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.


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


Dorgol said...

I'm going to bet that SA works through Aura of Despair. I'm thinking that this may even be the straw that broke the camel's back - causing the removal of SA from Holy and Ret.

As for Terrifying Screech? Got me. It does look like Paladins are the only tank who have this particular weakness.

Death Knights have Lichborne, but I don't know if every tanking DK have that talent.
Druids have Berserk.

Rohan said...

Could you explain the abilities, or at least link to them? I gather Horrifying Screech is a Fear, but what does Aura of Despair do?

I haven't been paying much attention to bosses on the PTR.

Anonymous said...

could you link to your post so we can see the responses to it please?
couldn't find it by googling title

gemspark of kilrogg

Anonymous said...

I would hope they change our hammer into an interrupt off the global CD, get rid of the daze effect from our shield and give us at least one other mitigation CD before 3.1 is finished.

Anonymous said...

I think you are selling yourself (and other paladin tanks) short Honors, and falling into the common "oh woe is me" trap concerning nerfs.

Fear is quite simply not a major concern anymore. It is highly unlikely that there will be any encounter where a hard-hitting boss will be combined with aoe fear such that they can insta-gib the tank while the raid runs around like chickens. There are no more crushing blows, so the biggest concern (which was that you could get crushed while running around madly since you can't block) has been removed. Mobs will also stay on the highest aggro player during fear, so the boss won't run around randomly splatting raid members.

If the aoe fear ability is on a relatively short cooldown (i.e. not once per fight) then the fact that other classes have anti-fear cooldowns is irrelevant. A druid can only berserk once every 3 mins. If the aoe fear cooldown is any shorter than that, then you have to have ways to deal with it without berserk anyway, i.e. all tanks (except warriors) are in the same boat.

Druids also only have 1 interrupt ability, which is bash, which is on a 1 minute cooldown and on the gcd. It's very likely that there will be another dps class in the raid who can interrupt as well.

Ironhorn said...

I dont see that fears are a major problem anymore to be honest, with PvP trinkets, tremor totems and fear ward. You managed nightbane just fine didnt you?

It has been said many times before that things are too easy at the minute. You cant complain that things are too easy one minute then complain when the developers make them harder.

Honors Code said...

I'm not complaining about the Developer's making it harder, I'm expressing concern that things are harder ONLY for groups that choose a Paladin tank.

I think you are missing my point.

What if Aura of Despair prevented Rage/Runic Power generation, that would equally bad but affect Warriors.

On the same vien, what if the Developers made a Boss that took 300% damage from Holy, that would make it more difficult for groups that didn't have a Paladin.

Do you see what I'm trying to get at?

Honors Code said...

It appears that Spiritual Attunement will partially function under Aura of Despair. Now that it's a high Protection tree talent, perhaps it will work fully.

Also, in the latest testing the Horrifying Screech (Fear) is a now a Horrify.

Origami said...

According to

Aura of Despair
Prevents mana regeneration from nearly all natural sources. Aspect of the Viper, Judgements of the Wise, Shamanistic Rage, and Spiritual Attunement remain at least partially effective. Also reduces melee attack speed by 20%.

The description is pretty vague since there's no definition of "natural sources". If there was 0 ways a pally could get mana back then this would have BROKEN pallys tanking this boss.
However, if a pally has reduced means of getting mana back then it would be similar (though not necessarily equivalent to) the reduced attack speed on melee since a warrior or druid or 2H DK would swing a lot slower to generate less threat quickly, no?

Ferth said...

I'm actually OK with this, most of my WOTLK tanking experience comes paired with a prot warrior, and quite often, I'm the envy of threat generation, (particularly in AoE situations) is much more consistant, and there is no shortage of AoE tanking needed in raids. I'm OK using my secondary role for a fight or two in the raid...I think it's healthier for a group to split main tanking duties anyhow (insurance).