It’s always strange when one of the more interesting beta developments for Protection warriors has nothing to do with, you know, Protection warriors. Yet in amongst the raft of recent changes, a possible look to the future can be found when mulling over the paladin notes. Because they fill the role of “beardless, shield-toting cissies”, a look over their notes will occasionally hint at a route that the developers might be likely to take with us, the superior shield bearers WITH beards.
The latest beta patch was just such an occasional hint.
Of course, many will recall my recent post regarding how Protection warrior mastery is now a gutter stat, relegated to the naughty step for one minute per each year of its life, but there is potentially some good news in the offing. In fact, I’d go as far to say that mastery is potentially about to become our best stat again.
Here’s the latest note for Divine Bulwark, the Protection paladin mastery:
“Increases your chance to block melee attacks by % and increases the effectiveness of your Bastion of Glory by an additional %.”
Now, block chance is relatively obvious to translate across, but the additional effectiveness on Bastion of Glory is interesting. If you don’t know, Bastion of Glory is a buff paladins receive every time they use Shield of the Righteous. It increases the healing received by Word of Glory by 10% and stacks up to five times. In other words, Word of Glory gets better the longer it goes unused and mastery will enhance it further.
And that’s pretty awesome if you’re a paladin. It’s also potentially pretty awesome if you’re a warrior.
Mastery remains a bad stat for warriors right now, not only because of the two-roll block system already discussed, but also because Shield Block uptime has a direct impact on how good passive block is. In fact, mastery is now WEAKER than when I first wrote about it because Shield Block gives you 100% block chance whilst it’s up.
However, warriors have two options for active mitigation, just as paladins do – and paladins are now seeing mastery affect both of those options. Is it too much of a stretch to assume that warriors will see the same treatment? That our mastery will ALSO affect the power of Shield Barrier moving forward?
I don’t think that’s a stretch at all.
Shield Barrier is currently static, irrespective of mastery. The old version was the same. Clearly, Blizzard don’t want mastery to be crap so they’ll find a way to fix it up a bit. Not only that, such a change would differentiate warriors from paladins even further, and that’s got to be a design intention. Sure, mastery makes us both block a bit more often; but if one version helps paladins heal better while the other helps warriors to absorb for more, then I think that’s a pretty good place for both tanks to be in.
Of course, don’t forget that this is something of a double-dip. If we stack mastery heavily, passive block will increase and Shield Barrier will become even more attractive. While that sounds obvious, one of the problems with the absorb currently is that if it gets eaten up quickly, the warrior is possibly without Shield Block for quite a while… But high mastery will help to curtail this because our passive block will be higher, as will the absorb itself.
I don’t know if this is the future design intent for warriors, so don’t quote me on any of this. I could be horribly wrong. But when push comes to shove, I think there’s a fairly good chance Blizzard will want to make mastery attractive again and I think Shield Barrier is the most obvious way to do it; especially with the precedent already set.