shares a cooldown with Heroic Strike and is far more elegant, while rage income seems to have practically doubled. Both good things, both mentioned in this blog post. :)]
I love you? Nay, such romanticism has little place in circles such as ours. It is another three words to which I refer.
"Need more rage".
Lest accusations of unfairness be levelled this way, it behoves me to share some experience gleaned in the testing phases of our upcoming adventures. It shall be posited that not all is well in the world of Protection warriors but, perhaps, one might view this with a more positive slant. To whit:
For our current battles, rage is rarely a significant consideration. Yes, there are those annoying avoidance streaks but there are ways that allow the erudite to compensate; it's not a significant issue. In our look to the future, however, rage is now a priceless commodity and cannot be largely ignored, lest you wish rage-starved damnation to befall you. The obvious plebeian reaction to this has seen vulgar slang utterances that my gentle readers will doubtless be familiar with: "wtf", "omfg" and "QQ". Alas, the oft sarcastic "lol" or "rofl" has been bittersweet accompaniment to these travesties of language. Yet, it is not difficult to ascertain from whence the complaints arise. A list of problems, for your convenience:
1) Rage income has significantly reduced.
2) Heroic Strike, though altered for the better, is ignored/rarely used.
3) Shockwave and Thunderclap hit for precious little when not talented.
4) Battle Shout (Blessing of Might) and Commanding Shout (Prayer of Fortitude) grant rage, but on a cooldown.
5) Cleave is now on the GCD.
Now, dire as these first appear, more must be posited in their defence.
Rage is too plentiful to be a genuine consideration at present. Little to no control is exercised over its inflow or outflow, with the proposed model providing a significantly higher level of consistency. At the cost of income this change may be, but one suspects this is merely a numbers issue.
Heroic Strike needed to be pulled from mouse wheels, yet retain its status as something extra. One suspects damage and threat output will be scaled independently to Heroic Strike to begin with, only to change should rage become more plentiful. Again, I offer numbers as the main consideration here.
Shockwave and Thunderclap hitting for so low is, however, a genuine concern, my humble readers. Number tweaking could, again, be the dastardly culprit here, yet I suspect something more subversive is afoot. Having to specifically train for more multi-target power undercuts my training in other areas. Choice is good.
Battle Shout and Commanding Shout are currently required for rage income. The fact Commanding Shout has been brought on par with the holiest of prayers is a good change, but a resource crutch is not, not I say, what I wish to see. The power of my voice should inspire courage, not hint at desperation.
Cleave should not be working from our GCD, for it is too weak. Our multi-target repertoire cannot sensibly contain an attack that will only see use as a "holder" for keeping the attention of one additional enemy, especially while also being a replacement for Shield Slam or Devastate.
So there it is.
Alas, our list may compel the gentle reader to engage in the mouth-breathing linguistic refuse that I erstwhile gave examples of. But we should not be viewing life through the lens of current combat, for the same rules no longer apply. What we are dealing with is a paradigm shift in how we construct and navigate our battles safely, with more emphasis placed on interactivity with both the combat choices and said choices of your comrades. One endeavours to share what the solutions may be.
Shouts take the place of Bloodrage before a pull, thus strengthening those around you and giving you resources; Bloodrage remains your emergency button throughout the fight. Heroic Strike is now back to the use for which it was intended, as opposed to a strain-inducing damage crutch. When you need to bleed off rage, you use it - when you don't need to bleed off rage, you don't. This is elegant, decisive and in need of technical mastery betwixt desk and seat. Thunderclap and Shockwave now hit as the lady's favour, but hitting as the knight's lance is no longer a necessity for them. The temporary removal of certain enemy's from the fight, as well as the single target focus of comrades, will require only a baseline of area presence that will protect your priest - more is superfluous. In presenting all this, however, I remain steadfast in the assertion that Cleave is unfit for purpose. It's use will cost you more than you stand to gain, particularly when exacting Revenge does a similar job for less resources and with more relative power. I would recommend it either using the same model as the most Heroic of Strikes, or it be altered to hit more than a single additional target.
I stress, my gentle readers, that much is in flux due to the influence of bugs and the lack of number tuning. But do not be fooled into thinking that the general gameplay direction we now embark upon is incorrect. It's far from it. It will just require us to unlearn the bad habits picked up two years prior, and re-engage with all we held dear before then. The warrior code demands the ability to improvise, adapt and overcome. Do not be found wanting.
But, hark. My goblet is empty and my time grows short. As my wife summons me to the bedchamber, I must douse the embers and retire for the evening. Remember that the future is coming and we have hope that it will be bright indeed. The sea of agony will try to wash over you in the upcoming days, weeks and months but the most perilous road is always the one most worth travelling. To that end, my insight leads me to offer this as a reference point for your training.