Wednesday, March 18, 2009

[PTR] Ulduar and the Paladin Tank

When discussing changes to tanks, the Developers - through Ghostcrawler - has repeatedly said that they did not want to penalize groups that choose one tanking class over another as their main tank. Sometimes this was communicated with a specific tanking class in his comment such as ‘We don’t want to penalize groups that chose a Druid for their main tank.’ That may not be a direct quote, but a paraphrase of what’s been said going all the way back to Wrath Beta.

Now we have the first new significant Raid content released for Wrath, and as Paladin Tanks look at the information available from testing on the PTR, we can identify two cases where the design has heavily penalized guilds that chose Paladin main tanks.

Specifically let’s examine at Auriaya’s Horrifying Screech, and General Vezax’s Aura of Despair. Both of these abilities severally affect the ability of a Paladin to successfully tank these bosses. Some may feel that these abilities go so far as to make the Paladin tank a non-starter for these bosses. Many 10 man groups will not have an option outside of their Paladin tanks which will make these bosses much more difficult than intended for those guilds.

Consider that for Auriaya’s Horrifying Screech, Paladins are the only tanking classes as lacking a true Fear break. Our only options are Fear Ward, Tremor Totem (outside source, requires certain raid compositions, etc) and Divine Shield (long cooldown, locks out Divine Protection aka Shield Wall for 2 minutes).

It is possible the new Aura Mastery talent may be an answer to this, but depending on the final design, it may or may not be too high in the Holy tree for a Tanking Paladin to reasonably get to it. In order to keep our tanking talents out of the reach of Holy or Ret, our Tree is very top heavy and requires a heavy investment. In addition, depending on the final cooldown of Horrifying Screech and Aura Mastery, it may or may not be usable. Note how short the cool down is on other tanks Fear breaks, for example, Zerker rage.

In addition, on the PTR Horrifying Screech was interruptible. Paladins are the only tanking class whose interrupt is on the Global Cooldown. This makes it highly unreliable for this type of encounter. Let’s consider removing it from the Global Cooldown.

I don't claim to be an expert on every tanking class, but unless the AoEfear is changed to a horror or removed, wouldn't it make a warrior the only tank that could prevent the raid from wiping if you missed an interrupt?

Next let’s look at Aura of Despair. This will completely shut down a Paladin tank’s threat generation. Given that the encounter has a tight enrage timer, good threat generation from the tank will be of the utmost importance.

Because Spiritual Attunement was buggy during the testing of the encounter it was difficult to provide meaningful testing on the PTR.

Paladin Tanks can understand and accept that Blizzard can not make all tanks equal for all encounters. That is self evident.

We must ask the Developers, why it is only Paladins who appear disproportionately disadvantaged on any fight in Ulduar? We find no instance where any other tank class is disadvantaged to this degree, and similarly find no fight on which a Paladin is advantaged.

The conclusion one must draw, based on the information available at this time, is that the Developers have made two fights in Ulduar that heavily and unduly penalize guilds that chose a Paladin Main Tank. This is contrary to what the Developers have communicated that they want to see.

Let’s take another look at the design of either these encounters and/or the Paladin tank.

Perhaps Blizzard could allow Spiritual Attunement to work in the General Vezax encounter. Perhaps Blizzard could provide Paladins with a true Fear break for Horrifying Screech, and take Hammer of Justice off the Global Cooldown. These steps would help to mitigate these issues.

Thank you for taking the time to read this thread.

FOR KHAZ MODAN!!

Knight Lieutenant Honorshammer Jenkins, Hand of A’dal and Champion of the Frozen Wastes
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