Apr 4, 2009

I fart in your general direction.

Now that I have your full attention (see what I did there?), the topic for today's post will be the fine art of taunting, with a solid dash of whine thrown in for good measure.

Taunts then! A vital tool for warrior tanks in all shapes and sizes, choice words of aggravation are constantly thrown at our enemies to make them emo rage on us instead of for example the squishy looking healer they were just chewing into. Some poor mobs have taken so much verbal abuse over the years that they have learned to turn a deaf ear to such insults but for the most part, taunts work well.

In most cases PVE at least, but over the years many a warrior including myself have wished for the ability to have some use in pvp as well besides being able to force pets to switch targets for a second. It has fallen on deaf developer ears though, until the introduction of the Wrath of the Lich King expansion.

Which as we all know made non-Death Knights endangered species in large part I suspect to their awesome spell, Death Grip. Other than the very cool "Come here!" factor, it has a number of uses, first and foremost being the Death Knight taunt ability. It is also by far the most effective tool they can use for getting casters included in the rain of AoE. Or out of if, when used by the less intelligent Death Knights. They can also burn it should a spell need to be interrupted.

All in all its a darn cool ability, but remember the mention of wishing taunt had a PVP use? Death Knights get that too, in fact it has more uses than you can shake a stick at. It is nothing short of incredibly powerful for forcing enemies repositioning. They have a healer in the back? No problem, drag him right into your own group for instant gibbage. Your priest friend getting sodomised by a rogue? No problem, just pull him off. Stuck in a frost nova with the mage loading up a pyroblast? We'll have none of that, force him back in your reach and interrupt that spell of hurt while you're at it.

So, am I angry they have such an awesome ability while warrior Taunt does nothing at all whatsoever in PVP ? Actually, no. While it is a very versatile ability, it has a significantly longer cooldown than our taunts, forcing them to think a bit about when best to use it. And Death Knights don't have Charge, Intercept and Intervene of course, so I understand that they need this to close range quickly on targets in PVP.

All fine and dandy then, at least until recent game patches got Paladins also a taunt ability and God knows they needed one, their old 3 target of friendly target taunt was awkward and awful in use.

So in 3.0.8 I think it was, Paladins got Hand of Reckoning. Now, look at the tooltip on that ability. Notice that puny 1 damage? That is PVP utility, basically taking the good old warrior Taunt, and improving it by adding instant interrupt and caster pushback at a very low mana cost.

Basically, what Warriors have been asking for the last few years. I was so surprised when I was doing AB on my new Paladin alt Vanor and found out I could use that for example to prevent base captures in Arathi Basin. It surely doesnt spell doom, but it does have a PVP use.

The ability also has shorter cooldown than it takes to take a flag in AB or EotS, so there's nothing to stop paladins from plinking someone trying to tag something while they're dealing with other players or healing a bit for as long as they feel like it.

And it pisses me off! First because it is something Warriors have requested for so long, only to be ignored and given to Paladins instead (I am still happy you guys got your regular taunt for PVE though). Second, this is far from the first time something like this has happened and it brings to my mind just how milked dry the Warrior class is. Pretty much all abilities that have some use have been passed around to various classes or their pets.

They even get improved in the process! Hunters get Aimed Shot with MS debuff, except theirs is ranged of course. Paladins got Divine Storm, Whirlwind plus heals. All tank classes have their varieties of Last Stand and Shield Wall, the last tricks Warrior tanks had up their sleeves that gave us an edge in survivability on bosses.

And I'm not against the tanking classes being even in performance, but having given out those Warriors are actually the WORST tanks around. Lets see what we got.

Single target threat? Nope.
Aoe threat? No sir. Thunder Clap and Shockwave may take snap aggro but watch the other tanks peel them off in one tick of their aoe abilities! Gosh they're so neat!
Survivability? Think again, our Druid has max stamina+avoidance on all gear since he is crit immune from spending 3 talent points.
Good tank DPS? Don't be ridiculous!
Raid utility then, I mean come on we have Commanding Shout!? Sorry mate, Fury Warrior handling that since paladins got better buffs than his Battle Shout. Look... just get on the short bus, I think one of our rogues saved you a seat in the back.


On the whole, is there anything at all which is unique to the Warrior class anymore except Commanding Shout and a melee attack that has a cast time(how cool is that!), and having a large amount of our abilities including debuffs of various kinds ?

Someone, cheer me up! :S


Talldar said...

We look better.


Vads said...

Allright, I'm sold ;)

Chad S. said...

I'll disagree with you on a two of those points -

Warriors get snap aggro with well placed and timed thunderclap and shockwave - but then need to stay active to continue AoE tanking. If we hang out waiting for TC to come up, yes, other tank's passive AoEs will overtake us. If your losing control of adds that were previously looking at you, I get the feeling that they are ones that haven't been getting Slammed/Devastated & Cleaved.

Also - I've found that I can do rather decent DPS while tanking, on high rage bosses. Patchwerk being the ideal - I can hit 2700-2800 without DPS consumables or trinkets. It does require gearing with a focus on expertise (and to a lesser extent, hit) - but the damage potential is certainly there.

Thomas said...

As a healer who has had the honor of healing Vads more times than I can count throughout TBC and WotLK raiding, I just wanted to come to his defense - he is not really losing aggro. As a matter of fact, I would not hesitate at all to go on a raid if I know he is main tank, it will more or less guarantee a smooth (tanking) experience. So it was mostly meant as a general rant about the state of warrior tanking, I assume.

But enough with the sucking up to the management now :)

Was it really your goal to make me reconsider going back to Protection on Vorgas come 3.1? Might stay Fury after all...

Vads said...

@Yakra/Chad: I hear you, I use glyph of cleave and abuse it vigorously in combination with tab SS/rev/dev but the whole point really is how hard we have to work to maintain that aoe threat compared to a paladin who walks in with blocks doing fair holy damage with a keypress, presses consecrate and its done, 5-10 mobs aoe tanked with ease.

I'm in the 2.4-2.8k DPS (depending on raid setup) range on Patchwerk as well using my regular raid kit with 220 hit 22 exp, but while we're machine gun spamming our keyboards to reach that number we're still falling short of the paladin and dk tanks pressing at most one key per GCD, and barely ahead of druids 1 button tanking with a maul+mangle macro, it doesnt sit right with me mate.

For any bears tanks reading here, I agree there are things that could be improved for you as well and I am in no way endorsing the feral nerfs in 3.1.

@Lisandra/Thomas: Thanks for the kind words mate. I should consider before writing public that 99% of the ones reading haven't and won't see me tank, looking back at a few of my rants I can easily see it being percieved as excuses for lack of L2P.

I reserve my right to rant about Warrior concerns though, but I'll try when I can to add more solid info to back it up with.

About Vorgas, stick with it mate. Prot warrs do quite well, managing aggro and staying alive has gotten a lot easier since pre-wrath. If you enjoy tanking you will have fun playing him, when you read my concerns keep in mind its for the fleshed out warrior raid tanks, compared with other tank classes.

Warriors perform worse than other classes at the moment, but it doesn't show until you face that brick wall where your HP and avoidance doesnt suffice, which for me atm is Sarth+drakes and EoE with dps oriented set ups.

I rant about that now because seeing how we simply dont meet the requirements for those in current raids, I dont know what would make Warriors good choices to tank new content that will be harder to learn and beat.

Anonymous said...

Just a comment about the OPaladin taunt: yes it has a dmg component (like druid FFF now has in bear form) but consider that this is the only ranged (+10yds) dmg ability a non prot specced paladin has (WTB your Heroic Throw that has a talented silence effect).

About AoE threat: you obviously never tried to tank as druid. Paladins and DK's have very nice passive AoE threat abilities - Warriors got SW as frontal Cone and TC as 360° AoE threat ability while druids have - uhm - Swipe as targeted frontal cone AoE Ability (this gets fixed in 3.1, it will work like TC).

About "Survivablity": Yes druids are crit immune from talents which allow them to go all out on Mitigation - wait - they only have dodge and armor which becomes quite difficult to stack with Diminishing Returns in higher gear lvls - in fact: druids are stacking defense to avoid wasting stats that are diminished anyways.

so in the end we have different tanking classes in different niches: Paladins are designated AoE tanks, DK's are our magic dmg soakers, Druids are the everlasting OTs and warriors are still our loved MTs.

Anonymous said...

Will be interesting to see how much warrior tanking changes when the patch finally comes, at least the change in defensive stance is welcome, when harder bossfights are more or less quick zergfests 5% more damage made by tank makes a difference.