Warrior cooldowns: trying something different

February 5, 2010 at 3:33 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments

Warrior abilities were changed in the most recent patch (3.3.2, I believe) resulting in some changes to how warriors ought to think about their talents, abilties, gearing and so forth.  Below I discuss the change and some of the things I am trying in response to the changes.  In particular, I look at cooldown usage.

What changed?

The official patch notes mention several things, but the most important for tanks are, I feel, the following:

  • Concussion Blow: The damage done by this ability has been reduced by 50%, but its threat generation will remain approximately the same.
  • Devastate: This ability now deals 120% of weapon damage, up from 100% of weapon damage.
  • Shield Slam: The damage scaling from block value for this ability now diminishes faster and diminishes starting at a lower block value. The difference should be negligible for players in high-end tanking armor. In addition, the threat caused by Shield Slam has been increased by 30%.

What does this mean for warrior tanks?

From what I have read, the practical effect is that Devastate is now roughly as good as Revenge with two points in Improved Revenge.  This simplifies the prot single-target rotation to exclude both Revenge and Concussion Blow.  Devastate spam is, even more now than before, the name of the game when tanking.

The practical result, then, is that the two points in Improved Revenge can be spent elsewhere.  With much of ICC still being progression content, it would probably be a good idea to put these points towards survival talents.  There are a variety of ways of doing so, particularly depending on your guild’s composition and needs.

What I am trying

I have been meaning to try glyphing and talenting for 2 minute Last Stand and Shield Wall and this seemed like the perfect time.  I picked up the Glyph of Last Stand to drop the cooldown on Last Stand from 3 to 2 minutes and the Glyph of Shield Wall along with Improved Disciplines reduced the cooldown on Shield Wall from 5 to 2 minutes.  This means I now have a powerful cooldown available every minute.

As a warrior, I have Shield Block available every 40 seconds and Enraged Regeneration every 2 minutes.  I also have two fairly nice trinkets with 2 minute cooldowns, Glyph of Indomitability and Heart of Iron, available to me.

All told, I have a lot of cooldowns available now!  I recall that early during this expansion DKs were able to string cooldowns together in a way that made them very durable.  I wonder, is this possible in some limited way for me?  Let’s look at the average uptime for the various cooldowns:

Cooldown name Duration Between uses Avg uptime
Shield Wall 12 seconds 2 minutes 10%
Last Stand 20 seconds 2 minutes 16.7%
Shield Block 10 seconds 40 seconds 25%
Enraged Regeneration 10 seconds 3 minutes 5.6%
Glyph of Indomitability 20 seconds 2 minutes 16.7%
Heart of Iron 20 seconds 2 minutes 16.7%
Totals: 90.6%

In a raid, this gives me a substantial amount of coverage.  On fights with down periods, such as Saurfang, this nearly guarantees full coverage by cooldowns!  I’m really looking forward to using cooldowns early, often and without worrying that they won’t be available later.  I will have to ask my healers for their view after tonight’s raid.

Furthermore I suspect that, in a heroic, this may make it much more practical to go 1 tank/4 dps.

The major downside to this change, as I see it, is in reduced threat generation.  I gave up two AOE-oriented glyphs to make this work.  I generally don’t have any problems with threat, so this seems like a fair trade, but time will tell.  I will miss the stuns off Revenge in pvp though.

(Edit: Veneretio had a very nice post on this subject a couple of days ago.)

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7 Comments »

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  1. So you lose two AOE glyphs and gain more tanking cooldowns? Seems like the right trade-off to me.

    Can you afford two tank specs? The second could be AOE-Heroic oriented maybe?

    • This is basically right. I don’t actually gain more cooldowns, but the cooldowns I have are available much more often now. It’s odd to realize that I can now use 1-2 cooldowns on most trash pulls. It also means that I can run far ahead of the healer in heroics with little negative consequence.

      The survivability is nice, but I’m not certain I enjoy the tradeoff. Mathematically, it is probably the right decision but I don’t like the reduced feeling of offensive power. It feels really good to hear a hunter friend say, “I -tried- to pull off of you and I couldn’t!” I miss that. As you mention in your recent post, sometimes fun trumps what is optimal. In any case, I intend to stick with this new spec for a little while to see where it goes.

      As for two tank specs, I can’t see myself doing that. Fury dps is too much fun and I have also been meaning to try arms pvp more seriously. The loss in aoe threat isn’t significant enough that I struggle to hold aggro in heroics while the loss of any capability to switch roles could be occasionally problematic in raids.

  2. I’ve often wanted three specs for that reason. AOE tank spec, single-target spec, and dps spec.

    • Likewise. From what I have read on the forums, the developers typically turn down request for a third spec with the justification that they want players to make “interesting decisions” and that a third spec does not serve this purpose. I don’t agree with that reasoning, however, because the actual choice — stay with a suboptimal spec or spend ten minutes and a trivial amount of gold to respec — is especially UNinteresting to me. Switching specs is an annoyance, not part of a system of interesting decisions. I would be happier with a system that allowed a multitude of specs (instead of the current two) but that had some cost attached to moving between them (something that is currently free). This is effectively what we have now where the cost is in terms of annoyance due to traveling to a capital city, rechoosing talent points, reglyphing, adjusting action bars where necessary and swapping gear.

  3. […] seem that defense rating is especially needed in the easier heroics, particularly when I have numerous cooldowns to get me through the rough […]

  4. There’s also the four piece tier 10 bonus which activates once per minute. That gives you close to 100% uptime on some kind of damage reduction mechanic.

    I went for the two minute cooldowns and have never looked back. It’s particularly good on Festergut, where you have a tank swap every 90 seconds, or the Prof, so you can use a cooldown in P1 or P2 without worrying that it will be unavailable in P3.

    • It will be a very long time before I have access to the 4 piece bonus on T10, but I think that the addition of a cooldown from the set could be very interesting. Being able to pop cooldowns without fear that I will run out is a really nice feeling, especially when tanking heroics in mostly dps gear.


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