With the PTR up, the mechanics of the new AD have been discovered and some of my questions answered.
Now keep in mind, this is the first iteration of the PTR, it is almost certain what we get as the Live version will be different in some way.
Here’s what was learned by Maintankadin moderator, Modus aka moduspwnens.
It reduces damage by 30%.
We saw this from the actual patch notes. The Damage reduction is staying at 30%.
It reduces the entire hit that takes you below 35% by 30%.
This was one of the big questions I had, and now that I think about it, it makes sense. Having only work on the part of the hit that took you under 35% could still make it leapfroggable.
It also reduces hits taken afterward (from below 35% to also below 35%).
This is logical. If it reduces hits above 35%, it would seem to follow that it also reduces hit under 35%. That’s basically exactly what AD does today on live.
It doesn’t work on fall damage.
Yes, Modus jumped off a cliff. He still died.
The "GS" effect works like Guardian Spirit except places a debuff on you (2 min duration) called Ardent Defender.
Basically instead of saying “You die”, the combat log will say,”Ardent Defender heals you for X, where X is 30% of your max hit points”
It is now shown in the combat log as absorbed damage, as is the would-be "killing blow."
We now have some way to know it’s working. I’m sure some enterprising Addon developer will come up with a mod to broadcast this to the raid. I’d love it if they could have a little “1UP” appear over my head like from Mario World.
AD's save unfortunately takes precedence over GS
Now we start getting into some of the downsides. Guardian Spirit should trigger before Ardent Defender does. Ardent Defender should really be a last line of defense kind of thing. We’re making our last stand against the boss, holding out against all hope. Once I’m copied over to the PTR I plan on putting in a request to get the order of precedence changed. Whether the Developers decide to do that or not, is up to them.
While you have the Ardent Defender debuff, the damage reduction portion no longer takes effect.
Now we come to major drawback of Ardent Defender. If it saves my life, it won’t reduce any damage, at all, for 2 minutes. I would offer that this helps to balance the ability somewhat, and will perhaps stem the tide of people calling it overpowered.
The obvious comparison of AD is too Will of the Necropolis because it’s essentially the same skill.
Will of the Necropolis was determined to be overpowered and later nerfed. So wouldn’t it logically follow that since AD is twice as strong (30% damage reduction versus 15% damage reduction for WotN), it must therefore be even more overpowered than WotN was and therefore must need a nerf. The flaw in that logic is looking at WotN and AD in a vacuum and not in the context of the Death Knight and Paladin class.
Remember that in addition to WotN, the Death Knight had more armor, more health, and more advoidance than any other tank. Then the Death Knight had 2 to 3 major cooldowns depending on spec on top of that. So their cooldowns needed to get reduced, changed, nerfed, pick your word.
Paladins have low Effective Health. Their avoidance is about on par. Paladins are behind EVERY tank class in the cooldown department. We have one, Divine Protection on a 2 minute cooldown. Every other tank has multiple. We’re the only Tank without a gap closer. Our AoE threat was significantly nerfed. Consecrate simply can’t compete with something like Death and Decay. We run into the same resource starvation issues that Warriors do, only it is many orders of magnitude more difficult to refill our resource once we do run dry.
The PTR Ardent Defender is a powerful ability, even with the debuff. I don’t think any sensible person would argue otherwise.
The important thing to realize is that adding this powerful ability to Paladin toolkit, it still would not make Paladins far and away better than any other tank; it simply brings them to parity. At least that is how I see it. I'm sure the PTR will help to bear out if I'm accurate in my assesment.
I've never felt better about Paladin tanking. We’re not the little AoE tanks that absolutely stink everywhere else that we were in Burning Crusade. We’ll not be the functional tanks who seem to have been falling behind to every other tank class in Wrath. We certainly won’t be lacking for Cooldowns. With the 3.2 changes, we'll have just about everything we need. It would still be nice to have things like Hammer of Justice off the Global Cooldown, but that's just gravy.
I really hope the new AD makes it to Live, even with a tweak or two. Whether it does or not, is, of course, up to the Developers.