I must admit that I’m honestly surprised to see Ghostcrawler post such a detailed response to my original article describing active mitigation as a flop (thanks to Albert the Fish for republishing it on the beta forums). What I’m not surprised to see is that he’s come close to ignoring the content of it, as well as the other feedback, and simply said an awful lot about what the developers are going to do, regardless.
What’s downright alarming is that this is like the Cataclysm beta all over again and either Ghostcrawler himself, or his team, have learned absolutely nothing from that experience.
His first paragraph is an attempt to correct a definition of active mitigation that he feels has gotten mixed up with what players think it should mean. But the non-DK tanking community isn’t telling him that they don’t understand the design intent.
They’re telling him that they don’t like the design intent.
The commentary I’ve seen throughout the community seems to understand explicitly that we’re expected to build resources to use for defensive purposes. Most players would agree that just using free cooldowns isn’t fun, but the fact we’re even facing that problem is a damning indictment of the ludicrous threat buffs that happened in Cataclysm.
The complaint isn’t that we have to build resources to fuel defence; it’s that said defence is utterly lacking in variety, relevance or both (unless, of course, you’re a death knight). The fact that death knights were heralded as the way ahead with regard to active mitigation was fair enough because playing a DK is a blast. What’s not fair enough is that the current model for the other three tanks bears absolutely no resemblance to the DK model whatsoever.
Why describe one model as a paragon of virtue, then completely depart from it in beta implementation for the other tanks?
The discussion about all tanks having the same number of cooldowns is beside the point. I know some folks who would like that for the sake of balance, I personally wouldn’t – I like the idea of my warrior playing differently to my DK, who plays differently to my paladin. I think there is a worry about the level of discrepancy, though, when DK’s have their two major cooldowns but a slew of other options that warriors (in particular) simply don’t have.
This is the nub. Warriors don’t have enough options to spend their resources on. I know a lot of paladins and druids are making very similar complaints. Not only that, but our options are very weak and are being implemented in a very boring way.
Build 60 rage > use Shield Block/Shield Barrier > repeat.
What’s fun about that? What “visceral” decisions are there to be made? While simply using Shield Block on cooldown won’t make you an optimal tank, it will still make you viable for far more content than just LFR. Ghostcrawler himself states that the major cooldowns remain available for emergencies, and I’d argue that if a warrior is relying on Shield Block for significant damage spikes then something else is wrong. I can accept the point about saving Shield Block or Shield Barrier for more appropriate times, but what’s fun about hogging resources or effectively wasting them by being sat at a full rage bar and waiting on “the right time”?
The important part to take from this is that the wider community is saying roughly the same things. Warriors, paladins and druids are not happy with the dull options they’re being given when so many other routes could have been taken. A small list off the top of my head could include:
- Remove Shield Barrier and let Spell Reflect do its job via a glyph.
- Make Victory Rush into a rage-costing heal at baseline.
- Make Thunderclap cost more rage and apply weakened blows over the normal duration, but double the DR for 3 seconds.
- Return Shield Bash with a mitigation effect such as Curse of Tongues.
- Make Disarm actually, you know, WORK ON BOSSES.
I’m not touting those as legitimate options, they’re just things off the top of my head that don’t even require any imagination – just a couple of tweaks (the first point, for example, might not be popular as it could cause a “loss” of Spell Reflect). The point I’m trying to make is that there are so many more options rather than just spamming crappy Shield Block, ad infinitum.
Moving on, I don’t think it’s too simplistic to say that hit and expertise work against finishers and, frankly, I don’t think Ghostcrawler really understands the problem – his paragraph is all over the place. Avoidance and mitigation DO work against each other from a CTC point of view and one need look no further than the 4.3 Protection paladin to find out why. As soon as they hit 102.4% coverage, mastery lost the entirety of its value because avoidance was significantly better. If this is the real reason behind the two-roll system for block, then warriors and paladins are being nerfed for no legitimate reason (three rolls for warriors, considering Critical Block).
Warriors with low hit WILL get the rage for Shield Block via white damage, and in Ghostcrawler’s world of hoarding “resources for the right time” it’s going to be even less of a concern; keep all of the passive defence, get to 100 rage as quickly as you can, then you’re working with a target of 20 rage for Shield Block (100 minus 60 leaves 40, so only 20 more rage for another Shield Block). Warriors with low mastery WON’T block a lot, otherwise why bother stacking mastery if you’re going to block a lot anyway? Are we going to be defensively balanced against the third roll for Critical Block? My spider-sense is tingling to warn me of the danger here. I understand the desire to make certain gear sets attractive for certain content, but this model currently doesn’t achieve that. I daresay the last time I used a “set” was Hodir’s hard mode when I needed the extra threat.
All told, that entire paragraph confuses itself and makes a number of self-contradictory assumptions. If a warrior is deliberately low on one particular statistic, he must logically be high in another – any argument based otherwise is doomed to failure.
The last section of his post deals with balance and, frankly, I’m not going to comment on it. My original article deliberately avoided the topic of balance because I don’t feel it’s a very smart direction to take the discussion at this stage. What I wanted to discuss was why the current implementation of active mitigation is so poor and why I’d like to see it redeveloped. It’s not misunderstanding, it’s dislike. And because many other players toting the other tanking classes are viewing this the same way, I sincerely hope that Ghostcrawler can see that the problem isn’t perception.
At time of writing, I’m planning on leaving my half-decade Protection warrior behind in MoP and forging ahead with my DK.
Give me, and other members of your tanking community, a reason to do otherwise.